“There you are! Is that what you’ve been doing all this time?”
Ringo Flinthammer looked up from the axe he was sharpening with a whetstone, stretching an aching back as he did. The late summer humidity in Loch Modan made his hair and beard drip with sweat, even in the shade of tree with a trunk too thick for Ringo to encircle with both arms.
“Aye, if the boy wants to spend all his time learning to fight with a bloody great weapon, Ah reckon some of it ought tae be spent with his father, swingin’ an axe that cut down plenty of Kael’thas’ soldiers, back in the day.”
“He’s going to have other teachers,” Beli said. “It doesn’t mean he doesn’t look up to you.”
Ringo just continued sharpening the black blade of his axe.
“Well,” Beli sighed after a moment. “Since you’re free — and I’m fine with you not going back to being a mountaineer …”
“Nae point,” Ringo muttered, “Not with Gul’dan still out there, ready tae start mischief any second now ..”
“Right, so you’ve got time to run a package over to Steelgrill’s Depot. You could take Frostmaw. He’s lookin’ shaggy and like he’s put on weight.”
Collapsed in the shade of a nearby bush, the bear let out an irritated grunt.
“And it’d be good for you to get Beer Run out as well. Rams his age need …”
“Aye, aye, we’re all old and fat and smelly and can use a spot o’ exercise. Ah’ll put away the axe and give the boy a kiss and be on me way.”
Two hours later, Ringo was no longer sweating — if anything, he was wishing he’d put on layers underneath one of his Draenor mountaineer uniforms.
“Here, from my stash,” Bellowfiz said, sliding a mug across to Ringo.
“Evershine?” Ringo blinked in surprise. “Ye donnae see that much any more.”
“Keep it under your hood,” Bellowfiz said. “Rejold doesn’t make it any more.”
“Well, thank ye fer this, then,” Ringo said, taking a deep swig. “Now, what were ye saying about th’ king?”
“Oh, aye! It was the damnedest thing — a few days ago, he just … woke up. Moira was in there, talking to her dad, I guess, when suddenly, he started talking back. Then he took a walk through Ironforge and headed out into the snow. I didn’t see him go, but I’ve been to Old Ironforge myself and …”
Suddenly, there was a thunderous crash. The stone blocks that made up the ceiling of the depot cracked, sending dirt and stone chips pouring down to the floor.
“Khaz’goroth on a cracker!” Ringo roared, picking himself up off the floor. “What’s goin’ on out there?”
“Demons? In Kharanos?”
Just like in his nightmares, long ago, the Burning Legion had comes to Khaz Modan.