Locked up and drifting...
A droplet of water fell to an unseen pool of water in the deep dark. The dwarf sat quiet against the wall of his dungeon’s cell. Dried blood formed a mask that covered half of his face and caked into his bronze beard. But at least there was none looking. Captain Jaeryn Waywatcher didn’t have any clue what time it was or where he was.
The dwarf had traveled up to the Highlands to seek a shamanic vision. He had roamed the lands alone with his trusted ram, visiting a waterfall and a mountain top after another, seeking to have words with any of the pure spirits of the nature that answered. Very few had done so.
He had just stopped at an ancient, abandoned shrine, where moss grew on cracked rock monoliths, when they had come for him. Highwaymen – at least a full dozen of them. One had stood holding his ram’s reins already when he noticed them. Still, he hadn’t been an easy picking. Without his warhammer that hung from the ram’s saddle, and lacking the power and knowledge to summon an elemental, the Mountaineer had abused his gnarled medicine staff, breaking it to one bandit’s ribs and crushing another’s collarbone. A dodged sword had cut along the line of his hip-bone as he had driven an elbow to someone’s stomach and thrown him to the ground, wrenching his sword free from his grasp.
About that time something had struck him in the head. Hard.
With uncertain, blurry images of getting dragged through the grass and lying in bumping wagons, he had finally woken up in the dark. It was an underground dungeon, a small cell with broken barrels, slabs of stone, dripping water, and the previous inhabitant lovely crumbled into a state of few remaining pieces of rotten meat on bare-gnawed bone. He wasn’t in much better a shape himself. He had a broken rib, bruises all over his body, and a sword cut in his hip that opened now and then, leaking out a fair deal of blood. It had been stitched as he was unconscious, but the stitching was bad work. Even Anvilbreaker had done better back at his day. Nobody had talked to him ever since he had been brought here. Now and then, someone pushed in some pieces of dry bread and a bucket of water. But the fact that he wasn’t dead, or tortured, clearly told that he was being ransomed to Ironforge. The bastards.
When his wound fever started to rise, the Mountaineer drifted into odd dreams. In those dreams he walked the clouds and blew with the wind like a fallen leaf. He dreamt of how he was a leaf and how he fell on the Wolfmother’s fur coat. The mere absurdness of the situation made him chuckle. The Wolfmother lay down in the sun quietly for a long time, resting. But then she lifted her head, as if listening to something. She stood up and paced into a run, carrying him with her. Then they were running down to a green-blooming valley, and suddenly the dwarf-become-leaf understood that they were not running towards it alone. A strange army rushed down behind them towards a river. Was it the Verral River Crossing again? There a dark army stood waiting, banging swords against shields. The Wolfmother let out a fierce snarl, showing her teeth.
He woke up in the echoing darkness of his dungeon, shivering and having a mighty head-ache. The sought vision, it seemed, had found him. "Some pilgrimage", grunted the beaten Mountaineer’s brooding thoughts.