Glossary


By Dolores J. Nurss

S

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.
 

sacrifice bread:  The Outlaw Faith, in the days of Alroy the Ever-Young, developed a tradition of baking a special bread for the last meal of a human sacrifice, baked in a ring, of multiple coarse grains, nuts, and bits of dried fruit.  The sacrificee would share it with hir family.  The ring-shape symbolized continuity, that all of them, living or dead, would still be one family, nourishing each other. 

After the demise of Alroy Thrakiakis, and the mass reintegration that followed, the Outlaw Faith came under the rules of Til Territories and human sacrifice became much rarer.  Now devotees of this religion usually bake sacrifice bread for family members with a terminal illness or other fatal diagnosis.

sacriphish:  An unasked-for sacrifice made with the intention of making the recipient beholden to the sacriphisher, or otherwise done with manipulative intent.

Salt River: A river in Altraus, an offshoot of the Mirabecca River, which meanders around behind the hills backing the Storm Garden Peninsula. It derives its name from the salt which evaporation leaves behind on the rocks of its shoals, wherever it flows wide and shallow. Its water, however, remains potable and reasonably good for irrigation.
 
St. Agnes, Mt.: A hill overlooking Hillhollow Village, named for their patron saint.
 
St. Harrison’s: An architecturally interesting Catholic Church (Roman Rite) in Fyvel Pier, Til Territories, that has interpreted the popular global chapel format vertically rather than horizontally. Built into sea-cliff, the dome of the church reaches out towards the sea in Istislan Crystal rather than upwards towards the sky, with the crucifix suspended in the middle and the pedestal’d pulpit somewhat below that, overlooking a central altar. The “bowl” or amphitheater of the church is cut back into the cliff’s living rock, and parishioners reach it by a dark stone passageway lit by candles, to come out into the sudden light of the chapel proper. Named after St. Harrison of Dhurbah.
 
salt paste: A condiment popular in humid climates where salt cannot be maintained in powdered form without additives. It is moist, spreadable, slightly crunchy, with variable mineral tangs depending on what part of which ocean it comes from. Sometimes it also comes compounded with spices or moistened with flavored juices, but connoisseurs decry this as obscuring the subtleties of its origins.
 
Samina-Ved: A nation of the Southeastern Continent. It occupies what on Earth would have been the occipital block of the skull-like continent of Africa, but in Novatierre it forms a )-curve with islands in the part that would have bulged out on the other world, nestled into that curve. Here colonists from India and Liechtenstein met and married cultures to create a wholly new society
 
Both colonies had a number of quality weavers in their company, and they quickly planted cotton and became a major force in the textile industry. But they also had accomplished potters among them, and the land held clay in several good, rich colors, and this helped them prosper, too. Lastly, they found a wealth of indigenous spices growing on the land, and more plants they could cultivate in the varied terrain, both Novatierran indigenous and stock from Earth. And so they prospered.
 
Politically, they are a monarchy with a stratified society. The predominant religion officially is Hinduism, but the populace largely adheres to local trade- or harvest-religions, varying from village to village, many of a Germanic nature but also quite a few wholly unique to Novatierre. Their music is something that non-citizens either adore or hate, with little middle-ground.
 
Sanctity of Impulse: A belief that impulses connect us to the intuitive. A tenet of the Outlaw Cult of Alroy the Ever-Young.

Sanalvarronuñez:  A city-state on the northeastern shore of the Bay of Weissel in the Northwestern Continent, between Briuer and _______, although no real border exists beyond wasteland.  Originally named Misión de San Alvarro Nuñez Cabesa  de Vaca, it was colonized by Mexican Zapatistas and their sympathizers and associates (who believed that Cabeza de Vaca conquistador-turned medicine-man, really ought to be sainted for having championed indigenous rights, rather than dragged back to Spain in chains as a madman) later joined by many adrift from the Weissel expedition that landed in the bay, plus a Japanese Ainu colony, one from Lima, Peru, and one from Harlem, New York, USA, all of which had gotten lost in the desert till they found succor with this community.

           Although an arid region, this hilly pocket on the coast traps fogs from the bay that keeps the land fertile.  They also  reap water from mist by an ingenious  system of  nets that drip condensation down into reservoirs.  They export every kind of fruit, vegetable, grain and weaving fiber that they can grow to their less fortunate neighbors, in return for copper, silver, and semiprecious stones.  These in turn they ship to Istislan in exchange for other goods.

          The best summary of their nature comes from the field notes of an agent of the Tilián, Merrill A. Ambrey:

          "
I found myself in a very steep, hilly city-state named Sanalvarronuñez, which overlayed a much older cluster of villages, the neighborhoods each having a centuries-old village at their cores, with a church in the center of that.  Old and new buildings mesh, pavements shift frequently from old cobbles or adobe to new cement or some equivalent to asphalt.  San Alvarronuñez takes pride in both its continuous history and its rapid advancement, looking both forward and back.

The city is largely Catholic, but not under any of the established rites of the Three Orthodox Popes--they seem to owe their allegiance to an archbishop.  Church leadership is the check-and-balance to an elected secular government of village mayors who gather in a kind of congress to elect a Grand Mayor and argue with hir once they do.  The Mayors have the militias and the jails, and lift or levy taxes.  The Church has guilt and blessings, the promise of heaven and the threat of hell, and wield sermons to praise or blame.  The people put weight behind both institutions.

Rather than enforcing many specific laws, the courts argue endlessly on where to apply a few umbrella laws, with precedents and challenges to precedents and new twists on old crimes.  The main law seems to be one that forbids ASuborning the Common Good,@ with degrees of violation varying from APublic Nuisance@ to AMultiple losses of Life@.

Sanalvarronuñezians are expressive and vigorous and loud, reverent and irreverent by turns, intense yet able to laugh things off, robust and tender and earthy.  I think I will enjoy this mission."

Sandurste: The community in Til Territories that anchors the eastern end of the Great Gulf Road. It is otherwise somewhat isolated, with the Coral Gulf before it and Hunter’s Forest behind, the nearest community being the scarcely populated and uncommunicative Village of Misanthropes to the southeast. Somewhat farther down the coast lies Civilization Point College. Yet the town enjoys the stimulated commerce of holding a key position in a major trade route for goods passing between Til Institute and Novo Durango. It is mainly known for its architecturally peculiar subcommunities called schrops.
 
