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[personal profile] fic_of_fork
Word count:  3149
Summary:  Echoes of the past spill into the present, when the Doctor crash lands on a planet he's never visited. A crossover with the Warcraft universe in World of Warcraft.  Thanks to [ profile] zurcherart, [ profile] persiflage_1, the Hoopy Frood, and [ profile] mtemplar_fic for the betas!
Warnings: No specific spoilers.
Rating: PG
Characters: Tenth Doctor
Genre: Action/Adventure, Crossover, General
Author's Note:  Much of the dialogue between Arthas and Uther and other bits is transcribed directly from the WoW version of the instance.
Disclaimer:  I don't own Doctor Who, Torchwood, Bernice Summerfield, or any of its characters, and I'm receiving no profit from this beyond the joy of writing.  While I raid with a level 80 warlock, I don't own World of Warcraft, either.

Chapter 3, Chapter 2, Chapter 1, Prologue

As the four of them wandered through the narrow tunnel that led from the Caverns of Time into the forest surrounding Stratholme, the Doctor stopped, and Tain stumbled over his own feet to keep from bashing into the Doctor's back. Addressing them the Doctor said, “Now I'm assuming none of you have had any experience in this sort of thing--”

Crixie thrust her hand into the air, waggling it excitedly, even standing on her tip-toes to make her hand go higher. “Actually I saved Thrall from Durnholde keep,” Crixie offered. “I've done a bit of work for the Bronze Dragonflight before. Then there was the time in the Black Morass where I kept the Infinite Dragonflight from making certain that the portal never opened. Oh! And Chromie sent me back in time to aid myself in a quest for them at the Bronze Dragonshrine.”

“Okay, everyone but Crixie has not done this sort of thing before,” the Doctor said with some annoyance. “We're walking into an extremely sensitive time line, and all of you were alive at the time this happened, correct? It's only seven years back in time, which is more dangerous for you than centuries ago.”

“A few ground rules,” the Doctor continued. “You do what I say when I say. You do not wander off. And you most certainly do not kill anyone. Finally, if you should see a past version of yourself, give yourself a wide berth. Do not touch your past self, no matter how tempting. Do I make myself clear?” the Doctor lectured.

“You met Thrall?” Tain asked.

“Yup! Rescued his friend, too!” Crixie said with glee. “She was pretty, for a human.”

“Oi, you two!” the Doctor reprimanded. “Save it for the tabloids, yeah? Do you three agree to my terms? If not you wait here.” All three mumbled their assent. “Finally, be very careful what you say around Arthas. You know how this time line plays out and you know what happens in the years after this event. Arthas doesn't. Pretend it's like a book—don't ruin the ending for him.”

“What about me?” Amylith asked. “Nobody in Lordaeron had seen a Night Elf in generations. Not since the sundering of the world.”

Tain raised his hand politely. “And me? No human had yet made contact with Thunder Bluff back then. We were too busy trying to keep from being wiped out by the Centaurs.”

“It'll be taken care of,” Chromie said, as she reappeared underneath a miniature version of the hourglass that stood in the center of the Caverns of Time. “Hurry! Up the stairs, through the inn, and then to front of the gates of Stratholme. Arthas is already there and Uther is not far behind!”

The four of them pounded up the stairs and almost ran into the cook.

“Oh no! I know everyone's hungry, but if you go stealing what I've got, then there won't be enough to go around!” he yelled.

“We're not here to steal your food,” the Doctor explained. “We're just passing through.”

“Well that's all right, then,” the cook said. “Wait, hold on. Where'd you come from, the ground?”

Tain caught sight of himself in the shiny copper of a cooking pot. Instead of a Tauren, he was now a human male. “I'm bald!” he howled.

“There, there,” the cook comforted, patting Tain on the back. “Happens to us all eventually.”

Slack jawed from surprise, Amylith gaped at herself in horror. “I'm human!” she wailed. “Disgusting! How can you stand being so small and pale, Doctor? And pink?”

“I didn't always look like this,” the Doctor said. “Though I wouldn't mind being ginger. I've never been ginger.”

