The H'Mag


The H'Mag superficially resemble the Secretary Birds of old Terra, being descended from avian/raptor stock, though they have long since lost the ability of flight. They are covered from head to knees in feathers, their patterning being mostly white or light gray from the head to the insides of their wings and back and breast, with dark blue to black mottled markings separating dark blue or blue-black wingtips, tail feathers, and upper legs. Their eyes have almost no whites to them at all, and are large and always deep black, and surrounded by a thin ring of orange or bright red feathers.

H'Mag stand roughly 2 to 2.4 meters (6' to 7'3") tall, have fairly thin extremities and much stronger, harder bones than one would expect on low gravity world, though they're still honeycombed, and lighter than a human's of comparable size. Their chest is barrel shaped, having large lungs to cope with the thin atmosphere, though evolutionarily, this change seems to have been even more recent in their history than their lack of flight. H'Mag wings are still capable of allowing for limited gliding on their home world, though muscles which would otherwise drive the body into true flight have long since atrophied. In the right conditions (zero-gee, low gravity dense atmosphere, etc.) they may allow the H'Mag some aerial mobility, but would likely take years of training and developing dormant muscles to 'get the hang of it'.

The H'Mag use their 'feet' as hands, and have as a result developed a very good sense of balance, both on one leg, and on their wing's 'elbows', where firm, rubbery pads have developed to allow the H'Mag to use both 'legs' as manipulators. Despite having these 'standing' pads, the H'Mag find balancing on them for more than half an hour at a time to be very uncomfortable, and more than an hour impossible. At rest they prefer to crouch as terrestrial birds would, and use their wings and feathers as insulation.

Another notable feature is the H'Mag beak, resembling many other raptors of other worlds in design, hooked and curved downward. Closer examination will show a secondary 'inner' beak fused to the first, with hard bony ridges that function much as cutting and grinding teeth do in humans.

Little is known about H'Mag reproduction and childhood, beyond the fact that they have two sexes, lay eggs (clutches) of 5 to 8 eggs, and end up raising only the one or two strongest chicks that survive the first few months competing for food with their siblings. Only when this Darwinistic ritual comes to its conclusion does a mated couple bother to name the survivors, protecting their new 'investment' with everything short of their own lives.


H'Mag prefer live prey to prepared food, and have developed a rudimentary form of 'domestication' with their prey animals, keeping them in family owned 'nursery warrens' and letting out a few into a fenced hunting range or 'hunting palace' when necessary. While they can survive on a vegetarian diet, and some of the poorer families do when vermin aren't available, few H'Mag like the taste of anything but fresh, red meat. Agriculture is an enforced 'lower class' necessity needed to provide enough food to feed the more affluent's private livestock. Only in the last millennia or so has organized fishing become an alternative food source, and a few successful fisheries have been created to feed the fiercely competitive lower classes. A few wealthy H'Mag have extended their hunting palaces to include a shallow pool area where sport can be had hunting H'Mag's salt-rich sea creatures.



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