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[personal profile] fic_of_fork
Word count:  5752
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 zurcherart, persiflage_1, the Hoopy Frood and mtemplar_fic for the betas! 
Warnings: No specific spoilers.
Rating: PG
Characters: Tenth Doctor
Genre: Action/Adventure, Crossover, General
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 4, Chapter 3, Chapter 2, Chapter 1, Prologue


Amylith towered over the fallen form of Arthas. He swallowed hard and looked at her in disbelief approaching the terror of a man who knows he's about to die. With his hair plastered on his forehead and his armor grimy from soot and battle, he looked less of a prince or paladin, and more like a scared footsoldier, just barely out of adolescence.

“I could end this right here,” she hissed. “One thrust of my sword, and Arthas will never ascend to the Frozen Throne and never become the Lich King. That means no Death Knights.”

To Amylith, the Doctor's voice was almost a caress. “Put the sword down,” the Doctor said softly. “You don't want to do this.”

“Don't I?” Amylith snapped. “You don't know what he did to me—what he did to us, to our very souls—when he converted us into Death Knights. One stroke, and it's over.”

“Please, Amylith, let Arthas get up,” the Doctor pleaded. “You asked me about my powers once before. Well, I'm a Time Lord. I can see what would happen if Arthas dies now. Chaos. Complete, total, and utter chaos. Azeroth will be the last stand against a horror the likes of which hasn't been seen in this galaxy in generations. If the people of Azeroth don't quit fighting each other, they will fall to that. Do you know what will happen then?”

“Ask me if I care,” Amylith said. There was the faintest of tremors in her arm.

“That invading force will sweep across entire solar systems. Without the last stand made on this world, countless others will fall,” the Doctor continued.

“He's talking the Burning Legion, Amylith,” Tain offered. “I know you've seen it in Outland. Think of how scarred the Hellfire Peninsula is. Do you want that for the forests of Darnassus?” At the mention of Amylith's homeland, her sword hand wavered slightly.

“You're better than Arthas,” the Doctor said. “My people have a saying: 'Time reclaims her own.' You don't know that someone—someone possibly worse than Arthas—would become the Lich King in his absence. You can't predict what repercussions your actions will have. And you certainly don't want to fall into the same trap Arthas is falling into now. He made his choice. Now it's time for you to make yours.”

Amylith sheathed her sword, letting Arthas awkwardly climb to his feet. “Remember this, Arthas, when you're in Icecrown Citadel: I could've killed you.”

Arthas mumbled some sort of thanks to the Doctor.

“In another time, in another place, I would've turned my back on Amylith,” the Doctor hissed with disgust at Arthas. “I could make it so your absence in the time line would change nothing, and the Bronze Dragonflight would be powerless to stop me.”

“If I had such power, then the Scourge would never have existed...” Arthas mused.

“Don't even think about it,” the Doctor spat. Something in the Doctor's very presence made everyone near him involuntarily take a step back.

Softly Tain whispered to the Doctor, “I could make it so he doesn't remember what just happened.”

“Really?” the Doctor asked with surprise, his rage disappearing.

“Yeah,” Tain asserted. He stretched his arms out in front of him, carefully stretched his shoulders, picked up his staff, and whacked Arthas on the back of the head when the other troops were out of sight. Arthas crumpled to the ground with a grunt.

“Bit more direct than the method my people would've used...” the Doctor mused.

“No fair!” Amylith objected.

“One to zero, Death Knight!” Tain said.

“But you cheated!” Amylith insisted.

“You would've killed him,” Tain pointed out.

“That's beside the point!”

“Anyway,” the Doctor interrupted. He put his finger to his lips and shushed the others, when they saw Arthas stir.

***


Moments later, the Doctor was running for his lives, as he was pursued by a pack of ghouls that snatched and grabbed at him. As he was investigating a pile of grain, he lost track of the position of his group and became stranded among Scourge-infected townspeople. Panting, he dove down an alley, only to nearly slam into a brick wall. In the back of his mind, he wondered what effect the Scourge plague would have on him. Would he regenerate? Would he shrug it off, as he could most infections? But before he could resign himself to his fate, he heard someone call his name.

“Get down!” the voice yelled.

Suddenly, the alley exploded in fire, as chunks of flaming rock rained from the sky. From out of the smoke, Amylith, Tain transformed into a lion, and Crixie's demon charged the stunned ghouls, as they burst into flames.

