THE HALFLING RACE ("HOBBITS")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - MODE OF LIVING - FAMILY, SOCIETY & CULTURE
DIET - BELIEF
- ORIGIN - IMPORTANT CHARACTERS

"Halflings" is the general expression used to refer to a race of short people that commonly live in settlements known as "Shires". Some have given Halflings other names as well. Centoraurians, for example, commonly call them the "Holbytlan". Others merely call them the "small folk". However, though "Halfling" is the most common expression, the members of the race itself much prefer to be called "Hobbits" ("Green-People"). Hobbits are not commonly known among the major races of Caelereth, because they are considered to be a minor race, as they are not influential politically. They do not often leave their shires, and some even believe this race to be mere myth, living only in songs and tales. Hobbits are very much alive, though, and have a bright and rich culture.

The Dogodan Halfling The Helmondsshire Halfling The Elenveran Halfling

Appearance. Hobbits are not called "small folk" and "halfings" for nothing. They are indeed rather short, tending to grow only about a ped in height, being shorter than dwarves and far less stocky and stout. Their weight often ranges between 5 to 6 hebs, as they are "inclined to be a bit fat in the belly". Most Hobbits begin gaining their big bellies once they've passed the age of thirty-three. A large belly is not believed to detract from one's attractiveness, though. Female Hobbits tend to have an ample chest accompanying their large bellies. The body structure of the Hobbit allows for them to easily carry the weight, being big boned. They also have larger feet and hands, often making them appear disproportional to outsiders, and at the same time giving them a rather charming appearance.

Hobbits almost always have curly hair, both on the top of their heads and on their feet. Their foot-hair is coarser than their head-hair and allows them to walk comfortably without shoes. The hair atop their heads tends to be far softer, and varies, commonly, from shades of brown, both dark and light, to red to even blond. Few Hobbits have black hair, though time may turn an old hobbit's hair to gray or white. Eye color may range anywhere from brown to hazel to blue and green. The eyes of Hobbits are known for being full of mirth and laughter. The lips of the Hobbit are almost always turned in a smile, being often very good-natured and hearty.
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Territory. In the Santharian Kingdom there exist 3 main Hobbit shires with no more than a few thousand members each. Every shire is maintained and run by a so-called "Thain", which can be compared to a mayor in the human towns and villages. The office of the Thain is inherited from father to son. The Santharian shires are as follows:

Mode of Living/Habits. Hobbits are known for being fairly unobtrusive and fond of nature, peace, and are usually very quiet beings. They tend to be, not necessarily laid-back, but not hasty. They do not hurry unnecessarily and take time to get from one place to another, or to complete a project, believing that "good things come in time". They are often self-content and unassuming, especially when it comes to the things happening in the world. Hobbits do not often meddle in the affairs of "big folk", and travel is not common except through the shires in which they live. Because of their neutrality during times of war, they were tolerated in the same manner as the Brownies, and were thus able to avoid too much destruction and decimation during hard times. The first time Hobbits actually engaged in a Sarvonian War was during SW III (298 b.S.-203 b.S.) during which time the famous Hobbit Boe Starlinggale served as commander of the Halfing lancers in the Battle of Four Swords.

Hobbits tend to be able to look lightly on even the direst situations, and are indeed known for such behavior. They may face the most horrid experience, but are often able to recall the story without much trouble. As one scholar put it, “Some Hobbits are able to sit on the edge of ruin, in the dying wake of destruction, and discuss the pleasure of cuisine, or the little doings of their father, grandfather, great-grandfathers, or cousins to the eighth degree, if you encourage them with undue patience.”

The Hobbit Holes

View picture in full size Picture description. Scene from the Helmondsshire showing the common hobbit holes carved into the hillsides. Picture by Eshóh K'ryvvlen.

Hobbits tend to make their homes in holes dug into the hills. These holes are often very large and extremely extensive, as they tend to accommodate very large families. Often times grandparents, parents, and children will all live together in one Hobbit hole. Sometimes many family clans live in an elaborate system of underground tunnels connecting one hole to another, and mere holes become more like one big mansion. Such Hobbit holes are called "smials". The windows and doors of Hobbit holes are almost always round, and large enough to fit the small Hobbit nicely, though "big folk", like elves and men, may have trouble maneuvering through Hobbit holes. Many important Hobbit holes, such as those used for grand meetings or festive celebrations, are adorned with a rune of hospitality, shape like a half circle that surrounds a center fleck on all sides save the bottom left corner, and also one that shows loyalty to the Kingdom of Santharia.

