“Everything OK back there, Lt. Commander Flinthammer?”
“Aye,” Beli called out the engines as she checked their course on a compass. “How’s the Skychaser handling, Knight-Captain Flinthammer?”
“All right, Ah reckon,” Ringo said, scanning the skies over the Arathi Highlands. “We sure have come from oor Alterac Valley days. Lt. Commanders travel in style now.”
“Tack south a bit,” Beli said. “We want to avoid Galen’s Fall; there’s likely to be Forsaken spotters there.”
“Ah wanted tae pass o’er Dun Garok anyway,” he said as they flew over the ruins of Thoradin’s Wall.
“Even in death, the Dun Garok brigade holds the base,” Beli said as Ringo slowed the Skychaser and put it into hover mode over the mountain fort. “The Forsaken have never claimed it.”
“Nae wan should be surprised that Sylvanas attacked attacked th’ World Tree,” Ringo said after a moment of staring over the side at the base below. “When everyone else were tryin’ tae reco’er from th’ Cataclysm, she chose to attack an’ slaughter Southshore an’ Dun Garok.”
He sighed, and then gunned the Skychaser’s engines, steering the flying ship to the northwest. The smell of the lakes of Blight in the ruins of Southshore to the west made him scowl.
“After we’re done with Lordaeron, the Alliance should do something about Hillsbrad. The dead deserve no less.”
Dwarven steamtanks rolled into the surf on the northern Lordaeron coast and barely slowed until they had passed the ruins of Brill. The Horde hadn’t seem unprepared for attack, although they had perhaps been surprised by its intensity. Forsaken soldiers pulled back repeatedly, until most were safely inside the walls of Lordaeron City — even after all these years, it still felt wrong to Ringo and Beli to refer to it as “the Undercity.”
“We’ve got them bottled up, for now,” Beli said, lowering her spyglass. “We’ve control the air now, so they can’t escape that way.”
There was a sound like thunder from the west.
“And we’ve just collapsed their ‘secret’ exit tunnel,” Ringo grinned, brushing seaforium dust from his gloves.
“Their mages can still get them out with portals.”
“And they’ll be leavin’ the city behind. And we’ve got the seaforium to make sure there’s nae tunnels fer them to return to once they do.”
Beli pursed her lips and nodded.
“So, one more push. They surrender or flee. Sylvanas is out of options.”
“Ye still reckon she’s out o’ options?” Ringo panted, jogging alongside Beli. “She seems ta think she can run us all ’round this city o’ hers.”
“She was desperate enough to pour Blight on her own troops. Her back is to the wall,” Beli said, slowing with the Alliance advance, and looking warily around. “Or she was leading us …”
“Into a killing field, with a bottleneck behind us if’n we turn tail ‘n run,” Ringo snarled, gripping his Boarshot rifle. Like its cousins, it had been drained of the extra power that Mimiron had invested in it, but it was still a gun designed and built by a Keeper of the Titans and Ringo wasn’t ready to put it in his gun vault back in Thelsamar yet. And at this moment, Ringo liked thinking he might have a Keeper watching over him.
This very debate seemed to be taking place between King Wrynn and Lady Proudmoore.
“Aggramar’s bones, Ah’d really feel better if’n there were a dwarf up there with them,” Ringo growled.
Before Beli could respond, the shouted command came and the Alliance rushed toward the massed undead troops arrayed before them.
“If’n we get killed, ye know Ely’s gonna raise Bael to be an accountant,” Ringo said, aiming at an advancing abomination.
“At least he’ll be safe, Titans willing.”
“Mages!” a soldier shouted. “High-value prisoner transport!”
Ringo and a small squad of dwarven riflemen, parted to let a group of mages jog forward into the secured and cleared courtyard.
“Widge!” he called, breaking into his first smile since leaving Thelsamar. “Over here!”
The gnome mage beamed back, breaking ranks with the other mages, who hurried on to teleport out the prisoner.
“Ringo, Beli! I should have known you’d be here.” Widge’s face turned serious as he tapped a finger to his temple and pointed at the couple. “Dun Garok.”
“Aye,” Beli said, grabbing him and hugging him. “I reckon their spirits found a bit of peace today.”
“And when Jaina sailed out of the clouds, we should have known ye’d not be far behind,” Ringo said, turning his head back to scan for threats, although still listening.
Widge Gearloose barked out a laugh.
“No, today, I’m here as a son of Gnomeregan. I was with the reinforcements teleported in alongside the High Tinker.”
Beli poked Ringo in the back.
“Did you bring it, or is it still laying on the mantle back in Thelsamar?”
“Ah brought it, Ah brought it. Honestly, ye forget somethin’ one time …”
Ringo fished out the letter from inside his uniform and handed it over his shoulder to Widge.
“You know, I did see Jaina, er, Lady Proudmoore,” Widge beamed as he broke the seal on the letter. “She told me ‘nice work.'”
“Did she?” Beli raised an eyebrow.
“Um, to Alliance soldiers in our general vicinity, yes.”
“Does she even know yer name?” Ringo asked over his shoulder.
“We were students in Dalaran at the same time.”
“Aye, but does she even know yer name?”
“I mean, I didn’t study under Antonidas, like she did. But everyone in Dalaran knew Jaina. Everyone in Dalaran probably loved her, too.”
Blushing, Widge finished reading the letter and grunted in mild surprise. He folded it up, and tucked it inside his robe.
“Anyway, how do you two feel about coming with me to Kul Tiras?”