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.
tamarina: A soft drink made from tamarind.
Tambour: Also sometimes called Tamboura. A nation of numerous
islands in the farthest northwestern corner of the Eastern Continent,
some of them the geographic equivalent of Earth’s British Isles, but
most of them much larger and equivalent to the Scandanavian countries
which on earth would have been peninsulas. A stern attitude and a
strong work ethic has compensated for a severe lack of natural
resources. They live primarily by manufacturing and trade, depending on
thermal power from their many geysers and volcanos.
Tamboura, Sea of: That portion of the Lesser Ocean to the north
of the western spur of the Northeastern Continent (the equivalent of
Earth’s Europe) much-fretted by the islands of Tambour.
Tarnished Golden Age, The:
That period, in the history of Magorris, under Matyas the Monster, in
which the tyrant bled the country dry for his own self-indulgence, but
whose indulgence included a keen eye and ear for the best artists, and
musicians, and performers, whose skill and creativity he rewarded
handsomely. The arts were the only thing that throve in Magorris
at that time, but often remain the best exemplars of Magorrian cuture
to this day.
A liquid derivative of tar-peat, used as fuel for transoceanic flight,
and (more rarely) for high mountain vehicles or antarctic exploration,
as it resists viscosity at low temperatures.
tar-peat: A rare and valuable oily peat,
highly flammable, from which one can refine fuel powerful enough for
trans-oceanic flight, found in the marshes of the Plague Belt,
especially in Firenja and Oolang-Gyorny. So far nobody has been
able to cultivate the microbe responsible for turning decaying matter
into tar-peat. Current research, however, seems to indicate that
the droppings of the steel eel might play some role in this microbe's
life-cycle, or possibly in that of some other microbe playing an
intermediary part as yet undefined.
Taryschi: A tropical country on the southeastern coast of the
Southeastern Continent, known for its mineral wealth, particularly its
precious stones, but also many a metal and mineral of a more practical
The nation at the eastern end of the line for the Mighty Rail.
Named after a city in the Ukraine, Earth, by homesick colonists, it has
also absorbed colonies from India, Uruguay, and Haiti. Bordered
to the north by Gueymaial and surrounded on all other quarters by
pathless mountains, no one knows for sure whether other communities
exist beyond its borders.
Tashkara merits inclusion on the Rail because of its wealth in
gemstones, silver, and volcanic minerals, and its extraordinary jewelry
and silversmithing. Many a bridegroom, throughout the world, has
put the future of his marriage in hock for a Tashkaran wedding-ring as
the ultimate proof of love, though some more practical brides have
disagreed as to the romance of starting their lives together deep in
tasper: A low-growing tree of the Southwestern Continent, often
occupying the margin between hardwood and softwood forests on mountain
slopes. A somewhat gnarled deciduous tree, it has small, lanceolate
leaves, of a dusty green, growing in clusters.
Cooks know it mainly for its buds,
used as spices. However, it also bears a very palatable drupe with a
fuzzy olive-brown skin and a sweet/tart, aromatic pulp in
Although unsuitable for any large purpose, carpenters love its burled
and contrasting-grained wood for small pieces such as tabletop boxes,
bookends, and sculptures. Chefs prize spoons made of this wood.
tasper bud: A spice that grows on the tasper tree. Picked in
winter before they open, the buds impart a flaver sort of like a
mixture of cloves, tamarind, and orange or tangerine. Used in pickling,
curing meats, preparing squash dishes, and spicing pies and fruit
Tasper Trading Company: A Til Territories import company,
operating out of Novo Durango. Begun by Jonah Wright, a retired agent
and enthusiastic amateur cook, who'd once had a mission in Satirk. The
mission failed, but he came home with a taste for tasper buds as a
seasoning, and when his own supply ran out, made arrangements to import
more. That led to the acquisition of other spices from around the
world, and eventually other goods, particularly products for the
kitchen. Their emblem is three of the narrow, dusty-green leaves of the
tasper-tree (since the buds themselves are not quite photogenic.)
Technological Laboratories: Known also as T.L. The organization from which the Tili�n evolved.
Teeth of Cana’a: Popular name for the pillars of rock to either side of the narrow passage between the Sea of Holumbria and the Lesser Ocean.
telekineticist: One with the psychic Gift of telekinesis.
telekinesis: The ability to move objects with the mind. Most
telekineticists find themselves limited to lifting and moving small
objects, and so they mostly apply their talent to delicate, sensitive
or difficult-to-reach manipulations, such as inner clock workings. The
rare psychokineticist who can lift heavy objects must expend huge
amounts of calories and suffers the same health-risks as a combustor.
telepath: One with the psychic ability of telepathy.
telepathic possession: The state which results when a telepath
forces unwanted thoughts and/or impulses into another's mind, or when a
person subjected to telepathy seizes control of the telepathic exchange
and forces thoughts and/or impulses back to the telepath. Few find it
even marginally possible to accomplish. One can resist, but the
difficulty in that lies in distinguishing one's own thoughts and
impulses from those of the other person.
telepathy: The ability to communicate mind-to-mind. Since very
few people can telepathize in words, the greatest challenge lies in
interpreting the idiosyncratic symbols of another person's thoughts.
