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Category: 27. Battle for Azeroth

War stories

War stories

Magnus Flinthammer looks out to sea

“Flinthammer? Flinthammer?”

Brunhild glanced at her husband, but Magnus was a statue, staring out at the Great Sea, refusing to look back at the shore.

“Aye, that’s us,” she sighed. “Where do we sign in yer book?”

The Kul Tiran helped her sign without a second glance for Magnus; during the evacuation of the survivors of Lordaeron, he had seen all sorts of reactions, whether it was uncontrollable weeping, endless rage or, common among the dwarves, a grim refusal to acknowledge the pain at all.

Brunhild ran a hand along her husband’s shoulders.

“Ye’re stiff,” she said. “Well, stiffer than usual.”

“How is it?” Magnus rumbled, so quietly that only a wife of many years could have understood the words.

Brunhild leaned against the railing, looking back across the ship and toward the shore.

Blighted. Burning. There’s a few things flying overhead. Reckon there’s few left alive.”

“The last ships out o’ Lordaeron,” Magnus murmured. “Not sailing to Kul Tiras, but tae somewhere beyond that no one’s e’er heard of. Are ye sure we should nae go south, back to Khaz Modan and our boys?”

“We would be dead afore we reached the Thandol Span. And we have nae idea where to find the boys. They may still be gallivanting around with Feranor Steeltoe out by Strahnbrad. We have tae trust they went south in time.”

“Ah donnae think … Ah donnae reckon …”

“That’ll we’ll e’er see them again?” Brunhild turned toward the Great Sea, sliding an arm around Magnus’ shoulders, resting her head on his arm. “Maybe. But no matter what folks call them, the Flinthammer Boys are nae boys any more. They’ll be fine.”

Magnus grunted, unconvinced.

“Ely, maybe. He’ll find himself in a job counting every bullet in the arsenal and chasin’ down every receipt fer the chuck wagons.”

“An army travels on its stomach,” Brunhild smiled.

“And Bragh,” Magnus said, warming to his subject. “The whole world could go tae blazes, and he’d be fine, off somewhere with his beasties.”

“Our wee boarmaster.”

“Ah pity the undead bastard who crosses paths with Mordrun. That crazy bastard’s half-beast hisself. He’ll rip them to pieces with his teeth and bare hands and all.”

“Ah hope he washes up after,” Brunhild sighed. “Fer once.”

“And Durkon,” Magnus smiled at last, straightening up a bit. “Ah expect, after he’s done chaperonin’ his brothers around on a silly dragon hunt, he’ll end up leadin’ the whole bloody army.”

“Ah reckon yer right.”

“But Ringo,” Magnus scowled. “That boy practically got killed tagging along with his brothers on Steeltoe’s expedition. Who’s going tae keep an eye on him when if we’re nae around?”

Brunhild pinched her lips.

“The boy knows his limitations, just like Ely does. He’ll stay out o’ trouble after this, trust me.”

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Wake of destruction

Wake of destruction

Stormwind in flames

“Commander Flinthammer! Commander Flinthammer, wake up!”

Slapping, not particularly gentle.

“Wake up!”

Durkon Flinthammer caught the hand before it could slap him again. He opened his eyes and tried to sit up, only to find the whole world tilting crazily around him and a pain in his head that felt like an axe blade lodged there. He hadn’t touched alcohol in years — he always believed in maximum combat readiness — but this felt like the worst hangover he could remember.

“What happened?”

The Horde attacked …”

“I was on guard,” Durkon began to recall. “In the Stockades. Wait, did they free the prisoner?”

“No,” the soldier said. It was dark, and hard to see, but she appeared to be dressed in a 7th Legion uniform. “He stayed in his cell, even though they opened it during the escape. They helped the Zandalari prisoners escape instead.”

“Strange,” Durkon said, putting a hand on the soldier’s shoulder and pulling himself to his feet. He wanted to vomit.

“Careful, sir. You were gravely injured during the battle, but we’ve got to move. It’s not safe for us to remain here.”

“Why not?” Spots danced in front of his eyes as Durkon turned his head to survey the scene. They were outside, under an archway along one of Stormwind’s canals. “And what’s that smell?”