It derives its name from Saint Durstan’s Chapel, at first a magnet in the creation of the community, later fallen into disuse and until recently forgotten, now an important archaeological site revealing much of early religious practices in the history of Til territories.
 
The community colors of Sandurste are ochre and green.
 
sanomatic: The control-center for a sanomatic system, which raises the furnishings in an establishment(if they have been properly slid into their sockets), floods a floor with disinfectants and surfactants, runs whirling brushes over the floor, scrapes it with automated squeegees, floods the floor with rinse-water, then blows hot air over it till it dries. Used mostly in commercial buildings, private dwellings being too idiosyncratic for cost-effective use.
 
Sapphire Bay: An exquisite, deep, and well-protected small bay or large cove of DiMedici Forest, Til Territories.  Named for its vivid blue water.
 
Sargeddohl Harbor: The most important port on the western coast of the Southwestern Continent, in the Charadoc. The name translates as "Fish-Blood Harbor" because the trade in sarged fish often leaves the piers running with offal and the bay aswarm with various other opportunistic sea-life, much of which, in turn, the fisherani also harvested.
 
sarged fish: (pronounced with a hard "g") A large fish (can reach the length of smaller whales), horizontally striped in silver, blue, green, and yellow. Its oil-rich flesh varies from yellow to pink and has a delicate flavor.
 
sausage soup: A highly spicy soup popular in Alonzo Valley, consisting of well-seasoned sausages, onions, turnips, peppers, garlic, and fennel-root, sometimes cabbage or other vegetables as well.
 
Satirk: A port-city in Istislan, known for its cinnamon-orchards and glass manufacture.
 
schrop: A rambling edifice, usually one-storied, consisting of a long, thin chain of rooms, not necessarily in a straight line and sometimes having various branches or even in part encircling courtyards, sometimes interconnected like a train, sometimes opening onto a hall or halls, sometimes connected by an outside arcade or boardwalk, or frequently a combination. A notable feature of the schrop is that it usually serves many different functions under one roof, containing apartments, stores, offices, workshops, civic establishments such as libraries or fire departments, and indeed anything that one might occur to make a room for, without regard to any concept of zoning. Some schrops, in fact, are discrete communities all by themselves. The Tilián community of Sandurste consists almost entirely of schrops and seems to have invented the concept.

Scotch Hop:  A variety of beer from the Plague Belt, made of malted barley, halted in the sprouting by drying it in peat fires, much like Scotch whisky, with hops added.  Contrary to popular misconception, the hops themselves are not descended from any varieties once grown in Scotland, but vary according to the brewer, usually some cultivar of the Noble hop.

scragglevine: A thin desert vine that can spread over quite a distance in search of water, putting out few leaves and branches, relying mainly on its green bark for photosynthesis. Used in wickerwork.
 
sea avocado: A cultivar of the avocado tree which tolerates the fogs, salt wind, and similar coastal weather-patterns of northern Altraus surprisingly well.
 
Sea Clan: A coastal clan of Byssinia backed by slopes full of straight conifers, known for its fisherani. They deal in dried fish and seaweed products, but also in woodwork of a large and practical nature (unlike Tree Clan, which largely deals in smaller and more ornamental pieces made from carving-friendly fruitwood) Needless to say, they reserve their greatest expertise for the fashioning of boats.
 
seagull: Any of a variety of birds adapted to saltwater-coastal environments. Those of Altraus are, for the most part, silver-gray with green streaks on their wings.
 
sea-plum: A low-growing plant of spreading habit, with small, round, gray-green leaves. It bears tiny white flowers in spring, with purply-red-veined petals and yellow centers, which fruit into surprisingly large purple drupes that have a flavor sort of a cross between blackberries, raspberries, and chocolate.
 
The plant has adapted to survival on beach-dunes, and crops up on coasts all over the world, due to the buoyancy and waxy skin of its fruit. Very salt-tolerant, sea-plums derive most of their water from mist.
 
Seascarp, Mt.: A tall hill, verdant on the land-side, with red cliffs on the seas-side, between Rhallunn Marsh and Cracked Mesa, connected to Mt. Brotherhill by Shandow Ridge on the landward side. A landmark much beloved by the Tilián, commemorated in poem, song and visual art. Considered of significance to geomantic religions.

sea-sheep:  A large, plump, sea-bird, about the size of a goose, native to the western coast of the Northeastern Continent and the eastern coast of the Northwestern Continent, nesting and breeding in the more northern latitudes in the late spring and summer, and migrating south for the winter.  It has a white head, neck and body, a mottled breast in taupe with black and white edged feathers, and wings of taupe, green, black and white.  It gets its name from its characteristic call, remarkably like the baaing of a mature sheep.

    Some countries have domesticated sea-sheep, prized for its grease and feathers, and for its meat for special occasions.  A number of holidays feature a roasted sea-sheep as the traditional pinnacle of a feast.

seaspider:  An eight-legged, oceanic crustacean, large of limb and compact of body, generally about half to two-thirds of a meter in length and width, extended legs included.  Generally in the yellow range of color, varying from lime green to pumpkin-orange, with the goldenrod and golden-beige varieties most common.  Some are a tangerine color, and a rare brick-red variety exists in a few inlets of Corribhai Colony and the border of Skarfangers.  Most seaspiders, however, prefer the much colder waters of the northernmost eastern coasts and islands of  the Northwestern Continent.

Gourmets the world over prize the meat of the seaspider's leg-segments, especially with butter and chives or parsley, with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of capers.  Northern islanders make a chowder of it, where seaspiders thrive.  The fisherani who live nearest to their prime waters are few and hardy, and keep most seaspiders to themselves, making the seafood expensive in other parts of the world.  The southern varieties are thin and unpleasant in favor, tasting slightly spoiled even when fresh, and so are tossed out of traps meant for tastier creatures.

secondary atmosphere: Alien's term for the gaseous atmosphere above the water.
 
segunda: A distilled chestnut spirit of about 30-50 proof, made of what’s left after distilling primera. Although considered inferior to primera, many consider it more flavorful and prefer it.
 
self-heating can: A can inside an insulating shell with a pull-tab. Puling the tab not only opens the can, but also triggers a chemical reaction in the space between the inside and outside cans, to heat the food within to customary dinner-temperature.
 
