Hain (plural and singular: hain) are a sapient exoskeletal humanoid species created by Toun near the beginning of Galbar's influence by gods. They are easily recognisable by their full covering of segmented porcelain epidermal plating, their eye pairs on each side of their heads, and their prominent curved facial beaks.
While originally intended by Toun to be a servitor race, the mixed divine essences in the hain design rendered them a strange hybrid of animalistic tendencies and cold calculation. The end product was a human-like intelligence and similar biological propensities, with a further bent towards group cooperation and innovation.
Hain are found all across Galbar, save for its hottest and driest climates or where there is no food to be found. They are the planet's first sapient species and rank first in population, followed behind by the fecund goblins.
The development of hain as a species have left many twists and interpretations of their creation told amongst their various cultures. Though they vary wildly, the tales almost always include themes of rejection, punishment, and a shining white demon. These grains of truth are informed by the real turn of events.
In the early days of the Esaulic Era on Galbar, before the white ocean cataclysm and when white giants roamed in their full numbers, the god of perfection Toun sat in the Valley of Peace. He was struck by a vision that perturbed him into wanting to distract himself from his calculations and idle thoughts. He knew he needed servants to enact his plans that would last longer than white giants, undertake more complex tasks, and more importantly, renew themselves. Although Toun was a god of creation, he knew that to formulate such a complicated creature would take more time than he had (and more time than his mental disturbances would allow him). Inspired by the passive creations of his sister, Slough, Toun decided to steal a discarded volume of Slough's essence with which to assemble his servants.
Toun wrought the first hain on a spinning clay wheel, making figurines each with an individual dose of his and Slough's essences. The mix resulted in an accelerated evolution of internal bodily systems fitted with features designed by Toun for utility. Toun held his doubts as to the species' suitability, though he had to awaken them to be sure.
The hain figurines in rank and file grew into life on Toun's command. When Toun tried to order them, the hain did not comply -- either not understanding Toun or simply being too shocked by their sudden awareness and existence. Toun swiftly became angry, causing the hain to panic and flee. Toun then attempted to start again by destroying all the hain to reuse the remains. Such a monumental act of genocide caused the full weight of the Valley of Peace to halt Toun's actions. Enraged, Toun settled for sending out waves of mind-rending power in his immediate vicinity to subjugate five tribes-worth of hain and teleporting all but a few of the remaining hain across the entirety of Galbar.
The hain that were not teleported remained trapped in the Valley of Peace and worship Niciel amongst the other creatures in the area. The five tribes of hain that were subjugated became the slave hain.
See the historical timeline of general hain development here.
The initial reaction of wild hain after their distribution over Galbar was to follow instinct and gather together for survival. Hain survived however they could, hunting and gathering in wandering tribes throughout the Esaulic Era. While there were no dominant intelligent species that had interest or civilisation to persecute them, there were predators that threatened their burgeoning cultures. Fiberlings, ashlings, and eventually Heraktati were an ever-present threat, as were the whims of the gods.
Fiberlings in particular were such a broadly impactful predator that early hain developed a cultural aesthetic preference for smooth surfaces and shells where the hair-like fiberlings could not hide or sweep through to suffocate their numbers. This aesthetic was mostly present in shelter design, places of worship, and standards of bodily beauty. The natural companion to this aesthetic was an aversion to hair and long plant fibres. Creatures with long fur were already seen as unclean, but the most profound influence of this aversion would be first encounters with humans brought to Galbar via the Mirrory Link.
Other developments of hain culture were generally suppressed by environmental factors, particularly ashlings. The god of crafting and civilisation Teknall saw the potential in hain as an intelligent species and sought to give them room to grow. To combat ashlings, he imbued earth with a system of life and created the first urtelem. Since their creation, urtelem have been woven with hain society as protectors and domestic assistants. This extra strength allowed hain to flourish and gave urtelem the resources they needed to eventually develop into an intelligent species themselves.
The Ikanotita Era brought a change to hain from a number of divine sources. The first was from none other than the god of time Vowzra. In his brewing feud with Jvan, Vowzra threw an innate sense of fear for anything with Jvanic essence into all creatures with Slough's essences, including hain. The Cult of Jvan and its population of sculptors were demonised and slaughtered on sight. This religious vacuum made way for creative alternatives, such as the reverence of Slough and nature.
The next divine act to influence hain globally was from Teknall's wanderings under the guise of Stone Chipper. Stone Chipper was responsible for many technological advances in tool making for hain society. Stone Chippers ways inspired the semi-religious hain movement known as Chippers, which spread these new technologies wherever they could reach other hain. Stone Chipper is cemented in almost all hain cultures as a patron of their kind and his wanderings lived on in many oral traditions into the bronze age.
Galbar was soon after introduced to fibreheads, rovaick, and Vestec's hordes of chaos. This tumultuous period brought hain violence to a peak, yet there was much development during this period. Jvan counteracted Vowzra's aversion to her creations in hain by instilling in them an instinct to cover their shells in Jvanic patterns with needle fae ink upon adolescence. This became the universal hain coming-of-age practice known as the 'Second Hatching.' Destructive and genocidal acts towards Jvanic creations fell drastically in the following generation as a result of hain facing their Jvanic fears in their formative years.
