Report #00032: The Heart of Ironforge Mountain
This report is the hardest to write of any I have written. I suppose I’ve said that before, and it was true at the time. They get harder. I pray to the Light they never get harder than this. It’s always been my habit to avoid writing about personally difficult things for as long as I possibly can. That means I’ve avoided some things altogether and only lightly touched on others. My brother says I’m as brave as himself is, but I’ve run from harsh realities when writing my reports because running from them in my daily life wasn’t a bloody option, yet I did not want to be facing them again once the time came to record the events and my own observations. In that way, I have failed in my task. I started writing these reports and filing them, whether Historian Karnik wanted myself to or not, to provide those who visit the library with an opportunity to see Azeroth through my eyes… one dwarven eye, and one gnomish goggle-wearing eye. I suppose I’ve spent a lot of time keeping one of those eyes closed, and a lot more time refusing to say everything the other eye has seen. Today, I have a chance to do better. And a reason that I have to be doing better.
I do not expect my reports to be know from here to the other side of the Dark Portal. It’s not like I’m Brann Bronzebeard himself. But if even one bloody soul living on Azeroth reads this report, I want them to know what I know. To see what I have seen. To feel that, in some small way, they have stood where I have been so blessed by the Light as to be able to stand. Because I have stood at the side of one of the greatest beings to have ever walked among us. I have been given the gift of his wisdom. I have seen his benevolence and his fury. And while I am now heartsick and feel shattered by the loss of him, I am a better person for having been so honored. I am… Fizzy-er.
It is not just with a heavy heart, but with a tremendously agonizing pain in every part of my own being that I must report the death of King Magni Bronzebeard, High Thane of the Bronzebeard Clan, Lord of Ironforge Mountain.
I have some things to say about King Magni himself, and about how much he made a difference in my life. Advancements in engineering have allowed myself to keep a few momentos of times I’ve been in his presence, and I’m not ashamed to say I want to cling to them, keep them for myself forever. But my sacrifice would be nothing compared to King Magni’s own, and so I’m including these momentos in this report. They are a small gift from myself to the people of Ironforge and the rest of Azeroth. I ask only that the historians guard them carefully, and please return them to me if there ever comes a time that some bloody git decides the library has no place for them. They are little pieces of my heart.
I suppose it may seem to those reading these reports who are neither dwarven nor gnomish that I’ve enjoyed some sort of special favor with King Magni. That is not the case. Aye, he was the one who gave me my ram, Copper. And, aye, it was King Magni who assigned myself the task of looking after our digsites in Kalimdor. He spent a fair bit of time discussing with me why I was being assigned such a duty. It was himself who announced it to all of Ironforge when the Timbermaw Furbolg decided that, if I was representative of my people, they would like a closer relationship with my people. And, aye, he listened when I approached him with the concerns of Sully Balloo’s poor widow. It is true that he asked myself to try to rescue his idiot daughter. And, aye, I reported to King Magni directly all that had happened to myself when I came back from the Storm Peaks. I have spent a fair bit of time standing at the High Seat, asking for the benefit of his wisdom or fighting back those bloody gits who would attempt to invade Ironforge Mountain.
What I suppose folks may not realize is that this is nothing special in Ironforge. King Magni made himself available to the dwarven people. He lived a life of service to us, not of displaying power and dominance over us. I have been amazed and felt honored every time he simply remembered my name. Every bit of praise that came from King Magni felt like the Light itself had taken hold of me. Because the truth is, I am simply a dwarf. And I wasn’t even always that.
The first time I went in front of King Magni was shortly after I was well enough to start walking around Ironforge alone. Greta nursed myself back to health quite well after we lost Gnomeregan, but it took a long time. I was a gnome and Ironforge was enormous. My brother had brought me a wee rabbit to look after, and because it has always been my habit to call a rabbit a “bun-bun” I named the critter Bun-bun. I was walking so cautiously around the Great Forge. I suffered terrible technophobia after what happened in Gnomeregan, and just being so close to the smiths and engineers made myself dizzy enough that I almost fell right into the lava a couple of times! It would be fair to say I was hugging the wall as I made my way around that day, and Bun-bun and myself ended up talking to one of the guards outside of the High Seat. He told myself King Magni was recieving visitors that day, and he chuckled a bit when I asked if I could visit, but he showed myself in.
I stood there in front of a dwarf who looked like he could easily put one of those hammers right through myself and leave me as nothing but a wee smudge of red braided buns on the floor. But there was a twitch of a smile behind his beard that at least kept myself from being afraid enough to pass out. It did take a minute before I remembered to bow, though. And I will never forget what it was he said to me. “Strength, honor… I see them in you. Why have you come?”
