Tag Archives: Caverns of Time

Infinite Azeroths 2: Parasite

“Presumably, this timeline’s Lady Vashj’s failure to reach Illidan will lead to heavy repercussions when this timeline reaches our upcoming future. Lady Vashj still being present underneath the ocean will heavily influence the timeline. Although so far, the timeline seems nearly identical to ours, barring that one simple fact, it will have to diverge rather significantly when Nazjatar fails to rise from the sea floor…”

Rise? Or raise? Tarakan’s pen hung above the paper as he started thinking about this. Common wasn’t his first language. No, it had to be “rise” here.

His thought was interrupted when he heard someone entering his office. It was Anachronos, in his humanoid form, looking expectant. Tarakan put the pen away and straightened himself to talk.

“Lord Anachronos,” he opened with a slight bow.

“Greetings, Tarakan,” Anachronos responded, coming closer. “So I heard there was this re-weaving project you were spearheading. To help us deal with the damage caused by temporal refugees in the Prime timeline.”

Tarakan continued to sit there, without the slightest change in his mannerisms. “We already talked about this. You were supposed to begin exper-”

“Stop!” Anachronos said, suddenly raising his hand. “I haven’t talked about this. The version of me you talked to must have been from my future. I’ll wait until then.”

Tarakan just nodded, sighing impatiently. “I’ve been waiting for your future self’s response regarding that for months now.”

“You realize this is just because of a time differential. I don’t doubt my future self went with the results to you fairly quickly.”

“Yes, yes,” Tarakan said, waving his hand dismissively, “I know. Still doesn’t make the wait any less frustrating.”

Anachronos quickly turned around and went towards the doorway. “I better get going, before I cause any more temporal accidents.”

He left, but it felt like he disappeared right behind the door. He could have actually disappeared, so Tarakan didn’t pay much attention to it and continued his work. Squawk, so is it rise or raise? But then, he heard a noise in the corner. He quickly turned his beak to the source, but didn’t see anything there. Then it happened again, from another corner, and this time it sounded like a cackle of a shrunken goblin. What is happening? Tarakan rose from his seat and looked around carefully, but he still wasn’t seeing anything. He decided he’d check his Vision of Time for temporal disturbances and to his surprise, it was turned off. With all due haste, he snapped its parts around to turn it on, only to see it flashing bright red, as if he was in the epicenter of the temporal equivalent of an earthquake. That was troubling.

Tarakan quickly left his room, but stopped right outside. As he passed the threshold, almost the entire scenery changed in the blink of an eye. Anachronos was still there, just outside the door, talking to a blood elf. Tarakan approached him and patted him on the shoulder.

“Lord Anachronos, something strange just happened,” Tarakan said.

The dragon just looked at him surprised. “And who are you?”

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Infinite Legions

tarakan-avatarWe 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.

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Repercussions

VerroakNo matter what you do, there are always repercussions down the line. Sometimes the most innocuous thing can result in a disaster. I believe it’s been called “butterfly effect” before – where a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the globe can cause a hurricane here. And I guess you could say we had a bit of a butterfly effect here yesterday. That is, if instead of butterflies you have time-shifting dragon whelps and instead of a hurricane you have “Old God-worshiping monstrosities nearly getting their hands on what would be a doomsday device for them”. It all began with that incursion – the alternate reality Poddric appearing and then committing suicide inside the tower, so close to the rift.

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The Road Home

Previously on Arakkoa Chronicles: Damaging the Timeline

Swimming out of Southshore, I was finally on my way home. I regret that I could not learn the fate of Anduin, Sargeras or Uther’s and Turalyon’s mission, or how Daval Prestor’s machinations end up, but getting back home was my first and foremost objective. I have done enough damage as it was, and probably irrevocably changed the balance of power. I know you all are probably going to say I changed that world for the better, but I don’t care about these things. This isn’t my world, nor is it my timeline. I have no business in influencing the events, especially not to that degree. I simply had no other option – if I had to change this world, I would change it for the better.

Most of the way through the Great Sea wasn’t particularly eventful. We did however notice a chain of small island close to the Maelstrom. The goblin captain was thinking of stopping by these islands for a short time to rest, but I noticed through my spyglass something very interesting. On the islands, there was a couple of destroyed troll buildings, and what I think was graves, and then more bones strewn about. Also, a lot of murlocs everywhere on the islands. Islands near the Maelstrom, dead trolls, murlocs, I connected the dots – these are the Darkspear Islands and Vol’jin and his entire tribe appear to be dead. I instantly recommended to leave the vicinity, lying to the captain that I saw a sea witch. Not risking meeting one of those, the captain ordered to sail away.

