Harndonian Culture

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Cultural Practices

Even after the colonial period, the Years of Blood, and the revolution of 1950, Harndonian culture is has a largely spiritualistic character, very much tied in with past traditions and Guvar. Religious festivals held throughout the year and religious folklore have become popularised to an extent that means it is very difficult to set artificial boundaries between the religious and secular sides of Harndonian cultural life and identity.

Naming Ceremony

The naming ceremony - simply known as Er Broltolo (The Naming) - occurs at sunset on a child's 14th birthday, and is the required step of becoming an adult (culturally, at least - the revolution removed all legal bearing from this with the exception of the name change). Despite it having little legal implications, the vast majority of Harndonians partake in it, with estimates at roughly 97% participation. Those who choose not to undetake the ceremony still become legal adults at sunset on their 14th birthday, but instead keep the name that they had grown up with ([insert name of chosen parent]-Nagai - Nagai translates roughly to descendant). The name (or Gubroltol (spirit-name)) reflects the past of the child, and the nature of the person they will become; it is thought that a person's name has bearing on their life, and that a person's name shows the very truth of their soul. The ceremony involves druids either from the tribal unit or local settlement holding a silent moot and communing with the aspects within a circle drawn out on the ground. At the centre of this circle, the child must sit cross-legged for the duration. Having communed for enough time (druid and child dependent), these druids (who have normally known the child for years at the very least) leave the circle to consult on the name by themselves. The child remains sitting. Once the druids have agreed upon a name, they return to their previous positions just inside of the drawn circle, raise their hands to the heavens, and sing out what the child's adult name will be, and what it means. Once the druids have stopped and left the circle, the child is free to leave the circle an adult.

Religion

Although all major religions have a small presence in Harndon, by far the main religion is that of the Harndonian Druidic traditions of Guvar (which roughly translates to "The Song" (of Nature)).

Religion Followers as a percentage of the total population (2017 census)
Guvar 77%
Atheism 10%
Dalinism 9%
Other 4%

It should be noted that even amongst the Atheist and Dalinist populations, many of the traditions associated to Guvar still apply, as they are as much Harndonian traditions as religious ones.

Guvar

The Harndonian Druidic religion was composed of the 5 Aspects of Nature: Father Sea, Mother Earth, Brother Nature, Sister Fire and the Void. All of these had their own realm and powers, and the main temples of these Aspects were places of learning and research into that Aspect's domain. The time of creation of Guvar is unknown, but it is thought to have been developed over hundreds of years in the 3rd and 4th millennia BC, and not just incorporates Harndonian folklore, but comprises it entirely. There is no fixed doctrine or central set of texts: it is more of a loose connection of folklore and beliefs that all share the same worship of nature in each and all of its Aspects.

Aspects Description
Mother Earth The most revered of all the Aspects, Mother Earth is the Aspect of all things that come from the earth, be it grain, stone, or humans. She guards the Harndonian people and all their advancements, like trade, sanitation and crafts.
Father Sea The vengeful and unpredictable Father Sea is the Aspect of the oceans and their bounty, as well as those who sail them. Those who follow him will be protected from his wrath, and his druids will teach them the ways of the sea.
Brother Nature With his gentle, loving embrace, Brother Nature is the Aspect of healing and the natural world and its denizens, preserving the balance of the wilds. The riches of nature are his to give, and his to take away: take care of Nature, and Brother will take care of you.
Sister Fire Volatile, caring, and violent, the duplicitous Sister Fire is the Aspect of fire and metal. She strikes with furious anger at those who defile Harndon with lava, chemicals and iron.
The Void Feared and revered in equal measure, The Void is the Aspect of death, decay and madness. It is the great leveller, the faceless horror. It provides balance in a world full of light and life, and its followers fanatically follow that aim, whatever horrors it may lead them to. In the past, devotees of The Void would be militant defenders of the Harndonian People, to the point of death.

Folklore

Guvar and Harndonian culture is so entirely intertwined that it is effectively impossible to separate them. As such, folklore plays a huge role in both the religious and cultural lives of the Harndonian people, past and present.

Beliefs
Disturbing a grave

If a body's final resting place is disturbed in any way, the Aspect of The Void will be angered; pissing off the Aspect of death and decay is predictably a bad idea. The perpetrators are hunted by the Walking Shadow, a shard of The Void present in reality. Once the Walking Shadow finds its prey, all parts of the perpetrators' bodies that had entered the inside of the grave - or had touched anything from inside of the grave - dissolves away to nothing. Before the victim dies, what's left of their body is inhabited by the Aspect to return the grave to its undisturbed state.

