Into the Mists
Hanif of Hartglen
A stoic little halfling monk
Hanif, Halfling Monk
Local legend has it that Hanif has never wept a day in his life. Townsfolk say that when his house was burned to the ground as a child, he simply propped up a tent next to it and began his family’s harvest the next day. Hanif is a favorite of many younger members of Hartglen, a small halfling village to the west of Daggerford. There are a number of townsfolk who visit him regularly to talk and philosophize. The story says a lot about how the townsfolk view Hanif, but there’s very little truth to the tale—the reality is much more grim.
When Hanif was nearly an adult, his village was raided by lizardmen. The swift, unprovoked and brutal, one of the few raids to slip by the Scabbard. Hanif lost his father, younger sister, and many other extended family members in the raid. Hanif was devastated. The village elders advised patience. No one could rightly expect the Scabbard provide perfect protection. The raid was tragic, but the Scabbard would retaliate if necessary and protect them in the future. In the meantime, they said, the best course of action was to rebuild.
Most of the town agreed, but a few were unsatisfied. Angry at the failure of the Scabbard and the loss of their family and friends, Hanif, along with makeshift band of townsfolk including his mother and two elder brothers, took matters into their own hands, striking out to take vengeance against the clan that had attacked them.
The counter raid was a disaster for both sides. The lizard folk clan’s thatched hamlet was burned to the ground, but it’s warriors, enraged by the attack, overtook the halflings as they returned home. The following battle was far bloodier than either side was prepared for. In the end Hanif was one of less than half a dozen survivors who returned home.
Hanif spent the following day wallowing in despair, that night he walked out of town. Most assumed he would never be seen again. It would be nearly six months before his return.
At some point during his travels Hanif encountered Illuminations by Marovan, a priest of Amanautor. Marovan preached that Amanautor’s adherents should not dedicate themselves to creating justice and order in the world before creating that same justice and order in themselves. To accomplish Marovan insisted that a life of discipline and self-denial was necessary. In order to be as justice and impartial as their god, true adherents, according to Marovan, had to learn to live without any worldly comforts, until their own virtue could be sufficient for their fulfillment. Marovan’s teachings never became popular within the church and were widely condemned as heresy by its leaders, but Hanif was taken with the text.
Hanif decided to model his life on Marovan’s teachings. Returning home, he pitched a tent near his family’s old property. He was lived there ever since. When he isn’t tending his crops, or volunteering with the Scabbard, Hanif can usually be found talking with someone in the village.
Hanif is a stout halfling with tan, weatherbeaten skin and scraggly sideburns flecked with grey, grey and brown hair which he keeps cropped short. Eternally dressed in rough-spun brown robes, Hanif keeps almost nothing on his person except his trusty quarterstaff and a worn cloth satchel which he wears slung from his shoulder which contains his only other possessions.
(I made up Hartglen, Illuminations and Marovan. Let me know if we need/want to tweak them.)
The kind of stuff Hanif says (quotes in italics totally not stolen from Meditations):
I volunteer with the Scabbard because I do not wish to become too dependent on the comforts of home. These treks remind me that I could still be happy without my hut, my farm, or my village.
How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened and am not afraid of what is about to happen. The same blow might have struck anyone, but not many would have taken it without complaint.
This is one of those moments where you have to decide how you want to live. If you are pained by something. You can decide rail against it. Or you can choose not to be pained by it.
I wonder if it is not worth more to master yourself than it is to try to master the world.
Many people choose to live in search of good things. I choose a different path. Wine tastes sweet and beds are warm, but the longing for them can hurt twice as much as they help. Rather than fighting always to have these things, I choose to be happy without them.
Virtue is eternal. Amanautor is just immortal. Even if all his temples were burned away. Even if all his priests perished. Even if Amanautor himself were erased from history and never was at all, what he has said would still be true.
So what is left worth living for? This alone: justice in your head, goodness through your hands, and a smile for whatever comes, welcoming it as necessary, as familiar, as flowing from the same source as yourself.
Death is only terrible for those who can’t live in the present.
We are made for working together, like feet, like hands, like upper and lower teeth. We should always be in close company and never be vexed and to turn away.