A small, aquatic creature, rather shrimplike, rich in protein and
argenine, which flourishes in great numbers in the highly saline waters
A large, highly saline lake in a valley of Magorris, without outlet,
where salts concentrate through influx and evaporation. Named for
the tengri which proliferate in its waters, living off of a pinkish
salt-tolerant variety of algae.
Tensei: A Charadocian mountain village, one of many alleged to
have been wiped out during the Charadocian Revolution. It either
repopulated later or never did suffer from the purported atrocity;
historians differ. Archaeology does show evidence of a substantial fire
at one point destroying the village; this may have been the initial
event around which the legends later grew.
Tercos, Consuelo Maria: Inventor of the Transfer Device.
Credited also with the establishment of Archives, though with uncertain
attribution. Considered the Mother of Magentine Technology. Twin to
Tercos, Fobos Jos�: Founder of Technological Laboratories.
Widely credited with establishing the first colony on Novatierre,
though not without some challenges to this premise. Twin to Consuelo
Terraphobia: The irrational
fear of any number of old or rediscovered technologies, philosophies,
or practices, in the belief that it or they caused the downfall of
Earth, without factual evidence.
Also called the English Sparrow or the Common House-Sparrow. A
small bird with mostly gray-brown feathers accented by black and white,
indigenous to Earth. It frequently stowed away on
transfer-devices. Enough came over to find and breed with each
other that you can hardly find a place on Novatierre without them.
Territorial Policia: A loosely confederated collection of
policing organizations, security forces and village militias, involved
in law enforcement in Til Territories outside of the major cities and
test of blood: In the Charadoc's Egalitarian Liberation Front, the test of blood
referred to whether or not a rebel recruit could bring hirself to kill
another human being for the cause.
test of fire: In the Charadoc's Egalitarian Liberation Front, the test of fire involved
a passage through fire in one form or another as initiation into the
rebel bands. In the presence of their leader, Cyran the Lawbreaker,
this involved walking across hot coals. Alternative rites involved
leaping over or through flames, allowing oneself to be burnt or
branded, or running through a gauntlet of burning boughs.
thambriy: A musical instrument popular in the western
continents, sometimes also called a butterfly-harp. It has two
soundboxes, wider on their outside edges, joined on their inside edges
in a bar holding tuning-keys. Strings stretch across both sides, the
larger side given over to the principle notes of a ten-key scale
(Istislan scale) the smaller side holding the accidental notes. The
musician primarily plays the strings by striking them with
rubber-tipped wands, but sometimes also by plucking.
theine: An herb that grows in rosettes of stalks, each covered
with tiny, round leaves in a bronzy-green color, containing close to
double the caffeine of the coffee-bean, used in medicinal teas. It has
a flavor sort of like a cross between root beer and the scent of
Darvinian God of Fate, younger brother of Horo, father of Daio by the
human woman Melle, and one of the Upovae. Accounted the most
domineering of the mates of Timora, although many myths tell of Daio
and Ario tricking him so as to spend the night with Timora in his
stead. He has gaunt yet handsome features, and coal black
hair. He dresses all in black. His shrine always stands
near Timora's. His worship takes place on the occasions of
births, funerals, amputations, or recognition in the arts--anything
that Darvinians consider irrevocable. A vow by Theto is
unbreakable, and only the mosts determined will resort to it.
Some make offerings to him of liquor, hoping to lull him so that one of
the other Upovo Brothers can slip past him, but his greatest devotees
consist of artists, poets, writers, musicians, mystics, and others
driven by callings beyond them to resist. The only thing that can
change his mind, the Darvinians say, is a moving song, although one
myth does mention a woman dancing for him to win her son back from the
dead. Horo, however, can wait him out.
thistle-flax: A fabric-fiber derived from a coarse, prickly
plant called the flaxenthistle. The resultant material resembles linen
in many ways, but when woven right can feel softer and silkier.
Difficult to cultivate and still
more difficult to harvest, only Tamboura has ever succeeded in
developing, within United Tribes, any workable plantations for its
production. Allegations of mistreatment of farmworkers on these
plantations await investigation.
