Sauropodia Before the Word Wars
A Brief PrehistorySauropoda is an ancient literomantic House; its history may go back millions of years. But for much of recorded history it, like the other Great Houses, carried on in obscurity. Misunderstood by the non-literomantic population that vastly outnumbered it, the "dinos" - and their kin: the crocs and gators, the lizzies, learned to keep their special gifts - and especially their transformative abilities - hidden. Superstition is a powerful force, and the Sauropodans, like their other gifted kin, found it unwise to challenge that force.
As the 1700s dawned, the descendents of the ruling nobles of House Sauropoda, as well as a relatively small number of their most loyal adherents, found themselves living in western Europe. They, like many other groups that felt somehow repressed, looked to the New World for an opportunity to express themselves more openly and live more fruitful lives. And so, as word of the establishment of a new British colony called North Carolina spread, the scions of House Sauropoda gathered together those they could find and set off for the new world.
Founding of JurassicaIn 1733, the Sauropodans arrived in the newly founded port settlement of New Carthage - a city that would eventually become Wilmington - on the Cape Fear river. They obtained small land grant from the royal governor George Burrington and settled just outside the new port. But in brief interactions with earlier colonists and some of the indigenous peoples that still flourished in the forests, they heard of a tribe living in the mountainous region to the west - a tribe that called themselves the Saura.
Not willing to pass up the opportunity to possibly connect with a long-separated branch of the family tree, scouts were sent to find these people with such a fascinating and enticing name. These expeditions were somewhat disappointing, though. They did discover the people they hoped to find, only to learn that "Saura" was a European mangling of their true name, the Cheraw. But no hint of literomantic ability or Sauropodan traits were evident.
In the meantime, the Sauropodans were quickly discovering that many of the prejudices that made their lives difficult were just as common on the western shores of the Atlantic as they had been in Europe. Fortunately, though, while the explorers did not find long lost kin, they did find a rich, fertile valley in the mountains to the west. And so, using the last of the noble families wealth, the scions of Sauropoda obtained yet another land grant from the royal governor - this one for lands far to the west, nestled between two high ridges of the Appalachian mountains.
Gathering all they owned once more, the Sauropodans headed west, to the foot of the peak that the native Cherokee called Attakulla and the few Europeans that had ventured that far west called Black Dome. A hundred years later, it would be given the name Mount Mitchell. The settlement established in the valley was christened Jurassica, and the Sauropodans settled into a pastoral life of farming and logging, using their ancient knowledge to ensure both practices were ecologically sound and sustainable.
Post-Revolutionary to Modern TimesFor the most part, the residents of Jurassica kept to themselves, and the rest of the peoples of North Carolina left them alone. Some dinos did join in the fight for American independence; a few joined the Continental Army; others the North Carolina militia. They were among the unsuccessful minority that fought against the Indian Removal Act of 1830 - the federal action that led to the infamous "Trail of Tears". Even in colonial times, the village had unanimously agreed that no residents would own slaves, and when the Civil War broke out, only a handful of the townsfolk joined the North Carolina regiments to fight against the Union.
Over the years, the literomantic heritage of the Sauropdans slowly flourished. The farms around the town kept the village well fed, and the sustainable logging industry expanded. Paper mills and printing houses were established, and Jurassica became a significant, though not broadly known, center for the publication of literary works of all types. Sadly, though, so much effort was put into the physical manufacture of books that much of the literomantic skills required to craft the words that would appear in those books dwindled. Only a small core of true literomancers continued to practice their arts to keep them from being lost entirely.
Slowly, inexorably, literomancers around the world - and especially those with a Sauropodan history - would hear of this little haven in the midst of the mountains, and would migrate there. But just as inexorably, many of the young who grew up in the sleepy village longed to see the wide world; many would leave and never return. This trend was accelerated by the second World War in the 1940s; many who left to join the fighting never moved back home.