It took a while for Frostmaw to recognize the smell.
Everything was so vivid here, more intense, moreso than anywhere he’d ever been. As a cub, growing up in the snows of Dun Morogh, scents carried a long way, as there were few competing smells on the wind.
But here, the air was full of birdsong and animal cries, and more distantly, the sounds of things strange and unnatural, the kind of half-remembered nightmare that would haunt him in the early spring after long sleeps. The colors were so intense that Frostmaw sometimes had to shut his eyes to give them a rest — who knew there was so much green in the whole world? And the air was full of smells, layered one atop another, plants, animals, water, earth, again and again and — blood. Bear blood, a lot of it.
This ensemble, built around the Sawed Off guild tabard, has been my go-to transmog over the years. The white color represents the snow of Khaz Modan while the brown color represents the deep earth that the Ironforge dwarves have fortified themselves in. The silver and gold trims reflect the metals found in fine dwarven craftsmanship. The fur fringes provide warmth against the chill and is a personal nod towards Frostmaw, Ringo’s long-time bear companion. I favor this outfit for its overall simplicity and practicality along with its layers of sentimentality.
Personally I prefer to carry maces like a proper dwarf priest when opportunity allows, however, the Crackling Staff is near and dear to my heart. It is a simple white crystal staff from Alterac Valley — a snow-covered dwarven PvP battleground that I spent many months in. At the time, the only reward for reaching exalted status with an Alliance race was to unlock racial-specific mounts for purchase. There were no incentives for dwarven players to reach exalted with Ironforge since we already had access to our own rams early on, but it was unthinkable to me to reach exalted with another race before my own. I even made sure that handing over armor scraps to a dwarven NPC, Murgot Deepforge, was the final action in reaching exalted. So anytime I’m not wielding a mace and a stick of dynamite, you’ll see me running around with this staff instead!
“Nay, nay, jus’ makin’ a joke,” Ringo said. He looked down at the rifle in his hands, which seemed to vibrate with internal energy. The gun’s twitches seemed to coincide with the bolts of electricity crackling around the blue-furred wolf whom Frostmaw was sniffing at dubiously.
“Anyway, ye reckon Ah’m the right one to carry this unique weapon o’ the Titans?”
“Well, you’re the bearer of this weapon of the Titans,” Mimiron said.
“There’s more than one?”
“There are 24.”
“Models of guns,” Mimiron said, turning his head toward Ringo.
Behind him, what Ringo took to be more vrykul participating in the Drakkensryd turned out to be elves, humans, tauren, orcs and others dismounting from proto-drake mounts and approaching the keeper.
“I’m not stupid, herald. I’m not going to entrust the fate of the entire world to just one Earthen.”
“Mah son, a terrible darkness ha’ returned to our world. As before, it seeks to anni –”
“Are you seriously composing a letter to your kid while we’re ass-deep in demons?” Widge Gearloose snapped, turning back around. Even his mechanostrider seemed annoyed, its headlamps cutting through the greenish gloom of the Broken Shore.
“He already left Bael a note,” Beli Flinthammer said, pulling out a spyglass and peering down the path. “Ringo’s just rewriting it in his head.”
“Ah donnae want the boy to wonder what happened tae me or how Ah felt about him if somethin’ ever does happen!” Mountaineer Ringo Flinthammer roared, waving an arm, causing Beer Run to rear up and Frostmaw to snarl in sympathy.
Everyone settled down and Beli patted Ringo’s thigh with one hand.
“Well, I can respect that,” Widge said quietly, pointing his mechanostrider down the hill and starting off with a whir of machinery. “I left a letter for my cats.”
“You have cats?” Beli asked.
“I have a life outside of continually trying to save the world with you two!”
“I left a letter for my axes,” Baelan muttered to Ringo. “They like being read to — the vibrations keep the edges sharp.”
Ringo thought about this, nodding.
“Come on, idjits,” Beli interrupted, spurring Sam the Ram forward with her toes, “we’ve got demons to kill.”
Ringo Flinthammer reloaded, then sighted along the barrel of his gun, forged in the fires of Ulduar. The presence of the Titans, no matter how minor, was a comfort in this place.
He raised his gun and prepared to dispatch another Legion commander …
The shot went wide.
“Ah’m not shirkin’ nothin’, ye bastard! Just shut yer pie hole and let me do what Ah do, before Ah remember Ah ken put a bullet through yer head instead!”
Ringo was uncomfortable here in Tarren Mill. Before the Cataclysm, Ringo and Beli had been only known it as the source of Forsaken assaults on Southshore. The time they’d spent in Tarren Mill had not been peaceful. The burning stench of fel only partially concealed the sweet smell of rot that followed the Forsaken everywhere.
Frostmaw pulled a flying demon to the ground, and Ringo fired two rounds into its head.
“Seriously, does no one remember who Helcular was? The butcher of Southshore? He was a monster even when the bastard was human! We should be killin’ him, and his bloody abominations, along with the Legion!”
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