The Halflings: The People of Secrets

If the Fates were wise, you’d think they’d send the Halflings to us first to soften us up for the Dwarves, instead of the other way around. The Dwarves couldn’t persuade themselves out of a shoe. But the Halflings? They could make the Emperor himself eat his shoe! In fact, they say that when they arrived in the 7th Age, they made the Dictator do exactly that.

– Tomas Batarian, Historian Philosopher of the University at Axis

halfling-borderThey arrived from the South, beyond the Red Wastes. In their carriages and on their Amtellas, they arrived. And the first time the villagers looked on in befuddlement. They had after all never seen a Halfling. One would imagine that their interaction with the Dwarves would have prepared them for smallfolk, but one really can’t predict first encounters.

“Who are you?” they asked.

“We are the People!” they said, as if it was the only possible response. And many Halflings are still referred to as one of the People to this day.

It was said that the Halfling that said those was Abdias Jix, and he would be the one to speak with Dictator Liam Mahertlies, ruler of the Third Republic during the 7th Age. Within an hour Dictator Liam was smiling ear to ear. By the end of the day the Dictator was infatuated with the little man. By Lunch on the second day the Dictator thereby declared that Halflings were certified citizens of the Republic with all the rights and privileges that came with it.

Some say that was the last straw for the Republic. There were Human tribes that had been arguing for the right of full citizenship for decades, and Halflings got it in less than a few days? One could see where the prejudice for Halflings originated from. The People still need to deal with misconceptions and prejudices against them to this day. But no one would deny them the rights of citizenship and equality.

Except for pogroms – or race riots. That has never been off the table since the 8th Age.

Some Halflings wonder of Abdias Jix was the best or worst thing to happen to their people. Then they whisper what Abdias Jix lead them from and they remember why everything he did was a necessity.

Now nobody that is not of the People will know just how Abdias Jix was so persuasive. And that is because no Halfling ever tells a Secret. You see, the Halflings aren’t just “The People!” That is just ridicules. Everyone is the People of someplace. Or in the case of the Halflings, of something. The Halflings are The People of Secrets. They hold onto Secrets, and a Secret can be just about anything. It could be that you have a scab under your toe, to the false rumors that are being spread about the Duke’s eldest daughter.

Some may think that all Halflings are thieves – and it is true many Halflings are at least acceptable in the art of relieving others of their possessions. Some may say that Halflings are spies, liars, blackmailers and worse. And again those accusations are not without merit. However what they seem to forget – and they forget because this is the Secret of all Secrets – is that words are drawn to Halflings. It’s not like Halflings go out in search of ideas or letters. But a bit of information about the Governor’s back room dealings just seemed to land in the hands of a certain Halfling printer. He was just in the right place at the right time.

Now, remember how we talked about Halflings dealing in Secrets? Well, it’s more than they know Secrets. They live in it. Every Halfling has a Secret. And you know the rule about Secrets? If anyone knows it, it isn’t a Secret anymore. Halflings dealing with other Halflings is like trying to have your left ear not hear what is going on in your right. It’s a game of words, of tricks, ¾ lies and half-truths. A Halfling playing mind games with the other isn’t when you have to be concerned.

It’s when the Halfling is telling the truth that is when you need to be concerned.