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Lore: The Founding of Ak'Anon
(Editor's note: Distributed by Verant during beta)
Of the gnomes and the empire of Felwithe
Ever the since the first days of the elven rebellion, it had been decided by the emperor of Felwithe that the gnomes would be a free race allied with the elven empire and able to live on elven lands, much unlike the almost slave-like persecution the little tinkers suffered under the rule of the dark elves. The gnomes had been granted lands surrounding the fertile Elizerain Lake and there existed for a century or more in peace with their elven neighbours. However, being on elven lands also meant the gnomes would have to follow elvish customs, and increasingly the gnomes began to feel out of place.
The gnomes were builders, not artists, and they could not sing or dance or play musical instruments. Elves prided themselves on their use of the bow and their long, graceful blades but gnomish arms couldn't support the lengthy elven weaponry. And while the elven language was meant to be spoken in long, descriptive, and fluid verse, the gnomes were always prone to speak in jittery and incredibly fast sentences. Slowly, a general consensus began to form among the gnomes that someday a separate gnomish kingdom would have to be formed. The gnome most responsible to bring about this change was named Biddyn.
Biddyn was born the fourth son to a poor farmer on the east of the Elizerain Lake, the gnomish territories closest to the heart of the empire. Almost immediately he recognized how much he, and even his brothers and father, hated farm work. The most joyous times in his life, as he later wrote, were the monthly festivals the gnomes held where they would gather and build all manner of fascinating machines. This, he thought, is what gnomes should be doing and he bestowed upon himself the responsibility to make sure this came to pass. Studying elven mannerisms and rhetoric on his market voyages to Felwithe with his father, Biddyn soon became a speaker the likes of which no gnome has ever equalled. His very charisma charmed everyone around him into the idea of a separate gnomish kingdom, and he soon was ready to bring his demands before the emperor. The emperor at this time was none other then Carandril, past lord of Kelethin, who had appointed the warrior Edril as his first soldier long ago and also as the head of the imperial army. Edril had served loyally and skillfully as Carandril's guard for more then a hundred years, the warrior elf being only a little more then middle-aged for his race.
Charmed by his determination and skillful speaking, Edril supported Biddyn for a separate gnomish kingdom. Even the emperor was attracted to the proposition, as a new allied kingdom would open new opportunities for trade while the gnomish loss would not be a big drain on the imperial economy. After only six days of deliberation, Carandril granted Biddyn's request and plans were immediately formed for the creation of a new gnomish homeland. The emperor severed the southern part of his empire, mostly unused and barren fields beyond the Steamfont Mountains, and gave it to the gnomes. The land was renamed "Ak'anon" which is elven for "Gift" and ten gnomish settlers as well as five elven guards were prepared to make a journey into Akanon and chart the lands.
Of the plague dragon and the formation of Ak'anon
The fifteen settlers rode out surrounded by the cheers of elves and gnomes alike, but were not heard from for many months. Finally after the fifth month of their disappearance, only one elven soldier, his clothes torn to pieces and his weapons shattered, rode solemnly through the gates of the empire. He was the last of the settlers who remained alive, and recounted his tale before an astonished imperial council. A plague dragon, with scales of an oozing black, had attacked the party soon after they had crossed into the southern lands and had claimed that the lands of Akanon were his own. For months the plague dragon chased them and hunted the gnomes and elves down. The soldier had watched each man die a slow and horrible death, and believed the dragon only let him go to give this message to the elves.
The gnomes were instantly furious that Carandril had given them cursed lands to settle, and the emperor immediately ordered the death of the dragon. Frightened by the terrible story of the soldier, most of his warriors were reluctant to volunteer, as Carandril would not force anyone to fight such a terrible beast. Edril, however, immediately offered his services as a personal favor to the gnomes. When Biddyn himself volunteered five more gnomes joined the hunt, and together with his gnomish friends, Edril rode to the steamfont mountains to meet the terrible beast. What happened next is best summed up by Biddyn's own "The History of the Gnomes":
I admit as much, that even my legs were shaking when we approached the mouth of the demon's great cave. From our previous encounters, and from the memories of our lost friend Dolyn, we were all terrified of the beast. All of us, that is, except for Edril, but I don't think Innoruuk himself could scare that elf. He thrives from fear as much as I do the tobacco in my pipe, it is to him as some sweet nectar that clears his thoughts and hones his blade. So while we trembled before the plague dragon's domain, Edril simply lifted his sword to his shoulder, looked back at me, and said "wait here." With a proud determination he marched toward the black cave entrance, a portal to the lower planes if ever there was one. He marched to his death, or so we thought. But when we saw him next in two days time he pulled behind him the head of the evil beast, which left thick trails of a green poison behind it. He breathed heavily, and painful scars covered his body. I laughed, thinking that while Edril was obviously hurt, the dragon must have felt much worse before his death. Anything that inflicts that much pain to the elf must be prepared to receive the same thrashing tenfold.
The skull of the dragon sits still on the entrance to the gnome's own Fortress Mechanus. Edril and his band of gnomes would be written into gnomish lore forever as for the next weeks they rode tirelessly through the lands of Akanon, fighting back fierce creatures and charting the perfect hillside location for the first ever kingdom of gnomes. Edril spent much more time in Akanon then originally expected, personally overseeing the kingdom's construction. When the first houses were made and the first gnomish settlers came pouring in, Biddyn was selected as the first king of the gnomes and he in turn erected a statue in honor of Edril. The statue depicts Edril's battle with the great plague dragon, and gnomish craftsmanship made it enormous and actually useful: it sits in the heart of Akanon even today, acting as the central part to Akanon's extensive irrigation system. When Edril returned home to Felwithe he was greeted by hundreds of proud soldiers and again proclaimed a hero.
The city of Ak'Anon is now ruled by King Ak'Anon, considered the greatest invention of all gnomish kind. An immortal ruler who represents all that the gnomes have prided themselves upon since their creation - immense creativity and ingenious craftsmanship - King Ak'Anon is a mechanical construction like no other. Although the King is of clockwork construction every bolt, nut, and turning cog of his form has been infused with the original entity of thought, emotion, and intelligence.
During the first year of King Ak'Anon's reign, it is said that he brought great prosperity and peace to his people, delivering them from the depths of an ancient and mysterious conflict where his predecessors had previously failed.
For nearly two hundred years the believed King Ak'Anon presided over his city and loyal people, but he had grown old and weary. As a gift to their most beloved king, the priests and arcane scholars of the city constructed what would be their greatest invention.
King Ak'Anon has presided over his people for nearly five centuries, and not one year of his rule has yielded a hardship that can be compared to those of Norrath's other civilizations. Strife and war has been all but abolished, giving the gnomes of Ak'Anon room for creativity, research, and celebration - despite their religious persuasions.