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.
-i: A plural suffix in tilianach and certain other languages of Novatierre.
I.D.: A Tili�n identification card serves not only to identify the bearer, but is also the card which one punches into various Archive-affiliated devices, such as creditors and security-locks, for use and access. In addition to the basic Tili�n I.D., a number of specialty I.D.s exist, such as juvenile I.D. (green, limited in access, reporting transactions to legal guardians), reason-disabled I.D. (reports transactions regarding unprescribed drugs and liquor, transportation, or potentially dangerous materials to one's physicians and/or guardians, formerly red but now white like basic I.D.s) and agent I.D. (iridescent, gives free access to transportation, gives access to security-clearance buildings and otherwise-contrabanded weapons, makes some records of transactions inaccessible except to other agents, law-enforcement and certain levels of government, all of whom also carry agent I.D.,s though technically not agents.)
iguana: A semi-aquatic reptile, about the size of a cat, usually in greens or beiges, some with stripes of blue, all of which have frills about their necks. Widespread along the coasts of the Greater Ocean; a variety also occupies the Bay of Byssinia. In colder regions they appear quite plump, having an insulating layer of fat. In warmer regions they become progressively more slender.
Illfighter: A member of the royal family of Oolang-Gyorny. The Illfighters do not actually rule politically, but rather intercede for the health and well-being of their people. This is a more than ceremonial function. They are a “royal line” in the sense that they have been bred for generations for a strong immune system. Whenever an epidemic begins among the people (a common occurrence in this marshy, tropical country) the Illfighters will deliberately infect themselves, so as to develop a vaccine from their own blood.
illusion: 1) An appearance to one or more of the senses which does not accurately represent reality. 2) Same as the above, except as the deliberate and professional workmanship of an illusionist, as created by the manipulation of psychic energy. An effective, though unstable and therefore short-lived, phenomenon.
illusionist: One with the psychic gift of illusionism--that is, the ability to make a thing appear to the senses like something else by creation of a psychic overlay.
imager-point: an indentation at the base of a modern photo in its two-dimensional state which, when pressed, activates a three-dimensional depiction, turning a square into a cube which one can turn and see from different angles.

imicin:  A clear, waxy resin distilled from the sap of the imicylla tree, used to seal the hulls of ships and boats.  Penetration by barnacles or other shellfish releases a mild toxin sufficient to cause them to detach.  However, most of the toxin remains sealed within the structure of the resin, and the little that escapes quickly degrades in open water.

imicylla:  A high-rooted marsh tree found in the swampy mouths of rivers and streams throughout the tropics around the world.  It has dark, waxy, palmatisect leaves. it blossoms in long clusters of yellow-white trumpet-shaped blossoms with a strong, sweet yet herbal scent, used in perfumery. 

The fruits resemble a cross between bananas and grapes, forming bunches of long, translucent, purply pseudodrupes attached at the base, each containing a single large seed.  The unsweet flesh can be dried and ground into a starchy flour.  The thumb-sized seeds are flat, oval, pale, hairy and very good at floating long distances before finding a suitable place to plant itself.

The trunk of a single tree in fact consists of multiple trunks from a common root system, grown together, twisting around each other and grafting onto each other and then separating off again into branches.  This gives them a springiness that enables them to withstand most hurricanes.  The bark is gray and much-grooved and fissured, often with clusters of resin in the fissures from which we derive imicin, the tree's chief commercial use.

Imicyllas, though beautiful, do not cultivate well in urban environments.  They grow best in brackish swamps where freshwater streams and rivers mingle with ocean, in tropical climates.  The rainwater that catches in the many natural cups among their roots provide fresh drinking water for migrant birds, as well as breeding-grounds for insects on which the birds feed.  Year-round lizards also take advantage of both these features.  Branches that periodically break off in storms have become miniature rafts for such lizards, still cupping moisture in their folds, and many have survived to spread throughout the world's islands.

