6. A Lovable Bunch
Boralus was a loud city full of soldiers, trades folk, sales booths, shops, a bank, a harbor, and one lone creepy scrapper. Nearby was Proudmoore Keep and the barracks. Boralus was a fairly large city and a major hub in Stormsong Valley. As Fuzzy came through the portal, he stepped onto the dark floor of the Boralus portal room. There were portals to Stormwind, Ironforge, Silithus, and Nazjatar. The other visitors to the city were busy with their own tasks to prepare for the upcoming onslaught against Sylvanas. One by one the rest of Fuzzy’s party came through the portal. The mage was the last to come through. Just before the portal disappeared, Fuzzy looked back and saw his family waving goodbye from the other side. His heart was heavy to see their faces fade away as the portal closed but he knew he had to press on.
“Let’s head up to the Inn and ask around about our new outfit. I’m sure someone up there knows how to find them in this place.” Fuzzy motioned for everyone to follow him to the Inn. They made their way out of the Sanctum of the Sages and up the stairs. They arrived at the Inn and asked the Innkeeper about the platoon.
“You probably want to talk to the green ass over there”, the Innkeeper pointed to a very large dinosaur tail sticking out from the wall. “I think the rest of it is on the other side. Guy goes by the name of Trelander, I think he hangs out with those miscreants.” The Innkeeper seemed less than amused at the sight of a giant green tail, but Fuzzy found it a little funny.
“Alright, thanks. We’ll check it out”, Fuzzy said as he walked outside and looked up at the front side of this massive animal. He had seen large beasts before, but this was something else entirely. There was a vendor positioned in a sort of saddle on either side of the gargantuan Brutosaur. In the middle was a Dark Iron Dwarf, adorned in very shiny, and very razor sharp, plate armor. Fuzzy called up to the Fury Warrior, “Hey, are you Trelander?”
“Yea, what can I do ya for?”, Trelander quipped.
“I was told you could help us find the Humpday Heroes”, Fuzzy said.
Trelander grinned and slid down the Brutosaurs neck as if he were surfing on a wave, landing perfectly on the stone platform below. “Yea, I think I can help you with that. One level down, over by the bank, there’s a group of folks that look like they’ve seen a few things. It’s ok, they are nicer than they look. That’s the Humpday crew. You’ll want to speak to Aldineri, he’s the leader.”
“Thanks. Nice dinosaur you have here. Say, does it lay eggs? How big are they?”, Fuzzy asked as his stomach grumbled almost on queue.
“Yea that’s just a myth. You don’t see eggs that big anymore…” Trelander was very quick to respond, almost as if he were trying to hide something. Maybe he wanted to keep the eggs to himself. No matter, there would be other food to fill their bellies.
Fuzzy and his party made their way down the steps on the other side of the Inn. Just as Trelander said, there was a group of soldiers just past the bank. The group was fairly sized, roughly 20 or so sitting around chatting. You could hear a few discussions on strategies, recipes, and even one conversation about a strange world called “Brit’ain”. There was a pretty good make up in the group: A couple warriors, druids, priests, fellow hunters, and a few others. As Fuzzy got closer, he could see his old pal Anth in the middle of the group. Anth turned and saw Fuzzy out of the corner of his eye and walked to meet his friend.
“I’m so glad you made it! There’s a few folks here you might remember from our good old days, but let’s get you introduced to Aldineri”, Anth said as he led Fuzzy over to an empty bench.
“There’s no one here. I thought we were supposed to meet….” Fuzzy stopped, he could smell a stranger behind him.
“You were supposed to meet someone?” said a shadowy Pandaren rogue. “Hello, I’m Aldineri.”
Fuzzy, with a look of amazement flooding his face, said “Well you move pretty quiet for such a big guy. No offense, I just didn’t expect Pandarens to be so…stealthy.”
“I get that a lot. Never underestimate the teachings of a monk. Anth here has told me all about you. He says you’re looking to join our group and help us seek out the evils that are coming to this world?” Aldineri was no stranger to interviewing new recruits, but you had to be careful. You didn’t want to let the wrong person come into your circle of trust. But Anth vouched for these soldiers, so they must be good hearted folk.
“Yes, sir. We come from Teldrassil, we escaped when Sylvanas…” Fuzzy felt his voice get weak. Just trying to mention what happened brought back a rush of feelings; Sadness, fear, and anger. “When Sylvanas set it on fire and destroyed our homes”, he continued. “She must be stopped. We lend our weapons and skills to help you in this quest.”
Aldineri grinned. “Well let’s get you acquainted.”
As Aldineri introduced the newcomers to everyone, there were mumblings happening in the ranks. Not everyone thought they needed more recruits. “Well I guess if you know the group tank then you can just waltz right in here”, Kebechet mumbled to Nurfhurder. Keb, a beast master hunter just like Fuzzy, felt the position in the group had to be earned.
“Eh, I don’t know. Throw ‘em to the stone golems and see if they survive being squished. If those towering boulders don’t kill them then maybe they deserve a chance”, Nurfhurder replied.
“What’s their leader’s name? Furry? Night elves don’t even have any fur. He sounds like an ass”, Keb snapped. Nurfhurder snickered at the thought.
Aldineri came around to the back of the group. “This is Kebechet, my sister. Well not a biological sister, obviously. I’m Pandaren and she’s Worgen but we’ve known each other since we were children and fought together long enough that we may as well be family. Keb is one of our finest hunters, although she is modest about it. And this fine druid is Anda. She’s one of our finest cooks, gatherers, healers, and an excellent historian! If you want the story behind something, she’s the go-to.”
Fuzzy nodded and greeted both of them. Keb squinted and stared at Fuzzy, only slightly menacingly. This group was her family and she wasn’t about to just let the world walk in and sign up. Anda had seen Fuzzy in battle before, they both fought with Anth in the old wars along with Opalily (Anths wife). Although it was a long time ago but hopefully Fuzzy wouldn’t disappoint.
“Alright, group. We’ve got a lot of training to be done. We’re due at the 7th Legion vessel Wind’s Redemption in just over a month so we don’t have much time to get you all in ship-shape.” Aldineri was a confident and wise leader. He was a bit reserved, but you could tell by how he treated everyone that this really was just an extension of his family.
“Ha, you said ship-shape, and we’ll be getting on a ship”, Anth chuckled.
“Oh my word. Seriously? Don’t make me put the dunce hat on you again”, Aldineri replied. Everyone giggled slightly. They had all heard Anth’s comedic wit before. Ald glared at Anth with a parental look before continuing. “Let’s get squads assembled appropriately and start getting our act together. Caldmaster, will you do the honors?” Caldmaster was Aldineri’s right hand, helping lead the group and develop battle strategies.
Caldmaster nodded. “Fuzzy, you’re with Tess, Keb, and Nurfhurder. You’ll be in good company with your fellow hunters.” He assembled the rest of the team into their appropriate groups.
Fuzzy was intimidated and excited at the same time. It had been so long since he joined anyone in battle. There was much to learn and a list of new skills that had been developed over his hiatus. But he was determined to learn and get it right. The next couple weeks were a brutal training regime, but Fuzzy was up to the task. With guidance from his new squad, he was back to his old self and in some ways better than ever. And despite the initial hesitation, Keb was coming around to having another hunter in the group. She was a good challenger and teacher, someone who would raise the bar but encourage you to meet it. Everyone in the Humpday Heroes was helpful, had a great sense of humor, and quickly became a second family to Fuzzy. They are a band of soldiers; a lovable bunch of misfits.