Of the Gnomes, dearest journal, I can only babble in awe.
I babble for I can say little of these... these puppeteers with great surety. What few gnomish informants I can find remain silent about the fifty years their city, Skyhold, was floating above Whitethaw. Even fewer cared to speak of their home, at all.
That is, until I goaded one into a drinking contest, and while he busied himself with preparing for the next drink, I interrogated him. And again. Until he let down his guard and allowed me access to the inner troves of Gnomish historical knowledge. Or, at least, what he claims is true of the Gnomes. I must give a word of notice that the following sounded, and will likely therefore read, like a fiction of a world apart, an utterly imaginary concoction of an inebriated mind. With that said, I press on, no matter how much the drunk gnome may have misled me. This is the tale I was told, by a Gnome.
The tale began, after a quarter dozen drinks, with mention of a planet called Stormona that was (if I understand it) inside out. But, the gnomes didn't know it until a splinter faction of gnomes explored underground on the day of their generational planetary blackout – like an eclipse but for all stars. (I should note that at this point he showed some disdain for having to explain their planetary event, so I had to take pause for a few minutes and focus on what was in front of me; namely, my beverage.
After a couple of more rounds he was willing to impart more information of his ever mysterious people. After seeing their underground caves become suddenly luminous, the Gnomish people could not agree whether the stones brought to the surface from the cave had elemental power.
He called them the Archanos, and they could “burn like triple distilled Elven hooch.” And did, apparently, imprisoning the faction of Gnomes who found the rate of consumption of these stones alarming in a prison made of these selfsame stones, now inert after use.
The evening wore on as he spoke at (great) length of his research of arcane theorems, but I must confess (and pray once more that this confession does not leave these pages) that I found the material to go right over my head. Would that I understood it, that I might take note of the secrets of power imparted unto me that night! That is, if it was secrets of unworldly power. It could have been utter drivel. I was in no state to debate his expertise with him sober, and this was seven or eight shots in, so I really stood a snowball's chance in the sun!
The final part to what tale I received came after the tenth shot, I'm told. I say I've been told because I have not actually heard the tale firsthand. If I have my sources right, the Archanos destroyed themselves and the Gnomes left their home planet, never to return.
Dear Journal, I would say this tale sounds like an outright fabrication, something out of a children's serial of tales, but that the nonsense makes sense within its own context leads me to believe the Gnome I spoke with was speaking in earnest. However, my good, sober sense of self preservation tells me that things can't possibly be as this Gnome tells me, that their history must be far more grand than “escaped prisoners who somehow lost their bodies.”
Who better to try a world view of misinformation on than an earnest young Elven scholar seeking information from those who have seen things he has not? I would presume that after he left me drooling on the table that night he left town, eagerly seeking his fellows that he might relay the tale of the foolish drunk Elf who believed everything his drinking partner had to say.
No, I think I will leave this tale as it lies, an exercise in folly and futility and hubris, that I could out drink someone clearly out to take advantage of a person like me. Archanos is clearly a derivative of the word Arcane pulled out of the Gnome's hat at the last second.
Fool me when I'm drunk, Gnome, but you'll never be able to best the keen intellect of a sober minded Elf!