It wasn’t until after The Codification, when Men — the first creatures actually defying nature and finding their way onto the water — crafted ships. Men began sailing, demonstrating the effectiveness of trade on wooden horses rather than hay-eating ones. Not too long after Men began braving further and further out into the Father’s Footprint, a string of islands called the Dragon’s Pebbles were discovered and with them, the entire Gnomic Race.
The White Wing and her captain Kerr Astley, espied a curious and unnatural spear on the horizon — one of incredible enormity to have been seen at such a distance – and turned towards what revealed itself as a tower of rose quartz: Wyrmspire. And that tower sat upon the central isle of an archipelago. Coming ashore, entranced by the ingenuity and oddity of it all, they were greeted by an equally odd people.
Residing exclusively on the Pebbles until the arrival of ships, they rival Halflings in stature, but had a more fey presence and hair that seemed eternally sprayed by the salt sea air — it was unruly and ever-changing. Discovered, they were curious yet fearful and resisted the captain, but not with weapons, but with words. They deflected and redirected until soon had the Men spilling all they knew of the exciting land over the horizon, rather than reveal anything of themselves and their isles.
Though Gnomes have taken passage and live on the mainland, they are still protective of their home. The only known “alien” people on the Pebbles are the occasional Elendil. The Gnomes are quite content to defend themselves, even against the marauding of pirates. Despite their wealth of knowledge and obvious ability, their houses are thatched and stilted (against storms), and all their ingenuity and physical wealth seems spent to maintain and build the wondrous Wyrmspire: a single-mindedness which fuels why pirates are so keen on that target as they imagine what could be within.
As far as the name, that also goes to the Gnomes who picked up Common with incredible acumen. They insist that once, long ago, probably concurrent with the disappearance of our Fathers, a dragon was embattled further east — now they knew to be the mainland of Kai’ckul — and digging into the earth with his massive rear legs as he grappled for survival, the islands were kicked out to sea with a furious earthquake. Oddly enough, cartographers have noticed the capes along the eastern coast of the Father’s Footprint to coincide with such a story…as outrageous as it is. Needless to say, the most-traveled and safest waters of Kai’ckul, which hold the Pebbles are called the Father’s Footprint because of the ancient Gnomic tale.
As far as Gnomic society, they are incredibly insular and focused on the Pebbles. Here is where Balabar Mocklaw resides, touring from the Wyrmspire to mainland Kai’ckul speaking for all Gnomes — even the large contingent that have found homes within the Enclave of Elves.
Only the largest of the islands — Wyrmille with the Wyrmspire being one of four — have enough size that a simple grass has taken root, a reedy, resilient grey plant called Gnome’s Hair because of the similarity.
The waters teem with life. Gnomes have created a no-fish zone around the Pebbles, and only their own Fishing Tubs sprinkle the waters, line-fishing for the needs of their own people. On the archipelago itself, gulls are plentiful, and on the smaller, western isles there are small populations of Mock Dragons, which are more like large lizards. Migratory birds frequent the islands and each one has it’s own separate breed that yearly makes a stop off to feed before heading north or south, depending on the season. Also seasonal, great sea turtles arrive only on the Pebbles to lay their eggs, which is a happening that Gnomes have turned into a yearly celebration. They have a week-long celebration, drinking saltbeer, eating seagrasses and algae soups, dancing down to the shore each night to watch at a respectful distance as the hundred of reptiles pull themselves onto shore and leave their future generations.