Signs of the times

Ringo chasing a cultist through the Dwarven District of Stormwind

Mountaineer Ringo Flinthammer squinted as the lights overhead flashed past as he rode the Deeprun Tram through the darkness.

He peered at the dark, never-used station the tram passed. He didn’t know what the gnomes had intended for them when they built the tram, but legend had it they were now overrun with leper gnomes, troggs and night elf prostitutes. Ringo shuddered.

The tram stopped with a lurch in Stormwind, and he hopped off, eager to find this Earthen Ring person who apparently needed the help of the mountaineers. He stepped out of the station into the warm air of the District in Stormwind.

To the dwarves who lived here — including Ringo’s in-laws, the Rockbottoms — this was the real city, and the place they rebuilt first after Stormwind’s destruction during the First War at the hands of the Horde. The other areas of the city were the “human districts,” where beggars pleaded for coins and elves and draenei danced on mailboxes. Life here, though, in these streets filled with the smoke of countless forges and the banging and clanging of hammers and machinery, made sense and it was the home to practical folks.

“Leave behind your homes, your possessions and your cares, and join us!” a woman, wearing signs draped across the front and back of her dark robe, called out as she shuffled through the streets barefoot. “Azeroth is coming to an end. Make your peace now!”

“Khaz’goroth on a cracker!” Ringo snapped. “Ye normally have to pay to see a show like this.”

He jogged after her, his mountaineer’s winter cloak snapping in the breeze behind him.

“It is not too late to save yourselves from the coming catastrophe!” the woman called out. “You needn’t perish with Azeroth. Follow me and live!”

A Twilight's Hammer Cultist

“Oi!” Ringo barked, running in front of her and stopping her cold. “That’s enough of that doomsday nonsense! A few tremors ain’t the end o’ nothing, ‘cept maybe a chandelier or two.”

“Stormwind is full of people who would silence the truth!” the woman called out, looking over Ringo’s head. Behind him, on the front steps of the Bar — there was only one bar in the District, and the dwarves hadn’t seen a need to name it — several of the patrons jeered her. “Turn away from the false Light, and instead embrace the hope and truth I offer you!”

“Yer gonna be embracin’ me boot with yer arse cheeks if ye donnae take this nonsense elsewhere. This ain’t Goldshire, woman.”

“Flames will consume the world. Storms will wash away all hope,” the woman continued, waving a pamphlet she pulled from inside her robe. “The elements will reign at last.”

“Ah reckon Ah understand why the Earthen Ring are involved, then,” Ringo said, pushing her toward the door. “Yer dressed like one of them Twilight’s Hammer nitwits that sit around worshippin’ crystals in Silithus.”

“Come with me, brothers and sisters, and learn the truth!” the woman shrieked as Ringo shoved her out of the archway that formed the boundary of the District, and she stopped herself just short of tumbling into one of Stormwind’s canals.

“Stop disturbing the peace, cultist!”

Ringo looked down and spotted a small blue device covered in runes the woman had apparently dropped behind a crate as she was being expelled from the district. Ringo snatched it up. It was cold to the touch and made a sound like the rushing wind had been trapped inside.

He threw the device after her, bouncing it off her skull.

“An’ take this nonsense with ye! Peddle yer nonsense in one o’ them human districts, not here!”


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