Unless otherwise noted, terms are Cathretan in origin.
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All: The spiritual region that coexists with the living world, but can’t be sensed except by Stricken, while under the influence of certain substances, in certain areas where the two overlap more closely, or after death. It’s believed that certain dreams and people who experience near-death but recover also touch upon the All. Sacred beings and other strange forms of existence ‘live’ in the All, which is divided into seven hells and five gardens, the most exalted of which is called the Glorious Garden.
allolai: (aloe-lie)(Old Hasle, guardian) Officially they are supernatural beings who shepherd and protect noble, worthy human beings in the afterlife, especially from their opposites, the morbai. Priests understand them to have little interest in human life except for a few favorites which seem to be kept as a kind of pet. Considered pure and perfect, tall and graceful of form, though their form is not specified as to how many limbs or whether they have limbs at all. Often mentioned in association with fortunate events or an alignment of circumstances, sometimes invoked when there is a dire need or to counter what is believed to be the influence of morbai. Said to maintain gardens in five heavens where they live in harmony with the noblest of men. Some sects believe they are forces of creation and healing.
Breson: (bray-sun)(Old Hasle, literally man-arts) a church official in charge of arts, crafts and musical performances produced by the church.
Church, church: A Church is a religious organization, rarely national, usually a sect. A church is a domed building, almost always white, almost almost always neighboring a court and a barracks. Churches house treasures and cultural objects, and a rear wing behind the dome houses priests. Large churches have two housing wings behind the dome: a monastery and and nunnery. The barracks, though always detached from the church itself, is considered part of the church and houses sacred guards.
Confidante: a term for a Stricken person who can hear and be heard by sacred beings.
Calendar: The days of the week are Starday, Sunday, Moonday, Trueday, Amendsday, Lordsday and Freeday. Freeday is a servant’s traditional day off, and Amendsday is supposed to be a day of reflection and getting together with friends. Traditionally, on Trueday you’re not supposed to lie (to which jesters say, whatever) and on Lordsday, nobility has a ‘day off’ where they shouldn’t be bothered with business (though they often are anyway.) In Cathret and the Meriduan Islands the traditions have fallen away. They were much practiced during the medieval period in Cathret, and in parts of Hasla and much of Vyenne, the traditions of the days are still observed. Starday is considered the first day of the week. The months are as follows: Ruevai (Suffering, 30 days), Frevai (Lambs, 30 days), Marches (30 days), Sooner (30 days), Verses (31 days), Rushes (30 days), Vaults (31 days), Plenty (31 days), Ease (30 days), Somber (31 days), Brusque (30 days), Cambervai (Darkening, 31 days). The 1st of Sooner is the holiest of holy days for the culture that founds Hasla, Cathret, Vyenne and the United Isles of Meridua. It’s a day of frivolity, a celebration of flowers and spring, and the first festival day where the weather, although tempestuous, is usually good enough that people can safely travel to parties away from home.
Court, court: A Court is a legal system, usually national but can be a local system. A court is a specific building, almost always adjacent to a church. Some very old courts may only be entered through the church. They are almost always completely underground. Courts are used to judge and hold men both as prisoners and for protective reasons. A witness may also be held in court until trial.
death mask: a mask that covers the mouth. It also often has a hood or fringe. Rarely, the eyes are glassed over or covered completely, as in the famed Gelantyne mask. Even people who aren’t sensitive to masks may lose themselves to the overtaking personality. Often, the bearer doesn’t remember what he or she did while wearing the mask, although when questioned while wearing the mask, the bearer is often aware of his or her history, and seems to be conscious on some level of an existence separate from the mask. Primarily used in war or to protect the soul from damage during sinful activities.
Dellai: (dell-lie)(Old Hasle) Head of a church. There is no distinguishing term between the head of an entire Church organization when a single Church exists (such as in Cathret) or the head of a town church.
