art of my evening schedule is to walk through Cathedral district and say hi to the group of gnomes who occupy a planter in the district. Usually 2-3 of them sitting and having a good time, debating life, gnome politics, and just being friends. It is an anchor in my life, a little reminder that in the midst of madness and chaos, something is alright, something is as it should be, something stays the course and grounds us all, trying to keep us in balance. The "convention of gnomes" - yes, that is the official term for a group of gnomes - just like I learned that a group of goblins is called a "hazard of goblins" or "a purse of goblins" varies in composition, I won't mention names here, as that is not vital for the story, but there is a core or 2-3 gnomes, and depending on which of those gnomes is present on the particular night, they are located in a specific planter in Cathedral Dristrict. To most their location may seem random, but I have spent months observing, and talking to them, and been able to produce something resembling a basic decision flowchart (see below). For months I have taken a trip through Cathedral District, spotted the planter with the gnomes and walked over, either to say hi and have a little chat, or to wave and let them know I seen them and acknowledged them. I have talked about gnomish politics with them, I have discussed the difference between a porch, a balcony, a deck, a veranda, a terrace, and a patio, I have listened to stories about gnome punting and racism, and I have even enlisted them once to help me during a story I was working on. I would not call them friends, but as I wrote initially, they are part of my life, part of my day, a reminder that sure, the world is fucked, but the gnomes are where they should be, where they always are. A week or so ago I took my usual stroll around Cathedral District, and found no gnomes sitting on planters. The following days I tried the few spots outside Cathedral District that I knew of, but found none of them. The seed to worry was planted in my belly and as the days passed the seed grew, it got bigger, it rummages around, a constant reminder that something was not as it should be. The gnomes where gone. Not just one of them, but all of them. Every single one of the gnomes usually occupying the planters were gone. Days passed. I did my walks, no gnomes. I asked people, no gnomes. Tonight I was finally overcome with worry and concern and decided it was time to take it serious, they had been gone for a week and just because no one else noticed or seemed concerned, then it did not mean I shouldn't care either. I care about people, and yes, despite some assholes opinion, then gnomes are people as well. Gnomes are not an object without feelings for you to take your frustrations out on. Sort your miserable life out, hurting other people is not the solution, it just makes you a bigger jerk. Sorry. Got carried away, gnome-punting and racism towards gnomes gets me a little upset. Back on the topic. Last I talked to one of them I enlisted one of them to talk to other gnomes about "gnome-punting" - get some stories and experiences for an article I am working on, and now they were all gone. Did I set them down a path of danger? did I drive them into the arms of some gnome-punting maniac who had kidnapped them all and punted them off cliffs? Surely not, they might be gnomes, but none of them are exactly defenceless. But despite the logical part of my heart telling me that then the worry would not go away, and I started asking locals if they had seen them. Four people later and I was not less worried, only more. Three of those people knew of the gnomes but had not seen them for over a week either. It was not just me who had missed them somehow, they were truely gone and it was time to get help. I spotted Kazia - (some may know her for her fashion column Passion for Kaz-shion) and, I admit this was not nice, but I guilt tripped her into helping with a short speech about how Stormwind is a shit city because no one cares - and walking off. Kazia, being a nice person caught up to me and insisted on helping find the gnomes. The hunt was on. First stop was the Shady Lady, no one reacted to me asking if they had seen the gnomes, but Kazia raised her voice and it got some responses, unfortunately, all negative, no one had seen them. The same story was repeated from a gnome we caught near the bridge between Dwarven District and Cathedral District. He knew of them but had not seen them in a little over a week, much the same story I had been getting all evening. As the worry grew, I dragged Kazia through Dwarven District and into Old Town. As I was checking The Pig and Whistle I noticed Captain Thodim of First Company, on his way through the district and ran after him. I am not too proud to admit it, but I begged for his help, at this point it was clear the gnomes had vanished and not been seen, it was not just me seeing things, no one had seen them for over a week. I begged the Captain, explained what was going on and he offered his "tracker" to help. This turned out to be a shapeshifting druid who after contacting us instantly flew out over the city, looking for gnomes. Meanwhile Kazia and I talked to Echo company about the situation, one of them offered to help and a couple of locals, concerned citizens without any kind of ties to a secret agency, offered to help as well and we went off into the city, visiting the spots I knew the gnomes had sometimes been sitting at. As we walked Kazia managed to make me even more worried, with statements like "What if there's a hole that attracts gnomes into it?" and prophecies like "They say that when gnomes go missing, something bad is about to happen." After visiting the places outside of Cathedral District we ended up back where they usually sit, I explained what I knew of the decision process when it comes to their locations, and we went on to the second planter and this is when the miracle occurred. While talking to local gnomes one of the missing gnomes showed up, sitting down in her usual spot, completely dazzled about all the people, as I rushed over to explain what was happening she smirked and replied "You didn't have to look for me with the entire army", she ensured us nothing bad had happened, that she had just been on a trip, and her friends just busy with stuff, even if she initially joked about one of them being kidnapped, but quickly saying she was joking when she saw my face. The anchor was back. The gnomes where they always been, everything was good. Sometimes caring can turn to worry, but rather worry a little too much, then not care about people at all. I did not get a hug when I asked for one though.