Branches. They split apart. A branch will grow as one and then, as the word suggests, branch out into more. This is a helpful and wrong way of looking at timelines. As you go down a timeline, many decisions are made. Many events happen. And for each one the timeline splits. Sometimes it may split with no clear impetus for why. But branches are an inaccurate metaphor because timelines split far more rapidly than actual branches. Many paths seem identical to others, while some change drastically.
Exploring these paths can be dangerous. As dangerous as exploring the different paths of a deep jungle. Hey, you know what else has branches? Trees. And you know where trees are found? The jungle. And you know . . .
Okay, you know what? Forget this. You and I both know you’re not here for this. You’re not here for alternate universe theories, or backstory, or laying out a setting or characters. No. You’re here because you want to read about some cool hypnosis and some cool lamias. So why don’t we dispense with pretending and jump right to that, huh?
You actually do want to meander a bit? All right.
Now, when an electron gets jumpy, it can exist in more than one . . .
What? Oh, you actually just wanted to get to the setting and not go on about a scientific lesson that the writer doesn’t understand anyway? All right. Let’s do that.
But first? YOU. Yes, you. Who are you? What’s your deal? Do you live in the jungle? Were you raised there? Are you just on a trip? Are you a boy or a girl? What’s your name? What’s your rival’s name? Which Pokemon starter do you want?
Er, sorry. Wrong story. But still, who are you?
You don’t actually have to tell me. Just consider it for yourself.
What I do know is the jungle has gotten dangerous for a human. Wait, you are a human, right? I’ll assume you are. Anyway, there’s this tiger, and he’s a big jerk, and a lot of other animals don’t like you, and things have really been heating up with the apes lately, there’s like this crocodile army who’s been entering their territory and stealing their bananas and, well, it’s just a big mess. Everyone agrees you should go live in a human village, because other humans are totally way less of jerks than animals.
But you don’t wanna go! You want to stay in the jungle, for some reason. Maybe this is your home. Maybe you want to research all these branches I went on about earlier. Or maybe you haven’t found all the Koroks. Regardless of your reasons, the animals want to send you on your way.
One evening you go out for a stroll with a friend named Bagheera. He’s a down-to-earth panther who knows much about the ways of the jungle. After an evening of travel Bagheera reveals he brought you on this trip under false pretenses. You weren’t going to the movie theater, but to a village of humans! Lame! Well, you’re out far from wherever you were staying before, so Bagheera insists on stopping to rest for the evening. He suggests a tall tree to climb, saying it’ll be safer up there.
Now, remember when I was talking about branches earlier? Well, these trees have some very nice branches of their own. The tree Bagheera is under is pretty tall, though. It has a big branch up high, but very few lower down that you could climb up. On the other hand, a nearby tree has some lower branches within reach. There’s another one further away if you want to be a rebel and sleep further away from Bagheera.
And this is where those timeline branches come in. In one timeline, you climb up the tree with Bagheera. But there are timelines where you choose not to, where you climb up one of the other trees. With the power of—oh, let’s just say magic—we can explore all these timelines.
Go ahead. Visit one. Do you:
-1a Climb Bagheera’s tree
-1b Climb the closer tree
-1c Climb the further away tree