In another time, in another place, in another Azeroth not very much unlike our own, there was a Gnome. One of the cutest gosh darn Gnomes that the world had ever seen. She was downright adorable from the tips of her pink ponytails down to her carefully polished toenails. Even her name conjured nothing but fanciful, fun images (as was fairly common to her race.) She was young, barely of age, with wide blue eyes staring at the world.
Wide blue eyes filled with hate.
"Get out of my way, fools!" Nummie Gigglepie yelled at the crowds in the main thoroughfare of Ironforge, for this was before the Auction Houses expanded their businesses to include locations in Stormwind and Darnassus, and Ironforge was always clogged with people chattering inanely. "I have business to conduct! Business...of EVIL!"
For despite her outward cuteness, Nummie Gigglepie was evil, evil to her core. The mightiest evil creature ever to walk the realm. Certainly, her power had not quite yet come into full fruition, but soon - SOON! - she would be strong enough to conquer all of Azeroth! And then all of these pitiful, pathetic throngs would be her SLAVES! She had already compiled an extensive list of jobs for future people who had crossed or pleased her in some way to fulfil. Under her iron fist, Azeroth would at last fall into order...an order of her own devising.
An order that heavily featured COOKIES!
Nummie cackled to herself quietly, ignoring the useless and pathetic conversations buzzing above her head.
"OMG ur ghey!"
"No ur MOM is!"
"I am forming a new guild, Bastions of Light and Dragons with Vampires In! Sign my guild charter!"
"WTS ur mom 1s, PST!"
"...the body was Jenchenzi's..."
Nummie froze in her tracks. Powerful emotions overtook her, not all of which she could really understand. Jenchenzi...that FOOL. Another Gnome Warlock who CLAIMED he would dominate the world, Nummie and Jenchenzi had been rivals from the moment they met. Just the mention of his name was enough to make her see red. She hated him with the heat of a thousand suns. She hated him more than there were elves with the word "Dark" in their name. She wrote at length in her diary every night about how very much she hated Jenchenzi with his stupid GRAY hair that he CLAIMED was "lightning blue" on her pink stationary with hearts and flowers on it...not that she DREW the hearts, of course. They were just THERE, on the stationary ALREADY--
Wait. Back up.
"The BODY was Jenchenzi's"
"YOU THERE!" Nummie shouted, whirling to face the person who was speaking. She strode over to him and jumped, waving one arm ineffectually in the direction of his neck.
"Pardon?" The human Paladin asked, blinking down at her.
"One second..." she huffed, scurrying over to one wall where some crates were stacked. She dragged one of the crates over to him, hopped on it, and then grabbed his tunic where it stuck out above the breastplate of his armor and yanked his face close to hers.
"WHAT did you say?" She hissed at him.
"I...err...I was just saying that they found a body floating in the canals in Stormwind...it was the Gnome Jenchenzi..."
The world spun.
High on a snow-blown mountaintop was the labratory of one Thunk Rinklewrench, exiled Gnomish scientist. Some called him mad...MAAAAD...
"Excuse me, but this is MY narrative," Nummie told him sharply.
"Ah! Yes! Miss Gigglepie!" Thunk said nervously. His hair stood out from his head at odd angles, sometimes crackling with blue sparks. "I remember your family well...the Gigglepies were fine upstanding members of Gnomeregan society. Why, I think I even attended the party they threw when you were born -- Nummie, right? -- this was of course before I was exiled for my more, uh, CONtroversial experiments...just in the nick of time, too! My goodness, wouldn't want to be living in Gnomeregan today, would you?"
Nummie glared at him flatly, waiting for the question that all the people who had lived in Gnomeregan before The Incident invariably asked.
"So how are your parents?"
"Dead." Nummie said, narrowing her eyes. "Dead just like every other idiotic Gnome stupid enough and weak enough to not make it out in time when The Incident happened."
There was uncomfortable silence for a moment. Nummie's gaze never faltered and her expression never changed.
"Weeeelll, this is awkward, no?" Thunk said, fidgeting. Some distance away the sound of small animals in cages and in no small amount of discomfort could be heard. "So! Onward! You came to me because you're interested in some of my theories? You know they call me mad...MAAAAAADD..."
Nummie rolled her eyes. "IN particular, I was interested in this theory that you had of...bilocation? There is...something that I am trying to locate, but all of the scrying I do and the demons that I interrogate say that what I am seeking has moved...well, they say SIDEWAYS. To another place that is just like this one, but different."