Three Angels: A rock formation in the Coral Gulf along the Great
Gulf Road, close to the west end and across from Mt. Halleluia. It
consists of three discrete spires of rock, quite tall, tapering from
wide bases to surprisingly narrow tips; the shortest one is closest to
the road. Made of a conglomerate of rainbow coral and red sandstone,
the spires are brilliantly colored and perpetually awash in sea-spume
and rainbows--truly well worth the journey to see.
three-D column: A device for entertainment and education, which
portrays dramas and documentaries "three-dimensionally"
(four-dimensionally, to be scientifically precise.) It becomes
translucent when not in use. Considered an extravagance by some, it
nevertheless enjoys some popularity in Til territories, mainly in
theaters and classrooms, although some rich families own miniature 3-D
columns privately. Citizens more commonly receive their in-home
dramatic entertainment on a console-screen.
three/four wave: (Usually written � wave.) A magentine-based
medium of communication, in some ways resembling Earthian
civilization's old radio-waves, but not nearly as reliable. It requires
enormous psychic effort from occupational telepaths, which pretty much
limits its practical use to ship-to-shore communications and emergency
responder networks, although in recent years a few commercial music
broadcasters have arisen in Til Territories. One each broadcasts
classical, local popular, and international folk music, and one offers
up a mad blend of whatever the deejay of the moment throws together.
Similar networks have existed in Istislan for decades, most of them
broadcasting jazz and classical. Plenty of telepaths in that country
feel such a devotion to music that , far from finding the work
burdensome, they relish it as complete immersion into their passion.
Also, Istislan always seems a few steps ahead of us in non-utilitarian
applications of magentine technology.
Theoretically, � wave should broadcast from anywhere to anywhere, but
in practice it only seems to work between locales that the collective
telepaths working together have visited. There's some talk of
eventually recruiting retired agent telepaths to create links to other
nations, but so far none have come forth willing to do this work. Nor
has anybody been able to recruit enough telepaths to create a mobile
phone industry comparable to that of historic Earth, even if customers
felt willing to bounce their private conversations through the minds of
tiger: A large, predatory feline, found in many varieties
throughout the Eastern continents, distinguished by the elongated
whorls of markings (resembling stripes, though not actually the true
stripe of the Earthian tiger) from other large felines. The background
color tends towards the tawny, in golden or sandy hues, but might also
come in cream, white, mahogany or (rarely) sable. The markings are
usually medium to dark brown, sometimes black, and can also come in
rust, deep gold, taupe, or mahogany.
Til: The way of life of the Tili�n. The culture. Derived
etymologically from "T.L.", the initials for Technological
Laboratories. In recent usage, sometimes referring to Til
Institute, or Til Territories. However, it is incorrect to think
of Til as a nation per se.
Tilan: An individual member of the Tili�n.
tilana: A colloquialism, archaic in origin, for a female tilan. Not considered proper grammar.
tilanita, tilanito, tilanitey: The female, the male and the
hermaphroditic forms of the term for a young tilan. Often also used
familiarly, between friends of any age.
Til Anthem: The Til Anthem is not music, but braided verse. It
does not actually mention Til at all, nor any of her principles, but
simply describes one of the fairest shores of Til Peninsula. Yet you
won’t find a Tilan in all the world whose eyes do not grow dewy at the
sound of it, and many have died with it on their lips.
[Unfortunately, I have it in my file for the year 2713, which has gone missing.]
Til Emblem: The emblem used in the signatures of all sworn
Tili�n and the seal used by Til Institute. It evolved from the emblem
of Technological Laboratories, or T.L., which was a hollow, san serif
“T” within a droplet or flame shape. Over time the emblem evolved to
where the sides of the “T” became concave, while the droplet became
increasingly flamelike and eventually opened up on one side, for no
apparent reason other than perhaps institutionalizing the drawing
errors and stylistic affectations of prior generations.
A name given to Til Territories by some foreign cultures.
Although incorrect, one must indulge the locals by not mentioning it.
Tili�n: The people of Til. A plural for tilan (although some
remote villages still use the archaic Tilani). By putting the
pluralizing "i" before the individual "an", the word emphasizes the
importance of the society to the individual. But by then accenting the
"an", it also emphasizes the importance of the individual to the
Tilianach: The language spoken by the Tili�n, roughly latin in
grammar and with considerable Amereng vocabulary, but deriving from all
Tili�n stamp: A stamp made of magentine-impregnated rubber,
featuring the Til emblem, given to Tili�n young people within a year of
their coming of age. Formal documents require this stamp
alongside the signature, although, in the event of the loss or
destruction of this stamp, a fingerprint will do. After the
owner’s death, these stamps then go to
the Psychometrist’s Museum, if recoverable.