It is said that long ago Hobbits used to live above the ground in structures with thatched roofs and bulging walls, but such homes are no longer used.
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Family, Society and Culture. Many Hobbits are very fond of music and poetry. This race of "small folk" is known for writing poetry and composing songs through which they maintain a rich oral tradition. Grand tales of mythological adventure, pieces of ancient Hobbit history, and lore are all written about and sung and read, though the truths and myths have since been forgotten and none know what tales are based on actual occurrences and which merely sprung out of fantasy. One thing is fairly certain though: long ago there were far more Hobbits about, and they were more adventurous than they are in modern times. It is believed they left Sarvonia long ago in search of danger and treasure, but of these tribes, almost nothing is known save what is sung about in ancient song.

One such song follows the fate of Nefrast the Curious, who is said to have moved too close to the burning Injèrá so that he died painfully in his expedition to the south. "So close as Nefrast to the sun" is still a much-used Halfling idiom to warn from perceptions that seem to be too easy to achieve.

Most of the poetry and songs of the Hobbits in general is more geered toward happy adventure and merry times, while often elven poetry is more religious or deeply spiritual and philosophical. Hobbits are more inclined to compose works that follow a merry little adventure, sometimes being humorous or else just being mirthful in nature. Sometimes Hobbits will take stories that would originally be considered rather sad and disappointing, such as Nafrast's story, and turn them into comedic tales that are bound to get a few laughs.

Family and ancestry has always been an important part of Hobbit culture, and most Hobbits find the topic of genetics and ancestry absolutely fascinating, and something they are indeed quite proud of. They enjoy, especially, telling others of their family history, putting the links of genetics and marriage together to date their bloodline back to the first Hobbit to ever come up with pipeweed or the Hobbit Dalireen, who is said to have become a deity after Nehtor heard her song. Family gatherings are both common and extensive! Often a single birthday party, given invitations are given to third cousins twice removed and second nieces and nephews, end up being a celebration in which everyone in the shire is invited to! Halflings can reach the age of 150 (though the average lifespan tends to be about 110) and a couple will commonly have at least four or five little Hobbit children, so birthday parties and celebrations are not uncommon.

If a birthday party is not coming, then usually a festival is on its way. Hobbits will always find some reason to gather together and celebrate, to dance and drink and smoke and laugh together late into the night. Even the smallest accomplishments of Hobbits are remembered with wonderful festivals, such as the festival occurring on the Day of Mondolfin, the "Day when Mondolfin traveled to yonder mountain and returned safely". Some festivals have even lost their origin, though the moral and the reason for celebration, whether it be strength, courage, safety, or merely happiness and long life, are never lost. They love giving and receiving gifts: even the smallest token is gladly accepted by a Hobbit and often kept stored away in a Hobbit hole.

Hobbits have several important birthdays in their life. Well, all birthdays are indeed quite important, but there are a few that are indeed a bit more important than the others. One of the most important of these is thrity-three, when a Hobbit comes of age. A great celebration is usually accompanied with this age, when a Hobbit first begins to go out on his or her own, and also begins to get their belly.

Fifty five tends to also be a rather important number. Less important, of course, than the coming of age at thirty three, but still seemingly rather important, for reason still rather unknown. Most Hobbits indeed have some magnificent story that explains the signifigence of the age, but there are none who remember it, if there ever was one. Most delight in it because it often marks the halfway point in a Hobbit's life.

The Hobbithorse

View picture in full size Image description. A Sarvonian Draught Pony, also called "Hobbithorse", fooling around with a hobbitling. Picture drawn by Viresse.

A hobbit's Eleventy-first (111) birthday is indeed a great celebration, more a celebration of long-life more than anything, given the average lifespan of a hobbit is 110. However, most figure that the reason one's eleventy-first is so important is merely that the number is such a curious one! Three one's all in a row is mighty peculiar to Hobbits.

