The Halfling Clans
The halfings were native to the southern ward of Athrintalec’s Empire, and enslaved there by hobgoblin armies, who forced them to work in the iron pits, mining ore to equip and armor their oppressors. When the Empress was killed by the Red Blades her southern fortress, Elyaich, exploded and triggered a massive earthquake. The land was sundered and flooded, turning the plains into chain of small islands and killing thousands.
The surviving halflings escaped their shackles and decimated their captors, but found their homeland destroyed. The survivors reformed into family clans and were undecided about the future of their suddenly homeless race. Some sought to remain in the south, plying the waves and the Scalestruck Isles; the others formed trading caravans and chose to wander the kingdoms of Tolgalen freely.
Halflings are adaptable creatures, and they took swiftly to a life on the sea. Formed into several flotillas, the halflings fish the sea, harvest the islands and plumb the depths for treasures, lost when their homeland sank. They are poor, but reasonably self-sufficient, surviving on the sea’s bounty and selling their treasure to buy whatever else they need. Releria has sworn to provide aid to the flotillas whenever necessary, and expends considerable resources making sure the halflings, and the human refugees from the south, are healthy and well-fed.
The other halfling families decided that they had had enough of being imprisoned by walls and fences; they assembled into nomadic caravans and now they travel throughout the kingdoms, making a living by trading their handicrafts (woodworking, textiles and alchemy being their strongest skillsets), and bartering the odds and ends that they pick up on their travels. They have a reputation for being theives and vagabonds, and locals watch them carefully, even as they are greatful for the fresh trade that the caravans bring. As merchants and craftsmen, the halflings are alternately allies and rivals of the Dwarven Cartels.
Each caravan consists of about 10-15 families; normally each family has their own wagon, but especially small families might share one, while a large family might require two. The nomads travel with herds of Brixashulty (smart, sturdy, sheep-like creatures, found in Races of the Wild) which they use for transportation, dairy, and wool. On average, 5 or 6 caravans can be found on the roads of the kingdoms; they are frequently reforming, splitting, or joining with each other, so it is impossible to know an exact count. More information on the caravan lifestlye can be found in Races of the Wild.