When Alvin Menw first saw them, his first thought was, “A bow may insult them.” So, he curtseyed instead.
“Alvin Menw,” he told them. “I am alchemist and advisor to King Arcturos of Kamalot. And I welcome you to his land.”
One of them stepped forward, repeating the action. “Tom Bing,” he said. His hair was covered in dirt, his skin thick with sweat and soil. “I have no title,” the little man said. “And I am at your service.” Alvin Menw would soon learn how literal the little man’s words were.
-Adapted from Wicked Fantasy-
“Haffun” was the Kamalot word for “child,” but it translates better as “little one.” When the small creatures first appeared with the Uvandir—popping up out of the ground, covered with dust and dirt and the sweat of a desperate chase—the farmwoman who found them said, “You look like haffuns!”
“Then haffuns we are!” Tom Bing said, a smile on his broad face—the first sign of the haffun’s ability to adapt to nearly any situation.
They came up from the ground—digging their way from the other side of the world—running from a horror whose name they never utter. Human scholars have learned that much but little else about the race who adopted the first name they were given. No-one knows what their kind call themselves.
Despite their secrecy, they fit in to human society as if they had been missing forever. How they did it—and what became of them—is our topic this evening. The haffuns and human society. How they arrived, how they adapted and how they made themselves essential.
Thousands of years ago, haffuns arrived with the dwarves and the Uvandir. They broke through the wall of an iron mine under the Sardian Mountains, scaring the miners half to death. When greeted by the King’s emissaries, the uvandir and haffuns offered their services to the human king. Alvin Menw took representatives from both races to meet the King, and within minutes Arcturos was completely enchanted by the haffun ambassador, Tom Bing.
When Bing was offered to stay in the King’s court so His Majesty could learn about this new race, Tom Bing accepted, bringing in servants of his own to cook and clean and maintain the King’s court. The haffuns proved themselves almost magically efficient, providing meals that made the King laugh and moan with pleasure. His clothes and linens were immaculate. The hospitality of the haffuns won him over in a single week and he declared them full citizens of the Kingdom.
Soon enough, every noble in the Kingdom needed haffun servants. Within two years, the number of haffuns serving as cooks, butlers, diplomats and envoys outnumbered the humans serving in the same positions. Of course, this caused some resentment among the human population, but there was little they could do. It seemed the haffuns were bred for this work. Created for it, even. And that got human scholars wondering about the origins of these little servants.