|Realm||Royal Council of Raaneka|
|Resources||Scholars, Mushroom Trees, Cave Cats|
|Imports||Artifacts, Osuro Mirc, Berundas, Silver, Vegetables, Papyrus, Fish|
What dream or treasure could be more sacred than memory, of fond recollection, of stirring reverie, of bold tales shared and shared again? Hark, for there were memories of tumults and triumphs aplenty in merry Raaneka, and in the land of Ayava beneath it.
In the north of Raaneka, in the 375th year of the Common Calendar, between the Mountains of Dis and the borders of Hrathan-Tuor, many a wonder was found that the Raaneki had lost for long bygone ages. A hidden tunnel lead to Ayavazarmanbuh-ja, the cavernous world below the empty north. Deep down it descended, into the vaults of the earth where no light could ever breach.First of the gauntlets traversed by adventurers from the world above was the Sea of Sunken Stars, which feeds the Miracle Pools above. These explorers came upon the sea when night shrouded Raaneka above, and it seemed measureless and black. But as they skirted its edge and the sun rose above, the very night sky it had pushed from the heavens came into view in the depths of the sea. It was upon the shores of this sea where the gnomes built their many-tiered city, Grand Delving. Here the gnomes lived, as nimble on a rock face as in a contest of wits.
Chief among the treasures of Grand Delving was the academic hall of Kevanubhadarz, called Flickerhall by those bold Raaneki explorers, in the deepest bedrock of the city. It was an academy of shadows and silence in Ayava’s heart. Many recessed lights flickered in its corridors, but the library at its nadir was black as Sableberry dye. Only with the aid of a gnome’s darksight could any tome be found. Such was their protection in those chambers beneath the earth.
PeopleEditThis world of pressing rock was home to small and studious folk, known to themselves as Dhanazarmanoms, the guardians of memory. To the folk of the surface they were known simply as gnomes, and were a wonder unlike any the Raaneki had yet beheld. Exceedingly small were they, and those with smaller stature won greater renown among them.
Their historians told the Raaneki of a great cataclysm, of the loss of many tomes, of a long age in the dark, and of dwindling fuel for their fires. Their wide eyes learned to see in the dark, but only by light could they read the tomes they treasured. Dark and light fell out of balance, and much learning drifted back into the pages from which it had sprung. Knowledge, their child to protect and their lord to obey, its sight did fade til the Raaneki returned the light to Ayava below.
But light was not the last gift Raaneka sought to give. Tales they brought too, tales of bound tomes in distant lands, and unknown realms beyond. The sun’s light held power the gnomes could not bear, but by moonlight they schemed and dreamed and worked their way abroad. Such was their desire, to reach out and reap a broad harvest of learning.
In the world beneath our feet, there were once many fine things to be found by those with strength of heart and mind. Though gems and ore bedecked the deeps of other lands, Ayava, long a bastion of ancient knowledge, had pride beyond things of craft. They prized knowledge, and memory, and had such store of scholars as no other land had seen. On the surface world they studied only at night, but could discover much of history, craft, and forgotten mysteries by light of the moon.But all things need meat, or graze, or something to sate their hunger, and the gnomes were no different. They harvested the mushroom trees from that cavernous city, and from those caps they made stews and pastes, grilled delicacies and folk medicine. The wood of the tree was spongy and light, though not good for construction without reinforcement.
Rarest of all gnomish resources were the cave cats, known to control even the most fickle of vermin. Though prone to mischief and not suitable as pets, cave cats hunt through scent alone, and have no need for light or darkness in their business.
Alas! Such a scholarly people delighted in nothing so much as the scripted page and the wisdom preserved within. By secret ways, the gnomes did learn the way to see in total darkness, but no writing could they spy with such sight. To read, and yay to write as well, the gnomes did yearn for light, and the fuel to keep it kindled.
And what spirits or ancestors did the gnomes know in their long and pensive seclusion? As the tomes they saved sat in the black of Flickerhall, they dreamed of protection. As their torches guttered and their candles finally flickered out, they dreamed of light.
These were their spirits. Nivertastrazreyasa, the light where knowledge is discovered, and Ayavazarmanbuh-ja, the darkness where knowledge is kept safe. When first they climbed from their warren in the north, they gazed upon the silver moon and knew it for their most fervent guardian. They called it Caradhanavabuh-ja, the holy lamp of knowledge and memory. It gave them light to learn in the dark that kept them safe, so unto it did they dedicate their study.