This is the tale of how the halfling Friday rose to become the greatest halfling, and set his people free.
There once was a mighty enchanter named Obitello Amber. He was accounted wisest mage in all the world during his years in the major power centers of the world. After he became powerful and wealthy, he realized that he had gained all he could from the world, and that to further his research, he needed to leave the worldly ways behind, so he could search within. Obitello had three children, Ismella, Isolda, and Xvart, who were also his apprentices in the arcane arts. Together they made plans to trade in their worldly wealth for the perfect place to study deep magics. A lonely isle far down in the southern sea suited them perfectly. On this jungle isle was a lake, and in the center of the lake was a perfectly circular island. This is where they built Amber Mansion.
For many years the family dwelt in their mansion on the lonely isle within an isle. They had the barest communication with the outside world. A small colony of colonists from the mainland eked out a meager existence on the far shore, many days from the enchanter’s mansion, and there were rumors of a pirate camp in a hidden harbor, but the dangerous nature of the local fauna was a better barrier than the sea for keeping unwanted visitors away. Much of Obitello’s research in those days was in the nature of mental powers, and the magical energies harnessed by various creature’s minds. There was a breed of four-armed white ape that was the subject of many early experiments, before Obitello moved on to his greatest discovery on the island.
In the great steaming jungle in the center of the isle was a race of small forest creatures whom he called the fanaton, which was a corrupted elvish for flying-boy. His apprentices however, called them chibi-fanaton due to the hilarious calls of “chibi-chib-chibi” they made to each other as they glided from branch to branch in the spreading canopy above. They made nest like homes tied to one another with swinging vine bridges, and held obsidian chip daggers in their prehensile tails. They always had smiles and a curiosity for the Ambers, and eventually they brought home a chibi fanaton and named him Friday for no apparent reason.
Friday learned every trick they taught him, and his curiosity knew no bounds. One day, after successfully mastering a new trick, the creature shouted out with glee “Chibi-chibi-fanaton!” and the wizards were surprised to see it could learn language. The master of the house, Obitello became interested as well. He spent many long nights with Friday, studying him as he tried to teach him to speak. After incorporating Fanaton into its vocabulary, Friday seemed to have no interest in learning further words. Obitello went to his treasure chamber and brought out his greatest possession, a Philospher’s Crown it was called, which he used when a problem seemed insurmountable.
Friday watched the wizard with his big brown eyes as Obitello sat down with his crown, pondering the problem. The wizard knew the chibi-fanaton could speak, but wouldn’t. He turned to one scroll after another, trying to unlock the mysteries of the vast powers stored within the mind of every sentient creature, including this new species. No answer was forthcoming, and his exhaustion drove him to remove the crown at long last with a groan. The morning sun shone threw the curtain, he had burned away another night. He sighed and as he closed his eyes, he looked up to the end of the table, where Friday still sat watching the wizard with shining eyes.
As one set of eyes closed, a long tail uncurled to hook the crown over its tip. Slowly Friday drew the crown to him and dropped it over his head. Friday was so small and the crown so large, it was sure to fall to the table, or smash his toes, but no, the platinum rim caught upon Friday’s fuzzy brow, and as it did, the crown swung round to circle his head and a strange thing happened. With the circlet complete about the tender mind of the chibi-fanaton, magic flared, powerfully and pure. The Philospher’s Crown released its illuminating cargo into an innocent mind, and Friday screamed “Chibi-chibi-chibi-fanaTON!”
He crumpled to the floor, and shook, and his fur began falling out in clumps, except for that on his head, hands, and feet, which grew long and curly as the creature groaned and spasmed on the table top. Eventually the seizure ended and the fanaton was unconscious and sweating, naked and pink like a newborn babe. Friday’s brow was furrowed as if in deep thought, and the crown rolled away to come to rest by the wizards hand, which gripped the table edge as he watched the strange transformation. Ismella and her sister rushed in to find the poor creature, and wailing in dismay they picked him up to swaddle him, but shrieked when his long and handsomely thick tail fell off with a little splash of blood.
Days later, the chibi fanaton opened his eyes, and catching sight of Obitello who sat at his bedside, the little person spoke. “I am Friday!” he said. In the following months, Friday brought more and more of his people to Amber mansion who transformed into small people that the wizards called Halflings. Eventually they had twenty or thirty of the halflings, who they trained to work as servants and grounds keepers.