The Arandui calendar

I’m back! And just as I said, I didn’t post anything during my America trip. So now I’m working on a bunch of different things that I hope to post during the next few weeks – some songs, some stories, some things about Sheesania, and, of course, that mammoth review of Mistborn: The Final Empire. (It’s currently 3,155 words long and I’m only halfway through my outline. Ouch.) But for now, we have a calendar system.

I’ve developed one other Sheesanian calendar before – the Thomoraii calendar, with its system of interlocking solar months and lunar months. This Arandui calendar is similar in how it uses both the solar year and the lunar year, but it has an added twist – the calendar is very closely tied to the practices of the Arandui church.

The history of the Arandui calendar

As you can read in the article about my map of Arandu, the Arandui people are originally from Egeld, where they were mostly farming peasants. These ancient Egeldish peasants used a simple calendar to track seasons for their farming. The calendar was based on the phases of Sheesania’s biggest moon (Aranduis call it Wisaan), which made the date easy to track (just look at the moon and you know about which day of the month you’re on)…but then it also added an extra two weeks every three years to accommodate the fact that the lunar year doesn’t match up to the solar year. If they didn’t add these weeks, their calendar would drift over time and wouldn’t match up with the seasons anymore, making it much less useful for farming. (See the Islamic lunar calendar for an example of such an effect.)

Then some of these Egeldish peasants converted to Schesianism and eventually moved to Arandu. Their new settlements were still farming communities, in need of the agricultural calendar…but now they were also religious communities, in need of a religious calendar, too. So the Arandui church added several new quirks to the calendar, creating a system that’s a little more complicated but is useful for both farming and religious activity. Since this calendar is pretty accurate and most of Arandu is still Schesian, Aranduis continue to use their calendar today, even though most of them aren’t farmers anymore.

Now let’s look more closely at the actual structure of the calendar.

The basic calendar

It takes Sheesania about 411 and 2/3 days to go around its sun – or in other words, its solar year is about 411.67 days long. The moon Wisaan, however, takes 29 days to complete a cycle, so there are 29 days to the month according to this moon. Unfortunately, the 411.67-day solar year clearly doesn’t match up nicely with these 29-day cycles. So the Arandui calendar defines a year as 406 days, split up into fourteen 29-day moon months. Then every three years, the calendar adds an extra fourteen days in order to make up for the 4.67 days lost each normal year. So basically, every year has fourteen 29-day months, with every third year adding 14 leap days to the end. Every three-year cycle is called a cataruus.

The Arandui calendar has two other basic features – weeks and seasons. The Schesian religion calls for people to work for 6 days and then rest on the 7th day (yes, the Schesian religion is a form of Christianity, the explanation for this is forthcoming), so the calendar also divides the year into 58 seven-day weeks. Finally, the calendar splits the year into two seasons – the first half of the year (the first 203 days/29 weeks/7 months) makes up the dry season (which is also cold), and the second half makes up the wet season (which is warm).

In the end…

  • A normal year will have 2 seasons.
    • Each season will have 29 weeks.
      • Each week will have 7 days.
    • Each season will have 7 months.
      • Each month will have 29 days.

Church phases and cycles

In addition to all the categories I talked about above, the Arandui church organizes time as a cycle of nine repeating phases representing various times in the history of the church. Each phase is either a celebration phase or a mourning phase. There are four pairs of celebration/mourning phases, then a central celebration phase, then another four pairs, this time of mourning and then celebration. Here they are, in order. All of their Arandui names are borrowed from the Arandui holy language (I’m not sure yet on the details of what exactly this language is, but it’s probably a variety of the Ner language spoken in Bodia), except for Taas and Entahier, which are native Arandui words.

  • Námadyai (celebration) – the creation of the world
  • Shávadyai (mourning) – the fall from grace
  • Śúdyai (celebration) – the birth of Jesus
  • Taas (mourning) – the death of Jesus
  • Curáwadyai (celebration) – the resurrection of Jesus
  • Jóladyai (mourning) – the Great Persecution of believers in Egeld
  • Entahier (celebration) – the foundation of the Arandui church
  • Ozraish (mourning) – the Great Tribulation discussed in Revelation
  • Páladyai (celebration) – the “Redemption of the Universe”, the “making everything new” also discussed in Revelation

(By the way, the numbers nine and four are both significant in Arandui religious numerology. Nine is significant because 3 is the number of the Trinity and 9 = 3 x 3; 4 is significant because 7 is a central motif of Revelation, and 7 – 3 = 4; also because 3 x 4 = 12, the number of apostles. If you think this is crazy, please read Dante’s Divine Comedy.)

Each phase takes up two lunar months in the calendar, but because there are 9 phases and only 14 months, the church phases and a year of the calendar don’t match up exactly. Instead, after a year has begun with the first phase, Námadyai, it takes nine years for the church phases to complete a cycle and then start a new year again with Námadyai. One nine-year cycle is called a haelce. By the time a complete haelce is finished, each phase will have started on every odd month of the year.

Year-counting

Instead of counting years like we do (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003…), Aranduis count haelces from the foundation of the Arandui church. The current Arandui year, for instance, is the 2nd year of the 50th haelce. But actually an Arandui wouldn’t say that it’s the second year of the 50th haelce – they would say it’s the Ozraish year of the 50th haelce. This is because the phase that starts each year of a nine-year haelce is completely predictable:

  • Year One: Námadyai (Creation)
  • Year Two: Ozraish (Tribulation)
  • Year Three: Jóladyai (Persecution)
  • Year Four: Taas (Death of Jesus)
  • Year Five: Shávadyai (Fall from Grace)
  • Year Six: Páladyai (Redemption of the Universe)
  • Year Seven: Entahier (Foundation of the Church)
  • Year Eight: Curáwadyai (Resurrection of Jesus)
  • Year Nine: Śúdyai (Birth of Jesus)

Years 2-5 all start on mourning phases, and years 6-9 and 1 all start on celebration phases. So because Aranduis evidently love to organize things and give them lots of names, years 2-5 of one haelce are called its dry season, and years 6-9 and the first year of the next haelce are called its wet season. So you could say that it’s the Ozraish year of the 50th haelce, or to be more vague you could say it’s the dry season of the 50th haelce. Or you could just say it’s the 50th haelce. Lots of options!

The significance of the calendar to the church

The Arandui church observes special ceremonies at the beginning and end of every phase, and each one has its own special starting and finishing ceremonies. There are also many other rites and rituals throughout the year that change according to phase. So, for instance, if you’re currently in a mourning phase, you would mostly sing songs calling on God for help when you’re singing in a church service. But if you were in a celebration phase, songs of thanksgiving would be more frequent.

In addition, the church celebrates special holidays on the extra weeks added to the end of every third year. The first set of extra weeks in a haelce falls during a Śúdyai (Birth of Jesus) phase, and they’re used to celebrate the life of Jesus; they’re called the weeks of Cúesdyai. The second set of leap weeks in a haelce, the weeks of Tavoraci, falls during a Jóladyai (Persecution) phase, and there’s a special holiday in these days to celebrate the journey of Egeldish believers to Arandu after the persecution. The final set of leap weeks, the weeks of Naas, falls during a Páladyai (Redemption of the Universe) phase. Part of the celebrations during these weeks look forward to heaven, but there are also many celebrations for the beginning of a new haelce.

A real calendar!

Finally, here’s an Arandui-style calendar of the current haelce, marked with everything I talked about. The numbers note the number of the week in the year, and the turquoise-shaded days are rest days.

Arandui calendar

The Thomoraii calendar

Unlike Earth, Sheesania has years of about 411.68 days. (The length of each day is different from the length of an Earth day, also, but I’m not going to address that in this article.) Different Sheesanian cultures have measured years differently, but one of the most sophisticated Sheesanian calendars in common use today is the Thomoraii calendar. Its ancestor was a calendar created in the early days of the Thomoraii empire to help make administration easier. Later on, as it became more and more clear that the calendar didn’t quite align with the year, the famous Thomoraii emperor Amjâi commissioned some scholars working for him to revamp the calendar and make it more accurate. Their final result, more or less, has been used for hundreds of years in Thomoraii and is still very common today, though the Uniatic calendar is also widely in use in Thomorai.

This calendar divides the year into 21 months – 11 cold and dry months and 10 hot and wet months. The first 20 months each have 20 days, and the last month has 12 days. Every three years, about two days of the last month are lost to compensate for that fraction of a day in the length of a Sheesanian year. Years are counted from what’s considered the foundation of the Thomoraii empire – Emperor Fesǎnsolai’s official establishment of his capital in Ôbtobâi. The current Thomoraii year is 2219.

Then there are names for each week in a month – the first week, the second week, etc. – and the days of the week. To refer to a specific day of the month, you can combine the name of the week with the name of the day of the week. So for example, here’s what the first month of the year, Yakaʔîri Nǔmiâira or the Month of Nŭmiâir, would look like.

Dâhwegǔa

Dâḣǎtěǎ

Dâhnǔǎ

Dâhsela

Bâlfaia

Bâlfaia-Dâhwegǔa

Bâlfaia-Dâḣǎtěǎ

Bâlfaia-Dâhnǔǎ

Bâlfaia-Dâhsela

Bâlnǔǎ

Bâlnǔǎ-Dâhwegǔa

Bâlnǔǎ-Dâḣǎtěǎ

Bâlnǔǎ-Dâhnǔǎ

Bâlnǔǎ-Dâhsela

Bâlǐma

Bâlǐma-Dâhwegǔa

Bâlǐma-Dâḣǎtěǎ

Bâlǐma-Dâhnǔǎ

Bâlǐma-Dâhsela

Bâlôâ

Bâlôâ-Dâhwegǔa

Bâlôâ-Dâḣǎtěǎ

Bâlôâ-Dâhnǔǎ

Bâlôâ-Dâhsela

Bâlȟia

Bâlȟia-Dâhwegǔa

Bâlȟia-Dâḣǎtěǎ

Bâlȟia-Dâhnǔǎ

Bâlȟia-Dâhsela

In colloquial speech, you’d probably leave the “bâl” off the names of the weeks – bâl just means “week” – and you’d also probably leave the “dâh” off the names of the days of the week – again, dâh just means “day.” However, more commonly in colloquial speech, you’d refer to a day of the month using its name in the Thomoraii lunar calendar. Here’s an example of what names you might give to the days of the Month of Nŭmiâir according to the lunar calendar.

Dâhwegǔa

Dâḣǎtěǎ

Dâhnǔǎ

Dâhsela

Bâlfaia

Šǎnšǒm

Šǎnǐbâ

Šǎnět

Šǎnwâo

Bâlnǔǎ

Šǎněsa

Šǎnǔwa

Ḣǎk

Ḣǎkfe

Bâlǐma

Ḣǎkšǒm

Ḣǎgǐbâ

Ḣǎgět

Ḣǎkwâo

Bâlôâ

Ḣǎgěsa

Ḣǎgǔwa

Dêeli

Dêešǒm

Bâlȟia

Dêibâ

Dêět

Dêewâo

Dêěsa

So when would you use the solar calendar and when would you use the lunar calendar? In general, you’d use the solar calendar for names of weeks, days of the week, and months, but the lunar calendar for the names of days of the month. You’d only use the solar calendar for days of the month if you were trying to be very formal or very accurate, or sometimes if you wanted it to be easier in the future to tell where a day was in the month. For instance, newspaper articles in Thomoraii generally use the solar calendar for days of the month, since they want to make it easier for researchers in the future to keep track of when specific articles were published.

Here’s a PDF of a complete calendar, including names for days of the month according to the lunar calendar, for the Thomoraii year 2219. This calendar also shows the name of each month.

Marriage Among Scholars in the Thomoraii Empire

I recently had to write a paper on marriage for school. This got me thinking about marriage customs and kinship systems, and so guess what happened? I ended up creating my own! Then I found myself facing the tricky question of how on earth such a structure could ever develop in a human society. Unfortunately, I first encountered this problem while trying to go to sleep and lost a good hour or two of sleep as a result. Fortunately, I did come up with an answer in the end. Here it is. By the way, feel free to skip the long paragraphs of introduction and just read the explanation of the system itself if you feel so inclined.

Traditional Thomoraii marriage and the evolution of pledge marriage

In the rainforest islands of Thomorai back in the days before civilization, when most people lived as part of wandering tribes, marriage was primarily done through a straightforward system of exogamy – marrying outside your group. Once a generation of young men from a tribe had reached adulthood, they would go into the jungle and live together for a while. They would travel around hunting and collecting food, and occasionally stay with other tribes to trade – and also look for wives. Once a young man had found a woman from another tribe that he wanted to marry, he would go through a ceremony of promising allegiance to her tribe. The couple would then live together in that tribe for the rest of their lives. Intermarriage like this generally worked out pretty well – for one, it helped to keep the tribes from killing each other in conflicts over land and resources, since if you started a war you would probably end up killing your own relatives.

However, some of the people from these tribes eventually began to settle down in towns. These settlements were initially trade hubs, places where members from lots of different tribes could meet together to exchange goods. But soon people staying in the towns began to do agriculture, too, planting particular valuable crops and raising animals, and they developed specialized crafts like carpentry to help in agriculture. In these towns, the tribes were all jumbled together or were split up with some members living in towns and some still living traditionally in the jungle. As members of different tribes got used to living in the same place, and as people got used to living separately from the rest of their tribe, the old tribal groups became less and less defined. It became less and less important for them to try to avoid conflict by allying with each other through intermarriage.

Meanwhile, what people were looking for in marriage was changing, too. In an old, traditional marriage (called a “house marriage” today in Thomorai), a person would choose a spouse out of attraction or some other romantic inclination. Then the man would pledge loyalty to the woman’s tribe and marry her. Following this, the wife and the husband would take on different roles – the wife would take care of children, cook, and do other jobs close to her home, and the husband would hunt, fight if need be, and do other jobs that were dangerous or farther away from his home. They would spend most of the day away from each other pursuing their different jobs, and each spouse was not expected to be involved or even take any interest in the other’s tasks. Any children would be expected to obey their parents until they were adults. At this point they would still be expected to respect their parents and other elders, but they could do pretty much whatever they wanted otherwise. Divorce was also fairly easy in a house marriage, though once a man had pledged allegiance to a tribe in a marriage ceremony, he was expected to stay within that tribe even if he got divorced. So if he wanted to remarry, he would need to marry another woman from that same tribe.