The divine touches did not halt there. Vestec, upon obtaining a condensed sample of Astarte's magical power, placed a trace of it in every intelligent species on Galbar, including hain. Hain soul magic has never been developed beyond chaotic outbursts from some gifted individuals, though they have had magical potential ever since.
Additionally, Ilunabar brought her gifts to hain and the rest of Galbar in two main ways. The first was to unite the disparate languages spoken over Galbar into a common root. This proto-Ilunabaric language diverged as time went on, yet enabled hain and humans to bridge cultural and language divides with greater ease. The second and arguably more impactful act of Ilunabar was Phantasmagoria. This night of dreams rocketed hain culture from traces of traditions and habits to sustained efforts in art and variety.
The divine encounters of this period arguably died down with the Battle of the Tempest, where the hain alias of Kyre known as Wind Striker taught the hain around the Ironheart mountains new means of warfare to push back Vestec's chaotic hordes. While warfare still pervaded between hain tribes and neighbouring races, this battle marked a decline in the hain blood spilled in the Ikanotita Era.
The decrease in violence resulted in an increase of development. Hain touched by soul magic began finding ways to combat djinn that would vindictively punish any that underwent Second Hatchings, religious practices broadened to Sin Cults of Amartia, obsidian weaponry was conceived and allowed hain to fight back more effectively against fiberlings, basic metalworking and agricultural techniques spread from the newly empowered Ironheart rovaick Toun Cult, and sedentary lifestyles were becoming mainstream. Galbar entered the Bronze Age.
Prosperity reigned for hain around the world, populations increased, and cultures in areas now permitted to grow by peace realised themselves. Many of these cultures came crashing down with the Blinding Purge. Logos' realta were told to target anything with Jvanic influence, which mean that communities around adolescent hain were immolated in the collateral damage.
Hain across Galbar have been recovering ever since. Though they contend with new ogre conquests and continued meddling by gods and other races, they have tenaciously been building up cultures from the ashes of the Blinding Purge.
Habitats and Population Edit
Uncounted numbers of hain were created in their first generation. As Toun teleported them all across the surface of Galbar, they had opportunity to occupy almost any sustainable land. Many of the original hain were killed by predators, natural disasters, inclement climate, or lack of food or water. Those that survived subsisted on food from foraging, ambush hunting, and eventually fishing and farming.
The head start hain received mean they hold the title of the most populous sentient species on Galbar. However, their current population growth per individual is currently less than goblin rovaick. Projecting the rates has goblins outnumbering hain after many decades, though the goblin population is more likely to taper to a point of equilibrium before then.
The colder climates nearer to the poles have a higher density of hain than would be expected of humans due to their natural insulation and snow camouflage. While their settlement is still restricted to the food they can obtain, hain adaptability to cold climates gives them an advantage closer to the poles without requiring as much insulating clothing.
Areas of extreme heat, such as deserts or inland rainforests see fewer hain than expected in turn. This is due to the inverse of the colder climates -- hain overheat more easily in their shells. Hain find homes in these locales uncomfortable at best and deadly at worst. They cannot subsist in such environments long term without artificial aid. The exception are coastal communities, where hain may cool off on a regular basis.
Hain population is most dense in centres of agriculture, such as major cities, temperate and Mediterranean climates, and volcanic or flood planes with high soil fertility. While this is also to be expected in the case of humans, the hain of Yorum (and other cold regions) largely break this pattern by having a higher population density in even their colder reaches due to the high food yield of the region and the above mentioned natural resistance to cold that hain possess.
The complexities of hain biology are the primary reason that Toun procured Slough's life-giving essence in the first place. Creating a reproducing, socially cohesive, and adaptable life form was a task that Toun realised could not be perfected in the time he had for his original plans. Thus, much of the hain body is based on the vertebrate animal life forms of Galbar that walked the planet before their creation. The clear exceptions to this template provide precedent for a number of unique functions to compensate.
Unless otherwise specified, hain bodies perform more or less like those of large avian animals or primates.
Anatomy and Physiology Edit
The bodily systems inside hain contain the essentials for a creature of their size. Fully functioning nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, muscular system etc. all provide them with the longevity required for a lifetime of service. Minor alterations include a stronger auto-immune response to free radical cells in-line with Toun's bent for perfectionism (this trades off evolutionary speed for a longer individual lifespan), an enlarged and adaptable brain to bring cognitive functions similar to other intelligent species, and various follow-on effects to adjust for the hain exoskeleton explained below.
The hain exoskeleton is the most obvious unique characteristic of the species. Toun implemented this outer layer primarily as protection against the dangers of Galbar when hain are to be sent for his projects, but have since served as a natural armour that protects wild hain to extend their longevity. These ablative dermal plates of off-white ceramic material protect hain from physical trauma, sunburns, chemical burns, medium and larger parasites while also being a discouragement for predators that are not strong enough to break the plates for the flesh within. Just like conventional animal skin, the plates provide basic waterproofing and microbial protection. In addition, the thickest plates of the exoskeleton provide the solid frame for muscles and cartilage struts in a similar manner to animal endoskeletons (see Internal Structures section below) and provide thermal mass for survivability in colder climates.
The thickness of hain exoskeleton plates typically range between from five and thirty millimetres on an adult male. Hatchlings and young children have thinner and more flexible plates while larger adults may have slightly thicker plates. Elderly hain have thicker than usual plates but suffer from brittleness as the balance of the plate materials composite deteriorates from age.
