“Years ago, when you were still a baby, I wrote you another letter from the shadow of Icecrown Citadel. I don’t know if your mother ever shared it with you, since I and at least some of Ashen Verdict made it back alive.
“Your mother and I are there now. We came seeking a priest your mother knows, Scott the Psycho, who we thought might be able to tell us what’s wrong with your mother’s magic. But before we could, the Banshee Queen ripped open the sky. The veil between the world of the living and the land of the dead got torn to pieces.
“The crew of Skybreaker said the Alliance was sending an expedition across to find out whatever the Banshee was up to and to put a stop to it. They asked Lt. Commander Flinthammer — your ma — to be part of that mission. I’m going along to be her aide-de-camp (her assistant).
“When I wrote you that letter from Northrend, I knew I was walking into certain death, or something close to it.
“No living person knows what’s waiting for us on the far side of the veil, not even Scott the Psycho.
“But whatever’s happening up here is as bad as anything Azeroth’s faced during your life or mine.
“And somewhere on the other side is Kildris. We’re going to find out why your mother’s magic isn’t working, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring Marisi’s mom back home with us.
“Be kind to Marisi. Be a friend to her, a brother if you can.
“I don’t need to tell you to listen to your Uncle Ely while we’re gone. You’re a good boy — a good man — and already a better one than I’ve ever been. You more than make me proud: You give me an ideal to live up to, even though I know I never will fully measure up. Your light will guide us home.
“We’ll be back. Not even death can keep us from you.
“Beli, such language!” Ringo Flinthammer was shocked. “You ne’er talk like that.”
“I can’t see a thing in this blizzard. Are you sure Rusty knows where he’s going?”
“Aye, he was raised in the Storm Peaks. He knows these mountains and Icecrown Glacier even when he cannae see them hisself. He’ll get us to this Scott person. (Honestly, what sort o’ name is ‘Scott,’ anyway?)”
“Again, a psychopomp is one who helps in the transition between life and death.”
“In that case, mah rifle is a psychopomp, too!”
“Scott stayed here at the Argent Dawn base to study the undead and death and dying. I couldn’t sit around like the the useless wet farts at the Netherlight Temple, whose plan to deal with whatever’s blocking resurrection magic is to ‘pray harder.’ So, Northrend and Scott the Merciful.”
“Even though he’s a psycho.”
“At least the blizzard’s letting up. Ringo! Look at the sky!”
Despite what some idiots were desperate to believe — that the Bronzebeard who called herself the “queen regent” had brought peace to the Dark Iron — most who lived in Shadowforge still conducted themselves like a people under siege.
And that meant, every time an adult Dark Iron left the relative safety of Blackrock Mountain, they dropped their child off at the dwarfanage and told them goodbye. If they survived the hostile world outside, they would reclaim them.
But if not, their child was already prepared for the worst and looked over by matrons who would raise them and train them so that they could avenge their parents.
His own parents had never returned from Grim Batol. During the Second War, they had been sent there to recover some artifacts believed lost during the War of the Three Hammers. But while they were there, the orcs of the Dragonmaw clan had descended on the city, claiming it for their own. Both his parents had been killed.
He had shed no tears. If he was the sort of child to show that kind of weakness, he would have cried when they dropped him off at the dwarfanage. But he had not. He had known that they were doing Ragnaros’ will and that the world outside of Blackrock Mountain’s fiery embrace would likely be the death of all of them.
Although she tried to be strong, his daughter always cried when he dropped her off at the dwarfanage.