Ringo noted what looked like a Forsaken campsite to the south.
“No time to see what ye’re up to,” Ringo muttered toward them, “Not today.”
The Wetlands had been flooded after Deathwing had shattered the Stonewrought Dam, and the Thandol Span appeared likely to fall to Dark Iron militants. The Arathi Highlands looked almost untouched by Deathwing’s wrath, and Ringo hoped he could prevail upon Captain Ironhill to send some of the Dun Garok garrison to help secure the region.
Indeed, the Hillsbrad Foothills were quiet when Ringo arrived, with winter songbirds calling to one another and the steady plop-plop of melting snow falling in clumps from the trees.
Frostmaw and Beer Run trudged along together, both snuffling as they went; the bear looking for winter berries on mostly barren bushes and the ram looking longingly at the last strands of grass peeking up through the slush.
“Khaz’goroth on a cracker,” Ringo hissed as they arrived at Dun Garok, slipping from Beer Run’s saddle and running a few steps forward before dropping to his knees in the mud, soaking the woolen trousers beneath his armor.
Everyone was dead. Mountaineers, riflemen and priests — seemingly all of Dun Garok’s garrison had been slaughtered outside the hillside fortress and their bodies left to freeze in the snow. They had been hacked with axes and burned with shadowbolts and shot with arrows. Climbing to his feet, Ringo gingerly pulled on one arrow, but then had to break it off: the body of the priestess was frozen solid.
He examined the arrow’s purple and black fletching.
There were those in the Alliance who claimed the hatred of the Forsaken was unreasonable, that they were victims of Arthas Menethil and were only trying to survive after escaping his control. Ringo had always known better: Granted, they wore the bodies of the former Prince of Lordaeron’s subjects, but whatever animated them now wasn’t their soul; it was something vicious and evil. Dun Garok’s mission had been to protect trade going from the surviving human kingdoms of the north to Khaz Modan. They had neither the manpower nor the mission of actively engaging the Horde. The Forsaken had always had more than enough manpower to wipe them out, if they’d had a mind to.
Looking east, Ringo sighed. Between the Forsaken-held Silverpine Forest and Dun Garok were Hillsbrad and Southshore. If Dun Garok was gone, those communities were too.
He resisted the urge to scream; there was no point in calling attention to his presence, not yet. Khaz Modan had suffered too many blows for him to assault the Forsaken village of Tarren Mill all on his own; there would be no back-up for him if he got surrounded. Once things were under control in his homeland, there would be time for revenge.
Going over to Beer Run, Ringo led the ram to a bush and dug through a saddle bag while his mount eagerly chewed the dark green leaves. The little spade Ringo carried was meant for camping, not burying bodies, but it’d have to do.
“And we’ll have a word with them Forsaken near the wall before we head to Menethil Harbor, by Aggramar.”