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.”
Zin-kalim, the capital of the Kaldorei Empire, over 12,000 years ago. Inside the higher levels of the glorious, marble palace a little girl paced around nervously. When she noticed a bird sitting on the window-sill, she runs up to it and scared it off. Near her, two royal guards stood guard before a large, glided door. Standing almost motionlessly, they only kept looking at the little girl. They were visibly unnerved by her constant pacing, and yet remained motionless, as was their duty. In their minds, they were just counting time for their shift to be finished. Suddenly, the little girl noticed something – a tall, handsome night elf male was slowly approaching. The guards remained motionless, but watched the new arrival carefully.
Then, the doors behind them opened. A male midwife with a bloodied apron came out, cleaning his hands on a piece of cloth. The girl momentarily stopped walking around and looked at the man. The midwife smiled.
“Congratulations, princess Aszune, you have a sister. Your mother wishes to call her Azshara.” The newly arrived male approached them all and without speaking a word, he kept just looking between them. The midwife looked at him, not recognizing the person. “Who would you be?” the midwife said, “The herald to bring the news to the people?”
The guest smirked and spoke up with an eerily echoing voice. “In a way. I am a herald… of your doom.”
Character: Warlord Dranosh Saurfang, Warchief Varok’s son and heir
Being the heir of a Warchief is a rather fickle business. As much as we like to pretend we abandoned our old bloodlust and that we no longer hold the villains of the Old Horde in high regard, we are still orcs. We still love battle, and at a moment’s notice, someone can jump out at Varok, I meant father, and decide it’s now their turn to lead the Horde. I do not fear for father’s life, for he is a warrior like few others, but everybody has a bad day from time to time. Or someone could poison the blade of his enemy and make the new Warchief win without honor. So as certain as I can claim to be in public, I am never completely certain if I will ever become the Warchief. Or if I want that to happen to at all.
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.
Character: Timewalker Watcher Tarakan Krasha
From the first mission briefing I was warned about that timeline. Well, they warn me about every timeline but they said this one is particularly dangerous as few who venture there ever return. Not because they all die, quite contrary. They all lead long, happy lives. A bit too happy, perhaps. I was informed the Timewalkers called that particular timeway “Azeroth of the Lotus Eaters”. About a decade ago, Azerothians discovered an odd magical lotus that is apparently absent from most other timelines. Some say it was an Infinite intervention, but I did not believe it. I mean, what’s so weird about a drug appearing in one timeline? Now I believe I may have been wrong, but I’ll get there in a minute. That lotus emitted a pollen that caused an irresistible urge to consume it. Once consumed, it had a sweet and unnaturally pleasant flavour which drove people to eat more of it. After a while, everyone was addicted – humans, elves, demons, dragons. No one could resist it. The whole planet, walking in a state of half-conscious bliss, driven only to consume more of the magical lotus. But as it turned out, it was far from the worst thing that could happen to that timeline.
The descent into Azjol-Nerub went fairly smoothly. I fully expected some troubles to crop up – some leftover undead Nerubians, maybe evil living Nerubians worshiping Yogg-Saron, maybe something else of the multiple evils that lie in the unexplored parts of that forgotten kingdom. But no, everything went swimmingly. The most trouble we met so far was a couple of bats and spiders, nothing the group of 10 people couldn’t handle. This Xarthat guy kept leading us deeper and deeper, and it was only getting darker and damper. Really, I’m a bird, I was made for open skies and trees not for cramped, nearly airless corridors. It was a slow and painful torture.