Named for the race that began its practices, the Har’py religion is one of the more persecuted recognised religions on Demrefor. Though it is well-known about across the explored territories, its practice is extremely localised to its country of origin, Heck’ne, and it is rarely practised by people without Heck’nerian heritage. The teachings of the Har’py religion are both a history of its people and past, and a code of honour for the present.
The Har’py religion is strongly entwined with the story of the Rendi Origin, and the history of all Rendi people plays a humongous part in the Har’py people’s beliefs. In the tale, the origin of the harpy race is explained by the lost Rendi sister, Zen’efay, doubting the Animon Goddess Scara’s powers and thus being cast aside and left to die in the wasteland of Heck’ne. In order to survive in the wild lands, the sister Zen’efay grew strong and aggressive, which proved very dangerous when she was finally reunited with her sisters and led to her decision to return to the wastes to live a life of solitude…. The Har’py religion is a direct continuation of this tale.
Because the Har’py religion stands in direct opposition with the more prominent Animon religion’s Goddess Scara, the Har’py people suffer a lot of negativity from outsiders who disagree with their ways. There are many genuine things that non-Har’pies disagree with about the religon, such as ceremonial consumption of the dead; but in most cases, negative Har’py stereotypes actually come from the False Har’pies who do not follow the true Har’py ways and are considered a cult that abuses Heck’ne’s law for their own personal gain.
The Roa Mala’kala / The First Prophet
It is known by all people that Zen’efay had chosen to leave her sisters to live in the Heck’ne, with the intention of protecting them from her temper and violent outbursts. However, it is lesser-known to outside religions what happened to Zen’efay after her return to the wastes. The Har’py and other Rendi races agree that Zen’efay’s decision to continue life in the Heck’ne was a completely selfless, though somewhat misguided, act. By leaving her sisters for isolation, Zen’efay neglected her own emotional well-being and soon grew very lonely. She needed love and companionship, but feared her own actions and the harm she might bring if she returned to her sisters in the Rendi again.
Not wanting to admit to her loneliness and seem weak, Zen’efay refused to return to her family and instead chose to tear out her heart so that she may stop feeling love towards them. It is said that she ripped into her own chest and broke open her ribs to remove her heart, which she abandoned to rot in the dirt. However, soon after removing her heart she realised that had not stopped feeling loneliness, and had only made herself feel empty and tired.
Zen’efay regretted her decision and began to search for her abandoned heart, returning to the spot she had left it only to find it was gone. Defeated, and assuming her heart had been eaten by one of the wasteland’s beasts, Zen’efay lay in the stain of blood her heart had left behind and began to mourn…. And, not after long, a second harpy approached her.
Zen’efay was confused by this newcomer. Until now, she had thought she was the only harpy in the world. She demanded to know how he came to be, and he revealed to her that he was her torn-out heart; grown to a new form so he could seek her out and return to her. He called himself Au’ku.
Zen’efay begged Au’ku to return to her chest so that she might feel joy again, but he shook his head and told her that her lack of feeling had nothing to do with her missing heart. It was because of her intense, prolonged loneliness that she could no longer feel joy. Au’ku told Zen’efay that if he returned to her as a heart she would remain lonely, but if he stayed in this new form he could give her the company she needed. On his knees, Au’ku begged to stay his own person. And on her own, Zen’efay gave him permission.
The pair became inseparable from that point onwards; travelling the wasteland with only each other as company. But it was enough to heal Zen’efay and, soon, the exhaustion faded and her love began to return to her.
A few hundred years passed. Zen’efay bore Au’ku’s children, and the harpy race slowly came to be. They looked to Zen’efay and Au’ku as leaders and teachers that would help them survive in the dangerous wastes they called home and came to be a family-driven, strong people who cared for each other deeply. And, soon, the harpies were joined in the wasteland by mud-loving seces and groups of nurlak wanderers; both of whom made peace with the harpies and survived alongside each other respectfully.
Eventually, Au’ku found that he had the ability to sense coming disasters and predict good hunts; he had been blessed with prophetic magic. He used this magic to help his people survive the great platequakes, predicting that the land would shake violently and deep pits into underground lands would form in the crumbling wastes. These pits became known as ga’oa. The Har’py people believed that the ga’oa were sent by the Goddess Scara to cleanse the Heck’ne of those that would oppose her so that she could reclaim the wastes for herself. But, because Au’ku could sense the pits before they formed, his people were able to survive this bombardment. This earned him the title of roa mala’kala (first prophet).
