It had been more than six years since Ringo Flinthammer had descended into the depths of Old Ironforge, down steps that had been carved by some of the first dwarves to awaken in the Eastern Kingdoms, transformed during their long sleep from the Earthen the Titans had originally created them as.
The passage down still filled him with hushed awe, despite all that he had seen and done since that time. He felt the unseen eyes of all the kings of Ironforge upon him, and knew that they found him wanting.
There, on a platform suspended over the fiery heart of Ironforge Mountain, was the last king of Ironforge, the one whom Ringo imagined must be most disappointed in him.
“Ah have failed ye, me king,” Ringo said, pulling off his green mountaineer’s hood and falling to one knee.
The diamond form of Magni Bronzebeard stood above him, arms outstretched, unmoving since the day he’d read the invocation off the tablets brought back from Ulduar in an attempt to stop the elemental invasion of Khaz Modan.
“Ah have sought th’ aid o’ th’ Earthen Ring, consulted with th’ Earthen o’ Deepholm and even the tol’vir in Uldum. Ain’t none o’ them know how ta turn ye back ta flesh, which Ah swore ta find out.”
“Mountaineer,” a gentle voice interjected from a shadowy corner of the room, “Who said this was your responsibility?”