Know Your Lore
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Know Your Lore: The twisting timelines of Chronormu

She’s not supposed to die. Not yet, anyway. As a member of the Bronze dragonflight, Chronormu — or Chromie, as she likes to be called — knows when and where she’ll meet her own demise. Problem is, there’s someone out there who’d like to change that particular timeline. But why? In the new Deaths of Chromie scenario, we attempt to answer that question and put a stop to events that aren’t meant to be.

This isn’t the first time we’ve encountered Chromie, but it’s not clear exactly what time it is. Nothing time-related is clear where the Bronze dragonflight is concerned. And although we’ve met Chromie in our own chronological order, our timeline doesn’t quite match up with hers. That’s the beauty of the Bronze dragonflight — they work outside of the ebb and flow of what we call “normal” time.

Yet, while we can’t dictate her history as she lived it, we can take a look at it from our own, linear perspective.

Rebuilding Andorhal

The Plaguelands

Years ago, our first encounter with Chromie — and the Bronze dragonflight, for that matter — was in the haunted ruins of Andorhal. Although we didn’t know her, she certainly knew us. By name, even. Why Andorhal? Because someone had apparently been tampering with the timelines in that area, leaving temporal parasites all over the place. In order to fix what had been meddled with, she needed those parasites cleaned up.

That was pretty much the purpose of the Bronze dragonflight in a nutshell. If the timelines were fractured or disturbed, it was up to the Bronze dragons to set them right again. Chromie was simply a dragon doing her job, and doing it well — the rest didn’t really matter. But for a dragon, Chromie has always appeared to have a soft spot for mortals. Maybe it’s the help we provide, or maybe it’s something more.

In later years, Chromie moved on from Andorhal to the Eastern Plaguelands. There, she learned about the plight of Darrowshire and the fate of one Joseph Redpath. While she couldn’t change the fate of Joseph or his daughter Pamela, she could send us back in time to redeem his soul. By doing so, she wasn’t meddling with the course of the timeline — after all, Joseph Redpath still died. But his spirit was able to reunite with his daughter, at least.

Culling of Stratholme

That’s the sticking point for Chromie and the rest of the Bronze dragonflight. They’re allowed to correct the flow of time, but they can’t just alter the timelines to their liking. There’s a correct path for these timelines to follow, something only the Bronze are privy to. Sometimes the timelines are good, sometimes…not so much. But it’s not up to the Bronze dragonflight to make moral decisions.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Culling of Stratholme. We’re presented with a moral conundrum of sorts — placed at the start of one of the bloodiest events in Warcraft’s history. Whether Arthas was right or wrong in his assessment of Stratholme and its citizens doesn’t matter. The fact that we have to kill innocent people doesn’t matter.

Why? Because these events already happened. It’s the same with all of the locations in the Caverns of Time — we aren’t there to stop terrible things from happening. We’re there to make sure they still happen. Those events, horrible as they were, shaped Azeroth into what it is today. The path of the Bronze dragonflight may appear to be convoluted to us, but to them, it’s straightforward. There is one future to work toward, and they are there to ensure that future comes to pass.

Infinite

The ultimate purpose of preserving all those timelines wasn’t made clear until Cataclysm. Throughout the course of World of Warcraft, it was made clear that Nozdormu, leader of the Bronze dragonflight, was missing. Nobody knew where he’d gone — not even the rest of the Bronze dragons, who knew virtually everything. He made his return in Cataclysm, along with delivering a lot of terrible news.

All of the meddling we’d encountered over the years appeared to be the result of the Infinite dragonflight. In the Culling of Stratholme, it was revealed that the dragons were once, in fact, Bronze dragons. They’d been twisted and warped, and sought to change the timelines to something of their own making. What Nozdormu discovered was that he was the originator of the Infinite dragonflight.

In some strange, twisted version of the future, the Old Gods convinced Nozdormu to try and subvert his own mortality. Once this was discovered, Murozond — lord of the Infinite dragonflight — could be put to rest. The timelines were restored, and the Bronze dragons could fulfill their purpose…the purpose of all of the dragonflights. To stop the Hour of Twilight from coming to pass.

We were successful in that campaign. And after putting an end to Deathwing, we were told that the Age of Mortals had begun — that the world no longer had need for the dragonflights. Which left…a lot of questions for Chromie. After all, her job was keeping the timelines stable. If these matters were now in mortal hands…where did that leave her?

