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Glossary

Ackserpa:

(Miilarkian Trade Tongue, “barking snake“)  Catch-all term for handguns ranging from pistols to rifled muskets.  While matchlock firearms are the norm around the Interminable Ocean, wheel-locks are becoming more prevalent among the Miilarkians.

Ashinan:

An island nation off the eastern coast of Cho Lung, western side of the Interminable Ocean.  Often torn by strife between local lords (daimyos) despite the long existence of a single unifying monarch (Shogun).

Assembly of House Lords:

Ruling council of the Miilarkian Islands in which the heads of the forty-or-so Trade Houses recognized at any time as “Great” have one seat and one vote.  The Assembly generally meets four times yearly on the first day of each new season and may remain in session for a week or more.  While each House is expected to handle its own internal affairs without interference from the others, common policies and actions are set at the Assemblies.  Intra-House disputes are either resolved there, or else formal House War is declared.

Ayzantium:

The kingdom under the “Ruby Crown,“ located on the wide Ay peninsula jutting into the middle Noroth Channel from the continent’s southern shore.  The territory languished under the direct rule of Ged-azi, the Great Red Dragon, from 555-945 NC, during which time the peninsula was the base from which the Dragon made war on both sides of the Channel.  Following the Dragon’s death a civil war erupted which was not sorted out until 1013 by the establishment of a monarchy under the descendents of Zantan, a Martan prince whose branch of the Majestic Line had fled there during the Eight Sons’ War on Kandala.  The Ruby Crown rules in alliance with the Cultists of the dead Wyrm and the clergy of Ayon, the Ennead God of Destruction whose grim rites and worship are outlawed in most other lands, making Ayzantium a very dangerous place.

Banics:

One of the five largely mythic tribes of ancient Noroth recognized as ancestors of the peoples of the eastern coast from Vyrdhorria to the Shadow Duchies, most notably the Danorians.

Beoshore:

The first province of the Codian Empire.  Lake Beo, at the center of the great basin encompassed by the Girding Mountains on northwestern Noroth, has historically been the meeting place of the diverse peoples occupying the basin since ancient times.  “Beoan” is less an ethnicity than a shared culture, and the language (now called Codian) began as an amalgamated trade tongue in which business was done across the lake among Leutian Exlanders, Gwethellen Tulls and Thols, and Kantan Orstavians.

In 1197 NC, the people of the northern lakeshore revolted against the oppression of an unworthy King of Exland, fashioning the Code and inaugurating the Codian Empire.

Borean Leutian:

Leutian tribes who remained on the Boar River while the rest (Parnian Leutian) moved north beyond the Girding Mountains some five centuries before the Norothian Calendar.  From their base in the two “Boreas,” these Leutians would later be instrumental in founding the Kingdom of Daul.

Buksu:

(Miilarkian Trade Tongue)  Traditional club-like weapon of the Islands predating the coming of the Nyystrashima.  True buksu clubs are carved from single pieces of golden-beige swamp oak, with four flat faces extending from a round handle to meet in a flat diamond shape at the top.  The weapon thus has flat surfaces for swatting, along with long edges and sharp points.  They are passed through succeeding generations of families and tribes, with each owner adding to the decorative carving adorning them.

Chengdea:

Duchy of Daul bordering the Black (Nwarre) River to its junction with the Nan.  Former Ettacean province and later an independent Duchy loosely allied with the Nannish Kingdom until occupied by Daulic Knights during the Dead War, during the course of which Chengdea’s Duke swore allegiance to Daul (1124).  In the wake of the Battle of Icheroon (1379), the vacant Ducal throne was seized by a minor knight of Kantan lineage who took the Daulic name “Perforce.”

Cho Lung:

Continental landmass on the west side of the Interminable Ocean, home to an ancient nation self-styled as the “Celestial Empire.”  Along with the Ashinese Islands and the realm known as Zoku, Cho Lung is one of the three lands constituting the “Farthest West.”

Circle of Wizardry:

The union of magic-users in the service of the Codian Empire, training at Abverwar in the province of Tull.  The Circle predates the 1249 Codification of Tull before which time it was an independent association of powerful magi, the greatest of which came to rule Tull as the Witchkings.  Since that time the skills of its Wizards have declined to the point that they fill the necessary but inglorious position of facilitating communication and monitoring rogue magic across the sprawling Empire.

