Time stream

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This article is about the cosmological concept. For the novel see Time Streams.

A time stream defines the time continuum of each of the multiverses. A time stream can be imagined as a constantly extending line, with a beginning at the starting point of the multiverse's existence, and a lengthening end-point which represents the current, global time in multiverse. Each point between the beginning of the line and its end represents one moment of multiverse's history.

Slowing and quickening[edit | edit source]

Failed experiments by Urza on Tolaria resulted in fast and slow bubbles of time. These can be considered as locally shortened or lengthened time streams.

Interactions of time streams[edit | edit source]

There are infinite time streams,[1] and each of them represents one reality containing a multiverse.[notes 1] Because their amount is infinite, some of them are exactly the same, others differ only in some details or historical period (their global times can flow with varying speed), yet others can be completely different.

New time streams can appear spontaneously, but can also collapse, mostly as an effect of some cataclysm in the multiverse (usually connected with its Nexus). Some of the time streams fray, branch or intermingle.[2] Usually then, time streams are autonomous or affect each other in ways which are not dangerous for their existence. However, in some circumstances their interactions are hazardous. Especially when time rifts come into existence, bridging alternate time streams, seemingly those most similar, possibly neighbouring ones. Rifts are very dangerous, creating serious temporal stresses and can cause a collapse of a time stream, so the end of existence of multiverse it carries.[3]

The Temur shamans of Tarkir speak of the past, the "now" (the present) and the "unwritten now" (the future). They are seeing the past and the various possible presents all at the same time.[4] Chianul in the old timeline saw a Tarkir that was dominated by dragons, while Arel in the new timeline sees a Tarkir where the dragons have fallen and Tarkir is ruled by khans.

Travels in time[edit | edit source]

Although extremely rare and dangerous, it is possible to travel backwards in the time stream — to the past. Travelling forward in time would be phasing, which removes an object from the time stream (so from existence) for a specified length of time. Unphased object don't feel the flow of the time — in one moment it appears in the future although thousands of years might have passed.

For a long time, the only being known to travel backward in time (even several times) in the multiverse of Dominia was Karn. When Urza started research on time travels, he found out that following temporal stresses will kill any creature having a natural body — even that of planeswalker. Experimenting with different kinds of materials Urza declared that silver is the most resistant element for temporal stresses. That's how Karn was created — as a probe for tests on time travels. Urza's experiments didn't let Karn do very long jumps. Before the explosion of Urza's time machine, Karn could move just one day back in time. But thousand years later, when Karn became embodiment of the Legacy, hundreds of souls, minds and planeswalker himself, he repeated this achievement in a much larger scale and without external machines. This time he moved hundreds of years back in time.

The second person to travel back through time was Sarkhan Vol. Using Ugin's Nexus on Tarkir, he traveled 1,280 years back in time to the pivotal fight between Bolas and Ugin.[5][6]

The exact mechanisms of time travel are not known, but judging from their descriptions it can be said that after moving back in time, the history is overwritten by the new version to the point of multiverse's present.[notes 2] However, while Sarkhan's actions altered the history of Tarkir, they didn't effect the rest of the Multiverse.[7] It is not possible to stay in the past, because the time stream presses on the traveler like a current of a strong river. Because the costs of energy needed to stay there are enormous and travelers have finite supplies, the time stream will eventually return them to their natural period of departure.[notes 3]

It is not known how paradoxes are resolved.[notes 4] However, it was noted that they cause temporal energies to accumulate in rifts, threatening to collapse the time stream, or speeding this process up.[notes 5]

Clockworking[edit | edit source]

According to Tezzeret in the canonicly contested novel Test of Metal, mages known as clockworkers treat time like a spatial dimension; he/she can easily jump back and forwards in time like other mages teleport room to room. Such a person is also powerful enough to control the personal temporal flow of people, slowing or speeding up time (making you die by growing old really fast). Tezzeret illustrated the concept of moving sideways in time. Comparing time to a braided rope he explained that every time you make a choice you split off a new temporal strand, some of which will return back to the main line and some of which will go to different ones (basically infinite alternate timelines - although only the more "local" ones close to your main thread are accessible to you). The master clockworker can choose which of these timelines he or she likes, basically choosing the outcome of any encounter. The only limits to clockworking are the power of the adept and rules of probability - the more improbable an event is, the more power it requires to know about and access the alternate timeline where that event occurs.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. It is known however, that planes can sometimes leave the multiverse: "Planewalkers have been known to disappear entirely if the universe they currently inhabit relocates radically, or shifts free of Dominia itself.""Dominia and Its Walkers" by Richard Garfield. It is not known what happens with such planes though. Do they cease to exist, or maybe there is some outer space of multiverse, still contained within the time stream? Another possibility is that when they leave the multiverse, they keep their own part of the time stream creating new, independent one. It isn't known if such plane can return to the multiverse either.
  2. Time Streams novel
  3. according to Karn in Planar Chaos novel
  4. For example, what would happen if Karn traveled back in time and stopped Urza from building him.
  5. According to Teferi in Future Sight

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Flavor text of Retether: The rifts reach into infinite time streams, bringing the divergent products of alternate pasts into the present.
  2. Flavor text of Return to Dust: Some timelines forever fray, branch, and intermingle. Others end abruptly.
  3. Matt Cavotta (September 28, 2006). "Dueling in Dominaria". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Magic Creative Team (September 10, 2014). "Planeswalker's Guide to Khans of Tarkir, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Wizards of the Coast (November 7, 2014). "PAX Australia Magic Panel". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes (December 10, 2014). "Journey to the Nexus". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Doug Beyer (January 6, 2015). "time travel in the multiverse adds a whole new layer of rules.". A Voice for Vorthos. Tumblr.