Once the gunshots stopped echoing, the bear cub bounded out of the tunnel, into the snow, the violence of a moment before already forgotten.
Ringo checked the bloody bodies of the troggs, turning up only a few shiny rocks and a half-eaten piece of some sort of rotten meat. He squinted as the bear leaped through snowdrifts, the glare bright this morning. Ringo slipped his goggles up from around his neck, fitting them over his eyes. Hefting his pack, he followed the bear.
“Come on, you. You can play when we get to Kharanos.”
Slinging his blunderbuss over his shoulder, he stumped down the hill, heading down the pass, chewing a cold sausage.
The troggs in the tunnel were new, and they disturbed him. He’d known security in Dun Morogh wasn’t what it used to be, what with the trolls pushing their way back into the Coldridge Valley, but he hadn’t expected the one pass through to the rest of the kingdom to be held by invaders. Things were worse than he’d imagined.
“About time you got here.” Beli hopped off the tree stump, brushing snow from her rear and slinging her backpack back onto her shoulders. “My arse was about to freeze right off.”
The bear squeaked with delight, and fumbled towards her through the snow. Ringo just gaped.
“What are you doing here?”
She rolled her eyes as she reached down to scratch the bear under his chin.
“You’ll just end up shooting yourself in the foot or doing yourself an injury with that bloody axe you’ve got strapped to your waist, as though it hasn’t been years since you fought anything more dangerous than firewood with it. If you’re committed to this damn fool militia idea of yours, I might as well go along and keep you out of trouble instead of just patching you up later.” She pointed a finger at him warningly. “But judging how damn slow you got through those troggs, I’m warning ye right now to keep up or you’ll find me 10 miles down the road, with my feet up in front of the fire at the Thunderbrew’s inn, aye?”
“Oh, aye.” Ringo chewed, grinning as he followed her down the hill. “Fancy a bit of sausage, by any chance?”
“Don’t push your luck,” she said, “I’m still mad at you, Ringo Flinthammer.”
Ringo cackled to himself, and stomped after her through the snow.