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Cether Society and Culture

The culture of the cethers.
Further Reading: Cether


[top]Cethers as a People

Halflings enjoy a good home life, and know the importance of relaxation in a sentient lifestyle. There is little that pleases the standard halfling more then a good smoke from the pipe by the roaring fire of one's home after a well prepared meal.

Both the smoking plant and good food are highly prized parts of the culture. Indeed, most halfling one may have the chance to meet can without a doubt be called an epicure of fine cuisine. Some of the finest bakers and cooks of Aelyria are halflings, and their skill in food preparation is well known.

Halflings also have an aptness for diplomacy, commerce, and trade and are well respected in the many fields they fill in the empire. Although diplomatic in nature, halflings tend to care little for governmental affairs and affairs of state, deeming such things frivolous and of little importance for the most part. It is rare for a Halfling to proceed beyond Senatorial status. They tend to concentrate on home life, and local dealings as a rule.

However, Halflings are a humble, friendly, and courteous species, and often, will refuse comment on poor food or pipe, in deference to their hosts’ feelings. They speak most humbly of their own skills, with much modesty and can be driven to various states of embarrassed, but pleased blushing by repeated compliments. An old Halfling saying states:

"Say not unkind words to your humble host, lest he return them should the situation be reversed."

or more simply:

"Treat others as you would be treated."

Halflings tend to live by this credo as a whole. They tend to be quite intelligent and dexterous, and make very good craftsmen, and workers.

It is interesting to note that the term “halfling”, although widely used by the larger folks is not looked highly upon by the Halfling population, and is seen as a term of derision by most halflings. But most halflings will tolerate the use of the term as the term “halfling” is not as bad as the term “peck” or "critters". The last two terms are considered severe insults and halflings had been known to attack the speaker of the terms.

[top]Social Organization

As it is very well known, halflings are a very social race, and place great emphasis on family and the extended family unit. When a halfling is asked about the family, the Halfling will go into great detail about relatives locally and abroad. It was once commented by a dwarf that a halfling, when in the mood, can talk about the extended family for more than three days!

Family ties are considered to be very important to the halflings. So important are these ties that if anyone who was not of the clan insults a member of a clan, the whole clan would take action against the offender. The action at its mildest was that the whole clan would ignore the offender, the worst being that members of the clan would attack the offender even though the halflings are a peaceful race. A halfling was said to attack a giant when the giant insulted the halfling’s clan and threatened to eat the whole clan!

[top]Clans and Burrows

The basic Halfling family units are the clan and burrow. The clan is basically a group of halflings with the same family name. For example, the MacArthur Clan is a clan of halflings with the family name of MacArthur. The clan can then be further broken into smaller family units called the Burrow, a group of halflings from a particular clan living in the same place, and often, the same burrow, which is the preferred place of dwelling for the halflings. When a family establishes a burrow in a new location they are often referred to by that location with their family name, such as the “North Sherian Haverstams”, the “South Centripaxian MacArthurs”, and the “East Prime Strunzes”.

Even though families may be related to other burrows that does not necessarily mean they will have good relations, such as the infamous centuries long feud between the “West Sherian Merigorns” and the “South Prime Merigorns”. Conversely different families may have quite amicable relations with other burrows, such as the centuries long friendly relationship between the “South Centripaxian MacArthurs” and the “South Centripaxian Strunzes”.

[top]Clan Breakdown

A clan can have any number of members, which range from a dozen up to a few thousand. For a Burrow, the number of members can range from as few as two to about a thousand. For example, the Kermit Clan has only twenty members and its members are only found in Southern Arium. The Merigon Clan on the other hand has up to eight thousands members at the last count and its members can be found almost anywhere in the Aelyrian Empire.

Furthermore, each clan is famous for certain attributes that are associated with it. Certain professions are often associated with some clans. For example, the Strunzes are famous for a line of military generals, and the MacArthur Clan is famous for its cooks, of which some are Imperial cooks. It is also not uncommon for some characteristic to be associated with the clans. The Dovely Clan is famous for its patience, while members of the Shylocks Clan are said to be of shady characters, for Jorelites had been known to come from the clan.

[top]Changing or Making New Clans

In a few cases, a halfling can change clans or even set up a new clan. One instance is when a halfling is adopted into another clan. Another is when a group of halflings from a particular clan wish to disassociate themselves from a particular clan. For example, the Banks Clan is formed by halflings formerly from the Shylocks Clan.

[top]Leadership Among the Cethers

Although the halflings follow the order of authority established in the Aelyrian Empire, there exists an informal and not quite official leadership role in the Halfling society. In each clan, a “Patriarch” or “Matriarch” heads the clan informally. The Patriarch/Matriarch is usually considered the wisest, though not oldest, member of the clan. The selection process for a Patriarch or Matriarch is quite informal and is usually done through the consensus by the older and more influential members of the Clan. It is also not uncommon for the offspring of the late Patriarch/Matriarch to be selected as Patriarch or Matriarch. The role of Patriarch/Matriarch is usually more of a figurehead role, that is to say the Patriarch/Matriarch is to provide a figure for all of the halflings to look up to. However, when times are desperate and pressing, the Patriarch/Matriarch is expected to provide leadership for the whole of the clan. And sometimes, halflings take their disputes to the Patriarch/Matriarch if the halflings do not want to go through the usual channels of the Aelyrian Empire.

