Dark Lantern's Light
Zilargo is a gnome nation situated in the south of Khorvaire. It is bordered in the north and west by Breland, in the east by Darguun, and in the south by the Thunder Sea. Geographically its borders are defined by the Howling Peaks in the northwest and the Seawall Mountains in the east. The country is networked by several House Orien roadways, and the Lightning Rail passes along the eastern border with a stop in Zolanberg and terminus at Korranberg.
The Zil are a people that thirst for knowledge. Everything from the smallest bit of gossip to the biggest of state secrets is ambrosia to a gnome of Zilargo. This eagerness for knowledge is at the foundation of a society that is embedded in a web of deceits, deals, manipulations and outright blackmail. For the most part, even the more underhanded of transactions is considered beneath the notice of the government which rules with an extremely light hand. In fact many visitors to Zilargo are astonished at the lack of direct policing; a city watch and the like is generally not in sight. But they would be mistaken to think that they are unobserved and may act criminally with impunity. For the entire nation, and in fact, beyond, where ever gnomish social interests lie, the Trust is there.
The Trust was formed by the Triumvirate, the governing body of Zilargo, to police and protect gnomish interests. The secret, and ultimately the power, of the Trust is that no one knows exactly who is part of it. One’s next door neighbor could be a spy for the Trust. So gnomes tend to abide by the laws that are there, which does not mean that those laws cannot be manipulated. For most in Zil society, though they may engage in gossip and office politics, their thirst for knowledge is not malevolent. Gnomes tend to careers that can sustain their thirst to learn; many Zil become artificers, historians, librarians, engineers, and craftspeople.
The gnomes of Khorvaire have inhabited the land between the Howling Peaks and the Seawall Mountains, the region now known as Zilargo, for thousands of years, and were well established there during the height of the Dhakaani Empire and the Daelkyr War. The Dhakaani clans considered them little more than a nuisance. Indeed the Dhakaani word for gnomes translates to ‘jungle rats’; some hobgoblin sages of the time believed that gnomes were descended from fey rats from Thelanis, citing their size, burrowing instinct and communicative ability with other small burrowing mammals.
It was during the invasion of the daelkyr from Xoriat that the gnomes actually became firmly entrenched, using the strain that the wars with the extraplanar invaders put on the empire against them, sowing discord, and starting civil wars amongst their goblinoid foes.
The gnomes took over Dhakaani cities abandoned due to war-time depopulation as the Dhakaani were forced to consolidate their imperial holdings; the cities of Korranberg, Trolanport, and Zolanberg were the result, and are still the Zil people’s greatest cities. They gathered the knowledge of magics and technologies left behind by the hobgoblins and daelkyr and began to accumulate it and build on it. The Library of Korranberg was created on the foundations of this knowledge.
Humans eventually came to Khorvaire, and among them Karrn the Conqueror. Trapped between Karrn and the armies of the hobgoblin warlord, Malleon the Reaver, the gnomes were forced again to innovate to survive. As individual city-states they were weak and would not long resist the attacks of their foes, so, having experimented with several forms of government, they finally broadened the powers of the Triumvirate, the council that oversaw affairs at the Library of Korranberg, to encompass government of the entire nation and all the city-states of Zilargo. Representatives were chosen for each of the great Zil cities: Korranberg, Trolanport, and Zolanberg. Enforcement of Zil societal good and laws was the purview of the Trust, a secret body of police, whose members are among the general population, but are never known.
When Galifar I created his kingdom, Zilargo was among the nations that he sought to subjugate. The Zil people immediately surrendered, negotiating for the status of independent province of the the Kingdom of Galifar. During the first part of the Last War, gnomes maintained that Zilargo was a loyal province of the Kingdom of Galifar and loyal to the kings and queens of Galifar. This effective neutrality toward all of the Five Nations allowed them to maximize profits by selling to all the armies of Khorvaire.
However, in 962 YK, the Zil political stance changed, though no one outside Zilargo knows what instigated the change. From 962 on, Zilargo declared itself to be a loyal ally of the Brelish crown. This stance allowed the Zil to put themselves on equal political footing with the Five Nations and Breland in particular, while easing tensions with their most threatening neighbor by declaring alliance. The Treaty of Thronehold in 996 YK confirmed the status of the nation of Zilargo as one of the recognized nations of Khorvaire.
Notable People and Organizations
The Korranberg Chronicle
The Library of Korranberg