Señor/Señora: Honorific titles (male and female, respectively) used in Alonzo Valley to denote land ownership. Adults in Alonzo Valley who do not own real estate are referred to as Mister or Miz.
 
sewage recycling: That utility-system by which Tilián sewage is composted, decontaminated and returned to the soil.
 
shadowgum tree: Tree native to the Altraus mountains: tall, densely branched and foliaged with large, waxy deep bluish-green leaves. Exudes a bluish green sap strongly scented like root beer, overlaid in some varieties with a hint of vanilla or orange, tapped commercially as a flavoring, seasoning, or ingredient in perfume and toiletries. The wood is pale, fine-grained, and somewhat soft.
 
Shadowdancer Beach: A beach in Til Territories bordered to the east by Alonzo Harbor and to the west by the Rhallunn Slums, backed by cliff and Modrian's Tangles. Some attribute its name to the much-eroded cliff behind it and the curious shadows its occasional spires cast upon the sand. Others mention legends of a female ghost, seen dancing where the water meets the shore, as a silhouette half-glimpsed against the moonlit foam. Folklore says she once was a maiden drowned by her overpossessive father for dancing in the sight of young men. When rebuked, she swore that nothing he could do could stop her. He tried to prove her wrong.
 
Shaman of the True Tilián: The spiritual leader of the True Tilián, initiated after much training by a secret ritual ordeal involving Black Clam Toxin. The name "shaman" is a misnomer, for he does not actually travel between realities in an intercessory manner, but the people who follow him do not truly understand where his extraordinary powers comes from.
 
Shanne Village: A rural community of Alonzo Valley, whose community colors are sea green and forest green. No one is certain of its origins.
 
shandow: A ghost so old that it has outlived both its history and the power to frighten. One famous shandow is associated with the Cave of Changes.
 
Shandow Ridge: A ridge connecting Mount Seascarp and Mount Brotherhill. Named for the Shandow sometimes seen running across it at dawn or dusk, of a brown young girl, about fourteen, in a sleeveless red dress.
 
Shandow Village: A small village below Shandow Ridge, just above the Silver Slopes, named for the ghost sometimes seen above it. Often hosts foreign students unready to deal with the technology, cosmopolitanism or illusion-phenomena of Til Institute proper, particularly students of oraclism.

shark:  Any of a number of different kinds of large, primitive fish with strong jaws and multiple rows of teeth, found in all the oceans and seas of Novatierre.  Many, in fact, bear a striking resemblance to the sharks of Earth, though to the best of anyone's knowledge nobody ever brought Earth-sharks to Novatierre.  With good reason; it's a brilliant, efficient evolutionary design that has stood the test of time on both planets.  The Aliens say that they have similar creatures in the seas of their own world.

sharps: Slang term for CNS stimulant drugs.
 
sheep wolf: A canine-like large predator of Altraus, striped in taupe and gray, with a black muzzle and paws. Notorious for depredations upon farm animals, particularly lambs. Many stories have arisen about the wiliness of this wolf.
 
shields: A psychic discipline to fend off unwanted mental infiltration and/or interference. Even a person without Gift can learn to project shields, but it's rather challenging, like teaching self-defense to the blind.

Shi'h:  The Darvinian Goddess of Justice.  Originally a nature-spirit of sand, she tended the birth of Yaio, the Bringer of Consequences, as his mother Timora labored in exile in the deserts of the Southern Continent, and with her dunes she helped to hide him till he grew to maturity.  She admired his determination to survive in the most inhospitable of all lands, and fell in love with him, and he with her, and they married, and she advises all of his decisions.  She is also the mother of his daughter, Aiam, or Mercy.

She tests all things.  She grinds down, but she also polishes.  She humbles the proud, but she smooths the way for those who seek whatever is right and fair.

Although sometimes portrayed in carved sandstone, Shi'h is more often painted, pointilistically, in sand-colors of yellow, cream, taupe, traces of black, and palest pink, with her hair and diaphonous robes blowing into particles.  She holds her hands out to either side in the position of a scale, and from her fingers to the left black sand trickles, while from her right hand trickles sand in purest white.

Her devotees fashion her shrine of finely polished wood or stone, or sometimes of concrete with marbles, glass, or other inclusions in it revealed by polishing away the surface.  She allows no angles or edges in her shrines; all must be smoothed and curved.

In Darvinia she has a chapel alcove in every courtroom, with a tray of sand before her.  She accepts no offerings, but if you feel your cause is just, you can put your hand into the tray and plead your case to her.  During actual trials a bailiff will carry this tray to the witness-stand, and every witness must place hir hand on the sand, swearing that e says only what is true and just.

shiriki:  The Vanikketan version of the Undead. According to their folklore, grave-robbers, or anyone who steals anything off the body of a corpse, can trigger shirikar in the corpse--that is, turn it into a skiriki. The violation is so fundamentally disrespectful that it sparks an imitation of life in the corpse. It knows vaguely that something has been stolen from it, and that it feels empty. It should not awaken, and yet here it is, feeling some great loss. It conflates its lack of a soul with the lost object, and rears up to look for it. It can sense thievery and homes in on it, assuming all thieves to be the grave-robber. It stucks tatters of soul from any thief it finds. Merely speaking of thievery can draw a shiriki close, but it will only attack the guilty.

Shocksweets:  A confectionary in Alonzo City which makes gallows-humor candies aimed at the teenage market.  They began with the production of Droaches--dates stuffed with crystalized ginger, modified to resemble cockroaches--but they are most well-known for the Cannablits Scandal, when they made candy resembling human body parts.

shopping-park: A Tilián mall, extensively landscaped and supplied with noncommercial as well as commercial establishments.
 
shuttle: An airport which engages in transoceanic flight. The three existent in Novatierre are the Til Shuttle, the Naugren Shuttle, and the Istislan Shuttle.

silcup:  A cylindrical silicone container, in several standardized sizes, commercially used for canned goods.

Silverbelle: A horse whose owner was murdered in the saddle by a rival in love, near Sandurste, Til Territories. The dead man fell somewhere in the brush while the horse galloped away in fear. According to folklore, the horse came back to look for him, and lived thereafter feral in the hills. They say that she still looks for him long after her death, knowing no other mission anymore, and so her ghost haunts the hills in the vicinity of her master’s murder.
 
