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The History of the Truefolk
The Third Age: Halflings and the Undead War

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After the disastrous Battle of ShadowGuard, emissaries from Ta'Faendryl were sent to seek out and recruit the fierce tribes of mounted halflings inhabiting the Northern Steppes. Although the halflings were suspicious of the tall visitors, ancient custom demanded that they receive guests with a hospitable, though also wary and standoffish, welcome. They listened to the Faendryl, and after much discussion, the three tribes (the Trinity of Truefolk as they called themselves) finally agreed to ride south as allies to House Faendryl.

The halflings arrived in the aftermath of ShadowGuard, and were put to the test against the heinous hordes following Despana. For years they stood with the Elven forces, their own numbers dwindling as the battles took their toll.

As the united forces of the Elven Nations regrouped for the final onslaught at Maelshyve, the remnants of the Trinity of Tribes gathered themselves. By this time some were afoot, having lost their mounts to the hordes of orcs and ghouls swarming around the horse warriors. The formation of mounted halflings advanced into the fray, their flanks guarded by a company of their brethren on foot. Losses were heavy as the day passed. Then the unexpected occurred. The Faendryl unleashed their hidden power, leaving the exhausted forces to watch the carnage as demons ravaged their foes.

The Roots of the
"Halfling Folk Sagas"

Since the halflings had, at the time of the Great War of Undead, no written language, they sang their hereditary tales to assuage their remorse at the necessity of being away from their families and ancestral lands for long, harsh years. Members of other races, hearing the beautiful songs performed in neighboring camps, listened avidly to the skillful tribal singers. Thus, Others (as the halflings called all who were not of the Truefolk) began to remember and learn the songs. Finally, years later a collected body of music known as the 'Halfling Folk Sagas' were scribed to parchment by the elf Norl Farar, a work that has enjoyed widespread appreciation and popularity through the years since the Great War.

One might think the battered halflings would have welcomed the sight of their enemies' demise. However, witnessing the flight of demons summoned by their supposed Faendryl friends and allies, the halflings were horrified. As the day ended, effectively concluding the years-long conflict, the disheartened halflings called a Trine to resolve their difference of opinion in the aftermath of the bloody day.

The Trine met. A faction of the group was stricken at the very concept of having been allied with 'demon summoners'. They felt they could never return to the Shirelands to face their families. They argued that they would forever carry the guilt of fighting for the army that loosed such a travesty on the land and all her bounty. Others were weary and wished only to return to die in the Shirelands, hence allowing their souls to find and be reunited with family and loved ones who had gone before them. It it was Tribal belief that should one of the Truefolk die in lands far away, they were doomed after death to wander endlessly, searching for those they had loved during their lifetime. It was this belief that made the act of not returning to their families -- advocated by the halflings who wrestled with the horror conceived at the birth of the demons -- the supreme sacrifice.

For the first time the Trine was irrevocably split. A third of the surviving halfling army finally decided to journey north and west. They were a mixture of all three tribes. The remainder began the preparations prior to returning home to the Shirelands. The parting was a tragic one, all believing that they would never be reunited in either life or death. The choice of who went where fell not only between Tribes, but between families as well. Those who didn't return were given the name of Paradis, translated as 'the Homeless' or 'the Lost' and were never forgotten by the halflings who finally made it back to their homes in the Shirelands and on the steppes.

Finally, the Paradis took their leave, and the homeward-bound party mourned their departure with a weeklong wake, as though they had just died. During this time, they fasted and sang both the old historical tales as well as new compositions written for those who had just left their tents. Some of these songs become timeless examples of the halfling folk compositions.

Short people got...no reason....Warriors returning from ShadowGuard brought with them the stories of the Undead War, and the heart-wrenching loss of kin. Halflings of all three tribes were dazed with sorrow. It seemed that every hearth had an absent loved-one to remember. This was a loss that was nigh inconceivable, not to mention the problematic fact that so many extended families were now remnants of what they had once been. There were more widows and widowers among the Truefolk than had ever been. Gravestones raised their lonely faces across the Steppes, however few of the graves below the stones contained a body. It took years for the tribal elders to convince the Truefolk to move past the time of mourning for their loved ones. Knowing that the future of the halfling race depended upon a recovery, the shamans entreated the tribes to once again embrace the joy of living, a term--almost forgotten-- that they called 'resch'lative.'

The earliest signs of the halfling recovery were seen in the Malghavan Territories. There, halfling towns gradually regained their populations, and in time, took possession of the rich fields surrounding the township. These halflings were a changed group. They no longer felt the need to wander the lands in search of distant dreams. Instead, they began to spend more and more effort on the quaint dwellings that characterized the Shirelands. Round doors eventually dotted the countryside and verdant gardens made the panorama a thing of beauty. The halflings migrated less and less and years went by, however the Trine remained an inalienable institution.

 

 

 



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