As we were closer to Kalimdor, we noticed two doomguards in the sky desperately trying to catch up with the ship. Doomguards should be a pretty rare sight on this Azeroth, and everyone was surprised but I knew that Sargeras must have learned of my betrayal and sent his demonic servants to kill me. After some time, the doomguards finally landed on the ship and started killing goblins, but with the help of the ship’s captain, we managed to slay the demons and dump their bodies overboard. I hoped there would be no more surprises of this sort.

We reached Kalimdor safely the next day, in what we know as Dustwallow Marsh. I recognized the Theramore Isle nearby, but it did not bear that name in this timeline, and was full of murlocs. Is that what Jaina had to go through when she founded the city, murlocs? I do not envy her. Nevertheless, I continued on my way south towards Tanaris and was quickly reminded that black dragons are still a thing in that universe. I saw plenty of them soaring overhead in the Marsh, probably patrolling the area of Onyxia’s Lair. With her being a wife of Aliden Perenolde, who knows what’s going on in there. Hopefully not some ugly half-dragon babies. I don’t know if it was an entirely good idea, but I switched to moonkin form to pretend to be a night elf druid. Luckily, no dragon decided to take me for a snack.

When I left the Marsh and passed into what we know as Splithoof Heights, I found to my surprise a large Demon Hunter training facility, manned by night elves and tauren. I took this as a chance to find out the history of Kalimdor in this timeline and sought out their leader, Altruis the Sufferer. As it turns out, Kalimdor remained in peace for a few more years, until C’Thun broke out and his Qiraji and Silithids began to rampage throughout the continent. The night elves had a very tough fight on their hands and tauren were decimated by their fight with centaurs – Altruis never even heard the names Cairne or Baine, the tauren High Chieftain being Bovan Windtotem.

As Altruis related, Tyrande broke Illidan out of his prison. This time, he greatly helped the war and led many young demon hunters, some of them tauren, to victories against the Qiraji. However, their numbers were nearly endless and he had to look for a way to get rid of their god. Illidan then sought out the Oracle of Stonetalon and learned from her that the Scepter of the Shifting Sands contained a piece of C’Thun’s soul and as such, it could be used to slay him. Then Illidan embarked on a long quest to obtain the Scepter, and finally sneaked his way into the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, defeated some of C’Thun’s top lieutenants, including General Rajaxx and the Twin Emperors, and proceeded to stab C’Thun in the eye with the Scepter. The resulting explosion killed them both and collapsed the temple. Without the leadership of their god, the Silithid armies quickly crumbled and the Kaldorei won the war.

Illidan is here lauded as a hero, and Demon Hunters are openly trained in many facilities across Kalimdor, including this one. Having satisfied my curiosity, I proceeded down, to the Thousand Needles, walking through its dry surface. You know what, I think they’re much nicer looking this way. All the water makes them look so mundane. Anyway, soon I had to walk through the Shimmering Flats, lacking a raceway here, and had the chance to complain about the dryness. I swear, all this salt was probably sucking water straight out of me. If that wasn’t enough, the next place on my journey was Tanaris.

Thankfully, it didn’t take long to reach Gadgetzan where I resupplied myself with water. It seems that one city is the same hive of scum and villainy in every timeline. The only difference I noticed was that Noggenfogger wasn’t the Baron, here still eking out a living as a small trader. Oh yeah, and there was no Thunderdrome. Probably not enough demand for gladiatorial fights without the Alliance and Horde going around. I continued through the desert and before long, I had Caverns of Time in my sight.

My true form immediately got the dragons’ attention and I was allowed an audience with Anachronos. Then they told me to wait for him for hours. You would think that if anything, time would be something the bronze dragons would have plenty of. Nevertheless, after the few hours have passed, Anachronos talked to me and after my explanations, agreed that it is for the best that I leave this timeline immediately. The bronze dragons then dug up a large ring-like device with many glyphs on its sides. When they activated it, images of multiple other realities started passing through and I was told to identify my native timeline. Here I saw a couple of interesting realities, but all in only brief flashes, until I finally saw a reality where Garrosh Hellscream was in chains, Vol’jin was the Warchief and Prince Anduin looked just like “mine”. After they locked on, I went through.

Unfortunately, I found myself in the very scene presented in the image, that is, inside Hellscream’s cell in Pandaria. Knowing that neither he nor the Shado-Pan would be very happy if they found me there, I had to pull some strings and got Wrathion to help me out a little. He sent a Blacktalon to get me out of there and told me there’s no price attached, but I’m afraid I’ll come to regret this. I went on to sleep at the Lorewalker Seat of Knowledge that day, knowing that I am finally safely back home.

