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
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
Basket Clan: A clan of Byssinia, specializing not only in basketry, but also in the weaving of fabrics.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
(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.
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.
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?”
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
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.
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
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
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.