“Ah, winter,” Ringo Flinthammer sighed contentedly. “Yes, winter.”
“It’s too cold out here!” Beli snapped, stamping her feet and burying her hands in her armpits. She was the only dwarf Ringo knew who had absolutely no tolerance for winter weather.
“All right, all right, we’re going in,” he said, his breath turning to clouds of mist in the cold Hinterlands air. He clicked his tongue and the Pandaren bear cub jogged to his side from the steaming puddle at the base of a bush he had just been visiting. The cub was still full of energy, even with winter coming on, while Frostmaw — who by all rights should have been enjoying the icy weather — was sprawled out asleep in front of the fireplace in the basement of Aerie Peak. “I was just enjoying the winter stars.”
It was true: Ringo, long before he’d taken to the life of a rifleman, had always felt a sort of affinity for the stars of the winter sky, particularly for the constellation called The Hunter. It was the sort of thing that made Beli roll her eyes in exasperation, so Ringo kept it to himself. His wife was a child of warmer climes and daylight hours. Getting her to come north and fight the Witherbark and Vilebranch Trolls on behalf of the Wildhammer Clan had taken more than a little work on his part.
Beli had opened her mouth to reply when the world exploded.
A flash of purple light filled the sky and, before the spots had even formed before their eyes, there was an explosion overhead so loud, both dwarves were driven to their knees, and the bear cub found his bladder hadn’t been entirely empty after all.
“By Muradin’s beard!” Beli snarled, spitting icy dirt from her mouth. “What is THAT?”
Ringo’s gaze followed her outstretched finger. A purple streak ripped across the sky from east to west, leaving flickering flames in its wake.
“I dunno … some big damn Infernal? It punched through from the Twisting Nether like one, but that’s no kind of Infernal I’ve ever seen.”
“Is it landing near?”
Ringo whipped his head back and forth, spotting a Wildhammer sentry watching the object through a spyglass.
“Lad! Where’s it landing?”
“Not near here,” the Wildhammer murmured, his accent as dense as granite. “It’s big, whatever it is. Big as Aerie Peak, I reckon, but it’s breaking up. It’s going to hit Northrend or the sea west of there.”
Ringo grunted a thanks and ran toward Aerie Peak.
“Time to pack!”
Beli tore her eyes from the heavens in confusion.
“What? Where are we going?”
“Kalimdor! Whatever comes out of that thing is going to get its arse filled with thorium bullets!”