By Dolores J. Nurss


Note: This glossary changes constantly, receiving new entries all the time. Most of these words will not crop up in all stories. I have not written down all of the unusual words and terms that I have buried in my notes, but have concentrated mainly on those most pertinent to finished novels (which is why you will at first see more notes on Til Territories and the Charadoc than any other cultures) though I am trying to include as much as I can on missions, cultures and lands not yet formally written about--hundreds of cultures exist in my notes, and they all have their peculiar terminology. Please notify me if you find anything unfamiliar in my tales that I haven't yet catalogued for this letter. Thank you.
badger: An omnivorous novorodent of unusual ferocity, native to most continents of Novatierre, broad and flattish in build, usually striped similar to the badger of earth. The Northeastern continent has four varieties: the russet, golden, black, and cream-faced badgers. The Southeastern continent has three: the taupe, desert cream, and tiger-striped. The Southwestern Continent has two varieties, the western red and the Rembrandt (so-called because its colors resemble the palette of the Old Earth artist.) In the Northwestern Continent you find the golden-red, the stripeless, and the gray.
The Bailebelde: 1) The music to which the Bailebelde is performed.
2) The national dance of the Charadoc, combining elements of both South American and Middle Eastern folk dance. Dancers perform it to music that slowly accelerates as the dance progresses. Since this music has somewhat scandalous lyrics, polite society merely watches those of lesser caste perform the dance, and musicians may perform on a variety of instruments but never sing the song in the hearing of the upper castes.

Banana:  1)  The long, curved fruit of a giant, tropical grass imported from Earth.  The yellow, green, or red peel comes off easily when ripe, to reveal a cream-colored pasty interior, edible and very sweet.  Sometimes dried and powdered to form a dark brown sweetener.   The "tree" bears huge, waxy blossoms of deep aubergine to grayed crimson 

2)  The wild or native banana, which looks remarkably like the earth banana in leaf and stalk, but which bears white flowers and produces a red-orange fruit, less curved than the earth variety.  It has a peach-colored pasty interior, which tastes like cashews with a hint of prune.  Sometimes made into a bread, or fermented for wine.

Barrier Mountain: A large mountain in the northern Altraus coast, whose folds and difficult passageways helped to isolate numerous now-extinct villages as well as the modern-day Triple Tree Junction and Johnny’s Hideout
Basket Clan: A clan of Byssinia, specializing not only in basketry, but also in the weaving of fabrics.

batchelor-barracks:  An institution important to Darvinian divorce customs.  In their own language, "batchelor" is a gender-neutral term, and every major city has a complex containing both male and batchelor-barracks with a children's home and storage facilities, to which the newly divorced resort; even people in outlying country villages will move into town at need to participate.

Except in cases of grave danger or other pressing need, Darvinians announce divorces in autumn, often on autumn equinox.  At this point the couple puts most of their possessions into storage, except for basics like clothing and the tools of trade, and move separately into a batchelor-barrack, and their children go into a children's home in between the two, so that they can still have access to both parents as their elders work things out.  While sorting out a fair division of property and child custody, the people in each barrack support each other through the autumn and winter, and receive group and individual counseling to prepare them for a better marriage in the future.

Then, come spring, they leave, adorned with the flowers appropriate to what they seek in a new mate.  If they got their old home in the divorce settlement they move back there, or they find new lodgings with the help of the staff at the batchelor-barracks.  A portion of the settlement goes to pay for their expenses at the batchelor-barracks, if necessary paid out in increments over the space of a year, to support this institution in its care for the next wave of divorcees.

The children's home in between is not at all spartan, unlike their parents' lodging, and has separate rooms large enough for the children's possessions, which do not enter into the division of property.  Frequently siblings of the same sex lodge together, and sometimes very young siblings of the opposite sex do, too.  They have a playground and counselors, people to feed and care for them, access to both parents, and everything they need.  They usually attend a nearby school together, which is geared to deal with uprooted children.

