The Broken Front
Ringo Flinthammer nursed his drink and considered whether he might be broken.
Not his shoulder — although that clicking noise it made when he rotated his arm suggested that he shouldn’t let shadow priests heal him in future — but something deeper.
Ringo had grown up during the First and Second Wars. He’d been a small boy when the orcs first invaded Dun Morogh and had seen war early: It was something forced upon you, something you did to protect your loved ones and your home.
He hadn’t fought in the Third War: He had been laid up with an injury following being part of a dragon hunting party in the days before the war broke out, but his brothers and parents had been. He’d lost his parents at the Battle of Mount Hyjal. They had gone, knowing what might happen, because they had to, to protect Khaz Modan and their as-yet-unborn grandchildren.
He and his wife had fought before the Scarab Gate and then in Quel’Danas for the safety of their kingdom. Ringo himself had marched into Icecrown Citadel with the Ashen Verdict, fully prepared to die for his wife and, especially, his young son.
After Northrend, Ringo had retired and taken up the life of a mountaineer in Loch Modan. It took Deathwing’s attack on Khaz Modan and the direct danger posed to his family to draw him back into the life of a soldier.
But what was one of the “Conquerors of Orgrimmar” supposed to do when they got back home? Beli and Bael missed him, of course, he knew they did, but out of necessity, they’d developed their own rituals and ways of doing things in his absence, and often as not, when Ringo tried to participate in the life of the household now, he just got in the way. And him serving as the most over-qualified mountaineer in Thelsamar was even more ridiculous now than it was when he had tried it before Deathwing’s attack.
And more than that, somewhere along the line, perhaps in Pandaria, or maybe beneath Orgrimmar, something had changed in Ringo. Something broke. War wasn’t something he did because he had to — it was something he needed to do. Since returning from Durotar, he had been listless and bored. Hunting no longer held enough thrill for him. He’d gone looking for trouble among the much-reduced tribe of ogres on the far side of the muddy puddle that was once Loch Modan so often that the ogres now turned tail and ran when they saw him coming.
Then, one day, he’d received an invitation in the mail. And Ringo felt alive once more, even though he knew it was ridiculous — that it was sick, even. But still, again and again, he sneaked away here, to a chamber beneath the Deeprun Tram, which stank of steam and grease and sweat and blood to risk dismemberment and death with other veterans of the wars for a stupid thrill.
Broken. Ringo was definitely broken.
“He’s one of our veteran Rank 9 brawlers here at the Brawlpub. It’s Ringo!”
He got up. It was time.