Part 50: Regarding HalflingsRegarding Halfings
The halflings are a race of long ancestry on Arcanus- although their involvement in great deeds was little, there are at least reports of halfling farming villages scattered under the overlordship of other races on Arcanus stretching to early times. It seems that rather than risk the trials of war, halflings grew used to securing such autonomy as they might be provided to order their own affairs and let others seek power in their place. Since the collapse of the Confederation, the halflings of Hialanth, at least, have learned to defend themselves in a world less civilised than before. Halflings are shorter even than dwarves, and even their males grow no beards. They are less sturdy and solid of build, as well, and so are quite weak of arm. Their eyes are keen, their fingers nimble, and their feet leathery and sturdy, however. They wear boots or shoes only for crossing the worst and most rugged ground.
They are a decent and godly people who build the bedrock of their society on a vast number of small proprietors of farmland who till the fields for their own families, and who have unprecedented access to Nature magic to improve the yields of their lands. Their society is generally fairly rustic and decentralised, and their people moderate and contented with their lives. Most are little-troubled by ambition or a hunger for knowledge, and such leadership as they require in Hialanth is provided by a Mayor chosen by what is, essentially, a Kingsmoot held every five years. The authority of the Mayor is essentially that of the president of their chief feasts and festivals and the captain of their militia- like the dwarves of Goldwash, the traditional liberties of the halflings of Hialanth are little-troubled by their rulers. They are skillful in their traditional trades, but their lack of ambition leaves them little inclination to innovate nor to borrow the innovations of others. Their weakness hinders them as warriors, but their skill at the mark makes them dangerous with bow or sling, and their aptitude for the sling exceeds that of any other race known.
Their religion is essentially a rustic and informal worship of the Four Bright Gods, but they are marked by the unusual doctrine of the 'priesthood of all believers'. All adult halflings, male or female, are held to have authority as priests with the gods, and training in the barest rudiments of Bright and Nature magic is incredibly widespread amongst them- in fact, even more widespread than literacy. The use of basic Nature magic by every halfling while tilling fields or Bright magic while tending a sick child may have little effect in any individual case, but the combined influence renders the fertility and bounty of their lands unmatched. Their worship is a gathering where they preach and discuss the teachings of the gods with each other, although some more respected of their number are closer to what others might call priests, better-skilled in magic and more familiar with the teachings of the gods. The Righteous Queen they call Grandmother, and picture her as a dignified old halfling in her finest Godsday dress; the Sagacious Counselor is the Weaver, who is a male halfling of middle years in fine clothing working a loom; the Stalwart Warrior is the Tiller, who they show as a young adult male halfling, healthy and strong, pushing a plough and with a sling at his belt; and the Serene Mother they call the Maid, who they show as a beautiful young halfling, usually surrounded by food and drink.
In all ways the halflings are pleasant and decent, even if their lack of ambition and drive leaves them backward by dwarven standards. They surely could make trustworthy friends to the dwarves, and there is little on either side that could strain relations.