Author: As told by Janel Whippet, scribed by Hermel Sureshot
Source: Academy of Learning of Riverhaven
To the olvio (Ed: Ms. Whippet prefers this term for halfling) of Riverhaven so they may not forget, because as the blood thins the memory fades.
Using my words, I have told the tale many times, just as my Grandfather told me. But now I say it so that in a book it may be put, because someday soon I will go away. Read this thing knowing that what is in it is true and right as best an old woman's memory can tell.
Now and then you'll see an olvio whose tan never fades, whose stomach isn't as round as a barrel, and who just doesn't seem to be talking nonstop. What you are seeing is the living blood of those who came from the badland. A land of flowing sand and unrelenting heat. A harsh land that made its inhabitants strong.
A number of olvio made their home bordering these lands. Wary of the "big" people who lived to the south and east, the wild sand was a safe place. A place where life could be spent in peace, despite the challenges nature presented. In peace they did live, until one night of sickening death and torment drove them away.
It began as a special night, an evening marriage of the amaaksio Towin Sweetbreath and Nintel Suker. There was much celebration as Towin displayed his ability with the lyre and much of the wine stores were emptied. Dance and song pushed into the darkness of night, and when sleep came it was taken quickly and easily. It was then that the beasts came.
They came without warning, masters of the desert night, and when they struck it was harsher than any noon-day sun. Great beasts, three times an olvio in height, these creatures had misshapen faces plopped above pure sinew. They were covered in short, fine hairs, and their coal black skin glimmered, covered in some oily substance. They used sword, sling, claw, and teeth to tear into the small olvio flesh. But if it were not for the new groom, I would not be telling this now.
Towin must have awoken just before the coming, for he gathered up his crossbow and began waking others near him. As the things attacked Towin used his weapon as well as he had played his lyre, taking down at least eight before count was lost. Towin and the other warriors of the village fought off the invasion as the women and children fled. They hid in a nearby hunting outpost, but by morning no one had come. Nintel returned alone to their home only to find the beasts remained. They were fat from their victory, and some still sat feasting upon the fallen olvio. Nintel fell sick of what she had seen.
With their home and men gone they traveled southward, out of the badlands and to a nearby trading outpost. There they received aid from one of the "big" people, and though his name is lost, the memory of his generosity will never be. He led them here, to Riverhaven, where many found work serving the warehouses and taverns of the trading town.
Now there were other olvio already living in Riverhaven before Nintel and the others came. But these were from the south, and used to the ways of the larger folk. These ones from the badlands were new to the things of the city and the large number of people that lived there. In an effort to keep the community they had in the desert, they used their sparse earnings to build hovels in the poorer section of Riverhaven. Time past, the olvio worked hard, and the community grew, integrating southern olvio into what has become the Halfling Quarter of Riverhaven.
The halfling community in Riverhaven has become quite intermixed between southern halfling and those that came from the desert. An absence of men forced the survivors to marry outside their village and the bloodline has become quite thin. Now is gone the thinner, quiet halfling that came to the town long ago. Most of the community now operates with the rest of Riverhaven on equal standing, and what used to be a poor neighborhood has turned into a trading success story. Though, as Ms. Whippet has stated, now and again you'll see a halfling that looks a little different, that isn't so outgoing, as could surely use a meal. Even now the will and stamina of that old village isn't toally gone.