First, I suppose you all know what Gears (with a big G) were?
I'll have to tell that as well.
I *guess* you have heard about the Artificers Wars at least?
So, a long time ago, a tribe of elves that came from the frozen north became very powerful, and founded several cities in the east.
So, elves. Many cities.
And so they soon entered at war with their most hated enemies: humans of Navar.
Humans were very well armed, and Navar was a rich and powerful city, protected by the best army of Bigworld. Elves were ferocious fighters, but despite of this, were outnumbered.
And then, they found It.
“It” had no other name, and never was given one, as it was believed by the elves that saying the true name of something makes it free of any constraint - and they feared the inner power of It.
What was It? An artifact from the ancient past, way before Khelens, from the times back when Horadria and the Higher Dragon Kingdoms were ruling the world from their light towers of knowledge, before the Cataclysm that destroyed all of them.
“It” was broken, damaged, nonfunctional. But elves were clever, and guessed that a war machine it was. And using what they understood from It, combining it with their knowledge in Life wizardry, they built the first Gear.
Were they alive? Machines? Both? Who knows? What's sure is that elves quickly gained advantage in their war against Navarians, as Gears were easy to produce, easy to replace, and they devised many advanced weapons for them.
Fearing the fall of Navar and the end of the human colonies in the East, a council of all the other speaking races was united. From their discussions, studies, and ideas, they created towers that drove the Gears mad; and those turned back against the elves, and so started the Artificers Wars.
There would be a lot to tell about those wars, which involved many heroic actions on all sides, and came with a good deal of tragic endings as well. But that will be for another night for sure.
And then came what was called The High Tide of the Gears, in which Gears united, and in a single giant army, whiped out all the remaining Artificers, only to be stopped at the very end by a league of humans, dwarves, and orcs.
It is said that all the Gears were destroyed during the final battle that destabilized the whole East, flooding many shores, and that their secret was lost with them.
And for 4500 years, nobody heard again of the Gears.
And then came the time of Euthville.
Euthville people weren't such kind of Technomancers as the elves of the East were. But they used a great deal of clockwork machineries, and soon they prospered.
But their machines and other mechanical tricks required a great deal of power; a power they stored in special crystals, similar yet more powerful versions of those some wizards use now to power their castings.
For that, they needed elements found only in the Eastern Ocean. And soon they founded a Guild House in Navar. Their quickly grew very influent in the city, so much that, in fact, the Princes of Navar became mere puppets, while the Euthvillian Guildmaster of Navar was the real Leader of the city.
And they gathered through the deep ocean what they needed to craft their power crystals. And during one such gathering, they got attacked by a fish.
One that would have turned sharks afraid, and made Klantenras like gentle jokers compared to it. Not only was the fish vicious, but it also was clockwork-made.
The hunt lasted for two months. At times, the fish hunted the Euthvillian boat. At others, it was the opposite. In the end, though, Euthvillians got help from two wizards of Darcap, who used a Magnetic spell to lure the fish, and trapped it into the boat's nets.
After that event, of course, many adventurous people started to hunt other such clockwork beasts - and they found a lot of them, in the shadows of Cheese's Forest, in the mists of Highpeaks, and even in the depths of the old Sewers of Navar. Some of those were used as pets - but most of them were simply dismantled for their parts, which were made of the finest gears, springs, and other similar devices. Clockwork Hunters as they became called even came to use some of those beasts as an equivalent of “hunting dogs” to make their search easier.
What happened, then? Well, Prince Hariydyn IV of Navar was, unlike its predecessors, a man who wanted to reign and govern.
And the hand Euthville had on the direction of the city displeased him at the highest.
(Feel free to imagine why Hariydyn hired Jorss the Clockwork Hunter, what the lad did with the Key of Many, and why no other Hunter came after him)