However, in the new towns and cities, women had many more opportunities to do business, run farms, or pursue other things, and they wanted more freedom from the traditional strict gender roles. Additionally, men now usually spent most of their time working at home running a farm or a business, and consequently had to spend a great deal more time in their wives’ company. So many of them wanted to find spouses that, for one, they genuinely enjoyed being around, but preferably also someone who could help them in their work. Also, in large towns without strong tribes where you had to look out for yourself, it became more and more important to have people that you could depend on – like a wife or a husband who worked well with you and who couldn’t easily divorce you.

And so a new type of marriage, which people (rather confusingly) called “pledge marriage”, developed. Instead of choosing someone for a spouse that you happened to be in love with, you would try to choose somebody whose temperament and personality worked well with yours. Romance was beside the point. Then, instead of having the husband promise loyalty to the woman’s tribe, both partners pledged loyalty to each other. After you were married, you were expected to work together and be thoroughly involved in each other’s lives. Yes, many of the old gender roles were still followed – women still usually worked at home and men still usually worked jobs that involved more interaction with people outside of the home. But husband and wife were expected to advise each other and help each other with their jobs. Additionally, the children of such a marriage were supposed to participate in their parents’ jobs, too. If you had a business, your children of a pledge marriage would all be expected to work in the business and inherit it after you died. Divorce was also much more difficult in a pledge marriage than in a house marriage – you could generally only leave your spouse if he or she was significantly unfaithful or abusive, much like a man could only be released from his pledge to a tribe if the tribe betrayed him or mistreated him badly.

This new type of marriage became very common among the middle and high classes in cities, even as house marriages continued at the same time. In fact, it was fairly common in rich families to have multiple marriages. You could only ever have one pledge marriage at a time, but you could have multiple house marriages at the same time. It was much more common for men to have multiple wives than for women to have multiple husbands – mostly since then there was the issue of figuring out who was the father of a child – but both did happen.

Scholarly societies and their role in marriage

Meanwhile, many of the members of these middle and high classes were joining scholarly societies to study history, philosophy, science and other subjects that were flourishing at the time. At this point technology like writing, papermaking, and even simple bookmaking had been developed. More and more families in the cities were getting rich, too, and so more and more of them could afford to let a child or two dedicate his or her life (because these people were often women) to study. At this time in history, these societies were usually quite small, as cities were still not that populous and most people were not interested in spending lots of money and effort getting an impractical education. This caused some problems when a member of a society wished to marry another scholar (as many did), but there weren’t very many people in his or her society to choose from. Also, people in scholarly societies were often related to each other, particularly in the early days when only a few rich families could let their children spend their days studying esoteric ideas.

So scholars began to travel to other cities and visit other societies looking for educated spouses. There had already been quite a bit of visiting of other scholarly societies in order to share ideas or get information from a particular authority, but when scholars started to visit different societies searching for marriage partners, it increased significantly. All this moving around and interaction between scholars of different societies and backgrounds led to wonderfully fruitful sharing and cross-pollination of ideas. Scholarly societies began to form connections with each other and exchange teachers and students so people could learn more. Those with knowledge shared it with more people, and scholars from different cities collaborated on projects. It was at this point, even before the formation of the Thomoraii empire, that Thomorai truly began its great tradition of study and research.

Soon many of these scholarly societies started to help arrange marriages between their members. Many societies had different strategies for finding potential spouses who could work well together, but who would also be able to exchange ideas and learn from each other. (In fact, some areas of Thomoraii psychology were first founded by people trying to figure out ways to match-make effectively.) By the time the Thomoraii empire was founded, virtually all scholars who wished to marry had marriages arranged for them by their societies.

Later on, the emperor Amjâi the Great combined all the scholarly societies in his empire (which now consisted of all of Thomorai except for Kafa Monica) into one huge organization, then formed an elected council to run it. This council eventually decided on one standard system for arranging marriages between scholars (though it determined other parts of their lives as well), which would be used for hundreds of years until the dissolution of the Thomoraii empire. Their system required a great deal of travel (they were hoping to encourage the exchange of ideas this way), which was reasonably easy in the peaceful and prosperous Thomoraii empire. The prosperity of the empire also gave plenty of people the opportunity to become scholars – people with lots of money could support scientists, writers, thinkers and so on that they liked, or they could pay for their own studies. Eventually, however, the Thomoraii empire fell apart after a long war with Unia and Santa Meluna, and the old system had to be given up. But remnants of it are still in use today.

The system

Here, finally, is the system of descent groups and marriage restrictions that was used by Thomoraii scholars in the days of the Thomoraii empire. As far as I can tell, it’s technically a “subsection system” – a societal structure where people are divided into different groups based on their ancestry, and then there are rules about what groups are allowed to intermarry. (The Wikipedia article on Australian Aboriginal kinship, a system which was part of the inspiration for this one, may be enlightening.) However, this kinship system determines a lot more than just who you can marry.

First of all, it determines where you’ll grow up, or at least where you’ll get a degree (I’ll discuss this more later). This place can be one of five Thomoraii islands – Ôbtobâi, Kishmorai, Kakabâi, Piskovǎi, or Alashtian. (There are another two Thomoraii islands, Alaqǎwai and Kafa Monica. But Alaqǎwai had no real scholarly tradition to work with when this system was developed, and Kafa Monica has always been considered thoroughly barbaric by most Thomoraiis.) Secondly, your place in the kinship system determines your general area of study. This can be one of five subjects:

1. Hoipiǎir, or philosophy. Religion, some kinds of psychology, and some branches of linguistics are also included in hoipiǎir – pretty much anything that has to do primarily with the mind, the soul, the heart, and other mushy, invisible, spiritual things.

2. Tôhǎqsiâ, or the study of people, though it’s usually translated as “history”. It includes history, anthropology, genealogy, politics and many other fields primarily studying human beings.

3. Jawâǎqsia, or technology. It includes engineering, physics, some kinds of public administration, and other fields that involve physical, human-created things. Many students of jawâǎqsia were involved in public service projects and the government, and they were also quite popular as advisors to politicians…why they were is a long story.

4. Shǐwinǎqsiǎ, or the study of speaking, though it’s usually translated “literature”. Shǐwinǎqsiǎ includes public speaking, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, and, of course, literature, among other fields.

5. Bêafuǎqsiâ, or natural science. This includes biology, chemistry, astronomy, medicine, etc., though many of the more practical aspects of these sciences were reserved for the lower classes. You would certainly have never found a well-educated Thomoraii scholar doing surgeries, for instance, or raising animals to study them.

And finally, your place in the system decides who you are allowed to marry.

Now how does this kinship system determine all this? Well, when you are born, you’re given what I call a “descent group signature”, which is determined by the descent group signatures of your parents. It has four parts: your future area of study, your same-gender parent’s area of study, the place where you will grow up (or get a degree – again, I’ll explain more later!), and the place where your different-gender parent grew up. Firstly, your future area of study is decided by those of your parents, according to this chart.

Father’s Subject

Mother’s Subject

Hoipiǎir

Tôhǎqsiâ

Jawâǎqsia

Shǐwinǎqsiǎ

Bêafuǎqsiâ

Hoipiǎir

jawâǎqsia

bêafuǎqsiâ

tôhǎqsiâ

shǐwinǎqsiǎ

Tôhǎqsiâ

bêafuǎqsiâ

shǐwinǎqsiǎ

hoipiǎir

jawâǎqsia

Jawâǎqsia

shǐwinǎqsiǎ

hoipiǎir

bêafuǎqsiâ

tôhǎqsiâ

Shǐwinǎqsiǎ

jawâǎqsia

bêafuǎqsiâ

tôhǎqsiâ

hoipiǎir

Bêafuǎqsiâ

tôhǎqsiâ

shǐwinǎqsiǎ

hoipiǎir

jawâǎqsia

(Those blank spaces will be explained later. Trust me.)

So, as the chart shows, your subject of study will always be different from that of your parents. The people who developed this system were hoping to keep families of scholars involved in lots of different areas this way, which would help different ideas and viewpoints to interact.

Then the subject of study of your same-gender parent also becomes part of your signature. So if you were a girl and your mother specialized in shǐwinǎqsiǎ, you’d take that as the second part of your descent group signature. If you were a boy and your father specialized in hoipiǎir, you’d take that as the second part of your signature. It will all…okay, it will mostly make sense later.

The place where you will grow up, much like your future subject of study, is decided by where your parents grew up. Here’s another chart showing how this works.

Father’s Country

Mother’s Country

Ôbtobâi

Kishmorai

Kakabâi

Piskovǎi

Alashtian

Ôbtobâi

Kakabâi

Alashtian

Kishmorai

Piskovǎi

Kishmorai

Alashtian

Piskovǎi

Ôbtobâi

Kakabâi

Kakabâi

Piskovǎi

Ôbtobâi

Alashtian

Kishmorai

Piskovǎi

Kakabâi

Alashtian

Kishmorai

Ôbtobâi

Alashtian

Kishmorai

Piskovǎi

Ôbtobâi

Kakabâi

And then you would also include the place where your opposite-gender parent grew up in your signature. So if you were a girl and your father grew up in Ôbtobâi, you’d have that in your signature.

In the end a girl might have a signature like Hoipiǎir/Jawâǎqsia Kakabâi/Ôbtobâi, showing that her future subject of study is hoipiǎir, her mother’s subject is jawâǎqsia, she will grow up in Kakabâi, and her father grew up in Ôbtobâi. You might put it like this:

My own

My parent’s

Subject

hoipiǎir

jawâǎqsia

Country

Kakabâi

Ôbtobâi

Marriage is then restricted this way: the attributes you took from your parents must be the same as your spouse’s, but your own attributes must be different from your spouse’s. So our girl above must marry a man whose father studied jawâǎqsia just as the girl’s mother did. But the man himself could specialize in shǐwinǎqsiǎ, in tôhǎqsiâ, in bêafuǎqsiâ, or in jawâǎqsia – anything that is not the girl’s own specialty, hoipiǎir. This man’s mother must also have grown up in Ôbtobâi just as the girl’s father did. But he himself could have grown up in Ôbtobâi, or Kishmorai, or Piskovǎi, or Alashtian – anywhere other than Kakabâi, where the girl did.

Why on earth would anybody restrict marriage this way?!

Well, the main idea here is to encourage the interaction of different ideas and areas of study, though this kinship system also has the added benefit of preventing incest. (This is, by the way, one of the main purposes of real-life kinship systems like this one.) This is why you have to marry somebody who studied something different and grew up somewhere different. But the people who developed this system also wanted spouses to work well with each other and be able to understand each other, and they believed that you are best able to understand somebody who came from a similar culture as you. The Thomoraiis who worked this system out figured that most of your personal culture came from your parents, and thus if you married somebody whose parents came from similar backgrounds, there would be a much greater chance of being able to understand and relate to him or her.

But then what about the weird same-gender, different-gender split there? Why not just always, say, take your father’s subject and your mother’s country, instead of having girls take their mother’s subject and boys take their father’s subject and girls take their father’s country and blah blah blah? Let me explain. The Thomoraii developers of this system believed that you have both a “casual culture”, meaning the way you think and act when you are just hanging out and relaxing, and an “academic culture”, which is how you think and act when working, or thinking through a problem, or doing something else brain-intensive. Now in most Thomoraii pledge-marriage-based families of this time, mothers would usually train their daughters and fathers would usually train their sons. All the members of the family would interact with each other, of course, but mothers and daughters, and sons and fathers, would have a more serious, work-focused, and, well, brain-intensive relationship. And so daughters would get most of their academic culture from their mothers, just as sons would get most of their academic culture from their fathers. And then daughters would get more of their casual culture from their fathers, who they had more casual relationships with, and sons would get more of their casual culture from their mothers.

Now these same clever developers of this kinship system also thought that your academic culture was influenced by your educational background as well as your same-gender parent, and that your casual culture was influenced by where you grew up as well as your different-gender parent. So the idea was that your same-gender parent’s academic culture would be strongly influenced by his/her educational background, and that then they would pass that culture on to you, and so you would in the end have an academic culture derived from your same-gender parent’s educational background. And so a spouse whose same-gender parent had the same educational background – e.g. who studied the same subject as your same-gender parent – would naturally have a similar academic culture. Similarly, your different-gender parent’s casual culture would be strongly influenced by the place that s/he grew up, and then they would pass that casual culture on to you, and you would have a casual culture developed from your different-gender parent’s country. And so a spouse whose different-gender parent grew up in the same place as your different-gender parent would have much the same casual culture. See?

Some examples

Let’s look at a few examples of how this kinship system might end up working. First, here’s a chart of a small family and their descent group signatures.

1

In this diagram, men are triangles and women are circles. For each person, I show his/her given name first (e.g. “Surila”), then his/her area of study, a slash, and his/her same-gender parent’s area of study (e.g. “Bêafuǎqsiâ/Tôhǎqsiǎ”), and then the place s/he grew up, a slash, and his/her different-gender parent’s country (e.g. “Alashtian/Kakabâi”). So you can see here how Kulas, a boy, took his father’s area of study but his mother’s country, and how Tibâ, a girl, did the reverse.

Let’s add a few generations and see how that would work out…

2

Now here’s a question. In this system, would you be able to marry your cousin? Let’s add a few people and find out…

3

Aha! See Tibâ and Nǎralǒi down there? (Feel free to click on the diagram to see it larger.) It could work. But if Jâihara had married someone who had studied something different…

4

…it wouldn’t work, since now the second part of Nǎralǒi’s signature, the subject taken from his father, is different from Tibâ’s. So it depends – sometimes you could marry your cousin, sometimes not.

Now here’s a super big diagram that you could study if you want, showing how a large family might end up.

5

Phew! I was really running out of names at the end there.

Numbers, probabilities and how you could possibly find a marriage partner

With any system that restricts marriage like this, it’s enlightening to see how likely you are to find somebody who’s eligible to marry. Let’s crunch some numbers and figure this out. First of all, let’s see how many possible combinations of attributes there can be in somebody’s descent group signature. The first attribute can be one of 5 subjects, then the second attribute, the subject taken from your same-gender parent, came be one of subjects, since it’s impossible for your first and second attributes to be the same. Then the third attribute can be one of 5 countries, and the fourth one of 4 countries, since again it’s impossible for the third and fourth to be the same.

