The Altynadyn are considered, by the Elves, to be races the Elves did not have a hand in creating. The Altynadyn generally mean either Gnomes or Halflings, but Dwarves also fall under this category. Dwarves, of course, resent this classification, being grouped with, to quote: “Those durn lazy hairy toes and fancy long beards.” The Dwarves would be highly insulted to be considered created by anything but the stone of mountain incarnate. Gnomes and Halflings average around the same height, about three and a half feet tall. In the early years of human discovery, the Gnomes and Halflings were mistaken for being the same race. It was clear that this is not so, seeing as the lifespan of the average Gnome is nearly six times that of the average Halfling. Physically, the Halfling and Gnomes are not that different, both usually having light tan skin and copper to dark brown hair. Gnomish men seem to favor long, sometimes sculpted beards, while Halflings often wear what is fashionable at the time.
Lifestyles and the general location is also what separates the Altynadyn races. During the Age of Discovery, or more commonly known as the Age of Human Expansion, the Halflings were one of the first races found by human explorers. The Halfling population at the time was threaded throughout the areas today of Westmar, Caus De Leis and the lower plains of Thorance. At the time, Halflings lived in small, partially subterranean villages, and were almost overlooked as small, steeply raised hills. Some villages still have these relics of the middle ages, such as Yalin, Ganford and Walice Jump. The Gnomes, however, were discovered along with the Dwarves. Only rumors told about the little men in the mountains during the Age of Discovery, seeing as the Altynadyn did not take part in the Mortal Wars between the Elves, humans and Bystalkyn. The Gnomes had lived mainly in Dwarven cities, being priests, healers and general tinkerers for the Dwarves. In modern times, the Halfling and Gnome population is found all around civilized society. Halflings reside in cities for the relative comfort, and most have made savvy business owners. Gnomes are drawn to the cities for technological and mystic discoveries the humans have been making, and most Gnomes reside in places like Bruton, Mayfield and Bethnul for this very reason.
As it stands, Halflings do not have their own gods, or organized religion, a general consensus between the Halflings is that divine entities tend to get in the way of their relaxation and businesses. The Gnomes, on the other hand, have their own god, Cogdura, who they see as a general patron to all things knowledge, but technology especially. Still, most Gnomes worship, or at least give notice to the Dwarven patron-god Jornthurar, or possibly to one of the elven god/goddess, or Pery, depending on their field of study.
The origins of the Altynadyn is unknown and is even less speculated as the other races. Some scholars state that the Altynadyn share the same ancestors as the Dwarves, much to Dwarven distaste. While Dwarves claim that they were created from the stone of mountains themselves, Halflings have the general notion of not particularly caring where they came from, preferring to live in the present, and Gnomes, if they know, are particular to keeping such knowledge to themselves, mostly liking the mysterious aspect to their creation, while finding the humor in other race’s puzzlement in their origins.
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