The big bear murmured again, shoving a head the size of an anvil against Ringo Flinthammer’s elbow as he got dressed.
“Ah know, boy! But Ah ain’t gaen’ naewhere.”
Doctor VanHowzen smiled indulgently.
“Your bear companion has scarcely strayed more than a few feet from your side, ever since you were both discovered at sea. Indeed, we had to bring in a Druid of the Claw to explain that we weren’t trying to hurt you before he let us operate on you.”
Ringo took them off, inspecting them.
“Khaz’goroth on a cracker! They’re cracked!”
“You did fall off the back of Deathwing into the ocean …”
“Oh, aye,” Ringo said, pulling on the goggles anyway. “Reckon Ah’ll be replacin’ these soon enough.”
“Certainly, once you’re back home,” VanHowzen nodded, lifting up the sack of Ringo’s remaining belongings. At last, they were going to move him from the keep’s infirmary to the Theramore Inn. “That letter you sent back home should be there quickly — Lady Proudmoore has copied Dalaran’s mail system, so your letter should have already arrived in Theramore, and … what’s that noise? Is that a zeppelin?”
There was a sound like thunder, and the world was dark, for a very, very long time.
“THIS ONE’S ALIVE!”
Hands suddenly were lifting rubble off of Ringo, throwing rocks aside. The blazing hot Theramore sun beat down. All around him came the sounds of men and dwarves moving rock.
Ringo opened his eyes as several strong pair of hands lifted him to his feet.
“You’re all right, sir dwarf.” The shape speaking to him wobbled into focus, turning into an Alliance naval officer. “That bear you were with seemed to have absorbed most of the damage of the falling roof.”
“Frostmaw! Is he –”
“He’s alive, yes. There’s few enough of you who are.”
“The goblins did this …”
“We were chasing a Horde fleet eastward, toward a rumored new harborage they’ve established when we saw the blast. We were given permission to seek survivors, but Theramore is lost, and we’re needed back at sea. We can bring you with us, if you like, in case the Horde comes through to finish off any survivors.”
Ringo looked around at what remained of Theramore. From somewhere in the keep, a cabinet in some ruined armory had been smashed open, and a set of tabards lay gleaming incongruously in the sun, unblemished and beautiful amid the blood and rock dust. Ringo pulled one on over his armor.
“Ah’m comin’ wit’ ye. Ain’t nothin’ left fer me here now, an’ Ah’ll want to be there when ye board the Horde vessel.”
“Welcome aboard, sir.”
((Inspired in part by the Blog Azeroth shared topic “Three Must-Haves.”))