Marriage is indeed a joyous celebration done after at least a few months of devoted courtship, during which the coupled Hobbits will go through a number of platonic rituals including walking together and respectable dancing and singing. It is common for male hobbits to present their love-interest with flowers, as is common for female hobbits to present baked goods (such as cookies or pies) to hers and hers' family. Marriage proposals are given after several months, at least, of such things.

However, when marriage is proposed and invitations are sent, all family and friends (which, more often then not, includes the entire shire population) attend. Marriage almost always occurs in spring, and the bride will wear dresses of either white, pink, yellow, purple, or blue, with the bridegroom in, of course, his best shirt and vest. The rituals of marriage usually include the father of the bride giving his daughter to the bridegroom, and each Hobbit reciting poetic promises to each other. After such a ceremony, the new Hobbits and all their company will gather together, usually outside, and have a grand feast accompanied by, of course, the best beer the shire has to offer.

Funerals are often a time of mourning and sadness, though Hobbits try to make light of such things. Hobbits are often buried in the ground, along with some of their most important possessions. There is then much music and dancing where the life of the deceased is celebrating instead of their death. There is often a great feast during which times random people may stand and say something about the Hobbit who was buried, whether it be one of their good traits or a funny story or tale.
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Diet. Food is also a very important part of the lives of Hobbits. They haven't gained their famous bellies by merely singing and dancing all day, after all! Cooking and meal-times have become an extremely important part of the culture, such to the point that most hobbits learn to cook before they even learn their letters. It is said that the best cooks are hobbits, but also that hobbits are the best eaters. They commonly eat at least five meals a day. Pipeweed has also been known to be a rather large part of the history, and is an invention of hobbits that they are indeed quite proud of.

Hobbits will eat just about any edible thing that will grow around them. They are especially fond of vegetables, such as carroots and pease, which they will grow happily in their gardens. They also love lythbells and meldarapples, and are overall very fond of things that grow from the earth. Gardening is a very common Hobbit pasttime and, sometimes, occupation. Hobbits do eat meat as well, such as that of cows and sheep that they have grazing in their pastures, as well as taenish that cluck about in their front yards. However, fresh fruits and vegetables are commonly their favorite.

Halflings also have a taste for beer, and will happily drink down glasses of it, which they often do at parties and celebrations. Many Hobbits take great care in making beer, being sure to brew it so that it comes out just right, with the best flavor. Indeed, every bar and tavern is not always judged on how good the food is, how cute the waitresses are, or how quick the service is, but rather, how good the beer is that they serve.
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Belief. The "small folk" of the shire believe, usually, in the same Gods and Goddesses as elves and men to some degree. Avá and the Aviaría are known throughout most shires, but worship and prayer is not a common behavior among Hobbits, who would much rather celebrate Gods and Goddesses through song, dance, and beer, than through quiet and solemn prayer. Because of this, there aren't many shrines near or in shires. Religion is not judged as something terribly important among this little folk.

Hobbits do have some of their own deities, however, who, though not commonly known among elves and men and the other races of Santharia, are much celebrated and loved among the Halfing race. One such deity is Dalireen, who is believed to be the Hobbit muse of song, dance, and innocence. She is commonly thought of in times when inspiration is greatly needed, and called to in song instead of silent prayer.
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Origin. Of the cosmological origin of the Halflings little is known. In the elven myth of the Cárpa'dosía it is told that the Rain of Life emerging from the Thoughts of Avá fell on the elements, thus generating the four main races, the elves, the dwarves, the orcs and the humans. The Hobbits aren't mentioned in the myth directly, but it is indicated that several different races came to life out of various combinations of the four elements: "One smaller being arose near a lake where the ground is hard and massive, though it bore the full strength of the nearby sá már [water] in it" (Cárpa'dosía IV, p. 16). According to this description it is supposed from elven interpreters that the Halflings are a cosmological combination of the elements of Water and Earth.

However, there is a much more amusing story on how Hobbits came to life if we believe a narration of Gwerolin Shimms, a well-known story-teller at the village of Shingleswon in Helmondsshire, but although it has no scientific nor mythological base, it is still told with enthusiasm to the Hobbit children. It goes like this (transcribed from the famous storyteller Master Tribell, listening to Gwerolins narration in front of several young Halflings):

Where the Hobbits Came From. "Long, long ago, when the world was still young there were no hobbits at all. (Amazed cries from the audience.) There were only the big folk, the pointed-eared, the snouted ones and a small folk as well. And this story goes about this small folk.