The 5th summer of a child's life

It is believed that a soul must have spent 5 summer seasons in the world creating links and spiritual connections with the living world around them before it is spiritually 'mature' (hence the Harndonian insistence on a childhood properly lived). Once it is 'mature', that soul can - in the case of the body's death and proper burial - travel down from the now 'empty' corpse the roots of plants and trees to sink deep into the deepest recesses of the Earth, to be one with Guvar and their kin. If a child dies before the end of their 5th summer, then that soul is unable to find its way back home, and so becomes a ghost, doomed to wander the surface of Miyana until it meets the one who can provide that link for them (see "Ghosts").

Ghosts

In the Harndonian belief system, ghosts are the lost spirits of those that died before their fifth summer, or died without a proper burial. Haunted by their fate, they wander the earth, seeking to head back into the Earth where they belong, so they can be one with Guvar. Unlike in many other cultures, ghosts are not malevelent beings that cause harm; instead, they can even provide help for those most in need. If you are visited by a ghost, the advice it gives you is always wise and trustworthy.

Someone who has met a ghost, however, is then honour bound to return the favour by helping the spirit to return back into the Earth. This is done by bringing druids of The Void to the place where the person and the ghost first met, and then holding a ritual called Kalnaro (translated as Binding).

Kalnaro involves the person who met the ghost placing a single drop of their blood onto a single root stem of a living plant from the area, all whilst the druids sing a chant called Kalnaro Guvar (roughly translated as Binding Song of Nature). Once the chant has been finished in its entirety, the root stem is to be returned to its rightful place, carrying the blood with it. The ghost can then channel its soul through that spirit-touched blood down into the Earth to finally find peace.

Four pointed tapered star

Set of symbols common to cave paintings found throughout the world. Its meaning appears to have been Success or a Successful endeavour, and is still viewed so to this day. In Harndonian folklore, it is the crystal heart set into the aethereal tree of Guvar, from which the energies of all life flow.

Birth and death of the universe

As the light and warmth from the centre of the crystal spread to each of the four points, the four main Aspects (Earth, Sea, Fire, Nature) were brought into being, each acting as a bridge from their individual arm of the star into what will become material reality.

The universe was birthed in one blinding - albeit relatively small - flash of light, as the first hints of life energy seeped out of each of the four points of the crystal. This spark of energy unleashed itself and the four initial Aspects from the aethereal plane of existence into the material one. With the growing amount of energy leaving the tree of Guvar, the universe began to grow and expand, birthing the features we now walk on, and the air we now breath.

Within the aethereal crystal, however, heat and light continued to radiate outwards, until the centre was left entirely cold and dark. In this final act, the crystal brought into being the Void Aspect, so bringing death, decay, and the cycle of life into the material plane.

The universe will one day die, not with the explosion that birthed it, but with the slow, gradual decay. All of the energy within the heart of Guvar's tree crystal will eventually seep out into the material plane; with such an act, the tree will have given its all, and Guvar will slowly fade and shrivel as the very source of its life would be taken away. In the end, each of the four initial Aspects will too join the material plane in death, leaving the Void to exist, alone, amongst the faded remains of what was.

Right of sanctuary/honoured guests

Arguably as a product of what can be quite a harsh environment, Guvar contains within its beleifs an unalieable right to compassionate shelter free from any kind of danger or threat. Travellers, whether alone or part of groups up to the size of tribal units, are to be offered - always from the larger/more settled/better prepared group to the lesser - shelter, food, tea and companionship. Turning down this offer would be a source of great offence. It is a sacred duty, that, if neglected, can begin to fracture the iron-hard social ties that keep Harndonian society alive.

Guardianship of nature

As nature itself is represented by the five Aspects, especially by Brother Nature - the aspect of beasts and all life - harming the environment is actively harming the Aspects themselves. Damaging the Aspects is always reciprocated in kind, as is being seen with the relentless march of climate change, or man-made disasters. Taking care of the environment is not just a moral and sacred duty, but also an act of both joy and self preservation.

Religious Festivals

Guvar has 5 main festivals, one for each Aspect.