To stop Scara from hunting her people down, Zen’efay kicked up the dust of the ground and blotted out the sky with dirt; hiding the wasteland from the prying eyes of those above. These clouds still hang protectively in Heck’ne’s skies and it is believed to be bad luck to fly in or above them, as doing so can call the Goddess’ attention.
The Rise of Zen’efay
It is said that Zen’efay not only refused Scara in her mortal life; but refused the Goddess upon her death as well. Zen’efay rose as a harbinger to the Har’py people when she refused to follow the Animon Goddess into the afterlife, and offered a second refuge for those who had been wronged by the Goddess.
Zen’efay believed that Scara had abandoned her and her people and so they owed her no loyalty. She said that if Scara truly was the loving Goddess she claimed to be, she would never have allowed the wastelanders to suffer beyond healing and would have brought life to their lands instead of trying to punish them.
The harpy people, and many of the nurlak who lived in the wasteland, agreed with Zen’efay and chose to desert Scara. Upon their deaths they would not seek out the Animon Goddess and would instead take refuge in the clouds that Zen’efay threw into the sky. They began to refer to Zen’efay as their de’deko (wasteland goddess) and the Har’py religion was named.
Au’ku spoke for Zen’efay after her death. As he had been a part of her he could still feel what she felt; including her sadness in being separated from her people. He would share her wishes with the Har’pies, and continue to lead them until his own death.
It is believed that all harpies are direct descendants of Zen’efay and Au’ku, and that the mala’kala bloodline has inherited the magic of Au’ku and can speak to Zen’efay’s spirit directly.
The Afterlife and Underfor
The Har’py believe that the network of underground caverns running through the planet are a part of an afterlife ruled by Scara that is used to punish deserters and Har’pies. The ga’oa are seen as openings to this horrible realm, and so are avoided at all costs.
The Har’pies believe that, if Scara does not like you, she will drag your spirit into Demrefor’s darkest pits and trap you there forever. This idea is also supported by the Animon religion, and the Animon belief that bad spirits are cast back down to replenish the planet’s energy directly reflects the Har’py’s idea of being trapped in Demrefor forever if you have displeased the Goddess. The biggest difference between these two religions’ beliefs is what Scara deems as “bad” behaviour; Har’py believe that they will be punished for simple imperfections while Animon believe it must be deliberate crimes.
Much like what Animon believe of their own Goddess, Har’py people believe that Zen’efay watches her people and judges the honour of their deeds done in life. A Har’py that’s been honourable in life will be welcomed under Zen’efay’s wing and protected from Scara’s hand. However, a Har’py that has dishonoured themselves beyond redemption will be cast away to fend for themselves; unworthy of the protection and camaraderie of the other Har’py spirits.
Dishonoured spirits are forced to take refuge in the forever-dark, the place between Scara’s heart and Zen’efay’s domain. Most Har’pies say that the forever-dark is found in the entrance of the ga’oa pits; not far enough down to touch the bottom, but far enough you will never see sunlight again. More literally, they refer to this place as Underfor, or Under Demrefor.
Har’pies believe that thick clouds are cast over the Heck’ne to protect Zen’efay and Au’ku’s descendent who, like their ancestors, refused to accept Scara’s blessings. There are very few stars visible from the wasteland; even on nights where the clouds wear thin. The stars that are visible are believed to be descendants of Zen’efay’s sisters; spirits from the Rendi who visit the Heck’ne and care for its people. They are not judged, even though they chose to accept Scara’s blessings, and are considered a beautiful, rare sight that should be cherished by all who see them.
The Heck’ne and Har’py are ruled by a religious leader known as the mala’kala, or the “Prophet” in International. The mala’kala is supposed to protect the Heck’ne and all of its people, and they are expected to make tough and final decisions that better the wasteland.
The mala’kala is a role that is passed down through the royal bloodline of Heck’ne, from parent to eldest child, and it is believed that they cannot be replaced by anyone who is not a direct descendant of the bloodline. The reason for this is that the mala’kala bloodline is said to have special powers that connect them to the goddess Zen’efay, allowing them to speak for her and express her will.
