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.

kachat:  A bipedal mammal, native to the steppes and grasslands of the Northeastern Continent's midlands.  It stands about a meter tall, with a rabbit-like head (with ears usually in downward position unless listening for danger) a thick-to-chubby body, and thick, powerful lower legs with which it hops.  It bears thick brown fur with white spots, prized by hunters.

kapoc tree: A tall, substantial tree originally imported from earth and now gone feral throughout most tropical regions, often also cultivated. Thorny and buttressed, with palmate composite leaves, merchants covet the water-resistant fluff within its seed pods, as padding or insulation material. A decoction of its bark has been used as a diuretic, aphrodesiac, headache remedy, and a treatment for diabetes.
Kali of Samina-Ved: The cult of Kali, as practiced in Samina-Ved, differs from other practices in the world, in that they depict Kali as fat and happy, eating cakes, with her belly overflowing and pressing down her skirt in front, straining over the hips to the side, and in back just beginning to split at the waistband. It is said that she can devour all living things and still hunger, unsatisfied and gaunt, except for the locally made anthelma cakes, which can fill her and satiate her, so that after a full helping of these she only nibbles a little bit, dutifully, causing just enough death and destruction to keep the world from becoming overcrowded.

Kalorcabori: A tropical nation in the northeast corner above the Oceana Equitoris, shaped by river deltas and volcanic flow.  [My globe shows other nations delineated as bordering it, but no names.]  Major exporters of rice, coconut, raisins, sugar, glass, carvings of wood and stone, brocades, dyes, gold, copper, aluminum, a wide range of trace minerals and gemstones, and a variety of woods for carving, lumber, dye, and perfume.

Governed by a monarchy of five kings or queens, based on reincarnation rather than heredity.  Whenever a monarch dies, the Angelic Priesthood will scour the countryside, until they find a baby born as close as possible to the time of the death.  They will take him and raise him or her with intensive training in ethics, statesmanship, warcraft, economics, science, and whatever else they think the child might need for the times, giving him or her the same name as the deceased, regardless of gender.  (These names are Anstel, Kimari, Mordo, Vengal, and Chenjala.)  Upon attaining maturity, he or she becomes one of the monarchs, who decide by consensus  or vote the policies of the nation.  Officilly distinguished by numbers, the monarchs of each generation often acquire popular descriptives, such as Anstel the Artistic, Mordo the Shy, or Vengal Gold-Finder.

kanona:  (1) A light to medium bluegreen reed native to the shores of the Oceana Equitoris, but which has since spread to every nation with a compatibly warm shoreline.  Some cultivars have even been bred specifically for cooler waters.  Cultivated for the particular suitability of its pith for making a soft yet strong rayon, it also grows columns of trumpetlike flowers with curling petals, mostly in purples, but some also in pink, blue, light green  or yellow.  Flower-shops abound with these in spring, in every nation where kanona grows, because farmers must cut them off before they fruit (except for those plants selected for seeding) to get the maximum viable fiber from the weeds.  The papery fruit has an onionlike shape with compartments inside full of pale, thin seeds.  No part of the plant is either toxic or particularly digestible.

    (2)  A rayon fabric made from the kanona reed, whether woven or knit.  Absorbent, breathable, soft and strong, it has succeeded commercially all over the world, except among those "allergic" to it.  Those descended from the peoples along Old Earth's Mediterranean coasts seem to have the highest incidence of intolerance to its proteins.

kanya:  A woolly high-altitude cactus indigenous to the Mountains of Fire, particularly in canyons.  Underneath the white spine "wool" it varies in color from light green to light bluish green.  It grows short and wide, but produces long, dangling peach-colored fruits that often reach the ground.  It propigates in the wild by animals eating the fruit and passing the indigestible seeds.  Some who cultivate it for the fruit (also called kanya) will leave the seeds for a week in a jar of undiluted vinegar to aid in germination.  The fruit itself tastes somewhat bland when fresh, but when dried in strips (which turn it a translucent rosy-orange) the flavor and sweetness concentrate.  Some in the Charadoc nickname it Canyonland Candy.

keepcrete: Once a proprietary name, now a general term for a type of concrete/resin blend with high durability.
Keller Pianos: A musical instrument company specializing in keyboard instruments, based in Novo Durango and dominating the local industry. However, connoisseurs will pay extra for the superior tropical-wood pianos of Zarm-Michawn, and so they market their local instruments to lower-income musicians. Istislan also allegedly makes a piano of superior tonal quality, and customers find them somewhat easier to import from. However, their idiosyncratic scale disorients many pianists.
kharlain: An incense and spice from the Southwestern Continent. The kharlain tree grows as an understory to rainforest, with broad, somewhat pale leaves, thin trunk and boughs, smooth and gray in the bark. The leaves soon outweigh the branches and so they bend downards, in a “weeping willow” fashion. It propagates primarily by twigs breaking off in storms and taking root wherever they're blown.
Early colonists at first considered it useless, for it is much too slender for timber, and even while green the wands snap too easily for wickerwork, The wood also quickly crumbles with drying. But they discovered that this same wood grows increasingly fragrant with curing in slow heat, and when burnt gives off a rich, resinous scent with hints of vanilla, caramel, and lavender, making a natural incense. It can also be powdered and used for cooking, reaching its fullest flavor under heat.
kidita, kidito, kiditey: The male, female and hermaphroditic forms of a popular friendship-level term of endearment, originally confined to young persons but now more widespread.

kimmie:  A sandwich-cookie made in Istislan. They make the outer, soft and crumbly cookies  primarily of oat flour, coconut-butter, and brown sugar, around a creamy filling made with different local tropical fruits and spices.  It's consiered uncouth to eat only one flavor cookie at a time; one should have at least two, of different flavors.  No one knows for certain whether these were first made by a cook named Kim, or for a loved one of the original cook, or whether the name has some other etymology, though several families claim to have invented them, each with their own accounts as to their origens.