Tili�n Port Authority: A compound of offices on Hernandez Island
for the regulation of imports, exports, immigration, visas, and all
legal entry into Til Territories. Since agents legally become temporary
citizens of whichever nation they enter on agency business, The Tili�n
Port Authority also processes and debriefs agent of the Tili�n on their
return and resumption of citizenship.
Tili�n Tolerance Ethic: An ethic of tolerance founded on an
initiation-ritual where the initiate's mind comes into contact with
that of an Alien. Thereafter, it is said, nothing human can be
considered entirely alien again.
Til Institute: Although the political capitol of Til
Territories, it is primarily a place of learning and research, a sort
of gigantic campus about the size of Wales. Its most sacred duty
involves the raising and/or training of agents and the control of
agency missions throughout the world.
Being a world
center for intellectuals and philosophers, it also hosts a number of
principal cathedrals, mosques, temples, kivas, et cetera, for
Novatierre's major religions.
Tillynd: The name given to Til Territories by Suetenlynd. Although incorrect, one must indulge the locals by not mentioning it.
Til Peninsula: The peninsula of northern Altraus, west of The Coral Gulf, which Til Institute occupies.
Til Territories: All of those lands surrounding Til Institute
that loosely yield to Til law, operate through Archives, and/or accept
Til credit as the chief currency. Autonomy tends to increase with
geographic distance, particularly in the mountains and islands; not all
communities practice extradition, for instance. The territories usually
practice some sort of trade with Til Institute as the binding force
between them, generally some variation of goods-for-knowledge exchange.
They also speak Tilianach universally.
The Darvinian Goddess of Transitions, who has no mother and no father,
emerging out of nothingness and timelessness, the primary impulse to
make things happen. The most important deity in Darvinia.
Portrayed as pregnant, with long black hair streaked in silver, garbed
in twilight blue. Mate of Horo, Daio, Ario, and Theto (gods of
Time, Chance, Choice or Freedom, and Fate, respectively) Two brothers
and their two sons, with whom she enjoys much daliance, continually
bearing their children. Honored in all rites of passage and in
her two holidays, the Flower Petal Festival and the Bright Leaves
Festival, her devotees worship or supplicate her at twilight, noon, or
midnight, and raise shrines up to her in liminal spaces such as niches
in walls between properties, edges of forests, harbors, etc.
Darvinians commonly put her image on or above doors, asking her to let
in whatever is good and keep out whatever might be bad. Her
favorite offerings are anything on the verge of becoming something
else, such as flower buds, sprouting seeds, or coccoons. Loved yet also feared by
the normally fun-loving Darvinians, for the unpredictable temperament
of her children.
Name for the many-fingered fringe of valleys alond the southern edge
that dry region of the Zetecan Range which lies in Dhalzinje. In
the winter rainy season, these become lush oases of rapid growth; most
indigenous vegetarian life forms breed in time to give birth in
winter. By summer, however, all of the greenery has died and
turned brown and flammable. Yearly fires sweep these valleys in
the summertime, unless a rare raincloud from the eastern monsoons
manages to cross over the divide. These fires serve an integral
purpose in the local ecology, first because many regional seeds will
not germinate without it, and second because they weed out the week
from the animal populace--those not agile enough to flee to safe, rocky
ground--and thus prevents overgrazing. This has come to include,
by nature-enforced selective breeding, the livestock of human beings.
tipsy fever: The colloquial name for mycobacterium pseudobacchae.
T.L.: Initials for Technological Laboratories.
Tlangit-Toh: A nation of the westernmost spur of the
Northeastern Continent, bound to the north by the Sea of Tamboura, to
the west by Santezavel, to the south by Darvinia, and to the east by
______. The first colonists came out of Earth’s Pacific Northwest, of
indigenous descent from several tribes, but predominated by the Tlingit
people, and they preserved a great deal of Earthian technology in their
migration. Soon they became a magnet for other colonies of many
different origins, and between them created a rich, multicultural
tapestry of communities dedicated to mutual assistance.
Tlangit-Toh’s economy depends largely on a particularly green form of
manufacturing, and the exportation of wind-powered electricity,
especially to Darvinia. But they also enjoy ample farmland, although
short-seasoned at their latitude.
Tlomi: (Derived from Tilianach: til-om-i--Til-meditation-plural)
Meditation on the patternless patterns of nature, practiced in
particular by the Tili�n. Most often used as a starting-point for other
meditations or trance-states.
Tooth Fairy: A minor supernatural being honored in the Charadoc.