battle herbs: A stimulant/hallucinogenic/anaesthetic combination of herbs used by certain communities of The Tribe (later known as United Tribes) as a preparation for warfare. The compound, when smoked, has a synesthetic effect of translating pain into emotion, usually a kind of giddy fury. It also enhances confidence and endurance, sometimes to the point of euphoria. It has been reported to cause blackouts, convulsions, and/or coma in some sensitive individuals, but there have been very few reported deaths.
bananapple chips: Chips made of a paste of banana, apple, and manioc starch--a popular snack food among the Tili�n.
Barrister Defender: That jurist in Til Law whose task in a Triad of Barristers is to promote or appreciate the needs, interests, and possible innocense of the defendant.
Barrister Master: A jurist in Til law who has in the past excelled both as a Prosecutor and a Defender, who takes the lead in a Triad of Barristers. His sole client is the Benefit of Til. He breaks ties in the triad when deciding the guilt, innocence, or fate of a defendant.
Barrister Prosecutor: That jurist in Til Law entrusted with the duty to prosecute the defendant or to test hir innocence.
basketball: An archaic game, once popular on Earth. It involved propelling a ball (after much bouncing, with a ban on holding the ball) into a hoop high above the player's heads, which made the odds of success favor the taller players. At first coaches recruited abnormally tall individuals for the sport, sometimes to the point of deformity. Eventually impoverished families forced their children to abuse growth-hormones to create for them a brief but lucrative career in basketball--for the duration of their shortened lives. This led to a ban upon the game in Novatierre.

Bay of Peace:  A bay shared by the nations of Aistruli and Clomen, for nautical commerce, fishing, and the tourist trade.  The borders of the separate countries extend to the waterline, and a stretch of netting separates the beaches, with a kiosk where a Clomenite or Aistrulian official will answer questions about the laws and customs of either side, while doubling as a life guard, but people on either side may swim, fish, or sail where they please in the waters.

    However, in order to leave any of the bayside communities one must produce either proof of citizenship in the country which one travels through, or a passport.  Failure to do so on the Aistruli side will find you arrested overnight, with access to a console tied into the local network, and if you cannot get your affairs squared up by morning, they will pack you onto the first ship leaving, regardless of destination.  The Clomen, on the other hand, will drop you into Brivalutat to fend for yourself, and you will not leave unless you can acquire a passport out.  (most countries in the region have an embassy at Brialutat, or at least share office space in someone else's embassy.)  Some on the Aistruli side have asked for, and received, transport into Brivalutat instead.  Those on the Clomen side don't have options--as far as the Clomenites are concerned, one has proven oneself untrustworthy or unreliable and deserving of no concessions.

    The very existence of the Bay of Peace surprises many, considering Clomen's notorious xenophobia.  But their clan-structure depends on absolute faith in the fellow members of one's own clan, and deep loyalty to those with whom one's clan has a pact.  They extend the same feelings to the nation of Aistruli, whom they have found tested and worthy of their trust.  The Clomen tend to invest themselves in all-or-nothing fashion, and only feel suspicious of those they do not know.

Beachblossom: A beachfront community along the eastern coast of the Storm Garden Peninsula in Til Territories, on the western shore of The Nissenwaters. Some say that it marks the location where the artist’s colony of DiMedici fled to escape the Great Fiddler’s Fire. Notable for fields of beachside succulents that bloom profusely in spring and summer, in tones of peach, lavender, soft gold, or white. Beachblossom is a resort town, whose community colors are peach and silver.
Beach Canyon: (Not to be confused with Canyon Beach) A sandy-floored canyon in Til Territories, carved by Elder Sister Creek, bordered by (clockwise, north to south) Mt. Seascarp, Shandow Ridge, Mt. Brotherhill, Mt. Shilo, and Whitesand Delta.

bean cakes:  Thick, savory wafers, often used by hikers, campers, and travelers.  Beans or chickpeas are cooked, mashed, dried, and powdered, then mixed with a wholegrain flour or meal, salt (and sometimes pepper) butter or some other fat, and milk, sometimes seasoned with finely shredded vegetables (most popularly seaweed, celery, mushrooms, and/or carrots) rolled out and cut into rounds or squares, and then baked.

