// DALARAN //
I’ve finally convinced the troll wizard Aï’ree to follow me to my modest apartment near the Dalaran cathedral. In order to understand what it is she’s up against, we need quiet and privacy.
DOES ERIOLANNA EXIST?
She hesitates, trying to carefully answer my question.
DID SHE EXIST BEFORE YOU CREATED YOUR ILLUSION?
DID YOU STEAL HER LIKENESS FROM ANOTHER?
SHE WAS ENTIRELY MY CREATION.
DO YOU TRULY WANT ME TO LOOK INTO YOUR DREAMS?
WE MAY FIND SOMETHING THAT SURPRISES YOU.
She says nothing as we walk down the street.
THERE ARE INNUMERABLE UNIVERSES THAT EXIST PARALLEL TO OUR OWN.
IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT ONE OF THESE WORLDS IS FLOATING CLOSE TO OUR OWN AND YOU’RE FEELING THE INTERFERENCE.
IN THIS PLACE, YOUR CREATION MAY VERY WELL BE REAL.
WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?
I’VE SEEN IT HAPPEN.
THE UNIVERSE IS FULL OF MYSTERY.
SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED DO IS CONCLUDE THE OBVIOUS.
YOU THINK IT IS OBVIOUS WHAT IS GOING ON?
NO, I DON’T.
BUT I DO KNOW THAT THE REALM OF DREAM IS A STRANGE LINK BETWEEN THE REALMS.
AND I ALSO KNOW THAT THERE ARE AN INFINITE NUMBER OF WORLDS, ONE FOR EVERY POSSIBLE OUTCOME.
I FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO IMAGINE SUCH A SPRAWLING COSMOS BUT EVERY PIECE OF EVIDENCE I’VE FOUND CONFIRMS THIS CONCLUSION.
THEN SOMEWHERE, SOMEHOW, THERE IS A PLACE WHERE WHAT I CREATED IS ACTUALLY REAL?
I THINK THAT IS THE CASE, YES.
NO TELLING HOW DIFFICULT IT WOULD BE TO GET THERE BUT MAYHAP…
She looks forward at some unknown point of emptiness.
I DON’T KNOW IF THAT’S WHAT I WANT, THOUGH – TO OPEN A PORTAL TO A FOREIGN DIMENSION.
LOOK WHERE IT’S GOTTEN US BEFORE.
IT’S PURELY YOUR DECISION.
YOU ARE WELL-VERSED IN THE MANTRA THAT ALL OUR ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES.
THAT IS A GOOD THING.
YOU THINK THAT REALMS ARE CONNECTED THROUGH DREAMS?
I REALLY COULDN’T SAY.
BUT IT SEEMS AS GOOD A GUESS AS ANY.
I DIDN’T KNOW SUCH A THING WAS EVEN POSSIBLE.
YOU’RE THE ONE WITH THE DREAMS. YOU TELL ME WHAT IS AND ISN’T POSSIBLE.
DOES IT SEEM REASONABLE THAT YOU ARE CATCHING STOLEN GLIMPSES OF A FAR-OFF WORLD?
IT’S WHAT I WANT TO BE TRUE.
BUT I DON’T THINK THAT MAKES IT SO.
IT DOES NOT.
I THOUGHT, ONCE, THAT IT WAS A PROPHECY.
DARED TO HOPE.
BUT IT SEEMED THAT IT WASN’T PROPHECY.
NO, IT WAS AS IF I’D NEVER BEEN.
IS THAT A GOOD OR A BAD THING?
I DON’T KNOW.
IT JUST IS.
MAY I SEE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN SEEING?
I KNOW THAT FOR MANY, THE IDEA OF A MIND PROBE DOES NOT SIT WELL.
I WILL ONLY GLANCE AT THE MEMORIES YOU’VE ALLOWED ME.
BUT YOU HAVE TO TRUST ME.
She pauses for a moment, seeming to look me up and down.
I TRUST YOU.
In the vision is a familiar face. Or, at least, the face is roughly familiar. She gazes upon herself in a silver mirror.
It’s an elf, a denizen of the forests, and like Aï’ree, she has vivid blue hair and pale blue skin. She is not young like the troll, no, she is perhaps thousands of years old, judging by the serious, careworn expression on her face.
She is not unmarred in appearance, however. Upon her left cheek is a deep scar and her eye, like Aï’ree’s, is misty.
Except, for her, it was on the opposite side of her face.
If my time with the Venthyr has taught me anything, it’s that a people are more than their leaders, they are also the followers.
I feared the looking glass. I know what I was and I have suspicions about what I would have become. I have become so entrenched in my current identity that it is difficult to face what I would have been.
I still have not seen anything that makes me certain that I will see what I fear but I cannot shake the feeling that my suspicions will be confirmed just around the corner.
I was young, I was optimistic, I was short-sighted. There is no use in blaming the young for being what they are but that doesn’t mean we always relish revisiting old wounds.
But Aï’ree seemed a kind person, steadfast in her ideals, her past actions not withstanding. Everyone has a weakness and her’s… Her’s I took to be beautiful things, aesthetic perfection. It was not a particular attraction of mine but I understood it, grokked it. I could easily sense the presence of beauty but it did not possess me as I have seen it do to others. Perhaps, had I not been turned, it might have come to grip me as it did so many of my brethren. I’ve known many a man to sacrifice his own life in this pursuit. Like a comforting smell or a melodious tune, it started as something small that would linger as a need until satisfied.
For me, beauty was devious, an easy way to distract the eye from more pressing concerns. For the undead, beauty was insipid, untrustworthy; it had been twisted. Beauty did not exist untamed and without purpose. So many had been tortured and damaged such that even the Light struggled to reach them. These were the individuals of whom I thought. The ones for whom nothing glinted without also sharply scintillating.
The disguise; I could not fault her for that. I had often dreamed of rejoining my people, especially after the burning of Teldrassil. I could sense evil and this… my dreams of undermining Sylvanas seemed forfeit. My claims at loyalty became more and more difficult to render. I knew that the tree had always been claimed ill-fated but I never saw myself as eventually having a hand in its demise. How many would have to die before the Dark Lady met her End?
I did not know what to tell Aï’ree. On the one hand, we had found something beautiful for her. But on the other, here was a concluded part of her journey that we were reopening. Sometimes, I had learned, it was better to simply say goodbye. There was no telling what we’d find following this rabbit hole. And yet, she’d come to me for help.
Another detail that gave me pause is that she’d been banished. Should I interfere? Could I interfere? Was she hiding something from me? Something I’d regret if I found out later?
For two years this troll had attended high mass intent on someday seeking my assistance. I was loath to turn her away. But I knew, in the pit of my soul, that I was getting into something complicated. Something from which there was no simple return.
That was part of the danger of the imagination. For any eventuality that could be thought up, it existed somewhere. Ignorance was truly bliss.
I had existed for years dreaming only of vengeance. This was a strange distraction.
The elf that we’d seen was scarred – it seems not enough about the mirror was changed to avoid the fate of Teldrassil. Looking upon the girl’s face, I saw certain likenesses. That single eye stared out at me and it seemed to matter not on which side of her face it was found. Either way I was bound to help her, to see this through, to help the girl find something that she might regard as peace.
I could not rest after she’d gone. If she was haunted, what could be done?
This was not the first time I’d come face-to-face with an alternate timeline but it was the first time I’d heard of dreams… And what of the elven woman? How have all of these bits come together?
I have a new problem. The high mass hanger-on has finally approached me. She’s having disturbing dreams that foretell of a nearby timeline. I do not want to go mucking about but I must help the girl. I just don’t know how.