An archway at the far side of the room marked the continuation of the tunnel. From it stepped a short, bulky figure. They almost ran then, fearing some ancient guardian left in the tunnel for centuries. Then the figure spoke in welcome.
As it stepped into the light they saw that although it wore a cloak it was not a human. It had no head. Its cloak hung slightly open and upon its chest was a broad face. From its chest spread four arms. With the light of the lantern full upon it they saw that its skin was grey stone. It wore a belt hung with many tools and pouches, but they saw no weapon.
The travellers were in no danger. The four-armed stranger was a Gozmorran. It was they who had built the tunnels and they lived there still. Humans were not their enemy and they rested safely there and were given water and shown maps. But their meeting had not been by chance. The Gozmorran sense all that moves within their tunnels and they had long waited for someone to head North. As the travellers departed they sent word with them of the Garun Dashi nest beyond the water to the Southeast. This way, the message would reach Relgen Tower and aid might be sent in time to stop their conquest.
Once the travellers had gone, the Gozmorran returned to the deep tunnels. There stood the gameboard upon which such matters were recorded. It moved a piece to represent the message sent. Then it returned to the room where it was been meditating to await the next event.
The Gozmorran are a race with a strange history. They seemingly woke up towards the middle of the Age of Exploration having slept for many dozens of centuries. However, although they recalled details of their past lives, they knew nothing of events of the wider world having apparently previously lived too deep beneath the ground to cross paths with any mortals.
Gozmorran view the passage of time as a giant pattern full of regularity, which they seek to understand through a complex game they play with one another. This game involves a multi-layered board and dozens of small, stone playing pieces in various abstract shapes. The game is impenetrable to outsiders, to whom it would never be explained.
Gozmorran are elemental beings, but have not been drawn to the world from further up the Staircase. They have unbounded lifespans, but are not immortal. Gozmorran are, for this reason, very cautious with their own lives and respond to threats by retreating deep into the earth rather than with warfare. That said, when Gozmorran do choose to fight they are fearsome warriors and hard to kill, although they cannot move very quickly.
The Gozmorran have also been known to wield secrets. This is rare, and few are motivated to do so, but those who do can become extremely accomplished due to the opportunity for centuries of study. It is said that the first ever alchemists learned their art from an ancient Gozmorran.