Because of their connection to Zen’efay, a mala’kala’s word is seen as law and it used to be that they were rarely questioned; however, after a string of bad rulers in the 10,000s, the mala’kala Setani’Selina allowed her people to criticise her freely. This eventually led to her stepping down willingly from the position of mala’kala, which changed the power dynamic of the Heck’ne greatly and was the first step to the modern Har’py practice of “kan mup mala’kala,” or “eat the bad Prophet,” which is rather self-explanatory.
This new practice gives a lot of power back to the people of Heck’ne, and has led to mala’kala’s taking their position as Heck’ne’s protector much more seriously.
Laws and Customs
As the laws and customs of the Heck’ne are not written down, they are fluid and change over time. Usually, laws will change the most after the Heck’ne comes into a new ruler and the new mala’kala changes things to suit their own leadership style. However, there are some laws that never change and are considered an integral part of the Har’py beliefs.
Most social norms that are understood in other cultures are completely disregarded by Har’pies unless they aid in wasteland survival. This has lead to the land appearing quite lawless. But all Har’pies have a set of beliefs they strongly follow. Some are law, while others are simply customs or common sense, but most are followed without exception.
• None shall harm the current mala’kala’s children.
It is illegal to kill the mala’kala’s child, even in an honourable fight, as you leave the entire wasteland at risk if there are no heirs. If the mala’kala dies without children there is no legitimate heir to take their place and the wasteland will be leaderless, risking dying out if Zen’efay does not appear to choose a new heir. The only time you can kill the child of the mala’kala is in self-defence.
• A leader should always feed their partners and children before themselves.
Food is one of the most important resources in the Heck’ne; to deny your family of food shows neglect and bad leadership. By taking on the role of leader, you have become the caregiver for your troop and your family’s needs should always come before your own personal needs. Honourably, you should die before your family suffers needlessly. This rule is especially important during famine when the family’s survival is most challenged and many troop leaders will give up their lives to feed their family with their bodies.
• Orphaned children must remain orphans.
This law is believed to have come into place during a time when the kidnapping of children was especially common. By outlawing adoption, the mala’kala of the time was attempting remove the incentive of murdering families in order to take their children, as many families that did this were claiming to have adopted orphans. Because of this, genuine orphans were often left to fend for themselves, and the law turned from a protective measure to a rule of humour; as eventually it was seen as disrespectful to adopt children who had lost their families, as trying to take them in was accusing them of being too weak to care for themselves. Survival after losing family, whether through death or abandonment, shows a great strength from the orphan. To treat them with pity is one of the greatest disrespects one can give a warrior.
• Defend all children from spider venom and sabre teeth; even those that aren’t your own.
Spiders and sabre cats are the two biggest predators in the Heck’ne. They rival the native harpy race in a power struggle that causes the death of many children. It is important to protect those younger than you from spiders and sabres; even at the cost of your own life.
• A single drop of blood spilled from innocent Rendi kin shall be punished with death.
There is a strict rule that no native Rendi races may be harmed without justifiable cause; harpy believe they are kin with all Rendi races because of the Rendi Origin, and to harm an innocent of a Rendi race is a disgrace to Zen’efay and her sisters.
• All should be given the chance to die with honour. If you wish to die, feed others with your body.
It is considered cruel to force someone to live in the harsh wasteland when they do not wish to live. It also limits the resources available to those that want to be alive. Those who do not want to live should be given the opportunity to choose to die with honour, and their body should be used to feed the people around them.
• The life of a loved one is more important than your own.
If you have a choice to live and lose a member of your family, or die to save their life, you should embrace death with honour and earn your place beside Zen’efay.
• Kaka mia mal sasao.
Translated literally into “don’t whisper what you won’t scream,” this phrase means to not lie, and to be ready to die for your words. If you speak your mind, you must speak it loudly and keep yourself honourable with honesty.
• Be cautious of water.
Only drink water that you know has been cleaned, and never eat the body of someone (or something) who died near a body of water in case they were water-poisoned. Throw the body to the seces so that the poison is not passed on.
• Never say half of someone’s name, and always use their true and current name.
It is not appropriate to say only half of someone’s name. To call them by only half their name is disrespectful to the ones who named them. The only time a Har’py may be called half their name is if they publicly renounce the name themselves; in which case their wishes must be respected.
