Episode 24: Deja Vu?
The fighting outside Gilneas had been fierce. When all the fires were burning their brightest and the worgen monsters hit the hardest, I hit back with power I had hidden away following my missions in Northrend. The worgen infection, which is what Gilneas was actually suffering from, had already been devastating the Gilnean population for some time before I had arrived with Evanor and Christine. We had quickly gone to work with healing those we could while we also worked to defend the safety of the innocent civilians.
I had worked the front lines as long as I could. Christine had been my saving grace on more than one occasion. There were simply too many of them.
We eventually retreated to Duskhaven, and Evanor did what she could to help develop some kind of cure for this curse. The hope she ignited in the survivors made the whole thing worth it, even if the results had been fruitless thus far.
Finally, one dark day, we went to work fetching farmers and other citizens of the land that might have survived this long.
The first farmstead we came to had already been overrun. I took out several worgen and then found a wounded man inside so I stepped over to help him up. Unfortunately, he turned, his face covered in hair, and snapped his mouth on my arm.
“Ouch!” I shouted, smacking the man across the face and pulling free.
I had made a grave mistake, but it would take time for the curse to set in. I could still help for a little while.
Three more worgen jumped through nearby windows and grabbed two of the scouting party I was with. A torch fell to the ground and the farmhouse wood lit up like a match. The building was in flames now. I stepped back with Christine and Evanor.
As the first of the burning beams lit around us, I looked back to Evanor and frowned. “Some diplomatic mission!”
“Shut up and grab my hand!” she shouted back.
I twisted around and took her hand without hesitation. A moment later I felt us pulling through the twisting nether that allowed the magi to move through time and space. The teleportation process was never an easy one; it took time and concentration to do correctly. In this case, Evanor had not been able to stabilize our trip, causing me to swing back and forth as she pulled me by one hand and Christine by the other. The problem was, Christine had been able to hold Evanor around the shoulders, while I barely had a grip with my fingertips. With each twist and turn, I felt my grip slipping further down her hand. A moment later, she slipped away. I was momentarily dazed and only aware that I was swirling through what felt like an icy bath of water.
There was no time, no distance, only a strange flow of energy that surrounded me completely. I knew I couldn’t go on forever like this, or more importantly I could go on forever. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate as hard as I could. I tried to focus on Stormwind, Gilneas, or even on Dalaran.
I needed to find an anchor somewhere and yet I couldn’t find…
I felt a surge of energy and I grabbed it.
A moment later, I felt myself become rooted to time once more. The chaos around me finally faded and I fizzled out of the teleportation…
...right into the middle of a blazing forest fire.
I took in a deep breath, but was immediately choked when I pulled in thick smoke rather than fresh air. I couldn’t see very far either. I took a few steps forward, and then a solid rock brushed by, nearly rolling right over me.
I heard someone shout in the distance.
A blast of magic whipped by and split the rock in two.
“You there!” Another yelled. “Are you injured?”
I couldn’t see them, just hear them.
I looked at my hand and shouted back, “I am.”
“Come toward my voice! My name is Sebelia. I can help you.”
“Where am I?” I asked as I started walking toward the voice.
“You’re near Mount Hyjal. Do you know how you got here?”
“No idea,” I said as I finally cleared enough smoke to see the Night Elf woman that had been calling to me. She was leaning over a mangled mess of a gnome. She lowered the body back down and then stood so the she could step over to me. “Where are you hurt?”
I held out my hand so that she could see. “I got bit by a worgen.”
“A worgen?” she asked. “Was it wild?”
“What does that mean? Of course it was wild!”
Sebelia reached into her backpack and pulled out a few glass vials that were filled with fluorescent fluid. She pulled me closer and splashed one of the vials on my wound. Then, slowly, she tilted the second vial just enough for a single drop to land on my hand. A moment later I felt a terrible burning sensation tear through my arm, just under the skin, and I started to feel dizzy.
“What was that?” I asked, slowly falling to the ground.
“It was a cure to the worgen infection,” she replied, “but it only works on a fresh bite. We won’t know if we can save you for a while.”
“I think I’m…”
“You’re going to pass out,” she interrupted. “I’ll take care of you.”
“Oh, okay. Thanks.”
A moment later, I was passed out on the ground.
When I woke again, I was resting on a comfortable bed. The smoky smell still lingered in the air, but it was certainly farther away than it had been. I sat up and looked around for a moment before I recognized the place where he was located. It was a Night Elf lodge, a familiar structure I had seen countless times in my travels.
“Hello, mage,” Sebelia said as she rounded the corner to see me. “It’s good that I found you when I did. The bite had nearly taken hold when I came across your location.”
“So I’m not going to be a worgen?”
“No, you are fine,” she assured him. “Are you feeling better?”
“A lot,” I replied. “However, I am a little confused about how I ended up here.”
“Do you know where you were before I found you in the field?”
I chuckled. “I assumed it was obvious. I was in Gilneas.”
“Gilneas? Did you flee with the Gilnean resistance?”
“No,” I answered. “I didn’t have time. We were fighting against a worgen infection. I think it was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I got bit and more showed up after that. Lady Evanor teleported us out. I lost my grip and kinda… got lost in the nether.”
“Oh dear,” she said quietly, “This is a unique situation…
“What’s that mean?”
“Well, Gilneas fell to the worgen two years ago.”
“Two years?” I asked. “I was just there yesterday.”
“You are on the wrong continent and two years too late. You said you were lost in the nether. It’s possible you might have…drifted.”
I sighed. I had heard of this before.
The magi had always spoken of being careful when teleporting. The twisting nether wasn’t contained by time or space. As a result, getting lost in there could result in lost minutes, days, or even years. It wasn’t easy to think that I had lost myself like that, but at the same time, I had let go of Evanor. There was no telling what happened after that.
“Did you find others?” I asked. “I was traveling with two others.”
“There was no one else here,” Sebelia answered. “You arrived alone.”
I rolled my eyes. I had been the one that lost my grip. Evanor, as far as I could guess, would have continued on to her destination without being able to do anything for me. I glanced at my wound and then shook my head.
“Well, I need to find a way to Dalaran,” I said. “If I’ve really been out of the game two years they’ll think I’m dead.”
“Mage,” Sebelia nearly whispered. “I don’t think you understand.”
“The world has been torn asunder by a terrible cataclysm. As we speak, Mount Hyjal burns and our enemies gather against us. The Alliance and the Horde are at war with one another and there does not appear to be an end in sight. You are a powerful fighter. I can feel the energy that flows within you. Please, we need your help here. Do you not believe in destiny? Why else would you have ended up here, now, and with the resources to help us fight?”
I opened his mouth to speak, but found no answer. If Evanor had been successful in her teleport, she and Christine would have arrived safely at their destination two years ago. By now, they had moved on to other missions and other goals.
The powerful energy that I had focused on had brought me here. I had no doubt that it had been a result of whatever cataclysm Sabelia was referring to. Destiny or not; I was a mage, a sworn protector of the Alliance, and Mount Hyjal was in danger, again. It had been eight years since I had stood against the attackers on this very terrain. I had repelled the enemy forces and defended the world tree against destruction. So, maybe it was destiny.
“Okay,” I said with a firm nod. “I will help you. Do you have any gear?”
“I do,” she replied with a smile. “I think we can help get you set up.”
“Then let’s get to it,” I said as he climbed out of the bed. “The sooner we start the sooner we can put out those fires.”