It has now been the better part of a week since my unexpected sojourn into the path, and for most of that week my mind has urged me to write more even as my heart told me to be patient. The circumstances which brought me here remain unclear in my mind, yet the faint hope remained that things would change just as suddenly, or even that there would be a flash of clarity in which my return had a clear rationale.
But nothing has changed save the week of time and my financial situation. So it seems best to touch quill to paper once again.
My time in Elwynn Forest was productive in the same way it was when my journey began all those years ago; avoiding the boundary between the forest and the Redridge Mountains took some effort, yet in the end I found myself left with tasks sending me to the dry amber fields of Westfall. But before heading there, a dwarf tasked me with a delivery to Loch Modan, and my memory was not so addled that the wisdom in having more than one port of call was unknown to me.
Everything feels slower in this fixed moment of the past. It does not feel particularly better, necessarily. As with my earliest tasks, muscle memory more than takes over to point me in the directions I must needs go almost as soon as a task is handed to me; what has changed is chiefly the amount of time spent slowly reaching that destination and then waiting through the agonizingly slow process of completing those tasks.
Westfall, for example, required me to travel from the far north of the region to the middle of it just to assemble a basic list of tasks suitable for my level of acumen. A similar journey was necessary in Loch Modan. It made every moment more drawn out, and had these regions been unfamiliar perhaps it might even have provided me with a greater sense of what they meant.
They are not unfamiliar, however, except in their newly unbroken nature. That removal of trauma, the restoration of lands that had been marred by the Cataclysm in frequently discordant and incomprehensible fashions… that part feels pleasant. It was enough to leave me simply standing in Westfall for a bit, breathing in the scent of hay and faint vegetables.
Followed by sneezing, of course. Hay always makes me sneeze.
My situation of being light on coin has been somewhat ameliorated now through careful use of the sewing kit and skinning knife I acquired before. My mother (who is presumably still alive in this time) always said that my planning was a virtue; selling leather and bags to others has provided an excellent early source of income, leaving me with actual gold rattling around in my purse. It is far from wealth, but the worry of being able to afford things like training or flights has quickly been rendered obsolete.
That having been said, splitting my attention between Loch Modan and Westfall is both necessary and almost unspeakably tedious. The flight is slow on the back of a gryphon, slower still if I want to save a spot of coin and take the Deeprun Tram. A good amount of time spent simply wandering without any particular need for it.
It’s rarely ameliorated by speaking with others. My memories of this time were always that it was an option but far from mandatory, and many of the pervasive bits of nastiness have persisted. Several humans and gnomes were holding a rally in favor of locking up all orcs, complete with signs containing vile epithets. My friend mentioned leaving a guild when she found out that one of the members had taken the name of a notorious Lordaeron camp owner in honored memory.
…but perhaps this story is being told out of order. Because I haven’t yet mentioned my friend!
During my first trip to Loch Modan she and I happened across one another in the tram’s waiting station, a dwarven woman with the heavy armor and soot-smeared features of a career fighter and blacksmith. She introduced herself as Ceilidh once she convinced me to look up from my book, and when I stopped by her home in Loch Modan a day later to find her not home…
Well, my conclusion was in fact that a promising friendship had already been ruined and that I was, in fact, an idiot. But she was there the next day, and she seems to enjoy my presence and call me a friend. So she must be a friend.
Ceilidh has made the occasional statement to make me wonder if she, too, is a visitor from my time. She has been kind enough to offer me a few crafted pieces of armor to fit my frame, and the expense of purchasing the ore has been a minor price to pay. Her laughter is loud and she seems all too happy to travel up and down the Eastern Kingdoms, gleefully hacking away at whatever she finds with sword and axe alike.
Her friendliness is a rare bastion of contact in a world that ultimately feels no more welcoming than my own. Certainly there is more noise, and many of these places are populated when they are largely empty in the modern day. But when the noise consists chiefly of people screaming at one another either about trivial matters or awful ideologies, it feels like a rather arbitrary distinction.
And the ache of time is still present in each passing moment. My sword seems heavier, less capable of cutting through the air; certainly some of that comes down to my own muscles, but it still creates the same sense of slowness. Even the weakness that makes me far more prone to requiring a run often has less to do with tactics and more to do with luck and happenstance.
I struggle to find a lesson that is supposed to be taught here. Yes, I run from fights that in my time I would simply stay to fight out. But the fights occurred without a failure to plan on my part; they were unavoidable. There is no approach to dealing to clusters of Defias mages that does not result in engaging several of them. Does having those situations befall me somehow make this more interesting?
Perhaps that is my own failing, the search for some sort of lesson. My natural inclination is that there has to be a reason for things, that what is going on must have a purpose and a goal. It seems incomprehensible to me that the Bronze Dragonflight would throw me here for no reason at all, that it was simply a chance to… revisit things I already recall?
Or is there something not obvious to me? Some piece of information slipping my mind?
Whatever it may be, the reasoning is unclear to me all the same. My only course is to continue forward and hope that I might comprehend the reasons for my displacement more clearly, but it will be quite some time before Tanaris is approachable. If the flight there has answers, they will keep them hidden for some time to come.
Until then, I persist, and I will write.
May the Light bless us all.