Code, The:

Foundational charter for the Empire of the Code, as well as all subsequent law made in the Empire.  Began with the defensive compact uniting the Beoan peoples of the central Girding Basin against the Kingdom of Exland, but eventually came to encompass the written laws and traditions of every territory subsequently “Codified.”  By the present time the Code is more of a library than a document. 

Codian Empire (Empire of the Code):

Union of all lands brought “Under the Code” since 1197 NC, encompassing the full territories enclosed by the Great Girding Mountains of northwestern Noroth, and now beyond.  The constituent provinces as of 1395 are:  Beoshore (codified, 1197 NC), Exland (1224), Tull (1249), Thol (1259), Orstaf (1290), Worthin Isle (formerly Gweiyer, 1313), and Doon (1355).

The present Emperor, Albert, is the ninth of the line established by Martin the Ferryman, who was elected to hold the office by the northern Beoans in 1197.

Danorians:

Banic tribal people who legend says dwelled in the holy land of Danor until they were driven out by the coming of the Elves in ancient times.  Parent race of the Illygarders, and thus of the Minauans of the Riven Kingdoms and the Boolans of Majerka, on Kandala.

Daul, Kingdom of:

Coastal nation of southwestern Noroth occupying the lands of the lower Nan River.  Formed as a Kingdom in 1089 NC by the Daulic Orders of Knighthood out of Borean Leutian lands, and soon added the old Ettacean territories of Chengdea and Nanshea.  At war with Ayzantium since 1379 NC, Daul had lost control of much of their coast save for the port of Larbonne at the mouth of the Nan, under siege beginning in 1395 NC.

Doon:

Province of the Codian Empire located on the west coast of Noroth, south of the Girding Mountains and Basin.  In ancient times the home to the Ettaceans and their capital city (now Imperial Souterm), Doon again rose to prominence after 1020 NC as the Grand Duchy of the Kingdom of Aginta, located across the Norothian Channel on Kandala.  Civil war in Aginta later led to a ruinous independence for Doon under exploitative local lords, and chaos that was only quelled by the intervention of the Empire north of the mountains.  Doon was fully Codified by 1355 NC.

Dragons (Great):

Refers specifically to the original, individual Dragon of each separate species, regarded as the parents of all others.  The Great Dragons originated on Noroth and they are creatures of such immense power that their lives and deaths have in many ways governed the history of that continent.

In the beginning, there were supposedly ten Great Dragons of a unique coloration, with five each classified as benevolent creatures Of The Land (gold, silver, bronze, copper, brass) or as malevolent beasts Of The Sky (red, blue, green, black, white).  In fact, five additional Great Dragons Of The Waters (ocean, river, lake, rain, mist) left Noroth in prehistory and settled in the Farthest West.

Kaibo the Brass Dragon disappeared in the century before the Norothian Calendar, and history records the death of three others:  The Winter Wyrm (white, -36 NC), Ko-Wyrimmor (copper, 702), and Ged-azi the Red (945).  The remaining six Great Dragons, three each of Land and Sky, continue to dwell on their home continent.

Ennead, The:

Common name of the Nine gods and goddesses whose worship superseded that of older Norothian tribal deities, beginning some fourteen centuries ago.  The Norothian Calendar (NC) is dated from the year in which the Ennead supposedly began speaking to mankind.  The Nine Ennead Gods are:  Jobe (The Builder), Shanatar (The Protector), Yarbo (The Rebel), List (The Planner), Kantaf (The Wanderer), Tarth (The Ruler), Miisina (The Trader), and Ayon (The Destroyer).  The “Ninth God” is generally not personified as are the others, has no clergy, and is conceptualized simply as Chance.

