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.
packing-foam: A lightweight, compostable material, full of miniscule airholes, in which to pack fragile objects for mailing. Two main categories exist: corn-based and fungus-based.
Corn-based packing-foam is sprayed around the object one intends to protect, filling the spaces between it and its container. While holding its form in transport, it can later be easily broken away with bare hands to free the object from containment. It has the advantage of being the most protective form of packing-foam, but the disadvantage of being edible to cockroaches and other vermin, and sometimes arrives infested. It also cannot be reused.
packing form is grown into specific shapes ahead of time in
mass-production, either to cup objects of a similar size and shape, or
as pellets or squiggles to pour into a container around the protected
object. The former can be nearly as protective as the corn-based
foam. The latter is not quite as protective, yet effective enough
for low-stress transportation. Both have the advantage of
reusability and of being toxic to vermin, but must be kept out of reach
of teething children and animals who might chew on it, as it is also
toxic to them.
Pakashk: A nation on the coast of the Mabhrathan Sea, bordered by (from east to south, clockwise) Llandan, Darvinia, and Mabhratha. The original colony came from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, beginning with Homer Minto, the maintenance man of a resort on Lake Pakashkan, which became increasingly popular with the rich as one of the few pockets remaining of relatively undamaged wildlife. With funding from rich guests, Minto built a transfer-device and not only managed to trasport the guests and their families, but insisted on bringing along all of his friends, family, and neighbors willing to risk the journey. Soon after a party of Goan engineers from India, a Venetian collective, and an extended Hungarian family, found and combined forces with the first colony, to form the core of the nation known today.
Olives from Pakashk have a
reputation as the finest in the world. Yet one should not
overlook the quality, also of her wines, cheeses, almonds, peaches, and
bread. Saltwater fishing there has an excellent reputation, and
the coastal-towns have a glowing reputation as a vacation destination,
often drawing tourists in a circuit with nearby Darvinia, as the one
thing Darvinia cannot offer is a beach.
palm nut: A palmlike tree bearing large nuts somewhat reminiscent of Earth’s coconut, except very dark and ovoid, and somewhat flattish. The meat resembles coconut, too, but also very sweet almond with a touch of vanilla.
palmseed: The grain of the cooking-palm, which is actually not a palm but a grass. Borne in loose, feathery ears, each grain is small but plump and juicy, amber-brown to orange-brown in color. Rich in monosaturated fat, sugar, and complex starch, it has a nutlike taste, as well as high levels of vitamin E, beta carotene, amino acids, and antioxidants. It can be used whole, or pressed for oil and then dried and powdered for a sweet flour used in desserts.
A reed indigenous to the temperate rivers of the Northwestern
Continent, a soft bluegreen with fanning, feathery yellow seed heads,
usually reaching a height of two or sometimes even three meters
tall. Of primary interest as a material for making paper,
particularly a high quality writing paper called Roseau, but reeds
unsuitable for this purpose, AKA "industrial papiyea", find much use as
packing material and insulation, although for the later purpose it
requires soaking in a fire retardant, as it is quite flammable.
The rhisomes are edible, and some enjoy them pickled or cooked in
butter, but mostly those left over from the pith and paper factories go
to farms as animal feed.
papulsa: A Charadocian dish made of potatoes in a creamy bean sause, often richly seasoned with regional herbs.
parrot: A large, colorful bird, with much variation in plumage and large, nut-cracking beaks, indigenous to Earth and originally brought over to Novatierre as pets, due to their ability to imitate human speech. Now large populations of parrots have gone feral in Novatierre, particularly in tropical regions.
Parsonville: A rural village in Alonzo Valley, Til Territories. Their community colors are yellow and green. Founded by a religious leader whose name has become lost to history, some claim that Parsonville was the first settlement on the Novo Durango Cape, and cite as evidence the proximity of Fireworks Hill. However, excavations in the vicinity of Stanley House, on the other side of Fireworks Hill, indicate an older settlement there, the probable root colony for Parsonville, not to mention the originators of the Alonzo Valley Christmas Fair, celebrated with fireworks on Fireworks Hill to commemorate the colonization of the area. Objections that this ancient settlement lies outside of Alonzo Valley may be met by the existence of a broad and easy pass into the Valley, whereby the original settlers must have migrated into the richer farmland that Alonzo Valley afforded.
More problematic would be
indicators that the Stanley House community appears to have been Pagan,
but the Christmas Fireworks might have originated in or conflated with
a Yule observation. It might also explain why a Christian
Religious leader would lead followers out into a separate
settlement. Nothing indicates violence between the two,
however. Indeed, trade seems to have gone on between them
freely. The original settlement might have died out for any of a
number of reasons inherent in attempting to colonize what for them was
an alien planet.
