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Category: Ringo’s Tale

Ice and shadow

Ice and shadow

“Khaz’goroth on a cracker!”

“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?)”

Scott the Merciful is a psychopomp. He may be able to tell us why I can’t bring back Kildris from the dead.”

“Only a psycho would have a name like ‘Scott.'”

“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.”

Beli sighed.

“At least the blizzard’s letting up. Ringo! Look at the sky!”

“Khaz’goroth on a cracker!”

A blue dragon (Rusty) flying against a sky torn open, exposing the Shadowlands beyond.
The shadow of death

The shadow of death

Darkness.

“Drink it all down, Marisi, that’s my good girl. Lie back; don’t be scared.”

Darkness.

“No, no, don’t cry. You’re doing a great thing. You will open the way for the true master of this world to enter Shadowforge and bring Azeroth to glory.”

Darkness.

“Get away from Marisi, Duerthic, you son of a bitch! Get away from my daughter!”

“Our daughter, Kildris! She’s not going to be the weak and worthless little girl that you –“

“Drop th’ knife an’ get away from her, ye mad bastard, or Ah’ll blow yer — Kildris, stop!”

“Marisi!”

“Kildris!”

Darkness.

“Eonar! Grant me your blessing! Eonar! Damn you, Eonar! Help her!”

Darkness.

Marisi Blackfire opened her eyes, unable to sleep any longer.

Her mother was dead, killed by her father. Her father was dead, killed by her mothers’ two friends, Beli and Ringo Flinthammer and by their great white bear, Frostmaw.

She sighed, and got out of bed, her feet just barely reaching the floor.

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Out of the Shadows

Out of the Shadows

Growing up in Shadowforge City’s dwarfanage was not unusual.

The Dark Iron dwarves had been at war against the arrogant Bronzebeard and brutish Wildhammer clans for more than 200 years.

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.

When he had gone to fight alongside the Twilight Hammer outside the gates of Ahn’Qiraj, she had cried.

When the Twilight Hammer had called upon him once more, to help set fire to the so-called “world tree” Nordrassil atop Mount Hyjal, she had cried.

And when his wife claimed she believed the disgusting and obvious lies that the Firelord had been destroyed, his daughter had cried when they had divorced.

But now, she had a chance to be strong, to prove herself worthy, to do something in service to the true lord of this world.

“Hello,” he told the matron at the dwarfanage, who was younger than the matrons in his memory. “My name is Duerthic Blackfire. I’m here to pick up my daughter, Marisi.”

Shadows awaken

Shadows awaken

Ringo, Beli and Kildris arrive in Shadowforge City.

“Flinthammer, Flinthammer …”

“Is this really necessary?” Kildris Blackfire sighed.

“Aye, afraid so,” the Shadowforge sentry said, without looking up from his clipboard. “Been a spike in cult activity in the last few weeks.”

“Screamin’ out prophecies on street corners, handin’ out pamphlets?” Ringo asked.

“For once, no,” the Dark Iron guard said, glancing up, cocking an eyebrow. “Did they do that in Ironforge, too?”

“Stormwind,” Ringo said. “Several times.”

“Aye, well, these seem like former Twilight Hammer folks who never got the hint. No offense, Kildris.”

Kildris held up her hands.

“Hey, that was my ex-husband. We never did agree on politics.”

The guard nodded, going back to the clipboard.

“Aye, well, I reckon a lot of folks don’t want to revisit everything they did in their past.”

Ringo barked a laugh.

“Aye, last time Beli and I were here, we shot our way in. Ow!”

He clutched his side where his wife had elbowed him.

The guard snorted and flipped to the front of the pages clipped to his clipboard.

That’s why I couldn’t find the pair of ye in the list. Lieutenant-Commander Beli Flinthammer and Grand Marshal Durkon Flinthammer!”

Beli winced.

“Ah, no, that’s me, aye, but this is Knight-Captain Ringo Flinthammer.”

The guard looked at the clipboard and shrugged.

“Oh, he’s not on our watch list. I mean, back before the Council of Three Hammers was formed, you and your … brother?”

“Brother-in-law,” Beli muttered, reddening.

“Right, you and your brother-in-law were on our most wanted list. Ooh, there was a 1,000 gold piece bounty on you. Five thousand for your brother-in-law.”

“How much fer me, then?” Ringo said, clearing his throat. “Knight-Captain. Veteran of Quel’Danas and Icecrown Citadel.”

The guard flipped through his paperwork again.

“Did you say ‘Bingo Flinthammer?'”

“Nay, Ringo.”

“Hmm, no, no bounty for any Flinthammers other than your brother and your wife.”

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Sleigh and snowfighters

Sleigh and snowfighters

The sound of outraged troll cries echoed through the valley.

Ringo Flinthammer chuckled.

“Bloody Winterax are the stupidest o’ the trolls; they wait fer the Alliance and Horde tae a truce tae invade Alterac Valley again.”

“Nice of them to give Beli something to hit,” Kildris Blackfire said, surveying the valley from Dun Baldar’s South Bunker.

“When she’s away from the boy too long, she either hits the Horde or starts eyein’ me.”

Kildris grunted.

“I can understand that.”

Ringo winced.

“Ah’m sorry; I dinnae think about yer wee one … is she stayin’ with yer ex-husband while ye were deployed?”

“No!” Kildris barked, halfway between a laugh and a snarl. “That idjit got some strange ideas after Ragnaros died. Joined the Twilight Hammer, went around tellin’ everyone there’s a ‘war on Winter Veil.’ There’s no war, it’s just not proper to assume! The draenei have one of their bloody depressing holidays this time of year, with lights and deprivation and all the rest! ‘Happy holidays’ is just good manners!”

“Right, aye,” Ringo said. “Well, your little girl should be happy to see ye; did ye pick her up a gift ta …”

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