After inspecting Lorewalker Cho’s projector and him rejecting my sale offer, I continued to the Shrine and went through the portal to Stormwind. Unfortunately, after I reached Maginor Dumas’s tower, I found that SI:7 has confiscated my rift while I was gone. I know that I was gone to another reality for a couple of weeks, but that’s no reason to steal a man’s work! I obviously investigated and Mathias Shaw himself told me that my rift was taken by an individual known as “Arcturus Mencius”. I probably owe you a bit of backstory on that. A week or so before this whole thing started, a guy called Arcturus Mengsk arrived from the Nexus via my rift. He immediately left and I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but it seems he installed himself as a human noble in Stormwind. And now stole my rift, along with all my equipment.

I couldn’t let it stand, but I couldn’t do it on my own either. So I conscripted another dubious ‘ally’ and contacted Sicco Thermaplugg for some help. His servant opened a portal for me and through came a couple of leper gnome warriors and a Crowd Pummeler. With their help, I was able to get through the defenses “Mencius” has set up in his manor and finally reached him. Can you imagine, he tried to bribe me in the very end. So I just shoved through the rift back to the Nexus. Let’s hope he enjoys fighting for the Arbiters. After getting my equipment away from the leper gnomes and sending Sicco a frequency to let him make another such rift of his own, everything was finally back in its proper place.

Except the whole thing where I was living in Stormwind and trying to figure out the whole temporal anomaly in Draenor. Could it be related to the thing I heard about Hellscream arriving from the future and changing Draenor’s past? Could the alternate Azeroth I was in be the result of the events that were about to happen here, including Garrosh’s escape? Perhaps. But perhaps it was yet another Garrosh that made all that mess. I’m certainly not going to damage another timeline by getting in the way of established events.


Damaging the Timeline

Previously on Arakkoa Chronicles: Doing Sargeras’s Bidding

So there I was, in the middle of Dalaran, now ruled by Kel’thuzad, who was conspiring with Sargeras to create a plague of undeath that would easily completely ravage this world. Remember, on this Azeroth there are no paladins to stem the tide. There is no Prophet Medivh to warn the leaders to leave for Kalimdor. If the Scourge rises here, this Azeroth will left completely destroyed, and when the time comes, the Burning Legion will invade what remains behind and finish the deal. There isn’t even a Lich King that could use an equivalent of Arthas to rebel against the Legion. And I was expected to help these events to come.

I was in no hurry to actually go see Kel’thuzad and went for the Dalaran libraries to find some kind of spell that would help me get to Kalimdor and to Caverns of Time. Yes, I would leave this world to devastation – it’s not my world, in two different ways, and I didn’t want to damage the timeline that wasn’t mine either. Unfortunately, as I was looking through the books, I met Krasus, aka Korialstrasz, the consort of the Lifebinder, still alive in this timeline. As you might expect, the goddamn OP protagonist saw right through my human disguise and ordered to arrest me. Only by telling him I have information about Kel’thuzad’s treason he recalled the guards – but still forced me to go with him.

I was brought to his office in the Violet Citadel where together with Rhonin they began to interrogate me. Seeing this as a chance for getting out of the whole “helping destroy the world” thing, I told them the truth. That I’m an alien AND I’m from an alternate timeline, and that Sargeras is now inside Prince Anduin and sent me to help Kel’thuzad devise a plague of undeath that will bring forth Legion’s invasion. Although it sounded like a pretty tall story, some of the details that I shouldn’t know in this timeline convinced them. In the end, they decided they would get me a transport to Kalimdor if I help them save Jaina – still alive, but comatose.

When I arrived with them to Jaina’s chamber, she appeared barely alive. Very pale, very shallow breath – yet there no was immediate danger to her life, as she was in a stable condition for a while. I took a sample of her blood and with one of the simplest test, I found that Kel’thuzad must have created a unique contagion specifically for these cases. It was mostly made from Nether ingredients, making me unique suited to treat her. You see, no one in that universe, barring Kel’thuzad himself, would be able to help her. As I lived for long years on Outland, a continent consumed by the energies of the Twisting Nether, I gathered (and still had with me) plenty of nether-infused herbs, just the right thing I needed to combat this contagion. These herbs just don’t exist in this timeline.