The Har’py people use a ranking system to dictate responsibility. The higher rank you are, the harder you are expected to work to protect and feed the other members of your family. It is often said that the lowest ranking harpy are all a higher rank than all other sentients in the Heck’ne, and they are expected to take charge and protect the wasteland and all of its inhabitants without hesitation. This, however, is only a generalisation that may not be followed by individual families.
High ranking Har’pies are supposed to look after their family with their life, feeding them first and caring for them diligently. Abusing family members is strictly forbidden by Zen’efay’s word. However, this is sometimes ignored by outsiders who use the system to abuse their families; these False Har’pies give the traditions practised by true Har’pies a bad reputation. The ranking system practised by true Har’pies is defined almost completely by responsibility and all Har’pies have the same rights regardless of rank.
Because the harpy species is unable to learn written languages, they have been unable to record their own history. The majority of Har’py history has been recorded by outsiders and tends to be very negatively biased towards the religion.
As outsiders don’t usually have an interest in Har’py history, most books about Har’py culture don’t last more than a few generations before they are lost, abandoned, or destroyed. A few books have been preserved, however; including a large collection of ancient books detailing Heck’ne history that was inherited by one of Queen Distro’s guard in the early 10,000s from her Har’py parents. Though there is no evidence of how the collection was originally gathered all of the books have been deemed legitimate. Distro keeps the originals in her own library and distributed copies of all the books across the world as requested, including to the Kuturian Library.
80,000-90,000 BW — ECHO HURNS’ DIARY
Roughly 90,000 years before recorded history a diary was written detailing old Heck’ne ways from the perspective of a young felinic girl (Echo Hurns). As the diary was written before recorded history there is no year and instead the front page is enchanted to state how many years have passed. However, it is unclear if the number marks the years since the diary was written, or since it was enchanted. Because of this it is generally agreed the diary was written between 80,000 and 90,000 BW, but the exact year remains is unknown.
A map was added into the front of the diary after its completion that shows the original borders of the Heck’ne; the Heck’ne took up the entirety of the continent’s lower half; bordering around I’reka and ending halfway through what is now Go’too.
The diary details the 13-year-old girl’s life from the day she ran away from home with an older wolven/human man (Angelo Pertan) after the early death of her father (who was not named). After leaving the Gallamor and arriving on Carra’Jor she was injured by Angelo’s attempt to rape her. She details in the struggle she fell into their campfire and suffered severe burns.
After this, Echo starts talking about her thoughts as colours that “wash over the mind like a rainbow of smoke” and it is very clear she suffered emotionally from her trauma as well as physically. In later passages of her diary, she describes the colours as prophetic seeings in which she speaks to the Har’py goddess Zen’efay.
While fleeing Angelo, she was captured by a pair of jutt-jaw harpies, who she noted were brothers. From the events she describes during her capture it is clear that felinics were being used as slaves by the Har’py people. The younger jutt-jaw (An’ergy) appeared to be a hesitant slave-owner and this caused tension between the brothers which eventually lead to a fight in which the older (El’tek) was killed. After his brother’s death An’ergy took his felinics to the edge of the Heck’ne and released them; Echo refused to leave, however, and wished to confront the mala’kala about her people’s treatment. An’ergy helped her to do so, even at the risk of his own life.
In the passage where she confronts the mala’kala she mentions wishing to avoid the challenge of Gra’gahoo da. Unlike modern Har’pies, Har’pies from her time considered Gra’gahoo da a last resort and were a lot more hesitant to fight to the death over resources; however, it seems that resources were also a lot more abundant during this time as the Heck’ne was much larger and the people were not pushed to the same extremes to survive as they often are now.
Echo describes her confrontation with the mala’kala as almost completely verbal; Echo demanded the mala’kala speak to Zen’efay and ask her directly if owning slaves was what she wanted of her people. The mala’kala used what appears to be an old form of blood magic to contact Zen’efay, and after his seeing he declared that Zen’efay saw owning others as a crime and described it as akin to what Scara did to her own people. He declared that the survival of all sentients —regardless of race— was the most important thing in the Heck’ne and that all prejudice should be put aside and forgotten. This led to the freeing of the felinic slaves and Echo’s safe return home to her mother.