5 x 4 x 5 x 4 = 400, so there are 400 possible combinations of attributes – 400 types of people that could be in this system. Wow.

Now let’s calculate how many possible combinations of attributes a person eligible for marriage could have. The first attribute could be one of 4 subjects, since your potential spouse can’t have the same first attribute as you. Then the second attribute can only be 1 thing – the same as yours. The third attribute could be one of 4 countries, and again the fourth attribute could only be 1 thing.

4 x 1 x 4 x 1 = 16, so there are 16 possible combinations of attributes that a person you could marry could have.

So then out of a pool of 400 different people with all the different combinations of attributes, 16 would be eligible for marriage (not considering gender!), or 4%, or 1 eligible to every 25 ineligible. If you do take gender into account, then only 2% of people would be available to marry, or 1 eligible to every 50 ineligible. Yikes!

How on earth could you ever find someone to marry?!

Here’s how. First of all, as you saw with the charts above, it’s often possible for cousins to marry. So your parents would probably keep track of the descent signatures of any cousins you might have, and if any were eligible for you to marry, they might try to prepare you both to marry each other from when you were young. This was quite common in the Thomoraii empire.

Also, if two friends of opposite genders grew up in the same place, it very often works out for their children to marry each other. Consider Firliǎir and Koslai at the top of the chart below.

6

They both grew up in Kakabâi, and so perhaps they were friends. They had to marry other people, of course, but because Firliǎir and Koslai had different subjects of study, and Firliǎir’s husband specialized in the same subject as Koslai’s wife, and Firliǎir’s husband and Koslai’s wife grew up in different places, their children Amjâi and Surila could marry each other. So your parents might keep tabs on old friends who grew up with them, and then perhaps try to arrange a marriage with any of their children who were eligible to marry you.

So you can see that often a Thomoraii scholar’s parents would be able to find somebody for him or her to marry from a family they already knew. However, they would probably also hire a matchmaker to search for an eligible marriage partner, and then the scholar in question might travel around visiting different people who might work…which encouraged more traveling, which was just fine by the people who developed this system! And so generally it was not too difficult for Thomoraii scholars to find good spouses.

How this system worked in practice

After getting married, if they were planning to have children (and most did), two Thomoraii scholars would generally move to the country that would be their children’s country so they could raise them there. This actually was not required – the country of a person in their descent group signature just says where s/he needs to get his/her degree, not where s/he needs to grow up. (Please do note that an empire-era Thomoraii academic degree was quite a bit different from the type we have on Earth. For instance, your final project was usually collecting a number of books about a very specific subject and then writing what was basically a glorified library catalog of them.) So you could grow up in any random country and then just move to “your” country to get your degree. But most parents chose to raise their children in their children’s country, mostly to make it easier for them when they did eventually study for a degree.

After getting a degree, if a scholar was female, she would probably try to get married right away through her parents, a matchmaker or both. This was because female scholars generally wanted to have children early while they were young and healthy, and then continue on in their studies and their work once their children had grown up. Men, however, generally kept studying and working for a while before seeking out a wife.

Here are some answers to some other questions you might have.

What if you didn’t like the subject decided for you by your descent group signature?

Well, the subject that your signature determines for you is quite broad. There are all kinds of different specialties you could go into within any of those subjects. For instance, take shǐwinǎqsiǎ. If you enjoyed stories, you could study literature. If you hated reading but enjoyed things like math and science, you could study logic. Or jawâǎqsia. If you liked math, you could go into one of the engineering branches of jawâǎqsia. If you hated math but enjoyed interacting with people, you could be involved in public administration. So you still would have a lot of choice. It would probably also help that your parents had been preparing for you to study this subject from before you were born, and that you were always expected to go into it.

That being said, it would still be possible to get a degree in the subject decided for you, then go and get another degree in something else you preferred. Or you could just leave the community of scholars and not get a degree at all.

What if you didn’t want to marry another scholar? E.g. you wanted to marry somebody from a different social class?

You could. But if this person was from a lower class, this would definitely hurt your reputation in the community of Thomoraii scholars, and any children of the marriage would have to re-enter the kinship system on their own (see below). If the person was from a higher class, on the other hand, then your fellow scholars would probably consider it that you were being promoted out of the restrictions of being a scholar and into that higher class – you were leaving the community of scholars and its restrictions for a more prestigious community

What if people outside of the system wanted to become scholars? How would they have joined it?

They would take on just the first and third attributes of a descent group signature – their subject and the place where they got their degree in it. They could then marry any people who had different subjects and places of study, and their children would have normal signatures. Do note that if they got any sorts of degrees from places other than the five places included in this kinship system, Thomoraii scholars wouldn’t consider them proper Thomoraii degrees. Our hypothetical person would have to get another degree in Ôbtobâi, Kishmorai, Kakabâi, Piskovǎi or Alashtian like a good Thomoraii.

Why did people do this to themselves, anyways?

For the high-up scholars who ran the system, it was worthwhile because it helped to encourage the interaction of ideas and established a structure for people to find fellow scholars to marry. For the rank and file, they had to follow the system in order to be part of the scholarly community, which gave them the opportunity to study and have a respected place in society. And many lower-rank scholars believed anyways in the value of forcing people to move around and interact with others in different areas of study.

What happened when the Thomoraii empire fell apart and people couldn’t keep using this system anymore?

At first many scholars still stubbornly tried to stick to their kinship system, but they soon started to relax the rules and eventually gave them up altogether. Many of them had to leave their scholarly pursuits anyways once the empire fell, since they needed to focus all their energy on keeping themselves and their families alive and well. Once Thomorai grew more stable, the scholarly community never revived the old system – it really was too much of a pain.

The system’s impact on society

Just as its founders intended, this crazy kinship system forced different people with different ideas to interact, which helped to generate new ideas and created a strong synthesis of learning. The scholarly community in the Thomoraii empire was incredibly prolific, doing huge amounts of research and producing many significant theories and ideas, and this kinship system probably contributed to its success. More practically, the system aided in the formation of a standard scholarly dialect of Thomoraii, which was used in the administration of the empire’s government and in trade all over Thomorai. This kinship system also made the scholarly class seem more exclusive and prestigious, which helped to give it more power. Today, this kinship system is no longer used, but scholars are still highly respected (thought many more Thomoraiis are educated these days – the scholarly class is much less exclusive than it used to be). Thomorai is still a center of education and research, drawing scholars from all over Sheesania. And a descendant of that scholarly dialect of Thomoraii is still used today as a lingua franca in Thomorai and parts of Fircudia.

There’s one more mark this kinship system has left on modern Thomorai. You see, scholars in the Thomoraii empire used to cite each other in their books and articles using each other’s names and descent group signatures, as Thomoraii names by themselves generally aren’t enough to identify one specific person. Today scholars still cite each other using a modified form of a descent signature. For instance, in the novel I’m currently writing, my academic protagonist puts this in at one point in a formal report:

…See Thesolaî Hualai H. Ô. Ô. pub. 13 “Silence in Traditional Thomoraii Religion”.

Thesolaî Hualai is the man’s name, and H. Ô. Ô. is an abbreviation for “Hoipiǎir Ôbtobâi Ôbtobâi”, showing that his field is hoipiǎir, he got his degree in Ôbtobâi, and his mother was from Ôbtobâi. The second attribute, the same-gender parent’s subject, is gone, and the fourth attribute now only indicates where your different-gender parent was from, not where s/he got his/her degree. But it’s still based on the descent group signatures of the old kinship system.

The Sheesans

You may have wondered as you’ve read about Sheesania on this website: how is it that Sheesania, not being Earth, can be populated by humans? Well, there are many fantasy worlds with humans that don’t have an explanation for how they got there, so whatever, that’s not particularly important. But then how do the Sheesanians also have various inventions and ideas and so on that are from Earth? Lazy world-building? Okay, yes, that is partly why – in my earlier years I was not very careful to make Sheesania different from Earth. But I’ve come up with an explanation. And as usual, I’m rather glad I was lazy in the first place, because the explanation makes things a lot more interesting than if I had merely been careful about making Sheesania different from Earth in the first place, and so hadn’t needed an explanation.

What’s the explanation? The Sheesans. They are a race of beings that look fairly similar to humans, but they are more advanced in their logical thinking skills and love organization, structure and knowledge. At the time when humans were just beginning civilization on Earth, the Sheesans were already venturing into space and investigating other planets. They originally lived on a planet called Keb in another solar system, but around 2180 B.C. our time, they detected an asteroid that would soon crash into Keb and obliterate them. So for the next twenty years, until the asteroid was timed to hit Keb, they moved themselves onto spaceships and basically completely left Keb. Today Sheesans still primarily live in space, travelling, exploring, and studying the things they find. There are a very few Sheesan settlements on actual planets, but these are the exception – most Sheesans live on spaceships.

Sheesans, following their predilection for organization, lived in highly structured communities with their jobs, spouses and homes mostly picked out for them. But there is no central ruling authority that does all that picking. Instead, there’s a hierarchy of elected councils that decide on everything by consensus. The power is spread out very carefully among these councils so that it’s impossible for any one person to ever get that much of it. Now, realistically, a lot of the picking of jobs, spouses, etc. is done by automatic systems that were established by the councils, rather than the councils themselves…but the point is that while Sheesan society is very controlled, the power over that control is quite evenly distributed. The founders of this society hoped that by doing this, they could encourage Sheesans to concentrate on their jobs instead of spending their energies trying to get more power.

Sheesans generally grow up in communities with several married couples as well as several other children, including their designated spouses, with the married couples dividing the business of taking care of the children between them. From childhood, Sheesans learn the basics of the Sheesan Code – a set of laws and goals for the Sheesan people that encourages systematic scientific investigation and achievement and self-control. They also study math, science, a little history, how to read and write, and are taught lots of practical skills useful for running spaceships and conducting experiments. When Sheesans are about twelve, they’re assigned to a job and then leave the community where they grew up to pursue this job. As they get older, they will hopefully get better and better jobs and eventually be in good enough standing to gain the best job a Sheesan can have: leader of a new scientific investigation.

As is clear, Sheesan society devotes most of its energies to scientific research. Sheesans particularly focus on exploring and observing other planets, especially those with intelligent life. In their time they’ve visited Earth, Sheesania (more on that later), the planet housing one of my friend Rachel’s imaginary worlds, the planet of Intonia, which another associate of mine created, and many, many others. Why do they want to study these planets so much? Well, asking a Sheesan “Why do you want to know about other planets?” is like asking a human “Why do you like to look at things you find beautiful?”. It’s just innately satisfying to Sheesans.

Sheesania and the Sheesans

Today Sheesans have the technology to travel very far very quickly, so they can visit lots of planets with different intelligent life. But in earlier days, they did not have this technology, and they could only reach two such planets: Earth, populated by humans; and what would become Sheesania, populated by seakitties (which are smart, yes, but not nearly so smart as humans and certainly not as smart as Sheesans). Sheesan scientists, after studying the humans on Earth for many years, began to wonder how human civilization could develop differently. And then it occurred to them to bring some humans to Sheesania and see how things turned out there. So about 2500 B.C. our time, they took some people from Mesopotamia on Earth, brought them to Sheesania, and left them. Not very considerate, but the Sheesans didn’t really care about what the humans wanted; they just wanted to see what would happen to them.

The humans, after some perfectly understandable surprise, were able to adjust to their new home, and they soon established their own new civilization on Sheesania. Over the years, Sheesans continued to watch the parallel development of society on Sheesania and Earth. Occasionally they secretly brought technology from Earth to Sheesania, or from Sheesania to Earth, to help make their environments more similar and so improve their studies of how human civilizations can develop different ways even in the same general situation. This is why Earth and Sheesania have so much of the same technology.

As time went on, the Sheesans developed faster methods of travel, and they were able to find other planets with intelligent life. They were eager to study these planets, too, but because Sheesania had been the first non-Earth planet with intelligent life that they had found, and the site of their first large-scale experiment, they named it “Sheesania” after themselves. And the fact is that Sheesania is still the object of more Sheesan study and Sheesan interference than any other planet, including Earth.

Ŋarin Ridranos

[Updated 23/3/2014 with a picture of a cover of Stars and Time that I drew.]

I have a bit of an odd fondness for philosophy, especially depressing philosophy, despite the fact that I’m generally a very happy person. And so naturally I had to put a good gloomy philosopher in my imaginary world. Here he is!