So I started working. Treating her took me better part of the day, because I had to find all the right ingredients in all the right amounts, but in the end, she started stirring and her skin got its color back. Finally, late in the evening, she woke up and started screaming at me, thinking I’m some monster Kel’thuzad summoned, but Korialstrasz quickly calmed her down and explained everything. That’s when she explained how she got in that position – she found proof of Kel’thuzad’s dealings with Sargeras and his plague laboratory. The archmage quickly stabbed her with a needle full of his new contagion and took charge of the city, to make sure no one stops him anymore. Unfortunately for him, his plan was just ruined.

With Jaina still weak from weeks in bed, Rhonin and Krasus left her under my care and went to confront Kel’thuzad. I don’t know what exactly transpired, but soon after they entered his chambers, a lot of lights and noise started coming out of his windows. When the two mages came back a couple of minutes later, they explained that Kel’thuzad is dead, but he didn’t go down without a fight. As he was dying, he apparently told them they’re too late and the Scourge is already spreading. Rhonin thinks he was bluffing, but Krasus wants to make sure he wasn’t.

Nevertheless, I waited for the next day and the two mages fulfilling their end of the bargain. Before I could leave, I was however called to testify everything I knew about the situation before the Council of the Six and some special guests. The remaining five archmages gathered together to choose the new sixth. At the same time, King Kael’thas got wind of the recent events and arrived in Dalaran with Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner and one of his top magisters, Aethas Sunreaver. Additionally, Uther was transferred to Dalaran from Alterac. When I was called in to the Council chambers, Aethas was already made a member of the Six, and Kael’thas, Sylvanas, Uther and Turalyon were listening to my explanations.

At first, Uther didn’t want to believe me, but after Jaina told him how “selflessly” I treated her (really, I was doing it for my own gain), he agreed to listen. After I explain Anduin’s true identity, the Six agreed they must act to stop their plans. As their first move, they sent Uther with Turalyon back to Stormwind to unmask Sargeras, while I was given the passage on a goblin ship going to Kalimdor, currently docked in Southshore, occupied by Dalaran-friendly forces after the battle I witnessed couple of days prior.

I don’t know how Uther’s and Turalyon’s mission went as I quickly proceeded to Southshore. Once on board with the goblins, I could finally drop the human disguise, as the goblin crew was informed what I was, and in Kalimdor it would be pointless. I mean, they were informed I’m a bird person from a “far away land”, not an alien from an alternate reality. I finally left the Eastern Kingdoms to their own devices and my return home wouldn’t take much longer.

Next on Arakkoa Chronicles: The Road Home


Doing Sargeras’s Bidding

Previously on Arakkoa Chronicles: Kingdoms of Azeroth

Having little other choice, I played along with the mission Anduin/Sargeras gave me for the time being. I embarked on a trip throughout the Eastern Kingdoms with the stated intention of reaching Dalaran. However, while on my way north, I kept looking for ways to sneak away. I concluded that probably the only people capable of sending me back are the bronze dragons, and they live in Kalimdor. Obviously, I inquired Abbot Turalyon what do they know about Kalimdor and he spoke of it like about a myth – speaking of minotaurs, centaurs, harpies and “other mythical creatures”, including some unfounded tales of “minotaurs” (read: tauren) being carnivorous and living in labyrinths. Seriously, who makes those up? Tauren and labyrinths?

Most of the trip went pretty smoothly, at least its early parts did. Elwynn Forest is very similar, and yet oddly different. I never spent much time there, but I think the trees are all different, probably because the orcs never ravaged these forests. Redridge was a bit greener than you folks may know it, and it was definitely calmer. While in Redridge, I briefly spoke to a man called Tirion Ellerian, but I don’t know if he’s of any relation to the Queen of Stormwind. We then went on to Burning Steppes which were still, unsurprisingly, burning. They lacked a giant statue of Anduin Lothar though, as well as there being no orcs running across the landscape. The Dark Iron Mountain, as Turalyon insisted on calling it, was still considered a dangerous place because of the black dragons that keep lairs in there, but the Dark Irons themselves were apparently gone after Magni Bronzebeard collapsed the central pillar and destroy Shadowforge City.

Searing Gorge bore more trails of the war between Dark Irons and Ironforge, as especially noticable in the Cauldron, where all the Dark Iron machinery was in ruins. It was here that we first heard of some people called “Blackwyrm Cultists”. Turalyon explained they were dangerous and crazy people who worshiped not only the black dragons, but their mysterious masters as well – clearly the Twilight’s Hammer of an Azeroth with no orcs. When we came up to the gate between Searing Gorge and Loch Modan, we realized it was barred, due to the war and dwarves officially keeping out of it. Seeing no way to open it and not wanting to lose our time on killing that stupid thunder lizard, we had to go through the Badlands.