Beanghi: A revolutionary faction in Duerlongh, known for its violence, motivated by vengeance and retribution. The name means “Mourners” in Duerlonghio.
bean sauce: A creamy sauce made from a puree of beans, usually, though in some lands made with peas, chickpeas, or nuts. Oil and lemon juice or vinegar thin the puree, and a variety of herbs and spices flavor it, along with garlic, onion, and/or hing. Chili pepper usually heads the list of seasonings used, but every region has its own ingredients.
Beau Canyon Complex: A complicated collection of interlocking canyons just below the fashionable Beau Cliffs neighborhood.
Beau Cliffs: A residential neighborhood of Novo Durango, Til Territories, featuring streets arrayed stepwise along steep slopes, forming a series of parallel cliffs descending downward towards a district of canyons and mesas. Every home is blessed with a view.
Beauty Queen, The: The first ship to successfully sail from Istislan to Til Territories, thereby establishing contact between the two states. Captained by Capt. Thomas H. Knight, the crew survived the two year voyage by also pioneering onboard desalinization equipment, living off of fish and the abundant seaweed that often mired them. Records at that time are inconsistent, with numerous variations in calendar reckonings, but The Beauty Queen is believed to have launched in the Spring of 2210.

bee finch: (Also known as the hornet finch or bee bird, coming to the same three possible names when translating from many languages.)  A finch roughly half the size of the English Sparrow, native to the northern reaches of the Northeastern Continent.  They are dust-gray with wing-feathers in grey edged in brown.  The male sports a throat in iridescent gold or green, and a brown crest.

The bee finch flocks much more companionably than most birds, nesting together in close warrens within dense heaths or brambles, generating and maintaining warmth by their proximity.  Together they will weave weeds, twigs and grasses to make a rough dome insulating their warren of nests--one of many in a  migratory circuit.  They will return frequently, repairing and improving their  super-nest each time. 

Farmers welcome their cyclical swarms, because they feed primarily on insects.  They can sweep in great numbers into an orchard and together wipe out every aphid they can grab, and the same goes for a number of other garden pests, not to mention mosquitos.  They are primarily insectivores, although in winter they do like the concentrated sugars of frozen fruit.  The bee-finch can feed amiably in closer quarters to each other than other birds, and  in fact displays far less pecking-order competition than usual among avians.  They unite in competition, instead, against the rest of the world.

Most of the time the bee finch will not harm other creatures.  But if they see an animal of any size crouch as though ready to pounce on one of their number, or come rushing swiftly upon the flock, they will unite and peck this creature to death.  Familoes are advised to keep pets indoors when they see a bee finch flock, and to teach their children not to chase birds.

They become especially dangerous in winter, because at that time they do become aggressive to animals without provocation.  They will home in especially on aquatic birds and on small animals fattened for the winter, or any creature with a thick layer of fat, collectively kill them, and share the fat-layer to help their own get through the cold season. 

They will not, however, attack people who put out suet-feeders for them.  They seem to have enough collective intelligence to recognize people who do this, possibly through a crude level of psi; experiments have shown that merely imagining putting out suet will win a person and hir livestock immunity from attack, at least for a day or two.  But one had better deliver on the promise!  They will accept any saturated fat.

bell-tail:  An ornament worn by prostitutes in Duerlongh to advertise their trade, consisting of a leather strap attached to a belt and ending in a fat leather tassel (sometimes beaded or intertwined with colored thread) with a bell attached to each of the fringes.  One wears this in back (over one's clothes) to line up with the crease between the buttocks.  The motion of walking swings it back and forth, ringing.  Duerlonghio prostitutes are not allowed, by law, to speak or vocalize in any way that could be construed as soliciting business, nor to hold up written signs advertising their services, so they have come up with this mode of communication, and settle prices and locations by a primitive street sign language.

berrydust:  A tart, sweet condiment, made from dehydrating and powdering a variety of berries, and sometimes other ingredients.  Spice companies guard the recipes to their blends ferociously.  This has, in fact, occasioned two murders in history, in Mabhratha and Darvinia.

Besmuth, Marie Theresa: Founder of the Institute for the Enablement of the Handicapped. Confined, herself, to a hovergem by a youthful accident (cliff-climbing) she adamantly refused to use the then-more-acceptable term of “disabled” for her condition. “You handicap a golfer who has gotten too good,” she used to say. “You disable a bomb–which would you rather be?”

bhang:  Originally an earth beverage made of marijuana, milk, butter-oil, and spices, brewers on Novatierre frequently use a variety of other intoxicating herbs, alone or in combination, to create an intoxicating drink.  Too many jealously guarded recipes exist to relate here, varying in strength from indistinct to frighteningly potent.  Not all are safe for human consumption; before consuming bhang from an unfamiliar source abroad, consult with travel agencies as to reliable and unreliable brewers.  All bhang in Til Territories is inspected for safety.

