Gnomes and Goblins... the Fallen Fae

Eons ago, when Anderth was only one of many pearls in the string of worlds moulded and patrolled by the legions of Titan and contested by the Enfae, great changes took shape that would destroy two empires, and condemn the victors to live in the dwindling shadow of their greatness:

The Enfae'Envorae were a noble race, brilliant, ambitious, and masters of anima and attuned to flora and fauna. Their mercurial nature allowed them to live without end, adapt to their environments by changing their physiology, and manipulate the minds and natures of other living things. Their perception was so keen they could sense the ley-lines that separated parallel worlds they called dreams, and their mastery of body and mind was so great they could pass through the dream between dreams or into those other worlds. They discovered seven dreams, named them, and assigned purpose to each. From their native dream, basked in the potent glow of life; to the darkest, thick with the miasma of black anima, where they condemned the darkest fiends, both criminals of their own brood, rare as they were, and the failed and miserable results of their experiments manipulating the forces of life.

Eventually, they looked to the sky. Their greatest minds could sense the anima on the spheres of the heavens, across the expanses of the deep void, and their curiosity compelled them to reach those places. They postulated that those distant worlds could be reached by traveling across the expanse while in the dream between dreams, or the deep veil as they called it... and so they crafted great ships rigged with sails that caught the dream wind to propel them across the timeless void to reach those living things that sang out to them in the night.

Time passed, a flicker or an age - the minds of the eternal did not notice, and the Enfae explorers reached a distant world where strange things lived around and amongst the ruins of an ancient race. In those ruins they found something for which they had no immediate understanding. Outwardly it appeared to be a freestanding doorway constructed of a black stone or metal of a type they could not describe. It was inlaid with symbols, it's posts slanted at unseemly angles, and the lintel across the top appeared balanced precariously between the posts. The Enfae's great minds saw other things however, not in the dreams they understood, but in a space outside of space, not of their dreams. Turning circles like cogs, energy of a sort they could not manipulate or precisely fathom, pulsed and slowly churned in the space around the doorway, and whispering into the depths of space. They studied this new puzzle, and together with the clues found in the ruins, eventually decoded its primary functions, but failed to discover the dark secret that would befoul the Enfae forever.

Having learned all they required of the nature and construction of the black gate, the explorers returned to their home as another eon passed. They shared the knowledge of the black gate, and built their own portal in the fifth dream of their home world, for the portal was attuned to the fifth dream alone. When the ley-lines of the black gates aligned, the Enfae activated their portal, and created a bridge between the gates that did not take an eon to transit, but a moment. And as both portals slipped from alignment, and then aligned to others in turn, the Enfae learned that the lost race of that ruined world had built black gates across many worlds... and the universe opened like a flower at the dawn of a new age.

The last of the of the lost race was stored in the portals they had called Soul Gates, and it was their hope that someday, the gate would be discovered and used. And so the preserved minds of the lost race came to share the minds of the ancient Enfae who carelessly passed through the portal. Those lost entities began to manifest in their hosts as lust for power, corruption, and avarice. When only a few worlds had been rediscovered by the Enfae, a long and bloody civil war broke out pitting the possessed and their minions against the traditionalists. It was eventually won, but it's hard to say who the victor was: Lust for power and fear of betrayal motivated the Enfae ever onward; had they lost or simply become like their foes?

To avoid the risk of future Enfae explorers becoming corrupted by alien influence, or discovering some way to threaten the balance of the now militarized empire, the Enfae used their power of nature to form a sub-Enfae species, nearly identical to them in every way, lacking perception of all seven dreams, barely able to manipulate mind and nature, but most critically lacking the rejuvenating powers that allowed the Enfae to remain eternally ageless. These second-class beings were named Elvorae. The Elvorae were deployed from world to world, adapting themselves to local conditions, bending indigenous life to their truncated though still potent wills, enslaving entire planets and sending the spoils to the Enfae home.

The Enfae overseers continued to study the portals and their capabilities. They discovered how the lost race possessed the minds of the early explorers. They found functions that could manipulate the physiology of travelers. Even functions deemed forbidden that could bend time and probability to twist or unravel reality. Enfae overseers, commanders, technicians and other imperial envoys began once again using the portals, though not without much concern and oversight. New portals were built and more connections were discovered as expansion continued. Then a powerful new empire was discovered who were using similar portal technology to tack across the universe. Neither empire thought to parley, for both believed themselves superior, dominating every species they encountered... And so began the Enfae-Titan War.

