Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Watcher

The Watcher is a hooded figure appearing throughout Gnomish history.  It stands about 2 meters tall, and and wears a long robe and hood, which entirely obscures it's identity.  The Watcher appears several times a year, and silently walks the Gnomish lands.  It never enters buildings, but will stand before open doorways or windows momentarily, before moving on.  It is known to stop and watch Gnomish craftsmen or artists for hours at a time, but never speaks to them.  This is usually seen as an auspicious sign for those who have been watched. 

The Watcher's appearances are unpredictable, and it never seems to arrive from or leave in the same direction twice.  A strong Gnomish taboo prohibits anyone from approaching the Watcher, or from interfering with it or following it.  Although it has been spotted throughout Gnomish lands, the Watcher has never been spotted in the Borderlands or the Great Central Plain, which are also forbidden to the Gnomes.

The Watcher has never been known to sit, or to eat or drink; nor has it ever attempted to communicate, other than by stopping to watch someone in action.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Gnomes

We are a peaceful race, and our forebears came to this land seeking refuge from the Second War of Succession.  We've lived here as farmers, craftsmen and philosophers since long before the coming of the Uruki.

The arrival of the invaders frightened us, for this land was rightfully ours, and they were armed and ready for combat.  They made their appearance far from of our nearest settlement, and our people avoided contact.  For years, the Uruki didn't even realize we existed!  Knowing nothing of the land, they moved to the great central plain, which we had always avoided.  This made it easier for us to remain hidden from them.  

It was clear they didn't understand the land or how to live here, and many of them died in the first years, so we secretly began to assist them.  As they gradually became aware of us, they took to calling us Gnomes, after some ancient myth of theirs.  This actually helped us to avoid them, for they came to think we had supernatural powers and they didn't try so hard to find us.

When they began to banish criminals rather than execute them, we welcomed their banished for this gave us more knowledge of the Uruki.  Even after we revealed ourselves to them outright, they continued to call us Gnomes, and claimed we were non-men.  Their provision against killing didn't apply to us; and so we did our best to prevent them from leaving the great central plain.

When the Uruki Chieftain Condon led his people out of the Borderlands, to the Grey Hills, many people on both sides died in the skirmishing.  When they reached the Rift Valley, my grandsire, Tyrum, sued for peace; and the resulting treaty granted our people the same rights as Uruki Clansmen, allowing us to live together peacefully. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Reformed Church

What?  Now you're back with more questions?  Ah, the Reformed Church... chaplains who've forgotten their place, if you ask me... and you did, didn't you?  You know the Oath, and you know that it is the literal Truth.  The chaplains of the Reformed Church deny this.  They claim the Oath is a spiritual Truth, not a physical or literal Truth.  They blaspheme when they say the King Above is just the name our Forebears used to describe God, and that they only did so to enforce the rule of the Kings and the High King.  They teach that other Works are equally as important as the Profession of Arms, and that we best serve the King Above when we lay down our Arms and devote our lives to whatever Works we are best suited for.

It makes me sick to hear it... and it makes me sick to think of what has happened in Uruk since the Reformation.  It is true they produce better goods than before, but at what cost?  Certainly a weaver who devotes all his time to weaving makes finer cloth than one who weaves only after he has spent his day practicing with his sword or his bow.   The Uruki grow fat and stupid, and the Reformed Church has the temerity to argue against the Kings and the High King in public!  The Clans grow weak, with many Uruki forsaking their own kin and kith; turning instead to the Reformed Church for aid and guidance.

Before you go, let me remind you of The Oath.  The King Above is a man, mortal as you or I, and we train in His service for the day when we are called to rejoin his army.  This we know!  Do not fall for the easy lies of the Reformed Church, but remain vigilant and hone your skill at arms, lest you be found wanting on the day we are called.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Old Beliefs

You ask about the Old Beliefs, and I assure you, "Old" they may be, but Truth nonetheless!  Recall your Oath, from our Unreformed Church:  

"We are not of this world.  Our true home is a Kingdom beyond the sky; a Kingdom of men such as we, and non-men like the gnomes.   We are loyal soldiers, and we serve our Kings, our High King, and The King Above.  We await His call to arms, and our return to our rightful place in the army of His Majesty.  Until that day, we fight to live, we hone our skills in the profession of arms, and we maintain eternal vigilance.  This we know."

Our Oath is neither allegory nor metaphor, our Oath is the literal Truth of our being.  We ARE the soldiers of the King Above, and we stand ready to serve him.  This we know.

Now go, leave me be.  You are no longer a child, to have such questions, and you know your duty well.  There is nothing more I need say about the Oath; unless it is to report your lack of faith...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Out of Uruk

We are not of this world.  On that point my Great-Grandsire Tristan agreed with the priests of the Reformation!  When they began teaching that The Fall was a punishment for spiritual impurity, though, he kept to the old beliefs, and publicly denounced the priests and the entire Reformation.

Tristan was a wealthy Clan Chieftain in Uruk before the Reformation, but he was stripped of all wealth and title, and banished for blasphemy at the age of 27 by the Highsmeet at the Court of the High King.  As was custom, he and his people were given seven days to leave; and he led his destitute family out of Uruk to the Borderlands where the priests held no power, and settled there to try to survive.

As high as the mortality rate was in Uruk, it was higher in the Borderlands.  Between regular skirmishes with both the Uruki and the gnomes, and the generally poor soil of the Borderlands, not one person in ten lived to old age.  It was a hard life, and when my Grandsire Condon became Clan Chieftain, he led the people farther across the Borderlands from Uruk, and into the Grey Hills.  It was he who discovered this valley, and made peace with the gnomes living here; and it was to him these same gnomes passed on the their knowledge of Planetfall.