We came chasing after Kairozdormu, or at least what once passed for him. He became something far more dangerous and terrifying than any of the Infinite dragons. All the various alternate versions of him, fused together into some horrific amalgam made him a true nightmare. We did not know how closely he worked with the actual Infinite Dragonflight, but we knew he actually summoned them to his side during the fight at the Temple of the White Tiger. And that was before he turned into the thing I saw at the remains of the Azeroth of the Lotus Eaters. So when we went chasing after the trail he left behind, we expected to come out on one of the numerous alternate Azeroths – one of those that have been destroyed by the Old Gods, or the Infinites themselves. But then, we came out still in the timeways. Except, it was a different corridor. One even Chromie and Moros were unfamiliar with.
You know Chromie. You don’t know Moros though. Morozdormu, a particularly dour bronze dragon. He almost never spoke unless spoken to, and when that kid, Grumpa, tried to crack a joke, Moros would only stare him down in a manner that would make you think his entire family was just killed. The fact that he chose the humanoid form of a dwarf did not help – I can never help but feel wary of dwarves, with those brows that look like chiseled out of stone. So the kid started asking a lot of questions again, why are we here, what happened to our trail, how can you not know this… Moros just mumbled something under his nose, while the Historian Llore who went with us just stood there and patiently answered the human’s every question. I do not have patience for that kind of nonsense. I know, you’re probably surprised I don’t have the patience for something, but that’s because I just quickly get away when children or, gods forbid, teenagers are around.
But then, Grumpa picked up some particle trail that was even more terrifying than what we were already considering. He picked up not just the anti-time trail… but fel energy mixed with it as well. Usually, there is shadow or arcane energy within it, because those are the powers usually employed by those who defy time itself. But this one, it had fel energy, and a lot of it. As Moros announced to us, that could only mean one thing – there was a demon running across the timelines, and a powerful one too.
So we followed the trail. We didn’t know if it was Kairoz, who picked up some new ally somewhere along the way, or if it was some new threat. After all, with the bronze dragonflight’s power greatly diminished, the barriers between the timeways were weakened, and it was harder to monitor everything going on. Suddenly, mages and other magic users began to abuse time to their own gain. They always did, as I hear, but they were usually quickly stopped, and their exploits were rarely particularly devastating. But now, everything was going to hell. The Infinites were growing bolder with every day, and mortals started messing with their own past and occasionally erasing themselves from existence in the process.
And then, the trail changed again. The fel energy was gone and straight ahead of us was a large accumulation of anti-time, bubbled together and shielded from sight. That could only mean one thing – some kind of pocket “dimension” was ahead of us, a bubble of anti-time created by a mortal mage to remove himself from prying eyes of his world. While Chromie and Moros began working to dispel the bubble and send the interloper back where he came from, Llore instructed Grumpa in practicing his temporal spells. This time, the historian said, he should listen through the bubble, as that would help the kid in honing his ability to listening to other timelines.
I did not expect him to actually succeed. Llore kept saying the kid has talent, coming from a timeline devastated by the Burning Legion, and having a still living counterpart in prime universe, but I did not believe him. But then, he surprised me, and the dragons, because he heard the moment captured within the bubble and duplicated the sound.
“Fool,” an echoing voice sounded. Clearly an Infinite dragon. “You thought you could use us? Your powers mean nothing here, nor does your ephemeral ‘Empire’.” There were Infinite Dragons inside, and someone who dared to challenge them. Someone, as Moros said, who could prove an ally against them, and against Kairoz.
After another spell from the two dragons, the bubble burst. What we saw inside, shocked us all. Four Infinite Dragons, all encircling one powerful mage. He was as stunned by their spells, as we were by his identity. It was Archmage Khadgar – but not our Khadgar. He was different. He had a goatee, and a scar running across his face, and his robes were far more… regal. And apparently, according to the voice Grumpa heard, he had an empire at his back.
Without waiting too long, we unloaded our best spells and attacks on the Infinite Dragons. I shot at them with the arrows enchanted with the sands of time, and sent my arcane serpent against them. Llore shifted into his worgen form and began entangling them with magical roots and assaulting them with lunar spells. The dragons, finally, turned into their natural forms and attacked the enemies tooth and claw. Before long, the Infinites were dying and melting down into their pools of non-linearity. But one of them issued a warning in his dying breath.