Before the Doctor could move, one of the infected townspeople jumped at him, knocking him to the ground. He tried to fend off its attacks, but his hearts sank when he heard the now-familiar growl of another ghoul. This time, the ghoul pounced on the one attacking him and gnawed off its arm.

“What?” the Doctor asked.

“It's Amylith's ghoul, Corpsemuncher,” Crixie shouted over the battle, as she lobbed a ball of darkness at the infected monster to finish it off. “Some of them keep ghouls as pets. Smelly, dirty things...”

“Like you can talk,” Amylith yelled as she cleaved a zombie in two. “You're none too fresh-smelling, yourself, when you change into that purple demon. Not to put too fine a point on it, but your pet Felguard doesn't know what hygiene is.” At the mention, Crixie's demon gave an armpit a good snort before hacking into another zombie.

The Doctor dove behind the raging battle and shouted back, “You could've warned me about raining fire.”

“What part of 'get down' didn't you understand?” Crixie yelled back.

As the battle died down, Tain changed back into his normal form and began tending whatever wounds they sustained. Faintly, the Doctor heard a cry. Leaving them behind, he darted through a door that had come loose in the onslaught. There, in the shambles of a building, a family huddled.

His face grave, the Doctor took out his sonic screwdriver. “Please let me save someone today,” he whispered to nobody in particular. An uncomfortable pause punctuated only by the whine of the sonic screwdriver crept by. “Thank you, thank you, thank you...” he whispered as he scanned them.

“Are they clean?” Amylith asked, weary.

“Yes,” the Doctor said with a big grin.

The Doctor's gaze never left the family huddling in the cellar of the house. “Amylith,” he said softly, “make sure Arthas doesn't see this. Keep him busy.”

As if on cue, Arthas burst through the door, his armor coated with soot and blood.

“It would be my pleasure,” she said, as she hit him in the back of the head with the flat of her sword. Arthas fell into a heap, unconscious, without so much as a grunt. “Score's even, Druid.”

“I said keep him busy, not give him a concussion!” the Doctor snapped at Amylith.

Crixie sighed as she nudged Arthas's crumpled form with an embroidered slipper. “D'you think, maybe, that he goes insane because of the fact that you keep hitting him over the head?” she asked. “That many knocks can't be good for a person.”

“He's a paladin. I doubt a good bash upside the head would even dent their thick skulls,” Tain responded. “His fault for not wearing a helm.”

“You've got me there,” Crixie admitted.

The Doctor scanned the family with his sonic screwdriver once more to be certain. “Did you eat the grain?” he demanded.

“N-no...” the mother stammered. “My son—Timmy--any grain makes him sick. When we stopped feeding it to him, he got better. He's still sickly, mind.”

“Coeliac,” the Doctor said. “It saved your lives. Go. Get as far away from here as you can before Arthas wakes.”

“I'd leave Lordaeron, if I were you,” Amylith added.

“The weather's great in Kalimdor,” Crixie added. “Like, say, around Theramore.”

“Wait, Theramore hasn't been founded yet--” Tain began.

“Anyway,” the Doctor said as he shot a mildly annoyed look at his companions. “Hurry up and leave!”

As they left, a miniature hourglass like the one in the center of the Caverns of Time appeared and Chromie—as a gnome—beside it. “I don't need to tell you, Doctor, what's at stake here. The Infinite Dragonflight isn't going to give up so easily.”

“Speaking of which,” Amylith said, “I haven't seen a single dragon yet, aside from yourself.”

“They're here,” the Doctor said. “Don't ask me how I know, but they are.”

“You mean like how Crixie can tell when there are demons around? You can sense other time travelers?” Tain asked.

“Perhaps...” the Doctor mused.

“Don't lose focus!” Chromie reminded them. “Arthas must make it through Stratholme alive and defeat Mal'Ganis.” Before any of them could respond, Chromie had disappeared as suddenly as she appeared.

Arthas scraped himself off of the floor and into some sort of seated position. “My head! You hit me!” he accused.

“Not I, Prince,” Amylith said with some disdain. “It was a ghoul. See?” she said as she pointed to Corpsemuncher. “It was this fell beast!”

The ghoul cocked its head and looked at Amylith with confusion and a slight whimper. Then it looked for assistance from the others.

Amylith whispered under her voice, “Go away, you idiot!”

It sat there whimpering at her, until she gave it a firm kick. Suddenly, a light came on in Corpsemuncher's otherwise vapid eyes. It grinned, and leapt away from them, bouncing down the road. Arthas turned and ran off in pursuit.