Biancello, Mirabecca: Founder of Mirabecca’s village. An indifferent oil painter, who did not garner much recognition in her native Forested Community of DiMedici, she took to farming and became famous for her hospitality.
big-eared fox: A small, slender predator of canine appearance, with a long, pointed snout and large, wide, pointed ears, native to the Southeastern Continent, with a preference for open spaces where sound travels well. Adapted to get by on little water. Comes in buff, sand, golden ochre, aubern, reddish brown, or cream.
biocost: The cost of a mission or action in terms of the harm done to living beings through death, injury, deformity, disability, hardship, psychological trauma or spiritual crisis.
biologic conversion engine: The power-source of GEMs and other small-to-midsized motored devices. This engine can take in any organic material (soft vegetation preferred, although many GEMS now come equipped with a device to chew up small branches into chips and sawdust) and, by focused Magentine energy, accelerate the decay process in a simulation of bacterial action, producing a great amount of heat with which to power a machine. The byproduct is fertilizer.
biosculpt: (V) To alter a living body from its natural form by surgical means, for reasons other than medical necessity, usually aesthetic or fanciful.
(N) A person or animal so altered.
birch: These tall trees (no relation to the birch trees of Earth) have slender branches that grow upward at a sharp angle then drape down again in “weeping” form, with narrow, bipinate leaves, silver-green on top and fuzzy yellow-green beneath. The soft, thick, peeling bark varies from pale green to ivory to a warm beige pink (the pink variety prevails in Til Territories)
birch syrup: A syrup made much like maple syrup, from a variety of trees found throughout Novatierre, called “birches” but not always related. It resembles maple sugar also in flavor, with perhaps a hint of licorice, depending on the variety.

birdcatcher:  A large, beige and gray arachnid, 20-30 cm in diameter (including legs) possibly descended from Earth's camel spider.  If so, it has evolved over time to adapt to a cooler and less arid climate in the Charadocian mountains.  Some varieties have spread down to the moister and more temperate valleys; these are usually green.  The birdcatcher gets its name from the fact that it eats small birds.  Rumors of it being perilously venomous, however, have no merit; its bite is no worse than that of an ordinary spider, albeit larger.

It has commercial value for the silk of its webs, which the regional people spin and weave into light, warm, and enduring fabric.  They jealously guard, however, the specifics of the fabric's manufacture, and trade it only at great need, having a superstition that to sell or give it away means to part with some of the power of the weaver.

 biscuit: 1) a cylinder or lump of non-yeast raised bread. (Most common usage in Til Territories and Istislan.)
2) A crisp cookie. (Most common usage in Naugren and Camelot.)
3) A crumbly, baked mixture of cereal seeds, nuts, and binders, scooped into bowls in crumbs and clusters, over which one pours melted butter, and sometimes honey, syrup or some other sweetener. (Most common usage in United Tribes.)

black-and-white:  A popular fast-food in the Diemtran Empire, consisting of white hominy, canned black bean, and a young cheese crumbled on top, sometimes with onions.  Many now prefers it made with golden hominy, but the name lingers on.

black clams: Misnomer for what is actually a large (palmsized) blue-black limpet. Instead of using a radulla, the Black Clam exudes a biological acid (to which it is immune) to etch its niche in rock. This acid, when absorbed or ingested by an animal, produces slow and painful death by excessive neural stimulation. Sacred to a small tribe called The True Tili�n who regard them as deities.
Blackrock, Mt.: A long ovoid mountain with many foothills and convolutions, above the east end of the Great Gulf Road, intricate with crevices, cliffs, and canyons and overgrown with rainforest. Named for an abundance of black granite, but rich in other varieties of granite as well. Few have ever quarried these stones, due to the inaccessibility of the countryside.
Black Wolf: See Snake Wolf.
Blarney Room, The: A room in the Silverfoam Inn for telling stories--true, made up, new, traditional, or any combination thereof.

blessing bread:  A dark, sweet bread of multiple grains, made with nuts, bits of fruit, flecks of gold and plenty of molasses, made in Arundel for special occasions, especially those honoring someone (such as birthdays or award ceremonies) or recognizing a change in status (such as a wedding, a divorce-wake, or a retirement party.)

