So you're back again. Knew you would be eventually. Here, lemme draw one for you, on the house. No, I insist. There's precious few of the old crowd left these days to appreciate it.
Open? Of course, rain or shine. Rain or shine or bloody great stones of fire raining down from the sky. God, what a sight. Did you see it? Sounded like the world was ending.
Almost finished your little scroll huh? I have to tell you love it looks like you're damn near done in yourself. I remember the first time you came in here, all smiles and sunshine. Now you look like you've been through the wringer, if you don't mind me saying so. Still it's a treat love, I wondered whether you made it through. Knew you went north, thought maybe that one would do for you. Journalists huh?
Yeah, he came through, along with most of the others that lived. Gods and all but I've never been prouder to have someone drinking my beer, in my own pub. He sat and talked for a bit and then left, and nobody I asked knew where they went. Maybe they were ghosts, or angels or something. Maybe they just wanted one last look at home before they went out again. Imagine that story in your little paper.
Take a seat lass, and listen.
It's strange with the new breed, and the lad was one of them. It's like they're resigned but they don't care so much. So long as they can get their job done it doesn't matter if they fall during it. Seems silly, they have their whole lives ahead of them and instead they're going to go all the way up there and throw 'em against the tide, but nobody was complaining. Nobody. Especially not me.
The chain's new, since last time you were here. Take a look. The ring was hers, all I have left really. We were in Theramore, on holiday. First bloody holiday in years. I saw it happen. Like the heavens opened and instead of angels and light there was just fire, fire and that bloody screaming melting thing pouring across the land and dragging hurricanes after it. She'd went out to the docks for a morning walk and I almost got to her before it hit, almost. A few inches between us and I'm thrown through the air and suddenly I'm upside down in a tree while the ocean just…came up. Like the whole bloody world suddenly decided to drop a few feet down, and then changed its mind and came back up but not all the way. She didn't come back up with it. Maybe she got caught on a rope or something, I…a couple of times feeling the bottom I thought I had her, but in the end there wasn't nothing I could do. Kept the ring though.
Gods you should have seen us when they came in. Everyone cheering and trying to slap them on the back (poor bloke must have had a damn sore back before he left) and free drinks for all of them. We had a party. One of the regulars suggested they all go into Stormwind together, up onto the ramparts where the huge bastard's claws were still marking the stone, and raise up a flag. He didn't though, and that's when he got to talking.
It was over for him, you could see it when he talked. With the others – and I've had some of the big ones in my pub as you know – they want to get back out there, all of them. It ain't bloodlust I think, they just love the rush. But this man was done. He had a sword over his back, all wrapped up in cloth and chains, and it was the strangest bloody thing I ever saw. Kept trying to get away from him, looked like. I asked him what it was and he told me.
It's him. The last bit of him maybe.
I was a little bit afraid I'm not gonna lie. That close to even a little piece o' the great dragon and I was shivering. I asked him what he was going to do with it.
Throw it off the edge of the world.
I could never keep my mouth shut, you know that lass if you've known me long enough. When they come in some want to talk and others just want to drink and I always wheedled the stories out of them in the end, but I didn't want to do that with this one. He was a bloody hero. Maybe the last one. So I just asked if he wanted to talk about it, then poured us a couple of drinks and listened while he did so.
He'd lost someone alright, just like the rest of us when the earth cracked. A mother or a sister, gone up in flames with Redridge. Wasn't even during the thing itself, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time when Deathwing flew over, and that was that. Next day he went and signed up to the first guild that would have him and went off north, like everyone else. Going north isn't like it was, not with the old Lich King gone. Oh don't get me wrong it's still bloody dangerous, but at least the entire bloody continent isn't actually watching you personally and trying to murder you. But of course you know that.
He talked about dragons a lot. To be honest I think he might have been more than a little smitten with one of 'em. That never ends well – look at that mess with the Blackflight – but I wasn't going to comment. He went on for a bit about some emerald lass, and I don't mean the colour of her eyes. Anyway he went up there, threw himself into any job they gave him. it's empty now, just mages there (just the way those magical buggers like it) but back then Dalaran was packed to the gills. He stood out though, he said. Made people notice him. Did some work for the Crusade, with that crazy bastard Nesingwary, apparently did something in the mountains too with the Irregulars. Made his mark though and just in time. To be honest with you I wonder if when he went up there he wasn't doing it for the world anymore but for his little dragon girl. Wouldn't be the first, but let's say no more of that.