***


“We're at the inn, no sign of Arthas,” Tain grumbled.

“Makes it hard to keep him alive if he doesn't keep up,” Crixie agreed, her usually sunny disposition now soured by everything they had experienced.

“You've encountered the Infinite Dragonflight before,” the Doctor said. “What do you know about them?”

“They're like the Bronze Dragonflight, but not,” Crixie began. “While the Bronze Dragonflight preserves time, the Infinite Dragonflight tries to change it. You know, like go back in history and make things never happen.”

“Have they given any indication why they're trying to change the time lines?” the Doctor asked.

“Not in my experience,” Crixie responded. “Odd that we haven't seen them yet, though.”

A ghoul ran straight for Amylith, but before they could ready themselves, she patted her knees and cooed at it. “Aww, who's the good wittle ghoul?” she crooned. As she scratched behind its ear, its leg thumped the ground.

“That is disgusting,” Tain said.

“All kinds of wrong,” Crixie said.

“Dragons are shape-changers, yeah?” the Doctor asked.

“Most of the ones I've seen,” Tain said.

“The Infinite Dragons I saw at Durnholde Keep did,” Crixie agreed.

“Be on your guard,” the Doctor told his companions.

“You sense something?” Tain asked.

“I'm not sure,” the Doctor muttered, as if lost in thought.

“And here's Arthas,” Amylith said.

“I know a secret way through,” Arthas said. “The inn is connected to another building. Up the stairs and into the next building there's a secret passage.”

“Allons-y!” the Doctor yelled as he led them into the inn. “Aw, I like a good inn,” he said. “I wouldn't say no to a nice pie and a pint. No, on second thought, wheat becomes flour, and flour gets made into pastry. I've seen what happens when people eat the local flour. Don't suppose we've got time for a pint? No? Not even half of a pint?”

Arthas, trying to wrest control from the Doctor, pushed past him into the inn, where three people stood. At the sight of Arthas, one of them began to laugh. The air blurred and broke apart into dark shards that whirled around the people standing around the common room of the inn. The people lengthened into the shape of dragonkin—reptilian creatures lacking wings, but standing as tall as the Doctor and Amylith. Unlike the other dragons they had seen, these appeared to be deteriorating in front of them, almost if they weren't quite real.

The Doctor shuddered out of revulsion at the dragonkin before him. “This would be the Infinite Dragonflight?” he asked.

“In the flesh,” Crixie said. She squinted her eyes at the Doctor for a moment. “You're seeing them as they really are, aren't you? Who are they?”

“Right now, a force to be stopped,” the Doctor yelled over the sounds of battle. He grabbed a pack discarded from one of his companions and dumped it out onto the floor. Various things bounced in all directions, and he rooted among them, oblivious to their protests.

“You're putting all of that back when you're done,” Amylith snapped.

The Doctor gingerly tasted a powder in her bag. “Blasting powder?” he asked.

“Yeah, coarse.”

“Thanks, I'll need this.” From Crixie's pack, he grabbed a chunk of green glowing stone and gave it a good sniff. “What's this?”

“Infernal stone! Put that down! You'll blow us all to the Twisting Nether!”

“Cheers,” the Doctor said. With a burst of the sonic screwdriver, the stone and blasting powder became a fine powder in a bowl the Doctor had scavenged from one of the abandoned tables. The bowl with powder he placed in the center of the room.

“All of you, when I say run, get as far away from this area as possible. Crixie, that shooty fire thing you do, what kind of a range does it have?” the Doctor said, ignoring their outbursts.

“Fire spell? Which one?” she asked.

“Any.”

“They're all around thirty yards,” she said, as an Infinite Dragonkin in front of her was consumed by shadows.

“Good. You blast that bowl with fire from as far away as you can. Amylith, as soon as Crixie's done with her spell, you do that purple light thing you do to yank her back to a safe distance. Ready? Run!”

All of them ran up the stairs to another attached building where Arthas had indicated the secret passage would be. Crixie stopped at the top of the stairs and cast a fireball at the bowl. As soon as the fireball cleared her hands, Amylith tugged her back into the room with an arc of purple light. Crixie landed with a bump on her behind, but was otherwise unharmed. No sooner than she hand landed, there was a thunderous explosion and a bright green fireball where the inn was.