Full name Ŋārin Rīdranos
Born 1306
Died 1377
Resting place Ŋārin Rīdranos Memorial, Atāsŋūn, Ēnssāntaca, Egeld
Occupation Philosopher
Nationality Egeldish
Ethnicity Egeldish
Notable works War in Heaven and on Earth, Stars and Time, Light and Duty
Spouse Golene Nywos
Children Jwēlosis Ţyēlahēl and Jāne Ţyēlahēl

Ŋarin Ridranos ([ŋæɾɪn ɾʏdrɑnos]; Egeldish ᑯᒽᒣᑭ ᒣᐢᐃᒣᑭᓀ Ŋārin Rīdranos) was an Egeldish philosopher and priest of Sky during the post-Civil War period. He was the first known writer among the priests of Sky, writing many books on questions of philosophy and religion. Today he is considered one of Egeld’s most famous writers and is frequently read in Egeld and in other countries. His philosophy also laid a foundation for many other Egeldish thinkers, as well as some significant foreign philosophers such as the Jacian Edinek Somioni and the Uniatic Darsius Unarsela.[1]

Contents

  • 1 Life
    • 1.1 Early life
    • 1.2 Post-revolution
    • 1.3 In exile in Dyenā
    • 1.4 In Carafilier
    • 1.5 In Atāsŋūn and death
  • 2 Philosophy
    • 2.1 Humans, animals and gods
    • 2.2 Human depravity and ambition
    • 2.3 The cycle of ambition and the decay of relationships
    • 2.4 Practical application
  • 3 Notable works
    • 3.1 Nonfiction
    • 3.2 Fiction
  • 4 References

Life

Early life

Ridranos was born in Rīdranos in central Egeld to a family of poor farm workers as the youngest of five children. In 1308, two years after he was born, his father was killed in violent struggles between rival nobles in the area, repercussions of the breaking up of Egeld’s empire. His family then fled to Odetālēne in northern Egeld, where they continued to work as farm laborers.[2] In 1313, when Ridranos was seven years old, his mother died from soskiritis in the 1313 Lufitanthan soskiritis epidemic. Following the usual Egeldish custom for caring for orphans, Ridranos and his brother Arryin were given to the priests of Sky, and his three sisters were given to the priestesses of Earth.[3][2]

As a priest-in-training, Ridranos studied philosophy, psychology, oration, language, history, mythology and several other fields special to the priests of Sky. From an early age, he showed particular interest in philosophy and psychology.[2] In 1321, when he was 15, a senior priest and, most likely, distinguished philosopher,[3] Odetyis Odetālēne, became interested in Ridranos’s developing ideas and began to mentor him in philosophy.[2] However, probably the biggest influence on Ridranos was his continued relationship with his sisters, now preparing to become priestesses of Earth. From them he learned about science, in particular biology, and various aspects of inventing – all things that priests of Sky generally did not study, being focused on the mind and emotions. He also learned how to read and write and began to write down his ideas, another unusual practice for a priest of Sky. (Priests generally relied entirely on memory and oral passing down of knowledge, while the priestesses of Earth did sometimes write things down.)[3][2]

Post-revolution

Between 1328 and 1337, Ridranos wrote six books: four about philosophy, one about mythology, and one novel. During this time, most of his fellow priests of Sky encouraged his writing. However, the revolution of 1338 changed this. One of the new king’s closest advisors, Hāntis Sūtāca, was a member of an extremely strict order of priests of Sky that forbade priests to study any subjects or practice any skills that were particular to the priestesses of Earth.[3] In 1339, with the king’s support, Sūtāca initiated a campaign to purify the priests of Sky and either punish or remove any who had been pursuing knowledge or skills from the priestesses of Earth. Since Ridranos lived in a fairly small town that was quite some distance away from the new king’s capital, he figured that it would take a while for Sūtāca’s allies to reach him, and indeed suspected that Sūtāca would have been stopped by other priests unhappy with his policies before then. However, one elder of his community, Zanānis Odetālēne, had always been suspicious of Ridranos’s activities, though he had allowed them to continue. But now, fearful that he himself would be punished for allowing Ridranos to study with his sisters and write books, he decided to take action and so maybe gain the respect of Sūtāca’s sect. In late 1339, when Sūtāca’s purge had only been going on for three months, Zanānis stripped Ridranos of his priesthood and imprisoned him for “contempt of the god Sky” and burned his books.[2][4] When Ridranos’s friends among his fellow priests expressed their anger, Zanānis imprisoned some of them, too.[3]

Zanānis had originally intended to just keep Ridranos in prison for several years, as long as he agreed to give up the offending practices. But when he saw that Sūtāca’s allies were executing priests of Sky for lesser offenses, he became afraid that he had not been proactive enough and went to the local hač to ask for permission to execute Ridranos and a few of his friends. The hač, who had read some of Ridranos’s books and liked his philosophy, stalled and refused to give a straight answer to Zanānis, saying that he needed permission from the higher government to do executions.[4] Then, as Zanānis made plans to travel to a nearby larger city and ask for permission there, the hač covertly warned Ridranos and his friends of Zanānis’s intentions. As Zānanis was traveling two days later, Ridranos and his other imprisoned friends escaped with help from the hač and his few friends that Zānanis had not tried to punish. It was early 1340 and Ridranos was 34 years old.[2][3]

In exile in Dyenā

Ridranos and his friends fled to Dyenā, a town that was technically within the Egeldish border but which was actually controlled by Latrigle.[2] There, among many other Egeldish refugees who were victims of the civil war or the revolution,[5] Ridranos was free to pursue his studies of philosophy and other subjects. While staying in Dyenā, Ridranos wrote three more books on philosophy and began to write an epic poem in the Lat style, which he later abandoned.[2]

Even before his exile, Ridranos had been beginning to question some of the tenets and practices of the priests of Sky. Now that he had been formally stripped of priesthood, he felt freer to pursue his more unorthodox ideas.[3] Correspondingly, his books from this period of his life show significant deviation from the generally accepted ideas of the priests of Sky.[2] In particular, he began to develop an idea that Sky and Earth, the gods generally worshiped by Egeldish, are actually lesser gods under one great god. Sky and Earth, he said, show fallibility and volatility, and so they can not “sustain the universe” (Stars and Time, part 31). But while humans can communicate with Sky and Earth, since these gods have human flaws (though not to the extent humans do), humans cannot communicate with this great god.[2][6]

Ridranos finished his first book arguing for this idea, Stars and Time, in 1344. He immediately began work on a second book, Light and Duty, which was meant to explore the practical repercussions of his theory.[6] As Ridranos wrote this book, he began to significantly change his lifestyle. Even during the early years of his exile, he had still identified as a priest of Sky. In early 1345, however, he announced to his friends that he no longer considered himself a priest of Sky; rather, he was a “seeker of light,” somebody trying to find a way to the great god above Sky and Earth.[3] Some of his friends were quite concerned at his proclamation, and they became even more concerned when he married an Egeldish refugee woman, Golene Nywos, in 1346, disregarding the rules against priests or priestesses marrying. One friend, Čāt Odetālēne, returned to Egeld, denounced Ridranos before Sūtāca’s religious council, and was reinstated as a priest of Sky in Odetālēne.[3] Two other friends, Juzwērakyis Odetālēne and Rūdris Zelūtas, publicly broke with him but did not leave Dyenā.[2][3]

Ridranos continued to stay in Dyenā, hoping to find fellow “seekers of light” among the constant influx of Egeldish refugees. But he had very little success, and by 1349, he felt there was enough animosity against him in Dyenā that he left for Carafilier with his wife.[2]

In Carafilier

Ridranos then settled in Fielahél in northern Carafilier, where he worked at a local dye farm while continuing to write on issues of philosophy and religion. In 1350, he finished Light and Duty, and hoping that he might be able to publish it,[1] he traveled to a small university in nearby Cahmier to present it to the professors there. They were very interested in his work and agreed to publish Light and Duty if Ridranos would translate it into Carafilieri. Ridranos’s Carafilieri was very weak, so he hired a young Carafilieri/Azonian man, Esian Yalagroux, who worked with him at the dye farm in Fielahél to help with the translation. As Ridranos and Yalagroux worked on the translation, the university in Cahmier also arranged for Ridranos to give some talks on philosophy to the students there with the aid of an interpreter. Ridranos’s ideas became popular with some of the students, and by 1352, he had a small following of Carafilieri, Degrouxmé, Azonian and Egeldish “seekers of light.”[2][1] Also in 1350, Ridranos’s son Jwēlosis was born, and in 1352, his daughter Jāne was born.[2]

Ridranos finally finished and published a Carafilieri version of Light and Duty in 1354. Following the book’s publication, a number of other philosophers, scholars and students came to Fielahél to speak with him and sometimes to join his group of “seekers of light.” By 1360, he had a group of about fifty followers.[1] With their help, he translated most of his other works into Carafilieri and published them with the help of the university in Cahmier.[2]

So far, Ridranos had mostly only been known in Carafilier, but then in 1360, Sūtāca died and the government regulation of the orders of Sky and Earth became significantly less strict. In 1361, one of Ridranos’s old friends from his time in Odetālēne, Duggis Rālyos, traveled to Carafilier to visit him.[2] Ridranos gave him some Egeldish copies of Stars and Time and Light and Duty, and when Rālyos returned to Egeld, he shared them with his fellow priests in Odetālēne. One priest, Arryis Odetālēne, wrote a response to Ridranos’s work that detailed a slightly reworked version of his philosophy that fit better with orthodox Egeldish religion. One of Ridranos’s sisters also got a hold of his books and wrote her own response to them.[1][2] In 1365, Rālyos and Arryis Odetālēne both traveled to Fielahél to urge Ridranos to return to Egeld and start a community of “seekers of light” there. Agreeing to their proposal, in late 1365, Ridranos traveled with his family and his followers to Atāsŋūn, a small town near Odetālēne.[2]

In Atāsŋūn and death

In Atāsŋūn, Ridranos established a community modeled on those of the priests of Earth. He continued to write on philosophy, producing another three books on his ideas, and taught his followers, many of whom wrote down their own ideas.[1] Ridranos also started a small library of philosophical and religious works, inspired by the university library he had seen in Cahmier, and formed a small school where he, Duggis Rālyos, one of his sisters, and one of his followers taught the children of the community as well as children from Atāsŋūn and Odetālēne.[2]

In late 1377, the 71-year-old Ridranos died of soskiritis. He was buried in Atāŋūn, where his grave is now the site of a museum about the community he established there.[2]

Philosophy

Humans, animals and gods

In his early works, Ridranos develops a theory that humans are distinct from animals because they have ðozoŋwur – emotions, will, a tendency to be unpredictable, and a constant desire for more. In his theory, this ðozoŋwur comes from the gods Sky and Earth, who have it in its pure form – human ðozoŋwur, on the other hand, is mixed with animalistic instincts, or lezorān. Later on, Ridranos came to believe in another, greater god above Sky and Earth, who he calls “the Sun” for lack of a better term. In his new, expanded theory, he says that the human conscience, lūtasyā, comes from this great god, who has lūtasyā in its pure form. So then animals have have lezorān, Sky and Earth have pure ðozoŋwur, the great god “the Sun” has pure lūtasyā, and humans have an impure mixture of all three.[6]

Ridranos then explains that humans are naturally unhappy because they are constantly trying to follow and satisfy all three of these aspects, yet lezorān, ðozoŋwur and lūtasyā conflict and so it is impossible to ever fully satisfy all three. Rather, humans should train themselves to primarily seek lūtasyā, because it is the highest of all three. However, while humans can find great joy in their lūtasyā, they can never be fully happy, because they are still tied to lezorān and ðozoŋwur. Indeed, if a human being somehow only ever satisfied lūtasyā and never paid any attention to lezorān and ðozoŋwur, s/he would not actually be fully human.[6] Ridranos writes in part 10 of Light and Duty:

Full humanity can only be achieved by acknowledging all three aspects of being, but balance and happiness can only be achieved by keeping them in their proper hierarchy. Lūtasyā should always be first priority; next ðozoŋwur; last lezorān. The good, happy, and fully human man will put his conscience above his emotions and both above his instinct, but he will listen closely to all three.[7]– Ŋarin Ridranos, Light and Duty, part 10

Human depravity and ambition

Ridranos writes, primarily in Stars and Time, that all human evil ultimately stems from one flaw: ambition, which comes from the ðozoŋwur part of human nature. This is the flaw that makes humans wish to fully satisfy lezorān, ðozoŋwur and lūtasyā, even though it is impossible – indeed, because it is impossible, humans lie constantly to themselves, saying that it can be done, to make themselves continue to try. It is also the flaw that makes it impossible to ever approach the great god. Animals cannot approach the great god because they lack lūtasyā; Sky and Earth cannot approach the great god not only because they do not have lūtasyā, but also because they have the flaw of ambition in their ðozoŋwur; humans too cannot approach the great god because of the ambition in their ðozoŋwur.[6]

In the most famous passage of Stars and Time, from part 29, Ridranos sums up this philosophy of his:[6]

Human beings are always grasping at more, reaching endlessly for higher and higher things. We cannot be happy with the inventions we have; we constantly take issue with them and toil and struggle to create something a little better. We cannot eat the same thing every day; we must add new things, do things in a different way, always, always, expanding, complicating. We cannot talk and laugh with our friends and go away satisfied, as to need no more; rather, we crave more, more, more! We cannot merely live life and recount it to others; we must have stories. Most of all, we cannot merely eat and drink and sleep and be satisfied in the fulfillment of our lezorān, or love and hate and sympathize and be satisfied in the fulfillment of our ðozoŋwur; we must search always for truth and beauty and gods and all other such vague, transcendent things. We alone among our fellow beings – animals, Sky and Earth – grasp endlessly at eternity and have this unrelenting thirst in our hearts….Yet when we search for the high things and reach deep into ourselves for the strength and will to push higher and higher, we can only eventually come fully face to face with the utter darkness of our hearts, inexplicably and bitterly twisted into something that wishes futilely for light and so must veil itself more and more in an effort to face the Sun [e.g., the great god] – veil itself with empty graspings at better technology, richer life, closer friendship, purposefully created things, truth and beauty and the gods….And so to face the all-revealing Truth of the Light of the Sun, we must tear off those veils of meaningless meaning, only to discover that we are left with only our dark impure hearts, made human and different from the animals and the lesser gods [Sky and Earth] only by our twisted desires to veil ourselves and become something greater even as it is more and more false, and so as we stand in truth before the Sun we are yet more desperately hopeless than when we stand upon lies before him….Life is indeed futile.– Ŋarin Ridranos, Stars and Time, part 29

The cycle of ambition and the decay of relationships

In works such as War in Heaven and on Earth, Ridranos develops an idea that due to this ambition, human relationships will always decay. He takes the myth of how Sky and Earth, pure manifestations of ðozoŋwur, are part of an endless cycle in which they love each other for a time and produce a human race, then come to hate each other and eventually destroy the world and their human offspring in their war, but then love each other again and create another human race. Humans, he says, will go through quite different cycles because of the influence of their lezorān and lūtasyā. For instance, family members can have good, long-lasting relationships because of the ties of lezorān – they have bodies that are physically related to each other. Similarly, people can remain friends for a long time if they are kind to each other, following their lūtasyā. But since the ambition of ðozoŋwur poisons all other aspects of human nature, human relationships will all eventually decay as people continue to try to get more and more and become better and better. This was already an established tenet of Egeldish theology and culture at the time Ridranos explored it, but Ridranos did an excellent job of providing practical examples of this principle in works like Light and Duty.[6]

Practical application

Particularly in Light and Duty, Ridranos tries to construct a model for how a human being could try to balance lezorān, ðozoŋwur and lūtasyā in order to live a life that is as fulfilling as possible within the “ultimately futile universe we exist in” (part 5). First of all, he writes, lūtasyā should come first – people should prioritize trying to understand morality and truth, and for this reason education is important, since it helps people to better find truth. Secondly, people should pursue ðozoŋwur by not repressing their emotions and being willing to feel strongly. Before actually acting on their emotions, people should make sure their intended actions line up with lūtasyā. But mere feelings should never be repressed for reasons of lūtasyā or anything else. Ridranos especially encourages people to be quick to spontaneously do a kind thing for someone they pity – a perfect example of following lūtasyā through the emotions of ðozoŋwur. Finally, people should pursue lezorān, taking care of their bodies and making sure they eat, sleep, etc. enough. But they should be willing to quash their instincts in order to do something kind, following lūtasyā first, or feel strongly, following ðozoŋwur. Interestingly, Ridranos places family relations within the realm of lezorān, since families are connected by their physical relation. He especially points this out when he writes that people should be willing to do something kind for a stranger they pity at the cost of being able to properly care for their family, as long as they do not pity their family above the stranger. “Feelings come before instinct,” he writes, “and therefore one must prioritize helping the people one feels about above helping the people one has an instinct to help” (part 18).[6]

