Halflings are a true oddity amongst the various races of Dereth. They are one of the few races that has a true racial identity, finding a degree of both pride and joy in 'being a Halfling' and all the cultural implications that go with it.
Halflings range in height from 3' to about 4', rarely varying much higher or lower. Otherwise they might be considered miniature Elves, given similar ear styles, skin tones, as well as eye and hair colors.
Halflings are incredibly social creatures, rarely doing anything alone if it can be avoided, and finding simple company to be one of the more treasured things in life. This lends itself oddly towards their separation from what they call the 'big ways'. To explain further, if an Elf visited a Halfling and wanted to talk, eat, drink, or simply enjoy the view together, they would be well received and taken care of to a high extent; Halflings pride themselves on their hospitality and consider it something of a 'game' to constantly try to one-up each other (in a friendly manner, of course) by being the more gracious host. However, an Elf coming wanting to talk business, or trade, or laws, or fighting, or other 'big ways' would be politely but firmly rebuffed. Such business has no place amongst the Halflings.
This attitude has been cultivated over the last few centuries partially out of a degree of disdain for the more unpleasant things that such business can and has caused to the other races, but also (ironically) because the Halflings themselves have found a nearly perfect balance point of advancement technologically and magically so as to not require those 'higher' aspects of civilization. Halflings in general don't even utilize the Dericostian Currency System, instead subsisting entirely off of straight bartering and in some cases outright gifts to help support one another. Their population is relatively small, easily the least populate species on the continent, and yet they have a decently large chunk of territory all to themselves that they've kept for centuries.
Due to their significant skill in several valued arts (farming, cooking, brewing, sculpting, painting, and other craftsworks) it would surprise some to know how long and well they've maintained their independence until one hears the full story. Almost three centuries ago the Halflings as a people were much more spread out across the continent, but some had settled in the Eastham region and found it to be uncommonly good farmland. News and stories of this area spread slowly through rumor and hearsay, until bit by bit over the course of a few decades most the Halflings effectively migrated to all live within the region. The Halflings found themselves of like mind one to another, as opposed to struggling to fit in with 'big society', and so as this became more and more successful and popular more and more Halflings made the journey until all but the rarest of exceptions lived together in this new self-contained community within the Eastham area. Due to their nature, the Halflings and their 'government' (if it could be called that) rebuffed offer after offer of long term agreements and contracts and outright scams from the surrounding merchant lords, until the signing of the Dericost Accords and the dovetailed formation of the Kingdom of Aluvia from those economic powerhouses. With the aid of the Fairies, the Kingdom as a whole approached the Halflings with the kind of... small deal they'd appreciate; supply us with farmstuffs, and we will protect your lands and keep everyone out of it. The deal was ratified, leading to the creation of the Eastham Vassal State.
On paper Eastham is fully subservient to the crown, though in practice this has never been enforced and the rare ambitious and/or stupid few who have tried to exert influence over Eastham have been stopped by their fellow Aluvians, knowing the disaster that would befall the country as a whole if they were to injure or lose their ties with the Halflings.
- Griffo of Fairbairn: Long-standing Voice of Eastham.