| || Adin knew that he was the one who must fill the medallions in the belt.
Dread Gnomes is in need of more information! Dread Gnomes is lacking a complete rewrite.
| || There is no denying that Deltora can be dangerous for the unwary or ill-informed!
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The Dread Gnomes were one of the seven original tribes of the Land of Dragons. When the battle of water and fire caused the Land of Dragons to merge with the land of Pirra, each of the tribes were gifted with a gemstone: the Dread Gnomes' was the Emerald.
After the two lands were merged, a great mountain chain sprung up to divide the two lands. The Dread Gnomes chose the largest of these mountains as their home, and named it Dread Mountain.
Secrets of Deltora
Since Dread Mountain bordered the Shadowlands, the Dread Gnomes were among the first tribe to be invaded by the Shadow Lord. They set up defences all across the mountain to slow down and kill any Greers that attempted an attack, but the odd green beast was able to evade their traps and cause havoc.
During the winter, Az-Zure, the leader of the Dread Gnomes, was hunting for a green beast when Adin came to Dread Mountain. The gnomes captured Adin and prepared to use him as bait to lure out the creature, but the green beast ambushed them and nearly killed Az-Zure before Adin killed it. To show their thanks, Az-Zure and the Dread Gnomes welcomed Adin into their home and became the second tribe to add their gem to the Belt of Deltora.
The Dread Gnomes fought beside Adin and the other tribes during the Battle of Deltora. After the battle, they pledged fidelity to Adin when he was crowned Deltora's first king.
The Deltora Book of Monsters
Before the reign of King Alton, the Dread Gnomes were met by a giant ooze toad named Gellick. The toad offered the gnomes the poisonous slime he secreted to use on their arrowheads in exchange for service. The gnomes accepted the deal and used their new arrows to commit a mass slaughter of the Kin and drive the few survivors off of Dread Mountain.
Without the Kin to feed on them, the Boolong trees began to spread like wildfire, forcing the gnomes to abandon many of their old forts and gnome rests. Gellick also forced the gnomes to spend more time underground and convert most of their tunnels into breeding caves for flies to feed his appetite. If any gnome resisted him, Gellick would kill the gnome with his venom. As for the poison the gnomes collected, they were only allowed to keep a small fraction. The rest was left at the base of the mountain, which, unknown to them, was used to make blisters for the Shadow Lord's grey guards.
One Dread Gnome, Sha-Ban, managed to escape from the mountain and make her way to Del. She met Josef, the former palace librarian, and begged him to take her to the king to plead for help. Josef believed her to be mad and left to get bread, but when he came back Sha-Ban was killed by two nearby Ols.
Lief, Barda, Jasmine, and Prin encountered the Dread Gnomes when they arrived on Dread Mountain. They followed a troop of gnomes up the mountain, but were captured in a trick room to die and be fed to Gellick's flies. Using the water from the dreaming spring, Lief spied on the Dread Gnomes and learned of their servitude to the ooze toad, as well as the way to escape the room. The four of them entered into the breeding caves and were pursued by the gnomes firing poisoned arrows. Jasmine was struck by an arrow, but Lief healed her with the great Ruby.
Seeing Jasmine survive Gellick's venom convinced the gnomes that the companions could kill Gellick. Their leader, Fa-Glin, and Ri-Nan, who was a loyal servant to Gellick, escorted the companions into the treasury, but Ri-Nan betrayed them and awoke Gellick, saying he should be leader of the gnomes. Gellick killed him for his arrogance, but was soon after transformed into a tree when Lief threw water from the dreaming spring down his throat.
Fa-Glin shared the story of how the companions transformed Gellick with the other gnomes, and the tribe willingly gave them the great Emerald for the Belt of Deltora. Just then, flocks of Kin descended upon Dread Mountain to retrieve Prin. The gnomes prepared to attack them, but Jasmine convinced them to let the Kin return and make peace, or else the mountain would continue to ruin.
As the companions prepared to leave, the gnomes gave them an arrow made from a boolong tree to be returned if they ever needed the help of the Dread Gnomes. Fa-Glin also said that the gnomes would use water and boolong tree sap to make fake deliveries for the Shadow Lord's grey guards, while keeping the last of Gellick's venom in case of dire emergency.
Return to Del
In order to find the lost heir to the Belt of Deltora, Lief sent Kree to return the boolong arrow to the Dread Gnomes to request their help. The gnomes sent Gla-Thon, as per Lief's request, to act as their representative in the ceremony to locate the missing heir.
Fa-Glin sent a note to King Lief on the day of the full moon meeting. In the note he explained that the Dread Gnomes were suffering from a lack of food on the mountains, but he did not ask for any relief from the crown.
