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©Kari Summers All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: The Hunter’s Path
“Dun Morogh is freezing,” General John Clark said.
The Alliance general was clothed in a tunic and breeches. He wasn’ wearing his plate armor or carrying aroun’ his mace today. The paladin was underdressed.
He rubbed his hands over his muscled arms as he shivered. Unlike my companion, me attire was best suited for the mountains, as a result, I was dressed in accented green mail and furs.
We stood outside Thunderbrew Distillery in Kharanos as a chilly breeze rushed by. Dun Morogh is frosty year roun’ and I’m sure long’ uns like humans aren’t used to such a frigid place.
“Yeh should’ve bought ya’ mitts with yeh in the first place, laddie. But, ya should know better than to visit Dun Morogh without the proper garments,” I joked.
The general raised his eyebrows and laughed. I knocked the snow out of me long beard. Me flamin’ red hair has always shone nicely against the snowy backdrop of Dun Morogh.
Our boots crunched in the snow, as we walked past the three large kegs, and up the icy stone steps to enter the bustlin’ tavern.
Dwarves and gnomes mingled within. Laughter rang off the stone walls, which were decorated with guns, boar heads, and blue and gold Alliance shields. The delicious aroma of Beer-Basted Boar ribs nudged me nostrils. I took a huge sniff and grinned, as I imagined the tender meat falling off the bone.
Me animal companion, a spectral bear named, Kyrel, trotted beside us as we walked by tables and bar patrons. His body is wispy and shimmers in and out of the spirit world.
“The tavern is busier than usual,” Kyrel said, as a result, his thoughts were a gentle tug within my mind.
“Aye, it sure is busy today. Maybe there’s a special going on we missed.” I thought. – The Hunter’s Path
Dwarves laughed and talked loudly to their friends. Several high-pitched gnome voices could be heard over the crowd. One dwarf was red in the face as a result of drinkin.’ He downed another tankard and slammed it on the table.
But, at least tha’ sweet lass, Merida is workin’ the bar. She’s always bin’ a particular treat on the eyes. I thought.
We took a seat at the table in front of the hearth. Kyrel laid down beside the table. The roaring fire warmed me bones. General John sighed as he held his hands to the flames as they crackled merrily.
I laid me gun, Modimus, besides my chair, it had golden accents and had been a gift from me father, passed down through the generations of Goldhammers. Apparently, me father claimed we’re distant relatives of Modimus Anvilmar. Who knows if it’s true? Then again me father said lots when he was drunk off his arse.
The bar maiden, Merida, approached the table. Her smile was bright, and her blue eyes held warmth.
“Interest yeh in a pint?” Merida said.
She poured each of us a pint o’ ale. I gave the lass a wink, and she giggled and winked back. She left our table with her hair and hips swayin’. The general took a swig, then he laid down his tankard and clapped my back.
“As a matter of fact, Alz, you’re a good dwarf. The Alliance would be lost without you, hunter.”
I waved away his compliment. He held up his cuppa’ and clinked it against mine. After he took a sip, then the general frowned and tilted his head, noticing I hadn’t taken a sip of me drink.
“I thought all dwarfs loved to drink?” John said. – The Hunter’s Path
“Me father was an alcoholic. He woulda’ beat me mother blue whenever he entered one of his rages, and I always regretted I couldn’ protect my mother then, it’s why I’m so loyal to the Alliance now, it gives me the ability to provide. Me mother will never want for nothin’. So, I vowed ta save me drinkin’ for Brewfest and special occasions.”
“I understand that perfectly. You don’t want to make the same mistakes as your father. It’s an honorable feeling.” John’s blue eyes softened as he nodded.
“So, I heard the King o’ Stormwind is sendin’ troops to retake Lordaeron for the Alliance?” I laid down me tankard and leaned forward ready to hear this tale.
John nodded solemnly, then took another swig of his ale and sighed.
“I’m sure you heard about The Burning of Teldrassil?” he said.
“Oh, yes, I’ve heard. We lost too many good Night Elven men and women tha’ day. Tha’ banshee witch, Sylvannas, needs ta’ rot in a proper grave.” I scowled and pounded the table.
“Truly, the King of Stormwind agrees with you. He may be calling on you soon to perform a task for him. You’ve proven your worth as a Champion of the Alliance, and he trusts you.”
“After the mistake, I made in Argus he still trusts me?” I gulped and glanced away.
Me gaze rested on Kyrel who slumbered soundly by my feet. I lowered my hand ta his form and gently brushed his spectral fur. Kyrel draws from me energy ta manifest in a physical form.
“The King isn’t concerned about a small error. He’s seen your track record. You’ve fought in the second and third wars. Notably, there’s no other champion who’s braved the Lich King and the Broken Shore, lived to tell about it and is still as humble as you.”
I waved away his compliment again.
“Yeh flatters a dwarf too much, anyway I’ll be awaitin’ the king’s message. If he’s got a quest for me, I’ll be ready.”
“If he’s got a quest for me, I’ll be ready.” – The Hunter’s Path
The tavern shook as a large blast rocketed outside.
