The gathered heroes stood opposite the newly arrived villains. The Arbiters. Lords of the Nexus. The true benefactors behind Kairozdormu’s recent rampage across the timelines. And behind them, a nexus of arcane energies that brought them here. A hole in the fabric of reality. A rift to another realm. A realm that even Chromie, a bronze dragon, found to be outside of her knowledge. She came to see all realms anywhere within the universe, past, present or future, this timeline or another. And yet this, for the first time in a long while, was a complete mystery to her. What is this Nexus? Who are these Arbiters? What do they want? Why would they erase from existence such an uncountable amount of lives?
“I know all the questions racing in your head,” The Arbiter in the center, Lord Order, responded without any hint of emotion in his voice, “and I know the answers to all of them. But all in the right order.”
Shaman Dezco frowned at the response. “Do you have no conscience?” he said. “Do you know how many lives were lost forever because of you?”
“Yes,” another Arbiter, Lord Reason, responded, “We know the exact number of lives lost. And no, we have no conscience. We have abandoned such… obstacles to true success when we became what we are now.”
Kel’thuzad looked at them carefully, trying to deduce something, anything. Yet it was beyond his knowledge as well. “And what would that be?”
The third Arbiter, Lord Faith, raised his voice. “We were once as you are, mortal, fragile, uncontrolled. We were merely another creature upon our world – the lone light of an empty, lifeless void. But then we found it.”
Lord Reason continued. “The Nexus. A fount of energy beyond our comprehension. We bathed in its light and evolved…”
“…beyond our former, fragile forms.” Lord Order continued the other’s sentence. “We ascended to a higher level. We became one with our world. We became its rulers, its avatars.”
Lord Faith interrupted again. “We became the Arbiters. But with that knowledge we saw infinity. We saw numerous other worlds, all of which lacked our light, our guidance.”
Lord Order spoke up. “Azeroth. Draenor. Tarsonis. Earth. Sanctuary. Tuul.”
Lord Reason nodded. “We decided we were the only ones capable of ruling these worlds with a true enlightenment. But we lacked force to conquer these worlds, so we opened rifts to them, pulling their greatest heroes towards us, and testing these heroes in endless battles.”
Lord Order spoke up. “And once these tests temper their strength, we will have these heroes take over their former worlds, in the name of the Arbiters.”
Chromie could understand their reasoning now, but she could not stop herself from feeling disgusted at their dispassionate judgment. Who gave them the right to proclaim themselves the only true rulers of all that exists? “What about the worlds your puppet destroyed? Did you not wish to rule those?” she asked finally.
Lord Faith shrugged. “They were expendable. We got what we needed from them – heroes of the coming storm, our future generals.”
A grunt bellowed from behind the dragon. “Enough talk!” Warchief Varok Saurfang yelled out. “Let it be finished!” The orc charged forward, his blade swinging past his body. But Kairoz stood in his way and conjured wings on his humanoid form, shielding himself from the blow. He did not however expect Saurfang’s blade cleaving right through his wings, and pushing him back with a roar.
Lord Order merely raised an eyebrow. “Interesting.”
Kairoz rose to the air, despite his wounded, bleeding wings and began an assault of shadowy magic towards all gathered around him. However, Bonelord Maraad raised his axe and created a barrier of shadowy energy around his allies – an anti-magic zone that fended off the attack. Galen Trollbane raised his composite bow and let loose a couple of arrows towards the dragon, while Emperor Khadgar began shooting arcane missiles and frost orbs. It was soon obvious that Kairozdormu would not win this battle easily.
When Kairoz shifted to his true, twisted form, everyone recoiled for a moment. There was hardly anything of his form left in the creature he was now. Merely an unstable, constantly shifting mass of echoes and shadows remained, only in the subtlest of ways resembling a dragon – two wings, four legs, a head, a tail – but all misshapen and shifting with multiple versions of them, all just slightly out of sync with the other. Kairoz claimed he became infinite, but all he became was a violation of reality itself.
Finally, Moros and Chromie took to the sky in their own dragon forms. A battle of claws, teeth and breath weapons erupted in the sky. Both bronze dragons continued to evade Kairoz’s breath as they knew the very energy Infinite Dragons breathed was the core of their corruption. They knew that one contact with it would be their end. Meanwhile, the Arbiters continued to watch the battle, only moving to change what they’re looking at.
“Aren’t you going to help me?” Kairoz shouted, flying away from Morozdormu’s breath attacks.
Lord Faith responded without moving, “I do not believe it is necessary on our part.”
Lord Reason continued. “…nor would it be reasonable.”
“Reasonable!?” Kairoz shouted. “I did everything you wanted! Look what I brought you! Is that not reason enough to save me?”
The three Arbiters looked at each other, as if it actually took a moment of deliberation. Then they looked at Kairoz again. “No,” Lord Order calmly responded.
And Kairoz laughed. The Arbiter of course could not understand why, but mortal emotions were always perplexing to them. But then, Lord Order felt something even more perplexing, something he did not expect to feel ever again – pain.
