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Harpies are half-women half-bird creatures, with feathered wings instead of arms and talons for feet. Many of them wear feathers on various parts of their body as well, although this varies from one specimen to another. Felaryan harpies are usually a giant specie, about 100 feet tall on average, although shorter or even tiny sub-species also exist. They are an all female species, mating with males from other races to reproduce. A harpy baby inherits a small amount of genetic material from her father, which goes into trait and features that don't alter her physiology as a member of her mother's species.
Harpies are one of the top predators in the skies of Felarya. They are fast, voracious and deadly, with an excellent vision and hearing, allowing them to spot prey from extremely far away. They usually attack with a sudden and swift swoop, mouth wide open to snatch a prey on the ground or catching it in their claws. Being without hands, harpies have become extremely agile with their mouth and tongue. They are known to play cruel games with their prey when hunting in groups, involving dropping the terrified victim and letting one of their sister catch it in midair, then repeating the process again and again, until one of them grow tired of the game and simply gulp down the prey in flight.
Harpies in Felarya tend to despise sphinxes, which they see as little more than a bunch of full-of-themselves and self-righteous morons, and have fought several wars with them. Felaryan harpies in general are seen by others as a tough race, with a terrible temper, famous for their foul language and sarcastic and mocking retorts. They can easily appear as heartless bullies to those who aren't aware of their strange customs. Indeed, most Felaryan harpies have the strange habit of punctuating their sentences with threats and insults. They normally don't mean it at all though, it's just traditional for them to use insults, and it would seem odd and unusual if they didn't. For example, if a harpy wanted to say: "I wish to speak to your sister", she would add a threat, like: "Let me see your sister or face my wrath!" If the other harpy wanted to reply: "She's not here." then she might actually say: "Insolent fool! My sister has more important matters to deal with than speaking to the likes of you!"
Upon hearing that exchange, one might conclude that the two harpies are on the verge of fighting each other, when it's only a casual exchange ! This tradition is deeply engraved in their culture and transmitted down from generations to generations. Some harpies delight in what they see as "proper speaking", inventing striking and creative insults that sometimes become famous among their peers and earn them respect and admiration. The only time they would skip this custom is if they are in a hurry or if they have something very important to say. It's completely natural for them though, and while some harpies manage to hold back their insults when speaking to other races, most of them just don't bother at all.
Needless to say this habit contributes a lot to their reputation as being a rude and mean lot in the eyes of other races. Aul Ne'kmu'm is a well know Harpiologist who dedicated years to study their language and its true meaning. Here are some of his observations.