Festival Aspect Time of year Description
Kiko Mother Earth Vernal Equinox The main ceremony involves the participants making pots out of clay, then filling them with a single colour of dye (gained from various different Harndonian plants), and pouring in oil. All the pots are then placed on top of the temple, and are set alight. The pots then explode, showering the non-flammable dye over the Temple and the gathered people. Parties are then held in the streets and market squares, and involve feasting and drinking from plates, bowls and cups made only from baked clay. The food is that of typical Harndonian cuisine.
Popoldi Brother Nature Summer Solstice Popoldi is a festival that celebrates life and nature within the forests at summer time. And by celebrating, I mean partying. Hard. Large tables are set out in the table, and all kinds of Harndonian food cooked with fresh fruit and veg, and washed down with mead, fruit wines or ales. After everyone is satisfied, hymns are sung from within the Temple, and in the streets, with the song about to be sung relayed about by radios, so that all of Harndon erupts into song in one voice. Choqui fights then take place, where a large circle is formed by people holding shields, and then two people fight naked with swords, kolfden, axes or falxes (blunted) with no real rules. As everyone is inebriated at this point, no-one takes these fights seriously, and it all becomes very silly very quickly; there have been no recorded deaths or serious injuries as of yet due to this custom. Dances similar to the Ceilidh (Kashti) are held, with as many people joining in and laughing as possible.
Uthale Father Sea Autumnal Equinox Uthale is a festival that celebrates the bounty of the sea, and begs the Father’s mercy for the coming winter; Harndonian winter storms can be vicious. At Uthale, a simple service is sung at the Temple, with ancient Harndonian chants and hymns sung a capella or with quiet pipes or drums. Harndonians partaking in Uthale are prohibited from eating fish for a week before the service, and afterwards, a drink made from fermented seaweed is drunk as a toast. The vast majority agree that it tastes foul. A new addition is Gadak i er Quechab (playing in the winter), where a music group (metal bands is selected at random before the service, and then plays at the end, from next to the altar at each major temple.
Ferdu Sister Fire Harvest (exact date decided at Popoldi) Ferdu is a festival rather like the aspect its dedicated to: fiery and spectacular. It involves professionally trained bravados leaping into the pit of boiling oil, and swimming across it, whilst the spectators drink wine and mead spiced with herbs and spices from Harndonia’s forests. Spicy dishes are consumed, usually wrapped in soft dumpling dough. Dancers with flaming bracelets, hoops and sticks roam the streets, performing shows for anyone that wishes to see.
Ravov The Void Winter Solstice Ravov is a sombre festival about remembering the dead, and respecting sacrifice. A service is held at every temple or shrine to The Void, where people lay winter flowers upon the altar, with tags of their dead loved ones written upon them. This is accompanied by traditional funeral chants. These flowers are then left after the service, until they rot and wither away. A toast to the ancestors of Higar is then drunk.

Aspect Shrines

As well as the travelling shrines within the nomadic tribes and the temples within settlements, many Aspect Shrines dot the Harndonian landscape. These - often simple - structures are built upon a natural resource that belongs to a particular Aspect's domain.

Tolomiri are druids that both create and work these shrines, cultivating and protecting the resource, using it both for responsible trade and worship of their Aspect. Harvesting of the resource in question was done as to not disturb the careful balance of the forest, usually by growing plants in the natural shade of the trees, and by keeping the amount of felled trees to an absolute minimum. These places, over time, become renowned holy sites, where pilgrims (or tribes simply passing through) would come to both worship and trade. As a result, some of the more highly visited aspect shrines have become small villages, with priests catering to the needs of the pilgrims, making them a cornerstone of the local economy, the goods and services generated here going on to be sold for lesuire and production.

The 5 Temples

The 5 Temples are massive places of worship that were originally built by the ancient Haqueri tribe in 1500BC, grown and moulded in a spectular desplay of monumental Harndonian architecture. As the ancient Harndonians (and some modern ones) were druidic, each of the Temples were dedicated to an aspect of nature: Father Sea, Mother Earth, Brother Nature, Sister Fire and The Void. Each Temple is dedicated not only to an aspect of nature, but also a particular festival where that aspect was traditionally honoured. These five festivals are held throughout the year at important points during the Harndonian calendar, and people flock to Quechkhonia to see and partake in these festivals at this magnificent place of worship. Although these festivals are held throughout Harndon, they have become synonymous with the 5 Temples, especially internationally; for tourists, it is a breathtaking, albeit confusing, thing to behold.