[top]Halflings & Dwarves

Halflings are believed to be distantly related to dwarves due to the fact that Cetheron created the two races, but both dwarves and halflings scoff at this thought. The dwarves looking down upon the halflings for their almost absurd concentration on domestic life, and the halflings often believe that the dwarves are foolish to spend so much time in their work and not taking the time to relax.

Halflings usually get along well with gnomes and find them most delightful company. Halflings find the history and familial relations of elves and Aelyrians particularly interesting and are usually suckers for a good familial tale (which usually brings about reciprocation of the halfling's family tree and history).

With all other races, the halflings generally have neutral feelings, but are always courteous and cordial with strangers, no matter what they may look like, unless they are acted rudely upon. The exception of this is the much larger races, such as orcs, ogres and giants who halflings hold a special fear to because of their eating habits.


The choice of an Aetherian being to worship for the halflings is unsurprisingly, Cetheron. Cetheron created the halflings and halflings favour worshipping Cetheron. Would not one be if the being in question had created one’s race? Kalendryas is also yet another favored of the halflings. In fact, it can be said that Kalendryas had more in common with the halflings than Cetheron. And furthermore, there are a lot of Halfling myths, legends and stories involving Kalendryas. The worship of Diana, Ioannes and other beings are not so wide spread, though there are a significant number of shrines dedicated to the worship of the other gods and goddesses among the halflings.

[top]Courtship Rituals

Is the courtship ritual of the halflings any different from those of the humans or the elves? The answer is no. The halflings also follow the usual courtship ritual whereby boy halfling meets girl halfling, boy halfling try to impress girl Halfling, girl Halfling impressed and they get married. The only difference is perhaps the role of the feet in the courtship ritual.

To a halfling, the feet are very important. When halflings meet for the first time, a Halfling will usually comment at each other, “Nice feet you have there,” or for those who are more familiar, “How are your feet?”.

This is because the feet are a sign of the halfling’s health and what the feet shows can be linked how healthy the halfling is now. For example, a halfling that has liver problems often shows a tint of purple in his feet hair. Any covering up of the feet like wearing shoes or dabbling of the feet hair like dyeing of the feet hair is frowned upon by the general Halfling society.

So it is that the halflings, in consideration of taking potential mates, usually look at the feet first. When the female or male is satisfied with the other, they usually take the other to let the rest of the burrow have a look at their potential mate. As has already been said, halflings place great importance on the family and so the approval of the family is generally required for marriage. It is considered a scandal for two halflings to marry without the approval of the family like the Jon Dovely-Melissa Oakly scandal where the two married without the approval of their families.

When both the boy and girl’s family approved of the match, it is usually the role of the male to squat down and asked most politely, ”May I cut the hair of your feet?” and if the female agrees, they will get married. For if one will let the other cut the hair off one’s most important part of the body, would not that mean that one is willing to put oneself into the care of the other? In some cases, the female will initiate the first move, which is fine as long as both families approved of the match. Halfling society has a very liberal notion of male and female relationship as long as the family is involved.

[top]Halfling Homes

The halfling race usually resides in “burrows”. The burrow is a building structure that is buried mostly in the ground, with entrances and slight structure erected on the surface of the land. The burrows are slightly elevated and feature exquisite craftsmanship, with an attention to detail rarely seen in upper ground homes. The burrows rounded doors and welcome mats can be quite clearly be seen for some time away. The wooden tunnels usually head back quite some time, and the deceptively small burrows can easily be the size of mansions for the more well off Halfling families.

Residences other than burrows can also be found among the halflings too. A three-room house for the less well off and manors for the more well off is the norm for residences other than burrows. However, even in such residences, the halflings endeavor to imitate the burrows. For example, the cellars in some of the manors can reach very deep into the ground and are often used by the halflings as places of relaxation. Residences like treehouses or any that involve great height is a big no-no among the halflings for such residences are too far off the ground for a Halfling’s sensibilities.

Like other citizens of the Aelyrian Empire, the halflings follow the education system of learning Grammaticus, going to schola, the universitas and finally the collegio. In fact, there are many halflings who are scholarly inclined and one can always find a few Halfling Professors in any collegio. In addition to the standard education advocated by the Aelyria Empire, halflings also encourage their youngsters to follow in the clan chosen trade or profession. So it is not surprising to find youngsters following older members of the clan as apprentices.


Credit goes to Sheng Kaldres

Created by Nimh, October 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM
Last edited by Nimh, October 12, 2014 at 09:27 AM
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