Saturday, June 29, 2019

Halflings of Henjal

RECTON NOTE: This posts revises and replaces "Halflings of Monvesia."  Much of the lore of Halflings has been updated.
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Language Analog: Basque
Inspiration:  Hobbits from the Tolkien Legendarium, Kender from Dragonlance (vaguely)
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Tainted Counterpart: none
Temperamental Association: Altruism

Names:  See Basque Names.

The first halflings were encountered in Prace over 100 years ago.  Based on their susceptibility to nipweed, it was assumed that they were distantly related to rakasta.  This assumption would later lead to a belief that halflings were un-tainted boggarts--a goblin-like creature often found associating with gnolls.  If this were the case, then halflings would have been the only species to have cured themselves from the Taint--after separating from their tainted parent race.  Experiments on this possibility, howevever, proved fruitless.
RETCON NOTE:  Boggarts nothing more than juvenile gnolls.
Despite widely held beliefs of the last century, halflings are not native to Prace; instead, they are native to Aberria, a secluded region north of the Panjou Mountains in Henjal.  The family group encountered in Kynnyshire over 100 years ago had been abducted by gnolls from their homeland, which is near the western reaches of the Pridelands, and taken to the Honderreich to serve as cattle.  Several mating pairs were abducted by a raiding party, and the gnolls traded them with other goblinoids throughout the north--from Galtain to Voztok.  I would seem that halfling was a goblinoid delicacy at the time.

Halflings in the south (Veldistan, Cuorria, and Notopoli) were migrants of their own accord.  When gnolls raided Aberria, the halflings were forced to acknowledge the outside world beyond an occasional rakasta trader.  Some came to be filled with a wanderlust, and made expeditions of their own--first to rakasta territories, and then further.

In their own language, halflings call themselves jende, "the people."  This word can also be found in the halfling word for humans and rakasta:  jende-handiak ("big folk/people") and jende-katua ("cat folk/people"), respectively.  It is among these peoples that halflings are the most comfortable--humans because of their physical similarity (albeit larger size), and rakasta because of familiarity.  In the last century, helflings have specifically come to settle among humans.  They live in communities called herrixka, secluded neighborhoods attached to large cities such as Kynnysboro, Alouse, and Dray.

Each herrixka is governed by its Quorum, a council of elders.  The members of this council are called Presbyters, and can number anywhere from 3 to 72 members (3, 9, or 12 are most common in Prace; while the Quorum of 72 serves the largest community in Aberria).  Presbyters are determined based on age and geneology--with the eldest persons most closely related to he original 72 serving that role.  If a potential presbyter has not ye come of age, their eldest next of kin (who is of age) will serve by proxy.

Halfling culture is centered on the herrixka--which stands as much for the physical community as it does for a sense of community.  Ownership and coinage are foreign concepts--all goods are the common property of the community, and used according to need.  Desire and selfishness are not uncommon among them, however.  When one's needs (or wants) conflict with those of another, an individual is expected to act in one's own interests.  If necessary, presbyters will serve as arbiters to determine which party has the most need.  Should the need (or want) be judged as truly equal, the arbiter will favor the one whose claim came firs--even if only by a matter of moments.

The halfling susceptibility to nipweed likely has to do with their proximity to that plant's native  grounds, which span the western Pridelands and reach into eastern Aberria.  The plant does effect halflings differently, however--for halflings have more control over their physical reaction to it.  In fact, it is customary for halflings to smoke nipweed--either on its own, or blended with tobacco or other herbs.  Nipweed gardens can be found in almost every herrixka throughout Prace; and it is now through halflings that most herbalists and apothecaries acquire its leaves.

Pedigree

The sub-races of halflings represent their pedigrees:
  • Stouts, or Kliemlander halflings, have settled in Galtain, the Honderreich, and Voztok.
  • Lightfeet, or Granitsan halflings, have settled in Cuorria, Notopoli, and Veldistan.
  • Ghostwise (Sword Coast), or Tjakeeri halflings, have settled in the Pridelands.
All three subraces are present in Aberria, each in their own communities.

Halfling Religion - The Wise Ones

Halflings, like dwarf-kin and humans, venerate the immortal saints of their people--called jakintsuak, or "wise ones."  These are several halfling saints, the most prominent of which are:
  • An ancient, dualistic (and mated) pair, spoken of as husband/wife, father/mother:
    • Eneko Asier, commonly called My/Our Beginning (Dynamist)
    • Maite Amaia, commonly called Beloved End (Nihilist)
  • Five companions and rivals, only two of which are known to be related:
    • Ortzadarra (formerly Lehen Zuria), first chief of the companions who fell from glory and became the trickster and adversary of the halflings (Vitalist)
    • Bigarren Zuria (formerly Grisa), scholar and second chief of the companions (Idealist)
    • Marroiak, a pastoral and harvest patron (Dynamist)
    • Urdin Argia, the "good twin" who remains a companion of Biggaren Zuria and Marroiak (Idealist)
    • Urdin Iluna, the "evil twin" who serves Ortzadarra (Nihilist)
Associations with the six temperaments are a recent development; these are the Spheres that clerics of the Universal Orders have divined where these saints have come to dwell.  Human clerics of the Universal and Metropolitan orders are permitted to associate with halgfling wise ones as saints of these Spheres.

Edited November 2nd, 2015; December 30th, 2015; September 4, 2018; September 13, 2018 [kobold -> boggart].
Major Revision June 29, 2019.

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