Location of the 5 Temples in modern-day Quechkhonia
Temple Description
Temple of Mother Earth Now surrounded by Quechkhonia University, the Temple of Mother Earth is the largest and most impressive of all the Temples: it is a large complex that surrounds a cave filled with luminescent crystals; this is where the altar would be. The crystals shine out of the hole in the ground, and light up the centre of the Temples, so no lights are needed there. People, whether tourists, pilgrims or residents, are welcome to walk through the vast cave system underneath the Temple and that part of Harndonia, but are persuaded to take a guide: there are many twists and turns down there.
Temple of Father Sea Perched on a small island at the ocean end of Quechkhonia bay, The Temple of Father Sea, on a hazy day, can disappear against the backdrop of the sea.
Temple of Brother Nature Surrounded by the natural canals and forests of the river island of Ashurtil, and looking out onto Quechkhonia, the temple of Brother Nature is filled with even more greenery than the others and even has its own squirrel population.
Temple of Sister Fire Built on a small natural oil well, the Temple of Sister fire has a burning pit of oil at its heart, which is said to be impossible to put out. With fire lighting up its interior and exterior, Quechkhonians joke about it being a better lighthouse than the actual Hashbikhal lighthouse.
Temple of The Void A stark Temple that represents its aspect: massive black marble twists through the tree-bound 'ribs', bearing representations of various stages of life, death, and undeath. It is situated on the very outskirts of Harndon, and stands as a bleak reminder of The Void's grip on the world.

Namuil

Re-enactors dressed and armed with the traditional gear of Namuil.

The Namuil (roughly translated as "Chosen") were (and sadly, are still active in warzones and destabilised regions around Miyana) a class/caste of tribespeople that were devoted to The Void's darkest features. As the Void's representitives on Earth, these warriors were taken as youths - if they showed particular skill and strength in combat - and were ritually trained, tortured and drugged by their attendees, until they became (to put it mildly) mad. They were oblivious to pain, and entered a rage in combat, carving through battle lines with their large axes, and instilling terror in the hearts of those who face them. Armoured in hide and cloth, with the Ithafak (a circular metal plate blessed with dark spells from the Void) strapped over their hearts, these warriors wore bone and metal face masks to instil terror in their foes. The few groups of currently active Namuil are rarely more advanced than their brethren originating in antiquity, though suicide bombing (both in combat and civilian situations) is very much a feature of modern Namuil tactics.

Cuisine

Harndonian cuisine is made up of what can be foraged or harvested at that particular place and time. As such, it is entirely seasonal, with very little reliance on overseas imports throughout the year, except for food from other cuisines. Food is rationed, as much to ensure everyone gets enough to eat healthily, as to prevent over-consumption, which would damage both the environment and the people. The climate means that many types of food preservation (such as outdoor smoking, salting or drying) simply are not effective. As such, there is a high reliance on pickled and fermented foods of all kinds.

