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Old 01-03-2014, 01:20 PM
Bolvar Bolvar is offline

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I woke up in Hollus' cell in Theramore with a raging headache.

And by "raging" I mean I honestly wished I was dead for several minutes. I tried to scream from the pain but could hardly breathe. I couldn't see. All I could hear was a high-pitched ringing sound. I shuddered and twitched involuntarily on the floor and had no control over any of my extremities. I couldn't sit up or roll over.

"Find a calm center and try to relax." I heard him say. He was lucky I couldn't punch him.

Slowly, I began to regain my senses. I gradually pushed myself up to a seated position against the wall. My head still hurt and my vision was blurred. I managed to speak.

"What the hell happened?"

"Your astral form was disconnected from your body for an unusual period of time. Do you remember your journey?"

My journey... it hadn't just been a bad dream. "I was in the past. I was on a mission."

"Good. Gather your thoughts around those events first. Because what you did there changed your future, and right now you're trying to reconcile those memories with what you had before."

"Before... no... I was... oh no..." I couldn't reconcile it. The moment I took my mind off where I was now or what I had done in the past, my head began spinning again. The collision of old memories and new memories, of what was now real, and what was now an alternate reality drove shooting pains through my skull. I nearly blacked out.

"Remember I told you that you had changed Simon Moongrasp?" Hollus asked.

"Yes..." I whispered, clutching my knees to my chest and trying to hold on to the tenuous grasp I had on reality.

"Many events in your past have changed, including several critical ones. You are a vastly different man now than you were before you left."

I shuddered. "Can you like give me the highlights or something? I'm so damned confused right now. Nothing feels right."

"You are a hero of the Alliance. You were a large contributor to the Outland campaign and were rewarded with great titles and riches for your deeds. You met Nina Shaw two years earlier than you were supposed to, at a political function in Stormwind. As fate would have it, you still fell in love, and married. But neither of you ever traveled to Gilneas."

"Gilneas... that means..."

"Neither of you were cursed. She is still pregnant with your daughter, but you live in Stormwind, in a comfortable flat in Old Town. You still do occasional covert assignments with Jim Kaos and SI:7, but in a more official capacity."

The picture was getting clearer. "Eloona never died, did she? She wasn't even the demon that came through the portal in this reality."

"No. Sargeras sent another. Events in this reality kept her from that fate."

"But what about Stovos?"

"He was never meant to live a very long life, I'm afraid. Another encounter with the agents of the Legion left him dead just a few months later than what happened in your other reality. But you have never met him, or his family."

I was actually able to stand up. I paced around the room a bit, trying to clear my head.

I suddenly remembered why I'd done all this in the first place. "Damn, I'm wasting time, aren't I? I need to get that vial back to the Exodar."

Hollus shook his head. "You have time to complete that mission. You need at least one night to rest before you can safely open a portal."

I didn't disagree with him. I was in no condition to work any magic. But another thought occurred to me: "What about James Braddock? My other half... is he in danger?"

"Not any longer. The worst of his physical suffering is at an end. He has survived these five years, but he has changed much."

"I need to go help him."

"He will find you. It is best if you let him."

I was in no mood to argue about it, and no shape to really do anything about it anyway. I could hardly stand. "What about after we passed through the rift? I never saw what happened to me... or the troll, for that matter."

"You, James, and the troll, Halacrass, emerged unconscious from the rift at the current location of the remains of the Caer Darrow runestone."

"In the Plaguelands?"

"No. That runestone was one of the many destroyed by the Horde during the war and relocated for use in the construction of one of the Alter of Storms. You emerged near the southern base of Blackrock Mountain."

"How did I get out of there? Wasn't it crawling with Orcs five years ago?"

"At the time Halacrass created the rift, it was deserted, with the exception of two onlookers - a human and goblin performing alchemical experiments nearby. When they saw you emerge, they decided the exotic Elven robes you were wearing marked you as someone of import, and they took you to Morgan's Vigil in hopes of collecting a reward."

"They must have been disappointed."

"They settled for taking your robes. You were shipped, still comatose, to Northshire Abbey for medical attention."

"What about Braddock?"

"They couldn't carry both of you. By his attire, they decided he was worth less, and left him there. Before he could regain consciousness, a company of Dark Irons found him."

"What'd they do with him?"

"He was enslaved in Blackrock Mountain."

I slumped against the wall and sat back down on the floor. "You weren't kidding. About the suffering. James Braddock was in no condition to be anywhere near that place. How did he survive?"

"That will be his tale to tell. Another time. As I said, the worst of his trials are over now."

"What about the troll?"

"An unfortunate fate, I'm afraid. You carried him through the rift while he was polymorphed."

"Yeah, but that only lasts a few moments."

"Ordinarily. But the trip through a 3,000 year time rift made the effect permanent."

"Are you saying there's a troll still wandering the Burning Steppes as a sheep?"

"Hardly. How long do you think a disoriented sheep avoids becoming a meal in a place like that?"

"Oh. Well, serves him right, I suppose."

You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.
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