Battle before the citadel

Battle before the citadel

“The dwarves?”

“Aye, by Khaz, the dwarves! No one has a greater right to split that bloody traitor’s skull in two than us!”

Sir,” said the man polishing wine glasses behind the counter, his voice raising ever-so-slightly in disapproval, “Here at the Legerdemain Lounge, we keep our voices down as a courtesy to our other customers.”

“Shut yer strudel hole!” barked Ringo Flinthammer, pointing a thick finger at the shocked bartender. “Bloody wine bar.”

“Go back to what you were saying before,” Widge Gearloose said, putting down his own wine glass hurriedly. “Why would the dwarves have more right to deliver the killing blow to Arthas than, say, the humans?”

“What humans? Bloody Stormwind’s at the far end of the Eastern Kingdoms. And the rest of the Seven Kingdoms can barely find their arse with both hands right now. If anyone’s able to do it — and has the right to, after he betrayed Prince Muradin and all his men, including me brothers what served under Muradin — it’s us. It’ll be a dwarven axe lodged in Arthas’ skull, just you wait.”

“But surely, Fordragon …” began Voca Lodestone.

“Would say the same thing, if he were alive.”

A hissing from a neighboring table drew them up short. A group of Horde, wearing matching crimson tabards, sneered at Ringo and his group. An undead mage hooked a skeletal thumb at his own chest and snarled something in Orcish. The only words that Ringo understood were “Lordaeron” and “Arthas.”

“Forget it, ya bag o’ bones,” Ringo snapped. “Yer not one of the victims of Arthas; yer the thing walking around inside the corpse of one of his victims. Ye got no right to nothin’, including foulin’ my air with yer rot.”

An orc warrior at the other table slammed his fist down and leaped to his feet, looming over the dwarves and gnomes and roaring a challenge — he might not have understood Ringo’s words, but he clearly got the tone. Ringo was on his feet a second later.

Beli Flinthammer leapt up between them, separating them with a hand on each of their chests.

“Men, boys, Dalaran is a sanctuary,” she said, attempting to shove each of them backwards. “Surely ye two can just drop yer pants and prove whatever it is ye think ye’re provin’ here that way.”

“Or,” said a voice from the doorway, “We can solve this another way.”

“Kyro!” Beli said, smiling with relief, “Help me pull these two idiots apart.”

“My friends,” Joss Kyroson said, gently steering Ringo back to his seat, “Arthas Menethil must pay for his crimes, which he has visited on men and dwarves and blood elves and more. Indeed, the Argent Crusade,” and he puffed out his chest at this, trying to call attention to his crusader’s colors without being obvious about it, “has issued a call for champions. The Argent Tournament will bring together the champions from around Azeroth and let them prove who is most worthy to … these fellows don’t speak Common, that’s right.”

The paladin dug around in a pouch before finding a folded letter bearing the seal of the Argent Crusade. He handed it to the undead mage, who tore it open and read it aloud in Orcish.

“Oh good,” Beli said, rolling her eyes at Voca. “Encourage them, why don’t ye?”

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