Her diary ends shortly after she received a Crystal Ear Loop; the highest award a felinic can receive for heroism. It is noted she intended to return to Heck’ne again and help displaced felinics find their way home and continue her political activism.
9,000 AE — ALAK’ALABI’S LIES
Alak’alabi’s Lies is a book written by a nurlak from Balun in the early 9,000s. The nurlak, who kept their name a secret in fear of the mala’kala’s wrath, details their move to the Heck’ne and the events which lead to Alak’alabi inheriting the title of mala’kala.
Alak’alabi was the twelfth born and was not likely to inherit the throne. Many were happy about this, as she was considered to be very selfish and aggressive. However, the mala’kala bloodline was nearly wiped out by a mysterious disease and Alak’alabi was the only survivor. Because of the sudden nature of the sickness Alak’alabi claimed it was Zen’efay who sent the sickness so that she could become mala’kala. Nobody dared argue with Alak’alabi, but there were rumours that Alak’alabi had poisoned her family with seces blood or spider venom.
After she became mala’kala, Alak’alabi began to manipulate the ranking system. She taught deliberately incorrect laws to the children and used her title of mala’kala to secure spouses for herself. It was noted in the margin of the text that partners were supposed to be completely willing, and this was not the case with any of Alak’alabi’s family.
Alak’alabi’s first husband, Gal’ana, tried to leave her for another woman and Alak’alabi declared that Gal’ana was her property. The mala’kala challenged Gal’ana’s new partner to Gra’gahoo da and Gal’ana’s partner backed down. Alak’alabi continued to abuse Gal’ana and change laws to suit her wishes. She encouraged the abuse and control of spouses, and forced Gal’ana to conceive a child with her.
They had a single son before Gal’ana used a herbal mix to make himself infertile in hopes that Alak’alabi would let him go. She didn’t until their son turned of age; when she then claimed to have gotten bored with Gal’ana sold him to the woman he’d tried to run away with. She then kidnapped seven nurlak women; all of whom she forced her son to conceive children with.
Her son died during a failed hunt for sabre cats (the text notes that it was rumoured to be a suicide) and Alak’alabi was reminded that she needed a direct heir to inherit; so she chose to conceive children with her youngest grandson. This was done before he was of age, and she killed anyone who criticised her for it. She claimed that the inbreeding was protecting the mala’kala bloodline from “contamination” and was “keeping Zen’efay’s magic pure.” This lead to the explicit legalisation of incest in Heck’ne.
A direct quote from the nurlak’s notes read: “Alak’alabi decided that there was no longer an “age too young” for sexual relations. This was a despicable choice that will endanger future generations, and I cannot risk my own children’s safety for my religion. Especially when my beliefs are being so terribly misrepresented. I must return home.”
This was the last paragraph in the book and the nurlak never states if they returned home safely or not.
Alak’alabi’s lies left damage for almost a thousand years after she ruled; new mala’kalas had been taught that her lies were Zen’efay’s true wishes, and so the laws remained until the early 10,000s when the written history of Alak’alabi was discovered and the True Har’py and False Har’py believes were officially separated.
The first mala’kala to attempt to fix the damage from Alak’alabi’s rule was Kala’Verso, a half-avio ruler who spent the majority of her life working towards protecting children and bringing Heck’ne into the International Alliance. However, her children and grandchildren had different priorities and beliefs and the Heck’ne’s laws were changed back and forth for several generations.
The next mala’kala to try and fix Heck’ne was Tru’man, who eventually outlawed the ownership of other people and forceful partnerships. However, he was a rather neglectful mala’kala at first who spent more time with his own children than caring for Heck’ne. It was only once his children were of age that he began to take true responsibility for the Heck’ne, and only after his death did things begin to change significantly.
It is known that the Har’pies were reluctant to trust in the leadership of the next mala’kala, Setani’Selina’s, as she had not been the chosen heir and only became the mala’kala due to her brother refusing to take the position. This lead to her leadership being questioned. And though she allowed her people to speak their minds, Setani’Selina was a rather dramatic Har’py and her solution to people doubting her ability to lead was to forcefully summon the goddess Zen’efay into the mortal realm to address her people directly.