Nowadays, many of the small folk have almost disappeared from the surface of the world, digging deeper and deeper into their mountains. But in past times, the small folk used to live more on the surface of their mountains and some even lived in the valleys. They loved the mountains and the minerals they could find there, alas, in those times they hadn't learned how to grow food and keep animals in the dark caves yet. But because they didn't really want to trade with other races and prefered to keep to themselves, they also remained independent. Some of them decided to construct farms in the valleys and they became the food supply for those of the small folk who lived in the mountains. But while the normal these members of the small folk got more and more skilled in mining and metal working, the "outsiders" as the others were called, skilled themselves in farming, baking and brewing.

This continued for a several centuries, until one day on of the "diggers", Moruk, who would later be called "the Lightbringer", found the first "Solar Gem" or "Foiros Tear". Those gems were filled with the power of Foiros and shone with the same light as that of the Injèrá, thus enabling the diggers to create first underground farms.

Now that the diggers had their own farms inside the mountains, they didn't need the farms of the outsiders anymore and they started digging further and further into the mountains, searching for more treasure and wealth. At a  certain moment, they asked all their cousins to join them, but the outsiders refused. They had lost all interest in the dark mountains and they had begun to love the sun, the blue sky, the rivers and the green valleys and the fields.

And so it happened that the small folk divided itself in two groups. One, led by Moruk the Lightbringer, who dug further into the mountains and the other, led by Harfuld the Green, who founded the first shire: Hobbitshire. (Hobbit meaning: (the) green-lovers and shire meaning: (a) group of holes.) In later years, the hobbits as they now called themselves, founded even more shires, like Helmondsshire and Silvershire. The Hobbitshire was eventually destroyed during the Dragonstorm, but some other shires survived the cataclysm.

In all the following years, the hobbits just lived on. Not very curious of the rest of the world and happy with their way of living. They made a few discoveries like pipeweed and butterbeer, but regarding the outer world hobbits haven't really come up with great things to remember. Well, who can expect great things from a small folk, eh? And so we still live quietly, forgotten by most of the world, which not necessarily is a bad thing..."

"And hopefully it will stay that way," would most Hobbits in the audience think. And they returned to their cosy holes to smoke a pipe and talk of their family trees while they didn't want to think much of their past and the turbulent times contained therein."


-- Master Tribell: "Different Stories. Why the World is not a Pie", p. 21 f.
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Important Characters. One of the most famous Hobbit characters in Santharian history is Boe Starlinggale, who served as commander of the Halfling lancers in the Battle of Four Swords (SW III), following the fallen Palvin Nhadle. Together with the elf Pherán'Epthaerín, Tevot Charnel of the men and the dwarf Gonthrum he left the Sarvonian continent fleeing from the orcs in order to establish a new realm harboring all four races at the isle of Denilou. Boe served as a valuable counselor of Pherán'Epthaerín representing the interests of the Hobbits on the newly discovered island. Return to the top

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THE ERA OF HARMONY
(YEARS 13.000 B.S. - 11.900 B.S.)
13000 b.S. The Founding of Hobbitshire
Hobbitshire, the first shire of the halfling race, is settled by Harfuld the Green in what is now known as the Silvermarshes. Harfuld becomes the first Thain of the shire, which is home to several thousand hobbits. It flourishes.

THE AGE OF AWAKENING
(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
1650 b.S. The Dragonstorm
The Dragonstorm
In the 37th year of the rulership of Maengolth, the sovereign of the Erpheronian tribe, a terrible assault of dragons comes down on the territories of today's Santharian province of Vardýnn to avenge the destruction of Seargon the Eternal, one of the three adamant-dragons, through the sword of the Erpheronian prince Wengerim.