It was a massacre, he said, and I believed it. Hundreds from the guilds went up there for the assault and not a handful made it back. They'd come through the pub on the way out and you could see some of them were dead boots walking. When the man came in he had maybe ten people with him. Out of hundreds. Well they might not have made it back but by the gods we'll not forget. Everyone knows where they were when the thing went down. Like the sky suddenly got a little lighter, or the rain stopped, or whatever people say. He paid for every life he took. I know it ain't exactly according to scripture but by god if there's a Light we go to when we die there must be a Dark for the rest, and I hope the scaly lizard is soaking down there right now.
He didn't really talk about the place itself. I reckon you've been there yourself right? Yeah, I've seen drawings. Must be quite a sight just on its own. Well from the way he was talking about, it it must have been something else. Dozens of dragons – the good kind – fighting against everything Deathwing had. He talked about things that were half-real and half-alive, a giant dragon tall as the castle that dragged them all into some half-shadowy place and made them fight in freezing darkness, like being underwater.
He talked about…ah damnit all I don't even know what he was trying to describe. Something with more eyes than limbs, and strange colours that danced across some big living chamber that burned or froze or gutted whatever touched them. It sounded like the dragon threw everything it had against them, the last few groups to get inside the temple, and up top to try and bring it down.
I never liked orcs. I know your generation are different lass and maybe that's how it should be, but I still remember the raiders that'd come at night and take people and crops away, as slaves or tribute. I would pour a drink for that warchief though and that's the best thing I've ever said about a troll. Makes you think what could have been if there was some way to get them on our side. Yeah, yeah, I know, but old thoughts die hard right? I'm just an old man, ignore me. He did good though for an orc. Got the impression the man thought so too. There's a sight I would have liked to see I tell you that; the look on his face when that thing hit him square on. You know they chained up a bit of the armour back behind the lake and you can see the bloody great gouge across it. A couple of the blacksmiths did a thing and tried to crack it with their best stuff, and didn't even leave a dent. Must have been a powerful bloody thing, to take him down like that.
After? No, he didn't talk much about the rest. Got the impression maybe he couldn't. He spoke a little bit, just staring into his beer. Everything coming together; humans, elves, dragons, everyone, and above them all just a giant thing blocking out the sun, and the sea and sky cracking around them as he tried to finish what he started while they tried to stop him for good. Ten came back here. Maybe a few more that didn't come to the pub with him, but he must have seen a lot of friends go down. All the time he's talking he's got that sword next to him and he keeps looking at it all wrapped up, like he's keeping an eye on it. He said he was going to find the edge of the world and then throw the thing off, and I wish him luck you can believe that. Maybe then everything will be done and gone, and all those old ghosts can rest in peace like they're meant to.
Now? Now we're just getting back to normal love. Guess you can say the same for yourself?
Yeah, of course. That was it of course, no reason for you to be back here otherwise I guess. Nothing else left now, you can tell. It's strange really. Back all those years ago when I had still hair that wasn't grey the kids would all come into the pub and complain there was nothing to do. Then the firelords rose up and that started it all. Seems like ever since it was one thing and another. Men and women just going off into a meat-grinder, keeping us all safe for a year or two until the next bastard came along and thought he could be a god or a king or whatever madness they had. Now the kids are back in here again already, whining that all the work's been done. Sitting around complaining about people like that man who did the work without leaving them anything left they can make a rep on. Years ago I might have kicked them out for something like that, disrespect. Now I don't mind so much, just so long as those kids are still here in the real world and not out there, in magical plains of fire or the freezing bloody north dying by the dozen. They can complain about farming all they like, I don't mind it a single bit.
So what about you lass? What's your plan now there's no more battles to search out, no more heroes to corner? …Hmmm. Sounds interesting at least, I'll give you that. Tell you what, come around when you next head out and we'll talk about old times. I know it's a little louder now than it was then, but that's just because of the kids over there. Farmer's kids and that's what they'll stay as. Not going off and getting themselves killed against some firelord, mad dragon, crazy half-god or rotten undead creature. Sure it's a little louder in the pub now, but like I said I don't mind that. Don't mind it at all. It was fun lass. Like I said, pop around next time you're by and we'll shoot the breeze some more. First beer on the house.
See you around.
Thanks for sticking around for this little experiment. There were a few rough patches but I came away with some lessons and I'm glad people seeemed to (mostly) enjoy it. I'm already working on something new, a little more regular and a lot longer than this. If anyone is interested in getting a sneak-peek I'm still in the market for a proof-reader. It's already shaping up to be pretty good, I think you guys might like it.
As usual feedback is always welcome.
Watch this space.