Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The History of the Gnome World, Part 1

IN THE BEGINNING:

There were gnomes.

They were cute lovable woodland creatures who lived in quaint homes and frolicked with the animals.

But like all creatures granted with intelligence, the gnomes
eventually learned and began working with nature than working within

Early Gnome Cave Drawings  (http://ebeth.typepad.com)
Even the Swiss, who closely resemble the primitive gnomes of antiquity, focused on cheese making, mining, ironworking, and tinkering.

The Wanderlust
From time immemorial, gnomes have gone through a cycle of behavior modern gnome psychologists have only called The Wanderlust.  Gnomes by nature are a very community driven, yet insular race.  Many times gnomes will not regularly deal with a neighboring tribe or village unless it involves trade, festivals, or some dire need. 

Every generation of so, The Wanderlust, a strange desire to go off and see the world, affects a certain percentage of gnomes.  They will drop whatever they are doing to travel out of the cozy confines of the village,whether by foot, water, or air.  However, the further the gnomes travel, the more likely they will find a comfy spot and settle down for a bit.

The Return
After an undetermined period of time, some of The Wanderlust gnomes will be affected by the reverse phenomenon, The Return.  Gnomes attempt to return to their home villages as fast as they can  Upon their return, many tell of horrible stories of what is beyond the safety of the gnome village.   Even for those who tell of positive experiences, those are misunderstood and added to the legends.

The Prison
The after effect of the Return has been dubbed The Prison.  With all the strange tales and anxiety over the outside world, gnome elders, led by the wizards, effectively shut off all communication with other communities.  This crackdown would go on for another undetermined period of time, usually a half a generation.  By then, gnomes of average levels of curiosity have built up the courage to explore again and meet the old friends and trading partners.  The distant lands, however would be forgotten,e A few years later, the cycle begins a new.  It is unsure as to how many generations of gnomes have gone through this.

The Gnoman Empire
While the majority of gnomes resided in what we now call Switzerland, the first large gnomish civilization was established elsewhere.  A larger than normal collection of gnomes suffering from the Wanderlust congregated at the junction of the Pi and Za Rivers.  Two brothers, Minimus and Maximus Caesar were a bit more motivated than your average gnome, and staged a revolt of the village elders using wolf riders.   While the smaller Caesar focused on infrastructure and improving farming, Maximus worked on improving gnome technology and developing a military defense force.

The strangest thing occurred during the Return.  Instead of heading towards their home villages, hundreds of gnomes heading to this new town.  The brothers then turned the isolationism of the Prison to their advantage.  They warned their inhabitants that the wilderness was a hostile place, filled with feral gnomes and other dangerous creatures, but their new city, Gnoman, was an island of civilization and prosperity that could expand into the wilderness and conquer it.  Before the next Wanderlust had hit the city, it had expanded out in all directions, conquering everything and everyone that stood in it's way.

The Gnoman Empire was born. 

Gnomish Wanderlust disappeared for a few generations, overriden by Gnoman Expansion.  When it did finally hit, it simply stretched the Empire further, reaching areas that hadn't seen a traditional gnome in millenia.

While those wars are mired in the myths and legends of the area, one thing is for certain:  The Return occurred right after the Gnoman had to fight their first defensive war ever, one against the Scottish Highlanders. 

Many did not make it back to Gnoman, rather setting up communities in the areas we now call France, Germany, and Switzerland.   The ones on the border of the Gnoman sphere of influence simply vanished.   It is rumored that Gnoman Legions still operate in various corners of the world, marrying and recruiting from the local populace to refill their ranks.

The "Peaceful" Age
The gnomish cycle finally renewed, local enclaves solidified their power using Gnoman military knowledge to crush the village elders.  Baronies, Principalities, and small Kingdoms emerged, uniting multiple villages under one banner.

Within the dark corners of each land, evil began to slowly seep into society, twisted and contorting simple gnomes into vassals of the diabolical.  Witches and Vampires began to emerge out of the shadows and began to rule small portions of the gnome lands.

To counteract this Gnomish Wizards began a societal crackdown, barring gnomish movement and breaking off communication with the new settlements, until the distant lands were forgotten and the wanderlust started up again.   The also collected as many of the now-wild wolves that generations ago had been used as Gnoman Cavalry and were now being used by the evil entities and attempted to domesticate them.