The Doctor scraped himself off the floor and said, “Well they shouldn't be giving us any more trouble for the moment. Where now, Arthas?” The Doctor broke off when he realized that his companions were saying nothing but staring behind him. The Doctor turned, only to find himself staring up at a gigantic reptile that stood on its hind legs. Like the dragonkin, its scales were formed out of black shards and fragments that constantly shifted around it.

“I'm tired, hungry, and in dire need of a bath, so I'll be brief,” the Doctor said, addressing the dragon. “Just who the hell are you and what gives you the right to be mucking about with the Web of Time like this?”

The dragon laughed. “You address the Chrono-Lord Epoch, worm!”

The Doctor yawned. “Isn't that title a bit redundant? And, here, I thought the Time Lords were a pompous lot.”

Ignoring the Doctor, the dragon continued, “Prince Arthas Menethil, on this day, a powerful darkness has taken hold of your soul. The death you are destined to visit upon others will this day be your own.” It began to cast a powerful spell, and golden light swirled around it. At the climax of the spell, however, it fizzled with a disappointing pop.

“Time Lord,” the Doctor yawned while seeming to wake out of a trance. “At least in my case, it isn't just an overblown title.”

The dragon roared and swung at the Doctor, knocking him over. The others joined the battle, after seeing one of their own hurt.

Tain paused over the Doctor and quickly whispered a spell. A green light snaked around the Doctor, who sat on the floor with a groan. “You okay?” he asked.

“I'll live,” the Doctor responded. “You need to keep Godzilla off of me,” he explained as he eased himself into a cross-legged position on the floor. “I can counter what he's doing to time, but I need to concentrate.”

“Understood,” Tain said, as he transformed into a bear.

“The Chrono-Lord is casting that spell again!” Amylith yelled.

Tain looked over his shoulder, and glanced at how the Doctor sat on the floor, his eyes closed in some kind of deep meditation or a trance. Growling, Tain charged at the dragon and mauled it, turning it away from the Doctor. This time, however, the spell not only backfired, but momentarily froze the dragon in time. It howled in rage, as blue light began to leak from its many wounds.

“I knew he was a mage,” Amylith said.

“Never heard of a mage that studies time, though,” Crixie replied, as she launched fireballs at the dragon.

Snarling, the Chrono-Lord turned towards the Doctor once more and charged. Tain threw himself between the Doctor and the gigantic dragonkin and raked his claws against its soft underside. It reeled backwards slightly, and he threw himself at the Chrono-Lord's throat, his bear form's teeth sinking deeply into the exposed flesh. Blue light began to pour out from every wound on the dragonkin, until it imploded in a blue flash.

“Let's move,” Amylith said while nudging the Doctor with a boot.

The Doctor got up from the floor with a hand from Crixie's demon, and stretched luxuriously. Brushing dust off his trousers, he followed the rest of them to a large bookcase in the back of the room. Arthas felt behind it for the mechanism, which released with a click. The bookcase slid away and revealed a passageway.

They ran down the sloping passageway and wound up in the top floor of another house. Bursting through, they found themselves in an alley. It looked as if it were twilight with the smoke and ash blotting the sky, and the Doctor switched to his respiratory bypass to avoid breathing the acrid air, thankful that he couldn't smell the stench of burning bodies and decay from the townspeople transformed into Scourge. Cinders and sparks from Stratholme burning gracefully floated in the air, and the Doctor was suddenly weary with all the death and destruction around him.

A glint of light brought him out of his malaise, and a bronze dragon navigated the winds whipped up by the raging fires and struggled to land, while vicious updrafts threatened to tear the delicate skin of its wings.

“Doctor,” she said. “It's me, Chromie, and I could really use your help. One of our agents—a drake—is being held by an Infinite Corruptor in Market Row.”

“Market Row? That's not far from here,” Amylith said.

“We have no time to lose!” Arthas insisted, trying to wrest control from the situation.

“Um, Arthas, it was really nice of you to point out the secret passageway in the inn,” Crixie began, “but you're hardly the muscle, here.”

The Doctor stuffed his hands into his trouser pockets, shrugged at his companions, turned his back on them, and walked a little distance away. “I can't object to what I haven't seen,” he said to them. “So long as he's alive, like he's supposed to be.”

Tain grinned and picked up his staff. Before Arthas could defend himself, Tain clobbered Arthas on the head once more. “Hah!” Tain said. “Two to one. For the Horde!”

