To the untrained eye, our planet had been deserted.
Within a barren wasteland, few species survived the destruction. Only sea creatures, burrowing mammals, insects, and plants were left. Millenniums passed. The waste and radiation were gradually absorbed by the Earth. Across the damaged landscape, wounds healed and scars faded. The natural world took over and the landscape was green once again.
On the surface, things seemed quiet. Life had been disrupted and food chains decimated. Those who had survived were cautious. The world was fragile. And yet, below the ground, the creatures were still strong.
Aldricus was the founder of the new world. He found the gemstone of sentience deep within the crust.
No one knows what lead Aldricus to dig so deep. Some say he looked into the Moon and knew what was to come. In his feral state, all he knew was he must dig. He burrowed down without rest or explanation, working on pure faith. Legend says the Moon chose him. Only he could begin the New World.
Deep within the Earth’s crust, the chemicals of the old war had pooled together. Here, they reacted with the minerals and made the gemstone of sentience.
Aldricus burrowed down and found the gemstone. With just one touch, he knew what he was…a Goofy Gopher.
Aldricus named the stone Gopherite and brought it to the surface. When Spring came and breeding began, Aldricus littered the ground with Gopherite. This was the birth of Gopher society, and the world was at their burrowing claws.
Gopherite gave them a sense of identity. They gave each other names. Now they could make memories and form plans, process past and future. They had a language with which they could communicate. They could share great ideas, visions, and inventions. They were blessed with new emotions and passions.
Aldricus was declared King. Those of his blood were royals. Gophers believe the royals have a direct connection to the fate of their race. Just like Aldricus, royalty must know how to lead the Gophers out of the darkness.
Under the reign of Aldricus, the first mines were built. Using their natural skills and enlightened minds, the Gophers created history’s most effective mine systems. With the materials, they could create tools and objects, flexing their new powers of invention and imagination.
A strong fascination with Gopherite developed in all the Gopher people. They began to experiment with it, intent on unlocking its powers. When set alight, green flames erupted from it’s surface, burning bright and warm. Put in water the Gopherite turned into a restorative potion. Gophers added it to food, creating a new spice that increased the intensity of flavours. Not only that, it stopped food from going off. The more the Gophers learned, the more valuable Gopherite became.
Feral Gophers were drawn by the scent. Groups of missionaries were sent to convert the Gophers of the World. Their numbers grew. Not every Gopher reacted the same. Some saw the future clearer than the present, gifted with clairvoyance. Pups were born with Gopherite in their blood, some began to display strange abilities beyond scientific explanation.
Aldricus guarded Gopherite against other creatures. Gophers were to be the only animals to ascend into civilised society. He decreed that the Gopherite mining should be monitored, only what they needed right now should be brought to the surface. This became difficult as more Gophers became obsessed with gathering Gopherite.
Aldricus’s eldest son Juniper wanted more. The mining restrictions seemed pointless and strangled growth. He demanded an explanation but Aldricus told him to simply follow his orders. Juniper resented his father and felt he didn’t listen. Juniper began mining without supervision. He would bring the people more Gopherite.
Whilst he was mining alone, a support beam fell and crushed the young Gopher's arms. He couldn’t dig. No one knew he was there. When they found him, it was to late.
This was the first time Gophers had felt grief. Hurt ran thick and deep. For a Gopher to die in a mining accident…it was unthinkable. Some believed it was a sign from the fates. The King took it as his own failing. With his ultimate power, he had made the ultimate sacrifice.
A castle was built. Opposite the throne room was the ‘Juniper’ room. A council of state was formed. Parliament would meet in the ‘Juniper’ room. The King’s late son would serve as a reminder that the monarch should explain and listen. Gophers would be ruled in a just constitutional monarchy and could vote on issues that affected their community. Juniper had become a symbol of understanding, communication and transparency. A tragedy like this would never happen again.
Theatres, towns, coliseums and great universities rose. Places to live, entertain and learn a trade or an academic discipline provided work and opportunities. Sport and sparring were devised for entertainment. Games to show off physical prowess became popular.
Tests were given to young pups to see if they possessed magical abilities. Orders were formed to teach young Wizards and advance Gopher society. Those interested in protecting, hunting, defending, and sparring became brave warriors. Those skilled in sales became merchants. Great traders facilitated the movement of goods all across the lands. Gophers were trained by the previous generation. Knowledge is passed on and shared. Some go against society and have become thieves, excited by the risk of being caught and the thrill of success.
However, most Gophers prefer to mine. They live and work underground. It is where they feel most at home. They go up to the surface for entertainment and food.
Society flourishes. The Earth is blessed with a second chance.