Adults teach children to place lost teeth under their pillows for the
Tooth Fairy, who will then purchase it with candy or a cookie or some
other pleasant bit of food. In some villages the revelation that there
is no tooth fairy, made once all of a child's permanent teeth have come
in, constitutes an important rite of passage. Other communities leave
it for the child to figure out for hirself.
A small, thorny bush with small, round, lobed leaves of a grayish
yellow-green, that thrives in dry, stony stretches of karst country
where little else can grow, native to the Northeastern Continent,
particularly in its western regions. In spring it grows small,
white, five-petaled flowers with pink throats and stamens tipped in
yellow. Prized for its dark purple berries, which are tart but
richly flavored (sort of like a cross between grape and chocolate.)
A square pastry made by folding a sweet-and-tart jam of Tortleberzh
berries into a square of flaky puff-pastry, the corners drawn to the
center to make a smaller square. Originally made in Lludlowe.
tortleberzhitth: A sweetened sherry or cordial made from tortleberzh berries, originally made in Suetenlynd.
Toulin: A nation in the far northern reaches of the Western
Continent’s eastern coast, consisting of several significant islands
and a larger land-mass connected to the nation of Borta by a short
border. Technically, Toulin and Borta are halves of a large, long
island, deeply penetrating the Northwestern Continent and separate by a
series of channels, but neither Toulinians nor Bortans appreciate being
referred to as members of island nations, which they associate with the
A major exporter of canned fish, especially cod and lobster, they also
produce the best example of a red wine called Marechal-Mill�. In recent
years they have become increasingly industrialized by the harnessing of
wind and water generated electrical power. However, they stubbornly
eschew central heating as “effeminate” and “weakening”.
In communities with a low rate of literacy, a literate will hire
hirself out to write and read aloud whatever others find needful:
letters, contracts, labels, or instructions, usually.
town colors: In most parts of Til Territories, most notably
Alonzo Valley, the custom has evolved of having town colors, usually in
pairs. One shows civic pride in multicommunity gatherings by wearing
ribbons in these colors about one’s person. They also distinguish teams
from different home towns, who wear their town colors in competitions.
trace-telekinesis: The most common form of telekinesis: the ability to slightly move lightweight objects with the mind.
trad-fad: Detractor's name for a short-lived movement to
establish at Til Institute "traditional" educational practices favored
by the Ancients and some contemporary countries, most notably
training-flit: A flit with manual controls, intended to help the student transition from mechanical to mental control of the vehicle.
trank-dart: A dart shot from a pistol or rifle that upon impact injects the target with a sedative.
transfer device: A device used to transfer from one parallel
earth to another. Operates on a principle of changing a kind of
frequency in which one interacts with matter. An infinite number of
these frequencies can overlap, in the sense that there can
theoretically be an infinite number of angles at which one may slice an
orange in half. In practice however, the coarseness of modulating
equipment made by human hands brings the number down to mere hundreds,
most of which so far have proven unliveable.
transfer grid: The smaller form of transfer-device, where the
person lies or sits directly above the gridwork of the device, which is
imbedded in a hyaline material.
transfer technology: The technical ability to transfer to other worlds in a nonfatal fashion.
transfer station: A location set up for the large-scale transfer of persons and/or equipment between parallel worlds.
transfer world: Earth on a different psychosensory wavelength
from the one where humanity evolved. Identical on inception, each
inevitably evolved divergently in geology and biology, though the
degree of difference varies from parallel to parallel. Most are
completely uninhabitable. A lesser number may sustain human habitation
through protective gear, and/or with regular shipments of outside
materials. A few can create an extremely hostile but liveable
environment for a self-sustaining colony within narrow genetic-adaptive
parameters. Of all the transfer worlds discovered so far, only
Novatierre can sustain widespread human colonization.
trapmapper: A slang term for a mission-planner in agency.
trashbox: A disposable receptacle for refuse, made of scraps
(wood, plastic, cardboard, metal, or any other stiff material) that may
be recycled along with its contents.
treasure-coral: A coral native to the Altraus coast, which tends
to grow in rather dense, knobby formations. It is chiefly known for its
intense and broad range of colors: namely off-white or ivory, rose, magenta,
melon, brick red, scarlet, soft red-violet, deep lavender, violet, blue violet, soft
indigo, cobalt blue, soft turquoise, pale blue-green, moss green,
lettuce, lemon, canary, gold, bright orange, soft tangerine, and
Treasure-House, the: A home, in Til Institute, for the severely and globally brain-damaged--those unable to walk or talk.
Tree-Clan: A Byssinian Clan known for its orchards and exquisite woodwork. It exports both carpentry and dried fruit.
Tremarne: Capitol of Tremarnion. Named after a hotel on Old Earth.