“A lucky break,” Amylith said, as she readied herself. “I've seen enough death. While Arthas is unconscious, let's actually try to save someone.”

Chromie finally landed and folded her wings tightly about her body. “I can try to help as much as I'm able,” she said.

The Doctor eyed the hordes of Scourge milling about in the lane in front of them. “How long do we have?” he asked Chromie.

“Not long,” she admitted. “Our agent is weakening by the minute. I'd guess ten minutes, at most.”

“There's no way we can fight our way through that in time,” Amylith said.

“Let's make a path,” Crixie said. From a pocket she pulled out a small statue of a demon. It grew into a small plinth, and her own demon faded away, muttering to itself.

“Oh no,” Tain groaned. “Not this.”

“Okay, everyone put a hand on it,” Crixie said.

“Whose idea was it to bring the warlock?” Amylith grumbled as she removed a gauntlet and put her hand on the plinth.

“She asked herself along, as I recall,” Tain said.

The Doctor did as he was asked, and the stone felt oddly warm, as if it were alive. Fascinated he watched as Crixie began a complicated incantation. At the culmination, he felt a sharp spike of agony run all through his body, and he sank to his knees.

“Yeah, you were the unlucky one,” Tain explained, as he healed him. “The summoning needs a sacrifice. It's nothing personal—the person chosen is completely random.” He pointed down the alley as a gigantic winged and horned demon bounded down the alley, slaughtering the Scourge as it went. Crixie giggled with glee at the demonic rampage.

“What the hell is that?” the Doctor managed to say.

“Doomguard,” Amylith explained.

“Are you okay to move?” Tain asked the Doctor.

“I think so,” the Doctor said as he shakily got to his feet. “Do I look the same?”

Tain looked puzzled. “That ritual must've knocked you for a loop. To be fair, though, all humans look alike to me.”

“Yeah, still not human,” the Doctor muttered, as he accepted Tain's hand in getting up. Without a word he grabbed Crixie's dagger from her belt and tucked it into his own while she was too distracted to notice. “Chromie!”

“Yes, Doctor?”

“Pardon me for being so forward. We've only just met,” he said as he vaulted to a spot on the dragon's back. “But we've got someone to save! After that demon!”

With a roar, Chromie bounded off after the demon, squeezing herself between the buildings, as the Doomguard cleared a path through the streets. The Doctor watched, though, as the chains binding the demon broke, and it faded away. The Scourge began to conglomerate around Chromie, attacking the dragon.

Rearing up, Chromie inhaled and instead of breathing fire, arcane lightning and sand swirled around the cobblestone street. Everything the sand touched stopped dead in its tracks, frozen in time. The hordes of Scourge minions that hadn't fallen to the barrage of arcane energy blasts were easily bashed aside into heaps by Chromie's tail.

“Remind me not to get on your bad side,” the Doctor yelled to Chromie over the din of battle, as the Scourge ran away from the dragon, only to be attacked by his friends far behind them.

“Hold on!” Chromie yelled. “There's no way I can squeeze through that tunnel up ahead.”

The Doctor did as he was told, clinging as tightly as he could to one of her spines. Chromie used her front claws and mouth to haul herself on top of the tunnel. With more room to maneuver, she stretched her wings, and jumped into the air, wings furiously beating to gain altitude over the winds stirred up by the fires.

“We should be okay here, since there's less fire, but it'll be a bit turbulent!” she warned. Her fears were put aside, as the Doctor whooped in delight as they soared through the air. All too soon for both, the untouched area of Market Row came up below them, and Chromie easily landed in the wide market.

Even before Chromie was completely landed, the Doctor jumped off of her back and ran towards the looming figure of another dragonkin of the Infinite Dragonflight. The dragonkin was directing beams of pinkish-purple light at the bound Bronze drake. The sight of it churned the Doctor's stomach.

“Corrupted time energy,” the Doctor told Chromie. “He's not going to make it long with that kind of bombardment.”

The Doctor threw himself between the drake and the corrupted energy. Yelping in pain, he began cutting through the ropes holding the drake down using Crixie's borrowed dagger. Each blast seemed to sap more and more of his energy, although he willed himself to keep cutting through the ropes. Finally, the drake broke free. Grinning, the Doctor watched as the drake floated away. Just before collapsing, he heard a shout. The energy blasting him abruptly stopped, and he began to recover a bit, but was still shaky and weak. Close by was the sound of an iron horn, its note sharp and strident, like the howl of a winter storm.