The largest plates by surface area are the 'pectoral' plate across the front of the chest, the singular skull piece, and the forearm 'bracer' plate. The smallest plates are the scaled plates that allow the articulation of joints in the fingers and the toes. Apart from the skull, the strongest part of a hain exoskeleton are the column of 'vertabral' plates that make up the spine. By proportion, hain vertebrae are larger than most animals, both to support body weight and to accommodate the downward-facing scales on each that jut down the back of the hain. These scales provide a mix of flexibility and protection, though they still represent debilitating injuries to the hain if damaged, as they grow and like other plates and only moult partially, leaving a permanent inner-portion of the plate.
While hain plate shows cursory resemblance to fired kaolin in its smooth, porcelain-like appearance and texture, the exact structure undermines the purity of Toun's porcelain theme for utility. Hain plate is a fine composite of silicate layers of kaolinite and mullite interwoven with carbon-based proteins such as keratin. The ratio of silicate to carbons is highest near the surface, where the plate is almost completely kaolinite, while more carbon can be found as the plate becomes softer on the inner side. This ratio is not homogeneous across all hain plate. For instance, hain joints necessarily require flexibility for articulation, and thus the outermost layer in these small areas are either made up of many tiny scaled plates or a soft, high-protein skin similar to a regular keratin outer skin.
While the carbon proteins are otherwise necessary to adapt the silicon-based plates to the carbon-based body of the hain, the purpose of a composite hain plate is two-fold. Firstly, the flexibility provided allows hain plate to sustain higher impact and a small amount of growth stretch before activating the moulting process by pressure or cracking. Secondly, the carbon-based proteins allow the weaving of nerves into the plates themselves, providing hain with a sense of touch otherwise lost to the natural armour (albeit a duller one than with conventional skin).
When a hain plate is damaged, enough internal pressure from growth or mutation exerts on a plate, or enough time has passed, receptors that prevent a moulting process are obstructed or degrade and a new plate is slowly produced underneath. Hormones are released in the hain bloodstream that drive the hain to crave more silicates in its diet, subdermal cells activate specialised processes to synthesise and connect the silicate and protein layers, and the old plate begins to bulge out. Larger plates even have fault lines to split into smaller plates upon moulting, such as those around limbs or the skull. This point in the process requires a hain to be delicate with the new plate, as it is sore and vulnerable to damaging tissue beneath. As the new plate grows, the old plate has its nerves disconnected, feeling numb and foreign to the touch of the hain. Finally, the old plate flakes off in pieces, revealing the fresh, clean, new, and near-fully formed plate underneath. A day or two allows the new plate to grow to its final size, and the cravings of the hain in the meantime may drive it to break up and consume its old plate to recycle it.
Despite its regenerative and tough nature, severe damage to main hain plates can cause incredible pain and physiological issues. Shattering of the thicker plates on the hain torso can result in an internal collapse of organ structures. Breakage of main limb plates can prevent tendons from finding leverage to move muscles. Damage of vertebral plates are nearly always permanent, resulting in chronic pain and possible nerve damage for the rest of the hain's life. A broken skull, meanwhile, risks breaching the chamber to the brain or to the nasal cavity, swiftly bleeding a hain to death.
Fortunately for hain, their exoskeleton was designed in such a way that none but the strongest of hain are strong enough to break the vital plates without the help of a large heavy instrument, such as a mace or a slung stone. Indeed, most natural predators of hain have difficulty fatally wounding hain without incredibly strong jaws, joint-twisting strength, or some other method of undermining their natural armour.
Internal Structures Edit
Much like other exoskeletal creatures, the external plating a hain carries also serves as support for internal systems, but only to a certain extent. Both to hold internal organs in the correct configuration and to give leverage points for tendons, struts of mostly rigid cartilage run between different points on the inside of the exoskeleton.
These struts vary in size and shape depending on their function. A strut that allows a purchase point for a hain hamstring would be thick, short, and simple. In contrast, the struts that support the muscles and organs in the torso are interlinked, longer in places, and varying in gauge.
Strut cartilage is flexible enough to withstand shock to the body that would crack a plate of a hain's shell, but they are not immune to physiological failures. A strut put under enough stress may partly tear, causing internal pain until healed. This is especially common in elderly hain. A severed strut, whatever the cause, is a serious and often debilitating injury that current medical knowledge on Galbar cannot cure. However, thanks to hain exoskeletons, this is a mercifully rare occurrence.
Other applications of these internal cartilage struts are to support cavities in various locations on the inside of a hain exoskeleton. The two largest of these cavities are in the front of the skull, while smaller cavities make pairs on each side of the torso, and finally one each on the inside of the upper arms and legs. These are not only a weight-saving measure in requiring less heavy shell composite. They also provide for an odd mechanism in the hain circulatory system (see Blood Pressure Regulation below).
Blood Pressure Regulation Edit
An optimisation to make up for the sheer weight of the hain exoskeleton was to sacrifice some average blood volume to cut down on fluid weight in the body. While the exoskeleton prevents most external haemorrhaging and therefore most everyday dangers associated with lesser blood volume, hain cannot lose as much blood as a blooded animal of equivalent volume before experiencing adverse effects. However, bleeding is not the only increased risk with lower blood volume. An extra physical mechanism in hain is in place to prevent the lethargy, dizziness, and other problems associated with lower blood volume.
