I grew up in a mountain village outside Gnomeregan proper — my family was in the textile business, and someone had to take care of the sheep! — but I spent my fair share of years in The City going to school and tinkering. I was in The City when the Troggs disrupted everything. It was a frightening time. When Thermaplugg announced his plan to flood The City with radiation, the family Seniors hustled all the Juniors, including myself, out to the sheepfolds with all due haste. They would stay behind to help mop up any Troggs that survived the radiation. Grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents… I never saw any of them again. Some of my relatives made it out safe and sane… others escaped, but not in their right minds. The City was huge, I knew only a small circle of Gnomes, and yet I have had to fight lads and lasses with whom I agonized over complicated homework equations and celebrated after exams. I didn’t love The City in the same way as my friends who’d been born and lived their whole lives there, and never been out in the open sky under the sun, but I mourned for its loss, and the loss of so many good Gnomes I had known, respected, and loved. I had learned a little magic from my teacher in the village when I was very young, and it was to magic I turned now that my family livelihood lay ruined.
“Kiki,” my Papi say to me, “it be a grand ting dat ya be wantin’ ta study da witchin’. Ya got ya Mami’s smarts, and I be proud of ya. But beware da voodoo, little bird. Mind ya that ya be da master of de arcane, and not let it become da master of you. Ya is all I have left, little bird.”
Mami was a witchdocta, and a mighty fine one, too. An’ when Zalazane started causin’ schisms among da Darkspear, he caught her right neatly in his net. I remember Mami and Papi arguin’ about Zalazane, many nights, until one night she hexed him. It wasn’t a great or very long-lasting hex, as hexes go, but Papi got pretty frightened, and we younglings did, too. Then one morning while Mami was away, Papi told my bruddas and me dat Vol’jin was urging everyone who still had reason to leave with him for the mainland. He asked us if we would come with him, leaving our by-now pretty thoroughly irrational Mami behind. We loved our Mami, but she scared us now, and so we went with Papi to the mainland and helped build Sen’jin Village. Papi was a broken man after that, though, not being able to live with Mami, but not being able to live without her, either.
When Master Gadrin started sending youth out to the Isles as part of their rites of adulthood, Papi told me an each of my bruddas in turn, “if ya meet ya Mami, do what I can not, free her from Zalazane. It be a mercy, to do dat for her. And de rest of dem… dey no longa Darkspear. Dey be our enemies now, jus’ like all de tribes in Stranglethorn where our tribe come from long ago.”
I’m glad that the previews for Operation: Gnomeregan and Liberating the Echo Isles have indicated that there will be things for characters of all levels to do — thus allowing me to have a Gnome (Kelilla) and a Troll (Kikimaia) with whom to participate in the reclaiming of their respective racial homelands simply by working on my current “level a character of each Race through their racial starting zones” project. At level 20-something, they may not be able to do much, but they will at least be able to contribute to the cause in some small way.
And of course, after Cataclysm I will want to roll another Gnome (Priest) and another Troll (Shaman, maybe a Druid, too) to see how the new starting areas for those races play out!