The night after my last entry, Ceilidh took me out to the shores of Loch Modan. It wasn’t for an occasion or anything; we just sat on the docks, letting our feet dangle in the cool but not unpleasant water, sharing wine, watching the few streaks of flying machines in the sky, and talking. If my Dwarven friend was the confrontational sort, this would have been a confrontation, but instead it was merely a palliative from someone who had indeed been paying attention.
She knew that there was something she didn’t know about me (understandable, as I’ve refrained from mentioning my journey through time), but whatever might be hiding, this is my home now. It was a fairly mundane statement, almost astonishing in its straightforward nature, but at the same time it seemed to shake me from a state that hadn’t even been obvious to me until this moment.
Ever since my experience began I had been expecting an endpoint. I had been, however subconsciously, for things to change. But however accidental her implication, it reminded me that perhaps my mood would be better served by accepting that this will not be reversed.
This did nothing to change the reality, of course. But a sense of… if not joy, than at least calm resignation came over me. And so when I set out in the morning it was accompanied by some dozen books, some that were familiar to me and others that had somehow always just evaded my gaze in earlier years. My plan was rather simple; if so much of my time would be devoted to things moving slowly, I may as well take advantage of that pace with a book in hand.
Of course, this was something less than the librams of prayer many members of my vocation carried into battle during the Third War. But perhaps the attitude was not so dissimilar.
It’s not that this somehow changed the annoyance of knowing exactly where Darkshire is located but still having to provide the flight masters with tokens to prove my worthiness to ride along the route. But it did somewhat ameliorate this fact. Yes, my steps were perhaps a touch slower as a result, but that may not have been such a drawback.
To be frank, it was an intentional narrowing. Stop focusing on the path which leads to a familiar place, stop focusing on the fact that all of this is familiar, just treat that as an inherent advantage to the exercise. And it worked well enough, when all was said and done.
Slowly fighting against the tides of the Defias in Westfall reminded me of something that had long been pulled from my memory, of course, and that was the sheer amount of time things required. Not in the sense of tedium, in this particular case; the world just generally seemed slower then, with everything moving at a more languid pace. There was no dealing with matters in Westfall followed by a tea-time in Stormwind, even if you were still working alone rather than being surrounded by fellow adventurers.
On the matter of fellows, I’m pleased to say that many of the most noxious presences seem to have been at least diminished, if not removed. There were certainly exceptions, like a rather unpleasant heavy-set fellow in Loch Modan who asked for my assistance and then more or less shoved me away to get a treasure chest tucked in a trogg cavern, but for the most part the unpleasantness of conversation has been ameliorated.
I will admit that I took perhaps more pleasure than is seemly dealing with the black whelp infestation in Redridge. Part of that was that, as I recalled, the blasted whelplings can be unconscionably annoying as they blast their hot pebbles from seemingly miles away, but part of it was… personal.
It was just a simple errand to Duskwood. There was no reason to stand at the crossroads for so long, staring at the border.
The farm was so close.
At one point I even convinced myself that I could smell my mother’s cooking.
Why is it that her cooking was never good and yet I still remember it so clearly, why does even the slight hint of that smell make me think of
Duskwood itself was simply a place to stop briefly before leaving, flitting back to Loch Modan to deal with a few lingering trogg problems and also handle a request I had put off from the hunting lodge. It was me against an old black bear, a bear that my memory had positioned as being not terribly dangerous but which a revisit proved to have lethally sharp claws and a bite that crunched stone.
It was a minor miracle that before engaging with the bear I had once more mastered one of the arts of vengeance that I had forgotten, the savagely powerful attack imbued with holy might that formed a cornerstone of crusading knights for many years. My own fragility was quite clear to me, with one mighty swipe of Sooty’s paw nearly leaving me minus a leg. But in the end, the holy might that could be unleashed outpaced his ability to harm me, and even as magic poured into my body to keep me alive, he had no such luck.
Carving off his head was gruesome work. But there was a certain satisfaction to limping out of his den while carrying it. A sense of satisfaction that this was, perhaps, not the way that this was supposed to be done, but a paladin learns to force past the impossible.
That was, of course, my limit for the day; limping back to Thelsamar was mostly possible because it lay not far from the beast’s lair. Ceilidh was eager to hear about the story, but recognized my need to rest and recuperate. She is a good friend. If nothing else comes out of this journey, she will be worth it.
If it is a journey.
My hands are shaking as I write this. My mind shudders at the thought of what I am considering. It is good that my room is set apart from my most’s own quarters, or she might have heard the gasp as I stared at that once more, realizing that even as my ventures were predicated on me accepting the state of things that it still hasn’t happened. I am still – still! – looking for the point of this.
And when my mind flows down that gentle incline, the implication is obvious. I know precisely where I need to go. Not someplace unreachable like the Caverns within Tanaris, a place that I once believed must hold the core to what happened to me.
Foolish. The Kalimdor of the past means little to me.
The place in the past The place when I am right now that means the most is very obvious. Somewhere I have been avoiding.
I will close the journal for now. I will put down my quill. And I will tell Ceilidh that I will be heading to Redridge again in the morning. It’s time to see my family farm.