Episode 38: Not Dead Yet...
Tranquil Wash Outpost: Deep Ocean
“You don’t have to do this, Sepher.”
“I’m aware of that, Captain. Now get out of here!”
Sionis Sepher stood alone. The underwater cave was filled with naga, all of them coming to kill him. As the last of the human refugees disappeared through the small cave opening Sionis knew that the time had come. The magi of the Kirin Tor had warned against unleashing total arcane energy a million times over. Honestly, Sionis had decided that they were just too terrified to even consider the millions of possibilities that might unfold. After all, arcane energy was completely unstable and had, on many occasions, led to terrifying destruction. Of course, terrifying destruction was exactly what Sionis was looking for in this situation.
As the first Naga reached striking distance Sionis stepped forward and turned his body into a conduit to the magical energies of the world. Suddenly, the dark damp cave exploded with waves of fire. The heat caused the moisture to evaporate and suddenly the the cave was a misty death trap for all those who had dared to enter. Fire; pure unleashed and uncontrolled, fueled by Sionis’ massive supply of arcane power. The naga in the room began to hiss in agony as the fire burned through those in the open and boiled the water where others were still submerged. The clothes on his body ignited and Sionis was surprised to see that he was not burning with them. The arcane energy was acting as some kind of shield over his skin. The fire continued to spread and the cave burned brighter than he had expected. The stone walls began to glow orange and Sionis realized he was creating molten lava. Realizing there was no possible way he was going to survive this, Sionis decided to go out with a bang. He channeled the arcane energy so that it began to swirl around him and suddenly he was consumed by the blinding white light as the magical power exploded outward…
That’s what should have come next.
Instead of a meeting with the Light, however, I was surprised to find myself floating in darkness. My body ached from my last bold action in the underwater caves, so I was at least still aware of a physical body. For a long moment I floated silently in the darkness and wondered if I might have gotten the whole “blessing of the light” religion thing wrong. Maybe death was merely this dark oblivion?
A deep voice echoed through the darkness. “You are not dead, Sionis Sepher.”
“Oh?” I asked aloud. “That’s good to know, I guess.”
“Do you know where you are now?”
I shook my head. “No clue.”
The darkness around me started to change, distant dots of light began to appear on the horizon and colorful swirls of stellar gases came into view. I recognized the visuals almost immediately. “I’m in the caverns of time!”
“Yes,” the voice said. “Welcome to my domain.”
Forming out of the darkness before me, a monstrous bronze dragon appeared. The creature’s massive golden eyes were locked on me and I wondered if his being here was a good thing or not.
“What happened?” I dared to ask the creature. “I’m afraid I’m not sure—”
“You died, Sionis,” the dragon replied. “Or, you would have, if I had not intervened. Your death in that cave left a world where millions of people would suffer.”
“What?” I asked. "How can that be possible?"
The dragon tilted his head slightly. “You have work to do, Sionis Sepher. Terrible things have happened since you sacrificed yourself in that cave.”
“You can’t do that!” I objected loudly. “Listen, bronze dragon, I don't know how I got here, and I'm thankful that you saved me from what should have been my untimely death, but you can't just tell me that my death caused great suffering and then move along with the conversation!"
“My name is Nozdormu!” the dragon boomed at me. “You will not call me dragon!”
I didn’t argue. I had heard the name Nozdormu before and I knew well enough that this dragon was considered the Timeless One.
He was one of the oldest dragons left in Azeroth and he was terribly powerful. It would be best not to make such a creature angry.
“Please, Nozdormu,” I said calmly, changing my demeanor. “I need to know what has happened. Why did my death cause suffering?”
The creature appeared to calm with my words and, after a brief pause, he nodded. In front of my very eyes, the dragon suddenly changed from the massive beast to a tall and slender high elf. Beneath us, the soft sand of the cavern appeared and I was soon standing on my own two feet once more.
“I apologize,” Nozdormu said as he stepped toward Sionis. “I am not accustomed to explaining myself. I deal with the constantly shifting sands of time and many times my explanations only serve to confuse others more. In this case, however, I believe you may be able to understand.”
“Thank you,” I said. “Can we start with the part where I died?”
The high elf smiled. “In another time, you sacrificed your life in that cave to make sure that the survivors were able to reach the surface. Your efforts were successful, but your death caused a small fracture in time. It may have been that your death would have passed without issue, but when Garrosh Hellscream altered time for his own nefarious goals, things changed. The small fracture that your death had caused suddenly splintered. You have helped hundreds if not thousands of people in your lifetime, Sionis. Those you helped have helped others, and in turn millions of people have been impacted by your actions.”