Also in Light and Duty, Ridranos details various ideas for softening the negative effects of human ambition. He encourages people to pursue humility and to be happy with simple things, rather than always trying to make their lives more pleasant or more comfortable. But he does acknowledge that one cannot be fully human without this ambition, and so he encourages people to continue to try to improve their lives – just to put the search for goodness, truth and lūtasyā above this endeavor of ðozoŋwur.[6]

Notable works

Nonfiction

  • War in Heaven and on Earth (1330). Ridranos analyzes the traditional Egeldish myth of how Sky and Earth once loved each other, but now war against each other and against their offspring, the human race. He draws parallels to how human relationships so easily swing between love and hate, and suggests that a key part of being human is this emotional similarity to the gods. From this he tentatively concludes that if even the gods cannot avoid the pain of being rejected by a loved one, there is no way that human beings can reasonably avoid such strife – if they do, they are repressing the noble aspect of their nature, the part of them that is similar to the gods, and so are not being truly human at all.[8]
  • The Human and the Animal (1335). Ridranos investigates the difference between humans and animals and comes to the conclusion that the central difference is that humans try endlessly to better themselves and improve their life situation, while animals are happy with merely satisfying their basic desires for food, shelter, etc. He also suggests the idea that this human striving for improvement is the key reason why humans are so often unhappy – animals, on the other hand, he writes, are only unhappy when their basic desires are unfulfilled.[8]
  • Knowledge and Goodness (1341). Ridranos explores the question of what is truly good or evil, and how humans can be sure that they know the truth about what is good and evil. He concludes that ultimately only a person’s own conscience can tell them what is right to do, but somebody can corrupt their own conscience by consistently doing evil. So a person can never be completely sure whether what they feel is right is actually right or just the product of a corrupted conscience. He also briefly touches on the idea that, as other parts of human nature come from Sky and Earth, this conscience is something from a god higher than Sky and Earth and so more noble and valuable.[8]
Cover of a recent Egeldish printing of Stars and Time

Cover of a recent Egeldish printing of Stars and Time

  • Stars and Time (1344). In this book Ridranos finally fully develops his idea of a god greater and higher than Sky and Earth, one that he calls “the Sun” “because it is the only word I have to express the eternal and unchanging benevolence of such a being” (part 5). He portrays this god as being unchanging, eternal, truthful, and all-powerful, but unwilling to lower himself to deal with flawed beings such as the lesser gods Sky and Earth and, even more so, humans. In this book Ridranos also denounces the human tendency to continually grasp at progress and improvement, saying that it is part of the evil arrogance that also led to Sky and Earth’s war.[8]
  • Light and Duty (1350). Taking the philosophy he developed in Stars and Time, Ridranos explores how a human being should live in such a world. He says that humans should be humble and learn to take joy in simple things, like good food or safe shelter, while always seeking to find truth and better understand how to do right. While they should not spend all their time and energy trying to make their life better or more comfortable, he writes, they should slowly pursue comfort with the goal of then being able to better focus on the important questions of morality and truth.[8]
  • The Light Above the Horizon (1370). Returning to his earlier idea that the human conscience is something from the great god above Sky and Earth, Ridranos tries to form an idea of what this god is like based on what human consciences are like. He also makes conclusions about what the great god is like based on how parts of the natural world which he doesn’t think are “corrupted” by Sky or Earth are like. In the end, he concludes that this god is a god of strict rules, truth, kindness, fairness and faithfulness.[8]

Fiction

  • Black and White (1331). This is a novel exploring Ridranos’s early idea that strong emotions and volatility are an important, if often painful, part of being human. It tells the story of an Egeldish man and woman who marry just before the fall of Egeld’s empire, but then grow to hate each other in the wake of the civil war after the fall of the empire. Only parts of the story are extant – most of the beginning, some parts of the middle, and only a tiny bit of the ending. It has been the subject of much study and speculation as to what the rest of the story was like.[8]
  • The Sun Over the Mountains (1345). This epic poem, only half-finished, tells the story of a Egeldish warrior who fails his lord and then flees to Azon, hoping to find respite from his horrible guilt at having failed his master. It chronicles his journey as he accepts that he will ultimately always fail and is humbled. Ridranos was inspired to write this poem after reading some Lat epic poetry while in Dyenā, but he eventually abandoned it when he decided that such a form was not a good way to explore his ideas. It continues to be considered a classic of Egeldish literature, however, and several other authors have written endings for it.[8]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Dāʔos, Lēŋone (1495). Ŋarin Ridranos and the Foundation of Modern Thought. Sokoli & Sons Publishing, Mitzduran, Jacia.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 Yudelia, Jasosa (1485). A Short Biography of Ŋarin Ridranos. Publishing House Yapet, Poyyeizy, Jacia.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Crāā, Enāne (1499). Ŋarin Ridranos and the Egeldish Religious Establishment. Publishing House of Egeld, Tēselos, Egeld.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Crāā, Soţānyal. Ŋārin Rīdranos. Publishing House of Egeld, Tēselos, Egeld.
  5. Juhērntos, Juhārgene. A History of Egeld, Volume 2: Revolution and Reorganization. Publishing House of Egeld, Tēselos, Egeld.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Nūtica, Nyejānne. The Philosophy of Ŋārin Rīdranos. Oga Books, Paraso, Carafilier.
  7. Quoted in Nūtica, pg. 201
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Desulta, Peradá. An Introduction to the Works of Ŋarin Ridranos. Cahmeir Publishing, Carafilier

Colloquial Names for Days of the Month in Tą

I’ve recently been working on a new language, Tą, that is spoken throughout Thomorai. In Thomorai, people use two different calendars: a highly accurate solar calendar, which is almost always used for giving official dates and in colloquial speech for months and years, and a strict lunar calendar. The lunar calendar has been falling more and more out of use in recent times, but it is still widely used to informally give the day of the week/month. For example, a Thomoraii might say that it’s the fifth month in the year 1501 (using the solar calendar), but that the day is Liděd (using the lunar calendar). The advantage of the lunar calendar is that it’s easy to see what day it is based on what the moon looks like; the disadvantage is that it doesn’t match up with the solar calendar. Nevertheless, it is very common in Thomorai for people to use the names for the days of the lunar month as we might use the days of the week.

Colloquial Names for Days of the Month in Tą

based on the phases of the moon Qějli

New moon: Lídis

1st night waxing cresent: Lidšón
2nd: Lidíba
3rd: Liděd
4th: Lidwâo
5th: Liděsa
6th: Lidúwa

First quarter moon: Šánať

1st night waxing gibbous: Šanšón
2nd: Šaníba
3rd: Šaněd
4th: Šanwâo
5th: Šaněsa
6th: Šanúwa

Full moon: Ȟak
Second full moon: Ȟakfê

1st night waning gibbous: Ȟakšón
2nd: Ȟakǐba
3rd: Ȟakěd
4th: Ȟakwâo
5th: Ȟakěsa
6th: Ȟakúwa

Last quarter moon: Deêli

1st night waning crescent: Deêšón
2nd: Deêyíba
3rd; Deêyêd
4th: Deêwâo
5th: Deêyêsa
6th: Deêyúwa

Updated Grammar of Lukokish

This 60-page (!) grammar is a significantly updated, expanded, and generally improved version of my old Lukokish grammar, and it’s the reason why I haven’t posted anything for weeks! Lukokish is a language I made up that is spoken today by the people of the country of Lukok. As of May 2013, it is my newest language and certainly the best language I’ve made so far (though I still love the ones that would probably be judged as badly done!). Here’s a short overview of its significant features from the grammar – the first paragraph describes the general state of things, and the second paragraph goes a bit more into depth on one of the more special and unique aspects of Lukokish: the default verbs.

Lukokish is mostly fusional, with some agglutinative and isolating elements, and has nominative-accusative alignment. It has nouns, verbs and adjectives. Postpositions are treated as adjectives, and adverbs are simple derivations of adjectives. Nouns are marked by case, mood and definiteness (a/the). Using an isolated element known as d*, verbs mark tense, mood, perfection, habituality, generality and movement. Adjectives have a complex morphological system and generally have to match the case of their nouns, and there are complicated rules for comparisons with adjectives. There is no full gender system – there was in Old Lukokish and there is today in Laguine, but modern-day Lukokish does not have it.

In Lukokish, many nouns have default verb meanings if they are subjects or objects. In such a case, d* can be used without a verb, and it carries the default meaning. For example, in Ejû melòme du “The boy threw the ball,” the verb for “throw” is not present. But the default verb meaning for “ball,” if it is used as an object, is “throw.” So d* (which, in this case, is du) carries the meaning “throw.” Many verbs also can be given different meaning through movement marked on d*. Movement can be used to actually imply movement (for example, when using the verb for “move”), or it can be used to give other meanings. For example, the verb for “add” is enêru. But if downwards movement is marked on d*, then enêru means “subtract” or “take away.”

Before you look at the grammar, please keep these things in mind:

  • I am not a linguist and my linguistic knowledge is generally woefully lacking, so please bear with me when I accidentally misuse terms or concepts in my grammar. I am eager to learn more, however, so if you find mistakes, please contact me and tell me about them – nicely, if you can! 😉
  • I also believe that Lukokish probably would be criticized by many other language creators for its weaknesses in various points, e.g. its unrealistically regular sounds and lack of allophony, boring case system, lack of conciseness, etc. First of all, again, I am very open to comment and criticism – I would love to hear from you and learn how to improve! However, making up languages is at heart a very personal hobby, and so I sometimes choose to do something less interesting or realistic just because I like it that way. Or, it wouldn’t be fun, and the whole point of making up languages in the first place is fun, so it would defeat the point. In the end, I make up languages for myself, and so will make choices accordingly.
  • Everything is subject to change at any time without any warning for no reason. Like, you could wake up tomorrow and discover that I added gender, turned all adjectives into verbs, and threw in some Austronesian alignment for a change. (But I have to admit that those particular changes would be pretty unlikely.)
  • I put zero effort into making sure that the page breaks were in nice places.

And so, without further ado, here it is: the PDF of the updated grammar of Lukokish.

Map and Description of the Jaeve Families of Lukok and Laguina

I drew this map on March 28th, 2013 by tracing my drawing of Olha’s War and then making a copy of the result. (I intend to make the original tracing into a general map of Lukok.) It shows the 21 Jaeve families and their offshoots, and where they live and own land in Lukok and Laguina. Who are the Jaeve families? They are all descended from the legendary Hosultë, a king who ruled both Lukok and Laguina. He supposedly had 21 children, each of whom then started a Jaeve family. These people are the royalty and nobility of Lukok and Laguina. To help keep the families straight myself, and clarify to my readers, I also wrote an overview of each of the Jaeve families, which is at the end of this post.

Here’s the map. Now, there are only 21 families, but confusingly, some of these have further divided themselves into subfamilies with different names, and sometimes different lands, too! For example, the Rèn live in Lukok, but their subfamily the Rènha live in Laguina. But they are part of the same general Jaeve family. So, when two families were split up like this, I used the same color for both their lands. You can also check the overview of the Jaeve families to see what ones are members of one larger family. In cases where a family remained in the same geographical area, but one part was almost completely populated by only one subfamily, I drew a border between the areas. But, again, I used the same color. Finally, in areas where there are different subfamilies, but they’re mixed, I just listed multiple families for the same area.

The Jaeve of LukokNow for the overview of Jaeve families! This list explains what country each lives in, what sort of jobs they have, how rich they are, what their different branches are, where they live, etc. A quick note: “Old Jaeve” refers to the traditional Jaeve lifestyle, where they own land and have peasants live on it in exchange for goods (not money!). They might also do a little trade with any excess goods they get. Basically, this is a simple feudal system. But as Lukok has become more modern, many Old Jaeve families haven’t been able to support themselves anymore. They’ve began turning to what is called the “New Jaeve” lifestyle, where they start businesses, especially factories, and hire peasants living on their land. However, even New Jaeve families haven’t completely broken from the Old Jaeve lifestyle – they still own land and lease it out to peasants as before. By the way, both sorts of Jaeve families usually also have members that work as soldiers and government officials, two jobs that are traditionally Jaeve. (The lowest soldiers are generally commoners, but once you get a few ranks up, almost everybody is Jaeve or partly Jaeve.) Without further ado, here is the list:

1. Yäaç, Yaäk, Yäaş

This family is mostly situated in Lukok, and was very important from the 1300’s to the ascension of Devï Rèn. [This is the Lukokish way to spell Devey.] Today they are rich and prestigious, but do not participate much in politics anymore. The Yäaç branch is the largest, and the Yäaş are a very small offshoot of them. The Yäaç are mostly from Dôsol; the Yaäk have their roots in Tòlsesan; and the Yäaş are from Alènev.

2. Rènjaeve, Rèn, Rènha

Devï’s branch of the Rèn are very important today as royalty, but the other Rèn remain fairly obscure, usually working as Old Jaeve landowners and rarely New Jaeve businesspeople. This family was originally called the Rènjaeve, but this name was shortened to Rèn during the late 1100s. The Rènha are a minor branch that live in Laguina. The Rèn and Rènha were originally from an area northwest of Vere:san, and while the Rèn still claim this as their hometown, the Rènha consider Telete, in Laguina, their home.

3. Lehana, Leyana, Leàna

The Lehana family is currently the ruling family of Laguina, as it has been for over 150 years. They are a rich and large family and very involved in politics. The Leyana are also wealthy and prestigious, and hold many important positions in government. The Leàna own large tracts of farmland within Laguina, and so are important, but are less involved in politics and are the smallest branch of the original Lehanas. All are originally from Dona, and the Leàna have their land holdings around this city.