Silverfoam Inn: A combination hotel, tavern, coffee-house, restaurant, theater, meeting-hall and club which caters to agents. Most of it is built underground in the Cliffside Style, with windows out to a sea-cliff. Most people don't know this, believing that the unremarkable bar-and-grill with a café, gift-shop and a few rentable beds topside is the whole Inn.
 
Silverfoam Café: A café within the Silverfoam Inn which recaptures much of the ambiance of coffeehouses and chocolate houses throughout history--that is, a gathering place for choice conversation between chance-met friends and strangers, spiced with an occasional poetry reading or table-top game, with nooks on the side for those who wish to write while they sip.
 
Silver Slopes, The: A series of low rolling hills between Shandow Ridge and Rhallunn Marsh, covered with silvery grasses and usually overcast with mists from the marshlands nearby. Heavily occupied by a variety of birds unique to the area.
 
Simple Siblinghood, The: An organization run by and for citizens of Til with below-average IQs, for the protection of their rights, furtherance of their opportunities, and care for their special needs. The Siblinghood embraces the term “Simple” as emphasizing the positive (they are the prime choice for doing simple jobs or engaging in simple friendships, for example) as opposed to defect-oriented terms such as mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or intellectually challenged. They have their own lobby, but usually only vote on issues that concern them closely. They maintain a staff of advisors, specialists in various fields helpful to them, but ultimately they make their own decisions.
 
sinalma: Literally "without soul". A sociopath. Someone severely traumatized in childhood to the destruction of conscience and the capacity to love.
 
singslam: A music and dance competition lasting anywhere from all day to two weeks. It can have all manner of different kinds of sub-contests, in many rounds, and generally involves multiple communities. The individual scores for each competition add up to the final score for each community. Judges from one community cannot evaluate the offerings of their own communities. A singslam usually concludes with competitions where musicians and/or singers from the community with the highest musical score play for dancers from the community with the highest dance score, in a gradually quickening beat, to see who can outlast the other before the first nine stumbles, with the crowd loudly calling out the numbers for each. Nobody, however, grades this final contest. On those rare occasions when a single community wins both competitions, the winner stages a grand finale victory dance and concert.
 
sinthe gum: Gum made from a narcotic sap of the wormwood tree. In early usage, smoking this gum brings exhilarating and yet calming visions, often with a golden cast to colors. The user trusts all people indescriminately and feels confident and secure. In later use the details increasingly fade into a warm, snug feeling, and favorite visions tend to repeat in an endless loop. Colors begin to appear "normal" again, but when sober the addict sees the world in dreary shades of blue and gray, and feels unsafe anywhere. Paranoia and desperate deeds usually feature as a major complication of withdrawal. Addicts eventually lose their hair; then their skin begins to deteriorate. Those that don't die of brain damage eventually succumb to infections from nonhealing sores.

skarf:  An ever-shifting sandbar island.

skarfanger:  Someone who tends skarfs, maintaining their presence where needed to protect harbors and the shoreline from storms and to mitigate hurricanes, while preventing them from blocking those harbors.

Skarfangers:  A democratic East-coast nation of the Northwestern Continent, between Corriebhai Colony and the Gulf of Istislan, with United Tribes to the East.  When the leaders of Corriebhai Colony insisted on paying tribute to Corriebhai despite the lack of enforcement of feudal law so far from their motherland, unrest soon followed, led intially by the Skarfanger Guild, who threatened to close off all harbors rather than let any such shipment leave their shores.  Soon a majority backed them up and seceded from the original colony. 

Tensions continue, as the Corriebhai Colony penalty of choice for their most recalcitrant criminals is exile, and naturally the exiles opt to go to the neighboring country which speaks the same language.  The border patrol has been known to shoot exiles on sight, though they are supposed to simply take such undesirables into custody.  However, the Fallen Angels have a border patrol of their own, to rescue as many exiles as they can to become soldiers of their crime syndicate and members of their family.

Skarfangers is a large country with a small and scattered population (with their densest concentration around the harbor bazaars along the coast) and a cuture of outspoken independance.  They never organize enough to feature prominently on the world stage, but they also live in a fertile land with a rich shore, and have the determination to make the most of it, and so they lack for nothing.  They do a brisk trade in money-laundering for people in other countries (one of the contributions of the Fallen Angels to the local economy which nobody likes to talk about) which then fuels their purchase of imports to export at a profit to other markets.  They also send gadgeteers to countries without a manufacturing base.

skislope:  A type of cupcake popular in Vanikke, of mint-flavored cake topped with whipped cream sprinkled with coarse white sugar, often also flavored with mint.  Especially popular in summer.

Skotseng:  An English-based language, evolving from English as spoken by Scottish colonists in Corriebhai, with some admixture of Gaelic and Hindi.

Skyshuttle System: Official name for the network of transcontinental flight that connect Istislan Capitol, Naugren Station, and Novo Durango. Pioneered and built by Istislan, in cooperation with Naugren and the Tilián. The chief challenge lay in devising a fuel equivalent to the jet fuels of Earth, but the Istislanin rose to the challenge admirably.
 
slavery, statutory: Slavery within the legal bounds of Til law, sometimes resorted to as an alternative to bankruptcy and considered, in some communities, a more honorable choice. More rarely embraced out of personal taste.
 
Til law puts serious restrictions on slavery: People must enter into it by consent, except for those sentenced to it due to their abuse of their own slaves. No one may be enslaved longer than seven years. No one may be accounted a slave on the grounds of relation to a slave. Minors cannot be enslaved. No slave may be forced to act against hir conscience. A variety of violations against as slave's health, well-being and civil rights will emancipate the slave early, along with other penalties. Et cetera. Slavery law has many complex twists and turns, designed to avoid the abuses of Old Earth.
 
sleeping mat, Charadocian: A thin, portable mattress stuffed with the seed fluffs of the Kapoc tree.

smoked honey:  A sweetener used in certain confections in Duerlongh, made by smoking the honey in the comb before extraction, carefully at a low temperature so as not to melt the wax, but for quite a long time.  The smokers prefer fruit woods or sugar-sap woods for the process.  The resultant honey has a deep, amber-brown to reddish-brown color, depending on a variety of factors.

smoked honey bars:  A popular sweet treat in Duerlongh.  It consists of a filling of smoked honey mingled with dried fruits (apricot's a popular choice, but it can also use peach, date, fig, raisin, currant, citron, or other fruits, usually in combination with apricot) wrapped in a sweetened whole grain dough.