I suppose I must have spent a good few minutes making myself look like a bloody git, trying to explain what I was doing there. But then he asked me, “How can the dwarves help you?” and I told him I couldn’t think of anything in the world that could be done to help anymore than they already had. That giving all of us a place to go was more than I would have thought anyone could do when we were still down there with the troggs, and that I had been taken in myself by Greta Stouthammer and her son, so I would be just fine.
It was after we buried Greta that I saw King Magni again. After I had decided to see more of Azeroth, maybe even put what I had been learning from the mages to some proper use. My brother had completed his intitial training with the paladins in Stormwind, and they had plenty to send himself out to do. So I suppose it just made sense to me at the time to follow him. If I had to tell the truth… and that is what I’m trying to here… I would have to say some of it was because I wasn’t ready to be alone. I wanted him to watch my back. But there was more to it than that. I wanted to watch his back, too. I didn’t know what it was at the time… everything he had gone through at Mt. Hyjal… but I knew he was also alone, and I suppose I just figured he missed Greta even more than I did. She was, after all, his mother for his entire life. She gave him life, and he’d been living it for well past a century. She adopted myself as kin, and I was only blessed with a few short years with her. That’s still more years than I could have asked for. So it seemed right for the Stouthammers to stick together.
Heading out to explore Azeroth resulted in a lot of confusing things for myself. In spite of what everyone thought, I wasn’t really taking so well to the mage training. (I had wanted to be trained as a priestess of the Light, but they said they were reluctant to train gnomes for such on account of our history of not being such a faithful people. I was encouraged to take up some other training and we’d see in time how my faith in the Light endured. I hear they’re training gnomes for that now. I’m trying my bloody best not to be jealous.) And I couldn’t shake the idea that I would have fit better into the world if I had been born a dwarf. When the research into some old tales started turning up evidence that I did have a dwarven ancestor, I truly no longer knew what to think of myself. I knew I wanted a proper ram, though. Beautiful creatures, they are! Loyal, strong… everything great about the dwarves they carry could also been seen in the rams. And so I started heading home at night so that I could ask King Magni every day before I went back out for permission to ride a ram.
I suppose it was the third or fourth day when he looked at me for a few minutes like he was trying to see right through me, and then asked, “Fizzytwizzle, what do you seek within the mountain?”
Of course, I got nervous about being there again and spoke like a bloody git… again. “I seek permission to ride a ram, sir.” I didn’t get permission that day. I didn’t get it for some time after that.
I think back now, after everything I’ve been through and everything I’ve learned about myself, and I ask myself again, “Fizzy, what do you seek within the mountain?” And I’m just a wee bit ashamed that I didn’t recognize the question for what it was when King Magni asked.
Most of the events of King Magni’s life can be studied in other documents. There’s no need for myself to record them all here. But there are some things I’d like to say a few words about.
King Magni Bronzebeard loved his brothers more than anything. This is how it should be. If you cannot love your own kin, you cannot love the rest of your people. And if you cannot love your own people, you cannot care enough for the world outside of your own land. Now, I’m not saying you have to like your own people! There can be plenty of them you’d rather do without. You don’t even have to be pleased with all the traditions of your people, or the expectations they place on yourself. Light knows I’ve drank straight from that keg. But even if you can’t like them, find it in yourself to love them. I’ve had to learn that the hard way.
Azeroth needs all the love we can give her, now more than ever before. I’ve seen the area around Thelsamar. The Stonewrought Dam… the loch… THE LOCH, for Light’s sake! Things have to be set right! We all need to find it in ourselves to love each other and love our homes so we can do that. Start with your own brothers. If you don’t have any, find some. Love them. Even when they’re bloody gits.
King Magni was not afraid of battle. I suppose Varian Wrynn doesn’t exactly shy away from it, himself, but I get the feeling it’s a wee bit different in that case. I’ve followed Varian Wrynn into battle twice now, and… Well, I won’t be saying anything against him here. Not this time. To the people of Stormwind, I can’t blame you for loving your king. No matter what I think of how he goes about doing things, I don’t suppose I can blame anyone right now for devotion to their leader.