Chromie appeared in a flash of light as a gnome. Aside from the four of them, the busy kitchen froze, suspended in time. “What are you doing around here? Move!” she ordered. “It's just an illusion. You'd wreck the time lines, if a Tauren and a Night Elf went rampaging around the kingdom of Lordaeron! Especially in the same party!”

“Now I'm dead impressed,” the Doctor said with admiration. “You creating that short-time quantum phasing?”

“It's a simple trick,” Chromie admitted. “Now hurry up! I shouldn't have to explain to you, of all people, what kind of a mess it would cause if I had to send all of you back in time again while you're still here because you missed Arthas and Uther!”

As she disappeared, the inn burst into life once again, and the cook shooed them out of the kitchen. When they stepped out into the sunlight, Amylith summoned her Deathcharger. Crixie muttered a spell, and a blaze of fire surrounded her. When it burned down, she was seated on the back of a flaming demonic horse. Tain was already transformed into a cheetah.

“Blimey,” the Doctor said as he took in the two of them. “Doesn't anyone use a proper horse? Someone budge up.”

Crixie backed her horse up to a nearby stump so the Doctor could mount behind her. “It's safe,” she said. “Well, mostly. While the felsteed is under my command you should be safe enough. I think?”

“Cheers for that,” the Doctor muttered, hoping he didn't get singed by the horse's flaming tail.

As the Doctor settled behind Crixie, a group of paladins thundered down the road near the inn, their armor and horses glowing with a light that pierced the gloom of the forest.

“That's them,” Amylith said. “Uther and his band.” She urged her steed after them, and the other two dashed off after Amylith.

While they slowed to take a sharp corner, the Doctor saw a man loading crates into a cart, but noxious green fumes rose from cracks in it.

“That's the scourged grain they got from Andorhal,” Crixie explained quietly. “Andorhal was one of the first towns taken over by the Scourge plague—normal people took ill then turned into walking dead. That grain was distributed to Stratholme, where we're going.”

The Doctor closed his eyes and sighed. “This is a fixed point,” the Doctor said softly with regret. “I see why Chromie was worried. This time period absolutely can't change.”

They slowed as they approached the bridge leading into Stratholme. Crixie halted her horse and let the Doctor off. “The Infinite Dragonflight has to be stopped,” she said.

Crixie and the Doctor hurried over to where Amylith and Tain stood, perhaps a bit too stiffly, uncomfortable disguised as humans. Facing Stratholme, a paladin stood, himself barely an adult. He didn't turn when another paladin, an older man, approached him.

“Glad you could make it, Uther,” Arthas sneered. Almost reluctantly, he turned to face the newcomer.

“Oooh, he's a bit of a prat, isn't he?” the Doctor said under his breath to his companions. Crixie stifled a laugh.

“Watch your tone with me, boy. You may be the prince, but I'm still your superior as a paladin!” Uther retorted.

“As if I could forget. Listen, Uther, there's something about the plague you should know...” Arthas trailed off as he saw crates of grain with noxious fumes rising off them. “Oh no. We're too late. These people have all been infected! They may look fine for now, but it's just a matter of time before they turn into the undead!”

“What?” Uther snapped.

The Doctor ran over to the crates and carefully opened one. Careful not to touch the grain, he scanned it with his sonic screwdriver. His face became grave.

Tain studied the Doctor and the grain. “It's the Scourge plague, isn't it?”

“You'd know better than I,” the Doctor quietly responded so as not to interrupt the conversation. “But this grain is infected with something. Crixie and I saw similar crates on the way here.”

“This entire city must be purged,” Arthas said.

“He's insane,” Tain told the Doctor. “Absolutely, completely insane.”

“No argument here,” the Doctor whispered in response.

“How can you even consider that? There's got to be some other way,” Uther spat.

“Damn it, Uther! As your future king, I order you to purge this city!” Arthas commanded.

“You are not my king yet, boy! Nor would I obey that command even if you were!”

“Then I must consider this an act of treason.”

“Treason? Have you lost your mind, Arthas?”

“Have I?” Arthas's tone was suddenly measured and completely in control. “Lord Uther, by my right of succession and the sovereignty of my crown, I hereby relieve you of your command and suspend your paladins from service.”