Archaeologists still debate
whether Parsonville predated or spearheaded the Hispanic settlements
that Alonzo Valley is most known for. Some genealogical evidence
indicates that the Stanleys were Hispanic on the distaff side.
peluchikalor: A large, brightly-colored bird of varying plumage, found in scattered temperate and alpine zones throughout the world. Originally thought to be native to Novatierre, we now know that they are the descendants of Earth-native parrots, who have gone feral and adapted to colder climates by adopting fluffier feathers and a layer of fat. Their beaks have also undergone some adaptation to local seeds.
small bird, usually plumed in lime green, sky blue or yellow, with a
yellow, white, or salmon pink breast, with distinctively fluffy
feathers in cold weather. Once thought indigenous to Novatierre,
genetics have shown that they are, in fact, feral Earth parakeets who
have adapted to Novatierre.
penitential monastery: A monastery set up solely for those whose
vices can only be resisted by total abstention from opportunity. They
are usually exclusive as to category, such as monasteries for pederasts
or rapists. No one is admitted without a written confession and the
surrender of all legal rights outside of the monastery. Persons of the
category formerly victimized by the inmates are not allowed within the
premises for any reason whatsoever, and the inmates are never allowed
out; many take a vow to not leave even in the event of an emergency, to
die rather than risk falling back into their otherwise irresistible
sins. The monks or nuns otherwise lead comparatively normal monastic
lives (if somewhat heavy on the penances) and may in this setting
become productive citizens.
A hairy vine which grows enormous yellow and orange fruits, which may
be eaten green, while the rind is tender, in summer, but which also
last all through winter when the rind hardens. Once thought to be
a native crop of Novatierre, genetic tests have proven that it is, in
fact, a hybrid cultivar of curcurbita pepo,
a relative to Earth-native squashes, pumpkins, and zucchini, gone
feral. This makes sense, as the colonists prized curcurbits for
their ability to keep through winter with vitamins intact.
peripatetic class: A class conducted while strolling, hiking, or otherwise staying mobile. Especially recommended for hyperactive students.
pheasant: A large game bird, with feathers of many patterns and colors, native to Earth and brought to Novatierre by hunters. Found especially in the Borta/Toulin island region and the English mountains. A desert-hardy variety has bred in Holumbria.
Mt. Phantom: A hill south of Til Institute where the Tili�n mine
magentine. Though rumored to be haunted by miners killed in a cave-in,
it more likely developed a small gregor-force from their last hours,
creating a psychic imprint of who they used to be.
1) A turpentine-like derivative of pitch pine sap, much too
flammable for use as a turpentine, but sometimes used, with caution, as
a fuel or fuel-additive. Like the same derivative of the Jeffrey
pine of Earth, it consists of almost pure n-heptane. Named in
irony, as it is much too toxic for consumption.
2) Slang for any excessively potent moonshine, above 100 proof.
pink paste: Colloquial term for a muscle-relaxant/refrigerent
drug, in the form of a porphyry-pink paste, having a sharp, bittersweet
flavor with notes of orange and mint. Easily synthesized, it is often
A salty, pungent, fishy sauce made from dried tengri, fermented bean
juie, mustard, and a little horseradish. Associated with
manliness in numerous cultures, and considered an aphrodesiac for men,
although with the unfortunate side effect of spoiling a man's breath
(men customarily use it the day before a tryst.) In some
countries folklore warns mothers not to serve it to daughters under the
age of puberty, lest they grow up to become lesbians (after that age
they're assumed sufficiently formed not to change one way or the
other.) In films from the English Mountains, to depict a woman
eating, with great relish, food liberally seasoned with piskisaw means
to imply that she is a lesbian or bisexual. However, many
communities use piskisaw liberally on the food of men, women, boys and
girls, without any sexual connotations whatsoever.
pitch pine: A variety of conifer native to mountainous regions
in the Southwestern Continent. A pyrogenic variety with deep roots, its
highly flammable nature evolved as a means to clear out underbrush; its
roots survive fires hotter than competing plants can stand. Used
commercially for its high pitch content.
An Altraus flower, domesticated in Pixie for its buds. It has
fuzzy, medium-green leaves resembling those of the pin oak only longer
and somewhat floppy. When allowed to bloom, the flowers have many
purple petals leading to an orange center, but they are usually
harvested while the buds still resemble purplish-green little garlic
cloves. And it does have a taste resembling onions and garlic,
made stronger and more complex when fermented. The fermentation
process leaves it prone to a probiotic fungus with a flavor resembling
Roquefort cheese. According to legend, Annie Moraga discovered
how to prepare this in a dream. Some have hypothesized that this
might be the carefully guarded secret ingredient to Alonzo Valley's
notorious onion wine. Used in cheesemaking.
