[Closed] The History of H'jek Daru (Hafling Homeland)
The following Histories were gained after a violent bartering session between Annointed Scribe and Hafling which left the Scribe with not a single belonging, including robes and sandals.
Located south and west of the mainland of Aniada, the island of Hjek’daru is inhabited solely by halflings of the Athasian strain. The halflings originated from an area of Aniada known only as the Crater. Driven from their former homes by a ruthless Headmaster, Criin, the exiles traveled across Aniada led by Noghu Degav. The halflings had been very elusive, and had not been seen by the general populace of Aniada in many generations. A young Targav warrior-in- training, Dr’ebo, stumbled across a very old map of the lands, and based on the information in the map, the renegades set out, bound for an unknown island that they saw as their last hope.
In a city called Seven Oaks, the halflings obtained passage for their group on a large fishing vessel. They paid for their passage using moneys paid to them for assisting in the defense of a castle during a battle fought shortly after their exile. The battle came to be known as the Battle for Daelows, the largest settlement in the lands.
The fishing vessel delivered the group of halflings to the southeast corner of the island, a large expanse of sandy beach that became known as Freedom Landing, in the human language. Upon arrival, the group was only two-thirds the size it was originally.
The island was immediately christened Hjek’daru, or “blessed homeland.” To the south of Freedom Landing, the first settlement was established. It was called Murg’da, or “first town.” Murg’da sprang up along the edge of a swamp, which was likewise given the name of Murg’da.
Athasian halflings adapt well to their surroundings; however, they soon found game to be sparse around their first settlement. Exploration parties were sent out, and they brought back news of large forests, mountains that spit fire, at least one lake, majestic waterfalls, sheer cliffs and sprawling plains.
The river directly to their west was named the River Carn, after their first leader. Carn had organized the initial flight from the crater, and had selflessly stayed behind with a small band of warriors to fight off pursuers. In his stead, he appointed Noghu Degav to lead. When it became apparent that Carn was not joining the exiles, Noghu was officially appointed Headmaster of their clan.
Up the River Carn was a large forest, which was named Mys, or “great.” This forest, which covered roughly a fourth of the island, surrounded three great, black mountains. The smallest was named Dalw, which was the halfling word for Daelows. Its center is a forest- carpeted crater, and it was determined that this is a li’fet rondmekd, or “fire-mountain” (volcano), that has long been sleeping.
The tallest mountain is an active volcanic cone, spewing forth small amounts of ash and pumice from time to time, doing little damage and rarely issuing any actual magma. It was named B’nat, the name that the halflings used for the enemy in the Battle for Daelows - Boar Natain.
The third and by far the largest of the mountains was hailed as Criin Mountain, after the evil Headmaster in the Crater. Criin Mountain is luckily inactive, and is most likely the volcano that started the creation of the island many thousands of years before.
There was much dissension among the people when Noghu announced that the largest mountain would be called Criin. Noghu explained that from all points of the island, this mountain could be viewed. In this way, no one would forget the name of the Headmaster they fled, and neither would they forget the reasons they fled him. “Should we forget,” Noghu cautioned. “One day another Headmaster will come along who is just as bad or worse, and next time, there will be nowhere to run to.” Thus explained, most people agreed to leave the name of the mountain as Criin.
A waterfall was discovered at the edge of Mys Forest, plummeting down hundreds of feet to the bay below. It was called M’jen, the halfling word for “majestic.” (Actually, “majestic” was not a word in halfling vocabulary, so “mjen” was adapted from the human word.)
A few families found the forests and mountainsides more to their liking, and the second settlement on the island was created. The first families there were originally of the Sagav clan, so the settlement was named Sa’gav, and so was the bay.
A river issuing from a cave at the base of Dalw Mountain was named, predictably, Dalw River. Dr’ebo Targav led the expedition party down a tributary of this river, the tributary being called L’finu, or “life-water.” The stream led through the southernmost tip of another large forest.