Smoky River: A river in Hunter’s Forest, Altraus, named for its mists.

Smylifess:  A symbol, consisting of two dots above a curve parallel to the circle surrounding them, used by various cultures, particularly ones with a high illiteracy rate, for various positive meanings.  In the Charadoc it means "free goods"; one attaches it to anything that one leaves out in the open for other people to find and use.  In Olovrmn, a sign with this emblem in Olovrmn indicates the entry to a safe path through marshes.  Guaymaialan Hillfolk will sketch this in dirt or snow to show the way to mark a buried cache of treasure or supplies.  In Borta, which actually has a high literacy rate, merchants use it in advertisements to indicate sales.
       The glyph actually originated on Earth, frequently in a yellow field, in the 1960's as a general symbol of happiness, and evolved with the rise of the internet into shorthand for various upbeat messages, most commonly "I mean that in a friendly way" or "I like this."  Originally intended to depict a smiling face as simply as possible, not all cultures today perceive it as humanoid, and sometimes the two dots are to one side or another.

snake cults:  An umbrella term for a wide variety of secret religious societies, found mainly in Mabhratha but sometimes also in Pakashk, and possibly other places as well.  We know little about them, except that they worship a snake deity and that rumor speaks of rituals involving the inhalation of venom-vapor from “flying snakes”, most notably the white and rose “holy snake”, although some cults might use other varieties if they cannot find the white variety.  Anecdotal reports show no evidence of organization or sharing of doctrine or practice between groups.  Some seem to share many of the opinions and aspirations of Satanism, but this might come from a later infusion of converts from Christianity, disaffected and attracted to snakes as a symbol of rebellion.  Others vehemently deny this, and insist that they simply seek a visionary understanding of Novatierre not available, to their knowledge, any other way.  They have encountered sufficient persecution to lodge them pretty firmly underground.

Snake River: Chief tributary of Diana Lake. Contrary to the popular assumption that the river derives its name from its twists and turns through rocky terrain, settlers actually named it originally for the quantity of green-snakes found sunning themselves on its rocks or swimming its waters.
 
snake wolf: A medium-sized carnivore with a collie-like head, native to the Southwestern Continent, particularly its eastern spur. Long in the body and highly flexible of spine, it has a prehensile tail and paws, long limbs, rotating shoulders, and long, retractable, curved claws.  It lives in the branches and vines of rainforest, capable of brachiation, running along branches, or wrapping itself around tree-trunks. Its black fur shows dark reddish spots in direct sunlight, which it seldom encounters.

snowbird:  A large  bird native to the upper latitudes of the Northwestern Continent, in the East, either pure white or mottled in brown or gray, depending on the breed.  Some varieties are aquatic, but most live inland.

A heavy bird, it can fly only short distances, such as up into trees to evade predators, and does not migrate in winter.  Rather, it has adapted by developing a thick layer of fat, both for insulation and for generating heat.  It also has claws on the insides of its wings, that can rip flesh to shreds.  While rarely fatal, this sort of attack conditions predators to avoid what would otherwise be easy prey.  And it also has powerful foot-claws, well-adapted to digging frozen earth first warmed by its body. and a long, hard beak, useful in extracting burrowing or estivating insects, worms, amphibians, or small rodents.  Different varieties have blue, yellow, green or black eyes.

Known for its rich meat, it is also prized for its fat, used extensively in cooking in its native countries.  The choicest snowbird-grease has been rendered over an open fire of fruitwood or nutwood, and has become flavored with the smoke.  It has therefore become endangered in Vanikke and domesticated in Borta.

The Social Barn: Nickname for a building in Til, converted from an old dirigible hanger built for a dirigible that never actually got off the ground. This cavernous building has many curtains on tracks to divide up the space, and several partial floors built of slotted wood and bolts that can be changed at will. Used for many community purposes and modified as needed.
 
[The name is a pun in Tilianach that the author once knew, until she accidently wrote over her notes in the dark and rendered them illegible.]
 
societal disease: That collective madness which leads a society to violate the human rights of its own members or to acquiesce to having their rights thus violated, or to co-operate with the violation of the rights of a designated minority. It can also apply to that madness which implacably leads a society en masse on a self-destructive or environmentally-destructive course.
 
solar bus: A solar-powered wheeled vehicle equipped to carry large numbers of people and their luggage.

sososka:  A pteridograminoid vegetable native to the Southwestern Continent.  Cultivated mainly for its unusually large shoots or sprouts (2-3 cm wide, and about half a meter long, when harvested) pale yellow in color, with a taste similar to asparagus with a touch of celery, which are commonly exported diced and pickled.  When mature, sososka presents fluttery, fern-indented leaves in a light to medium green, tightly coiled around a central stem, from which the fruit, a sort of semifused grain-ear develops.  It has no true flower, but rather stamens within leaves, and draws pollinters by its sweet, vanilla/hay scent.  The seeds are used in perfumery.  They are edible, but have an unpleasant aftertaste, which does not seem to bother pigs or goats; this makes them suitable for fodder.

sound-gum: A polymer resin formulated to take the impression of sounds in a recording device.
 
Southeastern Continent: That land-mass in Novatierre roughly equivalent to Africa. Mostly populated on the eastern and southern shores, due to happenstance of colonization rather than value of land.

South-Southampton: An island of Til Territories populated by a thriving rural community and providing a wide variety of crops, it also has a small but growing urban element centered around transoceanic trade and small industry. Some international tradespeople find its rules somewhat laxer than those of Novo Durango or Til Institute, though the goods go to the same people. Popularly nicknamed “South-South”, its colors are aqua and white.

South-South Tropic Ale: Originally called South-South Tropicale, this alcoholic beverage, made exclusively in South-South became known as Tropic Ale colloquially, which then became the brand name of its chief manufacturer, although not in fact an ale at all.  Brewers make it by piercing a coconut, inserting date-sugar and yeast, then letting it ferment, after which they blend in a variety of proprietary spices not revealed to the outside world.