4. Juşul, Juyul

This family is from Laguina, where they mostly own businesses and control a few small towns. Prior to the 1400s, when they began to shift to a New Jaeve lifestyle, they were a small and obscure family that only had small land holdings. Today they are fairly important business holders in Laguina. The Juyul branch mostly consists of the Juşul that still work as landowners. This family calls the lands and towns around the central bulge of northwestern Laguina their home.

5. Öetjaeve, Öete

The original name of this family was Öetjaeve, but now they use the shortened version Öete for everything except important and formal documents (for example, marriage certificates). The Öete are quite rich and well-off, owning large areas of farmland and also an important port area. They mostly work as landowners and traders, but there are also many Öete who serve as soldiers or work in the government. Their homeland includes no major cities, but a large tract of land north of Dôsol and a peninsula west of Dôsol.

6. Vuşï, Vuşë

The Vuşï and their branch the Vuşë are a medium-size Lukokish family. They are fairly well off and own many factories and businesses as well as farmland. The Vuşë are the branch that live in Thirsìlisan, their hometown. Their family lands lie all around this fairly large city.

7. Tereve:sal, Tereve:jaeve

The Tereve:sal and Tereve:jaeve are a rich and fairly important Lukokish Jaeve family. They do trading, own land, and work in the government and the army. The Tereve:jaeve are the branch of the family that mostly work in the government and live in diverse cities such as Àçesan and Nêleru. Their hometown is Tereve:salsan, and they own land around this city.

8. Sozborë, Soşborë

This Laguine family was originally quite small and unimportant, but they were some of the first to explore and settle on nearby islands, such as Tou Island and Saraum Island. They have some of the most diverse jobs of the Jaeve families, working in the military, in the government, and as traders and landowners. The Soşborë are those that live in the islands. Their homeland is part of the western coast of Laguina, but they also dominate the islands of Tou and Saraum.

9. Dehderu, Dedèrö, Dëdïmëdö, Dëdï

This family is Lukokish, and owns the most land of any Jaeve family. They have been important in the Lukokish military and government for centuries, though a Dehderu has never been on the throne. The Dehderu and Dedèrö are most known for their involvement in the military as soldiers and generals, and the money from their success allowed them to buy the large tracts of land that their family now controls. But not all Dehderu and Dedèrö are military, as many of their members work as normal Old Jaeve landowners, typical New Jaeve businesspeople, or in the government. The Dëdïmëdö are the most traditional landowners among this family’s branches, and the Dëdï have become famous as traders. The hometown of this family is Teròl, but they control most of the land of the southeastern tip of Lukok, including the cities of Ôninev, Mïreken and Delamë. The Dëdï and Dëdïmëdö together own most of the lands of Smaller Lukok (though many other Lukokish Jaeve families also own land there).

10. Akloş, Akoş

The Akloş, now known as the Akoş, are a military Laguine family. Their members have worked as soldiers and generals for Laguina for centuries, and at times have ruled Laguina, too. They are fairly wealthy and work as landowners and traders as well as soldiers. Their hometown is Dyetse, and they control most of the land around this city.

11. Keşelta

This Lukokish family is the smallest of all Jaeve families. They almost all work as Old Jaeve landowners, though a few have become traders and now they are experiencing a growing trend towards scholarship. They are one of the poorest of the Jaeve families, though they remain proud and try to involve themselves in politics. Their small homelands are west of Dôsol.

12. Asalëajaeve

The Asalëajaeve, a Lukokish family, is one of the most traditional Old Jaeve families. They used to be rich and strong, but started to grow poorer in the late 1300’s. Today, they are only fairly well off, though they remain prestigious, and there are many important Asalëajaeve members in the government. Their homelands lie between Thirsìlisan, Teròl and Alènev, where they work as landowners.

13. Melëa, Mendäa

This Lukokish family has split into significantly different branches, though their lands are next to each other. The Melëa are rich and have pioneered the New Jaeve lifestyle, building factories and starting many businesses, though they also still work as traditional landowners. Today they are important in government. The Mendäa, on the other hand, remain as poor but prestigious traditional Old Jaeve landowners. The homelands of the Melëa are south of Divìtsol and east of Sörlëon, Àçesan and Jaevèdev, while the homelands of the Mendäa are just east of Divìtsol. Their original family lands were mostly what the Mendäa own now.

14. Törev, Tïrev, Töreş, Töreşv

This minor family has ties in both Lukok and Laguina. They own land in Lukok, and most of their members live there. But they generally have friendly relations with Laguina, and many of them frequently visit or even live there. This family is small and considered minor, but they are quite wealthy, do a lot of trade and involve themselves in politics. The Törev (the most friendly towards Laguina) and Tïrev work as traders, New Jaeve businesspeople, and government workers, while the Töreş and Töreşv serve as landowners and more traditional traders. Their hometown is Sètsol.

15. Şëajaeve, Sëajaeve, Sëhajaeve

This family is a fairly typical southern Lukokish Jaeve family – mostly landowners, but getting more and more into a New Jaeve lifestyle of starting businesses and factories. A few members of this family have also been important in the military and, historically, in government. They are quite well off and getting richer as they become more New Jaeve. The Şëajaeve are mostly Old Jaeve landowners; the Sëajaeve more tend to be New Jaeve businesspeople. The Sëhajaeve branch is quite small, and its members mostly work in the military. In the past, a few Sëhajaeve were important in the government. This family’s home is an area west of Alènev and Ôninev.

16. Dëej, Dïej

This old, prestigious and rich Lukokish Jaeve family has been important in politics and the military for centuries. They continue to be involved in government, while also working as both Old Jaeve and New Jaeve. While they are not as rich as they used to be, they remain wealthy. Dëej is the older, larger and more traditional branch; Dïej is a branch mostly consisting of New Jaeve. Their hometown is the ancient Dëejşan, which was named after them.

17. Quelël, Keläl

This very diverse Lukokish family works in trade, military, government, landowning, business and other jobs. Different members vary wildly in wealth – some, such as the mayor of Vere:san, are among the wealthiest of Lukok, while some, such as most of the soldiers, are poorer than most middle-class non-Jaeve. The Keläl branch is known for trade and war, and for being especially belligerent towards Laguina. The Quelël branch encompasses all other members of the family. Their hometown is Vere:san.

18. Döros, Deros, Döroz, Döroş

All the branches of this family are Lukokish, but while the Döros are quite rich and important, the other branches are minor and small. They generally work as Old Jaeve landowners, but there are also many New Jaeve businesspeople and factory owners among them. Unusually, all of the branches are quite involved in politics, even the minor ones. Their original hometown is Divìtsol, an area where the Döros currently dominate. The Deros, Döroz and Döroş own land west of Divìtsol, most of which is marshy and not very valuable.

19. Nïnïjaeve, Nenä

The Nïnïjaeve, now called the Nenä instead, come from Laguina and are traditional landowners who mostly run farms. They are quite rich and own a lot of land, but have had very little involvement in Laguine politics, government or military. Their homelands are in northeastern Laguina.

20. Mäşele, Meşele

This Laguine family is fairly significantly split between their two branches. The Mäşele are almost all business owners and city dwellers, while the Meşele almost all live in the country and work as landowners. This family controls a lot of land, but its members remain only somewhat wealthy. Both branches have had significant involvement in politics, and a few Meşele were kings at one time. Their hometown is Aùm.

21. Töre:se, Terëza

This family is a minor and quite poor Lukokish family. Most of its members work as Old Jaeve landowners or traders, working to mine or sell the plentiful salt in the area. Many have traveled to the mixed-Jaeve area in the northwest to work in the government or military. The very small Terëza branch mostly consists of traders. This family’s hometown is Sòzosan.

Kury Mazdi

Kury Mazdi is one of my favorite imaginary characters. I wrote part of his novel The Cold Fury and part of his nonfiction travel journal The Expedition, and I really wish that his books existed, because I’d love to read them!

Full name Kury Lorioc Mazdi
Born 1311
Died 1382
Resting place Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa, Skanlikia, Canarsia
Occupation Writer
Nationality Jacian
Ethnicity Jacian
Notable works The Expedition, The Cold Fury, The Water the Ice and the Snow, The Deuteragonist, Once Again Rain, The Emergence of Stars
Spouse Myrsel Nelenna
Children Teir Mazdi, Seira Esmalok, Keiry Lyscha, Amalee Nuireen, and Nureir Mazdi

Kury Lorioc Mazdi was a political activist and Jacian writer famous for his novels and account of the 1336 worldwide expedition. He lived in the Canarsian colony of Skanlikia most of his life, and most of his political work was for Skanlikia or Canarsia in general. He also set several of his books there, and so has become famous as the first Canarsian writer. Mazdi’s novels are famous for their quirky and humorous prose, unique characters, and complex plots. Today, they are frequently read in Canarsia and Jacia as classics. Mazdi also started a library in Skanlikia, now named the Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa, and a major newspaper, the Canarsia Weekly Messenger, which is still in operation today.[1][2]

Contents

  • 1 Physical description
  • 2 Life
    • 2.1 Early years
    • 2.2 Worldwide expedition
    • 2.3 Early life in Canarsia
    • 2.4 Civil war era
    • 2.5 Travels and later life in Canarsia
  • 3 Death
  • 4 Literary style
    • 4.1 Social commentary
  • 5 Reception
    • 5.1 Popularity and readership of short stories
  • 6 Influence and legacy
    • 6.1 Writing
  • 7 Notable works
    • 7.1 Nonfiction
    • 7.2 Novels
    • 7.3 Short stories
  • 8 References

Physical description

Kury Mazdi describes himself as a 25-year-old:

As for me, my name is Kury Lorioc Mazdi, and I am 25 years old. I am a very normal looking Jacian, with darkish hair, and skin, and eyes; not black, but brown, in the Jacian way. My friends say, however, that while I am very plain looking, I have a distinctive face, and I suppose that I agree with them. My face is small, and very round, that it looks more suited to a 5-year-old than a 25-year-old.[3]– Kury Mazdi, The Expedition

Dyrlo Jangari, another member of the expedition, describes Kury as “a small, merry young man, with a round, boyish face, and shorter than the rest of us.”[4] A visitor to the World Union, Eward Esech, describes Kury when he was forty-nine: “He looks like a stereotypical brown-skinned, round-faced, somewhat wrinkled old Jacian, but he has the smile of a mischievous young child.”[5] There are no surviving representations of Kury that were made during his lifetime. The earliest representation, a statue of Kury, was made in 1389, seven years after his death.[2]

Life

Early years

Kury Mazdi was born in Nafting, Jacia in 1311, the son of the businessman and scholar Ensakek Mazdi and the daughter of a prominent politician, Nida Apolbi Mazdi. Ensakek Mazdi had died several months before, and Nida Mazdi died when Kury was two years old. For the rest of his childhood, his uncle Sadek served as his formal guardian, but Kury was raised by a large staff of servants. He received his elementary education at the Uniatic School of Nafting, learning the Uniatic language from an early age. Kury also showed talent in writing while he was young.[2]

When he was seventeen, Kury entered the Golden Dome University in Poyyeizy, Jacia’s most prestigious university and one of the best universities worldwide, to study writing and literature. He did not have any scholarship, and paid his whole way through.[6] During his time at the Golden Dome University, he joined a club of students and other educated Jacians called the Malcanars (Unknown Lands)[7] Club. These students discussed the politics, history, geography and so on of other countries, arranged interviews with people who had traveled widely, and wrote short articles about other countries that appeared in the Journal of the Golden Dome. Kury soon took on the entire job of writing these articles. He also wrote short stories during his studies at the university.[2]

Worldwide expedition

In 1335, the chairman of the Malcanars Club, Nirokh Belbi, announced that he was going on an expedition, with several friends, to visit all Sheesanian countries, and invited the other members to join. Nirokh recruited his cousin, Vicansakak Belbi (usually called Vic), to help lead the expedition. In the end, seven members of the Malcanars Club went: Kury Mazdi, Dyrlo Jangari, Mazi Elonda, Saruk Rakneki, Kamek Thurius, Milti Nemembi and Lemest Sharpar. Two friends of Nirokh, Thomost Tralel and Satuf Fendeki, went, as well as a friend of Dyrlo’s, Samyth Kerkythea. Kerkythea would later become the first non-Uniatic World Minister, an incredibly powerful position that was a catalyst for Jacia’s later worldwide power.[7][2]

The expedition began in 1336, when Kury was 25 years old. Along the way, Kury kept a detailed journal of their experiences, which was later published as The Expedition. This work has become a classic of Sheesanian travel journals.[3] This journey also inspired much of Kury’s later writing.[6] The expedition returned to Jacia in 1338, and Kury returned to his home in Nafting, where he worked on editing and publishing his account of the expedition.[2]

Early life in Canarsia

After publishing The Expedition and remaining in Nafting for a few months, Kury traveled to the Jacian colony of Skanlikia in Canarsia to do research for a novel he was planning. He lived with a Canarsian family, eventually marrying Myrsel Nelenna, the daughter of the man who was hosting him. In 1342, three years after arriving in Canarsia, he finished writing his first novel, The Cold Fury. The same year, his first daughter, Teir, was born. Over the next few years, the rest of his children were born: Seira (girl) in 1343, Keiry (girl) in 1344, Amalee (girl) in 1347, and his only son, Nureir, in 1349.[2] From the publication of The Cold Fury to when he began writing his next novel, The Water the Ice and the Snow (1343-1345), Kury wrote a collection of short stories which he later published under the name Canarsian Sketches.[8] Though he had originally intended to spend his life traveling and researching novels, Kury remained based in Canarsia for the rest of his life because of his marriage.[2]

Civil war era

In 1350, civil war between Egeldish and Sengorian colonists in Canarsia broke out. Gourish settlers in the colony of Far Sweema quickly got involved, allying with the Sengorians against the Egeldish. At first, the Jacian colonists, including Kury Mazdi, tried to negotiate peace, but most eventually got drawn into the conflict too.[9] Kury Mazdi had been working on a novel later published as There and Back Again, but as the Canarsian civil war became out of control and his efforts for peace seemed hopeless, he turned to working on a new version of The Cold Fury. In this version, he revised some passages and inserted several others, between chapters, from the point of view of Torek during the time he is narrating the story.[8] After publishing this second edition of The Cold Fury, Kury managed to get the rest of the colonists in his settlement to sign an agreement to stop fighting.

