Halflings appear everywhere, from the friendly neighborhood innkeep to providing trade to the most far-flung of homesteaders. Their omnipresence nowadays makes it feel as if Kai’ckul itself — from coast to coast, and every inch of the grey-blue seas — is their home, and not in the way that Men have made Kai’ckul theirs. Yet, it was not always so. In fact, their true cradle is the verdant and beautiful Greenbirth Protectorate.
It may come as a surprise, since the rolling hills of the coastal province have little in the way of edifices, and even fewer Halflings to be seen upon visiting — and those you do see are likely on holiday much like yourself. Despite the wondrous grins and laughter that seems much like any other visitor to Greenbirth, theirs comes with a weighty obligation and history. They are on their Greenright.
Halflings were one of the first races to settle, and carved up the most choice of locales on a calm, breeze-swept region on the Western Coast of Kai’ckul. Originally named Viridia for the overwhelming green: tall and short grasses swaying in the sunkissed breeze as far as the eye could see, and the very smell of it gently insinuating itself into every breath. Nary a mountain in Viridia, and the land broken up by sandy coast, with their dun-colored Longstalk beachgrass, and hillocks that rise up beneath your every step, the diminutive people carved out their existence here literally — within the ground.
Much like their Dwarven cousins — if cousin is the proper term of bloodlines through our Draconic fathers — they made their homes within Kai’ckul’s welcoming soil. Yet for the Halflings it was more out of necessity and ease than any thought-out decision or a desire to hide and shield themselves with rock, as others have long made clear.
Taking instruction from their land constantly, these people developed a kinship to the sea and trading on the waters, and farmers of grasses like grains, and berries (like the Purple Pop) indigenous to the region, and eventually cultivated skilled practices of wine and olive oil production. Also, their home called to them from a place within and art became integral to their daily lives, where everyone made use of some time to paint, draw, sing, or strum — it only seemed right to give back to what inspired them.
Yet this veritable Eden was too good to be true — the ripest of Purple Pops are the prettiest picks — as the Halflings say. When jealousy, insinuation from our warring Uncles, or sheer bloodlust drove our peoples to conflict, Viridia was the first place everyone sought to stake a claim.
Regimented armies and roving bands alike descended upon Viridia, and the Halflings rose to defend their lands, proving themselves ferocious fighters when the stakes were dire. These gentle, happy and loving people picked up every implement around them, literally fighting tooth and nail against the incursions. Blood watered the green lands in veritable rivers, but it was not enough to stave off the devastation that war brings, and soon Viridia was a blackened, torn up wasteland.
The defenders tenacity as well as the ruination turned the attackers eyes elsewhere, and slowly, the attacks abated. The Halflings could finally breathe a sigh of relief, but were instead wracked with sobs as they looked over the land they loved, fought for, and truly lost.
It was then, that first pause in the fighting, when the Men and Perius arrived. The coalition believed they were saving the Halflings, expecting to find the most eager to accept, but found instead a people packing en masse. Rather than smiles and a ready signature, they found smiles on little people carting themselves off in every direction. Some agreed to support the efforts of Perius and Men, but would not fight. And would not stay.
Perius sat down with Lothar Greatworth — first King of Men — and, the tales say, simply invoked, “It’s yours now.” And Lothar nodded solemnly. The truth of the tale is long debated, but the event is universally called The Wordless Oath.
Lothar understood the burden. It was not just the Lost who drove the Halflings from Viridia, but many greedy Men as well. And now it was theirs, though not the lands they originally coveted and not in the manner they would have wished. Guilt was theirs, as was this entrusted pocket of land on the western coast. The Greenbirth Protectorate was born, and borne by the Kingdoms of Men, cared for and reclaimed from the scars of war, waiting for the day when the little people want it back.
It seems, though, that day will be a long-time coming. Halflings spread across Kai’ckul on carts, nags, and even a dog or two, questing to find their loves anew. Their beloved land was gone, but everything else they called dear still existed, and to this day seek it in every nook and cranny — where they joke they are the only ones who would fit — except in the Greenbirth Protectorate.
Though Men have shouldered much of the blame for the forced Exodus, rare is the Halfling to ever bring such a connection to light. In fact, the dark, bloody past of the little people could be dismissed as lies, by the way they act — as the friendliest, ever-grinning of peoples.
Wherever there’s Men, you will find the diminutive race, the latter definitely more loved, even if less seen — they have the strangest tendency to slip around unnoticed, unless they plainly want to be seen and heard. Many say their slyness is an off-shoot of their past, an ingrained desire to avoid the covetous nature of other beings. It is also said, though, that they are slowly exacting their penance the same way, taking repayment in the most stealthy of ways.