Hailene stand between five foot ten and seven feet tall and weight
between ninety and one hundred and fifty pounds. They are humanoid,
having two arms and two legs.
A pair of white
or grey feathered wings grows from their backs, emerging just between
their shoulder blades and spanning up twelve feet. When not in use,
these wings close tightly against their back. These feathers are
waterproof and fire retardant and when healthy, remarkably difficult
to remove from the wing.
At birth, a
hailene’s wings are soft with down and dappled brown and white.
From the ages of nine and fourteen, these feathers fall out and
flight feathers grow in, usually white or light grey. Once their
flight feathers have grown in, many hailene decorate their feathers
with tribal tattoos. Tribal elders or those in similar positions
of power have their feathers dyed completely black or sky blue to
ensure their underlings know their status
often have black or blonde hair and light complexions. Occasional
natural variations occur, most often resulting in brown or black
feathers or brown hair. These hailene are considered ang’hailene.
To aid in flight,
a hailene’s skeleton is hollow like a bird’s and they
have two less ribs than normal humanoids. Likewise, their organs
are smaller than normal, almost the size of a halfling’s.
these factors lead to hailene being generally more fragile than
Hailene are taught at birth that their purpose in life is to prove
themselves superior in all ways to others, especially their kin
and peers. Because of this, most hailene have quirks developed from
years of attempting to impose their dominance. For example, many
have amazing posture from years of standing up straight to appear
taller, or deeper, more commanding voices from trying to assert
intimidate their peers.
It is no surprise
then that hailene society revolves around a strict system of caste.
While the particulars of this system varies from tribe to tribe,
the pattern is similar; elder spellcasters are the chieftains, (often
called Rook-lords) with other casters below them, and social pecking
orders forming around wing color, complexion, or family ties. Ang’hailene
are always the lowest of the low in hailene society.
or simply out of the norm, there exist in hailene society a class
of individuals who are viewed as inferior specimens of hailene.
Sometimes black feathered, or red haired, sometimes olive skinned
and sometimes the results of illicit affairs with non-hailene, these
poor creatures are all known by the epitaph ‘ang’hailene’
literally ‘bad’ or ‘failed people’.
society, ang’hailene are unemployable, relegated to beggars
and base laborers. They are not allowed to own property or speak
to rook-lords. An ang’hailene who tries to court a hailene
is often beaten to death by outraged mobs. Thus, ang’hailene
only breed among one another, or, if they leave the tribe, other
of ang’hailene in the western half of the continent is somewhat
better as young hailene in that part of the world often grow up
without any other hailene at all around and find themselves happy
just to meet another winged individual. This open-mindedness is
a badge of pride among western hailene who see themselves as more
refined than their tribal eastern cousins.
Hailene live in hilltop or cliff-side towns with very little fortification.
This is because hailene depend on the might of their casters (A
hailene village is 30% primary spellcasters in its adult population
as spell casting is a well looked upon trait) and the guile of its
fighting forces to repel spirit beasts rather than mere walls.
Within a town,
family groups stay in tightly clustered villas built into the hillside.
Forges and shops huddle in the center of the town around the homes
of the rook-lords. Raised towers dot the town to provide guards
with excellent vantage points.
are owned by the rook-lords, who, decide where each family will
live for a given five year period, thus deciding what families will
be in more contact with which.
spellcasters over that age of forty are eligible to become rook-lords.
Rook-lords are elected by popular poll every five years when the
houses change, with every family getting one voice. It is because
of this that heads of families strive to ensure their children are
married off quickly and that they will be the dominant partner in
and Family Life
Despite the political aspect of the family unit, Hailene marry for
love and family. Each marriage is a new ‘family’ in
the eyes of the law and thus a new vote, so it doesn’t matter
who one marries as long as one marries. Unmarried adult hailene
have no political power.
adulthood around sixteen and from that point forward, they are expected
to be on the lookout for a mate. While personal tastes vary, hailene
most value a strong will in their mate, ensuring this favorable
leadership trait is passed on to the children.
Shows of affection
among hailene seem cold and alien to most other societies. Hailene
do not kiss or embrace unless they are already mating. Instead,
hailene preen one another as birds do to show affection. Hailene
couples are sometimes seen in public wrapped in each other’s
wings, smoothing plumage or removing dry feathers.
Like all hailene
relationships, hailene love is steeped in an undercurrent of supremacy
battles. Lovers and betrothed compete with one another whenever
possible, trying to prove their superiority. Eventually, one of
the two relents and the victor is the head of the family. The dominant
partner runs the household and rears the children (ensuring that
the children learn their values and views) while the less dominant
one works outside the house.
taught by their dominant parent and their family and remain in the
household until marriage. By the time of maturity, siblings usually
have a healthy competition going on between one another. This rivalry
can appear to be a grudge to outsiders, but blood ties are important
to hailene and they will fight to the death and sacrifice even the
highest positions of power to protect family..
The hailene took the distance of the gods, especially Dodregaar,
in the Vishnari period personally and it was this perceived slight
that caused the War of Ascension as the hailene attempted to prove
themselves the superior race on the planet.
the Greater Pantheon, the Hailene began praying to their ancestors
and the hailene heroes of legend (and in some cases, storied fiction).
Overtime, this practice has become a full blown religion with over
five hundred individual deities.
gods are household gods, the worship of whom passes form dominant
family member to dominant family member. A few, such as Great Selenia
are well known enough to be revered by all hailene. Additionally,
hailene families have special days to hold in reverence for family
members close to them.
the hailene pantheon are few and far between, with those who do
exist being clerics of the pantheon rather than a given god. More
numerous are paladins, some dedicated to the memories, goals and
values of relatives as closely related as grandparents.