“Arthas, you can't just--” a mage interrupted.

“It's done! Those of you who have the will to save this land, follow me! The rest of you... Get out of my sight!” The disgust for Uther was palpable in Arthas's voice.

“You've just crossed a terrible threshold, Arthas.” After Uther spoke, he turned, mounted and rode off with most of the forces there.

“Jaina?” Arthas said to the mage.

“Who's she?” the Doctor asked his friends.

“Arthas's girlfriend,” Crixie explained.

“Yeah, thanks for that, Perez Hilton,” the Doctor muttered sarcastically.

“I'm sorry, Arthas. I can't watch you do this,” she said. Looking around, she disappeared in a cloud of energy.

“I take that back,” Crixie said. “Ex-girlfriend.”

“Dumped like that? Ouch...” Tain said.

“Take position here, and I will lead a small force inside Stratholme to begin the culling. We must contain and purge the infected for the sake of all Lordaeron,” Arthas commanded those left. He turned and walked across the bridge into Stratholme.

“That's us,” Amylith said. She started forward, and the others followed.

The Doctor had felt on edge since entering this time line, but his companions' silence made him feel queasy.

“The Light be praised! Prince Arthas is here to help us!” one person said at the sight of Arthas and their group. “There's undead in Stratholme!”

“I can only help you with a clean death,” Arthas said to the obviously healthy person. Lifting his hammer, he struck and killed the man.

With a howl of rage, Tain transformed into a bear and charged at Arthas. Before he could collide with the paladin, Amylith pulled the bear away and said while unsheathing her sword, “Back off, Druid. The first wound on Arthas is mine.”

“Both of you, stop it!” the Doctor roared at both of them. “You heard what Chromie said—Arthas must live.”

“You have moments to explain yourself, before you meet with the same fate,” Arthas said to the Doctor.

“Prince,” the Doctor said, addressing Arthas, “We have reason to believe there will be an attempt on your life. An unknown agent fears your influence in this situation.”

“Look at the way the Doctor addresses Arthas,” Crixie said, tugging on Tain's sleeve. “It's as if he's a prince, himself. Like they're both equals.”

“I don't like this,” Amylith said.

“Do we have a choice?” Tain said. “It's either the Doctor or Arthas, and I haven't seen the Doctor kill his own kind.”

Amylith's eyes narrowed. “I get the impression with the Doctor that he only says half of what he knows.”

Before any of them could continue there was a flash of green light, and a gigantic winged demon towered above them.

“I've been waiting for you, young prince. I am Mal'Ganis,” it thundered.

“And who's he?” the Doctor whispered.

“He's Mal'Ganis,” Crixie replied.

“Yeah I got that.”

“He's a Nathrezim.”

“Oh, that definitely helps.”

“A dreadlord.” Crixie offered. “A really big demon.”

“I can see that,” the Doctor snapped.

“As you can see,” Mal'Ganis continued, “your people are now mine. I will now turn this city, household by household, until the flame of life has been snuffed out...forever.”

“I won't allow it, Mal'Ganis! Better that these people die by my hand than serve as your slaves in death!” Arthas yelled.

“This just gets better and better,” Amylith said. “We slay innocent people, or they get turned to Scourge by Mal'Ganis. Or Arthas kills them. Did I mention we still have the Infinite Dragonflight to contend with?”

“Or be eaten by the Bronze Dragonflight. Here's our proverbial rock and a hard place,” Tain muttered.

The Doctor turned to face the other three, pain visible on his face. “All my life—my lives—I've stood for the oppressed and voiceless. I've fought countless wars of conscience. I saw my own people die for the sake of the universe. Do you think I like standing by and watching everyone die?”

“If the Bronze Dragonflight is leery of you, that means you have power,” Amylith said. “You called yourself a Time Lord. Can't you do anything?”

The Doctor looked at the buildings of Stratholme start to burn. When he finally spoke, his voice was choked with emotion. “Not here. What happens in Stratholme is fixed. There are laws—the Laws of Time, which can't be broken. Not even by me.”

“But if you're the last of your people--” Amylith suggested.

