Everything about the island was wrong.

It was Frostmaw who noticed it first. The bear hadn’t wanted to step on the grass and whined when Ringo tried to force him. Something had warped the grass into spirals with serrated edges. They were harmless when stepping straight down on them, but dragging something past a blade of grass would cut the skin with a dozen tiny cuts. Ringo and Beli had to stomp a path of flattened grass for Frostmaw before he would follow, and the rest of the time on the island, they tried to stick to clearings with no grass, or with shorter and stubby grasses unlike the warped sawgrass along the shore.

It was worse inland.

As they trekked toward the interior, the Flinthammers encountered moths grown huge and violent, wild animals behaving as though rabid and strange beasts they could not recognize.

They crested a steep hill covered in bluish grass and they sighed with pleasure to see a settlement of huts made from fallen logs and simple lean-tos.

“Furbolg,” Beli smiled. She had developed a kinship with the Timbermaw furbolg of Kalimdor. “They’ll know what’s going on.”

The pair slipped down the hill, picking their way around a razor-leaved shrub. Beli spotted an ursine furbolg foraging, plucking berries from a bush, eating them by the handful. The dwarf called out a greeting in Ursine.

The furolg stopped and turned slowly, his tiny eyes searching for the voice. Spotting Beli and Ringo, he raised a heavy paw, pointed at them, and shrieked in rage, racing to attack them, spittle flying from his jowls in rage.

Ringo raised his rifle and fired.

The furbolg’s head snapped back, and even up on the hill, Beli could see that when the creature dropped, it was never going to rise again.

They slipped down the rest of the hill in silence.

“The Timbermaw spoke of this tribe,” Beli said, frowning and stroking the fur of the slain bear creature. “The Bristlelimb furbolg were supposed to be another small tribe uncorrupted by the Burning Legion.”

“Until now,” Ringo growled. “Blood on our visitors’ hands. They’ll pay for this, no worries.”

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