Who are the Huldufolk?
While the Huldufolk disagree on the finer points of how it happened, a basic gist can be agreed upon across the Hidden People.
According to the myths of the Icelanders, after being kicked out of Eden, Adam and Eve gave birth to children. Since they didn’t quite understand childbirth and what this meant, they hid their children from God, just as they had hid their nakedness from him. God upon discovering the treachery obliquely declared “what man hides from God, God will hide from man”, sending the hidden children to remain hidden from the world forever.
After being cast off, those hidden children were raised by Angels, who took mercy on them. While the Huldufolk are still separated from humanity by their curse, the Angels provided them ways to influence Creation and everything within it — including the ability, with great effort, to appear to humans for short amounts of time. With these gifts, one of the hidden children agreed to follow the Angel’s plan, and help shepherd humanity through the ages. They became the founder of The Blessed. The other accepted these gifts, but decided to spurn both God and the Angels, and follow the way of the Adversary. They became the founder of The Banished.
The history of the Huldufolk is vague in their prehistory, but it is known that originally they were centered in the Fertile Crescent, among what is presumed to have been the Hebrew people. Over the years the Huldufolk expanded in influence, reaching much of mesopotamia. Eventually their influence began to encroach into the great Egyptian empire itself… at which point something pushed back. The Huldufolk were expelled, some say with extreme violence, out of not only Egypt, but pre-Israel Canaan as well. With this dyaspora, they spread to the four winds, becoming part of almost every culture on earth, from Asia to North America.
For much of that time period, many of the Huldufolk worked only for themselves, living among humanity, becoming the source of many of the world’s myths and legends, as their fueled their power and survival on the belief of the people they lived among. Some of the Huldufolk are said to have remained in service to The Patrons in some form or another over the centuries, but the thread of Huldufolk history does not pick back up until the Middle Ages.
In Feudal Europe, as Christianity spread, the traditions of The Blessed and Banished reemerged in Huldufolk culture, as the Patrons Angels and Demons of both reformed a cogent Huldufolk society. Over the centuries a vast majority of the Hidden People have re-joined the fold — though legends they formed still live on, and those legends themselves have influenced the blood of the families of Huldufolk who formed over those disparate millenia.
Huldufolk Society centers around three factions:
- The Blessed, seeking to influence the world towards good and justice
- The Banished, seeking to influence the world towards evil, or at least other ends
- The Agents of Balance, sitting between the two powerful factions, attempting to keep an uneasy peace and shifting equilibrium between them.
- Those Huldufolk that choose to live outside of society’s factions, gathering fearful believers of them as Urban Legends to fuel their power, are Rogue, to be hunted by the Huldufolk.
While numerous wars have been fought between the factions over the millennia, the fights themselves have had dire consequences to the humanity they’ve fought over — whether the collapse of all bronze age civilization, a plague which nearly destroyed Eurasian civilization, the Crusades, or the massacres of the Mongols. In modern times, a tense peace has been kept between factions, with a core tenet, enforced by the Patrons: with the exception of the Duel of Blood, no life may be taken among us.