The Mysteries of Meshtun
A gruff and stiff halfling
General Yew Thornstump is the most martial and rigid halfling you’re likely to meet. He has been the ‘General’ in Trandle for almost 30 years! He runs a tight ship and trains daily with the Haven Guards, a standing force of almost 1,200 soldiers (70% halfling, the rest mercenaries of various races). Most of the Guards are billeted in Trandle, but about 400 of the halfling soldiers are assigned to posts scattered among the many, many halfling villages of the region.
The Haven Guards are responsible not only for the safety of the Haven-town of Trandle, but also patrol the roads as far as Nivila and Kip, and send a small fleet of 20 patrol boats up and down the Alera as far as the Lake of Dreams and Avino. The Guards also maintain a small cavalry of around 200 horsemen (and ponyhalflings) that helps with long-range patrols and immediate aid to their allies In Kip and Nivila.
While the non-halfling guards patrol the roads (many of them as cavalry), the halflings are delegated to ‘village duty’ as mentioned above, boat patrols and the policing of Trandle itself.
In times of troubles, General Thornstump can add almost 30,000 peasant militiamen to his rosters! But they are ill-trained and chafe under strict military discipline – a fact that has troubled the General for many, many years. The General and Lord Mayor Barleyburr do not see eye-to-eye on many matters, and over the last several years relations between the Havenmoot (the General) and the Trandlemoot (the Mayor) have deteriorated. Barleyburr likes the status quo, Thornstump would like to increase the size of the permanent Haven Guards and implement ‘obligatory training’ for the thousands of peasant militia. Taxes would have to be increased to pay for this, and Barleyburr has blocked every effort of the General to do so.
General Thornstump has become the darling of the halfling faction called “The Dominionists”. This group believes that the only way for halflings to survive in the current world situation is to ‘adapt or die’. Most of “the children” are very open to non-halflings and do not resent the mercenaries and foreign residents of their towns. A small element of “the children” have started to believe that the halflings should actually start a small empire and ‘expand our territory’. They believe that the elves and gnomes are ‘too disorganized and need our help’, and that halflings ‘should be more like the dwarves or the humans.’