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Central Davania - Pedhardt Gnomes

by Alex Benson

History: The Pedhardt Gnomes were one of four gnomish clans to survive the War of the Earthshakers, the gnomish conflict with the lich Ektarmorag and his undead forces (BC 2053-1790). The gnomes would rally under King Borodar and create the legendary Earthshakers. Each clan fielded their own design. The Earthshakers would allow the gnomes victory over the undead, but at great costs.
The surviving clans decided to leave the region and migrate to better lands. The Gemeiyr and Skyras clans headed east, while the Pedhardt and Snartan clans headed west towards the Ice Peak Mountains.
The Gemeyir gnomes would use their Earthshaker to found the city of Berren. The Skyras gnomes' Earthshaker would break down before leaving the Vulcanian Marches. The clan would be plagued by succession issues. By BC 1791 the clan had dissolved, splintering off in to smaller bands.
The Pedhardt and Snartans would part ways. At the suggestion of their leader, King Krod, the Pedhardt would travel in a more northerly direction before their Earthshaker broke beyond repair. The Pedhardt would settle there, calling their new home Tiyab. The Snartans would travel further west, eventually encountering and joining the Milenians.
Tiyab would prosper, with the Pedhardt often referring to this time as their Grand Age. They were tired of war. They established a stout defense but reached out to neighboring tribes to promote trade. Those that wanted conflict were introduced to gnomish war-constructs.
To extend their trade beyond their immediate neighbors, the Pedhardt used Crawlers. Scouts mapped out routes that the Crawlers could use while engineers prepared roads if needed. Within a few decades the gnomes had developed a regional trade network.
The Pedhardt found it difficult to maintain contact with the other gnome clans. Any visits would require a lengthy journey through hostile lands. Visits were uncommon but usually celebrated. The Pedhardt developed a friendly rivalry with the gnomes of Berren and they spoke of trying to create a faster means to communicate with each other.
In BC 542, the Pedhardt were reunited with the Snartans. They had departed from the Milenians and founded the Hoplite Republic. The Snartans had marched to Tiyab. Instead of celebrations, they demanded the Pedhardt surrender, offering them favorable terms and a place within the Republic. They would retain autonomy. The Pedhardt weighed the costs of a drawn out war compared to the demands. I would be less expensive and less risky to accept the terms.
The Snartans planned to march to Vulcania to reclaim it under a unified gnomish banner. They planned on moving their capital from Brasol to here, to prepare for the push to Vulcania. The Snartans recruited volunteers from the Pedhardt to help fill out the ranks. When response fell short, they conscripted Pedhardt soldiers. The Pedhardt were unhappy, but their leadership rationalized that it was less costly than going to war.
The Snartans would depart Tiyab. The march to Vulcania would be long and they would have to fight their way through the tribes. The terrain was ill-suited for the large gnome warmachines. The gnomes were forced to scout out usable paths and even cut roadways. The gnomes were intent on reaching Vulcania. They lacked the resources and will to occupy their conquered lands. They would stop and collect whatever resources were available, then move on. Displaced tribes were able to move back in to these lands after the Snartans had passed.
In BC 200, the Snartans finished their long march to Vulcania. They had immediate success in Northern Vulcania. In BC 178, King Dorfin was bolstered by the victories. He dissolved the Republic and proclaimed himself Emperor of the Snartan Empire.
The Snartans struggled in Southern Vulcania. Emperor Dorfin sent word to Tiyab demanded more materials and more soldiers. King Krod and the Pedhardt leadership were confident that the Snartans were too far away and too busy to do much. They used the opportunity to renegotiate their agreements with the Snartans. They wanted to be compensated for materials sent to the Snartans, end troop demands, and return those already taken.
The Pedhardt were correct and the Snartans were unable to immediately respond. Dorfin withheld the information from the Pedhardt troops. The Snartans would deal with the Pedhardt later. Until then, they would make use of their soldiers and possibly use them as hostages.
