Ydra Taboos

Like most societies, Ydra has its own collection of cultural taboos that all Yddrlings observe. Taboos are not the same thing as more common laws, such as those that govern theft or unprovoked murder; while a typical citizen might have to pay a weregild or two during their lives with no further trouble, breaking a taboo is considered so heinous an act that it is subject to an instant outlaw state in which both gods and mortals are assumed to be pursuing the offender. In some cases it is considered respectful to give the outlaw a head start before coming after them, especially if they were previously in good standing with their community, but this is not required.

While some areas, especially more remote ones, have their own legal quirks, the following are considered taboos by the region as a whole.

  • Kinslaying (often a direct result of kinstrife), though accidental cases may carry heavy weregilds and/or being outcast instead. Killing a family member in a formal dual is not considered kinslaying, nor is killing a family member on the battlefield.
  • Oathbreaking, though most minor oaths usually don't incur this unless the subject is a repeat offender. Liars are not the same as oathbreakers; the former say or imply things which are untrue, while the latter agree to act in a certain manner and then fail to do so. Oathbreaking is most serious if multiple gods — especially Isengrim or Grisindr — were invoked or if the agreement involved formalities like a blood pact.
  • Cannibalism, which can refer to eating any sentient being; eating flesh from a spirit creature is not considered such.
  • Dansel worship. Worship of Yago is discouraged but permitted, as begging him for mercy is a common tactic of those who have to travel in the wilderness for long periods of time.
  • Witchcraft, which is to say magic that is not glossed over as the favor (or wrath) of a god, sacred rituals, or useful superstition.
  • Defiling corpses beyond taking trophies. One has a day and a night after the end of a conflict to take parts of it; it is considered rude, but not illegal, to take bits from people one didn't kill oneself. Corpses which are mutilated as part of a Hroendir rite are not considered to be breaking this taboo.
  • Sexual relations or marriage (temporary or otherwise) between two different sentient species, even if neither of them are human. A pair of dhajas can legally become involved or marry, but a human and a dhaja (or any other combination of species) cannot.
  • Defiling a holy place of the Hroendir.

Taboo-breakers who are sentenced to death instead of outlawed are typically hanged on the gallows, though this is hardly a requirement; executions may be carried out in whatever way is most appropriate, though quicker deaths are preferred. Burning at the stake is almost never used, and when it is it's generally for political reasons.

If a person is accused of breaking a taboo but is not immediately caught doing so, they must be given a trial before any punishment is carried out. Yddrlings are very superstitious and unwilling to incur the wrath of Isengrim for failing to follow procedure; they generally do not engage in "witch hunts" (literally or figuratively) unless goaded into doing so by extreme circumstances.

While not strictly taboo, people who regularly abuse or ignore the right of retribution, right of hospitality, or the tradition of weregild may find themselves outcast, and a history of bad behavior makes it more likely that accusations of taboo-breaking stick.

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