Recall the cavities described in the Internal Structures section. These cartilage cavities, located in the skull, upper arms, and upper torso provide a storage capacity for the regulation of blood pressure external to the heart. The cavities are all lined with webs of capillaries that spread and store blood. When at rest, the outlets of these capillaries are constricted until they are filled to volume. When blood pressure drops from the capillary outlets, whether by sudden activity, a fear response, or simply standing up fast enough for a head rush, the capillaries relax until the pressure equalises, providing a rush of blood to gather momentum for whatever physical activity is undertaken.
If a high-intensity task is undertaken for an extended period, such as a long run, a battle, or any other similarly demanding activity, hain are afterwards hit with a sudden exhaustion after calming down that lasts for just under a minute while their cavities refill.
Naturally, these blood-lined cavities can present a point of weakness if injured. An overheated or physically traumatised hain can bleed into these cavities, making their capacitance less effective and their body heavier. Cavities are drained over time and the waste passed through urine or through holes in the exoskeleton in the case of the larger cavities. Profuse bleeding may require manually draining and staunching the cavity before too much blood is lost in any case.
A misconception amongst non-hain is that cavity bleeding can occur in instances of sexual arousal. This is a false myth perpetuated by picture stories circulated from the Mesathelassa region of Galbar.
Bodily Cooling Edit
The two largest cavities, near the middle-front of a hain's skull, serve dual purposes. On top of their blood pressure regulation, they elegantly help to regulate hain body heat by serving as part of the hain nasal passage. The comparatively large thermal mass of a hain exoskeleton does not allow for sweat glands, so an overheated hain pants through their nose to dissipate heat. The large surface area of exposed capillaries in the nasal cavities allow breathed air to pick up body heat transmitted from the blood and be expelled through the nose.
Even in relatively colder climates, this gives hain a hot outward breath. Some cultures refer to hain as having a 'campfire in their nose' to explain their inured attitude to colder weather. Human and smaller rovaick explorers venturing into snowy regions throughout history even give accounts of their fingers being saved from frostbite by occasionally warming them on hain nostrils, where permission is given.
Life Cycle Edit
Hain exhibit a life cycle similar to most intelligent mortal species in terms of mental development. However, several unique factors mark the courses of their lives due to their bodily development. Again, the most apparent come due to their exoskeleton but they also borrow some defining features seen more in avian or reptilian species.
First Hatching and Childhood Edit
Hain are born from eggs laid by the mother in clutches that vary from one to three eggs at a time, each barely larger than a sizable human fist. Laying four or five eggs per clutch is extremely rare. Laying six or more is even rarer and invariably results in one or more broken or deformed eggs by the time of laying. These eggs gestate in an open nest for roughly fifteen weeks before hatching.
Hain hatchlings are born pink in colour due to their very thin initial exoskeleton that reveals their beating veins underneath. They break through their egg shells with a pipping tooth at the tip of their beak that is not replicated on any future exoskeletons in their life.
Though nourished previously by the yolk in their eggs, the hatchlings undertake a rapid period of growth in their first year, depending on premasticated food fed by their mother. During this time, they grow from barely half a kilogram in weight to several kilograms. Its first exoskeleton grows with it during this time, still thin and more flexible than usual. However, by one year the hatchling begins developing their first fully rigid exoskeleton.
At approximately two years of age, the hain hatchling undergoes its first moult. Their thin birth exoskeleton peels off like a crustacean shell. At this point, they are considered to be able to feed without assistance and are considered hain children.
Hain children eventually learn to walk, speak, absorb information about the world around them, and otherwise develop similarly to human children. Their exoskeleton allows and often results in natural hain play between children to be rougher than most species. They will run, chase, hide, and otherwise play as normal while in the next instance wrestle, strike each other, roughhouse, and otherwise fight for the sake of fun. They are rarely hurt in such instances due to their natural armour, though if they do, they take it as a social lesson. Hain children growing up with other races may try this playfighting but quickly learn the limits of pain of their fleshier neighbours and adjust their force accordingly.
Hain child growth spurts are more conspicuous, being joined with regular shell moulting. Between two and four years of age they moult approximately once every month. Between ages four to six, this slows to every two months. Between ages of six and eight, the cycle is every four months. Between eight and ten, eight month cycles are the norm. Between ten and twelve, sixteen months. Finally, as they approach sexual maturity around age fourteen, their moulting stabilises to a consistent one year and eight month cycle. A consistent moulting cycle is the sign of an hain adolescent.
Moulting cycles are, in many hain cultures, milestones of a hain's development and are generally events celebrated much like birthdays. However, due to the relative regularity of the seasons and cultural exchange with other races, most hain societies still mark their age with Galbarian years. Hatching days themselves are not universally observed as celebratory events, instead defaulting to hain incrementing their age on the new year.
Second Hatching Edit
Between one month and two years after a hain's fourteenth birthday, traces of Jvanic biology within their body induce repeated horrific nightmares, high anxiety, and overstimulation of the senses. This swiftly develops into an urge to hunt for the inkflies, found all across Galbar, and use their staining styluses to etch still images of abstract horrors and their worst fears onto their very shells. This is a condition imposed by Jvan known as the Beautification of the Flesh but is more commonly referred to as some variation of an adolescent hain's Second Hatching due to the final etchings looking like a messy web of cracks upon their shell. These markings are invariably seen as hideous to other hain and terrifying to hain children. They last until the hain's next moult.
