Kiar (Halflings)

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World of Aserra
Kiar (Halflings)

Post by World of Aserra » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:38 pm

Pronunciation: KEE-ahr. They can be referred to as Kiar in the singular or plural, Kiaran (KEE-ahr-AHN) in the possessive and collective.
This petite race is an off-shoot of humanity that lives in the prairies of western Kalesten. They are both the smallest and the shortest-lived race of Aserra. Location and Abodes
The Kiar live on the plains of western Kalesten, the majority of their population living in small villages outside the borders of Chawoven, Belvon, and Serdenaugh. Small populations live in western Chawoven and eastern Serdenaugh, while those who are within Belvon’s borders have integrated into Belvonese society. They have no nations, but live as a collection of independent villages. With the presence of humanity looming about them, most Kiar feel united with their fellow people, no matter how far-flung they are from each other. Villages often trade with each other, marry between each other, and exchange ideas with each other.

Kiar village are best described as quaint. They are much like rural human villages, but obviously much smaller. Buildings are often made of clay or other earthy materials with thatch roofs and wooden frames. The flooring is often hard-packed dirt, though highly respected village members and important buildings may have wood floors, but given their habitat wood is in short supply. Homes are very tidy and modest.

Appearance and Garb
The Kiar look very similar to humans, but are about as tall as a young child. Males rarely grow taller than 4’5” (1.3m) and females to 4’ (1.2m). They appear to be miniaturized versions of humans, with perfectly scaled proportions—they neither have the awkwardness of a human affected by dwarfism, nor the disproportions of a child. Like humans, they have small, rounded ears. They have the same range of body-types as humans as well, they can be slender, muscular, curvy, or portly.

Their coloration is slightly less varied than the many cultures of humans. They are mostly fair skinned, and tan well. Hair color ranges through blonde, red, brown, and black, and it can be straight, wavy, or loosely curled. Eye color ranges through blue, green, violet, gold, hazel, and brown.

Kiar, despite how spread out their villages are, share a similar culture and similar fashions. They dress modestly; men in jackets, vests, tunics, breeches, hats, and boots and women in modest dresses, blouses, long skirts, aprons, bonnets, and stout shoes. Most of their clothing is dyed in earthy, subdued shades, but bright clothes may be reserved for social events. Belvonese Kiar adopt the fashions of Belvon.

Lifespans and Reproduction
The Kiar live only around twenty (20) years, making them the shortest-lived race in all of Aserra. Some Kiar manage to push twenty-five or even thirty (25-30), with the eldest Kiar ever recorded living to the age of thirty-three. Kiar children mature much faster than humans. By the age of two they reach reproductive maturity and are equivalent to human teenagers, and they reach full physical and mental maturity at the age of four. Most Kiar marry around the age of four or five and begin to have children soon after

They are a highly monogamous people who value marriage. Extra-marital affairs and divorce are practically unheard of in their society. Even after the death of a spouse, a Kiar is reluctant to remarry. Between the ages of two to four, most young Kiar are betrothed to a partner around the same age as themselves in a union that is carefully arranged by their parents and a matchmaker, and approved by the husband-and-wife-to-be. Courtship between betrothed is innocent, but brief, and culminates in marriage. Most Kiar couples don’t even share their first kiss until they reach the altar. Even amongst the Belvonese Kiar these traditions are still observed.

The Kiar are genetically compatible with humans and other races, but a union between them is incredibly rare. Their isolationism, monogamy, size, and lifespan are all major complications in interracial relationships. Even in Belvon, it is rare for Kiar and Humans to inter-mate, thought it is more likely to happen there than elsewhere. The child-like size of the Kiar is also unappealing to most humans (though there are... exceptions who might find that more attractive), added to the fact that most unwed and childless Kiar are only a couple years old. Interracial offspring may be the result of rape by a human or Kuzo male, though a Kiar woman would not be held accountable for being a victim of such an assault and still be allowed to marry. Bearing a child from a larger race could also be dangerous to the health of a Kiar woman, depending on how large the child grows—though the mother’s body will try to reduce the fetal size as much as possible. A Kiar mother bearing such a child could suffer a broken pelvis or be more likely to suffer hemorrhage if she attempts to deliver vaginally, and a Caesarian delivery would be easily complicated by a high risk of infection.

