Warcraft: The Last Guardian Excerpt
Be warned this is a spoiler excerpt from Warcraft: The last Guardian—written by Jeff Grubb. If you ever wanted to find out more of the mysterious Kharazhan and the Tower of Medivh in World of Warcraft MMORPG, your best source of lore is this book. Where all started. Medivh the last guardian, possessed since birth by Sargeras, opened the Dark Portal to allow the Orcish Horde entry into the world of Azeroth—provoking the first war in the game Warcraft: Orcs and Humans as the first stage to bring the Burning Crusade into this new world.
Chapter 5: Sands in an Hourglass
“The orcs,” said Khadgar. “I’ve seen the orcs we fought before.”
“You didn’t mention them when you first arrived,” said Medivh absentmindedly, his fingers dancing in odd precision, lancing the needles into and out of the device. “I remember asking you about other races. There was no mention. Where have you seen them?”
“In a vision. Soon after I arrived here,” Khadgar said. “Ah. You had a vision. Well, many get them here, you know. Moroes probably told you. He’s a bit of a blabbermouth, you know.”
“I’ve had one, maybe two. The one I am sure about was on a battlefield, and these creature, these orcs, were there. Attacking us. I mean, attacking the humans I was with.”
“Hmm,“said Medivh, the tip of his tongue appearing beneath his moustache as he moved the needles delicately along the bumblebee’s copper thorax.
“And I wasn’t here,” continued Khadgar. “Not in Azeroth, or Lordaeron. Wherever I was, the sky was red as blood.”
Medivh bristled as if struck by an electric shock. The intricate device beneath his tools flashed brightly as the wrong parts were touched, then screamed, and then died.
“Red skies?” he said, turning away from the workbench and looking sharply at Khadgar. Energy, intense and uncaring, seemed to dance along the older man’s dark brows, and the Magus’s eyes were the green of a storm-tossed sea.
“Red. Like blood,” said Khadgar. The young man had thought he was becoming used to Medivh’s sudden and mercurial moods, but this struck him with the force of a blow.
The older mage let out a hiss. “Tell me about it. The world, the orcs, the skies,” commanded Medivh, his voice like stone. “Tell me everything.”
Khadgar recounted the vision of his first night there, mentioning everything he could remember. Medivh interrupted constantly—what were the orcs wearing, what was the world like. What was in the sky, on the horizon. Were there any banners among the orcs. Khadgar felt his thoughts were being dissected and examined. Medivh pulled the information from Khadgar effortlessly. Khadgar told him everything.
Everything except the strange, familiar eyes of the warrior-mage commander. He did not feel right mentioning that, and Medivh’s questions seemed to concentrate more on the red-skied world and the orcs than the human defenders. As he described the vision, the older mage seemed to calm down, but the choppy sea still remained beneath his bushy brows. Khadgar saw no need to upset the Magus further.
“Curious,” said Medivh, slowly and thoughtfully, after Khadgar had finished. The master mage leaned back in his chair and tapped a needle-tipped finger to his lips. There was a silence that hung over the room like a shroud. At least he said, “That is a new one. A very new one indeed.”
“Sir” began Khadgar.
“Medivh,” reminded the master mage.
“Medivh, sir,” began Khadgar again. “Where do these visions come from? Are they hauntings of some past or future?”
“Both,” said Medivh, leaning back in his chair. “And neither. Go fetch an ewere of wine from the kitchen. My work is done for the day, I’m afraid, its nearly time for supper, and this may take some explaining.”
When Khadgar returned, Medivh had started a fire in the hearth and was already settling into one of the larger chairs. He held out a pair of mugs. Khadgar poured, the sweet smell of the red wine mixing with the cedar smoke.
“You do drink?” asked Medivh as an afterthought. “A bit,” said Khadgar. “It is customary to serve wine with dinner in the Violet Citadel.”
“Yes,” said Medivh. “You wouldn’t need to if you just got rid of the lead lining for your aqueduct. Now, you were asking about visions.”
“Yes, I saw what I described to you, and Moroes …”
Khadgar hesitated for a moment, hoping not to further blacken the castellan’s reputation for gossip, then decided to press on. “Moroes said that I was not alone. That people saw things like that all the time.”
“Moroes is right” , said Medivh. “A late harvest vintage, not bad at all. That this tower is a place of power should not surprise you. Mages gravitate toward such places. Such places are often where the universe wears thin, allowing it to double back on itself, or perhaps even allowing entry to the Twisting Nether and to other worlds entirely.”
“Was that what I saw then?”—interrupted Khadgar. “Another world?”
Medivh held up a hand to hush the younger man. “I am just saying that there are places of power, which for some reason or another, become the seats of great power. One such location is here, in the Redridge Mountains. Once long ago something powerful exploded here, carving out the valley and weakening the reality around it.”