Cold air blasted around the square, and the cobblestones underneath became slippery with frost. Red mist pooled around the ground, and a Death Knight jumped off his Deathcharger and strode towards the Infinite Corruptor. With a growl, the dragonkin faced the newcomer, who wielded a sword in each hand. Two others—a paladin and a dwarf joined the Death Knight and began fighting it. The paladin's armor gleamed golden in the murk of the burning city, and the Doctor felt better just looking at her.

Weakly the Doctor tried to get up, but collapsed, barely able to move from where he lay. He felt the thud as the Infinite Corruptor's body fell, and he didn't protest as the paladin gently laid her hands on him. A flash of light surrounded him, and he felt health and vigor return to his body. Sitting up, he groaned.

“Thanks for that. Came in the nick of time, you did,” the Doctor said.

“Come on, lass. You know we can't dawdle here,” the Dwarf yelled to the paladin. Without a word, she ran after her party, disappearing into an alley.

The Doctor got to his feet awkwardly and ran as best he could after them. “Wait!” he called. But when he reached the alley, they were gone.

Furious footsteps pounded and clattered against the stone street behind him, and his friends breathlessly halted before plowing into him.

“Where's the dragonkin?” Amylith demanded.

“Who were they?” the Doctor asked.

“You took out the Infinite Corruptor by yourself?” Crixie said with admiration, as she took her dagger back from the Doctor and put it back in its sheath.

“There aren't any others that I saw,” Tain said. “It's only you and the corpse in this part of Stratholme.”

The Doctor twirled Amylith around and studied her. “Where's your other sword?”

“What other sword?”

“The other one you were wielding. One in each hand. Impressive, I must say,” the Doctor babbled. “And all that snow and ice. Must've taken a huge amount of energy to effect that kind of thermodynamic reaction, especially with the heat all the fires are kicking up all over.”

Amylith looked at the Doctor as if he were insane. “Then it wasn't me,” she replied. “I prefer two-handed swords.”

“There was another person here. Looked like a faun or a satyr, but white skin, silvery eyes, and lots of gold armor. She healed me. I think she was a she? Hard to tell with all that armor. Didn't seem to be native to this world. There was another person that looked like something straight out of Tolkien,” the Doctor insisted. “You know, a dwarf, complete with a long beard.”

“Draenei paladin and a Dwarf?” Crixie offered.

“You must've seen things in the smoke and haze,” Amylith said. “There's nobody else here.”

“Do you smell it? Fresh artron energy. There was another time traveler here. I'm certain of it,” the Doctor said.

“We're surrounded by the Infinite Dragonflight,” Tain reasoned. “There are time travelers all around us.”

“Perhaps,” the Doctor said, as he ruffled his hair in thought. “It's as if I knew the Death Knight. In the back of my mind.”

From behind them, they heard more footsteps and Arthas shout: “Justice will be done!”

“He just doesn't quit, does he?” Crixie asked. “Doesn't all that stomping around for justice and the Light get old?”

“That's probably why you aren't a paladin,” Tain teased her.

“Come on. Let's keep the boy wonder from getting himself killed,” the Doctor told them, as he ran after Arthas, sliding around a corner into another open space before a keep.

“I wanted to be a paladin when I was a child,” Crixie retorted.

“You?” Tain boggled.

“Yeah, they don't let gnomes into the Order of the Silver Hand, though. That and I don't believe in all that Light stuff. And swinging a weapon has never been my style.”

“An agnostic paladin. It could work,” Tain said.

“You think so?” Crixie asked, missing his sarcasm.

As they came into the area before the keep, they saw Arthas standing before Mal'Ganis, and a sickening haze spread, giving a nightmarish quality to the place. Mal'Ganis towered over them.

“We're going to finish this right now, Mal'Ganis. Just you and me,” Arthas yelled.

Arthas leapt at Mal'Ganis, and the two clashed together in battle. For a time, the battle between them raged, and dark shadowy magics collided with Arthas's own, but in the end Mal'Ganis began to falter. Before Arthas could strike a death blow, he was frozen in place.

Mal'Ganis laughed. “Unfortunately for you, it won't end here. Your journey has just begun, young prince. Gather your forces and meet me in the arctic land of Northrend. It is there that we shall settle the score between us. It is there that your true destiny will unfold.” With that, Mal'Ganis disappeared in a flash of light.

