Mountaineer Ringo Flinthammer rushed out of the Deeprun Tram station and into Tinker Town. The home of the Gnomeregan government in exile had been in the process of shutting down, after the Battle for Gnomeregan and the establishment of New Tinkertown, but right now, it was packed with dwarven and gnomish refugees fleeing Deathwing’s onslaught.
“That’s the last time Ah listen to a bloody squid,” Ringo snarled, half-guiding, half-shoving his in-laws, the Rockbottoms, toward an authoritative-looking gnome with an officer of the Ironforge Guard. “Ah was away from me homeland and family when they needed me most!”
“Mountaineer!” a gruff voice barked from across the crowded hall. “What are you doing here?”
“Sir!” Ringo snapped off the best salute he could manage, as he was jostled by refugees. “Ah was in Stormwind, sir. The Earthen Ring …”
“What is your regular posting?” The guard wore the insignia of an officer of the Ironforge Guard.
“Loch Modan, sir,” Ringo said, then blurted out, unable to stop himself. “Sir, me family is there, is it …”
“I don’t know,” the guard interrupted him. “We’re having trouble getting through. The Dark Irons are taking advantage of the confusion sown by that bloody dragon: The airport’s been attacked and there are rumors they have destroyed Menethil Harbor.”
“And the king, sir? On the tram, they were sayin’ he was dead.”
“It’s … complicated. Maybe. But you swore an oath to him, mountaineer. All of us have families we’re worried about; right now your king needs you to do your duty.”
Not knowing what else to do, Ringo snapped off another salute. The guard grabbed his hand.
“This ring! You fought with the Ashen Verdict?”
“Aye, sir,” Ringo said, confused, extracting his hand from her grip. “Why?”
“Because I reckon you should be able to get through enemy lines, no matter how bad things are. Send back detailed status reports to Commander Stonebreaker. He’ll see that the … those in charge know what’s going on. We need to know the status of all of Khaz Modan, mountaineer, not just Loch Modan.”
“Of course. Ye can count on me.”