The History of Gnomes
Through my own experiences, I have gained knowledge and insight into the gnomes.
Each part of this history tome can only be completed in its own time.
As we like to joke with our stouter dwarf cousins, Brell finally got things right when he made us! You have to pick who you say this to, though, as apparently not all dwarves have a sense of humor. You have to watch out for those who enjoy the joke, too, because a dwarven back-slap can be potent.
We gnomes are not very interested in history for its own sake. We do like to think about it from time to time because you can learn so much from someone else's mistakes, but we don't dwell on it. The elves kind of take that a bit far, you know, living through past glory.
What we do miss about the old days are the inventions of the ancestors in Ak'Anon. But that's getting ahead of history, isn't it? Since you've just started reading this, you can hardly already know that we no longer live on Faydwer, can you? Except that I just told you!
Our ancestral home is Ak'Anon, as mentioned, and it was devoted to tinkering and building, and discussions of building and tinkering. There is nothing a gnome enjoys more than building something if it's not thinking about it or telling someone else how it works.
Gnomes have a great reputation for tinkering and talking about it. Way back when, the Academy of Arcane Science called upon some of our best minds to devise standards of measurement that are still used today as the Norrathian Code of Trade Standards.
One thing I've always wanted to see with my own eyes is the Cog of Precision. One of the Wobblecog ancestors made it out of pure platinum specifically so that any quibbles about the size of one sprocket or another could be compared to it. If it survived, it's probably still at the Academy. There I go again, spoiling the ending for you!
On the other hand, you wouldn't be reading this if your family hadn't survived the Rending and the Shattering, and I'm sure they've told you all about it, right? So you already know that there's some things we don't know have made it through! If you've ever been to Qeynos, you've surely seen the grand Clock of Ak'Anon. It was a gift to the Bayle family long ago for helping us out.
You'll have to ask one of them what it is that they did, all we remember about it is that the clock was one of our finest clockworks. We gnomes love clockwork, and not just the kind that run clocks. From our earliest times, we've created some marvelous bits that run on their own, with just a bit of winding now and then. Some of our productions are so magnificent that we'll finish it up and stare at it in awe ourselves.
In times of war, we never shirk our duty. If there's enough advance notice, why, we can whip together a clockwork army to serve as vanguard! For example during the War of Fay, we were in the bad position of having to defend ourselves simply because we were there. Talk about being between a flizgig and a hard place!
There were several clockwork creations at that battle, but no one talks about them now because they were frankly less than successful. Still, one can learn from one's mistakes, right? We started to ... but then, you won't be interested in all that. Never mind.
Every young gnome dreams of the day they reach flibberty. That's the time when they have to make their very own clockwork gibbet (working). Of course, from the time we're taking our first steps, we've had a cog in one hand and a lever in the other.
The flibberty piece, or gibbet, is created to show that a young gnome is ready to enter the adult world and can take on mechanamagical works without supervision. My own piece was a clockwork beehive that would open up when clockwork bees returned to it with nectar.
With so much importance on this one piece, we do tend to talk about them a lot. In fact, you might hear folks talk about "some flibberty gibbet" when they mean someone who has a tendency to chatter. Well, now you know where that term comes from, my friend!
Back in Ak'Anon, we kept a lot of our reference materials in the Library Mechanamagica. How I wish I could page through some of those tomes! My grandfather talked about the Encyclopaedia that could turn its own pages. A clockwork encyclopaedia, of course!
All that stuff is probably still in Ak'Anon. Of course we haven't been able to get to it since the Rending, when the whole world shook crazily, like a clockwork magicycle. If we could get our?but you won't want to hear the details. It would just be nice to get home.