Past and Future Tense

Pain was definitely a sensation Alex was growing accustomed too as he woke up covered in books and shelving. His head seemed to manage a terrible burning sensation along with the pressure of a few boulders at the same time. It was a new experience that he would rather forget. This he guessed is what a hangover felt like.

“Ah! Right on time Alex!” A voice called rather animatedly. Which in turn brought new levels of pain to Alex as he groaned, and attempted to cover his ears and eye as he felt the weight of the bookshelves disappear. “Oh come now Alex don’t give me that. We have much work to do before I die.”

“What?” Alex replied dully after a moment of working up the nerve to open his eyes.

The source of the voice became evident almost immediately as an elderly man wearing rather flamboyant blue and red robes stood before his. He seemed a strange mix of impatient and jovial as he waited.

“Alex, we have little time for this tomfoolery. I have much to teach you.” Eventually the boy ‘walker stood up, to face the man who he had crashed in on.

“Who are you. How do you know my name? Where am I?” Were the questions he shot out almost immediately when he found himself stable enough to stand.

“My name is Commodore Guff, and I am your master for now.”


Teleportation forced or otherwise should not be this painful. Jason thought as he found himself climbing from a pile of books from the shelf he clearly had slammed into as he exited the portal.

“What in blazes are you doing?!” A voice yelled out at him. That made his headache much worse.

“Sorry, I didn’t have any control over the exit it was an accident.” Jason began his apology as he turned around to seen a rather large forked beard.

Startled he fell over back into the pile of books he had just climbed out of.

“Watch it you fool you’ll damage them!”

“Sorry, I didn’t realize you were so close.”

“Stop apologizing and clean this mess up!”

“Yes sir.” After several long minutes of replacing the books, everything was back in order. Only afterward did Jason remember he could have just used magic to clean it up.

“Now, who are you, and what are you doing in my library?” The old man asked the shield Mage.

That was a good question he had absolutely no idea how he had gotten from a coma to here. Unless he was still dreaming and Shredder lied to him. He guessed he should probably handle one crisis at a time though since this old man looked like he was about to take his head off. It’s okay though. He bet if it came down to it he could take him.

“I’m Jason and I have no idea how I got here. I was battling well a… thing. I beat it, then walked through a door, and I woke up here with you yelling at me.” The elderly man looked like he was shifting between disbelief and pity before speaking again.

“You really have no idea where you are?”

“Uh no I’m not even sure what plane I’m on. It’s clearly not Volst.”


“My home-plane or at least my current one. It was empty before we arrived so we named it that… Last year? That sounds about right. Anyway, where am I?”

“Dominaria, and more specifically my Hidden Library of Ages.”

“Wait, that can’t be right. Then that makes you…”

“Commodore Guff, the caretaker of this place.”


“Excuse me?”

“You can’t be him. Commodore Guff died stopping the final invasion of the Phyrexians.”

“The Phyrexians? They haven’t been seen for a millennia.”

“What year is it?”

“4105 AR”

“I…have a story for you. That you might want to hear.”

“Very well follow me.”


It had only been a few days since he had dropped in on Gruff, but it seemed like a lifetime ago that Alex had been about to rest in his room before the attack on the campus. It seemed silly that he had gone from two serious life or death ordeals to studying Phyrexian gate technology under the instruction of a soon to be dead planeswalker. He had told him everything he had known about how he had gotten here, and all Gruff would say is he knew. When Alex asked how he could have known that, he simply replied. By the most trusted of sources, himself. Which frankly confused him, but the young mage felt he didn’t really want to think about it. The unexplainable time travel was enough of a headache already.

“Are you not done with those scrolls yet?” A voice behind him inquired. Alex took his eyes away from his current reading project to turn around. A few feet away Guff stood in the doorway of his study chamber looking from the small pile of unread books and scrolls to the pile Alex had already read, which was vastly smaller. He felt like he could understand how Nick felt about his paperwork a little more now. He hoped his reading material wouldn’t grow to that extent though.

Alex placed the scroll back onto the table before replying.

“No, the simple research you talked about seems to have steadily grown into quite a chore. This is the driest reading I’ve ever had. What’s the point of this again?” With a simple wave of his hand all of the reading material vanished from in front of Alex. Next thing the boy ‘walker knew he was being shooed away into another area.

“Nope, this screen time is far too valuable to waste in silly explanations that I’ve already said.”

“B-but you haven’t explained anything.” Alex stammered as he barely managed to keep up with the ageless planeswalker.

“I never said I explained it to you.” Soon with barely a word Alex had decended dozens of flights of stairs into a room he had never seen before. Inside the spacious room made his study seem clausterphobic by comparison. The high ceiling had stood at least three stories high with a shapes of varying colors shift into new colors and shapes on the field of black, in their own way they seemed infinite in number, but readable all the same. Gruff quickly left Alex’s side to stand atop a simple wooden platform with railing on three sides carved almost like a wooden chariot without wheels.

As his stood atop it, nothing happened at first till the wizened planeswalker spoke.

“Up please.” Almost immediately the platform rose into the air with nothing attached to it. He continued his ascent until he almost reached the ceiling above. As he extended his palm a central color blot slowly pealed itself from its place and expanded into a bigger form that could be easier seen from below. “Tell me Alex, do you know what this is?”

Alex himself walked closer to Gruff and looked at the blotch that floated above him.

“I have no idea.”

“This.” Gruff pointed to the spot. ” Is Dominaria. It’s a nexus plane that connects to all other planes in the multiverse. This library contains every book ever written past, present, and future. This plane or another’s. If it has ever been or will be recorded it exists here.

“How can you have a book that hasn’t been written yet?”

“Because this place would be less intriguing for the narrative if it didn’t.”


This was a fine mess Jason had gotten himself into. After explaining what he knew about the future events Guff got very quiet. He mumbled something about Jason being allowed to stay and walked off suddenly distracted by something.

That was two weeks ago. Since then the white planeswalker hadn’t seen or heard from Guff, and had taken to exploring the library and reading some of the books inside of it. Some were interesting about certain fields of magic or about the history of this country or that, but most were painfully dry reading and he doubted he’d be able to finish any of them if he didn’t have so much time to himself.

Today Jason had found himself in a new part of the library. While most sections had been labeled for what could be found inside this one was strangely unmarked. It’s contents remained wholly unknown to the shield Mage as he thumbed through some of the books and scrolls.

Most seemed simply to be the ramblings of one person or another nothing that really surprised him. Not until he came across a small leather bound book. It was thin but every page was filled with familiar handwriting.

“That’s from your plane.” A voice muttered from behind Jason drawing his attention away.

“I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were here.”

“Don’t be, you were here first.” The elderly man replied.

“Do you know who wrote this?” Jason asked showing him the book.

“No, the author never uses his or her name, but I can show you what they said.”

“Do it.”


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