Ellisen: (El-liss-ehn) The Irises. A famed trereshefral of Saphir, started by Lord Jester Iris. Best known for originating the Court of Joy, a two week celebration in mid-summer at the Royal Saphir’re Palace, by order of Their Royal Majesties Saphir. It’s estimated that the celebration costs one thousand sol. At the beginning, a queen of summer is crowned. At the midpoint, she chooses a ‘husband’ and crowns him the king of summer. The last three days include a fencing tournament. The winner challenges the husband to single combat. The winner is usually the king, as he is fresh and uninjured, but on occasion the challenger wins, and is awarded a fantastic prize by a dark queen. The couple then oust the king and queen of summer. This celebration and the Irises themselves have inspired many songs, poems, and at least two acclaimed plays.
enchanter: 1. a military officer in charge of chants. Rank equivalent approximately to a captain. 2. an ancient tribal war leader who lead chants and whose voice was said to give strength to his or her men and weaken the enemy. 3. a form of priest that uses his voice, in combination with a ritual and incense, to communicate with the All.
fawn: a derogatory term in public, but in certain circles is merely descriptive. A man or boy who accepts or enjoys sodomy. Comes from the way a young fawn folds itself in the grass and lays very still even when in danger. May be a bastardization of fovon, an Osian term for a man who prefers to take men into himself in any orifice. Author’s note: Although Greece doesn’t exist in this world and there is no such thing in their mythology, I like the relationship that this term has with fauns.
Gerson or Gurson: (gher-sun) (Old Hasle, literally man-justice) The title of a senior constabulary priest. Gersons manage investigations involving nobility or high profile crimes, maintain church security, coordinate peace-keeping efforts with private guards and nobility, and are given other public service duties relating to law and justice that are considered too important to leave in private hands, such as the keeping of keys to public buildings and maintaining banking and legal records.
gracian: (gray-see-un or gray-shun, depending on the region) an addictive substance made from the sap of the grace tree, a citrus which grows in the tropics and lowland sub-tropical areas. Also known as bitterfruit. Used for treating wounds. Usually taken orally but can also be applied topically. The powered form is made by reducing the sap and then encouraging the sugars to crystallize. The crystals are then crushed into a fine powder and may be reconstituted with water. The more refined the gracian, the more addictive it is. The euphoria is known to subside with each dose until it is no longer possible to achieve it. Causes serious withdrawals. Helps prevent various tropical infections.
halle’armes: (hahl-eh-ahrms) (Vyennen, study of combat) 1. A fencing hall used by a loose association of instructors. 2. A fencing practice room, usually in the basement or sub levels of manors, palaces or castles. 3. A fencing club, school or college as part of a larger teaching university. 4. The Halle’armes: The famous combatives university in Terpatralle, Vyenne which once exclusively taught fencing but now also incorporates firearms training and military theory. The Halle’armes Festival every August is a popular tournament and military games event that attracts thousands of spectators.
Hand: A term for a Stricken person who can feel and be felt by sacred beings in the All.
Kett: (Bel) Courtesans, usually female, that insinuate themselves into society for hire and report social information that may be of interest to their employers. Unlike jesters they do not involve themselves in politics directly, nor do they wear masks, and though they are trained in combat, usually use charm and seduction as their primary weapons. They often adorn the beds of their employers, but they’re seldom exclusive and a monogamous affair with their employer would not only impede their work, but diminish their status within kett circles as it’s considered highly unprofessional. If a kett falls out of favor and are no longer useful to their employer, it’s traditional to give them a large severance so that they can travel to a place where they’re not known and start over. Rare outside of Bel.
Mavson: (mav-sun)(Old Hasle, literally man-collector) Title given to constabulary priests who collect information and make arrests of witnesses to crimes. They usually report to a gerson.
morbai: (more-by) (Old Hasle, hunter being) Commonly thought of as supernatural beings who hunt and devour souls in the afterlife. Some sects believe the morbai provide food for the allolai, and allolai protect particular souls from predation. Mysterious and intelligent, their bodies are variously described as bladed, sharp, skeletal and armored, though they are seldom depicted that way in murals. Often mentioned in association with particularly devastating events where many nobles lose their lives. Known to cause madness in battles. Said to haunt seven hells, a series of beautiful but harsh wildernesses where unworthy souls can sometimes evade morbai while being subjected to a hunt ‘through all seven hells.’
