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Gnomes

The gnomes of Atahala are found only in the Trampled Plains, where they are organised in nomadic tribal associations centred around ancestral lineages and the bison herd which they follow. All gnomish tribes trace their ancestry back to the mythical Four Sisters, from whom the names of the Sister Valleys are derived: Chayal, Estal, Danal, and Layal. Born out of the Mother Mountains, the Sisters took their descendants northward, southward, eastward and westward respectively, and the gnomes prospered. In time, their numbers grew too great for the land to bear, and in their greed and anger they turned on their cousins of other tribes. Grieved with sorrow and wrath, the Sisters abandoned their wayward children and returned to the Mother Mountains. However, Danal, the most loving of the Sisters, could not bear to leave her children alone. So, she fashioned bison out of clay and a bone from her rib, and spread them across the eastern plains before joining her Sisters. So it came to be that the other gnomish tribes, despairing and alone, abandoned their homes and made the journey east to the lands of the Danali, and adopted their current lifestyle.   Since then, the four tribes have split, and split again into smaller confederations, each following their own bison herd. Gnomes identify themselves based on their lineage and herd; for example, a gnome might belong to the Gray Herd Chayali, or the Cloven Hoof Estali. This lineage name is used in place of a surname, as all gnomes are viewed as ultimately being the children of the Sisters, which is also reflected in how they refer to each other as cousins. The gnomes practice a form of ancestor worship centred around the Sisters, who they venerate as co-equal gods who protect from want and threat. A key concept in their faith is the failure of their ancestors in losing the approval of the Sisters, which they identify as being due to internal violence. To address this, gnomish society has evolved a form of ritual combat as their system of arbitration, known as Flower Wars, in which select warriors from disputing tribes fight in a series of battles until all of their opponents are vanquished, whereupon the victors are declared in favour of. A celebratory feast is then served in honour of the Sisters, with both tribes mingling in a night of unrestrained hedonism, before departing again the next day. Often, the culmination of a Flower War coincides with the birth of a new generation of gnomes.   This has not stopped them from engaging in proper warfare against intruders, fighting in several deadly wars against the elves of Baru Tjali, the aarakocra of the Achtaran Kingdom, and more recently, human and dwarven sea reavers. Relations with Baru Tjali and the Achtarans have normalised since then, with the elves being the only people the gnomes regularly trade with.   Currently, the most prominent tribes are: Longhorn Chayali - the most frequent victors in Flower Wars, and as such, the wardens of the largest bison herds Blue Herd Danali - the tribe that supplies the most adventurers to the wider world Spotted Hide Danali - enthusiastic adopters of Val Chali culture Black Snout Layali - the largest tribe   Gnomes speak Gnomish, a Sylvan language.

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