Hundreds of beasts cross the Tandala Mountains, advancing to the Warnaka in the west, devastating the Silvermarshes in the south, finishing the assault near Ephirn's Lake. Thousands of humans die from the fires of the Winged Death, even Wengerim the Dragonslayer Wengerim himself cannot escape his fate.
Devastation of the Hobbitshire
Countless innocent halflings die in the attack of the dragons on their home, and their houses are laid to waste. Some of the survivors journey south, seeking refuge and peace. Those halflings eventually come to the Alianian Hills and, with the help of the Jhehellrhim elves, settle into what is now known as the "Dogodan Shire".
  

1649 b.S.
to 1648 b.S.
The Vardýnnian Atonement strikes the Hobbitshire
The hobbits remaining in the Hobbitshire near the Silvermarshes suffer a sunless year. Many die from the cold, though surplus from crops in the past years of the Hobbitshire provide most with enough food to last until the cold is over. Those who have no home or lack considerable in victuals journey south to where their fellow halflings have already settled. The Dogodan Shire grows to a healthy population of a few thousand.

When the Atonement ends, the halflings live in the Silvermarshes among the ruins of Hobbitshire. They immediately begin to rebuild and rename the shire "New Hobbitshire". They experience a time of great growth and healing, and their numbers rises again.
  

823 b.S. Caltharia invades Erpheronia
The Caltharian army crosses the Erpheronian border north of Carmalad in a surprise attack, led by the rebel duke Mertogran, who slew the weak Caltharian king Artero, and vowed to regain the lost region of Ancyros. Although the stationed troups there put up a good fight, they are overwhelmed and slain.

The new Erpheronian king Erdolomin rallies his allies, which include the halflings living in Silvershire. The halflings are assigned to supplying the Erpheronian army with food, clothing, and other such things. It is believed the alliance is forced upon the hobbits through threats.

THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
822 b.S. Massacre at the Silvershire
Singing Bird. The victorious Erpheronian army in their battles against the Caltharians marches through the the halfling-land of the Silvershire (then known as New Hobbitshire) to resupply, but they find several wounded Caltharian soldiers there. The soldiers are being treated by the halflings, as it is commonly known that they don't care much for the politics of the "big people". Others say that these halflings are believed to not have known anything about the alliance between Erpheronia and the shire as a whole.

Parts of the Erpheronian division consider this as treachery and attack the village where these halfling treat the wounded men and within instances the rest of the division joins the massacre. The soldiers slay everyone they encounter, Caltharian and halfling alike. There is no resistance. Hundreds of halflings are murdered in this massacre, their homes are destroyed, and their crops are laid to waste. Many halflings escape to the Silvermarshes to hide there as they cannot go south through Caltharian lands.
Beheading of Khizaar
Burning Heavens. The Erpheronian commander Khizaar reports the halfling-incident at the Silvershire at the capital to his king. The destruction of the Silvershire is explained as a crime committed by the Caltharian forces, where the Erpheronian army came just too late. The commander gets promoted to colonel, but only a few months later, more and more reports of the true occurences at the Silvershire reach the king.

Though Khizaar manages to hide for several weeks, he is prosecuted for his unrightful attack caught in Weyring where he is also beheaded in front of the public to state an example.
822 b.S.
to 288 b.S.
The Halflings' Destiny: Seperate Ways
Those few halflings that survived the massacre of the Erpheronian soldiers begin to rebuild once again, renaming New Hobbitshire to "Helmondsshire" after Generu Helmond who rises up to help rebuild their halfling home. There are only a few dozen left, but in time, they are able to retain their numbers.

Those halflings who flee to the Silvermarshes adapt to their new environment and over the course of time develop to swamp creatures. But although they adapt, many are not strong enough to survive their harsh new home. After a few years not more than a few dozen of them are left.
  

292 b.S. The Battle of Four Swords
The Battle of Four Swords takes place near Ephirn's Lake between the joined Sarvonian forces and the against the orcish invaders, accompandied by barbarians coming from the Northlands. The expression "Battle of Four Swords" denotes the union of all four races, the famous Sarvonian Alliance taking part in the fight: humans, elves, dwarves and orcs. This alliance is formed for the very first time in the history of Sarvonia and will prove essential for the defence of civilized life at the southern Sarvonian continent.