Diet, Agriculture, and Hunting
The Kiar are primarily an agrarian culture. They grow crops of vegetables and grains, orchards for fruit, and keep many kinds of animals for food. Much of their diet is the same as agrarian humans, but the animals they breed are smaller and easier to manage. They keep chickens & ducks for eggs and meat, goats primarily for milk, sheep for wool and meat, and small breeds of pigs for meat. They also have small breeds of herding dogs, and ponies and donkeys for riding and labor. They do not keep cattle due to their size, finding goats suit them better for the same purposes. Kiar who live near water also fish.

As a peaceful, rural people, the Kiar honor the Seasonal Goddesses mainly, while rarely paying attention to the other gods. Their appreciation for knowledge also puts them in Essan’s realm of interest, and some Kiar make pilgrimages his temples in Chawoven or Rheneld to visit the vast libraries maintained by Essan’s priests. Occasionally, they make donations of their own cultural knowledge to the library, though they also maintain their secrets within their own people. They rarely ask the muses for guidance, as their creative process is often good enough on its own. Kiar rarely pray, though, believing that they can do more for themselves on their own than a god can. They do honor many festivals for the seasons in regard to the seasonal goddess, but these festivals can become more secular than religious.

Magic and Abilities
The Kiar have no magic of their own, and are at best farmers and craftsmen, their greatest strength lying in their ingenuity. For their short lifespans, they are quick learners and can retain vast amounts of information. This was once passed down through oral tradition, training from parents, and experience, but with the advent of writing, information is passed down through books and scrolls. Most villages have a library full of public knowledge, and each home often has shelves filled with books to educate children and grandchildren. Fiction, however, is rarely appreciated by the Kiar.

This disinterest in fiction also plays a role in their disuse of magic; the Kiar way of thinking focuses on the concrete, the tangible, the practical, and while they can be creative, such energy is turned toward inventing contraptions and techniques focused on improving the livelihood of the entire community. This focused intellect and creativity helped the Kiar in Belvon to find a place of respect in Belvonese society, despite the differences between humans and Kiar. On their own, Kiar find innovative farming and building techniques, while in Belvon their creativity has contributed to the advanced technology of that nation, alongside human minds. Kiar women are renowned for elaborate and creative recipes that are often honed to perfection over generations.

It should be noted that outside Belvon you shouldn’t expect to see many strange inventions in Kiar villages. What you should expect is to see ideal irrigation with water pumps, sturdy homes and buildings, tidy and orderly homes and fields, well-made clothing, tools, delicious foods, and other items, and lots and lots of books.

The Kiar are mostly farmers and tradesmen, but there are some fighters. Waging war is an alien concept to the Kiar, as they are predominantly a peaceful folk, but they at times must be able to defend their homesteads against Kuzo, wildlife, and other threats. Thus, most villages have a constabulary and guards who are trained in combat.

The Kiar are a kind and good-natured people. Practical and humble, they have little want for money or power. They are strongly community oriented; everything they do is for the sake of the community and for the continuation of their people. Kiar prefer peace, quiet, and simple lives above all else, but they are fearful of many things, and being so small they are easily threatened.

The Kiar are rather friendly and hospitable to most races, but unfortunately some do not reciprocate. Some human nations trade with the Kiar and have good relations with them, but most common humans are intimidated by the differences between themselves and these strange little people. The Kiar are not well-known world-wide, and the further people live from the regions inhabited by Kiar, the less they are aware of their existence. The only race that the Kiar are truly antagonistic toward is the Kuzo, which is normal for most races.

Most Kiar are content to be simple farmers and never leave their lands, but some impetuous youths leave home to see what the world holds, or an important quest to the community can drive them into the world. Kiar should be rare in open-world plots.