“So what did Garrosh do?” I asked. "How did he end up altering things?"
“He has traveled back in time,” Nozdormu snapped. “He used our power and I cannot forgive myself for allowing this to happen. Azeroth faces a danger now that it was not meant to face. Without additional changes to the timeline we cannot stop the Iron Horde that Garrosh brings against us.”
“Further changes to the timeline?” I asked. “You mean like saving me from my own death?”
Nozdormu nodded solemnly. “Preventing your death will strengthen the Alliance in ways you don’t yet understand. There will be others like you that I must find. Individuals who have the potential to alter the flow of time itself.”
“You’re a time-traveling dragon,” I questioned. “Why not just go back in time and stop Garrosh from changing things?”
“I cannot stop Garrosh. He splintered time with his actions and any more major changes might break our timeline. Only by altering small events can I hope to escalate the greater future.”
“So what would you have me do? I’m just one man. If you plan to send me to fight the Iron Horde I don’t know that my power will help very much.”
“No,” the high elf said. “You will not simply join the fight. You will do the very thing that Garrosh has done to combat us. You died on a dark day just weeks after the cataclysm tore our world asunder. You did not witness the end of Deathwing, the discovery of Pandaria, the siege of Orgrimmar. These events need you, Sionis Sepher. The allies you form, the lives you save, and the foundation you build will strengthen the Alliance for its stand against the Iron Horde.”
“So, what are you saying?”
“You will have two years, Sepher. In two years, Garrosh will betray the flow of time and build his Iron Horde to attack all of Azeroth. You must build an Alliance to protect us all. You must do what Garrosh has done.”
“How am I even supposed to do that?” I asked.
“Stay alive,” Nozdormu replied. “Stay alive, and finish the things you were always meant to finish. You live now because all of humanity needs you. There is no time to hide away.”
I couldn't help but feel nervous “You can see the future, right. You know that I can do this? Do you know that I will make a difference?”
“You will make a difference,” Nozdormu confirmed. “It will be up to me to find others who can make a difference with you. To create a future where we can fight against the twisted dealings of Garrosh Hellscream.”
“So what happens now?”
“I will start you on your path Sionis Sepher. It has been two days since your actions in the underwater cave. Fight hard. Remember why you have been brought back.”
I nodded. “Right… so where am I—”
The world shifted. The sands beneath my feet changed to hard dirt. A thick coat appeared on my body, making me very aware of the fact that I had been wearing nothing but the burnt remnants of my magi robes until now. The transition around me ended with a slight snap and the Caverns of Time had vanished, leaving me standing in what appeared to be a snow-covered pine forest. I stood still for a moment and let everything sink in. I had just transitioned from my final moments in life, fighting to the death with a group of naga, to a new opportunity at life standing in the snow.
I turned toward the sunlight that was beating on my back and came face to face with a heavily armored paladin that held a massive broadsword. The paladin looked at me through a covered helm. At first I was silent. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was supposed to say in this situation, but a friendly hello might not cut it. If the paladin had seen me suddenly appear out of thin air they may have already marked me as a threat.
Instead, the paladin lowered the sword. “How in the light?” A familiar feminine voice echoed through the helm. “Sionis Sepher, is that you?”
I was shocked, but decided I should follow the path that Nozdormu had set me on. I gave a big grin and nodded. “Yeah, that’s me. I’m Sionis.”
The paladin lifted her hands up and removed her helm. Long strands of blonde hair fell down her shoulder and I immediately recognized the paladin to be Christine, a young fighter that had helped me during my early days in Northrend.
“Christine,” I said, my smile turning genuine. “Is that really you?”
She smiled right back at me. “Yeah it is! What in the world are you doing up here in Northrend?”
I paused. I was in Northrend? The snow and the pine trees were good indicators of that, but why was I suddenly back in the frozen wastelands of the North?
“That’s a good question,” I admitted. “More importantly, what are you doing up here?”
“I live here now,” Christine replied. “The Grizzly hills are my home!”
It made sense. “That’s wonderful,” I replied to her. I was just going to look for a place to stay for a little bit. I assume you wouldn’t mind if I crashed with you?”
“Not at all!”
I gave a sigh of relief. “I’m glad to hear it.”
Christine patted him on the back. “I bet you are. Now come on, you can tell me all about what happened with you after that horrible night in Gilneas.”
I thought back to that night and shuddered. It had been one of the many times I had nearly died. I would cover the important parts, but then I would have to steer the conversation back to the present, back to what he was here to do… fix the past and build a stronger future.
Piece of cake.