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Category: 19. The Thunder King

The conquest of stone

The conquest of stone

The Isle of Thunder

Widge Gearloose carefully re-rolled the ancient scroll, taking care to do so slowly, as though it was merely the Isle of Thunder’s winds doing so, and not an invisible mage. The Mogu might be violent sociopaths — well, no, they definitely were violent sociopaths — but they at least appreciated the value of the written word.

“Khaz’goroth on a cracker!” A ball of whiskers and pointy armor came hurtling over the wall, landing beside him. A moment later, a dinosaur came crashing to a halt behind him.

Widge opened his mouth to greet Ringo Flinthammer, but the latter couldn’t see him and, more importantly, appeared busy with his own matters. Ringo pulled out his rifle, braced it on the low gray stone wall and squeezed off several thundering shots, causing Widge to inaudibly squeal with pain and plug his fingers in his ears. Ringo patted the dinosaur with one hand, murmuring something to the beast. He checked the terrain through his rifle’s sight again and, seemingly satisfied, picked his rifle back up and slouched down against the wall, clearly exhausted.

“Fancy meeting you here!” Widge grinned, dropping his spell’s effect. “ACK!”

The dinosaur had instantly whipped its massive horns around, pinning the gnome against the wall.

“Nice dinosaur! Good dinosaur!”

Ringo snickered.

“‘s all right, Kazmo; Widge is one o’ the good ones, if a wee bit foolish around direhorns he has nae met before.”

“What are you doing here? How did you escape the Horde?”

“They made a pit stop on th’ Isle o’ Giants …”

“Their second mistake!”

That’s what Ah said to Kazmo! Anyway, Ah got free in th’ chaos there, stole a Zandalari boat and saw they were headed fer th’ Isle o’ Thunder and we’ve been making the Zandalari, Mogu and Horde sorry they did nae kill me e’er since. What’re ye doin’ here?”

“Assisting the Kirin Tor, of course, although I think I just realized a way we can both help King Magni.”

“What? Here?”

Widge patted the scroll behind him.

“Tell me, what do you know about the Mogu’s origins?”

On Her Magic-ey Secret Service

On Her Magic-ey Secret Service

Violet Rise

It wasn’t that Widge Gearloose minded the daily missions on behalf of the Kirin Tor Offensive on the Isle of Thunder: He was a loyal — more than loyal, really — member of the Kirin Tor.

Some complained about the repetitive nature of the daily grind. Not Widge: The repetitious was soothing, in a way; a constant reminder that the Kirin Tor, and its leader, Lady Jaina Proudmoore, needed him.

The mogu, saurok and Zandalari were horrible, of course, but so had been the Forsaken and Malygos’ forces and the Scourge, all of which Widge had aided the Kirin Tor against in the past.

No, it was the others helping the Kirin Tor Offensive at Violet Rise that were the most exasperating to him.

“Cor!” a Gilnean behind Widge hissed under his breath, elbowing the Kaldorei beside him. “Get a load of Jaina there. That’s one bird I’d like to sink my teeth into, if you know what I mean.”

Widge seethed quietly and strained to listen to Captain Elleane Wavecrest, who was giving the day’s briefing to the assembled members of the Offensive and their Alliance allies.

“The Shan’ze are animating an army from the statues in the center of the isle, an army that batters our defenses day and night,” Wavecrest was saying.

“I’m not sure how I feel about her silvery mane,” the night elf murmured, too quiet for Wavecrest, or Proudmoore beyond her, to hear, but loud enough to make it difficult for Widge to hear Wavecrest. “It makes her look older.”

The Gilean snorted.

“I wouldn’t mind bunking up with that skirt,” he drawled. “She’s a right MILF.”

“A what?”

“A ‘skirt?’ ‘s like a girl, you know.”

“No, the other one.”

“A ‘MILF?’ It means a ‘Mage I’d Like Ta …'”

“WOULD YOU TWO IDIOTS SHUT UP?” Widge erupted, panting with rage, sparks of arcane power arcing off his hair and whiskers.

“All right, all right,” the Gilean said soothingly, “keep yer wig on, propeller head.”


Widge turned back toward Wavecrest, shrugging sheepishly.

“Destroy any of the walking statues you see,” she said. “Our defenders will greatly appreciate it.”

Among the bones

Among the bones

Ringo and a direhorn on the Isle of Giants

“The Horde’s second mistake,” Ringo Flinthammer growled, not quite moving a palm frond aside, so as to not give away his position, “was bringin’ me ta th’ Isle o’ Giants.”

The island’s residents — dinosaurs bigger and more fearsome than Ringo had ever seen — had attacked the Horde, who were already jumpy from avoiding Zandalari patrols, and Ringo had been able to make his escape. The next obvious step would be to tame one of the dinosaurs, using it for protection and, hopefully, transportation.

That hadn’t worked. At least, not at first. The beasts were too wild, too violent, too primal to be tamed in the ways Ringo had learned to use with other beasts long ago.

But it was possible: Zandalari dinomancers were doing it. It only took Ringo ambushing a half-dozen of them — along with raiding a now-unattended crate of captured Alliance armor and weapons — before he’d discovered their secret: A manual, spelled out in ancient Zandali pictograms, how to tame one of the temperamental beasts.

Ringo slowly stepped out, a fistful of the most succulent plants he’d been able to find on the island stretched out before him.

The rustling of the plants underfoot got the attention of the nervous direhorn and it turned its lethal horns Ringo’s way, pawing the wet earth thoughtfully, considering charging.

“Look here, ya overgrown milk cow,” Ringo sang, waving the leafy greens. “Spinach or somethin’. Bloody trolls cannae draw worth a tinker’s damn. Ah reckon it’s delicious …”

The direhorn froze. Ringo flinched, glancing back and forth, trying to figure out which way to run.

A big pink tongue wrapped around his hand, pulling the leaves into the beast’s mouth. Ringo slowly reached up and stroked its snout as it chewed, inspecting him with one mighty green eye.

“Ah’ll call ye … Kazmo.”

He’s in deep

He’s in deep

Widge talks to another bush

“This is ridiculous,” Widge Gearloose sighed, squatting down next to yet another bush. “Hello? Hello?

“Keep your voice down,” the bush snarled, and Widge had to swallow a yelp of surprise. “What took you so long?”

“For one thing, Connelly, you look like every other bush in Kun-Lai Summit. Good choice, not wearing a flower in your foliage or something so I’d actually be able to find you.”

“Couldn’t risk standing out, Gearloose. Leave the spycraft to the experts.”

“And for another thing, I’ve had my hands full.” Widge nodded back at Frostmaw, who was doing what the gnome had learned bears not only do in the woods, but any time the mood strikes them, including in the middle of the Halfhill market, on the deck of the Skyfire and on the polished marble floors of the Sanctum of Seven Stars. “So, just tell me what you know: Where is Ringo Flinthammer?”

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