Nhani Moonfall and Hani Foonmall share far more simularities than just appearances and names, which makes it interesting to note how they in many ways are almost polar opposites. Hani was essentially built on my three years of experience with helming Nhani, but put in a flip side spin – inheriting several preferences, impulses and intentions but without any real responsibilty or restraint. As an extension of that, Hani was assembled specifically to be able to be the main character or hero in a narrative in the form Beyond the Tree has – Nhani couldn’t do that, she’s far too calm, and far to internal, really. Writing the two characters is very different and where Nhani makes for more interesting written narrative, Hani is far more visual.
Nhani Moonfall is old, somewhere past ten thousand years in age and old enough to have lived at the time of the Sundering, her motto would be either “Endure. In enduring grow strong.” or “Do the right thing, no matter how hard.”. She’s something of a patron saint of lost causes, a woman who tries to genuinely care about the little people. She’s titled a Priestess, but trained as a warrior, something which makes her rather practical and down to earth, rather than stuffy and holier-than-thou.
Being that old, she’s had ages upon ages to understand and master herself: very little of what she actually thinks and feels will be visible on the surface. Most of her emotions shown will often in fact be for the benefit of the viewer(s) and very few people see much of her actual feelings or know what she’s like within. A typical Nhani moment often has her hiding all of her worries or despair, putting on a smile and telling people just as worried as she is that everything will be fine, just keep up hope.
She’s often controlled and distant and any sort of outburst in her is rare and often very significant. Though she’s a highly capable warrior with thousands of years of Sentinel experience, generally avoids direct fighting unless she finds it necessary.
Hani Foonmall is essentially a developed caricature of Nhani – part polar opposite, part simplified. Hani is young and hasn’t had to face neither the ages nor the loss that Nhani has and hasn’t learned any of the lessons Nhani has from it. In general, they share most of the same impulses; Hani just lets her out freely where Nhani keeps hers hidden. Hani will speak her mind when opinions come to her, she’ll make jokes when she comes up with them and will hurt people when she decides she doesn’t like them.
She shares Nhani’s connection with the Sentinels, but where Nhani served for a long time and left on her own volition, Hani was kicked out without a clear reasoning. Likewise, she shares Nhani’s deep respect and admiration for High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind, but portrays and handles it in a more immature manner and without the distance or respect for protocol that Nhani has.
Hani is very visual and obvious about what she thinks or feels at any given time; she won’t mince words or waste time hiding her intentions. You can often tell with a glance what she’s intent on doing in a particular situation and she rarely wastes much time in getting them done. At the same time she has her own little code of honor about how to behave and what defines a warrior.
Both are warriors, but one has learnt responsibilty where the other tends to intentionally ignore it. Hani is as a result also far more inclined to enjoy herself and have fun – Nhani is often chained to duty or responsibility, having a hard time setting time aside for herself until everything else is dealt with.
Nhani can be a great character to helm and can make for great written storytelling since you see the conflict between what she wants to do and what she has to do and get an insight in everything that goes on inside her head during every decision. That said, she’s rarely a very visual character and most of her expressions and behaviour is calm and subtle in its nature.
Hani on the other hand can be more fun, she can just burst out all kinds of commentary, behaviour and impulses at odd times because she felt like it. To her there’s no real barrier between wants and duties – she’ll do what she wants and if duties only if they’re among the wants. She’s much more loud and youthful in her way of interacting with the world, and unlike Nhani she hasn’t already learnt all these grand lessons of life and can go into things without any real knowledge or expectations of what she’ll find.
Nhani Moonfall is the origins. Hani Foonmall is the caricature that was developed specifically to provide the lead to Beyond the Tree.
As for the name.. Hani sounds almost exactly the same as Nhani does with the H in Nhani being only partially silent. I actually found Hani being a more natural nickname for Nhani than the far more common “Nhan”. Foonmall was contributed by a Draenei character that had problems with pronounciations – she managed to turn Moonfall into Foonmall. I decided it worked well for a flip take on Nhani.