A sharp, strong pain overwhelmed the creature, as it collapsed with a strange, phasing sound. The other two Arbiters looked behind him, only to see Hyara, with a still bloodied dagger.
“Brother!” Lord Faith yelled out, Lord Order’s pain spreading to him. “How do you feel?”
Lord Order just grabbed him by the knee with the last of his strength. “I’m dying, you idiot.” And then, he collapsed. His very form began collapsing and deflating, like a balloon pierced in its weak spot.
Lord Faith just looked at the half-troll, without moving from his spot. “Impossible! We are without an end!”
Lord Reason looked at his brother. “…in the Nexus. We left our realm. We did not calculate this outcome.”
But Hyara did not wait long, and did not wish to hear any more of their gibberish. She simply slashed at Lord Reason’s neck and quickly turned around and plunged her dagger into Lord Faith’s belly. The two Arbiters began staggering, shocked by their pain as much as by this turn of events.
Lord Reason stumbled back towards the rift, trying to remain conscious. A human would have died from his wounds already. “Brother… we must retreat.”
“Without Order?” Faith responded, looking back towards the disgusting, white mass that used be the middle Arbiter. “How can we be without him? We are Faith and Reason, we require Order…”
“He is dead!” Reason yelled out. “We must… make new plans.”
As they went towards the rift, Hyara tried to stop them but he was pushed back by their telekinetic powers. Galen Trollbane saw their retreat and arched his bow again. This time expecting attack, they did not stand and weather assault – Lord Faith simply raised his hand and withered the wood of Galen’s bow and arrows on the spot. Before Galen could realize what happened, Lord Reason unlocked the time stasis of his poison and even sped it up – in the blink of an eye, the archer turned into a seizing, foaming catatonic. Emperor Khadgar even tried to block their escape with a magical wall, but they simply went through it and with a touch of the rift, they disappeared into their realm.
“No!” Kairoz yelled, landing again, severely wounded. “You cannot leave me like that! This cannot end like this! Not after all I went through!” But his masters were no longer responding, and the rift they used was slowly closing. But Kairoz was not giving up – he lunged towards the rift, hoping to escape to the Nexus, to finally see the realm he served for so long. But before he could reach it, someone grabbed his arm. As he turned around, he saw an imposing, green mogu with a large polearm. Yu Gwai snarled at him and grabbed him back, stepping on his leg. A sickening crunch echoed across the ruins as the dragon’s mortal form’s leg was broken. A couple of fireballs from Kael’thas stopped the dragon fully.
He raised his head and saw above himself his worst nightmare. The person who began all this. The same person whose betrayal killed the first of him and sent him into infinity – something he once saw as his salvation but what he now knows was his doom. Felguard Garrosh Hellscream stood above him, with a blade ready to kill him. Again. But no, Kairoz could not stand it happening once more. He remembered again he is infinite. It was not a power the Arbiters gave him – it was what he became on his own. No matter how much you remove from infinity, it remains an infinity. As Garrosh raised his blade thinking he would finish Kairoz… the dragon suddenly grabbed the blade from his hand and plunged it into the fel orc’s chest. As Hellscream collapsed and began to vanish into his own reality, Kairoz regained his strength once again.
As he turned around, he realized that even if he’s infinite, he cannot win this. He has to escape. And the closest route of escape… was the rift to the Nexus. So he conjured wings into his humanoid form again and flew, his leg healing before his eyes. Adamant Lothar tried to charge after him, but Chromie stopped him. “No,” she said, “let him. You’ll see in a moment.”
Kairoz flew, laughing with glee. His plans are coming together – he is going to see his reward after all. And if the Arbiters refuse, he now knows how to fight them. Kairoz flew right into the rift… but suddenly felt he couldn’t fit through it. The rift was shrinking with every moment. Even though he dispelled the wings, the rift quickly closed in around his chest. As he looked forward, he could almost see the shining realms of the Nexus on the other end of the wormhole, but they were just out of reach. He continued to shift to new forms, finally settling for a gnome, but the rift kept shrinking on him. Finally, he could only yell “NO”, as the rift closed with him inside, shattering him into a thousand… no, into an infinite number of pieces. Shattering every single Kairozdormu back into the place where they belonged.
One Kairozdormu raised his head in a beautiful glade. Although he no longer felt infinite, he saw the beautiful place he was in and for a moment thought at least a piece of him managed to get into the Nexus. But then he looked beneath his feet and remembered. He’s in the Barrier Hills above Nagrand. He was standing over his dead orcish body, killed by Garrosh Hellscream. He was just a ghost, trapped forever in this alternate Draenor.
Chromie returned everyone where they belonged. With Kairozdormu gone forever, they could now live their lives without fear of them ending prematurely. Some of them would still be fated to die young, before they could reach their full potential, but at least they had a few more years to taste life again, and their pasts would not be erased. Chronormu looked on across the timeways and though there were still threats out there, like the proper Infinite Dragonflight, she felt better. One less enemy, and one step closer to safety. Still, a part of her feared that new enemies would keep rising and that her efforts of peace and stability would truly be… infinite.
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