“You do not know what you released,” the dragon said, before the alternate Khadgar finished him with a bladed icicle.
“You should not hear what those treacherous creatures say,” Khadgar told us, and most of us agreed. But I watched him carefully. There was something strange about him, and I had to know what.
But at the time, this Khadgar has proven very useful. He knew a thing or two about demons. As he relayed to us, his Azeroth was a world of ultimate arcane power, which valued knowledge above all else. Under the leadership of the most powerful magi, his Azeroth repelled the Burning Legion’s invasion and conquered Draenor, which still stands intact, and under the rule of draenei and arakkoa who serve the Alliance. His abilities revealed to us the fel-trail we lost before and we quickly saw a fount of energy twinkling in the distance. Without a doubt, that was what brought us here. Not Kairoz, but someone else disturbing the timeways.
Up close, the fount of energy looked like a tear in the timeways. Much cruder and less stable than the portals we Timewalkers use, but someone, a demon, had definitely broke into the timeways from a timeline. But as we were getting closer, we sensed it wasn’t even a one-time tear. It has already been used, multiple times, and the damage seeping from that wound in time was strong enough to attract powerful Infinite Dragons – which were strangely absent.
And then, someone emerged from the tear. It was an eredar – a blue-skinned man’ari of large stature ripped through the tear like a hatchling coming out of its egg. It plunged a familiar axe into the “ground” beneath us and looked at us, realizing that someone finally noticed him. “Malchezarr,” Chromie said. “Prince Malchezarr – a son of a man’ari Velen from one of the countless Legion-dominated Azeroths”. And the axe was undoubtedly Gorehowl, the legendary axe of Grommash Hellscream.
The demon snarled at us. “Turn back now,” he said, “Or you will face my wrath.”
Chromie just laughed at him. “Face your wrath? Do you know who you’re dealing with? I am Chronormu, this is Morozdormu, and those three are our mortal agents. You have no chance against us, on our own ground. And certainly not alone.”
But the demon just laughed back. “You face not Prince Malchezarr alone, but the Legions I command!” His hands glowed with fel power, as green meteors burst through his rift and landed among us. Infernals. Or rather, one Infernal, in multiple versions. The same Infernal, five times over, from five different timelines. Only once have I seen something that felt more utterly wrong within the depths of my mind. This Malchezarr wasn’t commanding just the Burning Legion. He was commanding multiple versions of it at once. He succeeded where Kairozdormu’s original plan had failed.
We were doing our best to combat the onslaught of demons he was summoning at his every whim. The kid did well, considering his situation, which isn’t saying much, but the majority of firepower rested in Khadgar’s hands. He easily outdid even Chronormu and Morozdormu on their own ground. When I looked at the way he slung spells all around him and how quickly he dispatched all the various versions of the same demons, I was thankful he was not our enemy. Before long, we stood against Malchezarr alone again, and the demon knew he was losing.
“Enough!” he yelled, as if he could command us. “I have to go back. I was not prepared.” He turned around and ran for his rift, but Moros did not want to let him leave like that. He has already committed crimes against the timeways and if he’s left to his own devices, he would eventually run across the more sensitive timelines. Moros gathered all his power and channeled a temporal spell on his rift. Although the tear began to shift and shimmer, the demon still leaped through it and it closed behind him.
Chromie carefully probed the signature that emanated from the tear just before it closed and promptly laughed. I didn’t know what she was laughing at, knowing Malchezarr managed to escape, but she quickly explained. “He went to our Azeroth,” she said.
“That’s terrible,” the kid responded. “He will wreak great havoc!”
“He will not,” the dragon continued, “He ended up in Karazhan, a couple of years ago. Does that remind you of anything?”
“Wait,” Moros responded, looking at the smoldering rock that lied where the Infernals fell, “Are you telling me that the Malchezarr that the adventurers plundering Karazhan killed back then… was this Malchezarr?”
“Yes,” Chromie nodded, “He escaped, only to die.”
The Khadgar that fought with us left soon thereafter. He left towards his version of Karazhan, but I could swear he did something with the remains of Malchezarr’s tear. He didn’t turn against us, but the predicament we found him in and the way he moved make me still doubt if we had seen the last of him. Meanwhile, we continue flying across the timeways, looking for Kairozdormu’s trail again. We wondered if he was possibly slain by Malchezarr, but we knew that this issue would not have ended so easily.