I was supposed to be a boy.

That’s what all the midwives, the calculations, the concepto-meter (my parents could use this because they’d both been in the midst of major projects, so they knew exactly when they’d arranged for personal time), Old Mirri’s meteor pendulum, the common wisdom about how a pregnant woman carries claimed. Definitely a boy. I was going to be named after my Uncle Dinpik. Obviously, everyone was wrong about the boy thing. But I was still named after my Uncle Dinpik.  If I stop and look back, that kind of sums up my life so far: not being what was expected. Oh, don’t get my wrong. My parents loved me, I didn’t have a horrible childhood, anything like that. I just always seemed to be at odd angles to what my family did and was. For instance, they were all engineers. (The ones still living, they’re engineers still). Yeah, they might study magic, or be a little light-fingered and sneaky, or really good bashing people with pointy metal sticks. But when it comes down to it, they’re engineers. Designing, making, creating, testing… they loved it. They threw parties when something worked and bigger ones when something didn’t (baring fatalities – that’s just tacky) because it was an opportunity to experiment more. So when I turned out to be fumble-fingered at the worst possible times, and completely unable to make sense of the equations and diagrams, there was a lot of headscratching. How could this be possible?

Well, don’t ask me, because I don’t know. All I do know is that while I can help solder things, and I know how to take measurements properly, and I know what wrenches to use when repairing a steamtank’s throttle as opposed to the ones to tighten the bolts on the tread-mounts, I’m the first non-engineer in my family in decades. 

I’m an alchemist. Give me plants and tubes and a burner, and I can putter and experiment for days. I like seeing what I can make that didn’t exist before. I like perfecting the recipes. The pandaren in Stormwind practice their weaponless fighting by the lake as a type of meditation. Alchemy is my meditation, the distilling and firing and mixing… all the steps. I’ve always liked cooking, and alchemy is just another form of it. I excelled at the beginners’ courses and moved up and out of them fast. Then there were the magical studies.

I don’t know how it is with humans or blood elves or night elves now, but in Gnomeregan, and now in Ironforge, everyone interested in magic started in the same beginners’ class. We all learn the same cantrips, the same basic theories, and as we progress, we decide whether we’re going to be mages or warlocks. There’s tests the instructors give and games we play – just different tests, really – to see which suits us best.

My mother was a mage. My parents decided to give me her surname (yes, I use it still, don't  hassle me about it), and with that decision was the unspoken assertion that of course I’d be a mage. At this time in my life, though, my mother and I kept looking at each other out of the corner of our eyes as if thinking, “I don’t understand this person at all.” So I have to admit that a teeny part of my choice was a reaction to my mother being a mage.

But only a teeny part. And while we haven’t had warlocks in our family for awhile, there have been a couple. Me coming home with an imp wasn’t nearly as shocking as me coming home with a crucible, a retort, and a bagful of peacebloom and silverleaf. A lot of people think gnomes become warlocks to make the other races respect us. There’s some truth to that – I mean, that’s why some gnomes become warlocks, not that other races respect us because of it. Shards, one of my teachers said we should all be warlocks for that reason! And I’ve heard other warlocks say they feel they were born to it. Some like the power of commanding these incredibly powerful and dangerous beings.

Me? I became a warlock because fighting hurts. I like having someone else take on the people coming at me with sharp pointy things or glowy hands, thankyouverymuch. 

Yeah, it’s really that simple for me. No deep, dark desires or traumas. Sorry. 

Speaking of deep dark desires and traumas…there’s a lot of talk about corruption among warlocks these days, especially with those idiots the Righteous Light around. Yes, the fel can corrupt you. Plenty of evidence of that. But there’s plenty of evidence that ‘ordinary’ arcane magic can corrupt you, too. How else did those Wretched turn into emaciated elves with crystals growing out of their backs? I don’t think our spells are anymore twisted or evil than mage spells. Both inflict bodily harm and kill people. Is smothering someone in magical ice honestly any more moral than burning them to death with a piece of the Twisting Nether? 

Some warlocks I know channel their hate and anger and resentment into their magic to avoid the corrupting influence of fel magic. I can’t do that. I don’t like feeding those feelings, so I try not to. I don’t always manage, but I do try. Like I try to remember that the demons I summon aren’t toys or pets or even possessions, but people. Incredibly alien people whose behavior must be limited and detailed by contracts and pacts, who gain something from those contracts and pacts (even if I don’t want to know what, exactly, that is) just as I benefit from their skills and abilities.

Does it work? Seems to so far. I mean, I learned how to take on a demon’s shape, though I don’t often. I don’t really need it in combat much, since most of that happens when Tanyel’s with me, and he really doesn’t like the demon-shape. I got mad enough once after Shana disappeared to use in the middle of the Blue Recluse. Brumark and that worgen – Fakepaw, Foepaw, something like that – about jumped out of their seats.  

I’m not the strongest warlock around, and I’m not really pushing my studies right now. I’m doing stuff for the Empire’s Citizen’s Branch, and making some coin on the side with perfumes. So as long as I don’t start thinking I’m smarter than everyone else, and everyone else is beneath me, and I can command an ENTIRE LEGION OF DEMONS I think I’ll be okay.

‘Course, by the time any of that does happen, it’ll probably be too late.

Meh. That’s a cheery thought to end this entry on, isn’t it?