“Is it necessary to feed every last blessed stray cat on Quel’Danas?”
“It’s not their fault that the war has made so many of them homeless,” she said, scraping diced grilled mudfish onto a collection of tin plates, cats of every description swarming her ankles and knees. “Someone has to feed them.”
“Aye, fine, but … damn it, woman, this morning, two of them attacked me beard while I was sleeping!”
“If ye’d wash yer beard after dinner …”
“Excuse me,” came a gruff voice.
“Me beard is just fine! None of the other animals about here attack me beard, just these damned elf-cats!”
“Don’t ye yell at me, Ringo Flinthammer!”
“Ah, good, it is ye,” the voice continued. “I have something here …”
“Woman, I woke up with two blasted cats hanging from me whiskers this morning and me nose cut to shreds! I’ll yell if I –”
“EXCUSE ME, PLEASE!”
Ringo and Beli stopped, turning to look at the dwarf looking expectantly at them, a sealed envelope in his hand.
“You are Ringo Flinthammer, aye?”
“Aye,” Ringo said, now self-conscious about arguing with his wife, although the thought hadn’t occurred to him in the heat of the fight. “What’s that there, then?”
“A letter from Valgarde,” the dwarf said, “In Northrend.”
“Northrend?” Ringo said, taking the envelope, pondering its unfamiliar seal.
“Aye, me name’s Glorenfeld. I’m with the Explorer’s League expedition there. McSorf sent me back for supplies and had me find ye and deliver this.”
“Northrend,” Ringo trailed off, turning away from the others and breaking the seal.
“Who’s it from, then?” Beli asked, the mewing cats around her shins momentarily forgotten.
“One of the dwarves waiting for us when the Northspear arrived in Howling Fjord. He said he were one of the dwarves who had accompanied Muradin Bronzebeard in his last trip north and was stranded when Arthas Menethil burned the fleet to stop any from leavin’.”
“What was his name, Glorenfeld?” Beli pressed, watching Ringo’s back as he read.
“Flinthammer. He’s a brother of your man Ringo there.”
“Pack yer things, Beli,” Ringo said, his face expressionless. “We’re going to Northrend.”