That is why today, wizards on the battlefield can still summon the bravest of wolves to fight for them.


The Age of Exploration
When a group of French gnomes known as the Britauns crossed the Chanel #5, like all gnomish explorers, they were amazed to discover the land already populated with gnomes. They were a poor, weak folk who use subsistence farming and surface mining to survive. These unwashed were happy to see the Britons and willingly gave them whatever meager hospitality they could offer. Despite a dreary climate and horrible local food, the Britauns set up shop, lumbering the primeavil forest, and teaching the unwashed underground mining.

Two things surprised the Britons. First, they discovered ruins with the appearance of the Gnoman Empire and a few of their secrets hidden within. Second was the appearance of the Scots.

The Scots poured out of the highlands and tried lay waste to area, as they had done countless times before. The Unwashed fled instantly, but the Britons held their ground, much to the surprise of the highlanders. The Britons adapted their tactics to drive the highlanders away, decimating their ranks with wave after wave of volley fire.

As the Britons entered the Scottish highlands, they were met by an odd site, a number of the Scottish clan leaders accompanying one lone Gnoman Centurion. This Gnoman, Petronius Balboa, was the leader of the Scots and admitted his admiration of the Britons' tactics and a desire for peace. The Briton's leaders desired a continuation of hostilities, but one Briton general, Adrian Hasty, convinced the others that their resources and men were stretched to their limit. The ensuing treaty formed an agreed border between the Scots and a formally recognized Country of Britain. Both sides would build a short wall on this border as a symbolic gesture, naming it Adrian's Rockwall.

With the Scottish threat contained for now, they attempted to expand to the rumored Emerald Island located across Chanel #6. The gnomes they met there called themselves Leprechauns, and were just as vicious and far more magical than the highlanders. The British evacuated quickly, but they did make an alliance with the rebel Orangeman on the island. The British fashion sense also left a mark on the Irish, as they would change from wild men to dignified Leprechauns in top hats and coats.

Surrounded by angry Irish, possibly angry Scots, rumors of angry Viking gnomes, and one relatively safe water border with France, the British retracted and focused internally. They built up their agriculture and industry, and educated the Unwashed Gnomes. From this point forward, they were called the Wash, which in the local dialect turned into Welsh. They were still the lowest caste in the social system, but the British admired their hard work and attention to detail when building contraptions, and most suprisingly, ships.

When the next era of wanderlust occurred, the British rulers looked at other ways to expand their empire. With vast forests and surrounded by the seas, the British focused on shipbuilding. Their bigger faster ships allowed them to dominate the shipping market, opening up cheaper, faster trade with the outlying areas of the Gnomish Homeland. To expand the markets to use their shipping, they sponsored expeditions to the far reaches of the Seven Seas. Explorers, bolstered by a squad of marines, would investigate about 5-10 miles inland to ensure no hostile forces or dangerous geography would affect their choice of a port. Harbor facilities would be constructed, and an open invitation to all nationalities to come and live in the new town under relative freedom.

As the port was established, the explorers would venture out until they found the next suitable harbor candidate. In some cases, such as along the African Coast, the British ports served as trade stations, rest stops for longer voyages, or even drop off points for cargo. Few people ventured into the wilderness. In other instances, such as New Scotland, mass emigration forced the British out of the town's governance, but their shipping interests still dominated the area economically.

As time past, and the gnomish desire to withdraw back to their homeland kicked in, they sometimes would give governance to the local races, rather than the gnome colonists. It is little written, but some British interests were given to Teddy Bear loyalists, and tax revenues would sail back to Britain. The system worked until a) Teddy Bear and Gnome Pirates discovered the secret treasury on New Providence in the Azores. and b) the Teddy Bears in New Britain began an insurrection against the Teddy Bear overlords, who were far more draconian than the British ever were. The Picnic for Independence sparked off a series of revolts around the world, not only in the trade colonies, but spreading to Gnome homelands. When the dust settled, the cycle of gnomish civilization has seemed to stop on exploration, and the world has never been the same.

Next: Part 2: The Dark Specter of Nomepoleon I

1 comment:

  1. I love me some Gnomish Fluff. You do it well. Keep it up

    ReplyDelete