Updated: Mar 8
The protagonist of our tale is a Gnome, dear reader. It's worth noting that Gnomes in Aetherea are not the stereotypical tiny fellows with tall red hats whose cherub ceramic faces sit in gardens for no apparent reason other than to make the occasional Brit smile. Nor are they the typical miniature rock trolls with large dumb faces found in most role-playing games. I might add no one in the history of role-playing games has willingly chosen the small rock creature over, let's say, a wizard or a stereotypical superhero-level knight with the power to transform evil into, say, the essence of love. No one has ever said, "Give me the long-armed big nose thingy with notoriously bad eyesight, even in broad daylight, to explore dark caverns and fight dragons." That's why I thought it was time to give gnomes a chance to shine, especially since Tolkien has already claimed short individuals with a unique perspective on society. Nobody should ever write a story with hobbits again, just as nobody should ever cover a Pink Floyd song. There are plenty of other options, so I settled on Gnomes.
In the continent of Aetherea, in the country of Everoth, Gnomes are craftsmen who keep the capital city of Kingswall running. They are mechanics, craftsmen, janitors, and tradespeople who dart about the city, keeping the capital city of Everoth running smoothly. While the taller people, most notably humans, lead meaningful lives and spend all day rushing about doing their essential tasks, which do not allow the time to clean up after themselves, gnomes are more than happy to keep things clean and lovely, and they do it almost invisibly.
However, if there is one thing Gnomes love more than keeping the capital city running smoothly and efficiently, it would be philosophy. These unobserved craftsmen meet secretly across the city every night, exploring all sorts of philosophical concepts: life, existence, and the nature of the universe.
While this may appear tedious, it is, in fact, one of the most subversive things anyone in the city of Kingswall has ever done regularly. These discussions and lectures on the essence of thought and the nature of existence defy the theocracy that morally and legally governs the entire nation. If these little gnome gatherings were discovered, they would fly in the face of everything taught by the church.
Let me be clear: the authorities have discovered many of these meetings and dismissed them as gnome nonsense. After all, do you want to punish those who keep the toilets from getting backed up? It has been decided to let them have fun as long as the beds are made and the toast is served promptly in the morning.
Nonetheless, it's crucial to emphasize that the gnomes keep the truth about the authorities turning a blind eye to their nocturnal activities under wraps. The air of mystery and danger adds a certain allure to their gatherings, compelling participants to do their best.