Blessingview Cliff: A cliff to the west of Alonzo Valley, stretching from Mt. Seascarp to Farmer’s Friend. It mainly overlooks the village of Pixie and the Annie River, but it also provides a good view of most of the lower valley. Traditionally in Pixie, farmers climb to the cliff around sunset, in autumn, on Easter Sunday, to survey the rich farmland below, ripe for harvest or harvested already, in order to count their blessings.
blood corn: A flint corn with dark purplish-red kernels, adapted to humid, high-altitude conditions within a broad temperature range.
bloatfish: A fish that bloats up when predators approach in order to look menacing or at least too big to swallow.
blousing: A garment of the highest caste males of the Charadoc, usually made of silk (indigenous Charadocian silk or Truesilk), constructed in a globe-form (much like a weather-balloon) but left to hang slack, with apertures for neck, wrists, and waist. It blouses over the waistband of the pants in most designs, although for awhile a fashion prevailed for a longer, dome-shaped form with petaled hem, designed for cincture at the hips.
bluebonnet tree: A midsized hardwood tree with enormous, fluted, blue-violet, bell-shaped flowers in the spring. The leaves are large, dark green, waxy, and almost oblong-shape. The wood varies from taupe to pinkish-beige. The bluebonnet tree is chiefly esteemed for the resin it produces, from which one may make an acrylic-like polymer.
Blue Island: A small, club-shaped island across from Goodwill Lagoon in Carmina Island, named for the bluish cast of its thick foliage in the distance as seen from the Carmina coast.
blue magentine: The rarest and highest grade of magentine, most adept at storing psychic impressions. It has a cobalt blue color.
blue monster: A shapeless, boneless creature of folklore, with blue fur and a pair of bulging eyes. Allegedly, it can chew through rock and other hard materials. Blue monsters enjoy an immunity to poison, disease, and fire. Impervious to most wounds, a deep enough cut will cause it to divide into two monsters, amoeba-style. Only certain amulets or incantations can defeat it.
Sociologists believe that the colonists invented stories of the blue monsters in order to laugh at their own fears of the many unfamiliar and potentially dangerous life forms which they encountered on a regular basis. When faced with something new and frightening, they would say to each other, “Well, at least it’s not a blue monster!”

blue peach:  A deciduous fruit-tree of the Northeastern Continent, in temperate regions close to the coast of the Greather Ocean.  Although its fruits are fuzzy, global, and roughly the same size, it bears no relation to peaches from Earth.  Its color is not truly blue, but more in the purple range, varying from lavender-rose to periwinkel, with one variety being the green of copper patina with a ruddy-orange blush.  In flavor the taste is said to resemble the smell of violets with overtones of honey and lemon.

          The tree has large wide, papery leaves with texturally prominent veins, in a lime green, and has a sweet-tart citrusy flavor, used in cooking as a seasoning, and also to wrap confections.  They turn yellow in autumn or drought, and make good mulch or fodder.

            The blossoms are small, with five petals each, flat at the tips, in white tinged with periwinkel or peach, and deep crimson centers and throats.  They are intensely fragrant with a scent very much like the fruit, and attract many pollinators.  Beekeepers often plant blue peach near their hives, and so do farmers at the ends of rows of crops.

          The trees tend to be short and thick, very twisty and with large flutings or rounded segments that extend up from each major root (often raised or buttressing) and usually quickly separating off again into thick major boughs.   The bark is silver-gray.  The wood is light amber or tan in color, of no use for construction and not much use for carving, being light and frangible, almost crumbly, but the prunings are popular for hugelcultur and make fragrant firewood.  It is also sometimes used as a base for incense.

