ACTIONS LOST TO TIME
STORY BY: SEBRAK
For every single action taken, there are hundreds upon thousands of possible outcomes. Even the simplest decision made can result in any number of potential reactions, some of which we will have never even considered. The fact that something as minuscule as giving a man a copper to feed himself could prevent them from going on to massacre others is otherworldly-- the concept that just one action no matter how unremarkable could alter the course of history as we know it? Such knowledge could shatter the mind of the average man -- and certainly has before. Worse yet is being able to begin to glimpse such timelines and being incapable of directing the course of history, instead being forced to simply accept reality as it falls. Even the Bronze cannot stay from this path forever, it seems, as the siren song of changing the course of the timeline eventually sways them.
I thought him different. This hourglass does not protect you from those thoughts. Every day I ask myself if I’m ready to leave bed. If I’m prepared to view the outcomes that I already reviewed a dozen times prior that morning. Its not the easiest thing-- I am so deep into my training that I see the premonitions whether I go looking or not. I find myself staring off into space on many occasions now. I have to fight to see the present time. If he was still here, then maybe he could help me temper that innate talent of mine. The others claimed that my heightened ‘talent’ was because of how much time I spent with him. He and I both know the real reason. He took that to his grave. Does turning infinite mean the death of the bronze you knew?
I never saw this outcome though. What changed? Why can’t I find the cause no matter how many sleepless nights I spend? I need to focus on getting stronger for my allies, but it burdens my heart so heavily. Its been months. I need to let go. And yet…
Sebrak’s hand paused, the quill pressed against the parchment and yet going nowhere. His eyes shimmered with the faintest essence of magic, the written page before him turning to ash. The comfort of the wooden walls that made up his room were now ablaze, blood running down his hand onto the ruined page--
He blinked away the premonition and shook his head with a soft sigh. No. He would not bring about the destruction of the Perch. What a silly concept. What was originally supposed to be just a month or two of paying to live at the Perch had become a long-term affair. He was rather fortunate that Daniel and Arron permitted him to stay.
That being said, some might have said that keeping this up for over a year was beyond excessive. Sure, it would’ve been cheaper to just move into Talongrab proper…but his particular situation just seemed easier this way. His kids and husband all enjoyed the sea. Even though he had an easier way to get back to his ship, Sebrak found himself spending his nights at the Perch. He definitely was spending a lot of gold to keep this up, but it was simply a sacrifice he would have to make.
Though, some days were cheaper than others. Today was one such case. He planned to skip out on breakfast-- he had somewhere else he needed to be. Even still, he paused briefly on his way down the stairs after gathering his belongings. They were often on time, and yet part of him considered briefly that maybe it wouldn’t hurt to at least get something to drink. It was always this line of logic that led to him being late, and he couldn’t help but chuckle a bit as he headed down the steps. He offered a small wave to Arron as he went on his way. Couldn’t afford to be late today, not this time.
Sebrak’s steps hastened as his boots hit the cobbled paths of Talongrab proper, walking with purpose. Where on Azeroth could he be going? He gave a small wave to the forgeworkers as he passed, then the stablekeeps a ways further. No time to stop and chat-- not today. As he hurried, he found himself checking his trenchcoat. Did he have everything… he only had to hope. Couldn’t turn back now, this was far too urgent a matter for him to double back for anything. It would be simple if he could just go back a few minutes, but he made a promise. He wasn’t going to break it, especially not for something that stupid. Trust was not easily earned after all.
It was only once he passed the aviary that the mage found himself breaking into a light jog, shaking his head on his way to the only reasonable place left: The Nexus. Even still, he felt a set of eyes on him, no matter how swift his pacing. That told him all he needed to know: He was either very late, or very early. There was never an inbetween. He took no time to observe his surroundings-- until his form abruptly collided with an elf that was casually strolling toward the same location.
“I’m glad that you have chosen to be punctual for once in your life, Blackwald. Maybe your time with the Eagles is doing your wild magic some good after all.”
“Call my magic wild again and it will take half of Talongrab’s best men to stop me from beating your face into a pulp.”
“Ah. Is that all it takes to break the facade these days, Blackwald?”
Right…Sebrak wasn’t always this harsh. Not even to his worst enemies. Times change, though. He elicited a loud sigh, his eyes shimmering faintly as he found himself slowing his pace to keep side by side with the elf. Even when he wasn’t late, he found himself the butt of this man’s jeering. It had been months, yet the change in visitors had not yet set right with him. He at least appreciated that they still always asked to meet at The Nexus-- and every time without fail they would head to Stormwind, then to Ramkahen.