The vast majority of hain families recognise the early symptoms and organise to assist the young hain to hunt for inkflies and undergo their etching in safety and privacy. The timing of the second hatching lends itself to being a coming-of-age rite of passage in many hain cultures. Great importance is placed on the ritual as it is seen as a young hain facing the horrors and uncertainties of adulthood in a short rush, much like a hatchling seeing the dangers of the world outside their egg with their first breath. The true reason for the second hatching is due to the meddling of gods (see the section below).
A few hain cultures try to seclude young hain undergoing their second hatching and even onwards to their next moulting for fear of judgement. Most force their second-hatched hain to bare their etchings to the public for the entire period between the etching and the moulting during their everyday lives as a lesson in inner confidence. No surviving hain cultures in existence (save for the Slave Hain of Cornerstone) eschew the second hatching entirely; to do so causes a young hain to fall to insanity as their nightmares invade their waking thoughts. Such a state unremedied by a second hatching results in the hain being unable to function in their society and eventually ends in suicide or some other avoidable death.
In many hain societies, a derogatory word used to describe insane or childish hain adults is unhatched.
With so many hormones and responsibilities being placed on adolescent hain, they find themselves experimenting with concepts previously restricted to adults. They experience changes to their body as reproductive systems activate, their voices deepen, their minds quicken, they work and learn alongside their family, and social connections previously in the realms of friendship may develop into affection.
In many ways, the tumult of hain adolescence is just as harrowing as human adolescence. Most exceptions are either cultural or tied to the experiences of a hain second hatching, which tends to buffer against a hain's shame of their fears or personal insecurities, though not always.
Adulthood and Reproduction Edit
Hain are culturally considered adults at varying ages across societies and families. The second hatching is a common mark of adulthood, while the first twenty-month moulting is sometimes used instead. Only since interacting with cultures that mark age with years have many hain lined up adulthood with the human, rovaick, dwarven, or other racial notions of adult age.
From a biological angle, hain reach full physical maturity at twenty years old and full mental maturity at twenty-six years of age. These ages are not yet considered cultural markers of adulthood due to the number of working adult responsibilities bestowed on hain before these ages are reached.
Adulthood is the time for hain to decide their path in life, find one or more paramour, and produce the next generation. Reproduction is different from humans, not only because of the egg-laying nature of hain, but also the parental bonding process. Unlike other intelligent species that are biologically long term pair-bonding creatures, hain are long term group-bonding creatures. They maintain fully-connected relationships amongst a group of two to six hain at a time. If a hain falls in love with another, they tend to also fall in love with their paramour's other partners. If there is a partner that they do not fall in love with, or rejects them, they tend to fall out of love with the original paramour in turn.
While hain are perfectly capable of limiting themselves to pair bonds this is more often due to low population, one or both of the hain being undesirable to others, or an arranged affair that cannot allow further partners due to cultural reasons. Most hain cultures do not enforce strong tradition on the make-up of paramour groups beyond religious or cultural ceremonies to mark a bond. However, there exist many hain societies that taboo relationships without at least one breeding pair of opposite sex hain. Moreover, some rare societies enforce that hain can only bond with a paramour group if they also have a paramour of the opposite sex. Many other variations exist, though they all manifest drastic cultural differences in attitude to other species.
When the deed is done, hain groups mate to fertilise eggs that are laid before the next ovulation cycle, which remains active across the entire year. The dynamic of a hain paramour group does not trigger instincts to exclude or envy, except in instances external to the paramour group, which is considered infidelity. This is a biologically deliberate design to maintain the group-bond for raising children in numbers rather than compromise with inter-hain sexual competition, except, as mentioned, external to the paramour group.
Hain paramour groups jointly raise all young hatched from all females in the group, each acting as mothers or fathers respectively. Due to hormonal differences, the birthing mother is often the closest to her children and takes primary care of feeding them in hatchlinghood.
Old Age and Death Edit
Signs of malign ageing in hain usually manifest themselves after between thirty-five and forty-five years of age. They very gradually lose their strength, endurance, and physical skill. With more years, they may even degrade in cognitive ability.
The trends of hain ageing follows a similar pattern to human ageing, though hain display a greater longevity: In tribal civilisations such hain are already felled by injury or disease in most instances by age forty. In sedentary farming civilisations, the likelihood of reaching forty years old is much higher but does not extend a hain's prospects much further than fifty-five years old. Better quality of life continues to improve natural hain longevity, though old age continues to be a strong limiting factor. A hain in perfect health may reach the age of one-hundred-and-forty years old in total before their body fails completely.
Hain are foremost omnivorous. Much like humans, they eat fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and the like. Where they differ from humans is their digestive system's ability to subsume animal bone and aluminium silicates, usually from natural clays.
Not only are hain teeth and jaws adapted to processing this material but their palate recognises it as a flavour imperceptible to other intelligent mortal races (save for Rovaick, who share a taste for rocks). The flavour has various names in Galbar-wide hain culture, though the most common words translate roughly to grit. Grit flavour is described as being less strong than salt, yet with a sensation along similar lines, mixed with hints of a dairy product should it ever be crunchy. Although, no hain would agree that either salt, cheese, milk, or yoghurt hold the same flavour as grit. Other races are often disappointed with the rough texture of hain meals flavoured for grit, though most hain cultures are sensitive to the limited palates of outsiders and refrain from adding grit to meals meant for humans, angels, and so on.