Dorfin would pass away in BC 175. Harwin III would assume the Emperorship. The new Emperor accelerated the cloning program to fill and expand the Snartan ranks. He turned his attention to the Pedhardt, assembling a force to push to Tiyab and reassert Snartan control.
Harwin assigned the task to General Kirrim. He gave him the Pedhardt soldiers. They were told that they were being sent home. In truth, they were to be used to help fight their way to Tiyab and used as hostages once they arrived. Kirrim was instructed to seize control of Tiyab, remove King Krod and the rest of the Pedghardt leadership, and act of Governor.
Kirrim's force arrived at Tiyab in BC 164. He ordered the Pedhardt soldiers arrested and used them as hostages to secure a meeting with King Krod. The Snartans took Krod and his advisers captive. Kirrim read Harwin's decree, stripping the Pedhardt of their autonomy and naming himself as their Governor.
Kirrim showed the Pedhardt little mercy. As he saw it, they were traitors. He worked them hard for materials to send south to Snarta. Homes were plundered, businesses sacked. The Pedhardt were placed on strict rations. Males and females were separated. Families were split up. Any hint of dissent was treated quickly and with malice.
In BC 152, Kirrim received orders to begin cloning operation in Tiyab. If the Pedhardt would not behave, they would simply be cloned and raised by Snartan standards. Kirrim began work on the cloning facilities. He outlawed natural births, stating that any newborns would be seized and raised by the Snartans. Rumors spread that the Snartans were going to sterilize the Pedhardt, clone them, then kill the originals.
The Pedhardt revolted against the Snartan occupiers, rallying around Bodyn, King Krod's youngest brother. They attacked Kirrim's residence, the Snartan barracks, and the holding areas for the hostages. They were able to free some of the hostages. Among those killed were King Krod and several senior clan leaders. Kirrim and a few Snartans managed to escape.
The Pedhardt had little time to celebrate their victory. Bodyn and the remaining leaders knew that Snarta would not let the revolt go unpunished. They decided to abandon Tiyab and flee north aboard their Crawlers. The gnomes salvaged what they could and left.
It would take over a decade for Kirrim and the surviving Snartans to reach Snartapolis in Vulcania. The Emperor was not pleased and placed all of the blame on Kirrim. Harwin knew that the Pedhardt had to be punished. He would task his nephew Ordig with searching the Ice Peaks for the Pedhardt.
In BC 126, the Snartan search parties arrived at Tiyab. They discovered a small number of Pedhardt gnomes living there. The Snartans quickly round them up and question them. The were a small band that did not want to leave. They told the Snartans that the others had fled in to the mountains. The Snartans impaled the gnomes and left their bodies at the ruins.
The Snartans would spend the next 46 years searching the mountains for the Pedhardt. The Pedhardt knew the mountains well and were able to avoid their pursuers, or even send them on false trails. When they had the numbers, they would set up ambushes or even rock slides. When they had the numbers, the Pedhardt would set up ambushes.
The Snartan expedition suffered badly and their numbers decreased steadily. Ordig marched his remaining soldiers back to Tiyab to wait out the winter before making the journey back to Snartapolis. At Tiyab they found that human settlers had taken up residence. They called themselves the Karditche. They welcomed the gnomes and offered them shelter through the winter.
The Pedhardt adjusted quickly to their nomadic life. The Crawlers allowed them a safe, mobile home. They quickly realized that they could not stay together. They decided to split up into smaller groups. Each group would name their own leader. To retain clan unity they promised to arrange frequent gatherings for trade, arranging marriages, and social interaction. Before splitting up, the Pedhardt officially designated Bodyn as their new king.
The Pedhardt found the mountain tribes open to trade. These relationships would aid them against their Snartan pursuers. The gnomes prospered but many sought to settle down. Some even proposed they rebuild Tiyab. That dream died with the discovery of the Karditche settling there.