A nation on the Mighty Rail, bordered to the west, southwest and north
by Duerlongh, to the east by Naugren, and southeast by Aistruli, with
one port (the capitol) touching the very tip of the Nimu Sea.
Originally thought to spring from Welsh colonists because of its
capitol, Tremarne (which means "Farm by the Sea" in Welsh) but as it
turns out its founder merely vacationed at a Welsh hotel of the same
name and had fond memories. Upon discovering that its original
colony came from the United States of America, scholars further
speculated that they might have been Mormons, due to the practice of
polygamy. However, the legendary celebrations of the distiller's
art by the upper class soon quashed that notion. And in fact
other arrivals, as yet undiscovered in origin, soon outnumbered the
first founders. Polygamy more likely sprang from a similar source
as for the Mormons, however, in initially having many more female than
find Tremarnion social structure startling at first blush. All
children grow up in the harems of their mothers. At seventeen,
the daughters enroll in exogamous harems, applying for several in the
hopes of acceptance into the best they can get, much like people in
other countries apply for college, which in part it is. However,
contrary to popular belief in other countries, the members of a harem
may choose to remain virgins, or may sign up for sexual congress.
However, they do not choose which of the lords of a harem might select
them from the list, nor does this guarantee them selection at
all. Much in-house politicking goes on around selection, and
creates much subject matter for fiction and drama.
importantly, they receive higher education in their harem, and tests to
see where their talents lie. Women's trades and training can
include all of the fabric arts, herb and kitchen gardening, herbology,
cooking, the manufacture of soaps, perfumes, toiletries, medicines and
chemicals, brewing and distillery, chemical research, medicine and
healing arts, priestesshood, pottery, botany, ecology, all
record-keeping, history, and other clerical work, sales, psychology and
the human sciences, diplomacy, politics, the manufacture of paper and
books, editing and publishing, and the writing of poetry.
Different harems emphasize different products and disciplines.
Many women spend the rest of their lives in a harem, but when a woman
contributes something original and of value, she graduates from the
harem to become a Lady. She can then marry a Master of her
choosing, live in her own suite, train others, build a reputation based
on her own accomplishments, engage in politics, own a guild, and can
drink alcohol and bhang (intoxicants are forbidden to members of a
wear a cord, actually several cords knotted together, in the colors of
their harem when they leave their manors, accompanied by elder members
of the harem and a eunuch. These chaparones are supposed to be
above reproach, but in practice some of them can be bribed by a little
nip of something illegal and intoxicating to give their charges
unsupervised time. This, too, often features in dramas and
stories, as a plot device more common in fiction than in fact.
apply for and enroll in guilds at age seventeen. And they can
sign up for sexual experience with post-menopausal women, but again,
have no choice as to who will select them from the list or whether it
will happen at all. Male trades can include carpentry,
priesthood, farming, animal husbandry, zoology, agronomy (often in
collaboration with female botanist colleagues) soldiery, policing and
law enforcement, firefighting and emergency response, metalwork,
construction and architecture, engineering, physics, minerology,
mining, smelting, forging, leatherwork, butchery, astronomy, astrology,
fiction-writing, mechanics, manufacturing of machines, masonry,
stonecutting, bricklaying and brickmaking, toolmaking, weaponry,
earthworks, and largescale farming.
When they excel
or contribute original work of sufficient significance, they become
Masters and leave the guild. They can own a harem, marry a Lady
by choice, engage in politics, train others, drink alcohol (bhang is
reserved for women only) sire children, and build a reputation based
upon their own accomplishments.
Those with a
great desire to do the work of the opposite sex have options with a
great price. A male may become a eunuch and join a harem. A
woman may become a dashi and join a guild. They can then, if they
work hard, become a Lord or Mistress. People particularly prize
the work of Lords and Mistresses because they have sacrificed so much
for the passion of their calling.
It is not illegal to run away from
a harem or a guild, but rarely will anyone welcome a runaway back, and
few will accept a runaway into a new guild or harem, though exceptions
have occured, some of historical significance, in the tales of some of
the greatest Masters and Ladies.
A runaway too often winds up a beggar or an outlaw. Some
prostitution happens, paid for by those with tastes too cruel or
otherwise outrageous for the harems, drug-dealing happens (often with
the dealer succumbing to the vice hirself) burglary and highway robbery
are not unheard of. But they do have other options.
Some of the more resourceful
become freeholders, living in a scattering of subsistance farms, or
running small shops that refurbish or recycle discarded goods.
They can also apprentice to a pawnshop or some other enterprise
embarked upon by a more resourceful freeholder than themselves.