“What in the blazes?” General John said as he stood.
I scowled and armed me gun. Bar patrons huddled in corners and covered their heads with shaking arms.
“Schist! Those mangy Dark Iron Dwarves are at it again. We shoulda’ never allowed them ta return ta Ironforge,” I said.
I gave Kyrel a pat and me companion yawned loudly. The bear stood and trotted behind me and General John as we walked out of the tavern.
Dark Iron Dwarves were spilling out of their drills in waves. Their eyes blazed like fire, as they slashed their axes, and gleefully attacked screaming residents of Kharanos.
Shelby Stoneflint the stable master in Kharanos ran forward waving her arms to grab me attention. She’s been a close friend for years, and she’s great with tending me, animal companions.
Her red hair flowed behind her, and her golden armor glimmered in the sun. The lass pointed a shaky finger to bomber planes headin’ ta the hills behind Ironforge.
“Alzéanz, Moira has taken the city. The Dark Iron clan is settin’ the surroundin’ villages on fire.”
“I swear by my forge they’ve seen their last day. No Dark Iron Dwarf is taken’ Ironforge under me watch.”
I turned ta General John who wasn’t dressed for battle. He gave me a sympathetic shrug.
“My hands are tied here, old friend. Seeing that I don’t even have my mace. Do what you have to do. I’ll see you around.”
He clapped me on the back, and then the general rushed inside the tavern.
“Let’s go, Kyrel, Ironforge needs us.”
My spirit bear companion nudged me hand. His thoughts flitted through me mind like a gentle breeze.
“We’ll put a stop to this. Don’t worry!” Kyrel thought
“I’ll teach those dirty Dark Iron Dwarves not to mess with the Bronzebeard clan,” I responded. – The Hunter’s Path
Shelby screamed as a Dark Iron pyromancer, wearing a dark purple robe and blazing orange eyes, shot a fireball at her. The fireball grazed her chest. I gasped as she crumbled to the ground. Everythin’ happened so fast since I wasn’t lookin.’
I scowled and aimed me trusty rifle at the Dark Iron.
“Shelby,” I said.
Kyrel roared like a savage beast and stood on his hind legs. He bared his teeth and then rushed to the dwarf, where he swiped at the Dark Iron scum with his large spectral paws.
The dwarf yelled as deadly cuts appeared on his face, and droplets of blood decorated the snow around his feet. Therefore, I fired a hail of bullets at the cretin until he fell to the ground, thus soaking the snow with glistening blood.
I hurried forward and kneeled on the ground by Shelby’s side. Her face was scrunched in pain, as she writhed in the snow. She clutched her chest where a burn mark rested on her clothes and stained her shirt with blood. Kyrel joined us and laid his head on her chest. Shelby glowed and I shielded me eyes from the sharp light.
When the light vanished, Shelby blinked and rubbed her chest, because the burn wound was gone, and so was the stain. She wrapped her arms around Kyrel and gave me companion a hug.
“Oh, thank ya, you’re such a sweet bear, Kyrel. I can also see why yeh and Alz get along so well.”
I held out a hand, and Shelby grasped it to stand. She landed in me chest, and my heart skipped a beat. We hurriedly stepped back. Her face was a fiery red, and mine was warm. I’m sure me face was bright as me beard. Shelby looked away and knocked snow off her bottom.
“Thank you too, Alz.”
“Don’ mention it, but keep yerself out of trouble, lass,” I smiled.
“I’m not as stubborn and reckless as yeh, Alz. I know how ta stay out of trouble.” – The Hunter’s Path
Shelby winked and walked toward the tavern entrance. Then I chuckled and beckoned for Kyrel to follow me as we ran toward Ironforge. The majestic city jutted from the mountainside.
Dark Iron’s were drillin’ their way through Dun Morogh, and our bomber pilots were layin’ down sweet revenge. Ironforge loomed closer as we approached the bridge.
By Muradin’s beard, this is crazy! The Dark Iron dwarves planned this surprise attack out of nowhere. Wha’ do Moira think she’s playin’ at? The lass has lost her mind.
Kyrel’s welcoming presence brushed my mind as we ran. “Moira is bitter with her father. You know Magni was misguided in believing a woman could never rule Ironforge. Now, I fear that mistake is coming back to haunt all of us.”
I dodged a fireball, and it singed a tree behind me. Kyrel roared and knocked the pyromancer to the ground, where his blood created a pool around his head.
“You’re right about that, laddie. After all, this wasn’t the hunter’s path I thought I’d be walkin’ today. I hope we can save Ironforge before she’s blasted ta the ground.”
If you enjoyed this post subscribe to our mailing list for more updates. Thank you for reading the first chapter “A Hunter’s Path.” The tale isn’t over yet. For this reason, the second chapter of “A Hunter’s True Mark” is coming soon!
Spyells is a published author and blogger. She’s played World of Warcraft since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Geeking out over Warcraft, Disney, Kingdom Hearts, and Harry Potter is her favorite thing. She enjoys traveling and loves to cook. On most days you can find Spyells in Azeroth exploring it’s many wonders and protecting its ancient lands.
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