Arthas stumbled as he was freed from the magical hold. “I'll hunt you to the ends of the earth if I have to! Do you hear me? To the ends of the earth!” To the others, he said, “Take what spoils Mal'Ganis left behind as payment for your service. I have an invasion to prepare!” Arthas ran off away from the square to rally what troops of his were left.

A breeze whipped around the square, while Chromie—as a dragon—landed among them. “Good job, heroes,” she said as she transformed into the form of a gnome. “Arthas is safely on his way to Northrend, and the timelines are safe for now. As promised, here's your reward, Doctor.”

“Cheers,” he said to Chromie. He carefully pocketed the lump of crystal.

“And it's been an honor, Doctor,” Chromie said, blushing.

The replica of the hourglass in the center of the Caverns of Time appeared with a pop, and the scene around them began to dissolve into gray mist. When the mist cleared, they were all standing back in the Caverns of Time in their own time.

“Doctor,” Chromie said, tugging on the Doctor's sleeve. “Can I have a word with you?”

“Certainly,” the Doctor said, as he followed Chromie to a quiet corner of the cave.

“You aren't the first of your race to visit Azeroth. A few years ago, there was a great rip in the sky that belched red and blue fire, and something crashed into the glacier in Icecrown, close to the Lich King's stronghold. Before we could investigate, he was nearly taken by the Scourge, but a patrol of the Argent Crusade found him and took him in. He was killed fighting for them a year later in the battle to establish the Argent Crusade's outpost in Icecrown.”

“Killed? Are you certain?” the Doctor asked. “Are you absolutely certain he's dead? Did you see a body?”

“You and I—we're sentries of sorrowful places,” Chromie said with a sad smile. “I'm sorry,” she added.

“Thank you,” the Doctor replied.

Interrupting the Doctor and Chromie, a Bronze Drake landed by them. He padded closer to the Doctor and stopped close to him. Even not fully grown, the drake's head towered above the Doctor.

To the Doctor, the Bronze Dragons looked as if they were grinning, but this particular drake seemed to be grinning wider. And wearing a finely-crafted saddle. When the drake had landed by the Doctor, the drake dropped something out of his mouth. Upon examination, the Doctor realized they were a set of reins.

“Hello,” the Doctor said. The drake squinted his eyes at the Doctor and nudged the reins with his snout. “Hold on, you're the fellow we rescued from the Infinite Corrupter?”

The drake nodded. “Indeed. Shall we be off?” he asked, as he crouched down slightly.

The Doctor looked horrified. “I couldn't... You're no beast of burden. Not something as gorgeous as yourself.”

The drake looked forlorn, and the corners of his mouth seemed to droop slightly. “I thought I could share in your adventures,” he offered.

The Doctor sighed heavily and said, “Far be it for me to dash the dreams of a young dragon.” The drake perked up and nudged the reins closer, which the Doctor picked up off the ground. “Well do these just slip over your snout, or?”

The drake lowered his head so that the Doctor could fit the reins over. They fit snugly, but not too tightly. Finished, he looped the other end over the saddle. “So do you have a name?” the Doctor asked. The drake mumbled something unpronounceable and unintelligible in Draconic with the reins muffling his speech. “Right,” the Doctor said. “How about I call you Arthur, for short?”

The drake spat out the reins momentarily. “Arthur?” he asked.

“It's after a legendary king,” the Doctor explained.

“A good name, then,” Arthur mused, as he crouched down for the Doctor to climb into the saddle. “Hold on tightly,” he told the Doctor. “What we lack in size, we make up for in speed!”

***


A flash of bronze burst from the entrance to the Caverns of Time, and flew past a Death Knight astride his demonic horse on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Caverns of Time. He calmly watched the Doctor and the drake frolicking through the air as they did graceful loops and dives.

The Doctor's whoops of delight echoed across the windswept desert of blindingly white sand, and the Death Knight observed them until they were a tiny black spot in the sky. Satisfied that he hadn't been observed, the Death Knight turned his mount and set off in the opposite direction. Even as he passed, the Deathcharger's footprints were erased in the sand, as if he had never been there at all.

Date: 2010-09-13 09:39 am (UTC)
ext_3965: (Writer's Tools)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
I confess to laughing at Amylith's very direct way of ensuring Arthas didn't see what the Doctor didn't want him to see!

Date: 2010-09-13 02:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garpu.livejournal.com
You just know those two are itching for their pound of flesh...

Date: 2010-09-13 02:16 pm (UTC)

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