“Don't ever suggest such a thing to me again,” the Doctor interrupted. Amylith took a step away from him when she saw the look in the Doctor's eyes. It chilled her to the bone.

Awkwardly, they realized Arthas was carefully watching them. “Who are you, Doctor, that you make seasoned warriors quake?” he asked.

The Doctor narrowed his gaze at the prince. “Right now I'm the only person keeping you from being slain. Don't think I like what you're doing. In another world, in another time, you're exactly the kind of person I exist to stop,” the Doctor said with disgust.

Warily, Arthas signaled to his other troops to begin the culling of Stratholme. “If any of you get in my way, expect no mercy.”

“When we meet again in Icecrown, there will be none given,” Amylith hissed. “You'll pay for what you did to us, Lich King.”

The Doctor grabbed her arm. She was shocked at how strong he was, far stronger for one of his stature. Had she not been wearing saronite plate, there would be a bruise. “Don't push me, Amylith. I serve Time, and I won't let anyone get in the way of that. Do you understand? Not you, not Crixie, not Tain, and certainly not Arthas.”

Amylith wrenched her arm free. “But if you have the power to do something--”

“Real power is knowing when not to wield it,” the Doctor explained. “If you were Arthas, what would you do? You were turned to undead, weren't you?”

Amylith shuddered at the memory. “Arthas is right,” she admitted quietly. “Better they should die quickly without pain and be in Elune's embrace than be mindless Scourge.”

The Doctor whispered in her ear, “I didn't say I wouldn't try to save those I can. I need a big favor from you.”

“If it's saving innocent people from both the Scourge and Arthas, name it.”

“I need one of those things—what are they? Ghouls? Zombies? I need it alive. Well, moving. Is it alive? You're clearly alive, Amylith, but we really don't have time to debate ontology at the moment.”

“I'm not sure I know what I am most days, but I think I can manage,” she said. “Tain, I'm going to need you to root this in place if this doesn't work.”

“Okay,” he said, observing the scene with interest.

A purple beam of lightning shot out from Amylith's hand, and the ghoul shot through the air, landing at her feet. But chains of ice formed around it, shackling it in place. “It can still move some,” she said. “You've got about ten seconds before it's completely free,” she said.

The Doctor whipped out his sonic screwdriver and scanned the trapped ghoul as quickly as he could. Finally he grinned and switched off the screwdriver as the ghoul began to break its chains. “Done!” he said to the rest of them.

Amylith unsheathed her sword and struck the ghoul. It collapsed in a heap. “You get what you need?”

“Absolutely!” the Doctor said to her with a big grin.


What felt like hours later, after wave upon wave of attacking Scourge, Amylith, Tain, Crixie, and the Doctor collapsed wearily under a stone archway as Stratholme burned around them. Amylith removed her gloves and helm, then wiped soot away from her face with the back of a hand. Tain changed from a bear back into his normal form and wearily sat down on the pavement next to them. He pulled a canteen of water from his pack and passed it to the others after taking a sip.

“I could do with a mage,” Crixie said. “Even conjured food would go well right about now.”

“What about your wand?” Amylith asked the Doctor.

He sank against the stone of the arch. “Nothing,” he said with disgust. “The people ate the grain, and they became infected. And when grain is one of your main foodstuffs...”

The Doctor didn't need to complete the rest of his sentence. They had all seen fearful townspeople change before their eyes into undead monsters. The transformation was a gruesome sight that none of them would forget.

As they rested, Arthas emerged from a building and ordered his troops to set fire to the building. Amylith turned away from the scene, but even she couldn't block the screams of the people inside—whether from the flames or their transformation into the Scourge, she didn't want to speculate.

A child ran out from the building, and Amylith watched in horror as Arthas struck the child down. For an instant, she saw herself back at Havenshire Farms, as she slaughtered an unarmed man, even as he begged her for mercy. Shaking the image out of her mind, she got up and turned to face Arthas, blinded by rage. Replacing her helm and gloves, she unsheathed her sword. With a harsh thrust of her hand, a blast of frost hit Arthas squarely in his chest, and he toppled to the ground. Amylith towered over him, the tip of her sword drawing a bead of blood from his throat where the point rested.

“Now you die,” she rasped.
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