Right, so, I stared at a blank Word page for – no joke – thirty minutes this morning trying to remember my super-awesome-idea-for-a-post that occurred to me at ten o’clock or so last night. Obviously it can’t have been that super-awesome. So instead, since my brain has been on Gnomeregan since it was announced that we will finally complete the only quest I ever cared personally about in the five years I’ve played this game, you get an RP post! Because…I suck like that.

Also, as a heads up, I had my first few French conversations without help last week. I’ll post about these once I can get my screenies up and ready.

Sword to the back; twist. Follow up with a shield to the back of the head, hard enough that something gives. Sword out and in again, right through the heart, just to be safe. Step gingerly around the growing puddle of trogg blood – never know if it’s radioactive or not – and take up a position in the old watch tower. Only instead of watching the road leading to Gnomeregan, I turn my eyes on the city instead. Threats don’t come from without anymore. Only from within.

And below.

It was probably a mistake…not asking for help in the early days. But our allies had their own wars to fight. They wouldn’t have been able to help us in the end, anyway. Still, though…I wonder if it wasn’t pride.

I know the taller races look at us and see a silly people, full of energy and ideas, too much enthusiasm, not enough forethought. And to some extent that may be true. But they don’t see the rest of it. They don’t see the pride. Gnomeregan is ours, has always been ours. We believed we could save it, on our own. We were wrong. We made it worse. It’s not just our city we’ve lost, either. We’re standing on the brink of losing our entire race. So many dead, or mutated and addled and little more than animals.

The rest of us…it’ll be a long time before we fully understand the long-term implications radiation exposure may have had on us as a whole. But if we can’t find a way to fix it, we’re looking at chronically low fertility rates, eventually leading to the dying out of the Gnomish race.

We’re a strong people, stronger than we’re given credit for. Whatever part pride played in our decision to fight the troggs alone, it wasn’t our only motivation. As I’ve said, our allies had other concerns. It would have been irresponsible to call on them; to ask them to dedicate resources to us when they were needed for the defense of their own lands and peoples. And even now…staring at the remains of our homeland, watching it defiled every day by the troggs and our addled kin and the usurper king on his cancerous throne, knowing there may come a day soon when the Gnomes no longer grace Azeroth with their spirit and creativity and inventiveness…we stand strong. We fight. We fight hard.

We’ve lost more than anyone can know. Family, friends, material goods, plans and schematics, our safety, our history, our trust, maybe even our future generations. There’s not one of us that’s whole anymore – my brother died flying over Loch Modan on a recon mission. All of us lost someone to Thermaplugg’s machinations. The troggs haven’t stopped taking from us since they bubbled up out of the depths.

But our spirit is not lost.

Our hope is not lost.

Gnomeregan is not lost.

Not yet.

Not while there’s even one of us left.

I sheathe my bloody sword and pull the radio from my belt.

“Togglevolt, this is P. F. Blastenheimer. I’m in position and things are looking rosy for a strike at the coordinates we talked about. Big group of troggs ripe for the picking.”

“Copy that, Blastenheimer,” he responds, squeaky voice staticy over the communication device. He hesitates though, and I know what he’s going to ask before he does. “Are there…are there any leper gnomes?”

I take a moment to think through my answer. “There are,” I tell him at last. “A few.” There always are. I don’t know if they’re smart enough, but sometimes I could swear the troggs keep them around knowing we’ll be slower to strike, more reluctant to kill if they’re there. “It’s a kindness we’re doing them, Togglevolt,” I tell him gently. “If it was me, I’d want you to.”

“Right,” he says, but there’s no disguising the catch in his voice, not even with the static. “Flying in hot. Over and out.”

I shake my head sympathetically and switch the channel on the radio. I can already hear the buzz of the bombers coming in from the north. They’ll be flying low to try to avoid the city’s anti-aircraft defences. Sometimes I think it hurts worse to have our own inventions turned on us than it does our kin. A gnome is a thing of flesh and blood, which has a value unto itself. But a machine is an idea, a concept. It’s a philosophy. Our philosophy. A product of all the collected knowledge of us and our ancestors, all the way back to the first gnomes. It’s our link to the past and our gift to the future.

A gift we will reclaim for the future, no matter how uncertain that may be.

“Sparkbolts, this is P. F. Blastenheimer. Togglevolt’s flying in hot right now. Be ready to get your unit in through the hole he blows. Get what you need and get out again.”

“I know, I know,” she snaps impatiently at me. “This is reconnaissance not a battle. I know already.”

“You’ll get your chance to fight,” I assure her. “The High Tinker’s been locked up in the war room with the humans and the dwarves for weeks. I think I even saw an elf in there. It’s going to happen, okay? It’s really going to happen. But we need that info to make it happen.”

“Fine,” it’s grudging, but it’s real. “But you’d better not try to hold me back when the battle really does start!”

“I’ll be right there with you, Pepper,” I say with a laugh. “We all will be. We’re going to take back our home, okay? I promise. We’re going home.”

The bombers fly overhead and suddenly their roar is deafening. I can barely make out the relay of voices over the radio screaming “For Gnomeregan!” as the planes drop their loads and the recon team charges in through the smoke and the screaming troggs and we put one more screw into the finishing touches of the dream we’ve all been living and breathing since we were driven out of our home years ago.

I rub awkwardly at my eyes, and tell myself the sudden sting is just smoke from the airstrike even though I know it’s not.

A chorus of cheers erupts from the radio as the planes peel away again, disappearing into the clouds to return to Ironforge, and I throw my head back and laugh like an angel on Judgement Day.

“For Gnomeregan!” I shout into the roar of their engines.

Home. After all these years…we’re finally going home.