The Malakute Confederacy
Capital: Court of Harps
Ruler: Fona Nels Talal, Songqueen
Government: Clan-Based Matriarchy
Primary Race: Halfling
Primary Language: Imperial Common
Regional Bonus: Before the Mast - The only thing halflings are renowned for more than their love of the sea is their love of song, giving you a +2 racial bonus to any one Perform skill of your choice and Profession [Sailing].
Regional Feat:Chant of Protection
From the Wild Isles of the Famat Ocean, the halflings of Malakute ply their trade as the finest sailors on Faengleis. Aboard sleek trimarans that plow through the ocean with unmatched speed and reliability, they control the shipping over open waters and devote much of their time to fighting the pirate lords who sally from the rocky ports of the Fangs of Joo'a.
Though ostensibly ruled by their Songqueen elected every decade at the Great Gathering, she usually serves more as a steward to their crown than an actual ruler, with isolated clans and families controlling their individual port-cities and the ships that sail from them. Only in times of true peril--such as during a Pirate War--will the Songqueen exercise her control over the Halfling people, and woe betide all who challenge them as her songs of valor and strength fill their ears.
The secret behind halfling skill with ships is the Wild Isles themselves; Feyoon's Hand is the shallow, rocky network of straits that cuts through the sea around the archipelago, which itself lies at the meeting of the warm clockwise current through the Stormcradle and the cold counter-clockwise current that run through the four outer oceans. Unpredictable eddies rip between the islands and violent storms can come out of nowhere, meaning that only the best sailors can make it. In a culture where everyone is a sailor, that selects for extraordinary skill.
As the Orodravian fell and the High Wall rose, the halflings who survived the battles were at a loss. They came originally from a land locked almost permanently in snow and ice, where their small stature and voracious appetites served them well. Save for the peaks of the Shield of the World, all the lands available to them were temperate or tropical and none supported the style of life that they were used to.
Many were taken in by the humans who settled the lands of the Wending Vert and it was a fortuitous partnership for both sides. On the rivers and shores that cut between the dozens of small kingdoms, the displaced halflings discovered that their agility and athleticism lent them a natural flair for sailing that went along well with their love of communal activity. It was two powerful halfling matriarchs that provided the impetus towards independence, however: Irin Mala Sofya and Teku Tem Amari.
They saw that while individual families were growing closer together, the halflings as a people were being lost in the expanding power of the human settlements in which they lived. With the threat to their very cultural identity, in AG 271 the pair brought together dozens of the largest and most powerful families and their ships and proposed a bold plan: to secure a homeland for the little folk. They decided on the dangerous yet well-situated Wild Isles as the best choice and departed before the year was dead.
Though the islands were infested with scattered goblin tribes, they proved no match to the concerted halfling efforts, especially when new families began arriving from the human lands almost monthly. Before the third century of the Tower Age had drawn to the a close, Court of Harps was a bustling trade city and almost a hundred clan enclaves were spread across the islands. In the intervening centuries, the halflings spread to cover more than three-quarters of the WIld Isles at their height, though the goblins ofChood'húwa remain a threat and diminishing birth rates continue to cause more and more enclaves to be abandoned in favor of consolidating shrinking families into larger, more powerful clans.
Every port in Faengleis sees halfling traffic, though their constant antagonism with the pirate lords means that Liberty Bay generally only sees the bravest and least ethical of the lot. For nations with a relatively small naval presence like Eldesta or Darminia, they are an invaluable resource, while shipping-dependent nations like Amantara and Sthalafar consider them their primary competition on the open seas.