The conflict had subsided enough by 1351 that Kury was able to start a Canarsia-wide newspaper (though it was primarily read in Skanlikia), the Canarsia Weekly Messenger, which is still in operation today.[1] In 1353, Kury started a small library that he called the Canarsa Library [yes, it was Canarsa, not Canarsia]. From 1351 to 1359, Kury wrote several novels and other works that remain less known today, including The Strangers, There and Back Again, The Tale of the Sparrow and Letters to a Particularly Young Gentleman. He also continued to work for peace in Canarsia, as the civil war continued between bouts of uneasy truce.[2]

In late 1359, Unia took advantage of the chaos in Canarsia to invade, hoping to establish a colony herself. But in 1360, Samyth Kerkythea, who Kury had met and come to know during the worldwide expedition, became World Minister. In part because of urging from Kury, Kerkythea worked to establish peace in Canarsia, defying Unia in the process. While many Jacians were horrified by Kerkythea’s defiance of Unia, this set a precedent that led to growth in Jacian power later on. In this way, the Canarsian civil war had effectively stopped by 1361.[2]

Travels and later life in Canarsia

From late 1359 to early 1361, Kury wrote another of his famous works, The Deuteragonist. He then traveled to Jawswina with his daughter Teir, who was then 20, in order to research what would become Once Again Rain. In 1367, he traveled to Egeld with his son Nureir (18 years old at the time) to gather information for The Emergence of Stars.[8][2] For the rest of his life, Kury worked to expand and improve the Canarsa Library, served as editor for the Canarsia Weekly Messenger and taught at an informal school he had started for his children, grandchildren and neighbors.[2]

Death

Kury Mazdi was confined to a wheelchair after an accident in 1380. He died in 1382 at the age of 71 from a lung disease. His ashes are housed in the library that he founded, now called the Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa.[2][10]

Literary style

When Kury Mazdi began writing, Jacian novels were usually written in a grave, formal style, rarely focused on anyone other than upper-class Jacians and Uniatics, and tended to sacrifice action and suspense for “meaning.”[11] Kury went against protocol with his colorful, quirky and comedic prose, highly varied and often low-class characters, and complicated, suspenseful plots. He often satirized, played on, or outright mocked the stiff Jacian literary conventions of the time.[11]

While Kury used unusual words and complicated sentences as many of his fellow Jacian novelists did, he also made liberal use of metaphors, which were rare in Jacian literature at the time. Additionally, Kury “abhorred”[12] the sentimentality that he found in most Jacian novels. Because of this, he noticeably balances emotional moments with amusing, even silly, comments. For example, this quote from The Cold Fury:

“My name is Menna [a girl’s name meaning ‘not owned’ or ‘not watched’], but if I were a boy, I would be Mennen [a boy’s name meaning ‘found’ or ‘kept’],” [said Menna.] “Well, yes, but your name is only a shell, a label, that doesn’t affect who you actually are, yourself!” I said. “I once knew a boy named Lemest [‘clean’] who always had dirty hair. And a man, Mr. Hokas [‘mild’], that once whipped me for smudging my math paper.”[13]– Kury Mazdi, The Cold Fury

In this quote, Kury states his point (a name is only a label that does not affect the person), but then immediately diverts to two humorous examples. This is one example of the most noticeable difference between Kury’s work and the standard novels of the time: his frequent use of comedy. One Jacian literary critic wrote of Letters to a Particularly Young Gentleman, “Mazdi is silly and playful, yet he communicates real meaning…One gets the feeling that his works are a combination of folk nursery tales told by the wittiest of nurses and the dark, deeply thoughtful classics of Thuldani.”[11]

Kury also used memorable characters, many of which are still famous today. These include Torek Hamabi (The Cold Fury), Lunain (The Cold Fury), Lekia Erin (The Water the Ice and the Snow), Mazelel (The Deuteragonist), Mawka (The Deuteragonist), Yardek Lilan (The Strangers), Tresi Nisut (Once Again Rain) and Enani Rudros (The Emergence of Stars). Kury’s quirky, metaphor-heavy descriptions and often exaggerated character traits added to the interest of these characters.[11][6] Interestingly, Kury never admitted to taking inspiration from people he knew in real life. Some Jacian critics found strong resemblances between his characters and famous figures (for example, the scheming Balar Suffa fromThe Cold Fury is very similar to Lusak Elenun, a corrupt administrator of the Golden Dome University[11]), but Kury always ignored or denied them.[2]

Finally, Kury’s novels have complex and suspenseful plots, often revolving around action and tangible events, which was fairly unusual in Jacian literature at this time. Most Jacian novels were “studies in the interaction of upper-class Jacians.”[11] While some critics complained about his frequent use of coincidences, most praised his storylines, especially how fast-moving and interesting they were.

I’ve read many such tomes as The Lord of Kaldar Province, which in the hands of Kury Mazdi could probably be reduced to short stories, since they have so little action and so much ponderous reflection…Mazdi’s work is a breath of fresh air…The plot moves along quickly and is so lucidly interesting that you can think of the ponderous reflections yourself, instead of needing to be told them.[14]– Kadek Shulari, reviewing The Deuteragonist

Social commentary

Many of Kury’s works criticized the pride and corruption in upper classes, particularly the Jacian upper class. These include the novels The Cold Fury, There and Back Again and The Emergence of Stars, as well as the short stories “Ode to a Statue of Saral Ransasek,” “The Golden Loaf,” “The Accidental Detour” and “Places Without Names.” Kury also often attacked war in his writing, though it was rarely a main theme. The Deuteragonist and The Water the Ice and the Snow are some examples. As most of his novels were set in non-Jacian cultures and locations, with major and positively portrayed non-Jacian characters, Kury also indirectly fought prejudices against non-Jacians.[6][11]

Reception

Because they defied literary conventions of the time, Kury’s works were fairly controversial for Jacian critics. These high-class Jacian reviewers described his novels as both “petty,”[15]“mocking”[16] and “rushed in pace,”[17] and “insightful,”[18] “revealing”[19] and “refreshingly easy to understand.”[20] Many critics thought that Kury’s issues with Jacian society were unfounded and communicated mockingly in his novels. Additionally, they often complained that his writing style seemed foreign and strange, and his descriptions were unbalanced and awkward. Finally, they decried his characters and plots as exaggerated and unrealistic, and took his humor as irreverent. But many other reviewers loved Kury’s works, praising them for their unique style and genuinely new insights into the downfalls of upper-class Jacian society.[11] One reviewer writes,

Honestly, I did not really care for the overall plot of The Cold Fury – it was too folkish, too petty, almost, and seemed to me to detract and distract from the theme instead of bringing attention to it. And none of the characters particularly grabbed me, unlike in such books as The House Above the Trees, where most of the characters are very similar to me and are therefore easy to relate to…But oh, Mazdi is so funny! I may not be able to relate to Torek, but I can laugh with him; and this makes me willing to listen to what he has to say, and Mazdi has a lot to say. I don’t agree with some of it…but besides [those points], I am astonished at the originality of Mazdi’s ideas. A part of me wishes that I could see him writing his thoughts as essays, instead of padding them, obscuring them and putting them into novels. But the other part of me loves his playful, almost silly style so much that I would be very sad to witness such an occurrence.[21]– Remek Sholari, reviewing The Cold Fury

Some reviewers were even more positive than Sholari, calling Kury’s works “a new era in Jacian literature”[18] and praising them for “revitalizing the Jacian novel.”[22][11]

Kury’s works were not terribly popular in Jacia in his day, but the controversy over them did lead to more sales. In Jacia, his writing only became accepted as classic after his death. In 1401, nineteen years after his death, Kury’s novel The Water the Ice and the Snow was added to the “Introduction to Classic Jacian Literature” course at the prestigious Golden Dome University. Eight years later, The Cold Fury was added to the “Revolutionary Jacian Literature” course at the GDU – an ironic choice, since a fictional dean of the Golden Dome University is a major antagonist in this novel.[8] In Canarsia, on the other hand, Kury was one of the very first fiction writers, and his works were extremely popular with the colonists there. However, Kury did not charge much money for his writing from Canarsians – if at all, since he often gave them away, lent them, or printed them in serialized form in his newspaper. His works were read widely in Canarsian schools, and today they are considered some of the greatest classic Canarsian literature. In the present day in Jacia, also, Kury’s works (usually only his novels, however) are frequently read in schools and universities as unique and revolutionary works.[11]

Popularity and readership of short stories

While Kury’s novels are well known in Jacia, his short stories, which usually are set in Canarsia, are not very widely known. In Canarsia, on the other hand, a typical schoolchild will read 30% of the corpus of Kury’s short stories during his career.[23]

Influence and legacy

Kury Mazdi was highly influential in his home colony of Skanlikia and in the rest of Canarsia due to his widely-read newspaper and stories, his work for peace during the Canarsian civil war and his status as an upper-class Jacian (it was unusual for Canarsian colonists to be from the upper classes). He served on various councils that helped govern Canarsia, and occasionally traveled to the World Union to speak on behalf of the colonies. Additionally, Kury had an ongoing correspondence with Samyth Kerkythea, even while he was World Minister, and in this way often advised or made suggestions to him.[2]

The library that Kury founded is currently the largest library in Canarsia, and now is called the Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa. It lends books to any Canarsians and has several exhibits relating to the Mazdi family as well as the history of Canarsia in general.[10] Also, Kury’s newspaper, the Canarsia Weekly Messenger, has the most subscribers of any Canarsia-focused publication, and now is sold in Deisororgree, Sisaac and New Frencha, among other countries, as well.[1]

A statue of Kury Mazdi was erected at his library in 1389. There are also statues of him in the Jacian Hall of Culture in Nafting, Jacia, the Skanlikian Forum in Sarana, Skanlikia, and Tolosi Square in Mitzduran, Jacia. A 1447 print of bank notes in Skanlikia featured a picture of Kury Mazdi drawn by Anani Mazdi-Leineen, who was descended from him. In 1480, Crescent Studios in Jacia released a movie version of Kury’s life, entitled The Peculiar Qualities of Snow: The Story of Kury Mazdi. Finally, in 1489, a letter written by Kury to Samyth Kerkythea, advising him to stand up against Unia and try to bring peace in Canarsia, was put on display in the World Union Museum.[2]

Writing

The works of Kury Mazdi were revolutionary in Jacian literature, and they inspired many later writers, including Kamek Lossi, Sharlana Rekeksi, Risel Mabi and Y. Ulandeska. Kury’s humor, his characters, his complex plots, his descriptions and his concern with lower-class and non-Jacian people all inspired these writers.[11] Kury’s works may also have opened the eyes of some of the Jacian upper classes to their weaknesses and to the importance of foreigners and lower classes.[2]

Notable works

Unless otherwise noted, the year given is the year of publication.

Nonfiction

  • The Expedition (1339). An account of the expedition visiting every Sheesanian country that Kury went on from 1336 to 1338, describing his fellow travelers, the places they saw and the things they did.[24] This book was not the first in the genre of travel journals, but Kury’s casual tone, humorous descriptions, and thoughtful musings made this book unique and popular.[8]

Novels

  • The Cold Fury (1342). Ten-year-old orphan Torek Hamabi is suddenly adopted by Canarsian colonists who believe that he is their nephew and brought to their home in Skanlikia. Torek, who has been well educated and therefore is grounded in the prejudices of educated Jacian society, must learn to adapt to life in Canarsia.[24] This book, Kury’s first novel, became famous for its provocative ideas, vulnerable and memorable narrator, and comedic style. It was the first widely-recognized novel to be mostly set in Canarsia, and is still read today in Canarsia and Jacia as a classic.[8]
Original illustrated cover of The Water the Ice and the Snow

Original illustrated cover of The Water the Ice and the Snow

  • The Water the Ice and the Snow (1347). A Sinkilian woman escaping from conflicts between Sinkilians and Colish in her homeland and a Colish spy escaping from northern Jacia experience parallel journeys. Both are fiercely loyal to their people, but remain out of place in their cultures, the Sinkilian due to her independence and the Colish man due to his lack of manly courage.[24] Both nationalities were looked down on in Jacia during this time, but Kury portrayed his protagonists sympathetically. This book is famous for the way it challenged Jacian prejudices, and its introduction of the motif of parallel journeys into Jacian prose literature, which had formerly only been in poetry.[8]
  • The Deuteragonist (1361). A retelling of a Deisororgreei legend about Erenein, who defeated barbarians invading Deisororgree. The story is set after Erenein has defeated the barbarians and is traveling home, and is told from the perspective of Mazelel, Erenein’s brother and faithful sidekick (or deuteragonist). The book is mostly faithful to the original tale, except for a few surprise twists.[24] This novel became famous for its unique background, fascinating tale, and skillful use of details of the original story to add depth and foreshadowing. It also became known for its discussion of the unrealistically idealistic tendencies of stories.[8]
  • Once Again Rain (1367). As the families of two Jawswinish Mawian brothers struggle during a drought, they must face the choice of whether to travel to Latrigle or not.[24] Most of the book is a character study of the two families and their interactions. Once Again Rain was the first Jacian novel to prominently feature Mawians, and it was lauded for its realism and complicated, interesting characters. However, it was also one of the most somber of Kury’s novels. Today, it is well known among Mawians, especially those who immigrated to Jacia.[8]
  • The Emergence of Stars (1369). A poor, but extremely intelligent, Egeldish girl embarks on a quest to liberate her village from its oppressive lord (or hač) and be accepted at a university to study astronomy.[24] This novel became famous for its exciting plot, clever but also very vulnerable main character, interesting narration and unique message. While Kury had written books before about corruption in high classes, he had never before sympathetically portrayed a low-class main character trying to depose a member of the high class. This book was highly controversial, but became very popular partly due to its interesting plot.[8]

Short stories

The date given is the year when Kury finished the story, since many of these stories were published posthumously or much later than they were written.