The forest blankets the finger of land that encloses the Sa’gav bay. Dr’ebo named this wood Pr’eda, or “beautiful,” after a stranger whose life he saved during the Battle for Daelows. He knew nothing about her, not her name or even what race she was, but he was unable to banish her from his thoughts, and vowed secretly to one day find her and bring her to his island home.
To the north of Mys Forest is a stream. The stream was given the name Bli, after the captain of the ship that brought the halflings to Hjek’daru. (The captain’s human name was Billy, but Bli is as close as their language could get.) Traveling up Bli Stream, the expedition party found a lake at the stream’s head. The lake was likewise named Bli. Bli Lake appeared to be surrounded by plains, but a short walk due west revealed a small forested area.
A young halfling called R’luk went romping through these woods, looking for the shore. He found it... the hard way. The trees gave way abruptly to sheer cliffs, and R’luk plummeted almost a hundred feet down to the rocky shoreline. Hence, the woods were named in his memory. R’luk’s death was the first among the halflings since their arrival on the island.
The rest of the island consisted of plains, covered with a dry, tough grass that eventually found many uses among halfling societies there. The westernmost point of the island was a large, sandy area. Set just off the sandy beach-head was the third settlement, where Noghu chose to live. It quickly became the largest town as well, and was named Degav, Noghu’s clan name.
The smallest settlement, the fourth and last, sprang up not long after deer were introduced on the island (a fishing vessel stopped to sell seafood to the halflings there, and much gold was promised if the vessel would return bearing a medium-sized herbivorous species for the halflings to introduce. Anything other than cattle - too large for halflings to handle - or goats - which decimated an area - would be fine, and the vessel returned two months later with six small white-tailed deer, crates and crates of rabbits and chickens, and a few cages of slow- flying quail and grouse). This latest settlement was started near Bli Lake, just east of R’luk Wood. It was founded by families of two different clan origins, so they made their own clan name, Pirgav. Dr’ebo Targav relocated there from Murg’da, and adopted Pirgav as his clan name.
Since their arrival on Hjek’daru, the halflings have learned to fish, build homes with thatched roofs (they had originally, in the Crater, lived in stick huts and among the tree-tops), navigate rivers, and settle disputes in ways that do not involve eating the loser. They have created new traditions, and new religions (they learned of new deities from the humans and elves whose lands they traversed). They have even learned to do magic, and have among their numbers several practicing magi. They have learned to farm (corn and wheat, brought over on the same vessel that brought them deer), and to cultivate what the land naturally offers.
They have also learned the value of their own land. Those who farm do so on strictly controlled areas, and their crops are not allowed to germinate wild. With the introduction of deer, came the introduction of dogs and cats, wild and tame. No one species is allowed to become too populous. While there are disputes among the clans and settlements, and the occasional battle breaks out, all-out war is not allowed. (Halflings, especially Athasian halflings, are not, by nature a peaceful race. However, under the careful eye of such peaceful individuals as the Headmaster, Noghu, and his closest assistant and advisor, Dr’ebo Pirgav, they can be persuaded to settle their differences more peacefully than if left to their own devices.)
The halflings have learned how to respect the land in a way that most humans never do. Elves would understand this, as they too are tied closely with nature.
While visitors are certainly not turned away from this tiny island in the Vericul Sea, a human or even an elf would have a hard time adapting to life on a permanent basis here. Halflings are generally between 3’10” and 4’3” in height, and have settled the island to those standards. Also, while many have learned to speak human and elven, Halfling is the most commonly spoken. In fact, the majority of those who live in Sa’gav, in the Mys Forest, don’t know anything but Halfling, since they rarely visit the coast for the purpose of talking to visitors.
THE HISTORY OF CARN
As Noted In The History of Hajek' Daru
A Transcribed Oral History
It was after lunch and the hafling students filed into the library of the monk. The monk raised his hands for silence. The folds of his hessian clothes swept the floor as he moved with quiet dignity towards the book shelf. Piles of books lay everywhere, and now he stacked those on the floor to form steps. The books on the highest shelf were the oldest in the hafling kingdom and consequently the least used. The students knew they were in for something special because the monk was now on the tips of toes, stretching his arms, searching for a book between the top shelf and the ceiling.