industrial-age folklore movement: A fashion in the late 26th and early 27th centuries for motifs from the myths and folklore of the 19th and 20th centuries, intermixed at times with period kitch and motifs of historical incidents, particularly in useful objects such as vampire-coffin beds, flying-saucer GEMS, tables sustained by bug-eyed monsters, and Godzilla nutcrackers. This fashion to some extent influenced the fine arts of the time, such as Monty Guererro's controversial mural, "Elvis Giving Birth To Elvis", or Leonine Yu's haunting masterpiece, "Night-Skirmish On Black Velvet".
inheritance law: That branch of law in Til Territories dedicated to untangling the complexities of inheritance in a communal society. In theory, the majority of a deceased person’s goods go back to the state, with mementos passed on to family and friends according to will. In practice, possession is nine-tenths of the law.
Initiation: That ordeal and ceremony by which a person becomes a tilan. It occurs in two parts, not necessarily on the same day. The first involves contact with the mind of an Alien, in order to erase any sense of alienness from fellow human beings. The second involves an individualized ceremony steeped in the candidates own religion or tradition, wherein the new tilan recites the Lovequest Vow for the first time in public. The Lovequest Cannon remains a popular venue for making this vow.
Initiation may take place at any time in a person's life, but for those actually raised by Til Institute it generally occurs around the age of seven, or the nearest equivalent in maturity-level, this being considered the threshold of reason and self-determination.
interrogation drugs: A subcategory of depressants with psigenic properties chemically tailored to repress the subject's ability to consciously shield hir mind from telepathic probing, without deadening the thoughts behind the shield. Only two or three fully effective interrogation drugs exist.
interrogation, telepathic: Forcible telepathic inquiry into the thoughts of another person, usually for military, forensic or psychiatric purposes. Military interrogation may be freely engaged upon an open enemy, but by international law requires special clearance when used upon a civilian. Forensic interrogation always requires a warrant. Psychiatric interrogation requires the consent of the patient given in the presence of a panel of experts on psychiatric ethics.
In all three cases standard procedure involves the use of interrogation drugs upon the subject, and the tandem-investigation of two interrogation-trained telepaths, plus the presence of a third non-telepathic observer, to prevent psychic entanglement with unstable or hostile minds.
Due to the imprecise nature of the human mind and particularly the inarticulate nature of the criminal or mentally ill mind, telepathic interrogators will not communicate in the same words that the defendant might have chosen to confess in. Rather, they will perforce speak in symbols and metaphors which the court will then have the unhappy duty of deciphering. Telepathic interrogation is not nearly as reliable as the general populace would like to believe.

Ishkal Island:  A tiny, barely habitable and intermittently inhabited island within territory claimed by Toulin, not in sight of any other islands.  Throughout its history it has occasionally hosted hermits, prisoners, poets, paranoiacs, misanthropes, contemplatives, recovering addicts or alcoholics, artists, abuse victims, and others who value solitude, sometimes for weeks or months, sometimes for a lifetime, with large intervals between.  Some have called the island haunted, but most Toulinians don't believe in ghosts, and blame such rumors on the effects of isolation.

