I’d suggest having a mug of ale when you read this. It’s not bad news or anything. I just suggest you always have a mug of ale around.
I won’t waste your time mincing words… you’ve never been my favorite Bronzebeard. It’s nothing personal against you, and I assure you I’ve got the greatest respect for all you’ve done over the years. I reckon it’s pretty much a case of what you’ve said about yourself. “My older brother Magni is king of the dwarves. My younger brother Brann is a renowned explorer. If I didn’t kick so much ass, I’d feel a tad awkward.”
You might just have Azeroth’s worst case of “middle child syndrome”.
I used to think you were a paladin. They don’t tend to stand out very much in my mind unless one of them goes above and beyond the call of duty. Or, you know, ends up in league with a frozen orc, kills his own father, digs up his dead horse, and tries to take over the world. That’ll make somebody stand out in my mind. Not that I’m advising you try it.
It was actually learning about Arthas that corrected my notion of yourself as a warrior of the Light. I figure there are many ways to be doing the Light’s work, but I put aside the mental image of you swinging the Light and replaced it with one of you swinging whatever the hell you could get your hands on. Or just your fists, if it came to that. I learned that you were the one who taught Arthas how to fight dirty. “Dirty” by human standards, anyway. Between yourself and myself, I think it’s just a matter of being practical.
It’s not your fault, you know? That he turned out the way he did, I mean. Knowledge is a tool. Sometimes it’s knowledge about how to fight, and sometimes it’s knowledge about where a magic sword is. But it’s a tool… just like a hammer. If I put a hammer in some bloody git’s hand and show him how to use the forge and what have you, it’s still not my fault if he chooses to craft naked elf statues instead of something useful. You gave Arthas knowledge, but you didn’t force him to use it the way he did.
I wish I could have known you before all that business started. It seems like your tale always gets told in some way that makes you look like little more than a supporting character in Arthas’s life story. You’re a Bronzebeard! And you were there with the Alliance forces during the Second War! You’ve probably got a lot of tales you could tell, and I imagine most of them shouldn’t be told until after the little one’s have gone to bed for the night.
It seems like you’d have time to tell those tales now that you’ve come home, but the truth is I just haven’t been able to bring myself to talk to you very often. The first time I saw you after the Cataclysm, you asked me, “What brings you to Ironforge, friend?” That shook me up a wee bit.
Are you even aware of how much you sound like your brother? I’ve wondered sometimes if you do it on purpose, or if you don’t even realize it. King Magni used to ask, “What brings you to Ironforge?”
I thought it might just be coincidence, but I listened to you greet other visitors. “How can the Council of Three Hammers assist you?” “Welcome to our home beneath the mountain.”
Even as you were still speaking, I could hear King Magni in my mind. “How can the dwarves help you?” “What do you seek within the mountain?”
I might be out of line here, but it wouldn’t be the first time, so I’m going to offer you some advice. Don’t try to be one of your brothers. And don’t kick yourself for not being them, either. The world is only allowed one Magni Bronzebeard, and I know folks who’d say one Brann Bronzebeard is more than enough. Only you can be Muradin Bronzebeard.
I don’t know if you ever read Brann’s reports about the Ulduar complex or not. I was there with him for some of the discoveries he made in Northrend. The Titans’ computer system knew who he was. It was expecting him. One of the Watchers said he believed your brother was the person who was meant to have access to the information. Now, I don’t know how much you know about how the Titans set things up, but they don’t strike me as the kind of folks who’d say, “Oh, it’s alright, he’s a good guy.” You have to be a very specific guy who is already cleared for things before anybody says, “Show it to him.”
My point here is this… the dwarven people may have changed quite a bit since the Titans first made the Earthen, but I don’t think it’s been so much of a change that your purpose is lost. I think you exist because it was in Khaz’goroth’s plan for you to exist. There was a place in the plan for a Magni, and for a Brann, and also for a Muradin.
If the Titans had wanted you to be Magni or Brann, they would have made you Magni or Brann. You’re Muradin. Be Muradin!
Give the world a better tale to tell about you than one that always ends up with Arthas doing something stupid.
For Khaz Modan!
- Fizzy Stouthammer