After Zen’efay was summoned and conflicts were resolved, Setani’Selina stepped down from the position of maka’kala and left it up to the goddess to choose a replacement so that no Har’py could argue the new ruler’s legitimacy. This replacement was Setani’Selina’s younger sister, Ta’kora, who was fair and contributed to the positive changes in Heck’ne.
The Har’py religion has a popular naming tradition for its people. It is unsure where this tradition started, but it is followed by the Har’py with very few exceptions.
All names are split into two, with a suffix and a prefix. When written down in International the suffix and prefix are separated by an apostrophe, as the separation of these two names is considered important. As Har’py have no written language, the apostrophe is taken from the avio naming system.
The first half of a Har’py’s name is chosen by their parents, and the suffix will be chosen by the leader of their family troop. If the troop leader is one of the parents, they must leave the prefix to be decided by the child’s other parents. There are common suffixes and prefixes, but nothing is considered wrong and parents may make up completely unique names for their children. The prefix will always be chosen before the suffix, and the family leader has no right to disagree or argue with a chosen prefix.
There is a tradition that started sometime between 10,200 AE and 10,400 AE for the naming of the mala’kala’s firstborn after the birth of half-avio Kala’Verso. Kala’Verso’s name was chosen jointly by her avio mother and harpy father to follow both the Har’py and avio naming traditions. Kala’Verso named her own firstborn in the same way, and they went on to do the same. The tradition of naming first-born children in the avio language has not remained completely within the mala’kala’s bloodline and now many Har’py families name their firstborns using avio words to honour the mala’kala.
It is considered a sign of great disrespect to only use half of someone’s name, unless they have specifically asked for it to be done.
Gra’gahoo da is a religiously sanctioned fight to the death. It is not something to be challenged lightly, and is only made during major disputes that can end in no other way.
The challenge may be rejected with the rejecter being considered the loser, but once Gra’gahoo da has been accepted it must be carried out. Even if one side surrenders, they will be killed; this is to express the seriousness of the challenge and stop Har’pies from manipulating the system by fighting until they almost lose and then surrendering to save themselves when they had no intention to spare their opponent.
If a challenge of Gra’gahoo da is rejected, the challenger is considered the winner and in charge of making sure the situation doesn’t escalate, as it is shameful to kill someone who has rejected Gra’gahoo da.
Gra’gahoo da must be carried out with no weapons and while completely naked, so that clothes may not act as padding or protection and the strength of the opponents is completely their own.
Zen’efay’s grave is the mala’kala’s throne; it is a large chunk of diamond that is shaped like a complicated seat in which the mala’kala sits in while dealing with Heck’ne diplomacy. Inside this clear diamond throne is a harpy skeleton, which has been proven to belong to the goddess Zen’efay herself.
The throne is known to have magical properties; healing any damage that may be done to itself and elongating the life of the mala’kala beyond a normal harpy’s lifespan.
In the early 9,000s when Alak’alabi claimed the title of mala’kala the throne was shattered and scattered across Heck’ne. This was done against the wishes of the people, who collected the pieces and hid them until Alak’alabi’s death.
When Alak’alabi’s heir, Fai’ta, took over Heck’ne the people offered him the remains of the throne, which he accepted and carefully piled together in the place it used to sit. He kneeled with the pieces of the throne, praying an apology to Zen’efay and by morning the throne was reformed and Fai’ta had vanished. He was never seen again, and his daughter Gi’nynta ruled in his place.
In the mid-10,000s the throne was shattered again by Setani’Selina, who used the bones inside to summon the goddess into the mortal realm. It reformed upon Zen’efay’s return to the afterlife.
Mala’kala Tai Dara / The Prophet’s Garden
The mala’kala tai dara (or, the “Prophet’s Garden” in International) is a large section of plant-life in the middle of the Heck’ne wasteland that was planted during Kala’Verso’s rule. Originally, it was a small garden of medicinal plants at the base of the mala’kala’s throne made open for use by the people.
During the rule of mala’kala Ali’ka the garden died into almost nothing, but it was regrown during mala’kala Tru’man’s rule by his son, Geoff’Selulu. The garden flourished at Geoff’Selulu’s touch and during the rules of mala’kala Setani’Selina and mala’kala Ta’kora, it grew into a four hundred acre field of medicines.