Isle of the Dead
After the destruction of the sister of the north, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine spent some time resting with the Dread Gnomes before using the Kin to fly to Tora. The gnomes gave Jasmine a bag of treasures to help fund their journey. This bag of treature would later help Jasmine to defeat one of the Shadow Lord's servants, Laughing Jack, when she hid a coin from his own ship, The Lady Luck, inside.
The Sister of the South
During the outbreak of the Toran Plague, Lief sent a letter to Dread Mountain asking the Dread Gnomes to lend some of their emeralds and amethysts to help the sick, since it was believed that the Toran Plague was instead a mass poisoning. Kree delivered the letter, and a few days later Kin arrived with pouches full of jewels.
Gla-Thon and Fa-Glin latter attended the wedding of Lief and Jasmine.
The Dread Gnomes are ruled by a single gnome who acts as their leader. How this leader is chosen is unknown, but age does not seem to be a factor.
The Dread Gnomes have no dedicated law enforcement, however they have some degree of security that helps to defend Dread Mountain, primarily through the establishment of traps.
SocietyBefore Adin, no one had dared to climb Dread Mountain without being killed on the spot. Even after Adin won the loyalty of the Dread Gnomes, they remained highly suspicious and willing to kill travellers that climbed too close to their stronghold without invitation, thought they at least offer the offenders a chance to leave. Dread Gnomes mark main paths and other locations on Dread Mountain with crossed arrows to mark where travellers should not enter. Gnome-rests, which are dotted throughout Dread Mountain, act as safe houses for Gnomes caught in fierce storms, are marked with this symbol.
Dread Gnomes value honour and will usually only kill those that are treacherous or do not follow their instructions, though their extreme paranoia can often cloud their judgment. Dread Gnomes will honour a life debt for as long as they live, as demonstrated by Az-Zure's loyalty to Adin and the Dread Gnomes during the time of King Lief.
Dread Gnomes are known for being very hardy and highly self-sufficient, but also for having a great deal of pride. For generations, Dread Gnomes hunted the Kin on Dread Mountain, viewing them as terrible pests. Once they gained Gellick's venom, they slaughtered countless Kin despite the harm it was doing to their home and were forced to serve Gellick for decades, though they did eventually admit their mistake and welcomed the Kin back to Dread Mountain after Gellick's death.The Dread Gnomes guard their home on Dread Mountain jealously. They have a propensity for greed and hoard an immeasurable wealth of gold and jewels within their stronghold, though they can be persuaded to loan some of their treasures for a greater cause. For example, Fa-Glin gave King Lief and his companions a pouch of gold pieces to aid in their quest to destroy the Four Sisters. Gla-Thon hesitated briefly when Lief requested all of the emeralds and amethysts from the Gnomes' treasury, but quickly understood why he needed them and was put at ease when the king assured her they would all be returned. Fa-Glin demonstrated more positive aspects of the Dread Gnomes' pride and wariness; he refused to ask for assistance from King Lief during the famine, as he knew that food was scare in all of Deltora, and continued to write his messages in code even after years of apparent peace.
When archery is ineffective, Dread Gnomes have been known to employ traps to defend themselves. They have use a variety of tricks to defend their stronghold on Dread Mountain, including trapped doorways and two-way mirrors, the latter being an exceptionally rare trick in Deltora. Some members of the tribe enjoy tormenting individuals that fall into their traps and kill creatures like the Kin purely for sport, but they are looked down upon by their compatriots, who view such behaviour as simple.
Dread Gnomes are most well known for their phenomenal archery skills. Dread Gnomes typically defend their stronghold on Dread Mountain firing en masse, raining arrows down on attackers, a tactic that was also used to great effect during the Battle for Deltora. The only significant limitation to Dread Gnome archery is the piercing power of their arrows; because of their small stature, Dread Gnomes carry arrows roughly half the length and weight of those used by members of the Del tribe. This makes targets with armoured hides, such as Ak-Baba and green beasts, effectively invulnerable to the Gnomes' archery. The Gnomes have used flaming arrows on occasion, created by dipping their arrowheads in flammable oil and lighting them with torches, which can set targets ablaze even if they cannot penetrate their armour.
Not much is known about Dread Gnome architecture, however they were over time able to delve deep into Dread Mountain and were able to create a formidable defence system of traps in order to defend their home.
Dread Gnomes are short and stocky, much shorter than a member of the Del tribe and dwarfed by the tall Mere and Jalis. Male Dread Gnomes often have beards and both genders have been known to wear their hair long. Their hair is typically black or brown, though some Gnomes have sported red hair and they can have white hair in old age.
Dread Gnome clothing is typically made from animal hide and fur. They are capable of making clothing insulating enough to hunt on Dread Mountain in the middle of winter. Some Gnomes wear jackets made of Kin skin, though they stopped this practice during the time of King Lief, after the Kin assisted in reclaiming Dread Mountain and the great Emerald from Gellick.