Betrayal

Rusty in the skies over Wrynnfall

“There, you see?” the gnome warlock cackled, doing a triumphant dance on the outcropping overlooking Wrynnfall. “Ringo Flinthammer is dead!”

“You still don’t get it,” the human mage said, shaking his head. “Ringo’s not as brave as his brother Durkon, he’s not half the hunter that Bragh is, and he’s nowhere near the fighter that Mordun is, but he … oh, and you also forgot about that.”

The mage pointed.

Ringo felt a wind on his face. Although the air was still hot and humid, it smelled like Ulduar, of ancient metal and of the Titan’s Keepers.

Ringo pried open his eyes, feeling like he was climbing up from the bottom of a well.

“Rusty?”

The proto-drake hovered in the air over the battlefield, his powerful wings sending clouds of ash billowing, blinding the nearby demons. The drake did a wagging nod and roared in greeting as he lowered himself down toward the ground, one massive claw outstretched to scoop up Ringo.

Then a green fireball struck Rusty, sending him bouncing across the black earth, the metal plates bolted to his flesh glowing with heat.

“NO!” the gnome warlock screamed, leaping down to the ground before Ringo. “Enough! I drove away your family, killed your ram and your bear; I won’t be stopped by some dumb dragon now!”

“Vamen?” Ringo struggled to get to his feet. But he was weak with loss of blood and dropped to one knee. “This was all ye?”

“Yes!” Vamen D’barr all but yelled. “Finally! I thought it was so obvious, but luckily, you’ve been too stupid to see I’ve been following the orders of my masters in the Burning Legion for years. And now, the Flinthammer Boys get to watch as you — ACK!”

Another massive fireball, this one a giant orange one, blasted Vamen off his feet. He beat the flames out of his robe as Archmage Ikeya sailed down from the rocky outcropping overlooking Wrynnfall on his flying carpet.

“Are you OK?” Ikeya asked.

Ringo had been knocked flat on his back by the force of the two spells, but shakily raised a thumb to show he was still alive.

Ikeya turned back to Vamen, who was rising to his feet. He kicked the gnome in the jaw and then straddled his chest.

He’s the stupid one?”

Ikeya slid a blade into Vamen’s throat.

Sk’yahf agth huqth N’Zoth qornaus,” he whispered into Vamen’s ear as the gnome, goggle-eyed, gurgled blood. “The Legion will fall and then nothing will stand in our way.”

He stood up, wiping his weapon on the dead warlock’s robes.

“Ringo!” Durkon Flinthammer roared. He raced past Ikeya, Snorts, Bragh and Mordun hot on his heels.

“If Ah could get a wee little drink, Ah’ll be ready to go again,” Ringo whispered, pale and cold as Bragh and Mordun lifted him, an arm around each of their shoulders.

“If we can break through, there should be Legionfall medics inside,” Durkon said, pointing toward the Temple of Sargeras with his sword.

“Hurry,” Bragh said, nodding to Snorts, who pawed the ground, preparing to charge through a line of demons clearly worried about how this was going to go for them.

“You never give up, Ringo,” Ikeya smiled, glancing over at Vamen’s corpse. “Even when fear, common sense or even your own body tell you otherwise. Who knows what your brothers would do without you?”

Ikeya put an arm around Ringo, supporting him alongside Bragh.

“Enough talking,” Mordun snarled. “Let’s go!”

He and Snorts charged toward the demons standing between them and the temple. Durkon nodded at Bragh and Ikeya, readied his sword and shield, and charged right behind his brother and the boar. Rusty rose into the air, flying at the felbats sweeping in to block their charge.

“For Azeroth! For Khaz Modan!”


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