He rarely paid these parts of the trips any mind these days. It never mattered until they got to the outskirts of Uldum’s city. His tone rapidly grew harsh, impatient. It was a stark change from what the Eagles-- and his family for that matter-- saw from him.
“Why did you ask for this meeting, Taludormu? You know I am a busy man.”
“Should you really talk that way to the Bronze, child? You might have been Kazzuridormu’s favorite mortal, but you will find no such favoritism with me nor any other of our Flight. Just because you hold that sacred artifact does not mean that you are immune to punishment.”
“You are not intimidating.”
The mage snorted lightly as he climbed upon the revealed Bronze’s back, shaking his head. These trips had long since lost any shine for him. Even as the two flew high above the desert dunes, the man’s snark and bitterness didn’t leave his side. There was once a time where he respected the Bronze. A time where he revered them, even. Times changed.
“I will ask again, Taludormu: Why have you requested to see me? I am a busy man-- I have maps to chart, and people in Talongrab to aid.”
“…it is regarding to status of Kazzuridormu…”
“What of it??”
“Are you certain that he is dead?”
The question agitated Sebrak as he reflected, the man falling silent as they flew toward Tanaris. He had been avoiding the exploration of that answer for ages-- but he understood now why the Bronze wanted to see him today. It wouldn’t be a simple lesson or scolding today. Today was a bit bigger than just himself for a change. Just this once.
“Please, Blackwald. Cooperate with our questioning-- it is the least you can do after we came to your aid.”
His aid…right… he frowned, thinking back on it for a moment…
He is gone. The man I once knew. My most treasured ally, and my beloved mentor of many years. Without him, I fear the other Bronze will grow to resent me more than they already do. This hourglass wasn’t meant for my hands, but they know all too well that the only way they could separate it from me is death. I don’t think they have the heart to soil his memory.
It was so sudden. I thought it odd that he sought my company so unexpectedly, but even still I couldn’t very well ignore my mentor’s request. I didn’t mind the voyage. Sometimes it’s a large hassle to leave Talongrab for a few weeks to sail to Tanaris, but I enjoyed his company.
I just didn’t expect that would be the last time I would get to sail the Timelost for now. The attack was so sudden, and yet I couldn’t find it in me to fight him back. He warned me months in advance that he had saw his death-- was this what he meant?! How does a Bronze change sides so quickly?! To be attacked by Infinite-- no, by my mentor-- its still unthinkable even as I put my thoughts to the ink on these pages.
I don’t know how I expect to get back to Talongrab. The Timelost will be stuck here in Tanaris for the unforeseen future; what am I going to tell my husband? The kids? They lived on that ship. I guess they can stay with my stepfather for a couple of weeks. Silverpine is arguably not that far from Alterac, though I constantly worry about it. The long trips from Talongrab to the docks were tiresome, but always worthwhile to see them. Can I really do the same for a temporary relocation?
I’m lucky to even be alive right now. I’ve always been so secretive with the Eagles about where I go during these trips. I’m not even sure they’ll notice if I’m gone longer than usual…
He managed a vague smile while reflecting. The Eagles noticed, of course. Why wouldn’t they? He was one of their flock now, after all. It was just taking him a lot of time to adjust to the concept of letting more people in on what he did in his spare time. Always writing in his journals, avoiding specific topics… without Kazzuridormu, maybe it was about time that he stopped doing that and actually made some effort to talk more about his own life.
His thoughts were swept away by the landing near the Caverns of Time. The man’s face darkened-- he had not been here since his recovery from the attack. Sure, Talus called him plenty of times and they had an arrangement to at least continue his training for a while longer while his ship was being repaired, but they had never come directly to the Caverns. It was just full of bittersweet memories and harsh stares now, after all.
“Let us get down to the meat of the matter, Mister Blackwald--”
“I’ll take it from here, Taludormu.”
Sebrak’s eyes met with the vibrant aqua eyes of an elven woman. The way she looked at him was not the same as those in the caverns. Kazzuridormu’s friend, Kyenthidormi…she never left the Cavern’s depths. He knew that. It must have been important if she had come all the way up here, let alone assumed her visage, to speak with him. The mage had, admittedly, been trying to avoid her since the fateful incident that the Infinite Azur had attacked the ship. He felt…some level of shame seeing her after that day. He did agree to answer any questions, but did it really have to be her??
“You look well, Kyen.”
“And you look the same as always, Sebrak. But what about the other you?”
“…? I…don’t believe I follow?”
The woman sighed, the tips of her fingers pressing against her face as she contemplated. Sebrak could tell that this was going to, in fact, be a very long talk.