Let me tell you, it’s odd but refreshing to see Badlands not completely torn up and without the giant mark in the middle of it that looks as if Deathwing landed on it with his gonads. Just as I was starting to wonder what’s going on with Theldurin the Lost, a man I had contact with in our reality, a group of Blackwyrm Cultists appeared and demanded us to kneel before their dark masters. Little did they know, I only kneel before my dark masters, so we had to kill them, including “Theldurin the Mad”, their local leader. For the rest of the trip, Turalyon kept bugging me about the spells I was using, having never seen a druid in battle before. Oh yeah, did I mention Sargeras gave me that human disguise? I should’ve mentioned that earlier. I pretended to be an old human hermit called “Deckard Cain”. What, they never heard that name before.

Unfortunately, the dwarves have erected another gate in the pass just north of Uldaman, barring all entry to their territory from the south. This time, however, we got to talk to the dwarves manning it and with some mental gymnastics, we were able to convince them to let us through. I still don’t know how we were able to do that. Nevertheless, when we go to Thelsamar we went through another control. We had to some basic illusions to conceal my Outland herbs, but we were finally allowed through. We continued on fairly peacefully through Loch Modan and to Dun Algaz, finally leaving to the Wetlands. At this point I thought of running off to Menethil Harbor, but I realized that even if it exists in this timeline under another name, they likely won’t have ships sailing to Kalimdor.

When we were almost through the Wetlands, we got attacked by another group of Blackwyrm Cultists, this time led by a giant gnome who I did not recognize at first. Deformed by some magical experiments, he looked like some unfortunate, inbred half-dragon. Only when he opened his mouth, I knew who we were facing – “mighty Millhouse Manastorm” who was trying to light up “our sweetcheeks”. Unfortunately, at this size, his pyroblasts were the size of a small meteor so we could not afford to wait or even kill him. We ran as fast as we can, as he continued to devastate the local flora. We quickly made it through Thandol Span, which he was far too large to cross.

As Abbot Turalyon prepared to sleep, I decided to try another way of getting off the Eastern Kingdoms. I remembered there are pirates in Faldir’s Cove and as soon as Turalyon was soundly asleep, I ran away. To my surprise, there is no “Faldir’s Cove” in this timeline. There are just Stromgarde Docks, which I didn’t even know the city had. In the morning, Turalyon started looking for me and told the Stromgarde guards that I’m a senile old hermit who may have wandered off into the wilderness. They found me near the city and I agreed to rejoin Turalyon, knowing I have to keep playing along for at least some more time.

Rest of the way through Arathi Highlands and Hillsbrad Foothills was pretty uneventful, at least until we realized where we found ourselves. Through my spyglass, I noticed an army coming from the north, from Tarren Mill, under Stromgarde banners, headed by Danath Trollbane. From the south, from Southshore, was coming a Lordaeronian army led by Uther, a simple knight in this timeline. Realizing we found ourselves right on the frontlines, we quickly hid in a nearby cave. You know the cave under one of the Fingers of Hillsbrad that is full of yetis? That’s where we hid. There were no yetis inside, and I cannot explain why. From our safe hideout, we observed the battle and although Uther was still quite a formidable commander and fighter even as a knight, his army was still defeated. As we would later learn, Uther was captured during the battle and transferred to Alterac’s dungeons as a valuable hostage.

With the battle out of our way, we continued across Hillsbrad Foothills, around the Fingers, and finally came across the Dalaran Plains. Some of the local farms were burned, and the farmers explained to us it was done by a Lordaeronian commander, Garithos. Without much trouble, we finally got to Dalaran. Abbot Turalyon found us a nice accommodation with a view on the Cross Isle (it still exists in this timeline) while I looked for the Violet Citadel to check the situation in the city. You would be surprised how odd this Dalaran felt. I’ve never been to old Dalaran before, and the structure of the city was completely different than its current one. That was, unfortunately, the most pleasant of the surprises there.

When the Supreme Magus was supposed to do his proclamation to the people of Dalaran, I expected Jaina, who Turalyon informed me to be the leader, but instead I saw Kel’thuzad. As it turned out, Jaina fell ill with a mysterious disease and remains in a coma. While she was gone, Kel’thuzad took her duties as an Acting Supreme Magus. This really complicated things if I wanted to get out of helping the Scourge, and it seemed at the time I would no longer get out of that.

Next on Arakkoa Chronicles: Damaging the Timeline