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Tinkerers in Time: A History of Gnomes

The Crowns are a mountain wilderness region extending nearly the length of the eastern coast of New Archai. Having been under gnomish control dating back to before the Great Shattering, the gnomes claim would last three more centuries thereafter before conceding a portion of their southern territory to the stronghold of Pearl. While often tested by those who desired the precious metals and gems that hide beneath their mountain villages, the gnomes have never been successfully invaded.
At the turn of the second century, Pearl had rapidly expanded its grasp on the isle. In need of more iron to forge their vast empire, they turned their focus to the Crowns. Sensing Pearl’s encroachment, the gnomes extended an offering of peace by donating a clock for the tower above the bank, powered by moving gears the likes of which no one outside of Molkreak Village had ever seen.
Twelve short years later, war was on the horizon as an ambitious King Dividicus, second of his name, claimed the entire mountainous region of the Crowns in an effort to increase his control of New Archai. Pearl’s reach had extended into the forests of Lake Stirling and along the Tannendale River. The gnomes had been sending envoy after envoy to meet with King Dividicus II and the conclave in a diplomatic effort to halt their overreach, but none were taken seriously. They often went home with a response assuring no harm against gnomes was intended, while they watched their mining productions decrease.
By the year 213 AoM, war had become the only option for the gnomes. While their envoys were trying to resolve the conflict peacefully, war machines were being assembled in preparation of an inevitable battle. Gnomes are well-known for their crafting abilities and due to their seclusion in the mountains, it is often speculated as to just how advanced their technology really is. Much to their surprise, these tools of war alone would not be enough to push Pearl back from their lands. The gnomes turned to the other inhabitants of the region for aid, leveraging Pearl's lust for the resources buried beneath the mountains as a way to unite the often divided races of mountain trolls and ogres.
During a cold night in late Verdi of 214, under the cover of snow, gnome-led forces came down from the Crowns overnight with their implements in place by sunrise. The city awoke to explosions and crashing boulders. Buildings were set afire by a barrage of flaming arrows that rained down from the sky. While the bulk of the gnome forces stormed the gate and were pouring through the streets of Pearl, a battalion of royal soldiers dispatched from the southern entrance of Pearl swept around the invading armies of gnomes, trolls, and ogres, overpowering those left behind to guard the trebuchets and catapults. Once the aerial assault was over, the marshals and city guards were able to regain control of the mob by killing any remaining invaders.
Though they lost the battle, the gnomes held their territory. The outcry from the citizens of Pearl over the theft of gnomish land had trumped the Pearlean officals' actions. A treaty between Pearl and Molkreak Village was signed, returning control of the Crowns to the gnomes, but at a steep cost. For their assault on Pearl, the island of Blalkreak would become a prison camp under Pearlean charge. The severed island was once part of the gnome’s mountainous stronghold, but after the shattering, it was mostly abandoned aside from a mining operation that supplied much of the world’s salt. Rights to the salt shifted to the Archai Trading Company with the gnomes getting a portion of the profits in exchange for creating golems that oversee the prison island. Should they neglect their duty to supply the prison, the deal with Pearl would be void, giving the Archai Trading Company excuse to expand their mining operations into the Crowns.
To celebrate Pearl’s victory over the Crowns, and perhaps to add further insult to the defeated gnomes, King Dividicus II had an enormous bronze bell commissioned to sit atop the Pearlean bank in place of the gnome’s clock tower. The bell’s size so massive its hourly chimes can be heard as far away as the Crowns. A reminder to those Pearl meant to rule. The bell’s first appearance was made on the 1st of Eurous, 215 AoM. The treaty would stand for nearly a hundred years before an equally ambitious King Sauntere, fifth of his name, would take the throne with a single mission: To claim all of the isle in the name of Pearl.
 
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