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Category: 15. Rage of the Firelands

Shoot ’em up

Shoot ’em up

Ringo on the roof of the Stoutlager

Mountaineers Kadrell and Flinthammer sat on the roof of the Stoutlager Inn, watching the sky for the Headless Horseman. There had also been reports that the Horde had been flying over some settlements, throwing stink bombs. It hadn’t happened here, and if Captain Rugelfuss had anything to say about it, it wasn’t going to.

“Me neck hurts,” Ringo Flinthammer muttered, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand.

Kadrell grunted non-noncommittally.

“Heard a rumor earlier,” Ringo continued, “Th’ mountaineers are gonna start bein’ trained to shoot at point-blank range.”

“Say what?” Kadrell snapped. It was the first time he’d spoken in hours.

“Instead o’ smackin’ someone with an axe or a polearm or a staff or what have ye, we’ll just, ye know — shoot ’em.”

“What about all th’ melee training we’ve had?”

“Nae time fer it any more. We’ll jus’ use our guns for all o’ that.”

“No Raptor Strike? No Wing Clip?”

“Seems not.”

“… good riddance.”

Dropping the hammer

Dropping the hammer

Steaming poop on the shores of Skysong Lake in Nagrand

The screams of frustration echoed through Flinthammer Hall.

“Bael Flinthammer!” Beli Flinthammer half-yelled, half-sobbed. “Ye already ken yer numbers and yer letters and ye bloody father taught ye how to field-strip a blunderbuss. How come ye cannae get this?”

“Nae poop!”

“Ye did poop! Ah kin smell it from here! Magni’s been turned ta diamond and he kin smell it!”

“Nae poop!”

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Strange brew

Strange brew

Ringo at Brewfest

“Spit it out, already!”

Ringo Flinthammer swallowed and cleared his throat.

“Sorry — pretzel. What was th’ question, again?”

His cousin sighed, and gestured with his beer stein.

“In all yer travels, havin’ seen all the changes since the Cataclysm, which was the craziest? Like, the people.”

“What? Ah reckon ye’re drunk, Mangorn.”

“Nay, I mean, like night elf mages. That’s madness!”

“Pfft, they’ve always been ’round — Ah reckon this lot jus’ found out they couldn’t blow up a continent again, and are just lookin’ fer something to do.”

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The lonesome watcher

The lonesome watcher


The youngest son of Flinthammer Hall hiked up the small hill outside town, using the gun his father had given him as a walking stick, and took his post.

Bael Flinthammer did this every day, trailed by Lucky, the black lion his father had tamed to serve as his guardian. The residents of Thelsamar were bemused by a child standing watch alongside the mountaineers, and Bael didn’t have the vocabulary to explain why he did it, even to himself.

He wasn’t like his father — even at his young age, that fact tickled the back of his brain and made him sad when he let it. He couldn’t command animals the way his father could: Ringo Flinthammer could summon Lucky to his side just by rubbing his calloused fingers together and summon up very undwarflike snarl to get even the massive polar bear who followed him everywhere into line. Bael could do none of that, although Lucky seemed to like him, and certainly put up with the boy attempting to ride him the way he’d seen elves ride their nightsabers.

Bael couldn’t even fire a gun, although his mother had hidden all of the ammunition after she’d found him trying. Instead, he just used the shotgun as a club, wielding it with two hands and hammering foes real and imaginary.

He’d had occasion to chase off a very old and blind kobold who’d wandered up to his post a few weeks ago. The beating had been accompanied by a chorus of barking kobold laughter from the intruder’s fellows.

Even his mother didn’t understand why he came up here, but Bael felt compelled to, standing on the little hill and watching, eyes straining, for the beating of dragon wings. His eyes weren’t as sharp as his father’s, which sometimes seemed almost supernatural, but his eyes were new and sharp and he could sometimes see wings flying around Blackrock Mountain, although it had been about two months since he’d seen the great black dragons whirling around the peak.

But … he could hear them.

Bael spun around in place until the young dwarf spotted the source of the sound: A dragon, heavily beating the air as it flapped toward Thelsamar not from Blackrock Mountain, but from Ironforge Mountain instead.

“Dwagon!” he yelled, causing Lucky to leap to his feet in concern. “Dwagon!”

The boy and the great cat half-ran, half-tumbled into Thelsamar, racing for the Stoutlager Inn.


“Eh?” Beli Flinthammer dropped her paintbrush on the table — she had been commissioned to paint a portrait of some lady who always pinched Bael’s cheeks — and reached for her warhammer. “Deathwing? Is he back?”

She shoved past her son and headed out onto the main drag of town.

“Ah’ll die with a war cry on me lips, ye bastard …”

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The deserters

The deserters

Lesaris confronting Ringo

Lesaris loped across the Ashen Fields and up into the Magma Springs. The Druids of the Talon had figured out how to fly in the hot, thick air of the Firelands, but somehow had not gotten around to teaching anyone else the trick, not even the Druids of the Claw.

It took little effort to evade the natives here — Ragnaros’ forces were chosen for their strength and ferocity, not their wits — and soon the great bear found himself before the cave. The dwarf was there, and the gnome, along with two of the Avengers of Hyjal, each of whom stood watch over the cave, making sure that its occupant didn’t make a break for it.

“Well met,” Lesaris said, his form twisting from bear to night elf once again, towering over Ringo Flinthammer and Widge Gearloose.

“She’s inside,” Ringo said, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. His white bear companion lay beside him, panting in the heat. “We ran Leyara to ground, just like ye asked.”

Tor ilisar’thera’nal!” Lesaris exulted. “Into the Igneous Depths with you, then! Finish her!”

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