Laws & Customs
Use of the left Hand: – Whilst it is not a crime to use your left hand when writing, signing documentation and performing certain tasks, it is perceived as a grave insult. The left hand is thought to be the harbinger of bad-luck and should only be used in tandem with the right hand. Those born left-handed are taught to use their right hand, and are considered to be born of sorrow, wicked-hearted or villainous.
Rule of Theft:- Theft is treated with varying degrees of severity in Harmatia because the punishment is left to the discretion of the victim. If a household object has been stolen the thief may be subjected to anything between a full-pardoning, hours of free labour, to lashes with a whip. The worst punishment the victim is allowed to bestow is to cut off the thief’s hand or equivalent.
The Servants’ Dungeon: – The Servants Dungeon was a strategy applied to protect servants and offer them a chance of redemption if they had committed a crime. If a servant has done wrong by his master, the servant is placed in the Servants’ Dungeon and, depending on their crime, has a price for release assigned to them. Anyone willing to pay this price may buy the servant into their employment for a reduced pay. The fee of bail then goes to the previous master. If no one buys the servant however, they may remain within the Servants’ Dungeon for years, or be subjected to an appropriate punishment at their master’s discretion.
The Month of Haylix:- The month of Haylix is the month of the children. During this time children gather lily of the valley to make wreaths and crowns which they present to their mothers. This custom is shared by some Betheanians.
The Mark of Notameer: – By licking your thumb and then drawing it across your forehead in a line, you are doing the mark of Notameer, which is said to protect you from danger and evil.
Two Wives: – Traditionally a Kathrak custom, although most Harmatian men take only one wife, it is legal to take two. This practise was used to unite families during times of war, and also so that a man could both marry for obligation and then marry his mistress. Children born of a second marriage are considered legitimate, rather than bastards, but still usually take second place in the line for inheritance and titles.
Taking of the Mother’s Name: – Children from Harmatian nobility, especially those from a family with two wives, tend take their mother’s family name. This was done in order to boast family allegiance and stems from the belief that the child is actually born specifically of the mother’s flesh, and is therefore a part of her. In most cases, if a child does not take its mother’s name, it tends to mean the mother is from a lesser family than the father, is foreign, or in rare occurrences that the mother has rejected the child.
Homosexuality: – There are no laws in Harmatia against homosexual relationships, however they are still treated with varying degrees of scandal depending on the monarch of the time. For the most part, same-sex relationships are kept quiet, and there are no marriage opportunities.
Burning the Dead: – According to the gods’ laws, Harmatians burn their dead in order to release the soul, though nobles still possess tombs where the ashes are placed, in order to symbolise the returning of the body to the earth. The Harmatians have varying mourning times depending on the status of the deceased. Warriors are mourned a day before cremation, father’s and husbands three, mothers and wives seven and children from the ages of 1+ for two weeks. Babies and others are mourned anywhere between two to five days as the mourner requires.