Proclamation of Returning
Declaration by Gnomefather Abderdad III, summoning all gnomes from the extended gnomish holdings back to defend Gnomehome. The colonists response to the proclamation led to the Sundering of the Gnomes and the end of the Gnomish Empire.
BackgroundDuring the first and second gnomish expansions, waves of gnomish explorers and colonists left their island of Gnomehome and settled north and south along the coasts of Riccastra. These settlements were all nominally under the rule of Gnomehome's leader, the Gnomefather, and are often referred to as the Gnomish Empire, but but this was by no means a centralized state. The northern colonies, called the Five Daughters by the gnomes were fully developed and starting to establish colonies of their own. The leaders of these cities viewed the Gnomefather more as a "first among equals" rather than an absolute rulers. The southern colonies were progressively less developed and more isolated, and many of their leaders considered the Gnomefather to fill a symbolic role. These views would be tested as several of the gnomish colonies directly south of Gnomehome were threatened by Infernalist invaders from Riccastra's interior. The outnumbered gnomes fell back to their coastal settlements, which were soon besieged. Gnomish sea-lanes were able to bring supplies into the settlements, but then the city of Titarna fell to the besiegers. Worse still, the neighboring city of Concordatra threw open its gates and joined forces with the invaders, its populace willingly converting to demon worship. With their control of the sea about to become contested, the Gnomish Empire faced a major crisis. At the time vessels could not make extended sea voyagers, and travelled either along the coast or in short hops from supply point to supply point. The loss of Titarna and Concordatra already opened a sizable gap in the gnomish coastal network, and the loss of more settlements could create an unbridgeable gap that would cut off the remaining southern colonies. At the same time if the besiegers pushed north they could threaten Gnomehome itself.
The ProclamationThe reigning Gnomefather, Abderdad III, was determined not to abandon the gnomes to the south and protect Gnomehome. He determined the only way to do this was to send a proclamation to all colonies commanding them to abandon their settlements and return to Gnomehome while it was still possible. Either desiring as many defenders as possible, or not wanting the southern colonists to feel like they alone were sacrificing, Aberdad sent this proclamation to all gnomish settlements north and south. All gnomes were ordered to sail to Gnomehome within three months of receiving the proclamation, bringing what supplies and equipment they could, and hiding or destroying what remained.
AftermathWhile Abderdad may have had good intentions when issuing his proclamation, he seriously misjudged the colonists' response. The Five Daughters politely replied that while they would happily contribute their fleets to the defense of Gnomehome, they had no intention of abandoning their cities, now or in the future. While friendly relations and trade were maintained between the two groups, the Five Daughters now considered themselves completely independent of Gnomehome, and over time, with the addition of some prosperous colonies of their own, became the modern Seven Jewels. The southern colonies were in even more shock, as most residents could not imagine abandoning their homes, but were not sure what they could do. The settlements were paralyzed until the Master of Seahaven, a settlement at the southern tip of Riccastra, announced that he would be staying and that his home would remain a haven to all gnomes who needed it, whether to return to Gnomehome, or after they were on their own. This inspired several other colonial leaders to send negative responses back to Gnomehome, while others didn't bother replying. Some gnomes did heed the call the return, but in the end only about ten percent of southern colonists left. More cities fell or joined the infernalists, opening up a shipping gap that could not be circumvented for centuries and forming the Burning Coast, home of the most feared pirates in Therrmordia. Gnomehome successfully fought off multiple attacks and eventually began the Third Gnomish Expansion by using Rhyallias as a stepping stone to the East. The southern colonies endured in their isolation, eventually expanding up the western coast of Riccastra and establishing a major presence in the Kingdom of Prairies Endless.