Where did that leave the Bronze dragonflight?

Cataclysmic fallout

That’s the problem when you have a clearly defined purpose. Once that purpose is gone, what are you supposed to do? For Chromie and the Bronze dragons, it was difficult to simply walk away from. Especially since it appeared that the timelines still weren’t exactly stable. What resulted was a fracture, a faction of discontent Bronze dragons who believed that they should change history to make a better future.

Become a Watcher

But without a way to actually see history, there wasn’t really a way to determine what that better future would be. Enter the Timewalkers — a faction of mortals and Bronze dragons alike, dedicated to protecting the timeways. This was exactly what Chromie had been working on all along, so naturally she was a member. So too was another Bronze dragon, one with a different agenda — Kairozdormu.

Kairoz was looking for a way to witness past and future, so that the timelines could be safely altered. To that end, he created the Vision of Time, a powerful artifact used in the trial of Garrosh Hellscream. But that didn’t seem to be enough for Kairoz. He kept tinkering with the Vision of Time to make it more powerful — and Chromie grew more suspicious of his motives.

Kairoz by JMXD

Draenor

It turned out to be a healthy suspicion, because Kairoz used the Vision of Time to create a distraction at the trial. This allowed Garrosh Hellscream to escape his fate and flee — not just from the Temple of the White Tiger, but from time itself. Once Garrosh arrived on Draenor — albeit a slightly different version of Draenor, thirty-five years in the past — he killed Kairoz.

Chromie was understandably upset. This was an event she didn’t see coming — she couldn’t see it. Not with the Bronze dragonflight as they are now. So she traveled to Draenor in an attempt to hunt Kairoz down, only to find his body, and his very angry spirit.

It seems that Kairoz was a part of that rogue faction of Bronze dragons. He believed that by harnessing the power of all alternate timelines, he could become Infinite himself. His plans fell through when Garrosh turned on him — but the fact remains that the Infinite are still out there, somewhere. They’re Infinite, after all.

The Deaths of Chromie

And in Legion, maybe that’s coming back to haunt Chromie. She’s not supposed to die — not yet. But someone has it out for her, and the attacks are coming from all fronts. It’s not just the four dragonshrines, haunted as they are by satyrs, Scourge, demons, and Void. It’s also attacks from the past, from places where she’s been seen before. Andorhal. The Well of Eternity. Stratholme. Mount Hyjal. We’ve encountered Chromie in each of these locations throughout the game.

So…who is trying to kill Chromie? We don’t know — we never quite find that out. Our only clue is a frantically scribbled page of ravings, by an unknown author:

kill the dragon

kill the dragon

kill the

DRAGON

it’s not a gnome, it’s a DRAGON

not even a good dragon

SLAY THE DRAGON

crossed the timeways one too many times, didn’t you? made a few enemies? maybe caused a paradox you couldn’t reconcile?

the demons, the elementals, the humans and orcs… they’re all on MY SIDE NOT YOURS

NOW YOU’VE GONE AND DONE IT, WHELP

Here’s the odd part — the handwriting on the note is “jagged and frantic, yet strangely familiar.” This means whomever we’re dealing with, we know them. According to what we discover at the start of the scenario, they’re familiar with — and can manipulate — timelines. They prevented Chromie from giving us a full four hours to stop things, bringing it down to a narrow fifteen-minute window.

You’d think that would indicate a Bronze dragon, but the text, garbled as it is, seems to be coming from someone that isn’t a dragon. Chromie being a dragon is…a given. It’s a well-known fact. She’s a respected member of the Bronze dragonflight. Yet the second half of the note appears to be addressing Chromie directly — odd, that.

Leave the past in the past

Chromie doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with discovering her would-be murderer. All she’s concerned about is fixing the timelines — and once those are restored, everything is fine. But that’s almost to be expected at this point.

Again and again, Chromie has demonstrated the true purpose of the Bronze dragonflight. They aren’t guardians or foreseers of the future, oracles that will tell us what to do. They’re shepherds, ushering us down a trail of events that only they can see. And no matter how dark those times may get, Chromie — and the rest of the Bronze dragonflight — are there to ensure there’s still a future for us to experience.

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