Tock grumbled to himself as he studied his notes. He had come to Stormwind feeling sure that something would inspire him, but so far he had nothing worthwhile. He’d never make it on his own as an inventor if he didn’t find something. Ninety-nine years in Dun Morogh had worked his creativity into a rut… He needed to get out, and Stormwind was only a safe tram ride away. So he had come hoping that exposure to the human culture would ignite his spark of creativity, but he was beginning to feel discouraged.

As he climbed onto the ledge of an inactive fountain overlooking the sprawling harbor, Tock searched the area for something he might improve on. Somewhere that he could make a mark of his own. Right now, his claim to fame — and explanation for his first name — was his parents’ careers as innovative watchmakers. They were the inventors of the famed Cherry Watch, in fact. Now he wanted to prove he could be just as brilliant.

“Yeah, right,” he mumbled. “For a gnome who fumbled a wrench and sent it right into the lava under the Great Forge, whose last name comes from that brilliant move? Heh. Sure, I’ll do something great…when gnomes fly.”

Just then, a small being enveloped in luminescent green energy soared through the air over the harbor. In the central hub of the entire Alliance, many flying creatures were commonplace… He had already seen gryphons and drakes, hippogryphs and gnomish flying machines…but this was small. Gnome-sized, even! Her brown ponytail fluttered in the breeze as she sat, eyes closed, on what looked like a cloud.

Tock immediately thought of his flying disc. One of his semi-successful inventions, it was a device he could stand on to ride around, though it was a bit slow and not stable enough to fly more than a few feet in the air. But it generated a cloud underneath it from the water vapor it used, much like this gnome had! Was she riding on an improved disc? It must have been smaller…he couldn’t see it through the cloud.

“I…,” he stammered as he put away his clipboard for the moment. “I say…miss!” he called out. “What…what kind of invention are you using to do that?!”

The woman opened one brown eye and peered at him. “I’m not,” she said simply, beginning to float toward the ledge where his fountain stood. As she came closer, she unfolded her legs from her sitting position, standing in the air, descending to the ground. Her feet touched the stone pavement, hardly making a sound. She wore a silver necklace in the shape of a gear, a bright aquamarine lightning bolt crossing through it. A small string of metallic green prayer beads clinked as they dangled about her wrist, and a few pouches bobbed at her waist when she landed.

“I was using chi,” she said simply.

Tock tilted his head. “…Chi?”

She nodded at him. “I’m a monk.”

How had he not heard of this before? Whatever the secret was, he certainly wanted to learn how it could help someone fly like that. “A…a monk? What do you mean?”

She chuckled. “Here… I can show you a place where you can learn a lot about us. Just…take my hand, close your eyes, and clear your mind.” She held one gloved hand out to him.

Tock nodded and slowly took her extended hand in his. He closed his eyes and tried not to think about all of his questions…which of course made him think about them more. That wouldn’t work… He let out a deep breath…and relaxed.

Author Rann
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