The war raged for ages. The Enfae manipulated the minds of their foes, but the Titan legions manipulated the physical world and it's elements. Where the Enfae would manipulate perception and gain the initiative, deciding battles against the fodder the Titans deployed, the Titan and the Giants, their elite troops, would turn the world against their foes, driving winds, hail, and lightning would rain down on their foes, fiery stones and magma would erupt about them, and the ground itself would swallow up entire armies of Elvorae and those poor beings bent to their will. The Giants outmatched the Elvorae at every turn, eventually forcing the Enfae into battle to best the giants with dream shifting assaults and perception clouding cunning, but then the Titans themselves entered the fray, and they were more than a match for the Enfae.

Knowing the war would be lost in time, and fearing the Titan would eventually find and attack their home, the Enfae overseers embarked on a mission to manipulate their own natures to assume the elemental mastery of the Titan legions. Captured giant were manipulated with the combined power of the Enfae and the black gates, and after much trial and grizzly error, they successfully fused Enfae and Titan powers in their Giant test subjects. They extracted the stabilized essence from the Fae-Giant hybrids, and refined it into an essence suitable for enhancing the Enfae.

In their lust for power and abject fear, the overseers of the Enfae not only infused themselves with the Fae-Giant essence, but they manipulated the forbidden functions of the black gates to bend the flow of time and infuse all living Enfae who had ever traveled via the black gates (mainly the overseer and soldier castes) with that hybrid essence. The Elvorae were not affected however, as they were not truly Enfae. The newly empowered Enfae elite troops, or Gnuae'Moblae, as they came to call themselves, held themselves as gods among the Enfae, and with their powers, turned the tide of the war and put the Titan legions on the defense, slowly driving them from contested worlds.

As the war was finally turning to favor the Enfae, the enhanced and still captive giants, imprisoned in the sixth dream began to change and corrupt as their polarized essence began to fray and tear. While the Gnuae'Moblae were winning battles in contested worlds, the overseers were trying to stabilize their slowly corrupting physiologies. Because of the processes used, and the forbidden functions of the black gate, the corruption defied Enfae regenerative abilities. Unable to either reverse or halt the process, they infused other strains of Enfae essence into their own, using the same forbidden gate functions, slowing the corruption while progressively diluting their essence.

The overseers eventually thought to use this problem against the Titans, hacked a captured Titan portal, and used it to corrupt the Giant troops of Titan using the forbidden functions of the black gates. The Titan legions fell into disarray as their primary troops were felled by physical disfigurement and rapid decay of their natural powers. The Titan secured their portal network against future assaults of that nature, but the damage was already done and the war was soon lost. Sadly, for the Gnuae'Moblae, victory was fleeting.

While the domestic castes of the Enfae Empire remained uncorrupted at home, the military and technical castes continued their decline. The technical castes of the Enfae were eventually able to stabilize the reaction with cross-infusions of Elvorae essence.. The remaining Gnuae'Moblae castes were unable to stabilize as further efforts ceased to have noticable affect. The chief overseer attempted one last dramatic gate operation, which not only finally and irrevocably sealed the Gnuae'Moblae fate, but caused widespread continuity shifts in the Enfae gate network, laying the foundation for the cosmos as it is now.

Those fully corrupted Gnuae'Moblae are, in their twisted and coarse mouths, now known as Gyo-blunn or Goblin. Their ancestral Enfae castes helped determined their goblin kind, by strength and stature. The few original Gnuae'Moblae are still immortal and possess many of their abilities, but over the eons most have died. Those left are revered as gods by common goblin kind. Their goblin descendants are short lived and have little ability either Fae or Titan in nature. The old Gnuae'Moblae god-king of the goblins dwells in the shadow dream of the Enfae still, where he holds court in a palace surrounded by an enormous briar maze. To this day, he searches for a way to become Enfae once again and return his long lost home.

The Enfae caste who were able to stabilize the degeneration came to call themselves the Gnyomen, or Gnomes. They are a somber lot with sardonic humor. While there are a few immortal elders left, most descendants are still long lived. Gnomes that live deep in the earth tend to be more attuned to their lingering titan essences, while those in the wilderness are far more attuned to the Fae powers of the living world. All gnomes capable of bending the will and perception of the weak minded. Most gnomes know the dark secret of how they came to be and are humbled, if not bitter, for it.