South Stovak: Sometimes a district of Stovak as a united country, sometimes an independent nation, South Stovak consists of the most mountainous quarter of Stovak, populated mainly by Mountainfolk of a singularly independent streak, with a complex and rich culture full of taboos easily violated by the lowland populations to the north of them. Periodically rises up in revolution against their richer neighbors to the north. Known for their hot tempers, delight in the art of war, and passion for freedom.
 
Southwestern Continent: That land-mass of Novatierre roughly equivalent to South America, but not connected to the continent above it by any peninsula. It also differs considerably by being nearly split in two by a major gulf.

spa-town:  A community, usually small, in Clomen or Aistruli, whose main trade is the tourist industry, revolving around one or more hot springs and/or beaches.  A town with at least one good or several lesser spas and resorts.

spiceblossom: Low-growing tree or tall shrub native to Altraus, with coastal and inland hill varieties. Blooms in late spring or early summer after formation of its small, sharply pointed, avocado-to-olive green leaves. The blossoms exhibit a corona of one color petals and a tight inner ring of another color, usually in variations of gold and red, though there is a peach/magenta cultivar. The perfume of these blossoms is very spicy, resembling cinnamon and nutmeg with a sharp tang of tamarind and citrus. Used in perfumery; some have used the buds for seasoning, but the bitter aftertaste repels all but the true aficionado, making spiceblossom buds unsuitable for commercial purposes. The wood is grayish, contorted, and splits easily, suitable for some artistic effects but not for lumber.
 
Spine of Byssinia: The continent-long, narrow, extremely mountainous peninsula which forms the eastern lobe of the bifurcated Southwestern Continent.
 
Spirit Mountain: A live volcano in the Charadoc, with several fumaroles, believed by the locals to create a passage from Hell to the surface of the world, traveled by those of the dead who died practicing dark magic. Yet though they can return to their own haunts from there, they cannot find satisfaction in anything anymore. They will, out of envy, smother the life out of any who come too close. Although it has not erupted within human history, it does give off poison gases constantly.
 
Splendor: A small, beachside town on the Storm Garden Peninsula with gorgeous views, several pleasant resorts and spas, a lively arts and crafts community, and a variety of outdoor activities. Splendor subsists mainly off of the tourist trade. Although the town encourages visitors, it enforces draconian laws restricting who can actually live there permanently, since the local economy depends wholly on maintaining its charm.
 
sponge-tree: A desert species of tree, found in all the Southeastern, Soutwestern, and Northwestern continents. Much taller than other desert plants, its trunk and larger boughs have many of the properties of a succulent. It sports round, leathery, gray-green leaves and two-inch, curving thorns. It blooms with orange-red flowers and bears clusters of small, orange-red fruits, bittersweet, rich in vitamins A, C, and E, though undesirable for most tastes. The fruit has astrigent and laxative properties, and the inner woody mesh has numerous craft purposes.
 
spotted fox: A small predator with a canine muzzle and sharp, upright ears, native to the Southwestern Continent. Dark reddish-brown to sable, it has spots of aubern to dark gold, rimmed with black and cream. It has a catlike habit of washing itself frequently, probably an adaptation to heat.
 
Sportsman’s Cove: A very well-protected cove known to teem with fish and flocks of the better tasting aquatic birds, between Swamp Cove and Wish Cove on the Northern Altraus Coast. Dates back to a time when the language was more gender-specific than today.
 
Sportsman’s Cove Community Center: Originally a single building, a lodge for hunters and fishers next to Sportsman’s Cove, it eventually became a village in its own right. Its colors are red and tan.
 
Spumehoof River: A river in the hills just south of Til Institute and west of the Coral Bay, with many rapids. The Spumehoof has, for tributaries, Sweet Memory River, Mindladen River, and Lost Colony River. Eventually it empties into the Coral Gulf at Respite Beach.
 
Some claim to be able to see the whitewater form into supernatural horses. Others claim that it got its name from a very real horse, gone feral after its owner died of one of the pestilences that used to sweep the human colonies in the early days, that used to live along its banks.
 
Staff Clan: A clan of Byssinia that only came into existence in 2698, composed of members of all the other clans. Not a true clan in itself, its children return, upon adolescence, to their mothers’ original clans. Rather, it is a sort of supreme court that settles disputes between other clans. As one member dies, others of his or her original clan replace the person. By common treaty, each clan sends one male and one female, so that these might intermarry with others within Staff Clan. Thus Staff Clan is, in one sense, the only endogamous clan in Byssinia, but in another sense maintains the overall rule of exogamy.
 
Stanley House Museums: A collection of museums housed in the Stanley Manor Compound collected around the Stanley House in the southernmost reaches of Novo Durango, on the edge of Spring Plateau. Stanley House is one of the first structures built on Novatierre (stone and local wood construction.) Many consider it the most well-made and best-preserved on the Altraus Continent.
 
The compound also consists of numerous outbuildings meant to house friends and relatives of Joseph Stanley, as well as a sizeable staff of servants--many of whom, it appears, were also friends and relatives, down on their luck at the time of transfer to Novatierre and paying off their passage with work. Indeed, it appears that the distinction between servants and residents crumbled fairly quickly after the building of Stanley House, due to the exigencies of survival, and the complex eventually came to resemble more of a commune than anything.
 
Other outbuildings include barns, two different kinds of greenhouses (one culinary, one devoted to herbs of medicinal or possibly arcane value) a crafts complex consisting of many stalls devoted to such things as pottery, carpentry, and smithing, an adjoining art studio, a creamery, wine cellar, oil/soap/biodiesel factory, smokehouse, fiber and fabric crafts complex, a gazebo, a dance hall, and many other sheds and structures for storage and other purposes, not all clarified by archaeology at this time. Several structures might have been small temples or chapels.
 