“And thats why you sought it out?” Prompted Khadgar.
Medivh shook his head, but instead said, “That’s one theory”.
“You said there was an explosion long ago that created this place(Kharazhan crater), and it made it a place of magical power. You then came….”
“Yes”, that’s all true, if you look at it in a linear fashion. But what happens if the explosion occurred because I would eventually come here and the place needed to be ready for me?
Khadgar’s face knitted. “But things don’t happen like that.”
“In the normal world, no, they do not.” said Medivh. “But magic is the art of circumventing the normal. That’s why the philosophical debates in the halls of the Kirin Tor are so much buffle and blow. They seek to place rationality upon the world, and regulate its motions. The stars march in order across the sky, the seasons fall one after the other with lockstepped regularity, and men and women live and die. If that does not happen, it’s magic, the first warping of the universe, a few floorboards that are bent out of shape waiting for industrious hands to pry them up”.
“But for that to happen to the area to be prepared for you …” started Khadgar.
“The world would have to be very different than it seems”, answered Medivh, “which it truly is, after all. How does time work?”
Khadgar was not thrown as much by Medivh’s apparent change of topic. “Time?”
“We use it, trust it, measure by it, but what is it?” Medivh was smiling over the top of his cup.
“Time is a regular progression of instants. Like sands through an hourglass,” said Khadgar.
“Excellent analogy,” said Medivh. “One I was going to use myself, and then compare the hourglass with the mechanical clock. You see the difference between the two?”
Khadgar shook his head slowly as Medivh sipped on his wine.
Eventually, the mage spoke, “No, you’re not daft, boy. It’s a hard concept to wrap your brain around. The clock is a mechanical simulation of time, each beat controlled by a turning of the gears. You can look at a clock and know that everything advances by one tic of the wheel, one slip of the gears. You know what is coming next, because the original clockmaker built it that way.”
“All right,” said Khadgar. “Time is a clock.”
“Ah, but time is also an hourglass,” said the older Mage, reaching for one planted on the mantel and flipping it over. Khadgar looked at the timepiece, and tried to remember if it was there before he had brought up the wine, or even before Medivh reached for it.
“The hourglass also measures time, true?” said Medivh. “Yet here you never know which particle of sand will move from the upper half to the lower half at any instant. Were you to number the sands, the order would be slightly different each time. But the end result is always the same—all the sand has moved from the top to the bottom. What order it happens in does not matter.” The old man’s eyes brightened for a moment. “So?” he asked.
“So”. said Khadgar. “You’re saying that it may not matter if you set up your tower here because an explosion created this valley and warped the nature of reality around it, or that the explosion occurred because you would eventually come here, and the nature of the universe needed to give you the tools you wanted to stay.”
“Close enough,” said Medivh.
“So what these visions are, then, are bits of sand?” said Khadgar. Medivh frowned slightly but the youth pressed on. “If the tower is an hourglass, and not a clock then there are bits of sand, of time itself, that are moving through it at a time. These are unstuck, or overlap each other, so that we can see them, but not clearly. Some of it is parts of the past. Some of it is parts of the future. Could some of it be of other worlds as well?”
Medivh now was thinking deeply himself. “It is possible. Full marks. Well thought out. The big thing to remember is that these visions are just that. Visions. They waft in and out regularly and be easily explained. But since the tower is an hourglass, then they don’t. They move at their own speed, and defy us to explain their chaotic nature.” Medivh leaned back in his chair. “Which I, for one, am quite comfortable with. I could never really favor an orderly, well-planned universe”
Khadgar added, “But have you ever sought out a particular vision? Wouldn’t there be a way to discover a certain future, and then make sure it happened?”
Medivh’s mood darkened. “Or make sure it never comes to pass.”
Jeff Grubb brought to life the world of Warcraft in this book. Where it all started.
Same as Jeff Grubb did, the Developers of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion will bring to life the Tower of Medivh as an instance. Players worldwide will experience through many epic quests the mysteries of Kharazhan town and the secrets behind the walls of the Tower of Medivh. If you liked the excerpt and look forward to experience the World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade—read Warcraft: The Last Guardian.
Warcraft: The Last Guardian
Stay tuned during the upcoming days for the official announcement … Blizzplanet will have a Public Q&A on IRC chat with Jeff Grubb in December. More specific details soon in our news section.
Betrayal of Sargeras
Arathor and the Troll Wars
Guardians of Tirisfal
Aegwynn and the Dragon Hunt
The Last Guardian
The Dark Portal
The Alliance of Lordaeron
Beyond the Dark Portal—Khadgar’s vision becomes reality as he witnesses the red skies of Draenor.
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