“I’ve crossed deserts, mountains, an’ tundra!” Stone yelled up at the sky “Ye think a lil’ rain storm’s gonna phase me?!” The sky responded with a great crackle of lightning, and the earth heaved in response, tossing the dwarf forward several feet into the muddy grass of the Stormwind Park. Much as he hated to admit it, just getting from Aydrien’s worksite in the Dwarven District to the doorstep of the Golden Apple had taken more out of the old hunter than weeks of trekking through Kalimdor. Standing upright was impossible between the earthquakes and gale winds, so he’d elected to run along crouched far forward, using Grog as something of a makeshift windbreak.
The Golden Apple’s sign was on the porch when he arrived, an early victim of this night’s wind blasts. Stone grunted and let it be; he’d already reattached the sign six times since the elemental invasions began, and trying to shimmy up the doorframe in this weather was ridiculous. Hopefully there’d be a break tomorrow. Stepping inside, he could see water pooling in the drinking room. A large hole had broken open in the roof; no doubt the druids would be complaining tomorrow about their precious moonwell being filled with wood shingles. How they could tell the difference between their pool and the muddy pond now filling the Park was anyone’s guess.
“Come on Groggie, we’d best git what we came for an’ go back. Aurhia’d ‘ave my hide if she knew I’d come all the way o’er ‘ere just fer this.” He smiled, mussed the fur on Grog’s head, and strode into the bar. Dodging the cascade of rain, Stone strode to the bar, unhooked the latches on the drawers, and began removing a few carefully sealed bottles of water, all labeled “Do NOT Drink” in thick letters. The carefully packed crate of Nagrand herbs was soaked, probably unsalvageable.
“So much fer the Nagrand Pale Ale…” Stone sighed. He’d been planning to brew a special ale for the bar, something with keynotes to remind Aurhia of home…she’d been so tired recently, with the constant elemental attacks, and the increasingly dark dreams which haunted her slumber. “Well, at least a sip o’ filtered water from Draenor might be welcome.” He smiled hopefully, packing the bottles carefully into his backpack.
Rising to his feet, he glanced around the waterlogged bar. “Come on boy let’s…..”
A terrible shriek filled the air above Stormwind, drowning out the incessant rain. Stone instinctively looked up through the hole in the roof, watching the black, fiery form shoot past as it rattled the roof beams and caused the earth to quake again. Stone’s hand went instinctively to his gun, but as the dragon passed overhead he snickered to himself at the pointlessness of firing lead shots into such a monster. Cold sweat followed next; he heard the dragon circling overhead.
Grog went first, tearing his great claws into the floorboards of the taverns as he bolted towards the basement. Stone unthinkingly followed, knowing the stone foundations would do little to protect them if the creature attacked the Park. At least down amongst the barrels of ale and cases of drinks he might die a happy dwarf. Grog, for his part, ignored the drinks and went straight towards an oily tarp in the back of the cellar, tearing it down with his fangs to reveal….
….the Direbrew tunneling machine.
“Ye thrice blessed beastie!” Stone tore at the tunneler’s door, throwing off the lock and catapulting into the driver’s seat. Grog tackled him trying to get inside, and for a moment arms, legs, and paws flailed about, each seeking the controls. Stone pummeled the wolf back into the storage compartment, slammed the door shut, and fired up the engine.
“GO YA BLASTED THIN”!” The drill groaned into action, tearing into the earth and plunging the cockpit into darkness. Warning lights immediately flashed on the console as the drill plunged forward without proper heading or care; Stone slammed his foot into the accelerator, knowing only to put as much distance as he could behind him and the Park.
An eerie light began suddenly to fill the tunnel while Stonemug kicked, punched, and tore at the controls to go faster. The earth around the machine was getting hotter, turning deep red almost as fast as the machine was burrowing. The steam pressure gauge jumped wildly up into the red, and for a moment Stone was certain it would blow, packing him and Grog into a tiny scolding bullet somewhere deep in the earth. Despite the fiery cataclysm behind him, the machine managed to continue, bursting through the ground at reckless speed, deeper and deeper into the crust.