          The trees do well in sandy or silty soil.  Farmers prize them for their salt-tolerance.  The smooth, ovoid seeds can float for miles in ocean before washing ashore and taking root.  Branches of the tree readily break off in storms, but easily root and sprout again.  Trees completely blown down and swept out to sea as driftwood often surprise people by resprouting on the beach again, when thought completely dead.  And it's proverbial that the stumps have more lives than cats.

blunts: Slang term for depressant, opiate or tranquilizing drugs.

boatsan: Sailor, pilot, or navigator of a boat or small vessel, especially of a ferry-boat.
Bojemi, Alecondor Ramses: One of the most innovative field-physicians of modern times, Dr. Bojemi has eased suffering all over the world with his hypnosis-abetted surgeries, immune-system-boosting medicinal trances, and other applications of the mind-body connection. Despite his reputation to the contrary, he did not actually discover much of anything new in the study of medical hypnosis. Instead, he applied old lore in new ways, establishing quicker, easier ways to induce trance states in patients distracted by pain and discomfort, and adapting these to a wide range of cultures. In effect, he created a sort of cultural grid pattern by which to adapt hypnosis techniques not only to different national and ethnic groups, but to fine-tune these to the nuances of subcultures and even families.
His career came to an untimely end in the summer of 2734, during the Lludlowe/Suetenlynd War. Although unearthed while still alive from the rubble of bombing, surviving for two weeks by self-inducing a trance that limited his need for air, food, and water, nevertheless kidney complications killed him in the hospital that he himself had built, due to his long immobility. He spent his last lucid moments, however, instructing the medical personnel who attended him, and is accounted a Coran.
Some believe that grief over his death triggered the shocking final twist of the war. After his funeral, the normally gentle Suetenysch used the hospital, which he had devoted his life to establishing, in order to mutate and weaponize several of their indigenous plagues and unleash them against Lludlowe as germ warfare.
Let this be a warning to the young agent: however rightfully acclaimed Dr. Bojemi was in his medical field, some critics now say that he should have looked beyond the hospital to see the greater soul-sickness growing between these two nations, and then called in other agents specializing on the cultural front to nip trouble in the bud. A Til agent’s mission should not confine itself to the original overt purpose to which e has been called, but rather to see the larger picture. Few ills erupt in isolation.
Book Clan: That clan of Byssinia which specializes in paper products. Since this puts them in the forefront of publication in the nation, having more access to written lore than the other clans, they also supply tutors and teachers to the rest of the country. As a result, they have the most widespread marriage-ties of any of the clans, and have often (but not always) provided a neutral voice in Byssinia’s feud-torn history. Those few clans in vendetta with Book Clan would nevertheless kidnap clan members, particularly those with strategic military knowledge, and force them into a kind of scholastic servitude or slavery.
Bone Clan: A minor clan of Byssinia which makes beads and wind instruments. Originally it made bone beads and bone flutes, but it has long since branched out.

border-ribbon:  A wide, tapestry or brocade ribbon,  usually symmetrical in design,  woven with the stripes of design on the bias and unfigured fabric in between, then cut on the bias with the edges folded in and sealed in place with a flexible, iron-heated resin.  Used for edging unhemmed fabric, or for decorative purposes.  A variety of countries and communities make border-ribbon, each with their own distinctive styles.  Most coveted are the ribbons of Darvinia, especially for wedding-garments.

borisa: A hot air balloon, football-shaped and having fins that the rider may shift by pulling cables, comparatively more steerable than the average balloon. The invention of Nikolai Borisanov.
Borisanov, Nikolai Carter: The first cartographer to map the coastlines of the Western Continent. Native to Istislan, he had a mountainfolk father from the Charadoc, and became interested in the tales of similar travelers from an early age. He did much of his research from hot air balloons, whose design he improved and made nearly as amenable to steering as one of Earth's old dirigibles
. Also known as a mystic, studied by philosophers and occultists around the world. Founder of the Godists.
borta (cheese): A rich, salty, aged sheep cheese, whose strong flavor some prize highly and some can’t stand.
Borta (nation): A nation in the far north of the Northwestern Continent, which shares a very short border with Toulin and no one else, being otherwise surrounded by channels. Both Bortans and Toulinians consider it boorish to refer to their homelands as part of an island, though in fact that is exactly what it is, albeit a very large and long one. Ruled by an economic aristocracy, with pretensions of social mobility.
The main export used to be timber, until poor management logged the forests nearly to the brink of extinction. The forests, however, have been making a comeback in recent generations, thanks to Tili�n replanting efforts begun a century ago. Now they export mainly flaxseed, feather bedding products, linen, wine, stone-fruit products, wheat, oats, and rye. They are primarily known as the producers of borta cheese. They are also the sole source of pate foie de gras in the world.