The main reason for hain to enjoy the grit flavour is to provide materials for their body to produce new shells when moulting. Hain can be observed to crave grit more than usual when their shell is damaged or they are close to a new moulting. In a rare display of socially acceptable cannibalism, the majority of hain cultures even include their own discarded shells from previous moults into their meals as a grit supplement to reuse the material. Many cultures see such an act as an everyday occurrence, while other cultures ascribe a spiritual significance to it, commonly as a 'bonding of body and legacy' amongst family groups, friends, or diplomatic partners.
Vase Shell Syndrome Edit
Hain who do not supplement their diet with enough grit suffer from a condition commonly known as vase shell, pot shell, or some variation thereof. Hain suffering vase shell have weak and/or thin shells, leading to easy breakage, sore joints, inter-shell bleeding, and even delays in the moulting cycle. Vase shell generally only occurs where hain are ill-provisioned on journeys over oceans or tundras. Dry clay or soil are always carried by hain traversing such lands.
Shell Colouration Edit
A unique bodily distinction between hain can also occur based on diet where the normally white shell of a hain gains an even hue to a dirty pink, milky green, very light blue, a mild yellow tinge and other dull off-white colours. This is caused by ingesting enough grit that includes trace amounts of colouring metals, such as iron, copper, and potassium. These impurities are normally meant to be caught up by the hain digestive system and excreted, but in sufficient quantity can be absorbed with the aluminium silicates and be laced into a hain's shell. These hues are never drastic enough to be noticed unless compared to another hain with a different hue -- overcolouring is a sign of metal overdose in hain and results in illness.
Biological Variation Edit
The slower hain evolutionary iterations do not prevent the race from biologically adapting to their respective environments. Over time, different hain families show subtly different physical features that distinguish them into ethnic groups. In the most basic forms, hain groups with access to more food tend to stand taller while hain groups with less food stand shorter. Hain in hotter climates may have slightly larger beaks to contain a bigger cooling nasal cavity, while conversely in colder climates, slightly thicker shells may be produced for better insulation, especially in childhood. The differences are enough that a hain from one end of Galbar will easily recognise a hain from the opposite end of Galbar as a foreigner much like humans can.
Sexual Dimorphism Edit
To other species, hain display so few secondary sexual characteristics that they are almost impossible to distinguish by sex. As they are not mammals, females do not bear a broad pelvis to carry young nor breasts to produce milk. As a result, distinguishing between hain males and females is best judged by noticing the small, consistent differences between them over time, much like telling apart the features between identical twins.
The easiest features to spot are the slightly taller-standing and broader-shouldered trends in male hain. However, those that stay in the presence of hain for long enough will start to notice small differences repeating between males and females in the shape of their heads and certain shell plates on their bodies.
Behaviour and Psychology Edit
Whereas the non-unique features of hain bodies express many traits similar to primates and birds, their intelligence and behaviour were explicitly developed for greater capabilities. In most ways, hain minds are comparable to humans, dwarves, and the sharper subraces of rovaick. This coincidence of design is mostly driven by the imperatives required to survive on Galbar. However, a few small differences in hain psychology, made to better suit Toun's plans, have follow-on effects that drastically distinguish hain from any other widespread sentient race. In addition, their exoskeletons and body shape dictate a different neuropsychology to more subtly-expressed races.
The range of a hain's capabilities for communication are close to those of a human's. They employ body language, if in a different manner to humans as explained in the next section, but still sufficient to convey basic messages without other common languages. In addition, they vocalise just as humans do, using their mouths and tongues to alter their audible calls into the complexities demanded by Galbaric spoken languages.
Since Phantasmagoria, hain languages have been universally rooted in proto-Ilunabaric, making many words similar in feel to those spoken by other native Galbarian races. Hain languages most commonly tend to branch away due to the difficulties hain have pronouncing close-lipped popping sounds such as pi and bi. Hain can manage producing other close lipped sounds such as mi by closing their mouths with their tongues similar to ni sounds, but they otherwise show an obvious accent when speaking such muted syllables.
Body Language Edit
Base hain communication manifests in body language. Posture, showing of teeth, arm position, and especially eyelids express all the usual emotions that humans could without a common language. However, with hain lacking the lips, nose bridge, and eyebrows of humans, their bodies make up these gaps with the angle the beak is held, a much more obvious positioning of arms and hands, and being more expressive with their jaws.
Examples of basic expressions are in the table below, though tend to vary in intensity and exact positioning for more nuanced expressions. Also keep in mind that due to the position of hain eyes, they tend to face each other with their head partly turned to see them or with their bodies completely side-on.
|Anger||- Eyes narrowed.|
- Mouth open with teeth displayed.
|Fear||- Eyes wide.|
- Mouth closed, teeth audibly chatter, even if adrenaline has not been released.
|Disgust||- Eyes narrowed.|
- Mouth closed and still.
|Contempt||- Head angled back slightly from subject.|
- Other features neutral.
|Joy||- One or both palms upturned and open.|
- Beak angled upwards slightly.
|Sadness||- Eyes narrowed or closed. Hain shed tears like humans.|
- Jaw generally clenched, but extreme sadness has the mouth held slightly open.
|Surprise||- Eyes wide.|
- Mouth clenched.