I had the honor of fighting at King Magni’s side several times. I once ran across Ironforge to defend against some bloody invaders, only to find out I was too late. King Magni himself had already been taken away for the healers to start working on him. Anyone who reads these reports knows I’ve got nothing against the Tauren people as a whole. Mulgore is one of my favorite places in all of Azeroth! (At least, I hope it still is. I haven’t been able to get any news yet of how things have fared over there.) But there was a Tauren sitting right on the bloody High Seat! My brother had told me once no one sits on the High Seat except King Magni. After that, I made sure I got there faster when someone tried to invade. And I tracked that Tauren down and repaid his mischief with a bit of my own once I mastered polymorphing.
It doesn’t look right to see the High Seat now. It just doesn’t. And I’d give almost anything to hear my brother say again, “No one sits on the High Seat except King Magni, Lil One. He’ll be back soon enough.”
King Magni also did not rush into battle without reason. When folks thought Prince Muradin was dead and he was given the horrifying news that it had been Arthas Menethil that had murdered him, King Magni could have made some very irresponsible decisions out of emotional reaction. I don’t suppose anyone would have blamed him if he had. Now, with the Lich King defeated, I suppose the history of the Ashbringer is fairly common knowledge. Think for just a moment about the creation of it. Not the part where a bunch of paladins sit around and swing the Light at a strange alien crystal. The part where a dwarf mourning the loss of his brother focused all of that grief into forging such a strange thing into such a powerful weapon. Some say that crystal may have been the remains of a naaru. King Magni Bronzebeard gave it life again as the weapon that destroyed the blade wielded by the Lich King.
You don’t always have to be rushing into battle to be fighting righteously.
When Stormwind had that wee dragon problem and their allies were being denied the assitance they needed on account of the meddling, King Magni stayed true to our allies. Ironforge lost much because of the bloody Dark Irons, but King Magni never pulled Ironforge’s sons and daughters out and left the humans to fend for themselves. And he never pulled out of Alterac Valley, either… in spite of the advice given by his own brother. The Stormpikes, like it or not, weren’t pulling out and couldn’t just be left to die.
King Magni himself heard my own thoughts on such things more than once. But he never had myself arrested for saying what I felt, and I do have to respect his devotion to our allies. If you can’t keep a promise you’ve made, you probably shouldn’t have been making it to begin with. King Magni saw to it that Ironforge kept her promises, even when breaking them might have been the easier path.
He wasn’t a perfect man. No one is, I suppose. Maybe he was a wee bit narrowminded when it came to the one thing where having such views cost him the most. But everyone deserves another chance, and a certain dwarven princess may not have been fair to her father when it came to that. Being angry and being hurt has been known to make folks say and do things maybe they shouldn’t have. I cannot make myself understand her actions, though. And believe me, I’ve tried. I would have brought her home if she would have come back with me, no matter what I think of her, just to help heal that pain in King Magni’s heart. It was the one thing I might have been able to do to show him how much his wisdom and leadership meant to myself, but I failed to do it. Knowing it wasn’t all up to myself doesn’t help much.
And that’s all I intend to say about herself for now. Maybe ever. Ironforge Mountain may not be big enough for the two of us, and I was thinking of moving outside the mountain soon, anyhow. Bronzefeather needs room to spread his wings.
Even with things being a bit too crowded for comfort, I never knew Ironforge could be so empty. It feels like the heart of Azeroth beats a wee bit fainter these days. They say it’s the diamond heart of Ironforge Mountain that King Magni is part of now. I could have told anyone that he was always the heart of Ironforge.
I never got around to writing that letter to King Magni like I meant to. I was so sure it would make a difference. I have to admit now to hoping it wouldn’t have. I don’t know if I could live with knowing I didn’t find time to do the one thing that might have saved him. But it’s not just Ironforge that’s lost him. He was doing what he thought might heal the planet. He died trying to save us all. Dwarf, human, elves of whatever variety, troll, orc, draenei, gnome, Tauren… even the Forsaken ones, I suppose. To save Azeroth is to save all her people.
I’d give my life for Prince Muradin. And you can say whatever you want about a bloody council, or Princess-Empress Moria Darkironbeard or whatever she calls herself, but you’ll not stop myself from calling him PRINCE Muradin Bronzebeard! Brann Bronzebeard himself is a prince, too, of course. It’s just a bloody lot of titles if you start calling folks High Explorer Prince Brann Bronzebeard himself of Ironforge the diplomat, or some such bloody thing. But my point is that Prince Muradin cannot be another King Magni. He’s a fine man, but he’s Prince Muradin. You can’t replace Elling Trias with Master Mathias Shaw… not that there’s any kind of reason you might think you could, anyhow. You can’t replace King Magni Bronzebeard, either.
I will never walk through the gates of Ironforge again without taking a moment to ask myself a question, and I ask you all to do the same.
What do you seek within the mountain?