Thunk's eyes lit up. "Yes! YES! Parallel universes! Parallel AZEROTHS! Sometimes side by side, sometimes hours apart! Oh, it is one of my most exciting theories!" Thunk ran his hand through his hair anxiously and then took out some chalk to illustrate on a slate board set up in the lab. "All of them are very similar. Thrall and Sylvanas, Jaina Proudmoore and the boy-king all rule, geographically they are identical, time runs the same on them all although it is often ahead or behind by several hours from one group of dimensions to the next..."
"Very interesting...infinite universes..." Nummie mused.
"No! Oh no!" Thunk declared. "At my last estimation there were only approximately...two hundred, perhaps? Three? Including all the ones that are scattered in the farther reaches of the multiverse, where even if you speak Common it does not sound like the Common we know at all!"
Nummie sighed impatiently. "So the people are all the same then, from world to world?"
"Sometimes..." Thunk mused. "According to my calculations, as I said the leaders remain static. As do most merchants and people who tend to live in towns and cities, for some reason. But other than that...no, not at all! The ordinary everyday people you see bustling about their business, they are all ENTIRELY different from world to world! This makes up one of the key deliniations between one world and the next. WE, for example, are here on universe KT," he said, drawing a circle on the board.
"KT?" Nummie asked suspiciously.
"Well, I, uh, well, it's a conceit of mine I suppose that you can say that instead of just numbering the worlds I've discovered I've been, well, naming them. After historical figures, places...things of that sort. Our world, the one we're on here, I call Kirin Tor, you know, after the ruling mages of Dalaran." Thunk said, periodically twitching.
"Is there a point in sight to all this?" Nummie snapped.
"Well, all right, yes, we here in universe Kirin Tor have a certain set of people. Myself and you and most of the people you've known, they are unique to our world. But every other world, again aside from rulers and townsfolk and such that I'm not sure what about living a stationary life predisposes one towards bilocation--"
"THAT!" Nummie lunged forward, startling Thunk into his blackboard. "This, this, BILOCATION concept. THAT is what interests me. Tell me about it."
"Well, I suppose "bi" is a misnomer, as what I refer to takes place on many many worlds at a time and not just two, but quite simply it means to exist in more than one place at a time."
"And how would one go about doing that, exactly?" Nummie asked, facing him head on.
"Pardon?" Thunk squeaked.
"Bilocating. Existing in more than one place. How can I do that?" She demanded.
"Well, I...I have a theory of course, but transversing dimensions would be...difficult" Thunk blinked. "Even if you arrived intact you would be, well, different. Weaker. Any talents you've learned, any gains you've made in power, you'd have to re-learn it all. In theory, of course! I don't know anyone foolish enough to actually TRY--"
Nummie tilted her head to one side thoughtfully. "There is something that I need to find. Something that was TAKEN from me. The only one who had the right to kill him was ME. He is a liar and a THEIF, and he stole something very precious from me. I am going to FIND where he has gone--"
She reached out and grabbed Thunk by the neck, which was much easier this time due to the height similarity. "I am going to find him and I am going to make him PAY for LEAVING me. Dying is no excuse! And YOU are going to HELP ME."
Nummie opened her eyes. The ground still felt like it was falling from under her feet. She blinked, trying to get her bearings.
"What do we have here? You look as though you might need something to keep your hands warm, hm?" Sten Stoutarm said congenially.
"YOU!" Nummie shouted in disbelief. "I concluded my dealings with you WEEKS ago!"
"I'll tell you what would help: a pair of nice, warm gloves. And, being the kind soul that I am, I'd be more than happy to provide you with a suitable pair." Sten went on, oblivious.
Nummie lunged and seized him by the tunic. "This must mean...the experiment worked! MWA-HAHAHAAA! This must be universe TB, named after those foolish Dwarves in the Searing Gorge! I am seeking a Gnome once known as Jenchenzi! You will tell me where he is before I have to..." Nummie faltered, finally noticing the cold bite in the air. "Hm. I suppose my fingers ARE a little chilly..."
"I've one condition, however." Sten said, as if she hadn't spoken at all and wasn't nearly standing on top of him. "I need you to go get me some wolf meat. Nice arrangement, hm? You bring me some wolf meat, and I'll make sure you don't lose any digits to frostbite. Well, what do you say?"
Nummie's eye twitched.
"Fine...FINE! I will bring you your pathetic MEATS, but when I return you and I will have a CONVERSATION! And you will learn to FEAR MY WRATH!"