Some archaeologists have pointed out what they consider evidence of magical or alchemical symbolism in the structure and decor of Stanley House, which would, if true, support the theory that at least some of the Stanley family practiced the Wiccan religion. Folklore has it that the Stanley House and one of the greenhouses is haunted, but this may simply be a response of the ignorant to the religious persuasion of the former residents. On the other hand, there has been some degree of documented residual psychic energy in the building, due to the presence of magentine in some of the artifacts.
 
stapleseed: A tall weed native to the Charadoc, often cultivated by the lower castes for its umbrels of white flowers, which bear many oil-bearing seeds. These may be crushed into a nut-butter, boiled as a very rich pilaf, or ground into a kind of moist pastry-flour that needs no shortening to make flaky biscuits and crusts with a flavor reminiscent of cashews and a hint of caraway. The oil is rich in vitamin E and other antioxidents, some of which have not yet been fully analyzed, making it surprisingly resistant to rancidity--an evolved necessity in the tropical heat. This oil also has many commercial applications, being a highly flammable, renewable source of fuel, especially when the seed is allowed to ferment before pressing.

starlight gardenia:  A tropical flowering vine of the rainforests of the Southwestern Continent.  Named for its gardenia-like scent, it has five-petaled bluish-white or golden-white flowers, centered with a long burst of pure white stamens.  It blooms at night, pollinated by moths.  It has dark, glossy leaves, elongated heart shaped, and a few thorns.  The fruits are small, black, and too sour for consumption, but rich in tannic acid for cottage industry leatherwork.

station time:  The time used at stations for any form of mass-transit that travels between communities with different reckonings of time.  The first hour of station-time begins with that moment that the first vehicle of the network historically departed the first station.  Most stations will have two clocks, with station-time on the left and local time on the right.

steel eel: A giant invertebrae (sometimes called a marsh-dragon) steel-gray in color, that lives in the marshy plague belt aaround the Gulf of Istislan.  It varies in length, being segmented and serpentine in body, but its head is roughly the size of a large GEM or small bus, with small eyes, feelers around the mouth, and a curving frill to the back of its head-plate like a ceratopsian dinosaur.  It has many small, paddle-like legs underneath, between every segment.

          The steel eel spends most of its life buried deep in the marshes of the Northwestern continent's southern horn, eating decaying vegetable matter and dissolved minerals.  Once a year, usually on the summer solstice, it surfaces to breed.  At that time each marshland community will hold a hunt.  Each town or village will recruit every able-bodied citizen to hunt one (and only one) steel eel, for it takes many people to slay one, and a single steel eel will feast the entire community.  Legends vary up and down the coast as to the fate of villages that get greedy and kill two at once.  Most of the legends in Firenja claim that these erring villages lay in Oolang-Gyorny, and assert that diseases in that region arise as a punishment for this ancient crime.

          The steel eel has a moist and flaky flesh, with a taste reminiscent of lobster with butter, plus a faint and pleasant mineral tang.  It is rich in essential trace minerals, argenine, b-complex, and protein.  Ingestion is also said to boost psychic abilities.  No village will sell the meat for love or money, although sometimes they will barter the ground shell as a supplement for human beings, animals, or fertilizer.  Custom forbids actual money changing hands, however.

          The steel eel plays an important function in the ecology of the region, helping to purify the marshes, and reducing pathogens by feeding off of them.  Where the steel eel thrives in greater numbers, the number of deaths to illness diminish--an important consideration in this notoriously unhealthy land.  Its droppings are also considered the world's best fertilizer for the tea plant.

          Rumors that some communities worship the steel eel bear have no basis in reality.  However, many legends attribute minor supernatural characteristics or powers to this unique animal.  As it does seem to often include magentine among the minerals digested, it might be unwise to discount these beliefs altogether as superstition.

Stilthome: A village of Til Territories located in the upper, firmer southern end of Rhallunn Marsh, between the Rhallunn River and Mt. Seascarp. As its name implies, all of the homes stand on stilts, and people travel on shallow-bottomed skiffs across the water. Said to have been founded to avoid bandits, the village sells wild rice, clams, and driftwood carvings primarily. Its colors are sage and taupe.

Stinkybunny:  A small, carnivorous scavenger, equipped with long ears, powerful hindquarters, and stink glands, native to the plains of the Northwestern Continent.  Its ears can detect the commotion of other hunting animals from quite some distance away (variable according to terrain) and its large haunches enable it to hasten, in quick sprints and leaps, towards the hunt, making a piercing, carrying yip every time it leaps above the level of the grasses, thereby warning the predators of its coming.  When it arrives, it will spray a stench in the vicinity, adhering to any hapless predator inexperienced enough to attempt to defend its kill, and driving back all others.  Usually the predator has time to eat quite a bit before the arrival of the stinkybunny pack, and experienced alphas can gauge quite well just how much time their own pack has to make the most of their catch before the competition arrives.

Stovak: A nation or combination of nations in the Southwestern Continent, intermittently dividing into North and South Stovak and then recombining again, almost with the frequency of the malarial fevers that wrack its denizens, split along any one of several shifting rivers bifurcating it roughly horizontally through the middle. It is bounded to the south and southwest by the Byssinian Gulf, to the east by the Charadoc, and to the north and northwest by lands so far uncharted in the Archives of Til.
 
Originally founded by a colony of North American science fiction fans devoted to body-building, warrior philosophy, and survivalism, including a number of the children of the failed Mars expedition that would eventually become Mountainfolk, intermingled with other types. More prepared than most of the private citizen colonizers, and quick to pick up on transfer technology, they number among one of the earliest successful colonies in the Great Migration, but failed to live up to their initial promise due to the frequency and ferocity of their inner conflicts, combined with the energy-drain of chronic disease.
 
It legally exports rice and watergrain, canned water buffalo meat, water buffalo leather and byproducts, sugar cane, cashews, and a wide range of dried, canned, candied, or preserved fruits, in between wars. It seldom establishes or enforces substance-controlling laws and so frequently Stovaki merchants also smuggle tariff-free alcohol, tobacco, coca, marijuana, opium, khatt, and hallucinogenic fungi and herbs into more scrupulous countries. The tobacco is said to be among the finest in the world, and the stronger varieties are hallucinogenic. The wine has no such reputation; in fact, Stovaki "vintners" are notorious for passing off mixtures of grain alcohol, water, and flavorings as various other beverages.
 
Stovaki drama has repeatedly won international recognition for the depth and immediacy of its scripts, the subtlety of its actors, the layering of ironies in both comedies and tragedies, and in its creativity of staging and direction. While students of performance flock from all over the world, only the most dedicated tolerate the constant state of upheaval and relocation of schools and theaters long enough to graduate, leaving Stovak with the cream of the crop. As their great actress Hansi Valda once said, "Survival is drama."
 
study trance: A mind-state that predisposes the practitioner to a heightened retention of information received. Teachers must take care to train students not to go so deeply into trance that they overlook indications of imminent threats to their survival.
 
