Time Frame: ???, 50 years A.Q.B.
(In order to make things clearer, from now on, I will be using B.Q.B. for “Before Quest Begins” and A.Q.B. for “After Quest Begins.” Time travel will be far too confusing without a timeline.)
I looked around the vessel. Strangely, it looked bigger on the inside than I would have thought. Orin handed us a pamphlet that explained how we should handle time travel. He remained pretty dodgy, advice-wise, which is probably for the best. Don’t want to cause any paradoxes that might screw him or us over. He told us to make our way for Silotown once we landed, but that he had no idea where we end up, only when. Specifically, 50 years into our future, what he called “the end of things.”
When we landed, we came across a small village and we were soon beset by devils. After a long battle, we managed to finish them off. We were approached by some kind of powerful devil who offered us a deal. He told us we were in Tarathel, a country formerly populated by angels that were torturing one of their own kind to provide for everyone. They were overthrown and the devils took over. However, Iona, a powerful paladin of Heironeous, had raised an army that kept the devils stuck in Tarathel, unable to pass to the lands beyond. His offer was to play piggyback in one of our bodies in order to be smuggled across and, in return, he would guarantee safe passage and the ability to resist some form of damage, like he had.
Obviously, a deal with a devil is something to be vary cautious of, so I tried to fast-talk our way to a much better deal that I would eventually renege on, a classic scam that any child of the gutter would know. While Korbin ruined this plan with his recklessness in accepting the brand, we still managed to get a tidy sum for each of us on top of the gift thanks to my negotiating. I didn’t want to make a deal with devils, but fighting through an entire country of devils seemed difficult, at best. I wasn’t going to risk any of us dying, certainly not Lyanna, if I could avoid it. And if I’m making a deal, you’d best believe that I’m going to profit from the deal.
However, Ethel was furious that I was even considering the deal, going off in a huff. Her stubbornness is really getting in the way now. Cheera followed her, powerless to resist her aunt’s whims. Although Cheera isn’t much younger than I, she was still a child in many ways, unable to go against her family.
Further, that nutty woman brought up my mother, claiming that she would be ashamed of me. While I managed to brush it off, her words stirred in me a cold bile. Mother… dead to the world as she was, I could care less what she would think. After dad left, she spent all her money on booze and drugs, even resorting to prostitution, until… I had to leave, even at my young age. Anything was better than with her, or so I thought. The streets… are far worse than anything you could imagine. For a child… I suffered unspeakable things. But I survived, and that’s all that matters. I don’t know what happened to her, but it doesn’t matter now. Survival and profiting off a good story, that’s all that matters now.
I shouldn’t let that old bat’s words affect me so much. I know she can only think of her own morals and projects them onto everyone else. Regardless, she had to rejoin us for the quest so she’ll just have to deal with it.
As I looked upon the pentagram carved into Korbin’s fur, I felt a twinge of concern. He may be a bit dim, but I had planned on him being the sacrifice should this plan go south. I certainly wasn’t going to accept the brand and I knew he had little impulse control. I looked over the others as we walked: Sol, calm and collected as always, presumably a side effect of that metal body of his. Kronk, a fire burning behind those gentle eyes. Cheera, her eponymous mood would keep us going in the dark times to come. Enna, quiet and shy, but you can always trust a fellow urchin to look out for herself. Lyanna, a woman who asked for none of this, hefted the fate of the world on her shoulders. And Ethel… much as we may disagree on our methods, she could be trusted to protect the others, even if it claimed her life.
We finally made it to the wall, glorious and radiant. We were approached by angels, who seemed surprised that humans were alive in this country for old devils. They immediately saw the brand on Korbin’s chest and whisked him away for quarantine. They led the rest of us through a secret tunnel to a hall on top of the mountain with many paladins, monks, and clerics training to protect the wall. As we met up with Korbin an hour later, Iona met with us. After I explained that Orin had sent us, she warily replied that Orin had been considered dead for nearly 15 years. I have to keep a note of that, in 35 years, Orin will either die or go missing. Anyway, we explained that we were time travellers, and that Orin had told us to go to Silotown, hoping to find something we could use to fix the problems of the past.
She settled down and, at dinner, she told us everything that had happened. After Shao Khan’s death, Moldark had declared war on the south, sending waves of vampires for decades. By the time SIlotown had won, they had taken many casualties. But suddenly, they were accosted on several fronts by Morael and some worm-plague that he developed, a resistance group by some person known as the Elder. We inquired about Louis Arizona, and she replied that he was the leader of the Drow, but had no idea of what his involvement was. The wastes and the Northern Kingdom had succumbed over time, with nearly no life left outside those walls. Just hordes of Morael’s undead were left. Further, no word had come from SIlotown in years. This monastery may be the last refuge in the world, for all we know. Nonetheless, the compass pointed to Silotown, so we have no choice but to try and avoid the undead. It would take us days, perhaps weeks on foot. I knew I would never take that old cart and donkey for granted again.
Seeing our determination, Iona knew she couldn’t stop us and she offered us a place to rest for the night and whatever supplies we could purchase. She told us that she would help more, but she couldn’t afford to take away protections from her students at the monastery. I can’t say that I blame her, much as I wish that I could. Even if we succeed and this entire timeline is destroyed, she won’t ever know that world in which we succeeded. That thought gave me pause. If we succeed, this timeline’s version of people will be essentially wiped clean. A genocide of the highest order. Even with all we’ve done, nothing could compare to the mistakes we could make with time travel. We all bedded down for the night, but I doubt that sleep will soothe my troubled mind.