His hands closed upon a book. The students looked at each other and exchanged glances. Something in the way the monk held the book as he walked across the floor to his desk told the students that this was a once in a life-time lesson. Hardly daring to breathe the students sat, with backs erect and pencils ready. The monk carefully placed the book on his desk and then sat down. After looking each of the students in the eye he bent down and blew the dust from the cover.
"A SPECTATOR OF EVENTS, CHAPTER THREE, CARN" As the monk said 'Carn' the students let out a gasp. The monk almost smiled and waited with quiet patience for the students to regain thier composure and then he began.
"It has fallen to me, Dewe, to recount the last days of Carn. The healers have said it would a good thing, 'a way to vent my pain and sorrow' was how they put it. I am no healer so cannot comment, but I a passion for writting and used to be Carns shield bearer and closest confident. It was I who stood on Carns right side as we chassed the last Orcs from the crater. I who looked up and saw the figure of Carn atop a pile of the headmasters creatures skulls. And it was I, who left Carn in his hour of need."
The monk picked up some pinchers and turned over the page
"We found ourselves freed from the shackles of our masters. Carn had somehow managed to overwhelm one of the headmasters creations and steal the key. We had only a few moments to hold council for the dark tunnels were crawling with lesser creatures of the headmaster. It was agreed that some were to head to the lower levels and release those held in the 'community cells'. Some were to head to the armoury and some to scout ahead.
Carn and I led the assult on the armoury. We had no weapons and so flung ourselves at the small garrison protecting the entrance to the armoury. We made a path with our bodies, the fighting was fierce and many of our bretherin died. We had only moments before rienforcements arrived from other areas of the crater. Under Carns instruction we gathered as many weapons as we could then we upset the huge furnace and ran for our lives. Out of the hundred who had attacked the armoury thirty-five remained.
After many hours of desperate fighting we finally won our way to the upper tier. It was here, on the upper tier, where we fought and destroyed the last of the orc bands. And had I known I would of celebrated because it was to be our last victorious battle. Carn stood atop the mound of orcs his hair blowing in the breeze. I can remember the words he spoke
'Onwards to freedom, onwards to life, long live choices. Onwards to liberty and the future.'. As I looked up he raised his Sceptre and laughed. A shaft of light fell on him as he stood there rejoicing in our freedom. We all laughed, but no-one more than Carn. In the battle for freedom he'd lost his three sons, his wife and parents. He now savoured the moment."
'DAMMMNN YOUUU!' came the headmasters voice. It came from the walls, from the air, from the ground. The mound that Carn was on trembled and then collapsed. The sceptre fell from his hand as he tumbled to the ground. It seemed that as he fell the floor rose up, orc bodies lept high into the air as whatever was beneath the floor pushed its way out.
Before anyone could stop him, Carn gave the command for all to leave. The majority of haflings didn't need his command, they were already running towards freedom. In all ten of us stayed behind and confronted the headmaster. None of us had ever seen it before. We assumed the headmaster was some kind of evil giant, but what we beheld had wings, fangs and breathed fire and talons on each finger and toe as long as a haflings hand . In its right fist was a blazing whip.
As the creature stepped forwards the ground shook. I saw that as the headmaster raised his foot some of my friends lay impaled on the sharp tallons. Fire came from its mouth, it blazed all around and for a time I remember no more. When I came round I was lying amougst the orc bodies, clasping onto the Sceptre.
It is now past midnight and the healers have told me to stop. Maybe they fear for my sanity. I can see in their faces profound worry. I have just one more thing to add. Carn was just a ordinary hafling. Unknown and un-remarkable, what spirit he showed in those few moments i shall always treasure. It was as if he took it upon himself to show us freedom and the potential that lies within each one of us to bloom into something remarkable..."
The monk shut the book with reverence and bowed. The students left clasping thier notes close to thier chest. All were silent, thinking of the sacrifice of Carn.