[MASSIVE SPOILERS] BEFORE HOB
Before Hob: The 5 Cave Paintings
I've been trying to make sense of the backstory of Hob, which is conveyed mainly through pictograms in the 5 sword caves on the world map. Here is what I've pieced together. Feel free to make your own observations. I don't remember what order the caves came in (they had to be unlocked sequentially as you leveled up your sword), I've put them in the order I think makes sense for this story.
Cave 1 (Center of the map): Hob's people, led by the Three, lived underground on an artificial world, for the sun was dying. The Three in the Tower watched, and waited, and when the energy of the sun could not be gathered any longer, they gathered all people near the tower and put them in stasis to prepare for the long journey. I believe (based on the next cave) that the whole world was the vessel on which they traveled, with the tower being the command center.
Cave 2 (Bottom of the map): The journey through the starless void felt an eternity to the three watchers, though their charges slept dreamlessly. It was not, however, for at last starlight illumined the tower again, and the worldship opened like a flower to receive it. The symbol that "moves" left to right in this cave is the one that represented the world in the last cave, but in miniature. The symbol that lights up last on the right is the save logo of the game as well. The symbol in the upper right is the new sun, and it shows up again in the next cave.
Cave 3 (Top of the map): The Three stretched in the unfamiliar light. They had work to do - a world to make ready for their people. They input their commands, and the world itself started moving. Lands long underground moved towards the light as the mechanical Helpers, reactivated, shepherded the world towards a new dawn. Note the sun symbol again.
Cave 4 (Left of the map): Despite this industry, all was not well. Speculation: [The sprites, an energy-manipulating race who lived in the orbit of the same star, found these newcomers not to their liking, and so infected the mind of one of the Three, and through them, the world. That would make the sprite mother and the ones you rescue dissenters or allies of Hob's people.] Regardless of particulars, one of the Three used his power to raise the purple Blight, which quickly overtook the land. The Helpers, attempting to obey their first directive, buried the land again to prevent further Blight victory. Speculation: [The last act of the other two of the Three before they were overtaken by Blight was to lift the tower off of the world, severing the connection of the defector to prevent his total victory]
Cave 5 (Right of the map): This depicts the war between the Blight and the Helpers. The Helpers modified themselves for war and threw themselves against the Blight, for their directive to prepare the land still had not been carried out. But the Blight was too strong, and even the Helper's colossi could not avail them. Here the Hob prequel starts. A dead Helper, given new life by the [rogue?] sprites, begins awakening the people one at a time, in the hopes that they could succeed where the Helpers had failed, and make the world a home fit for their brethren again.
Unexplained: the corpse?/empty cloak of the defector in Cave 5 (the headdress is the same). All Three are still in the tower, so what is that? Whence came the Blight? What are the four beings closest to the tower in Cave 1? The colossi? The (unlit) symbol in the upper left of Cave 4 does not resemble the sun symbol from Caves 2 and 3, so it's possible I have the order wrong. I also may have missed clues from the final encounter on the tower - the way I read it, either you accept that the Blight is good/deserves to be there and the last Helper continues its futile mission, or you reject the Blight, fight and kill One-Eye and then kill the last of the Three and take her throne, upon which the Blight is gone and the People emerge into the sunlight (and the last Helper is at peace :_)