Location and General Information
Erdluitles are primarily found in plain lands or farming areas and almost always avoid wooded areas--the exception being for the relatively few who have acclimated to life in human cities. Due to their affinity with farming communities, particularly their good nature and willingness to help farmers either by offering magical aid to crops or by offering their services as laborers, they are often seen as good omens or markers of particularly fine products wherever they are found. As such, they are loved by farmers and often well fed, though Erdluitles will make it very clear that they require no handouts at any time, seeing as they are quite prideful little people and don't take kindly to what they perceive as insults to their kind. They also vehemently defend other little people. When they are offended they can do unimaginable damage to one's crops or livelihood until the Erdluitle in question is appeased. It is considered a great offense in human culture to do anything questionable when an Erdluitle is around.
Erdluitles are short--around three feet tall--and thin. They always wear suits, including a small, rimmed hat, and have pointed ears, though less so than elves or other little people; females wear long, green dresses with frills and neither males nor females have any facial hair. The most pronounced feature of these small peoples are their feet: they have goose feet instead of regular five-toed feet. This, unfortunately, is something they are most ashamed of. As a result they almost never expose their feet, even when washing, choosing instead to soak their shoes rather than risk someone laughing at what they consider to be a disfigurement. Beyond these simple differences they are practically human in appearance, just short and extremely proud of it.
Erdluitles are some of the more magical of beings in Altern. While many creatures have little magic, the Erdluitles are exceptional magic users. They are able to manipulate the weather, levitate objects, and even cause physical harm to someone. Their most powerful magic, however, is related to plant life, as they are powerful in the art of growth, making plants grow in record time, bear incredible fruit and vegetables, etc. They take great delight in matters of growth and can be found dancing or frolicking gleefully whilst making peach trees shoot up to record heights with massive, gushing peaches bursting from the branches--they are often mistaken for children when doing this. They have great control over magic, as stated, but it should be noted that they rarely use magic that doesn't have something to do with farming or growth for they consider physical attacks or destructive magic to be mostly vulgar and for last options. They are destructive creatures when offended.
It's not entirely clear where the Erdluitles came from. Some human cultures believe they are the spawns of elves and lesser little people, while others have considered the myth that they are related to the very fabric of the universe, from which the stars and Altern itself was created. The reality is, however, that Erdluitles simply popped into existence...and that's how they all come into Altern--pop, pop, pop. The most disturbing thing about this is that they have no idea that it is going to happen and are always exceedingly confused when they suddenly appear in a field or under a rock or, on rare occasions, in the cell of a jailhouse. This explains their being spread quite thinly across the continent of Altern. The process of their existence seems random, but all Erdluitles believe there is a reason for it all; elderly Erdluitles who are no longer capable of tending to fields--due to being retired, of course, since it would be quite insulting to tell an Erdluitle he or she is just too old--spend their days contemplating the reasons for their existence. No answers have been found to date (Erdluitles want their existence to have a higher purpose in the world).
Erdluitle culture tends to be small, yet complex. They don't share a religion of any sort, but there is a great gathering every year where Erdluitles from all across Altern meet in a predestined place--usually the home of the most successful Erdluitle of the year--and celebrate a year well done. There is a massive feast and it is generally acceptable to invite human farmers and their families to the celebration. Dancing, singing, and music playing is a necessity. The last party that lacked one of those three things ended in a two hundred year war between different "clans" of Erdluitles, which made the lives of farmers particularly uncomfortable: it isn't easy to appease a very angry Erdluitle.
Their music is not entirely unique, usually stealing from whatever place they might be in at any time, but it is almost always beautiful. They do not have the greatest of singing voices, but they are exceptional dancers. Some Erdluitles have found pleasure in poetry, churning out farmer's epics with complex rhymes and structures. Additionally other avenues of art have found their way into Erdluitle culture in recent years, such as painting, which they find to be a particularly fascinating venture.
Erdluitles do not generally build towns; it does happen, but it is rare. They are often given shelter by farmers, who are kind enough to allow the little people to occupy their barns or attics. They do have a complex set of rules that governs the proper method of interaction between Erdluitles, which is too complicated for any human to even begin to understand. This they take pride in and talk "down" to humans who simply cannot fathom all the bizarre rules that come with Erdluitle culture (such as one must never bow more than thirteen inches unless accompanied by a goat).