My name is Shannon and I'm a 73-year old gnomeman. I learned magic from my uncle, Sandy. He was formerly the associate mage at the only all-Gnome college in the Kingdom and an infamously violent Gnomish activist. He disappeared mysteriously following a well-publicized accident at his university.
My mother, unfortunately, died in childbirth, which if you don't know is unusually frequent among Gnomish women when compared to white, human females. My dad showed me that Gnomes could be outstanding fathers. I wanted to follow in his footsteps, in that regard.
He supported me for 25 years working as the doorman at the Palace Inn, downtown. The second tragedy in my life arrived when at the far-too-young age of 112 to a series of violent Gnomish independence riots. I was nearly and not quite a young man when I lost my dad. It was hard, but he raised me to be strong for my size. He left his life's savings to pay for his only son's college tuition.
I endeavored to make him proud. His dream was always for me to become a wealthy, socialized mage like his brother-in-law. He wanted me to climb above the world that was carved out for those much taller than us. I owe him nearly everything.
I met the most important person in my life at the school. We met at one of those corny school dances with the bad music and everything. It wasn't a great scene, but I fell in love with her when she asked me to dance. They laughed at us, of course. It's not often you see a three-and-a-half-foot gnomeman with a six-foot Orcish lass around his arm.
But, Charlie was special. We spent all of our time together. She taught me about feudal economics and I tried to teach her silly magic tricks. Neither of us learned as much as we should have but neither of us had ever been so happy. We married the day after we graduated. Our time together was beautiful, but short.
I lost Charlie in a classroom. It was just my third demonstration as a fresh instructor at the same Gnomish university where Sandy made his name. There were cries of nepotism when I got the job over other, perhaps more qualified, candidates. But, Sandy had faith in me and he gave me a chance. I don't know if he blames himself for what happened. I was starting to get a handle on my nerves after the first two demonstrations had been awkward, but successful.
Nevertheless, Charlie insisted on being there to perform the auxiliary duty of being my assistant. I didn't necessarily need someone to bring me the toad's egg which we would be temporarily transferring into a burning pocket of condensed gas, but she knew how nervous I could be and her warm smile was the only thing that brought me confidence. My sun spell went wrong and killed her, immediately.
I left everything in my life behind. It all reminded me of her. I took a job at the only Gnomish language library in the city and became a hermit. I spent decades of my life dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge through texts. One day I found something. A book that held the secret to bringing back Charlie. But, I never finished that tome. It was ceased and burnt by the king's men for allegedly inciting ideological revolution. Now my life has a new purpose. The secret to saving Charlie is held in the mind of one man. One author. One Gnome. He's my uncle, Sandy, and I won't stop until I find him.