Halflings, or the Yala in their own tongue, are most commonly found in the various cities of Khavayin. Most other peoples think of them as clever and cooperative, and in fact, mostly unobtrusive. Halflings prosper by not drawing too much attention to themselves: they are skilled handicrafters, legendarily discreet servants, and competent city guides and messengers, but rarely politicians, and almost never war-leaders.
Yet the Yala are not without power. As the proverb goes, “Strike a halfling, and the family shall strike you.” Halflings have a very extended concept of family, and quickly band together when threatened. Their problems often resolve with the same quiet lack of fanfare with which they lead their lives, implying that they have various… discreet means of removing obstacles.
Most outsiders know a halfling either by a nickname or by a name of a single syllable. The typical halfling adopts a larger “working name,” consisting of a monosyllabic personal name, and two or more patron names, usually the nir-name of a Yala tutelary animal-spirit and a ka-name derived from a favored deity. Tet nir-Brazaka ka-Tajat, for instance, names herself protected by the sand dragon Brazaka and the death-goddess Tajat. The patron names are meant to warn away sorcerers, ghuls, and spirits of ill luck from using a halfling’s name to work mischief. Trust and secrets are a currency not quickly handed out to non-Yala. It is said that the surest sign of a halfling’s trust is to learn her actual name.