The Master Strategists

The Master Strategists

Inside the Stoutlager Inn

“Khaz Modan will never be safe until the Horde is put down — once and for all!”

“Aye, by the Light, that’s the truth!”

“What I don’t understand is why, when the Alliance had Gary dead to rights, they didn’t,” a mug was slammed down on the bar of the Stoutlager Inn, “smash his pointy head in.”

“I reckon it’s bein’ a bit too deferential to Varian Wrynn.”

“He’s not my king.”

“Nor mine, neither.”

“He just wanted Gary for his little show trial — we saw how well that worked out.”

“It’s a damned shame there weren’t more of us with this kind of sense there during the Siege of Orgrimmar.”

Lowering his mug from his lips, Ringo turned toward the bar, his chair squeaking on the stone floor.

“Ah reckon it’s a good thing fer Garrosh Hellscream that yer flat feet kept ye out o’ th’ Ironforge Brigade, Morhan.”

The smith blinked, turning back around toward Ringo from the bar.

“Ah, Mountaineer Flinthammer. I did not see you there …”

“And ye, Ghak,” Ringo said, gesturing with his mug, “ye got a deferment durin’ the Third War, aye?”

“Well, yes,” the other dwarf said, pulling nervously at his whiskers. “I was working on my dissertation on variants of the Philosopher’s Stone …”

Ringo nodded seriously, feeling a twinge in his back, bruises he tried to keep from Beli, to keep his wife from asking any questions he didn’t know how to answer.

“O’ course, critical ta th’ defense o’ oor people, Ah’m sure.”

There was silence in the bar, broken only by the sound of Frostmaw, the great white bear, snoring beneath Ringo’s table.

“Fer the record, Ah thought about squeezin’ off a shot when Garrosh was on his knees.”

“Ha! I knew you had it in you!” Drac Roughcut barked.

“… but it would have meant shootin’ under Varian’s arm and no’ hittin’ Thrall or the Shado-Pan leader, Taran Zhu. And there was a room full o’ Alliance and Horde leaders there, all with Kor’kron blood still on them. Anyone starts shootin’ at that point, Jaina Proudmoore’s likely to blow us all ta bits, assumin’ Gallywix didn’t drop a dead-man trigger and do it first.”

Silence again.

“Well, uh, thank you for your service, Mountaineer,” Drac said after a moment, a sentiment mumbled into several other mugs.

Ringo toed Frostmaw in the ribs, waking the bear.

“C’mon, boy, let’s gae home. Ah need some fresh air …”

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