Ettacean / Ettasi:

Recognized by history as the first human nation of Noroth, with a capital (Ettacea) on the Red River delta at the location of contemporary Codian Souterm.  The Ettaceans were a sea-going people who grew to dominate the western end of the Noroth Channel before the time of the Norothian Calendar, establishing subsidiary colonies on the coasts of both continents.  At some uncertain point, the Ettacean Empire came under the sway of shadowy figures remembered as the Vodeki (“Dark Lords”), who squandered much of the nations’ resources constructing the fabled city of Vod’Adia in the wilderness inland from Ettacea.  When this new capital city was destroyed by magical cataclysm, the surviving cities of the empire went their own way and were thus left too weak to defend themselves against more primitive but numerous local peoples who in turn swallowed them up, establishing several new hybrid cultures.

Exland:

Codian province.  Properly, “Heggesland.”  Old Leutian kingdom of the northeast Girding Basin, on the Sea of Tarth.  Exland was occupied by the Parnian branch of the Leutian peoples some five hundred years before the beginning of the Norothian Calendar.  The country remained a loose confederation of tribal peoples claiming shared ancestry from a legendary hero called Hegges, and in time subsidiary clans which all attached the prefix “Hegge-” to their surnames became warlords of squabbling fiefdoms.  They were kept divided for centuries by fraternal warfare and the machinations of the neighboring Gwethellen/Leutian kingdom of Telina, only achieving unity as their own kingdom in 1008 NC under the pressure of a Kantan invasion by the Parnistok Horde.  After this time, the Kingdom of Exland conquered and absorbed Telina, and occupied the northern Beoshore.  Successful resistance by the Beoans after 1197 led to civil war in Exland, which resulted in the dissolution of the monarchy and the victorious faction’s acceptance of the Code of Beoshore by 1224, making Exland the second province of the growing Codian Empire.

Five Tribes of Ancient Noroth:

Semi-mythic forerunners of most Norothian humans whose ancestry does not come from beyond the continent.  The Five legendary Tribes were the Banic, the Gwethellen, the Hasuk, the Kirabin, and the Leuts.

Folk:

Common name of the four non-human, “civilized” races of Noroth and Kandala.  The Ymyly, or Halflings, are believed to be native to the upper War River region of northeastern Noroth, while the Forest Folk (Elves), Mountain Folk (Dwarves), and Hill Folk (Gnomes) originated on a legendary lost continent far to the east.  The traditions of the latter three Folk races say they migrated west after losing a terrible war in their homeland to fearsome giants, long before the start of the Norothian Calendar.

Girding Mountains and Basin:

A semi-circle of formidable mountains encloses the northwest corner of the continent of Noroth, surrounding the lands around Lake Beo in the center of a great basin.  Long the home to rival kingdoms of diverse derivation, from 1197 to 1290 NC all the lands within the Basin accepted the Code of Lake Beo and thus became provinces of the Codian Empire.  In the last century the Code has spread beyond the mountains into Doon, and offshore to Worthin Isle.

Guilds (Miilarkian):

Each Great Trade House of Miilark, in addition to a deep-water fleet and a host of merchants, maintains an affiliation to a particular Guild House within the Miilarkian capital.  Each Guild trains young men and women to serve both as enforcers of their House’s interests abroad, and to act clandestinely against the other Houses (and their Guilds) without involving the Assembly of House Lords.  While each particular Guild’s affiliation to a House is commonly known, it is the height of rudeness to actually imply that the surreptitious Guilds are constituent parts of the noble Houses.

Outside of Miilark, Guilders are often viewed as thieves at best and assassins at worst by foreigners who do not posses a nuanced view of Island culture.

Gwethellen:

One of the five largely mythic tribes of ancient Noroth recognized as ancestors by present-day Thols, Tulls, Rhuunish and Gweiyrish.

Hasuk:

One of the five largely mythic tribes of ancient Noroth believed to be ancestors of present-day Molokians and Djedukians, as well as the scattered Focaru of the Ay peninsula.  In ancient times, it is believed most of the Hasuks were absorbed within Ettacean culture, and shared that people’s fate.

High Northern:

Ethnic and cultural designation for the branch of the ancient Norothian people called the Leuts, who came to dwell in the extreme northwest of the continent, plying the Three Cold Seas.  Common ancestry shared by Tarthagars, Kales, Smols, Varanchian, Yindish, and others.