It's a hardscrabble existence, not supported by the rest of society, on
the fringes of the economy, but some have done well and a few have even
If they have the talent for it, or
can work hard at developing the skills, a runaway can join a
troupe. These traveling buskers can cover the full range of
performing arts--drama, music, acrobatics, dance, exhibition sports,
magic tricks, you name it. Gender does not matter in any
role. Troupes often engage in polyamorous marriages and raise
children in their traditions. They dress flamboyantly and
idiosyncratically by way of advertising their profession, drink alcohol
(and some say that they allow bhang to men) talk loudly, and when not
performing wear anklets of small strings of bells to further advertise
themselves. Others regard them as scandalous, shocking, and
unpredictable, but also amusing and indulgeable, a much-needed
safety-valve in a strict society, and a valued source of
entertainment. A good troupe can make an honest living, and some
grow very rich. A bad troupe soon falls apart.
Not all members
of a troupe perform. Some without talent will attach themselves
to a troupe in exchange for cooking, washing clothing, maintaining
vehicles, setting up stages, lighting and sound-systems, managing
finances, and other services. Although given the undignified name
of "Stock", buskers grow very attached to them and will defend them
there's the skilled labor of the propmakers and costumers--anyone with
talent in these areas can find a welcome place in any troupe.
Propmakers design sets and backdrops as well as making props, and
costumers also do make-up and hairdressing.
There is also a
medicant religious order, the Holy Houses, that takes in runaways,
particularly eunuchs and dashis. Indeed, those who are not yet
eunuchs or dashis must become such to join permanently. But they
receive respect from the surrounding community, in the belief that
their prayers, meditations, and rituals maintain the well-being of
Tremarnion as a whole. In addition, they host retreats for anyone
in need of one, for up to a year, mostly in silence, with periods of
instruction or ritual.
The religion of
Tremarnion centers on duty to others and honor for respect of
self. An overarching deity without gender summons people to a
path, and they must fulfill that path well with all their being in
order to secure joy beyond mortal understanding in the afterlife.
If they fail The Deity will send helpers to assist the sinner back onto
the right path to Joy, both etheral and in inspired mortals, which
might include anyone at any given moment, even the sorriest
criminal. Those who ultimately fail no matter what aid they
receive must reincarnate and try again. Everyone is meant for
Joy. For most the right path is readily evident, but some must
break with the most obvious path and go an unexpected route.
exports a variety of manufactured goods, and imports some of their raw
materials. Some of the surrounding countries enjoy their dramas,
though an aficionado has to study the culture in order to understand
all of the nuances, but they put greater stock in their circus acts and
sleight of hand. Many troupes venture past the borders
regularly. Rumor has it that some have become spies for hire.
Trepse: A term of endearment in Tilianach, meaning “little one,” “lightweight one,” or “wisp”. Also a nickname for “Terpsichore”.
trepseped: Literally, “lightfoot”. An accolade for an especially
good dancer, minus the arrogant or high-maintenance connotations of
“diva” and applicable to both male and female dancers. In slang,
however, used derogatorily for someone so singlemindedly devoted to
dance as to have no thought or awareness for anything else, and by
extension applied to anyone who cares nothing for matters outside hir
specialty, a self-made idiot savante.
triad of barristers: In Til law, those trained jurors who
decide, in teams of three, the guilt or innocence of a defendant and
the sentences of the guilty. A triad consists of a Barrister Defender,
a Barrister Prosecutor and a Barrister Master.
tribal calico: Undyed vegetable fiber hand-printed in multiple
motifs, artistically and irregularly arranged, using hand-carved
blocks. Traditionally tribal calico uses muted vegetable dyes, but
modern variations can use much brighter hues.
imitations abound, but these often resort to mechanical printing and/or
cast stamps of metal or rubber. The most highly prized tribal calico
must have handwoven fabric of homespun thread, decorated with hand-carved
blocks applied by hand, and ideally adorned in limited edition
Most expensive of all (although always faded) collectors treasure
“historic tribal calico”--calico made in The Tribe itself,
pre-unification. Historic tribal calico loses value if too carefully
preserved; collectors insist that the stains, fade-patterns, and
structural damage tell a story unique to each garment.