“Stormwind, sir.” The soldier helped Durkon turn to face the city. “The Horde set fire to the city to cover their escape. Jaina Proudmoore and other mages are working to put out the fires. I’ll explain more on the ship.”

“Ship?” Durkon groaned. “Are we going somewhere?”

“We’ve got immediate orders to ship out, Commander Flinthammer. We’re going to take the fight to the Horde in Zandalar.”

Hour of reckoning

Hour of reckoning

Ringo and Beli fly over the ruins of Southshore

“Everything OK back there, Lt. Commander Flinthammer?”

“Aye,” Beli called out the engines as she checked their course on a compass. “How’s the Skychaser handling, Knight-Captain Flinthammer?”

“All right, Ah reckon,” Ringo said, scanning the skies over the Arathi Highlands. “We sure have come from oor Alterac Valley days. Lt. Commanders travel in style now.”

“Tack south a bit,” Beli said. “We want to avoid Galen’s Fall; there’s likely to be Forsaken spotters there.”

Ringo nodded.

“Ah wanted tae pass o’er Dun Garok anyway,” he said as they flew over the ruins of Thoradin’s Wall.

“Even in death, the Dun Garok brigade holds the base,” Beli said as Ringo slowed the Skychaser and put it into hover mode over the mountain fort. “The Forsaken have never claimed it.”

“Nae wan should be surprised that Sylvanas attacked attacked th’ World Tree,” Ringo said after a moment of staring over the side at the base below. “When everyone else were tryin’ tae reco’er from th’ Cataclysm, she chose to attack an’ slaughter Southshore an’ Dun Garok.”

He sighed, and then gunned the Skychaser’s engines, steering the flying ship to the northwest. The smell of the lakes of Blight in the ruins of Southshore to the west made him scowl.

“After we’re done with Lordaeron, the Alliance should do something about Hillsbrad. The dead deserve no less.”

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A short-lived peace

A short-lived peace

The Flinthammer family in shock

“And that’s why it’s called the ‘marginal tax rate,'” a beaming Ely Flinthammer explained. “Boop!”

Bael Flinthammer stood there, dazed, not even objecting to his uncle booping him.

“Um, I have to take Lucky for a walk. You don’t want a lion peeing inside the house.”

“Sure, sure,” Ely said, sitting back. He craned his head over one shoulder, calling to deeper within the Thelsamar home of his brother Ringo and his wife, Beli. “Are you two planning on having any other children?”

Bael and Lucky great the visitorSunlight from the open door filled the living room.

“Oh, hello,” Bael said to the figure in the doorway as Lucky inspected the human with several mighty sniffs.

“Hello,” said the man wearing the blue uniform of a Stormwind soldier. “Is Lt. Commander Flinthammer, er, your mother home?”

When Beli returned from the door after about five minutes, she was carrying two letters, one sealed, one unsealed.

“What’s goin’ on?” Ringo said, having emerged from a deeper chamber of the house in search for some tools to work on one of his rifles. “What’s goin’ on with yer face?”

“It’s Darnassus. The Horde burned Teldrassil. It’s … gone.”

There was a moment of stunned silence, broken only by Lucky deciding he really did have to go outside. A flabbergasted Bael followed after the black lion with a questioning look, no more sure than the adults about how to feel about all of this.

“So, what are those?” Ringo nodded his chin at the papers in Beli’s hand.

“Orders. The Alliance is marching on Lordaeron.”

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Priority mail

Priority mail

The mailroom beneath Dalaran

“Postmaster Flinthammer,” Katy Stampwhistle said, holding out her hand. “It’s been a pleasure.”

“It’s just ‘Ely’ now,” the youngest of the Flinthammer Boys said, shaking her hand. “I was only assigned to monitor Alliance mail during Operation Legionfall.”

He glanced ruefully around the mailroom, hidden below the streets of Dalaran. Mail zipped overhead under its own power, while mailementals sorted more mundane correspondence.

“Where will you go now?” Katy asked. “Will you be monitoring mail to and from the front lines still?”

“I’m going to visit family in Thelsamar while I figure that all out,” Ely said, with a shrug. “Not sure where those ‘front lines’ would be. Still, it was fun messing with my brothers with the censoring quill.”

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