Bortatoulin:   A popular name for the large island that, on Earth, would be roughly equivalent to Ontario, Quebec, and most of Newfoundland and Labrador, divided at the pinched middle between the nation of Borta to the west, and Toulin to the east.  Be forewarned, however, that neither Bortans nor Toulinians ever refer to the land as Bortatoulin, and consider it rude to refer to their residence as an island.  They consider it part of the mainland, which just happens to be surrounded by rivers and lakes.  Pointing out that the lakes and rivers in question are, in fact, salty, connected to the Lesser Ocean, and better described as channels and bays, will not impress anybody with your logic.

boulder forest: An area dense with tall, jutting boulders.
Bowl Clan: A Clan of Byssinia specializing in ceramics of every kind.
braided verse: A form of poetry popular in a number of languages of Novatierre. It consists of several bifurcated lines, each side complementing the other in one way, counterpointing it in another. After a couple of such lines comes a single line that draws them together. And then more split lines. Sometimes the joining line also bifurcates, but stacked in form rather than side by side. The Lovequest Vow is one such braided verse.
brambleberry: The fruit of Modrian's Bramble. A small berry, usually solitary but sometimes clustered on the cane, of a bronzy-purple color. Not flavorful enough for eating, though nontoxic, but often used in homemade facial masks due to its high glycolic acid content.

breakfast beans:  A tiny, thin-skinned descendant of the tepary bean, bred by the lower castes of the Charadoc, pale beige to waxy yellow in color, which cooks much, much faster than ordinary beans, if soaked overnight.  Usually stored mixed with various dried aromatic herbs that repel insects, and then soaked and cooked with these remaining.

breakfast biscuit: small cylindrical or irregular piece of bread (small fist sized) made from ration-flour, for the basis of a highly nutritious breakfast.
The Brickway: A famous thoroughfare through the center of Til Institute paved with bricks in a herringbone-style.
The Bridge of Curses: A rotten suspension bridge rumored to exist somewhere in the mountains of The Charadoc, which may or may not still exist. Connected to many deaths, by accident, violence, or suicide. Folklore has it that a man sacrificed a son at either end, adjuring them to protect the bridge with their ghosts–but he never specified who to protect the bridge from.

Bright Leaves Festival:  One of two moveable feasts observed in Darvinia in honor of Timora, their Goddess of Transitions, held in Autumn whenever the majority of deciduous trees begin to shed their leaves, and/or the first snowfall.  Not the happiest of holidays, since traditionally at this time people announce break-ups and divorces, but also a time to honor the dead and dying.