In AC 525, an aging King Bodyn called for a meeting of the clan leaders. He proposed that they should start looking for a new home. He suggested they seek a home further north, hopefully beyond the reach of the Snartans. Bodyn tasked his nephews Loda and Turka in locating a suitable spot.
In AC 593 the pair returned to the clan leaders with their findings. They informed them that the northernmost regions of the Ice Peak mountains were filled with tribes of all sorts of races. These tribes were hostile and borders were constantly shifting as many were in constant states of war. They also reported that the Karditche had firmly settled in Tiyab.
Turka suggested they look further north, to the Aryptian Wastes. He stated that they could use the tribes to secure their southern border against any Snartan attacks. As far as the harsh climate, he stated that if any people could engineer the means to live there it would be the gnomes.
Loda supported his brother's suggestion. He told the gnomes that there should be water deep beneath the desert sands that they could drill to. He added, “if gnomes can make a walking city and a city that flew, then surely gnomes can build a city in the desert”.
Some of the gnome leadership had reservations about the idea. However, they approved Turka and Loda to further study the idea and scout out a possible location. The engineers were presented with issues expected to encounter in desert life.
In AC 596, King Bodyn died. He was succeeded by Turka, leaving Loda to oversea the resettlement project. Loda and his team of scouts and engineers would have the full support of the clan leadership.
In AC 599, Loda and his team headed north to the Aryptian Wastes. They would return in AC 624, with a location. They made their report and noted issues that would need to be addressed by the engineers. Turka and the leaders gave their approval for the project to begin.
The gnomes began work on a new Crawler design to operate in the desert. Special suits were designed to keep the gnomes cool and hydrated, with tinted goggles to help with the bright sunlight. Loda's group would depart for the desert in AC 639. Work would be slow due to the distance and frequent need to return for resupply and construction materials. By AC 665, they had discovered a water source and sunk their first wells. The gnomes named the site Ar'Tiyab, after their lost home.
To prevent the Snartans from discovering their new home, the Pedhardt decided to only send a fourth of their workers to construct the new settlement. The rest remained nomadic, traveling the mountains. This also allowed the gnomes to continue to trade with the mountain tribes.
The gnomes stayed out of the affairs of the tribes, focusing on trade. This allowed them a degree of safe passage among their holdings. However, they formed certain kinship with the Tsall Kobolds. The Pedhardt and Tsall saw in each other a kind of kinship from their own histories. The kobolds would offer the gnomes a safe place to prepare to push in to the desert. They could make needed repairs, by coal, and replenish water for their Crawlers.
By AC 1000, work on Ar'Tiyab had neared completion. The Gnomes were in their final stages before moving there. Many gnomes had grown hesitant about leaving the nomadic lifestyle that they had become use to. It was decided that they would continue their trade as they would still need some resources not found in the desert.
Turko decided to establish a small settlement south of the Tsall lands. They would call it Nydob. The Pedhartd could use it as a safe camp as well allow allow them to maintain their trade relations with the mountain tribes. Given his age, Turko decided to abdicate the Pedhardt throne to allow a younger gnome to lead them. He would administer Nydob. Loda turned down the crown. He was not much younger than his brother. He would continue overseeing the work at Ar'Tiyab.
The Pedhardt crown fell to Turko's youngest daughter, Nelda. She would be the first female leader of the Pedhardt. It was not popular among the more traditional gnomes. Turko argued that she was the best candidate, even to the point of his choosing her over his own sons and nephews.
Today, Nydob is the face of the Pedhardt gnomes. The existence of Ar'Tiyab is still a secret outside of the clan. The city is officially completed. Most of the gnomes have moved their households there. In truth, the gnomes still work their trade routes so many are gone for extended periods.
The Wastes have produced their own traders as well. The gnomes have opened trade routes to the reptilian Odak'Tar. They have some trade with the scattered desert nomads. And Pedhardt traders visit some of the Divergan desert border settlements.