Ringo led the rams down the plank, onto the creaking dock. It was full of people unloading the ships, carrying supplies or loading them directly onto wagons to be delivered to the front. It was alive with men and dwarves and gnomes and night elves. No Horde, though: Theramore was still a secure installation, and the undead and trolls couldn’t be trusted inside its walls, Qiraji or no Qiraji. And Thrall, according to intelligence reports, still hadn’t solved his issues with the Shadow Council agents in his midst.
Despite the heat and the sticky salt air, Ringo was glad to be off the ship. Beli had sulked the entire way, the murloc kept trying to leap overboard, both bears, the owl and both rams had gotten seasick. After that, even the rotting fish smell of a port town like Theramore smelled like fresh air.
“Thane!” Came a gruff voice, its owner lost among the chests and shoulders of much taller dock workers. “Honor above glory!”
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Say goodbye to warm beds and homemade cherry pies and hellooooo to mosquito tents and mystery stew!
Of course, in the end, she did come. Ringo had grabbed the murloc child by its head spines (it didn’t hurt the critter — it always thought this was a hilarious game) and put it atop his ram as he’d packed up their goods, including Beli’s. She wasn’t about to let the murloc out of her sight, Ringo knew it, and Beli knew that he knew.
So now she was sulking below deck.
The ship creaked loudly as the wind caught the sails with a snap and the ship lurched away from the dock in Menethil Harbor. Ringo leaned against the railing, looking back at shore, murloc and bear cub at his feet. It was likely a view like this, he realized, that had been his parents’ last view of Khaz Modan, when they had sailed off as part of Jaina Proudmoore’s fleet during the Third War. Both died in the snows of Mount Hyjal, never to see home again.
Ringo felt a sudden chill and rolled down the sleeves of his canvas shirt, and clutched the bear cub to his chest as he watched the mountains of home slide away, replaced by the green rolling hills of ocean waves.
You know, I wasn’t too happy when Ringo first wanted to form a militia, but I went along with it because sometimes the numbskull just has to learn things the hard way. It is no skin off me back to stand by his side and take down nuisances. We’ve fought troggs. Clashed with the Dark Irons. Twisted arms here and there in the name of the king.
But the Qiraji? No, absolutely not.
I am not going back to Silithus to spend all day slapping mosquitoes off me arms, stuffing rags in me ears to keep out the creepy crawlies at night and waking up to find ’em nesting in me hair. It’s on Kalimdor. I say, it be Thrall’s problem, not ours. Let the orcs deal with it. I have better things to do.
Now Ringo’s peeved at me because I wouldn’t let him finish. He stomped off to the other room and slammed the door. I do not care. It’s waste of breath anyhow.
Ringo Flinthammer’s regular “morning constitutional” consisted of walking, somewhat stiff-leggedly, through Tinker Town to the Military Quarter and dropping into a chair upstairs at Bruuk’s Corner and drinking his breakfast.
He was well on his way, the pandaren bear cub at his heels or rubbing against his ankles, threatening to trip him, when he stepped out of the Tinker Town tunnel and pulled up short.
The Military Quarter was alive with activity, even at this hour.
“By Khaz’s stony beard, what’s going on in here?”
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