The Plague Belt:
A marshy region rimming the Gulf of Istislan, including parts of United
Tribes, Xarthikae, Firenja, Dhalzinje, and Istislan, and all of
Oolang-Gyorny. Named for the wide variety of pestilences that
breed in the marshes, to which Earth-originating human beings have poor
pocket squirrel: A gray, beige, rust, taupe, black, or cocoa-brown fist-sized arboreal rodent of the tropics of the Southwestern Continent, known for its exceptionally fluffy tail. When hunted by a predator, the pocket-squirrel runs with its tail upright; predators snap at the tail and their teeth slip right through the long fur, allowing their prey to escape. Although many assume that a pocket squirrel gets its name from being of a size to fit in a pocket, it is in fact a marsupial, and comes by its name due to the pouch in the female belly.
poison-frog, poison-toad: One of any number of amphibians whose
skin exudes a potent neurotoxin. These frogs and toads are usually
bright in coloration as a warning to those who would prey on them--a
kind of reverse camouflage. Most of them can be found in the
rainforests of the Southwestern continent, though some species live in
the Northeastern Continent and Altraus as well.
Poleitestas: A Novatierran-original sect of Hinduism which, rather than different families having devotions to separate deities in the pantheon, encourages multiple devotions, with special attention to the interactions between the various deities, with holidays celebrating various relationships. The sect encourages communal living in largely self-sufficient multifamily ashrams, with a strong yet fluid social hierarchy. The pantheon is viewed as also living this way.
Once a major religious presence in The
Andemonetas, it dwindled nearly to extinction due to a series of
conflicts, till it lacked enough members to farm the ashrams. It
was thought extinct indeed for several generations, but a few families
passed on the traditions. Finally, in 2680, Joawa Khalq revived
the sect and it spread rapidly.
policean, policeani: The singular and plural terms for a law-enforcement officer.
A cakelike bread made in Dixie, of any coarse-ground whole grain
(usually, rice, swamp-corn, oats, rye, or a combination) bound with egg
or okra, and made with butter, sour milk or buttermilk, and baking soda.
portaconsole: A portable or notebook console. Requires frequent
downloading into Archives and does not independently store information
for very long. This flaw has allegedly been deliberately engineered in.
potato mush: A mush made of potato-flour, salt and water, distinguished from "instant mashed potatoes"
by the absence of dairy products, although often enriched with the oils
of stapleseed, nuts, or sesame seed. Often eaten on journeys
where butter won't keep.
pouchcat: A medium-to-small sized, quadrupedal, carnivorous
marsupial, with small pointed ears, nonretractable claws and a short
muzzle. Comes in an ochre/gold/orange-tan striped variety, a blue-grey
variety with pale grey underbelly, and a brown/black variety with
barely discernable reddish-black stripelike spots. Found in most lands.
pteridograminoid: A botanical group found in Novatierre but not on earth. It is monocotyledonous, like grasses, but the leaves eventually become complex, separating out into fernlike formations. Many have commercial value. On the whole, they tend to prefer humid conditions, although botanists have observed exceptions, most notably in the plains of the Northwestern Continent.
Pueblo Karakulya: A community in the Autonomous Mountainfolk Region. Settled by Mountainfolk shepherds, it exports some of the finest wool in Altraus, as well as bright and beautiful hand-woven woolen brocades and tapestries, as well as felt and cheese. Their village colors are Magenta and Violet.
Purple cheese: A cheese originating in the Alonzo Valley village of Pixie, mingled with crushed, fermented pixie buds, which give the cheese a slightly mauve caste and vein it with a flavorful fungus known to prefer this flower. It has a strong flavor for a semisoft cheese, but a pleasant one, popular in recipes, especially sauces. The rumors that it might have subtle psychotropic effects have never been verified by science. Granted, nobody has ever paid for an investigation.
The Purple Mantles: In theory, an elite corps of police or
military special forces serving the Charadocian government, specially
trained to fight organized crime. In fact, they are mainly employed
against insurgents and dissidents, act autonomously, and range from
highly trained spies to untrained conscripts, depending on perceived
need. They have been accused of torture, assassination, and massacre,
but charges remain difficult to prove for a variety of reasons. Their
official uniform consists of street clothes augmented by an oval purple
serape (in hot weather this is a very lightweight, token garment
reaching only to the diaphragm) but conscripts often merely wear a
purple ribbon draped around their necks. One can, in fact, discern the
level of training a Purple Mantle has attained by the quality of this
serape--if he bothers to wear it at all.