Important herbs/veg, spices and flavourings in Harndonian cuisine (not exclusive)
Ingredient Source Usage [if uncommon/unknown/rp-only]
Fennel Native --
Dill Native --
Parsley Native --
Mint Native --
Geranium Native Oils
Rose Native --
Oregano Native --
Bay Leaf Native --
Sage Native --
Burdock Native --
Juniper Berries Native --
Chamomile Native --
Dandylion Native --
Nigella Native --
Bog-myrtle Native Tea, Seasoning
Rosemary Native --
Thyme Native --
Chives Native --
Salsify Native --
Chicory Native --
Lavender Native --
Mustard Native --
Oilseed Rape Native --
Caraway Native --
Tarragon Native --
Lovage Native --
Cow Parsley Native --
Ginseng Native --
Skirret Native --
Hedge Garlic Native --
Wild Garlic Native --
Mallow Native --
Nettle Native --
Sweet Violet Native --
Sorrel Native --
Red Clover Native --
Oxeye Daisy Native --
Honeysuckle Native --
Gorse Native --
Rose Native --
Meadowsweet Native --
Hops Native --
Gruit Native --
Truffles Native --
Sugar (Sugar Beet) Introduced: Domestic --
Sugar (Cane) Imported --
Lime Pickle Imported (Harndon is one of the biggest importers and consumers of Lime Pickle)
Kalsar Native: Unique Fruits are used fermented. Salt can be taken from the surface of leaves.
Timeiei Native: Unique Can be pickled, fermented, or used fresh.
Ribradanov Native: Unique Tea, sauces
Thuzhnekonta Native: Unique Tea, sauces, fermented, fresh leaf
Ovnan Native: Unique Root normally grated/sliced.
Nutmeg Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Mace Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Tumeric Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Cinnamon Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Pepper Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Cumin Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Sumac Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Cumin Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Saffron Imported (Used in lesser proportions/important occasions)
Important vegetables (excl. previously mentioned), fruits, nuts and grains in Harndonian cuisine (not exclusive)
Ingredient Source Usage [if uncommon/unknown/rp-only]
Rice Native --
Parsnip Native --
Beetroot Native --
Runner Beans Introduced: Domestic --
Cucumber Introduced: Domestic --
Marrow Introduced: Domestic --
Winter Squashes (Pumpkins etc.) Introduced: Domestic --
Carrot Native --
Chard Native --
Radish Native --
Celery Native --
Angelica Native --
Lettuce Native --
Turnip Native --
Pak Choy Native --
Bomdong Native --
Mizuna Native --
Tatsoi Native --
Field Mustard Native --
Yellow Sarson Native --
Cabbage Native --
Water Mannagrass Native --
Hops Native --
Pea Native --
Broad Bean Native --
Many different types of beans Imported --
Lady's Bedstraw Native --
Oat Native --
Lentil Native --
Wheat Largely Imported --
Okra Imported --
Cocoa Imported --
Sesame Imported --
Melon Imported --
Citrus Imported --
Banana Imported --
Mango Imported --
Apple Native --
Citrus Imported --
Onion Native --
Garlic Native --
Arumleaf Arrowhead Native --
Bulrush Native --
Chinese Artichoke Native --
Chickweed Native --
Oyster Mushrooms Native --
Field Mushrooms Native --
Chicken-in-the-woods Native --
Wood Blewit Native --
Morrel Native --
Penny Bun Mushroom Native --
Oyster Mushrooms Native --
Jelly Ear Mushroom Native --
Bearded Tooth Fungus Native --
Chanterelle Native --
Velvet Shank Mushroom Native --
Charcoal Burner Mushroom Native --
Goosegrass Native --
Hawthorn Native --
Lime Native Leaves, blossoms
Barley Native --
Ash Native Keys: Pickling
Bilberry Native Sauces, puddings, stews, drinks, snacks
Fat Hen Native --
Strawberry Native --
Bramble Native Leaves, Berries
Rasperry Native --
Crab apple Native --
Greater Plantain Native Fried, stews, salads, fermenting, pickling
Hazelnut Native --
Rowan berries Native Pickling, sauces, preserves
Beech Nuts Native --
Elder Native Berries, flowers
Rosehip Native Drinks, sauces, syrups, preserves
Sloes Native Pickling, preserves, drinks
Bullace Native Puddings, preserves, sauces, drinks, eaten fresh
Sweet Chesnut Native --
Walnut Native --
Hairy Bittercress Native --
Pine Native Needles: sauces, teas; Seeds: stews, fillings, flour
Ithal Native: Unique Used as other nuts would
Tai Native: Unique Puddings, teas, sauces, stews, by itself

Diet

The Harndonian diet tends to contain very little meat, mainly due to the scarcity of supply (Harndon is unsuitable for most forms of animal husbandry, and there has been strict import regulation on meat since the 1987 Anthrax outbreak caused by meat imports, where 120,000 Harndonians died). What meat there is is served as a luxury dish, marinated and cooked with the best ingredients that can be found, whilst the scraps are boiled down into gravy. Fish is more common, due to the plentitude of streams, peatlands and fjords that are capable of harbouring life.

As a result of the scarcity of meat, the Harndonian diet consists mainly of fruit, vegetables (especially root veg) and grains. The majority of the protein is gained through grains like oat, veg like Mauka, pulses like lentils, or nuts like chesnuts. Sugar tends to be from natural sources; fruits and honeys are used widely, consumed a they are, or as part of a sweet dish.

Cheese, butter and milk are important aspects of any Harndonian's diet, with Ashkelun milk being the primary source. Milk is often used to enrich dishes, or drunk. Cheese and butter are preserved through soaking in brine or coating in wax or waxed leaves/cloth. Cheese is produced through the use of lady's bedstraw, ashkelun/deer/sheep rennet or fruit vinegar and normally produces a "cottage cheese" akin to Rubing or - alternatively - soft like british cottage cheese, due to the impracticalities of ripening cheese on the move. Some cheeses are boiled - similar to halloumi - for ease of preservation. In aspect shrines, ripened cheeses have been produced for millenia, and normally take the shape of semi-hard cheeses like feta or bucheron.