The King and the Fox Inn: An establishment in Rhallunn Slum of solid brick, known mainly for its excellent theater, named after the first play performed there, based on a story about a King who pursues an outlaw called The Fox, who eventually evolves into his best friend, and in old age stays by the King’s deathbed to pledge himself to the defense of the prince.
King of Candy Hill: 1) A derogatory title used in the Charadoc to refer to tramps or other shiftless people with delusions of grandeur or great promise that they never seem to fullfill. Someone lost in impractical daydreams without ever actually achieving anything.
2) To refer to oneself as the King of Candy Hill is a sarcastic way of saying, "Yeah, I'll believe you--when I'm delusional."

kiro:  A bush of the Southeastern Continent, most notably of the western coast, especially the portion tucked under the western lobe.  It has waxy, dark green leaves, long and ovate-pointed, with a purplish or russet central vein.  Valued for its fruits, which are also called kiros.  This fruit is a deep, purply red, often almost black or brown. round and small, resembling cherries but in flavor sort of nutty and yet roselike.  Some say it resembles the taste of the kola nut of Earth; like that nut, it does contain caffeine.  The seeds are also edible, although much more powerfully flavored and quite bitter when chewed straight.  However, an extract of the seed makes an excellent flavoring, especially in sweetened foods.  People have chewed the seeds for energy and relief from hunger in emergencies.

kirovit:  A brown liquer made from the fruit and the seed extract of the kiro, originally distilled in Cheyanu, with a distinctive nutty, roselike flavor.  Usually served mixed with carbonated water and poured over crushed ice.  Said to be beneficial for digestion and (in small quantities) for minor ailments of the stomach.

kiwi creams: A popular confection of Til Territories, consisting of a froth of eggs, cream, and kiwi-fruit syrup in fondant cups.
Knight, Captain Thomas Hunter: Captain of The Beauty Queen, the first ship to sail from Istislan to Altraus. No one can confirm whether or not he actually invented the on-board desalinator, but he certainly first popularized its use. Discovered nine different varieties of edible seaweed, and wrote “A Sailor’s Cookbook”.
Koboros: A Charadocian mountain village, legendary for its singers and storytellers until, allegedly, it became entirely extinct in a battle between rebel forces and the Charadocian government. The old Meritocracy denied that it had ever existed and did not show it on any maps, but it quickly came to light under the subsequent Egalitarian government and is now a promising archaeological site. Forensic excavators have confirm that it did, indeed, sustain not one but several separate massacres--at least three. No Koboreans are known to have survived. Most of the folk music and legends of the Charadocian Revolution are alleged to have originated in Koboros or from Koborean bards, but this might be a way that private authors and musicians have lent authority to their creations.

The legendary Damien the Bard supposedly came from Koboros, as its last survivor.  We have no documentation to confirm this, but the performer did seem to have an intimate knowledge of the region. 

Another legend places Koboros as a hub for a death-cult.  Archaeology confirms that such a cult briefly took place for a matter of months, replacing prior structures with white marble, but as a very late development, after Koboros ceased to have inhabitants of a regular nature.  No practitioner of this cult actually was born in Koboros, it seems.

Older evidence does indicate widespread belief in sorcery among Korborans throughout its history, but framed synchretically within Charadocian Catholicism.  None of these beliefs included the worship of Death, although some beliefs concerned death deeply, more so than one might expect in a less ill-fated community.

Ample evidence, and eye-witness accounts, confirm that parts of Koboros became, for awhile, a hospital of the Egalitarian Army.  However, suggestions to build a permanent hospital there have met with resistance.  The very remoteness that recommended it during the revolution now argues against it.  And the ghost-faith of the common soldier, a comfort during war, has become another mark against it, as most people now believe that Koboros is the most haunted corner of The Charadoc.

Korean Rite: One of the rites of the Collegiate Patriarchy of Novatierran Catholicism. The Korean Rite originated from North Korean colonists, practicing that version of Catholicism permitted by their original Communist government, with some mutations along the way. They are, in many ways, the strictest of the Collegiate sects. They had already elected their own Pope before finding the others who eventually coalesced into the Collegiate Patriarchy, and this man eventually became the third Collegiate Patriarch, after the other two died in the exigencies of the Age of Migration.

            Kottira:  [Consulting my notes on this country, which came up because it borders the Diemtran Empire, revealed mainly that I have let my filing system really go to pot!  I have four dreams listed in my index as having taken place there, but the only one that I have in the computer is not in that list, and I could find none of them in the files in their corresponding year.  All I know for sure is that it contains chaparral, desert, and mountains; and that Jake and Randy served a mission there.]

krakre noin et dil:  A small flatbread or  large cracker of finely ground oat and wheat flours, salt, butter, baking soda, and buttermilk infused with onion and dill.  Aficionados claim that when made right, it evaporates on the tongue like a soft, dry cloud.  Cheap in its native Borta, it becomes quite expensive when imported, due to the care necessary in packing and sealing to make sure that it arrives unbroken and with its original texture intact.

kusmet: A sort of cross between brandy and applejack, fermented from the cider of a variety of fruit (especially stone-fruits) blended and then distilled by freeze-concentration in the winter. Originally from Toulin, but now popular in other countries as well. The taste varies widely, but connoisseurs judge kusmet on the harmony, balance, and complexity of flavors.

Previous Installment Main Page Next Installment