  • “The Man in the Black Silk Hat” (1348). A Jacian tax collector comes to Skanlikia in order to try to collect taxes, and is resisted by Canarsian colonists. This story brought up provocative issues relating to Jacia’s treatment of her Canarsian colonists, pointing out that Jacia did very little for them but often subjected them to restrictions.[25]
  • “She Had Black Eyes” (1353). An Egeldish man and a Gourish woman, both living in Canarsia, fall in love and marry. However, once the news gets back to their families in Egeld in Gourisson, their relatives are angry that they married people from enemy countries and seek to annul the marriage. This short story discussed problems relating to pointless animosity between countries and peoples, praising Canarsian colonists for usually disregarding these boundaries.[26]
  • “The Accidental Detour” (1358). Two high-class Jacian sisters are traveling through Mitzduran in order to get on a cruise ship, but get lost and find themselves in a poor neighborhood. The story focuses on their differing responses and how they eventually react to the experience. It became widely read due to its accurate descriptions of these Mitzdurani neighborhoods and the plight of poor immigrants.[26]
  • “Ode to a Statue of Saral Ransasek” (1361). Borrowing an idea from his novel The Cold Fury, Kury writes the mocking response of an illegitimate son to a statue of his high-class father. In this story, Kury described corruption in the Jacian upper classes, a controversial subject which earned his story wide attention.[27]

References

  1. ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 “About Us.” Canarsia Weekly Messenger Online
  2. ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 “Kury Mazdi.” The Complete Jacian Encyclopedia, 1500 Edition
  3. ↑ 3.0 3.1 “The Expedition.” Planet Literature
  4. ↑ The Collected Writings of Dyrlo Jangari. Torek Eril, Editor
  5. ↑ “A Visit to the World Union.” Planet Literature
  6. ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Kury Mazdi: Analyzing His Work by Shalara Hamabi
  7. ↑ 7.0 7.1 “The Malcanars Club.” Canarsia Monthly, 1487
  8. ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 The Works of Kury Mazdi by Sidan Erenerk
  9. ↑ “Canarsian Civil War.” Encyclopedia of the Northern Colonies of Canarsia, 1489 Edition
  10. ↑ 10.0 10.1 Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa Official Website
  11. ↑ 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 “Jacian Literature and Kury Mazdi.” Suitura Nymaboi, Monthly Journal of the History of Literature, 1455
  12. ↑ Collected Letters of Kury Mazdi. Enein Mazdi, Editor
  13. ↑ The Cold Fury by Kury Mazdi, 1498 printing by Colōn Press, pg. 241. Translated by Numia Hananki
  14. ↑ “The Deuteragonist is a fresh outlook on old legends.” Kadek Shulari, Newspaper of the Golden Dome University
  15. ↑ “Review of The Cold Fury.” Sterlain Nimobi, Jacia Weekly
  16. ↑ “The Strangers by Kury Mazdi: Outright Mockery.” Sahek Warashdi, Nafting Literary Informer
  17. ↑ “Review of The Deuteragonist.” Noslok Ermani, Mitzduran Weekkly
  18. ↑ 18.0 18.1 “The Cold Fury is a new era in Jacian literature.” Welek Erensek, Daily Paper of Nafting
  19. ↑ “Review of The Water the Ice and the Snow.” Amandi Yarandi, Mitzduran Weekly
  20. ↑ “Review of The Strangers.” Liluk Sameri, Jacia Weekly
  21. ↑ “Reviewing The Cold Fury: Spectacularly Unique.” Remek Sholari, Weekly Jacian Review of Culture
  22. ↑ “Review of The Deuteragonist.” Sabek Alorn, Nafting Weekly
  23. ↑ “The Works of Kury Mazdi and Canarsia.” Canarsia Weekly Messenger, 1491
  24. ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 Works by Kury Mazdi, reprinted by Hamabi, Stra & Ferlu, sold on Bookula.jc
  25. ↑ The Short Stories of Kury Mazdi: Volume 3 – The Man in the Black Silk Hat / The Robber / Choices in the Snow / There is Sun in the Wind / A Fretoriod’s Heart, reprinted by Hamabi, Stra & Ferlu
  26. ↑ 26.0 26.1 The Short Stories of Kury Mazdi: Volume 5 – She Had Black Eyes / The Golden Loaf / A Pound of Gold for a Pair of Partridges / The Accidental Detour, reprinted by Hamabi, Stra & Ferlu
  27. ↑ The Short Stories of Kury Mazdi: Volume 6 – Places Without Names / Ode to a Statue of Saral Ransasek / General Wansalek’s Old Blue Coat / The Unmeaningful Confession / A Terror Within, reprinted by Hamabi, Stra & Ferlu

amenöne labs

amenöne labs

The logo of amenöne labs, as drawn by Kulas Feserelai

amenöne labs (am-en-NOH-nee labs) was a Thomoraii video game development company started by game developer Kulas Feserelai. The company, based in Obtobai, developed five award-winning games before their dissolution in 1497. amenöne labs’ work has been described as “brilliantly creative”[1], “unbelievably deep”[2], “new and surprising”[3], “awe-inspiring”[4], and “unsurpassed in sheer beauty”[5]. amenöne labs was the smallest video game company to win the prestigious WEIBA video game award, having only eight permanent employees.[6]

Contents

  • 1 History
  • 2 Staff
  • 3 Games
  • 4 References

History

In 1484, Thomorai University of Media graduate in Game Development Kulas Feserelai inherited a large amount of money from his uncle. Previously, Feserelai had been working at various programming labs, but was making very little money and was unhappy with his jobs. Using the inheritance, Feserelai started a small video game development company with his acquaintances Rueaaia Amhetleiy, Thesai Amhetleiy and Koslai Rumba, christening it amenöne labs after the symmetrical amenöne flower. They began work on a “hybrid RPG-survival-puzzle-adventure”[7] game in the same year, calling it Red Mountain. Over the course of the game’s development, Feserelai hired composer and programmer Yin Leai and game designer/storywriter Ouslai Kerezmena. It was released in 1487 to critical acclaim.[8]

Later in 1487, Feserelai began work on a horror/adventure game, Amnesia, with the added help of programmer Chūlāli Amek and Ouslai Kerezmena’s brother, Theras. Amnesia was released in 1489. amenöne labs continued to develop games, retaining only these eight permanent employees, until 1497. In this year, Feserelai received a job offer from the major video game development company Movement. Feserelai initially refused, but Movement continued to increase their salary offer until Feserelai was forced to consider it seriously. Movement sent him demos and design documents of a project they were planning to have him lead, which Feserelai shared with the other employees of amenöne labs. Finally, he put the question to a vote, and it resulted in him leaving amenöne to work at Movement, planning to stay for at least one year. Theras Kerezmena took on interim management. After the year of work at Movement, Feserelai decided to stay, and Theras Kerezmena dissolved amenöne.[9] Since then, many people have proposed that amenöne labs be formed again, but it remains an open question.[10]

Staff

By 1488, amenöne labs had these eight permanent members:

  • Kulas Feserelai, a graduate of the Thomorai University of Media in Game Development, who started amenöne. Feserelai owned and managed amenöne, and also did a variety of programming, design and storywriting jobs.[11] Theras Kerezmena writes that he “kept everyone going in the right direction and holding to the central focus.”[12] He was married to Surila Andehostai and has two children, Amjay and Tiba. Andehostai divorced him soon after the release of Amnesia.[13] After the dissolution of amenöne labs, Feserelai went on to work at game development firm Movement and is still currently working there.
  • Rueaaia Amhetleiy, a professional graphic modelist and concept artist, who also aided in user interface design. Amhetleiy graduated from the Kafa Monican School of Art and Design and worked as a designer for many years before joining amenöne at its founding. She was also a long-time friend of Kulas Feserelai. Rueaaia’s son Thesai was another of amenöne’s employees.[11] Rueaaia and Thesai now work as graphic modelists for the game development studio Green Dome.[14]
  • Thesai Amhetleiy, son of Rueaaia Amhetleiy, was trained in the technical side of graphic modeling at the Technical College of Haut in Kafa Monica. He used his mother’s detailed blueprints to create and program models, and also helped in programming and other areas. He joined along with Rueaaia when amenöne was founded. [11] Thesai now works with his mother as a graphic modelist for the game development studio Green Dome.
  • Koslai Rumba, a graduate of the International Technical College of Thomorai, worked as a programmer for amenöne labs from its inception. Before that, he programmed at various companies.[11]Rumba went on to work at the game development studio Green Dome, continuing as a programmer. He is married to Lishan Naraloi and has one child, Trusai.[15]
  • Chūlāli Amek, graduate of the Santa Meluna School of Computing, was a programmer, animator and gameplay designer at amenöne labs. Before his time at amenöne, Amek programmed in the Jawswinish and Santa Meluni video game industries, also writing other small games and programs on the side. Amek’s blog, Revenge of the Code Monkeys, was very popular at this time (as it is today), placing first in the 1487 list of top programming blogs. He joined amenöne in 1488, after the release of Red Mountain, saying that he was “very impressed and eager to get in on the action.”[16][11] After amenöne’s dissolution, he returned to his work in Jawswina and Santa Meluna.[17]
  • Yin Leai, who studied at the International Technical College of Thomorai, was a composer, programmer and secretary at amenöne labs. She joined late in the development of Red Mountain, when Feserelai was looking for a composer to write a soundtrack for the game. Before working at amenöne, Yin Leai did freelance programming work, with little income.[11][18] She and Feserelai became good friends with Feserelai acting as her mentor, a relationship which contributed to Feserelai and Andehostai’s divorce.[13] Yin Leai went on to study composition at the Peeskovian Conservatory.[19]
  • Ouslai Kerezmena, brother of Theras Kerezmena, studied writing at the University of Obtobai and did storywriting, gameplay design, programming, graphic modeling and concept art for amenöne labs. He had previously worked as a novelist and freelance writer, and had participated in many open source video game projects. Ouslai joined amenöne during the development of Red Mountain, when Feserelai wanted to recruit another storywriter.[11] When amenöne labs dissolved, he returned to his work as a novelist and contributor to open source games. His novels include The House of Gems, The Parley Stone, Thunderclouds over Weyca and The Castle’s Revenge, and are popular in Fircudia.[20]
  • Theras Kerezmena, brother of Ouslai Kerezmena, who studied various subjects at the International Technical College of Thomorai, worked in many fields at amenöne, including management, design, programming, storywriting, modeling and animation. Before his job at amenöne, he had seriously participated in many open source projects, but had not had any paid jobs. Ouslai Kerezmena recruited Theras during the development of Amnesia.[11] After amenöne’s dissolution, Theras joined Movement as a department manager for a time, and then left to work at Green Dome, still as a department manager. Theras has a popular blog which he writes with his brother Ouslai, Kerezmena.th, focusing on game development and the politics surrounding it.[20] Ouslai writes, “Theras is great at organizing things and keeping things ordered and clear, so he might have made a good leader…But, he lacks the trained creativity and artfulness of Kulas Feserelai.”[21]

Games

amenöne labs developed five games over the thirteen years it existed:

  • Red Mountain, a “hybrid RPG-survival-puzzle-adventure”[7] game about the adventures of an explorer investigating the supposedly haunted Red Mountain. Red Mountain generated a huge amount of attention for amenöne labs, winning several awards and being featured on many video game review sites.[22]
  • Amnesia, a horror/adventure game about an amnesiac who awakes in an underground fortress. This game was somewhat controversial, being quite violent and disturbing after the much milder Red Mountain. However, it garnered great critical acclaim, being particularly lauded for its “uncanny ability to divine your fears and exploit them.”[23][22]
  • The Quest for Oranges, a puzzle game involving a Jawswinish stray seakitty who is trying to find oranges. This game was criticized for being too short, but otherwise almost universally praised for its “tricky, clever and engaging puzzles”[3] and “subtle artistry.”[24] A Quest for Oranges was featured in the Thomorai University of Media’s first-year introduction to game development, as an example of a great video game.[25][22]
  • Destroyers of the Sky is a 3D platformer/exploration/adventure game about a group of stunt pilots teaming up to stop an oppressive foreign country from taking theirs over by air. Critics especially praised this game for its “startling originality”[26] and “thoroughly developed plot and round, dynamic, fascinating characters.”[27][22]
  • Edge of the World, amenöne labs’ last game, is an exploration/adventure game focusing on a “team of nutty scientists trying to find the edge of the world.”[28] It was praised as “pure, delicious perfection, in world, gameplay, plot and graphics”[29] and “a masterpiece of originality, fun gameplay, and an astonishingly deep story.”[30][22]

References

  1. ↑ “Red Mountain redefines the RPG.” Gamesawoo Digest Review
  2. ↑ “Destroyers of the Sky: Ready to surpass the speed of light?” gMag
  3. ↑ 3.0 3.1 “A game your three-your-old seakitty girl and tough gamer teen both want to play? It’s called The Quest for Oranges.” Rupai Padoan’s Blog
  4. ↑ “All hail Destroyers of the Sky!” knock-it Game Review
  5. ↑ “Kulas Feserelai and the art of the video game.” Gamers Weekly
  6. ↑ “1497 WEIBA Awards.” WEIBA Blog
  7. ↑ 7.0 7.1 “Game Release: Red Mountain by amenöne labs.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  8. ↑ “Our History.” amenöne labs official website
  9. ↑ “The end of an era.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  10. ↑ “A return of amenöne?” Theras and Ouslai Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  11. ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 “Meet the Team.” amenöne labs official website
  12. ↑ “A tribute to Kulas Feserelai: programmer, developer, artist.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  13. ↑ 13.0 13.1 “The real reason why I was amenöne’s face for the release of Amnesia.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  14. ↑ “About Me.” Rueaaia Amhetleiy
  15. ↑ “Who is this guy?” Koslai Rumba’s Patch of Cyberspace
  16. ↑ “The code monkeys have come to take revenge on US!” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  17. ↑ “To endless sand and fields of rice I go.” Revenge of the Code Monkeys
  18. ↑ “A shout-out to Yin Leai.” Ouslai Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  19. ↑ “About Me.” Yin Leai
  20. ↑ 20.0 20.1 “About Us.” Kerezmena.th
  21. ↑ “The echo of the end of an era.” Ouslai Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  22. ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 “Our Games.” amenöne labs official website
  23. ↑ “Amnesia: somebody needs to invent an award for Most Terrifying Game!” Gamers Weekly
  24. ↑ “A Quest for Oranges: Just like Amnesia, except not so scary!” Rupai Padoan’s Blog
  25. ↑ “Introduction to Game Development: Syllabus.” Thomorai University of Media School of Game Development
  26. ↑ “Destroyers of the Sky: one word, incredible.” Gamesawoo Digest Review
  27. ↑ “This is why I love Destroyers of the Sky!” Kesolta Kesolai
  28. ↑ “Game Release: Edge of the World.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
  29. ↑ “Edge of the World: Can we get any farther than this?” knock-it Game Review
  30. ↑ “I am falling off the Edge of the World!” Rupai Padoan’s Blog