Nine months later …
“Daddy, ye go easy on me and Ah’ll go hard on ye.”
Ringo Flinthammer looked up from the Hearthstone board and at his son, sitting across the table from him outside in the warm autumn air. The buzz of cicada song filled the humid air of Loch Modan.
“Bael, ye’ve got …” Ringo counted, “Twenty-two health left and Ah’ve got eight. Ah donnae think ye need to worry about me ‘going hard’ on ye.”
“Daddy, please,” the dwarven boy beseeched him, smiling beatifically. “Ah looooove ye.”
“Fine, fine,” Ringo said, pushing back from the table, flipping over a stone token on the board. “Steady Shot. Now it’s 20 to eight. Yer turn.”
“Nay,” Ringo shook his head. “Stuck on those ships fer weeks before the assault on Orgrimmar, they bet back wages, advance wages, e’erything but their armor and rifles.”
He leaned across to Bael, poking a stubby finger onto the Hearthstone board with his mug-free hand.
“They only went ‘hard!'”
Beli said nothing, just pulled Ringo back against his chair as Bael pondered his cards.
“How’s the paintin’ comin’?” Ringo asked, feeling her idly braid his hair.
“It’s good. It’s working now,” she said. “It’ll be nice to have a new portrait for us … you know. In case.”
Ringo reached back and patted his wife’s hand as they watched Bael cackling as he laid down a card featuring a coin on its face, then standing up and stomping around like a dinosaur and roaring before dropping a final card on the board, winning another game.
“Nae worries, Beli. Ah’m no’ gaen’ nowhere. The war is over. This here, at home, this is all th’ excitement Ah need.”