Morbai’s Kiss: (more-bye’z kiss) (Meriduan, mixed) A platoon of Meriduan soldiers formed during the Cathretan Island War. Initially about one hundred strong, they dwindled due to heavy losses during the war, but had a disproportionate number of victories due in part to strong leadership from then-colonel Rohn Evan and then-master jester Juggler. They later developed into a small cult that believed itself the only military force truly loyal to the Meriduan Islands.
pointefoil: (point-eh-foil) (Vyennen, counted strike) A master fencing instructor, almost always of noble descent. Lower level or commoner fencing instructors are referred to as secontefoil. The term obviously comes from the dueling term point–a single devastating attack that instantly kills the opponent. Pointefoils were originally masters of fencing who had a reputation for points in duels. Now it is a general term for a very good swordsman who teaches. The term is in such common usage it often isn’t attributed to Vyennen.
sacred poetry: Refers to any body of knowledge that is written or dictated by Stricken or a priest under the influence of certain herbs who has received special knowledge or insight directly from the All.
secontefoil: (seh-kunt-eh-foil) (Vyennen, adequate strike) A fencing instructor suitable for a beginning or intermediate student, or a fencing instructor who has no noble blood. The origin of the term came from the ancient practice where if, in a duel, an opponent was incapacitated but refused to yield, he could appoint a military companion and sparring partner such as a lieutenant, to finish the duel with his opponent’s companion. This practice is considered a nostalgic fantasy that hearkens to a romantic period in history that may not have existed. A duelist who refuses to yield even when unable to proceed is usually dispatched by his opponent.
Seer: A Stricken person who can see and be seen by sacred beings in the All.
Sheep’s wife: A highly offensive term used for a male prostitute. The term comes from farming, where the farmer uses the ‘sheep’s wife’ for sexual pleasure supposedly with the permission of the ram and the ewe, who both benefit from the farmer.
The Shell: the living or physical world. Also called the ‘Living Shell’.
shrefmetyne: A lavish salon or business establishment that caters to people of all gender preferences, manifestations and sexual identities. Sometimes believed to be little more than orgy dens, in actuality they usually have strict rules and often require either a membership or an invitation, both of which are hard to come by unless one has wealth, beauty, or some extraordinary quality.
staghorn: A derogatory term in public, but merely descriptive in certain circles. A man who prefers to sodomize or go into males. The connotation is that when a staghorn is in rut, he’s aggressive and uncaring of his partner’s comfort. Therefore, when used as a slander, it suggests the man is a rapist or a pedophile.
Stricken: A rare state, variously believed to be a disorder, gift or curse, where a person is born with the ability to sense things in the All and communicate with the sacred beings that exist there.
trereshefral: (treh-resha-frahl) (Hasle) A coterie of public darlings, celebrities and artists that wields tremendous public power. In order to qualify as a trereshefral, a group must have wealth, ownership or unlimited access to a shrefmetyne where they conduct business and hold court, and must be widely known and spoken of both among commoners and nobility.
Trokellestrai: (troh-kell-es-try) (All, Old Hasle) A powerful sacred being that is believed to be comprised of many beings. Also called a city of souls.
velshir, velsheer: (vehl-sheer) (Hasle) A man who is attracted only to men.
warlock: 1. during ancient times, a tribal elder in charge of Stricken. The Stricken were kept underground where they had closer contact with the All and where they would be safe from raids until needed. Hence, warlock—a keeper of Stricken under lock for purposes of war, though the Stricken were also used for various rites. 2. a priest skilled in the rites to bind and control Stricken. 3. a priest trained to permanently alter people sensitive to masks by tattooing their faces. Priests of certain sects believe that a properly drawn mask can cause a person to become Stricken.