The Rise of the Halflings

The Hilltoppers are Commissioned.

This is the first of the many chronicles of the Hilltop Heroes. Our fellow Halflings who have brought our humble hills the prestige of the mightiest warriors the races have ever known. Among them are, Eldon the Bard, Kinter the Rogue, Cade the Cleric, and Jarvis the Sorcerer.

The four Halflings returning from apprenticeships followed by combat training, longed to be off the ship that bore them home (for it is well known that we Halflings care not for sea voyages and it should by noted that Kinter was hardly sea-sick). They had but a half days trek to the bay of the port city of Baynar, and could barely keep from jumping ship to see if the could swim faster than the slow lumbering ship. Two curiosities did happen just then that did stir all who sailed that day. An albatross flew to the ship with a message from Baynar warning of recent pirate raids. Whilst at the same moment did a sailor spot a lifeboat with twenty men rowing in the wrong direction.

The captain was quick to change course and rescue the helpless boat. The men on the boat reported their ship sunk by the same pirates and did declare that they in turn did sink the enemy vessel. Cade, the cleric was not convinced and did pray for discernment. He did, in fact, discern these men as evil and perhaps the very same pirates previously reported.

Eventually a battle ensued, when the Pirate Captain Cramerson summoned his ship out another plane. After a long and bloody battle, Captain Cramerson fled to his ship and was gone. The Halflings won the respect of the crew and the admiration of a fellow Dwarf warrior named, Dnulper. He begged the Hilltoppers to meet his friend (a fellow fighter) at the Black Cat tavern. They agreed because they had been told that this friend was also a Halfling. Upon their arrival it is said that Cade blessed the tavern’s cat as they entered. And they were introduced to Percivilis the incredible (who was not a Halfling but a human). It was there that Eldon first blessed Baynar with his poetry.

The Lay of the Hilltoppers’ Return

Hearken to me as I tell a tale of Halfling bravery;
Of pirates dread and thunders fierce upon a cruel sea.

Sly Kinter, archer of renown, the holy warrior Cade,
With Jarvis Raven-Tongue aboard and Eldon Ever-Staid;

These four set out with naught in mind but rest at journey’s end
The hearthside comfort and relief of family and friend.

Their training done, their talents honed, they dreamed of their return:
The children’s shouts, the ladies’ sighs, the praises they would earn.

Across fair waters did they sail, beneath complacent skies
When lo, across the northern bow a wonder met their eyes:

Aboard a vessel small but sure rowed twenty sailing men
With suits well kept and bellies filled and weapons close to hand.

The captain of the Halflings’ ship did turn to give them aid
But our four heroes, wary few, did see what they betrayed.

The sailors spun a dreadful tale of pirates and, forlorn,
They gathered on the deck their sunken ship, they claimed, to mourn.

Their captain then did gaze abroad across the cloudless sea
And quickly came the clouds and rain he sought so fatally.

The Halflings four did spot his game and cunningly they spread
To guard the wicked crew for fear this storm would see them dead.

The moments passed, and suddenly upon their southern side
The sky did crack and there appeared the pirates’ hidden pride

A summoned ship from out the air, the sailors all did grin
To see their vessel and to know that battle would begin.

Of Eldon first my tale shall tell, and how with flashing steel
He brought the end of pirate Men and danced Destruction’s reel.

Surrounded was this Halfling brave by villains twice his size
But ne’er a moment did he waver. No, with sparkling eyes

He drew his blades, twin rapiers, and with flourish and a laugh
He spun upon the pirates and the first he cut in half.

But while his back was turned the three companions of the dead
Did slash and stab and Eldon in his victory was bled.

But Eldon Ever-Staid was sure, upon his feet he stood
And fiercely did he gaze upon these villains through his blood.

With rapiers for rosined bow and pirate flesh for strings
He struck a tune and lustfully the bard began to sing.

Around him piled fallen men, whoever came too near,
And seeing doom upon the decks, the pirates fled in fear.

Upon the quarterdeck our Jarvis Raven-Tongue did stand
With no one near to aid him and no weapon in his hand.

But never did he worry when he saw the fight below
For steel is not the only friend to seek when met with foe.

In silence and in stillness did the stolid Jarvis stand
And reaching once into himself found power in his hand

Upon the ladders, on the decks, his enemies they fell
While pirates boarding ‘cross the bow were cast into the swell.

Neither magic nor his steel was first resort for Cade
But met with near a dozen foes, he called his Lord to aid.

And graciously his prayer was met. There thundered in the air
A voice to chill the pirates’ blood, to freeze their bones with fear.

Then slowly drawing out his blade the warrior began
To mete the justice that had been committed to his hand.

Around him fell the wicked and around him stood the true.
At battle’s end stood noble Cade. His righteousness was prov’d.

Now Kinter, while his friends stood sure, did flit from here to there
And stole the lives of pirate Men with barbs shot through the air.

Upon the quarterdeck, the poop, the ladders and the mast
He found his footing, tensed his bow, and vengeful arrow cast.

To left and right the pirates fell, then knowing of their end
They drew their hidden weapons out and turned them on our friend.

The thunder cracked and lead did fly toward this cunning bird
But quick he seized their thundersticks, and on them Kinter turned

This cruelest weapon that they’d meant to win their victory.
And seeing that their end was near the pirates then did flee.

Upon his ship the coward captain roared and turned away.
He disappeared into the storm to sail another day.

The Halfling heroes, battle won, then turned their hearts t’ward home
And once again sought nothing more than comforts that would come.

For not for pride or great renown did these four heroes fight,
But only for the vict’ry of the noble and the right.

For all the Men and Halflings who are true and who are kind,
For fireside and family, for love and peace of mind.
©d.wartsbaugh

Then after sharing a drink with the men of the tavern (and perhaps a brawl), they departed in glory with their new friends.

They were received at the Hills with a parade like has never been before. Every Halfling was there singing and rejoicing for their story had reached the Hills before them. There was much feasting and merriment and that is why we celebrate Hilltopper Day, every second day of third spring.

The following morning our heroes met with the Elders, who had sent out the “Generation of Heroes.” The Elders commissioned them to go back to Baynar and win their hearts. For tensions were at their highest. They were to learn the motives behind the humans plot to take the Old Hills and leave the Halflings with half of their estate. They agreed to dispel the recent dragon rumors or kill whatever dragon they find and to find out why the humans would betray the Halflngs.

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