The Haften Empire

The Rise of a Bloody Dynasty

The sign of the HaftensNearly seven thousand years before Johnson Farthing was born, two warring families in the far north of Bind fought a border war between their territories.  Although they both had small populations and their neighbouring lands were not large, the war was bitter and long and nearly saw the end of both tribes.

The hostilities came to an end when the region was ravaged by a particularly cold winter that saw the people of the region driven to near starvation.  

Gevena Hafinon, the daughter of one tribal leader watched her father and brothers die.  The telling says that she marched with her few warriors into the territory of Berrik Sorten and demanded to see him.  His tribe were also near starvation and he agreed to meet on a frozen field near the broken wooded fortifications of his village.

Hafinon stood in front of him, bared her breast and held a knife against her heart.  "Our tribes are dying.  Our families and people are dying. We can join together as one tribe and invade those to our south and survive, or I will cut out my heart in front of you and both our tribes will die."

Sorten looked at the beautiful woman in horror and he struck the knife out of her hand and held her tightly to him.  As he did so, he realised how terribly thin she was, how very close to death.

"Bring your people, we will march south. The tribes of the Sorten and the Hafinon will die here and the tribe of the Haftens will conquer all," he declared.

The veracity of this tale is hard to fathom.  That the two tribes did join and begin a bloody battle of survival is not disputed, however, and the Haftens formed what would be the longest lived of any of the despotic empires of Dirt.

The original dynasty was made up of Gevena and Berrik and their ten children, some from earlier marriages.  Although they did not subdue the continent in their lifetimes, twelve of the regions were named for them, the Eastern Plains being the exception.

The Haften Council

That original Haften family who went on to conquer the northern and western regions  of Bind, did not survive longer than two centuries before they were wiped out by factions within their own ranks following the bitter wars with the older peoples of the Eastern Plains. Their leadership was replaced by a council of war chiefs, position on which was won by blood feuds. The Haften society thought their history important and though they removed the original families, they kept the Haften name as a mark of respect.

The ruling council recognised no single leader and to gain too much power within the council was to risk inevitable death by the swords of the other members. Despite the lack of a single named leader, the council showed no leanings towards a more democratic rule and the Haften empire was tyrannical and imperialistic to the core.

 

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The Haften Symbol

The origin of the symbol is unknown but it has been used in one form or another by both the original Haftens and those that rose up in the northern prelates millennia later.

The meaning of the open square has led to much argument.  Some believe it signifies a vulnerable fort while others that it is an entrance to the heart of the Haften philosophy.  The inner symbol, reminiscent of a P is derived from an early pictorial script used in ancient Adelan and means Gorcraeft, The Art of War.

Architecture

The Haftens were the greatest builders on dirt and they built many great towns and castles.  Throughout their existence, the were wedded to square buildings constructed with large stone blocks and decorated with geometrical patterns of curving shapes within square boundaries, inspired perhaps by their own symbol.

So strong were these buildings that many survive to the present day.

Of their great towns, the only surviving town with the majority of its buildings is Meressa Town in the Bain Hills.  In the lower town, many of the buildings are of Haften origin and design, though in the upper town on the hillside, the buildings are modern, this being the traditionally poorer quarter of the town.

Henderton in Hendesse is another Haften town, though it has few of its original buildings now and the large boulevards and squares mostly filled in. It does retain its original walls.