The garden is said to wilt when a mala’kala goes against Zen’efay’s wishes, and grow best when a worthy mala’kala takes control of Heck’ne. The dying off of the garden has lead to the forced removal and replacement of several mala’kala.
The Passage and its King
There is a smaller part of Heck’ne known as The Passage. The Passage has its own king, which is appointed by the Heck’ne’s mala’kala and is usually one of their most loyal friends. The Passage’s king is considered the highest-ranking Har’py in Heck’ne, excluding the mala’kala’s direct family, who they serve directly.
They are considered the “second voice” of the mala’kala. Leading the Heck’ne through their mala’kala’s orders, it is the king’s duty to travel around the Heck’ne and make sure the laws are being followed and to share news of changed laws. This job is extremely taxing and stressful, and it is not uncommon for kings to die during their travels.
It is believed that being given complete control of the Passage is a reward for handling such a dangerous job; kings are allowed to make their own laws and rule the Passage as they see fit. Though, not many kings have time enough time to reassess and change the laws of the Passage. Nor do many care to, as their sense of honour and loyalty to the mala’kala is near-unwavering. So, generally, the Passage and the Heck’ne’s laws will be identical.
Because the king is chosen by the mala’kala, they change every time a new heir takes over Heck’ne. It is also not uncommon for the king to be replaced several times throughout one mala’kala’s rule. This can be from the king willingly retiring, dying during their duties, or being replaced for disobeying orders.
While their title is “king”, many other countries consider them an ambassador or deputy of the mala’kala and it is believed that the reason Har’pies refer to the Passage’s ruler as “king” because of the tale of Gagoo’galornga in the Foxen Origin. This is also believed to be why Har’pies use the word “king” in a gender-neutral manner similar to the valenor, and often use the term incorrectly.
There was no mention of The Passage or its king in Hurns’ time and, due to Heck’ne’s trouble recording history, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly when and why the kings came to be.
Contrary to rumours outside of Heck’ne, those living in the wastes do not live without shelter. They often create makeshift structures using when little they can find in the wasteland.
“Cloth cleaning” is a common habit to Har’pies; the act of filtering water through cloth to try and clean it.
The Fall of Nurlak (AKA the Foxen Origin) details the disgrace of the nurlak species at the hands of Gagoo’galornga. Because of the shame he is believed to have brought to himself, Gagoo’galornga is one of the only Har’pies where it is socially acceptable to use half his name.
The triple moon is called the “dalrenta” by the Har’pies. It’s when the Heck’ne spiders hatch, and the Har’pies will join big hunts and slaughter them to make jerky (“hikekrik”).
Har’py are known for being extremely accepting of same-sex relationships, and transgender and intersex individuals. It is rare for these things to be pointed out after initial correction of identity, as questioning what someone has said is a fact about themselves is seen as an accusation of being a liar, which is generally seen as dishonourable.
Har’py adore stone-scratch art; strange doodles and shapes that are scratched onto stones. Though most of the drawings aren’t recognisable as anything in particular certain patterns are more popular than others. It is believed that this art form became popular because of Echo Hurns’ drawings, and that in the thousands of years since the felinic left Heck’ne the drawings still haven’t gone out of style.
There is a Har’py saying that came about in the early 10,000s during mala’kala Ta’kora’s rule. “Kama bal’hiki Linzor basaka,” with its literal translation being “thinking you’re handsome like Linzor.” It is used as a way to mock people who are acting egotistical.
Anyone can become a Har’py or Heck’nerian citizen with relative ease; all they have to do is declare themselves so and follow the laws, and they will be accepted as a citizen. It is believed that this is why the False Har’py cult was able to remain unchecked and unchallenged for so long
Though most mud seces are not a part of the Har’py religion, Zen’efay says to treat them fairly as they are deeply connected to the wasteland and have suffered under Scara’s cruelty as much as the Har’pies have. Because the seces feed off rotten carcasses, Har’pies will often give seces meat that has grown too old to eat and, in turn, seces will gift non-rotten food to the Har’pies or help with hunts.
Many non-Har’pies think that Har’py people hate magic and see the skill as a form of “cheating” in survival. This is incorrect. True Har’pies embrace magic as a survival skill, likening it to what is used by Au’ku and the other mala’kalas. It is a False Har’py belief that magic is evil.
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