Myths and Beginnings Part 2: The Sentinels of the East
This is a letter I recently received from Druidess Dierdre. I thought the Elders might find it of interest, as even Oghma did not know this story.
I heard a story recently that I thought you'd find interesting, from Halura. [Note: Halura Ironheart is Head Artificer of Gora] Gina and I have been trying to get her to talk about gnomish history and culture as much as we can, and we actually got a creation myth out of her! Sorry ahead of time if this is something the Voice of Oghma knew, but I thought it better to be safe than sorry--and better to send you a letter now than to try and remember all this for months.
So, from the way she tells it, the gnomes once had a single god, apparently with a name that has been lost or was secret. Halura doesn't know it, and there aren't gnomish priests anymore. According to Halura, the gnomes had been around about as long as the elves, and when the Titans began planning to make races of their own, the god wanted to teach the gnomes everything he knew that they could understand. So he split himself up sixty-four pieces (I don't have any idea why this number is important), and imbued his greatest servants. They became known as the Shapers, and they taught the then-barbaric gnomes a lot of what they're famous for, as well as agriculture, music, and love, but I'll get to that in a little bit.
When the Titan Wars started, and both sides started looking for allies, they went to the gnomes, but the Shapers refused to join. They started to worry that the gnomes were going to become a target, and when it looked like the Fiannans weren't going to hold out anymore (you and your old friend know all about that part), they convened and made a decision. They decided they'd given all the knowledge of their deity to the gnomes, and it was time for them to spread their divinity around in a way that would make the gnomes less of a target AND give them powerful weapons and defenses. Eight of them, a tight-knit family of crafstmen, musicians, and farmers, were aghast at this plan, thinking it would make the gnomes a godless people. So they departed west and took eight clans with them. I can't say what happened to them, the story doesn't follow them beyond that.
I told you the other day about our meeting with the Imperial operative Ganz, and Halura, and her steward Davian. We're getting ready to head for Gora now, and this story came up because it's related to the Leviathan creature I told you about. A large number of the Shapers decided to become Sentinels, monstrously powerful creatures that were really a kind of incredibly powerful artifact. Not only was there the Leviathan, but there were two others, though one is destroyed and the other lost now. Actually, I think Halura was holding on to some information about them, but I doubt it's important to our mission anyway. The point is, a large number of the Shapers sacrificed themselves to imbue these massive creatures, and most of the other ones became spirits, or incredibly powerful magical defenses. Halura seemed a little puzzled on this, and she said it's one of the great mysteries of her race that they don't quite know what happened to all of their old demi-gods.
Anyway, I thought you might like to hear this story, even if it's not terribly complete. I'm sending it out by courier from Nalcira, so by the time you get it I should be back in Talar. Please send us something to let us know what you'd like to find out from the Talarans, once we've solidified our friendship with Gora. I won't let Gina see this, she always makes fun of me for sending such long-winded letters--but I thought you could use something to read. I hope you're not too awfully lonely, with all the Fenians out in the world and no one but sages and Elders to keep you company in that drafty stone hall! If it weren't for tradition, we'd build you a proper palace, you know.
Be well, Erinn. I really do miss you, and I'm looking forward to going to Kerg's gathering this midwinter with you and Gina, and maybe some of the others? I'd love to meet some of your and Gina's friends from the war, too. It was a long thirty years of fighting, and I missed out on practically all but a week of it! I'm rambling on now, so I will write you again when I know more about the Leviathan.