Brivalutat:  In the heart of the city of Comerciutat, with her many tall structures of glass and steel, you will find an extremely dense, picturesque old town, a 3D maze of tightly curving streets, stairs, elevated walkways, balconies and bridges between buildings ten stories high or more, all of made of aged, unpainted wood, sometimes carved, with fancy turned-wood railings and gingerbread.  The community borders a bay and beach, but inside most of it you can’t see anything beyond the community itself.  While it abounds in tourist attractions (theaters, casinos, spas, spiritual retreats, esoteric schools and monasteries, ashrams, dance halls, hotels, restaurants, museums, drug dens, bars, brothels, and bazaars) it also contains dwellings, many and tightly packed, shops of every description, and a number of businesses and institutions discreetly tucked away here and there.  You have reached the xenoslum of Brivalutat, where the residents have limited or nonexistant access to the outside, while the outside has free access to it.  People can become very rich here, or very poor.  Some feel especially proud to live here or be born here, regardless of their station in life, while others feel desperate to get out.  Great hopes, and great hopelessness, tragedy and triumph, meanness and heroism, ugliness and beauty, abound around every twist and turn.  You will find this xenoslum vibrantly alive and bustling, yet also dangerous and hungry.  Law does not, in the strictest sense of the word, apply here, so watch your back accordingly.
brookthorn: A tall shrub with half-meter thorns rather than leaves, varying in color from sage green to lime. It favors alkaline riparian environments and will sometimes choke streams.
Brother Beach: Til Territories beach beside the village of Tiliant�l. Franciscan monks had a monastery built near here to minister to the parishioners traumatized by the corrupted monastery of the Lost Colony.
Brotherhill, Mt.: A hill between Mt. Shilo and Mt. St. Agnes, below Hillhollow Village, connected to Mt. Seascarp by Shandow Ridge. Historians, with help from amateur archaeologists have finally solved the long debate over whether it owed its name to a Catholic monastery or a Quaker colony.
It did once host a small convent that never had more than six sisters in it at a time, on the side facing Mt. St. Agnes, but never a monastery. On the other hand, it also loomed over a farm belonging to a large, extended Quaker family (but not an entire colony) as the southernmost settlement of HillHollow village; they probably named the hill. The Brotherhill Winery on the hillside facing the Rhallunn river came long after, and had nothing to do with the naming whatsoever.
Brotherhill Winery: A winery on the slope of Mt. Brotherhill, overlooking the Rhallunn River, producing a notoriously inferior but potent and very affordable product.
bue�uelo: A dessert popular in Alonzo Valley, consisting of a crispy, flaky pastry bowl almost closed at the top, often fluted in shape, with a syrupy or frothy filling.
buff fox: A small carnivore, strikingly resembling the fox of Earth, of a buff to golden color, native to the Northeastern Continent. Very shy of human beings. Many nations, especially in the east, consider it good luck to catch a glimpse of one.
bull's blood floor: Flooring made by binding the earth of a dirt floor with blood (usually cattle) then smoothing it, drying it, and polishing it. Sometimes people add tea tree oil or other botanicals to counteract the initial smell and sanitize it. Dries to a rich, deep reddish brown, almost black, and glossy. Often used in Samina-Ved, but strictly by the lower castes, as touching it would cause ritual impurity to the upper castes.
Buning: A small port town on the coast of the Charadoc, next to a hidden bay. Founded by a Chinese expedition out of Earth (which had the foresight to design their transfer-device in boat-form against the likelihood of landing in the middle of ocean) it has also mingled, over the centuries, with other colonies of French and Mountainfolk descent. Despite this it retains a Chinese character in its architecture, though not in its cuisine. The allegations as to Buning's status as a haven for smugglers and pirates lies beyond the scope of this abridged dictionary to investigate.
Burden of Remorse: The effect of the Tili�n's first crime in shaping the goals and directions of Lovequest through guilt.
Buried Treasure Canyon: The narrow canyon of Til Territories that descends from between Mt. Shilo and Mt. Snow, down to the Whitesand Delta, carved by the Little Sister Creek. According to legend, a woman of Hillhollow Village fled through the treacherous pass between those two mountains into the canyon, after a fire killed her family and the villagers accused her of murder, claiming that she set the fire on purpose to escape her responsibilities and return to the wanton life that rumor attributed to her before her marriage. Generations later explorers found a buried cache of the poor woman’s keepsakes of her husband and children, charred but still recognizable, wrapped in velveteen and tucked into a wax-sealed chest buried in a cave. They found her remains not far off, though no one knows the circumstances of her death. Homestead Village keeps the treasures now in a small museum, along with other, less tragic artifacts of their history.
Byssinia: That nation located on The Spine of Byssinia, in the Southwestern Continent, a steeply mountainous region full of many isolated valleys that have each evolved distinct cultures, each identified as a Clan, each having a specialty in handicrafts, such as the Bowl Clan (ceramics) the Basket Clan (weaving of basketry and fabric, the Book Clan (paper-products) the Hide Clan (leatherwork) et cetera.
Once known for its severe balkanization, especially during the Vendetta Wars, its people never became so completely set against each other as to evolve separate languages, because they did depend on each other’s wares, even if sometimes passed through several other clans to get to them without violating the demands of vendettas. Additionally, Byssinians labor under the genetic necessity of exogamy, due to its many small gene pools.
Today it has a reputation for producing the finest handmade crafts of any nation on Novatierre. To maintain this skill-based economy, it has outlawed factories and limited the import of factory-made goods. Wares from Byssinia cost quite a bit, but enough wealthy people around the world buy them to keep the Byssinians quite well provided-for.
Byssinia, Bay of: The long, narrow bay which bifurcates the Southwestern continent into two lobes.

Previous Installment Main Page Next Installment