“How to put this…we have reason to believe that Kazzuridormu still breathes, despite witnessing you take him out of the sky into the ocean’s depths.”
“Is that even possible? Furthermore, what the fuck does that have to do with me?!”
“Language, Sebrak. I was getting to that. We have ample reason to believe that he has adopted the name Alachromus after his fall…and more importantly, that he is masquerading under your appearance. If not for that, we wouldn’t even concern ourselves with bringing a mortal into this mess.”
Sebrak froze up at those cursed words. What? Surely not. Would his mentor truly do such a thing, Infinite or not? Too many questions were jumping to the forefront of his mind as this revelation came to light, now struggling to make eye contact. Kazzuridormu had his own visage originally, had he not kept it? Why him? How did he even survive their fight? Why was this only now coming to light months after the fact??
“If he hadn’t failed to be more diligent, one of us might have believed you to have finally went off your rocker and had to step in to stop your actions.”
“…is that so.”
“Rest assured that we are doing all in our power currently to track him down to put a stop to his charade, Sebrak. We were hoping that you might have more information, as it were, but it appears that you have nothing to really give us.”
“Why would I know anything about an Infinite?! Do you people truly not trust me after all this time?!”
“The stories of the ‘dragon drinker’ do well to sway people’s thoughts, Sebrak. HE may have trusted you deeply, but I do not.”
Sebrak furrowed his brow. He hated that reputation. What a stupid name…he shook the thought from his mind. There were more pressing matters. What was Kazzuridormu’s-- no, Alachromus’-- game here? What was he playing at? Had he been in Talongrab without his knowledge?? The color draining from his face must have given some level of concern to Kyenthidormi, as she sighed softly and shook her head.
“You have little to worry about, Sebrak. Had he the intention to destroy all you hold dear, I dare say he would have struck at the heart of your allies by now. I’m guessing that you would like to return to them sooner, rather than later?”
“If its all the same to you, yes.”
“Well…follow me and let us chat a while longer. I’ll get you on your way before day’s end, alright?”
I’m a few hours out from the shore, but soon enough I will be on my way back to Talongrab. I am relieved that I am not in any true danger, but the thought of an Infinite masquerading as me sends shivers down my spine. The thought that not just any Infinite, but a man I trusted and respected, could tarnish my name amongst those that do not know my true nature? It horrifies me. I do not know how I want to deal with that.
I have spent these past few years building up trust and care from my fellow Eagles. I shall not see it evaporate overnight. Though it appears that even those I trust can cut me. That blood flows faster and stings deeper than any blade I have ever set upon my own hand. Time is fickle, I know, but I cannot help but fathom how much of it I will have wasted if anything comes of that impersonation.
I am faced with a choice. Of course I must let my family know, of that there is no question…but what of the Eagles? They are my family too now, are they not? They deserve to know the same as any other, but I fear that I may be overthinking things. There is no use in seeding panic if I have no evidence that he plans to besmirch my name. No…maybe it is simply best that I keep this on a need-to-know basis, and ask the innkeeps to keep an eye on me.
Maybe that is the cause of my recent premonitions. Of the world burning around me. My friends abandoned. Could this be why? Is it not just my ‘wild’ magic running freely out of control, but rather a cryptic warning of the possible future? I’ll sleep on the matter and ask my most trusted friend among the Eagles in the morning. He’ll know what to do. It’s a bit of a trek, but I can only hope that Daniel isn’t too busy these days.
If all else fails, I can finally sail around again to clear my head a bit more. I do not know why they decided to aid in hastening the repairs of my ship, but it is a somewhat uneasy reminder that I will never truly understand the inner workings of the mind of a Bronze. Let us simply hope this isn’t some silly attempt at causing me to die at sea for my failures.
As he pulled into port, Sebrak found himself staring at the sky again. There was so much to do. He wasn’t going to get any rest anytime soon, no; Sebrak had to do his best to keep track of the movements of Alachromus. It was the least he could do for the Bronze, and in a sense he felt responsible for allowing his mentor to escape in the first place. He could keep helping out random citizens around Talongrab and focus on his studies, but he had a priority now. Even as the man slowly made his way off of his newly repaired ship and onto the docks, a familiar set of words echoed through his mind. Spoken years ago, yet never forgotten:
I promise that I will not allow my chronomancy to cause any undue harm to my fellow Eagles.
With that reminder in his head, and a small spring in his step, the mage sighed lowly and pulled out his glassblown whistle to summon his feathered companion. He made a promise. It was up to him to keep it, no matter who tried to take that from him.