Food

Soups, stews and stir-fries are staples, due to the communual nature of Harndonian cooking: when a tribe stops for the evening, and gathers to break their fast the following morning, meals are made in large pots and pans over open fires, often with an ancilliary fire providing any additional processing/cooking required in mutliple smaller pots. All the equipment must be easily stowable, or drawn from the natural surroundings (i.e., disposable), meaning that many dishes are "one-pot wonders"; breads and cakes are normally fried, steamed, roasted directly over the fire, or baked in dutch ovens. In keeping with this theme, sweet and savoury is often combined in the same dish, unlike many modern cuisines. Many of the flavours involved with Harndonian cuisine are almost always natural, and tend to form complex layers - sweet and savoury combine with sour, hot, bitter, earthiness, umami, freshness and flowery.

Pickling in fruit wine/malt vinegar/brine and fermenting are common ways of preserving food, due to the historical cost and climatic issues with salting, smoking and drying whilst on the move. Many stir-fires and stews use a base of pickled/fermented root and/or leaf veg and/or fruit, yeast extract, herbs and/or spices.

Breakfast and Tea are the 2 main meals of the day: porridges made from oats, nuts or root veg are prevelent at breakfast; and stews, stir-fries, soups or curries used in the evening, often with what was gathered that day. Lunch doesn't really exist, instead Harndonians eat when they need to throughout the day (though this can often concide with the traditional lunch time). These snacks can be anything from leftover dishes and dumplings, to breads and savoury biscuits, to raw, fermented or pickled veg and fruit. Many forego any food throughout the day entirely: the two main meals are often very calorie-dense.

Dumplings are popular, and are made from ground grain flour/ground nuts/ground bark, fat (butter, milk, lard etc.) and water. They can be spiced, kept plain, or sweetened. Gaith is a stuffed dumpling, which are often filled with leaf veg (fresh, fermented or pickled), cheese, fish (fresh, fermented or pickled), or fruit (fresh, fermented or pickled). Harndonian dumplings are cooked one of 3 ways: fried in a skillet; roasted on spits over a fire; or steamed in a cage above the simmering meal in the cauldron below. Plain or savoury dumplings soaked in gravy (Ishtemar) is a delicacy. If there is a lot of butter or lard that needs to be used up, then oats cooked in melted fat (Kreo) is made, and is also considered a luxury dish.

Harndonian cuisine as a whole is very haphazard, with many of the so-called 'recipes' or 'dishes' being very basic skeletons that are built on according to circumstance (seasonal forage/crop, meat/fish, remaining stores) or whim. A popular variation of Ishtemar, for example, is a rich gravy made with a base of fermented mushrooms, Tai fruit and a range of spices.

Drink

There's a saying that Harndonians would drink anything, if it's hot. This saying is not innacurate. Favoured traditional drinks range from broth and thin gravy to various kinds of herbal teas (including a thick, sweet tea brewed with the Tai fruit) and warm, spiced juices. Warmed, spiced wines made from fruit are popular, as well as warm mead and Higar, a spirit distilled from fermented oats.

Cold drink of choice include iced herbal teas (if possible), spirits, wines, juices, fresh water, beers and ales similar to Sahti, mead and Ashkelunipneazh - fermented Ashkelun milk (an aquired taste: it is often said by visitors that they'd rather die a slow and painful death than drink it again).

Clothing

Traditional Harndonian clothing has to be both hardy and warm to provide adequate shelter and insulation from what can be a fairly harsh, and very frequently damp, environment. Knee-length tunics are used universally, with undertunics made from cloth, and overtunics made from ashkelun hair (which, when made into cloth, has similar insulation and water-resistant properties to that of wool), fur, or cloth. Some - at least in the summer months - go without one of the two tunics. Treaded light boots or moccasins made from hide or waxed cloth give an ideal mixture of protection, grip, flexibility and "feel" of the ground. Long stockings or trousers made from layered cloth or ashkelun hair are normally worn (at least in winter/autumn/spring) under the tunic(s). Hoods, bandanas and hats are often also sported, along with cloth or hide gloves. A tough belt of either hide or waxed layerd cloth is worn over the overtunic, and important items like waterskins, small tools, pouches etc. can be strung from it.