Strivane: The largest island nation of those islands in the region between the Northwestern and Southwestern Continents. Exports an inferior, short-staple wool, largely used for batting and insulation. Has a warlike history with surrounding islands. (The popular pronunciation of “Srivane” is improper. Many languages other than Tilianach feature an “STR” dipthong that one might learn to pronounce with little effort. Avoid the other error of pronouncing it “Satrivane” when trying to achieve this. Practice will soon steer you between these two extremes.)

suarvalu:  A stocky, climbing mammal, about the size of a large dog only rounder, indigenous to the rainforests of the southeastern tropics of the Northeastern Continent, with a piglike snout for digging up tubers and mushrooms, and round, teddy-bear like ears.  Gray or beige in color, with long black claws.  Raised for meat, it tastes much like pork.

sub-college: An educational system within a larger system, specializing in a limited but detailed course of studies.
 
Suetenlynd: A nation of the Northeastern Continent, bordered to the north by Lludlowe, to the south by Gazelistan, to the East by the Duerlongh Sea, and to the west by Mabhratha. Originally colonized by a coalition of Germans of color and of minority religions, fearful of discrimination cutting them off from access to Novatierre (whether rightly or wrongly no one can now say) and determined to take their migration into their own hands rather than wait for government assistance. Once arrived, they became a magnet for other colonies of a wide variety of “alternative” types, too small of themselves for much promise of survival, but fearful of joining forces with any overly mainstream group, sometimes for genuine and sometimes for imagined reasons. Although of themselves fairly conservative and conventional people, the original colony soon made room in their hearts and their lives for any honest, hardworking misfits that might come their way, and forged a notably tolerant and diverse society from these roots.
 
Suetenlynd enjoys rich farmland, and presumably could do much trade in crops, but until recently has held itself isolated from the rest of the world, fearing non-acceptance. Lludlowe to the north has exacerbated this, by repeated attempts to invade, coveting the fertile blessings of their neighbor. Lludlovians regard the Suetenysch as feckless, unpredictable, irresponsible, and undeserving of such blessings; they hold the firm opinion (with little to back it up) that their rulership would increase Suetenlynd’s yield tenfold. (Possibly Suetenlynd’s refusal to trade with them has led to the conclusion that the country’s in a perpetual state of famine.)
 
Yet although technology-poor, The Suetenysch consider themselves quite well off and do not suffer much in the way of hardships, except for the periodic plagues which sweep their nation. Far from being the lazy bumpkins that their northern neighbors describe, a strong work ethic has driven their internal economy to abundance, furthered by their national motto: “Accept all who earn acceptance.” (Indeed, the only people whom they seem to hate are Lludlovians.) Their greatest deficit iies in medicine, through ignorance rather than lack of effort. Accordingly the Tilián has begun to establish a system of hospitals and even a medical lab in their midst.
 
sugar-tree: See chaummin tree.
 
Summons of Oracles: International convocation of oracles, called when five or more in at least three continents feel the same call to summon their siblings together in one place, to plan for some worldwide emergency. This call counts as valid only if that five or more can find each other.
 
Sunken Mountain Bay: A bay of Carmina Island, sheltered by Coral Peninsula, named for the ancient sunken volcano that formed it. Well-known as a rich environment for scuba-diving and a training-ground for nautical students.
 
Support-Communities: Those settlements to the east of Til Institute, populated largely by Tilián-raised persons who refused the call to join the Tilián itself, and their descendants, who nonetheless support Til Institute and her goals economically by the raising and manufacture of every kind of provision.
 
surf-pump: A pump which employs tidal action to pump fresh seawater in and out of an aquarium or tank containing ocean-life.

swamp-bean:  A thin vine common to wetlands throughout the Southeastern Continent, that can entangle other plants in mats miles wide.  Its weak tendrils snap easily but grow back with legendary swiftness.  In fact many a comical tale tells of lazy people becoming overgrown with swamp-bean vines.

The blossoms  resemble small snapdragon blooms and come in a wide range of pastel colors, especially in the lavender range, plus white, giving off a heady perfume that legend says can cause intoxication and the shedding of inhibitions and good judgment, although scientific investigation has found no evidence of this, and suggests that people shed their inhibitions because they believe that they have an excuse.  Still, people are more likely to forgive transgressions that occur when the swamp beans bloom, and illegitimate children are sometimes referred to as swamp beans.

The farmers of Dixie cultivate this wild plant, which produces abundant edible legumes, good both dried and fresh in the pod.  The new tendrils also make a good vegetable, either cooked or raw in salads. 

During Mardi Gras, unmarried men and women alike wear swamp-bean garlands.  So do teenagers, when they can sneak away from adult supervision, and not always during the holidays.  A married person who wears such a garland levels a grave insult at his or her spouse, often dividing the community as to whether this was a shameful act or a rebellion long overdue.  Murders have occurred over this.

swamp-corn:  A reed indigenous to the wetlands of the Southwestern Continent, cultivated in Dixie.  It grows dense clusters of edible round, glossy maroon seeds, in shape like the fluff of cattails, high in protein, vitamin E, and beta carotene, but difficult to harvest as the ears are apt to "shatter" when ripe and scatter all over the water.  Farmers generally tie translucent bladders or xylophane sacks over the ears before they ripen (opaque sacks makes a later-ripening and less flavorful result) but some always burst apart before the farmers can get there.  Farmers traditionally sow back into the water the seeds of the last ear to ripen, in the hopes of encouraging future generations to take their time.

Swamp Cove: The mouth of the Rhallunn river which is, as the name implies, swampy.
 
sweet bits: A Charadocian folk-recipe, of little dabs of sugared and spiced biscuit dough, fried in butter, then dusted with more sugar and spices.
 
Sweet Memory River: A river just west of the Coral Gulf in Til Territories, close to where Til Peninsula joins the mainland. It flows from Twin Springs hill and becomes a tributary to the Spumehoof river. Whoever named it kept the reason a secret, but many a writer has spun a song or romance novel on speculation.
 
sweetroot: A small, dark vine with round leaves and fuzzy greyish-lavender clusters of blossoms. It has skinny black roots with a very sweet and pungent flavor, used as a seasoning, particularly in desserts.
 

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