The more obvious subtle variations of the above emotions, and other expressions in general, is in the independent movement of hain eyes for each individual pair. The fore-eyes or aft-eyes may narrow or widen more than the other in certain situations. This is mostly seen in expressions of scrutiny, expressions of lesser intensity, nervousness, or attempts to hide emotions or thoughts.
Intimacy and Hands Edit
Physical intimacy between hain are similar to humans in many ways. Holding hands, hugs, holding arms around shoulders, etcetera, all signify a closeness. All are on levels respective to familial, deep friendship, or romantic bonds in varying degrees. Though the hands themselves alter the execution in hain.
Hain beaks are too impractical for kissing like humans do. Instead of this, hain mutually bring a hand each to the mouth of the other. This comes from the hain instinct to hand-feed their children. Holding the fingers shallowly in the mouth is the most common equivalent to a kiss on the mouth, with harder biting or thrashing occuring with high passion. As with childhood play, hain can afford to be less delicate in their intimacy due to their exoskeletons protecting their hands.
The significance of hand-feeding also extends to deliberately laying hands on the body of another hain. If done for no other reason, it is a slightly greater sign of affection than it is for humans. Laying a hand on a personal area, such as the face, holds the significance of a kiss on the cheek. Laying a hand on the upper-arm or the shoulder is a common gesture between good friends.
As with any body language, context also plays a role. Laying hands on another as part of labour, fighting, emergencies, or other situations generally does not carry affection, though room for misinterpretation is ever-present in many cases.
A simpler exception to human gestures of affection is when hain bring their heads close together. Again, hain beaks make touching foreheads together uncomfortable. The equivalent in hain body language is to rest the sides of their heads together with the beak over the shoulder of the partner. Just like with humans it tends to be reserved for deep affection. From this position, hain have the closest view of their partner's eyes.
Problem Solving Affinity Edit
Toun's designs in the hain had the objective of independent adaptation in the case of unforeseen obstacles. Toun wished to make his control over hain efficient enough that he would not be required to micromanage every complex task he assigned them. This design choice manifests in the hain affinity for lateral and abstract thinking. The hain were the first mortal creatures to carry this trait, though they can even outperform humans on average in tests of forward thinking and problem solving. This trait does not predict higher intelligence in other measures across the species, such as memory or quick thinking, though it does grant a noticeable edge to hain innovation and creativity.
The easiest cause to point to for hain problem solving is the enlarged frontal lobes of the hain brain, accommodated by their beak-like heads. However, other neural optimisations point to the entire hain brain being designed and adjusted to show this trait. In particular, hain show a milder anxiety response to verbal challenges than humans, allowing more continued performance in spite of criticism. This may be a coincidence with the hain family behaviour favouring competition amongst cooperative groups than between individuals, though this is confounded by physical and more forceful verbal threats eliciting more human-like responses from hain.
While the crafting god Teknall was direct in his favour of the hain species, worship of Teknall (or Stone Chipper, as he is more commonly known amongst the hain) proves strong due to in no small part to its encouragement of natural hain cleverness.
Group Unit Default Edit
Hain are naturally clannish creatures. Their cultures rarely see individual ventures of any nature or scale as laudable. Many hain cultures even mistrust and punish anything done without company. A lonely hain is one who turned their backs on their friends and family.
This trend of belief is not a coincidence. It is another manifestation of the hain psyche. On top of natural hain social behaviour, Toun implanted in them a mild aversion to solitude for several reasons:
First, the hain were meant to always cooperate in their various tasks, to defend themselves against threats, and to protect their young. A single hain, in comparison to most animals on Galbar, is a weak and vulnerable creature.
The second reason was a fault tolerance measure against the ever-evolving influence of Slough. Any hain mutated enough to break free of their service to Toun and make temporary chaos of his plans through rebellion would be socially ostracised for breaking out on their own. These measures might have been effective for Toun's plans had the hain not already been created with enough self-awareness and Sloughic influence to be unreceptive to his orders.
Nevertheless, this enforced group behaviour remains as a part of hain identity. A group of hain compete against other groups of hain for their needs as other individual creatures would compete against one another. Such group alliances are most commonly familial or marital if they last in the long term. However, friendship groups and alliances of circumstance arise in more transient affairs.
Never would a pair of hain question farming as one enterprise. A life of spite or dysfunction is but a shallow creek between them. Where cudgels are drawn are between two pairs of hain that must share a field. - Rekiarch, Lawscribe of Kiyiklom
Individual Deficiency and Eyecravings Edit
The pressure to remain in groups does not stop with hain societal norms. A number of unique psychological symptoms afflict hain when they are without company for protracted periods. While loneliness predicts ill-health in humans and other social creatures, none are quite as sudden as the onset of hain loneliness. Hain who are isolated for less than an hour feel unease and anxiety about their surroundings. A day alone brings about heart palpitations and mild paranoia. A week alone causes intermittent panic attacks and degraded cognitive function.
The special fear that hain experience when alone is even given a name amongst hain cultures. Most names have a similar meaning to the conjugation eyecravings. Eyecravings are so called because of their simple and universally effective treatment: Eye contact with any living creature. It need not be hain, nor even an intelligent being. Hain who must travel alone may achieve it without eyecravings by taking along a domesticated animal.