The battle begins when the retreating dwarven forces of the Thrumgolz and the Monteron clans (which also included troops of Halflings) are reinforced by the joined elven and human army under the guidance of the Aellenrhim Pherán'Ephtaerín. The latter, who was initially stationed at Orril to regain control of the so-called Orcenhold, is said to have followed the vision of a human woman who saw in a dream that her son is being saved by elves near the Heath of Jernais. Indeed it is only due to Pherán'Ephtaeríns belief in the truth of the essence of the dream that he arrives in time at Ephirn's Lake and can avert an immediate landslide victory of the orcish armies. However, even the joined forces of the Sarvonian Alliance are not able to counter the heavy offences of the orcs.
Halflings participate in the Battle of Four Swords
The Helmondsshire Commander Boe Starlinggale volunteers to fight against the hordes of orcs to defend his halfling brothers and sisters. He joins the halfling lancers and bravely fights against the invaders.
The Flight from Carmalad
Six years after the first massive invasion of the orcs at the regions of Nermeran and Vardýnn the united armies of the humans, elves, dwarves and halflings are forced by constant orcish approaches to recede with their troops to Carmalad. Although the joined army fights bravely reinforcements can not arrive in time and Carmalad has to be abandoned. As the defenders see no hope to save their lives at the Sarvonian continent the people of the four races leave together on all ships available to escape the unceaseable wrath of the orcs. However, many die before they can reach the ships meant to rescue them. The orcs raid the city, and pillage all they can carry.
Boe Starlinggale heads for Denilou
Among the escaping people is also Boe Starlinggale, along with many other hobbits, including some of his fellow lancers, escape to Denilou with dwarves, elves, and men. There Boe Starlinggale will help to found a colony on the island.
The Great Slaughter in the Istarin
After Carmalad has fallen in SW III, the orcs attack the Istarin Forest. But instead of directly attacking they set fires on the forest, forcing the elves out. The Jhehellrhim are nearly destroyed in this fight.

Fearing the defeat of the elves and the progress of the orcs southward, many halflings flee far south, hoping to find safety. They are settling in the Elverground, just north of the Zeiphyrian Forest.
  

288 b.S. The Mingling of Halflings with Orcs
The mullog swampdwellers
The mullog swampdwellers
In 288 b.S. a group of orcish refugees arrives in the Silvermarshes after the defeat of their leader Hourelin. They are hunted by the humans and can't find any other place to hide as the Silvermarshes. The wounded orcs prove to be much more peaceful than expected (their militant brethren all fought till their death in the war) and suggest to support the halflings in building settlements together within the confines of the marshes. After a while, halfling and orcish blood is mingled. The new race which emerges from the combination of these two races is called the "Mullog" (or "Swamp Lover" in the halfling tongue). While no other race is known to have been capable adapting to such harsh conditions as they are prevailing in these swamps, the mullog survive in the Silvermarshes ever since.
  

62 b.S. Descent of the Móch'rónn into the Hèckranian Volcano
The elven Witchking, the Móch'rónn, and his minions descend into the Hèckranian volcano to topple the legendary Earthen Titan. Saban Blackcloak wants to gain immortality by defeating the Titan. In fact the descent should last centuries and will be the cause for many important changes at the surface of the world of Caelereth...
  

60 b.S. The Battle at Hegedorn
The remnants of the interracial alliance gather for a last desparate strike at the last entrance of the now closed Kersolth mine called "Hegedorn" to defeat Saban. Even the remaining hafling lancers of the Silvershire join into the Battle of Hegedorn, along with many new volunteers who want to protect their families and the shire from the terror of the Móch’rónn. The greatest warriors of Ximax are also sent to Hegedorn to try to defeat the Móch'rónn.

The battle ends with a landslide victory of the dark elven armies as there seem to be no way to stop a defending army in the tunnels of Kersolth. From the Ximaxian division, only one magus and two archmagi, survive the devastating counterattack of the Demon Lord Khalkoroth, who is said to have been summoned during the battle by the dark forces.


THE AGE OF CHANGE
(YEARS 50 B.S. - 172 A.S.)
0 The Halflings join Santharia
All the tribes of Southern Sarvonian halflings agree to become part of the Santharian alliance along with elves, dwarves, and men. Though the alliance proves to be shaky at first, the halfling shires are eventually able to return to a peaceful state, and begin to experience a new time of great growth.

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