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The History of the Gnomes

The First Gnomes
Gnomes were created by Urdlen, the Worm, He Who Hunts The Dark, at the same time that he created Goblins and Kobolds. He had long crawled through the tunnels in the darkness, and when he learned of Tynian's creation of the Dwarves his evil sense of humor was aroused. He created three races and set them about his realm. He then hunted them, picking them off one by one, letting his presence be known by the slime-covered skeletons he left behind and in dark dreams, sent to those unlucky enough to become lost in the tunnels. The three races warred with each other, moving through the caverns, trying to escape his predatations. For three thousand years they have fought and died in the darkness, and each race hates the other two almost as much as they fear the slimy jaws of Urdlen. Only twice have Gnomes escaped the darkness. Twelve hundred years ago a Gnome scout found a passage up and out. His tribe met and they decided to leave the deep caverns. Being careful to leave no tracks for the Goblins or Kobolds to follow, they climbed up and out into the icy heights of the Oort Range. The second time that Gnomes left the lower realms was some 700 years later, and far away from the first location. It was in the deepest parts of the caves known as Moria, and this escape was far less ordered.

Gla-Shorn's Realm
It was sometime between 800 and 900 YH that the Gla-Shorn clan came up from the darkness, Gnomish history gives no more exact dates. They emerged in the icy western Oort Range, far from the more hospitable temperate zones, and unaware that such places even existed. They traveled across the frozen wasteland for days, hunting what scarce game could be found, slowly working their way toward the mountains, where they hoped to find shelter. They had been traveling for many days when a dark shadow passed over them, and the Gnome who had been scouting ahead was suddenly bathed in flame. The dragon, for that was what it was, landed by the steaming corpse, unworried by the presence of the rest of the clan, and rather hoping they would stay around, in case one Gnome wasn't enough to appease his hunger. The clan was shocked at first, but they quickly recovered their wits, and carefully struck up a conversation with the dragon. Now, dragons are as known for their skill with words as Gnomes are, but this was a young dragon, and hardly prepared to take on an entire clan of Gnomes. After only a few minutes they had talked him out of eating any more Gnomes, and in an hour or so more, had gotten him to apologize for crisping their scout. The Gnomes were highly impressed by his quick wit, as he was by theirs, and they soon were exchanging their reasons for being in such a desolate place. The dragon had heard of a rich diamond vein in a frozen cave and had been searching it, hoping to find diamonds that he could add to his hoard. The Gnomes were pleased to hear of the cave and persuaded him to lead them there, promising to use their mining expertise to provide him with enough diamonds to make it worth his while. It was in these caves, above the diamond vein, that Gla-Shorn's Realm was founded. The clan settled in, bargaining with their friend the dragon. In return for providing him with food and diamonds, he agreed to stay with them, heating the cold caves with his mighty draconian flame. The Gnomes soon settled into their new life, mining diamonds, and learning to hunt the glaciers and fish the dangerous, icy Maelmordian Seas. Near 1100 YH, one of their hunting parties came across a small group of young Aarakocra, who had been brought there by one of the mighty storms that sweeps the Maelmordian Seas. Upon realizing the odd creatures were sentinent, they camped there, near the edge of the glacier, and nursed the half-frozen birds back to health. They sent a messenger back to the caves to fetch them some dragon's blood, to allow them to communicate with their find. When the Aarakocra search party from Aran found their fledglings they were overjoyed to see them safe and sound, and quickly warmed to the Gnomes. This warmth quickly changed to fascination when the plentiful diamond jewelry worn by many of the Gnomes caught the sharp eyes of the Aarakocra. The Gnomes quickly realized the potential of that interest, and began to make arrangements for trade between the two races. Unwilling to give out the true location of their home, the Gnomes gave the Aarakocra directions to the dock of Gla-Shorn's Realm, hidden safely in a cave from the freezing Maelmordian storms. The following summer, a Wing of Aarakocra flew in from Aran, bringing with them as much trading goods as they could carry. When they flew home, they were laden with diamonds and jewelry instead, and the position of Dealer had been created in Gla-Shorn's Realm. For some 400 years the Gnomes and the Aarakocra were exclusive trading partners, until the summer of 1516 YH. Jon Keyotay came to Gla-Shorn's Realm that summer, having learned of its existence from the Aarkocra of Aran. He came with ships of goods brought from Safehaven, and beyond, exotic things that no Dealer had seen before. With Keyotay's visit the horizons of the Gnomes were expanded greatly, and they wasted no time in capitalizing on this new knowledge. With their great wealth in diamonds they have made up for their poor location, and for the fact that they can only be visited in the warm summer months, when the ice has thawed, and have become a powerful trading influence in the world. Their beautiful diamonds are exported throughout the world, and are known far and wide for their clarity, caret weight, color and cut.

It was 700 years after the founding of Gla-Shorn's Realm, indeed, soon after Jon Keyotay's expedition there, that another group of Gnomes came up from the depths. This time it was no carefully planned decision, but a flight. Pressed on both sides by growing tribes of Goblins and Kobolds, these Gnomes had been steadily retreating higher through the caves for several decades. Gnome scouting parties were working hard, trying to find an escape route through the endless twisting tunnels to a place where they could settle and regroup. One of these parties found an opening into higher caves, in the depths of Moria. Upon reporting home they found that the Goblins and Kobolds had joined forces in an uneasy alliance, determined to wipe the weakened Gnomes from this area of the endless tunnels. The Gnomes fled before their combined forces, up through the passages, through Moria, and into the surface world. The Goblins and Kobolds followed, but with the discovery of the surface world their alliance fell part, and they scattered into the surrounding areas. The Gnomes went south, out of the mountains and into the forest below. There, in caves near the River Fastwater, they settled. Aware of the threat presented by the Goblins and Kobolds they built a fortress to garrison their troops in. Deep beneath it, safe in the sheltering stone, are the clanholds and caverns of Thistlerock.

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