island communities: Those communities located on islands around the coast of Til Territories, which by contract determine independently to what extent, if any, they conform to Tili�n law. This depends largely on what services they want from the Tili�n.
island party: Tili�n who desire to escape the big-city bustle with a handful of friends, or else desire to make a great deal of commotion in their own right without disturbing the neighbors, often will depart with said friends to one of the uninhabited islands along the Altraus coast for parties lasting from an afternoon to a week.
Litterers and despoilers of nature, when apprehended, lose the legal right to sail, either as passenger or sailor, for anywhere from three months to three years, depending on the gravity of the offence, except with regard to monitored employment or in emergency situations. Partiers legally must register the dates and destinations of their events with the coastal authorities for the enforcement of this rule, though many don’t bother, and in truth Policia only gets strict about enforcing this in the face of other violations. Forensic psychometrists rarely have any trouble identifying miscreants.
Isle of Blessings: According to the followers of Alroy, a mundipresent paradise where Alroy resides with his chosen ones.
Isle of Curses: According to the followers of Alroy, a mundipresent hell or place of torments, inhabited by those of Alroy's fold who have most bitterly ndisappointed him, plus anyone else unfortunate enough to have stumbled into the vicinity.
Istislan: Located in that peninsula which on Earth would've been the isthmus of Central America, Istislan is one of three major industrial nations in Novatierre, and seat of the Istislan Shuttle. Known particularly for its aggressive but benign capitalism and its peculiar architecture, it is in some ways more technically advanced than Til, particularly in medicine and public transportation. Originally colonized by the United States of America, as a project of NASA, but with people of other nationalities involved in what was the second largest and most sophisticated colonization effort in the Age of Migration. (See entries on Al'Aalem, Abdul,)
The Istislani have provided the world with great jazz (in their ten-note scale) but also visual art of questionable value, prizing emotion over execution, and expecting sublime subject-matter to make the art wonderful all by itself.
Their chief exports include Istislan crystal, machinery and manufactured goods, cinnamon, jojoba, rubber, tropical fruit (dried or preserved) nutmeg, magentine, copper, corn, peppers, obsidian, sisal, hemp, mescal, coral, pearls, sponge and amatahten. They import quite a bit of steel. They also enjoy a major shipping industry.
The Istislanin surpass the Tili�n in much of their technology. they have advanced particularly in Magentine technology and in laboratory medicine. Their weak areas tend to lie in anything that doesn't require a working-base of factories, organized power-sources or support-structures. In this at least we remain their masters: one may apply our discoveries anywhere, on any technobase.
Istislan Aboriginals: The name misleads, because in all likelihood the original colony from which Istislan sprang predates this primitive-seeming community. But they are a stone age culture that lives in the rainforests of Istislan, between the cities. They speak their own language and observe their own customs. No one knows when they arrived, or what Earthian nations or cultures contributed to their populace, or even whether they drifted into or deliberately chose their primitive lifestyle in rejection of the catastrophic choices of the Ancients. Whatever the case, the Istislan Aboriginals prefer their lifestyle now, They leave the Istislanin alone, and the Istislanin leave them alone, neither having anything that the other covets. They do not consider themselves citizens of Istislan the Nation, nor does anyone else. They have been called bees sharing the same yard as ants.
Istislan architecture and design: The unique architecture of Istislan relies heavily on Istislan crystal, which they can make transparent, translucent or frosted, tinted or clear. Citizens maintain privacy through screens and drapes, rugs, curtain-walls, canopies, the positions of furniture and indoor plants. Nonetheless, people of other nationalities often find the degree of visibility disconcerting, particularly in the floors. Despite which, none can entirely deny its charms. Between reflection and transparency, Istislan crystal brings the living jungle indoors, optically. One never strays far from the flutter of leaves.
The connective bridges and staircases between buildings resemble a kind of metallic lace, treated against the humidity, sometimes simply gridwork, other times wrought iron of a beauty and complexity reminiscent of vanished New Orleans. The wroughtwork coils and curls in ways inspired by the vegetation around it.
The Istislanin of the Capital pay a portion of their taxes towards the care and cultivation of the jungle. Although vigorous capitalists by nature, they consider the privilege of living in a park well worth maintaining. They claim that they breath the most oxygen-rich air of any major city in the world (although some maintain that Donafloreta surpasses it.) Other cities of Istislan the nation tend to leave the jungle to nature and are not quite so lush.
Istislani architects tend to operate from the basic cube shape, but stack and pile it into unexpected and sometimes precarious-seeming arrangements, with overhangs and jagged clusters, often as not raised up on girders with gardens and footpaths or wildness underneath. The overall effect resembles gigantic crystal formations, strangely weightless. The interconnection of buildings by The Grid further enhance the airy beauty of Istislan Capitol.
[Dream note: The closest equivalent in the USA would be UCSD's Geisel Library, but I dreamed of Istislan years before they built it in 1970, and in any case the supporting concrete would seem clunky to the Istislanin.]
Istislan Capitol: Rather pragmatic name of the capitol of Istislan.
Istislan crystal: A virtually indestructible transparent material much used in Istislan architecture, stronger than steel and nonfrangible within life-range temperatures, considered rather too disquieting and not nearly private enough by most other cultures. Often employed in airy buildings of modular cubes built around, in and above the jungles of Istislan, often raised on great pillars or beams with shade-gardens underneath.
Istislan, Gulf of: An appendix of the Lesser Ocean nestled into the lower east coast of the Northwestern Continent. Only a small part of it actually borders Istislan, but as this country has the most political and economic power of those bordering it, the name stuck. Strivanians call it the Gulf of Strivane.
Istislan improv: A form of Jazz played on the Istislan ten-note scale (to the standard C scale add A# and F#.) It usually begins with someone playing chords in a repetitive pattern, then other people adding in their layers, instrument by instrument. With subtle signals, the original player then starts to vary the pattern and the others must keep up. Often this results in challenging musical contests, with lesser musicians dropping out till only two match wits, to the cheers of the crowd. In such contests the role of chord-setter can be taken over by a skillful player.
Istislan impression paper: a type of paper that copies anything written on the sheet of the same material above it, for legal purposes. Once set for twenty-four hours after inscription, it does not tear and resists burning. It can be stretched to illegibility, with difficulty, but means exist to restore it.
Istislan Towers: A complex of business-establishments erected by native-Istislani entrepeneurs out of Istislan Crystal and according to their own architectural conventions, on Hernandez Island, for conducting trade with the Tili�n.
Istislan trousers: A style of pants drawn in and buttoned at the ankles, worn by both men and women, owing, no doubt, to the Istislani penchant for transparent floors in their upper stories.

Istislan Vodka:  A potato-based liquor of 100 proof or higher, but not distilled in the usual way.  Istislan, in its early history, used to ban distillation.  To get around this, brewers used to thrice-filter the fermented juice of potatoes, infuse it with blue nasturtium blossoms (or sometimes with a variety of warm-colored nasturtium blossoms and slivers of mildly hot pepper in the "fiery" variety) and freeze it.  They would then serve the unfrozen, now concentrated portion with the lumps of ice still in it, maintaining that they did not remove any water, and thereby satisfying the law.  It still has its aficionados, despite the relaxation of regulations.

Ivy Arches, The: A landmark in Til Institute, consisting of a series of great arches covered with ivy, upholding an elevated passageway connecting two buildings. Originally it consisted of three arches, fell to an earthquake, and was subsequently rebuilt as two arches.

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