Below are some examples of Harndonian dress.

Architecture

Despite the migratory nature of the Harndonian people (resulting in many temporary/seasonal settlements being little more than a collection of glorified huts), a number of various different structures dot the Harndonian landscape, be they settlements, choktas or aspect shrines. Natural materials (namely wood and woven bark) have traditionally been the cornerstone of Harndonian architecture due to teir abundance and relative strength when utilised correctly. In some cases (or areas), stone or fired clay is used as well/instead due to local availability, conditions, or the purpose of the building.

Many settlements in Harndon are constructed either within/upon trees, depending on the location and use of the settlement. Such treehouses can be wrapped around a single trunk; suspended between more than one trunk; fully inside of a larger trunk, such as those belonging to redwoods or mature yews; within large psuedo-trunks left by aerial-rooted 'strangler' prop root plants (common throughout Harndon); or within the root systems and bases of large trees. Others, meanwhile, are 'grown' (from - for example - willow or cherry (to name only two), or through use of aerial-rooted trees) by forcing tree growth around a specified path (like in this article) to surround/provide the frame for a structure. Some rarer types can be grown atop older trees, resulting in an 'orb'-like structure naturally fused to the tree.

Harndonian construction utilises both pointed and rounded arches, domes, sweeping ledges and stacked roofs. A prime technique/example of smaller scale Harndonian architecture is the use of Reshgail (Star-Gates) pointed arches that - having met in the middle - sweep upwards and outwards in a small, curved semi-arch that has its open end upwards; within that smaller arch is suspended (from either the sides or bottom of the small arch) an orb of luminescent crystal; processed bio-luminescent fungi; bone; clay; painted wood/stone/clay/bone; amber; electronic lighting; or (less often) metal.

For the largest/most important/most permenant structures, multiple trees are moulded to the desired path, causing sweeping arches and domes that climb up the trees' height (not necesarily symmetrically, either). Between these 'bones' are placed (for the walls) clay, stone/marble, planks, plant-derived bio-'plastics' or laminated wood/paper/bone; and (for windows) panes of horn, amber, woven branches/bark or plant-derived biomaterials. During the construction of such buildings, it is important to use materials that will either flex with the trees' growth, or be strong enough to withstand it.

Examples of Harndonian Architecture

Bothy-like structure in seasonal settlement (South West Coast)
Quechkhonia House.jpg
Seasonal settlements lie all around Harndon, as many are only occupied within the winter months when migrating tribal units often stop for the season. Others are in areas of seasonal produce, and house the workers, their families, and those who service them.
Reshgail (Star-Gate)
A minecrafter's impression of a reshgail structure mid-span of a bridge
Used as markers of personal/human; cultural; spiritual; or structural significance, these structures are often seen at the entrance to choktas, shrines and temples, as well as at the centre of bridges and courtyards.
Permenant Housing

Being the kind of state that Harndon is, pretty much all of the houses in Quechkhonia are of similar standards, of a small-ish size with access to decent community park/open space nearby. All new homes are built to be like the older ones (at least on the outside). The very first (surviving) houses built in Quechkhonia are from the 13th century, though most are from later than that, and an effort has been made to ensure that the ecology and culture of Quechkhonia is conserved, at least in some of the details. All homes are in easy access of a Metro station and/or a longboat ferry stop. Within easy reach of each house is also an open-air market place, where food is sold, and the residents can buy goods, and eat out.

Chokta
Chokta.jpg
When it is no longer sufficient to have a handful of druids teaching their art to any tribesperson that walks into their place of worship and learning, a Chokta is built. This is a simple library containing texts filled with knowledge ranging from religion to chemistry, medicine to astronomy. Druids of Mother Earth (as the Aspect of Knowledge) manage the library and teach those to whom the texts cannot give all the answers they desire.
Temple of Brother Nature.png
Debating Chamber
-forest nomad debating chamber constructed.png
Even in antiquity, Harndon's tribes have partaken in some kind of democracy, where the figurehead of the tribe (the Chief) would convene the elders and they would debate the merits of each case. These turn into the focal point of each tribe, and so become the scientific (the Harndonians live simple lives, but are quite advanced in some aspects, like medicine, practical chemistry and astronautics) and cultural centres for the tribes of a particular area.