The Tribe: Many different tribes have called themselves The
Tribe, most notably the descendants of a colony sent out from the
United States of America from Old Earth, landed (with far better
accuracy than most) as close to the center of the nearest geographical
equivalent to North America as they could manage. They highly prized
what they imagined about the folkways of the indigenous people of their natal
land, though few of them had much, if anything, in the way of Native
American ancestry. Nevertheless, with many similar motifs and a closely
related philosophy, they eventually developed an indigenous culture all
their own. Over time they grew and splintered off into many different
bands, leading a nomadic life in their chosen plains. See United Tribes.
tribe-thread: (Just called “thread” among The Tribe.) A homespun
thread made from any vegetable-fiber that comes to hand,
tribe-yarn: (Just called “yarn” among The Tribe.) A homespun
thread made from any animal fiber that comes to hand, indiscriminately
Trinity Cathedral: The heart of sacramental Christiandom in
Novatierre, in Til Penninsula. Unlike most Novatierran churches, which
tend to be orb-shaped (featuring a dome over a round, sunken
ampitheater) Trinity Cathedral consists of three orbs, shamrock-shaped.
Each of these belongs to a different Patriarchy: Roman, Orthodox, and
Collegiate. And each is divided into ten chapels, for the ten rites of
each patriarchy. [I have lost my notes as to which rites these are, but I do know some of them.]
Triumph of Cupid: A hill in Darvinia, topped by a statue of the
same name, carved from a single gigantic, two-story boulder of roseate
marble. The statue depicts Cupid as an adult male, with a bow in one
hand, the other arm amorously embracing/supporting a swooning
androgynous figure with an arrow in hir breast, both figures nude. The
arrow is made of gold, and gold gilds the hair, lips, eyelashes, brows,
and nipples of the figures. Inlays of white marble and black onyx form
Cupid's eyes, while the other figure has closed eyes.
Every year, on February 14th, processions of Darvinians lay wreaths of
flowers upon the pediment of the statue, praying for a return of
vitality to the world to follow winter. All-night dancing follows, with
dancers and musicians taking shifts.
Troll Staircase: A natural feature of the steep slope ascending
from Resthaven to the Great Gulf Road on its western end, consisting of
blocks of weather-split rock forming an uneven “staircase” of stone
with outsized though not unscalable steps.
troop bard: That soldier whose duties include memorializing the
deeds of hir comrades and passing them on to other troops or
communities, inspiring the soldiers, recruiting new soldiers and/or
sympathizers, spreading propaganda, and/or demoralizing the enemy, by
use of songs, stories, poems, parables, and/or chants. Sometimes e is
also charged with encoding military data into songs, verse, or riddles
for easier memorization and/or concealment from those not meant to
understand. Other duties may arise as circumstances dictate, usually in
the areas of maintaining morale or conducting psychological warfare. A
Novatierran truism says that no army with a good bard can ever truly
face defeat, even if it dies to the last soul, so long as a song
truesilk: A fabric derived from the cocoon of a caterpillar
native to Earth, cultivated as a carefully-guarded national treasure in
True Tili�n: A name which the Full Moon Rebels gave themselves,
believing themselves closer than the rest to Tili�n ideals. Eventually
the term survived as a sort of tribal name for an isolated handful of
Tsariosh: A desert republic relieved by five rivers. It has
often faced wars over the fertile strips of land which border the
rivers. Recent geological surveys have shown it to be rich in borax,
gypsum and other forms of mineral wealth. Original source of the
muskmelon, extensively used in perfumery, soaps, and scented lamps.
Tsarioshin: A native of Tsariosh.
tumblebug: A recreational vehicle equipped with a dense mesh of
rollbars and multistrapped safety belts, designed to overturn and roll
Tumblebugs: A Charadocian resort, situated in an extinct
volcano’s crater. As the name implies, the chief entertainment derives
from driving tumblebugs up and down the crater. Upslope lies the rest
of the resort, centered around sulfur baths and serviced by skilled
bodyworkers in various disciplines.
A slang-term, common in various languages, among agents, soldiers,
first responders, doctors, and those associated with them, for staying
awake a full day and night in order achieve some task, usually in an
emergency, but sometimes also for training. As in, "I put in my
twine: 1) In most places, something too stiff to call yarn and too thin to call rope.
2) In The Tribe, a stiff fabric made from cactus fibers, often made
into scarves which, when worn wrapped about the head over softer
material, can extend some ways from the face, shadowing and protecting
it. Also used for ropes, backpacks, baby-carriers and other tough
Twin Springs Hill: A hill in Til Peninsula, overlooking the Great Gulf Road, named for the two springs from which the Sweet Memory River springs.
two-tailed quetzal: A small-bodied, long-tailed, tropical bird
of the western side of the Southwestern Continent. The male is
iridescent green/turquoise with a belly and throat of
rose/red/vermillion. The tail continues the back color though rimmed in
white. The female is charcoal with a faint green iridescence, having a
gray/mauve throat and belly. The male tail can stretch out for up to
three times the body length, bifurcating into two main, narrow plumes.
The distinctive call uses four simple notes, but the order of those
notes varies from region to region.