Fortunately for blind hain, verbal or physical contact with other living creatures proves to be just as effective a measure against eyecravings. The term comes from what is the most commonly noticed cure to the condition.
Gender Norms Edit
To be completed
To be completed
Aesthetic Ideals Edit
To be completed
Magical Potential Edit
To be completed
To be completed
Canon Cultures Edit
To be completed
Mesathelassan Tribes Edit
To be completed
To be completed
South Ironheart Mountains Edit
To be completed
North Ironheart Mountains Edit
To be completed
Jungle Tree Rim Edit
To be completed
Shimmering Sea Coast and Inland Edit
To be completed
Valley of Peace Edit
Not all of the hain initially created by Toun's hands were teleported out of the Valley of Peace after Toun failed to destroy them. In his unfocussed rage, Toun left behind a number of hain in Niciel's domain to huddle frightened in the mountain ring. Niciel took pity on the forgotten hain and permitted them to remain living alongside the angels as a peaceful tribe. They have since enjoyed a harmonious existence only ever interrupted by the rare attacks upon the valley, such as by Vestec's horde led by Grot.
The valley hain are all devoted followers of Niciel and serve her angels whenever requested. The aura of the Valley of Peace has turned them oddly pacifistic for hain, though being creatures of flesh and blood, they still work hard to sustain themselves through foraging. Their lack of knowledge of farming or hunting has kept their population small over the ages, to the point where some angels growing up in the valley never notice their existence.
Slave Hain Edit
Five tribes of hain were mentally subjugated by an enraged Toun on their creation in order to use them as intended; as a servitor race. These hain have had their minds permanently stunted and follow Toun's will unquestioningly. When not serving a purpose, they operate with a base animal intelligence to sustain themselves.
Slave hain mostly inhabit Cornerstone, living out spartan lives without free will. They have been selectively bred for a number of tasks, but almost all have been imparted with kaolokinesis, the ability to manipulate clays in the air through flowing movements. Along with various Tounic technology, they use this to operate Toun's machines of war. They often serve this role as permanent internal pilots of Tounic endomatons.
Other hain see these creatures as uncanny and tend to avoid them at all costs if encountered.
Toun's Flaw Edit
As with all of Toun's creations. Hain express flaws in their original design.
In Toun's eyes, the flaw of hain are their complexity. They are too susceptible to outside influence, too belligerent, too weak, and they have to be taught the required skills to serve him. They just have too much Slough in them. He mitigated this by creating slave hain; a shadow of the creatures he wrought, devoid of their once great potential.
- The general shape of hain bodies -- a mix of a short, bony humanoid body with a beaked head -- was inspired by the myr of Magic: The Gathering's Mirrodin universe. Hain in Divinus, however, hold different proportions, physical make-up, and behaviour to myr.
- ↑ Teknall reflects on the hain creation myths - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3478647
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Toun creates the hain - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3401660
- ↑ Niciel comforts the Valley of Peace hain - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3427011
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Hain adapt to fibrelings in culture and Fishbones is 'sculpted' - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3417904
- ↑ 'Lissean's March.' An account of hain battling humans and observing feuding water elementals - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3678249
- ↑ The urtelem are created - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3422945
- ↑ Vowzra instills the hain and other natural creatures with a hate of Jvanic creations - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3424068
- ↑ 'Slough and the Hunters' hain tale - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3431509
- ↑ Teknall walks amongst the hain as Stone Chipper - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3436260
- ↑ The Chippers spread helpful knowledge. Urtelem sign language is invented - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3485374
- ↑ Jvan counters hain Jvanophobia with a ritual scarification DNA viroid - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3445152
- ↑ 'The Hatching of Kortek.' An account of a second satching ritual - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3500459
- ↑ Vestec grants Astarte's magic to all sentient creatures on Galbar - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3461055
- ↑ Ilunabar gifts Galbar's mortals with a united root in their language, proto-Ilunabaric - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3488019
- ↑ Ilunabar conceives Phantasmagoria, instilling cultural and technological advances across Galbar - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3502523
- ↑ Kyre adopts the form of Wind Striker to teach hain to fight a battle - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3760582
- ↑ Amartia founds Illumi sin cults amongst Galbar's people - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3748036
- ↑ Amartia and his Illumi azibo fashion obsidian into weapons of war - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3768665
- ↑ Toun grants Ironheart Rovaick with agriculture, animal taming, and an oath that renders them safe from remaining white giants - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3663099
- ↑ Logos launches the Blinding Purge - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3841659
- ↑ Teknall resolves to repel the realta enacting the Blinding Purge. Account of realta attacks on hain villages. - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3872937
- ↑ Conata grows up in the rovaick community of Rulanah. Accounts of a realta attack including the incineration of a hain village - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/3880666
- ↑ King Akol the young of Loralom recounts his kingdom's slow, crippled recovery from the Blinding Purge - https://www.roleplayerguild.com/posts/4310793
- ↑ Author's Note: Hain accents are generally not shown in the canon of Divinus as most dialogue is assumed to be translated into English from whatever Galbaric language the hain are speaking in context.
- ↑ Author's note: Chattering teeth while idle and out of danger is a sign of long term stress and anxiety in a hain. Also, hain attempting to hide while in fear have shown to clench their jaws shut to remain silent.