Hor-/Hri

Zantish.  Appelation common to the surnames of the noble classes of Ayzantium, literally meaning “Son or daughter of…”  Examples include Horayachus (“Son of Ayon’s Wrath”), and Hrilamae (“Daughter of the Lamia”).

Interminable Ocean:

Vast body of water bounded by the continents of Cho Lung on the west, Noroth and Kandala on the east, and Oswamba on the south.  The Islands of Miilark lie in the midst of this ocean, and seasonal changes in wind and current ease passage to-and-from each place in turn.

Kandala:

(“Horse Lands”)  Continental land mass on the eastern edge of the Interminable Ocean, immediately south of Noroth across the Channel of the same name.  While it is home to many nations, much of Kandalan history has been dominated by the rise of and struggles between two great Empires, the Xoshans on the west coast and the Karkans in the east.

Kantan:

(“Horse People”)  Ethnic and cultural designation for the descendents of the Tanuk tribes who migrated from Kandala to Noroth in the century before the beginning of the Norothian Calendar, during the so-called “Grand Years” of human/Folk warfare against the Magdetchoi.  Largest concentration is in the vast Tsardom of Kantantanalace, literally the “People’s Kingdom of the Horse People.”

Kirabin:

One of the five largely mythic tribes of ancient Noroth recognized as ancestors by present-day inhabitants of the Chirabis peninsula, long a part of the Kingdom of Daul but occupied in the last two decades by Ayzantium.  The ancient people called the Ettaceans were supposedly of Kirabin stock.

Lanai:

(Miilarkian, “porch”)  A common surname in the Islands, dating from a period in which servants quite literally lived on the porches of their masters’ homes.

Leutian:

Ethnic, cultural, and linguistic designation applied to the descendents of the Norothian “Leut” tribes who still inhabit territories supposedly close to ancient tribal homelands, including Exland (Parnian Leutian) and Daul (Borean Leutian).  Generally does not refer to the High Northern tribes established even farther north, on the Cold Seas.

Leuts:

One of the five largely mythic tribes of ancient Noroth recognized as ancestors by present-day Leutians as well as High Northerners.

Magdetchoi:

(High Northern, “Spawned Ones”)  Derogatory name by which humans and Folk lump together a panoply of sentient races regarded as uncivilized.  Typically divided into Ogrids (ogres and orcs), Goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears), Caninoids (kobolds and gnolls) and Amphiboids (bullywugs, lizard men, sahuagin).

Miilark, Islands of:

Chain of approximately ninety-nine islands forming an archipelago in the midst of the Interminable Ocean.  In the two centuries since the wreck of the vessel Nyystrashima (1188 NC), the Islanders have become the dominant deep-water traders linking the four continents ringing the ocean.

Noroth:

Continental land mass on the northeastern edge of the Interminable Ocean, separated from Kandala to the south by the Noroth Channel.  Name derives from the Elven mariner Nor Othellion who “discovered” the continent and channel around six centuries before the start of the Norothian Calendar.  According to tradition, Elves, Dwarves, and Gnomes settled on Noroth after being driven from a lost continent to the Farthest East by Giants.

Norothian Calendar (NC):

Common method of marking time which most people find far simpler than the Elven system of Ages-Cycles-Turns-Years.  The Norothian Calendar begins on the Spring Solstice and consists of twelve months of thirty days, with a celebratory holiday week of four to six days appended to the end.  From First Month to Ninth Month, each “month-day” (First of First, Second of Second, etc.) is beholden to a particular god of the Norothian Ennead.  The use of NC dating by Miilarkian traders has spread the system around the Interminable Ocean.

Nyystrashima:

A Varanchian vessel shipwrecked in the Miilarkian Islands in 1188 NC.  The vessel was repaired and even copied by the Islanders, leading to exploratory voyages touching all four continents ringing the Interminable Ocean, and inaugurating Miilarkian dominance of ocean-going trade.

Orstaf:

Codian province of the southeastern Girding Basin, between the rivers Runne and Parn.  A vast region of open steppe occupied by itinerant Kantan horse tribes for centuries, though peripheral areas on the south shore of Lake Beo and flush against the mountains have at various times been under foreign occupation.  After a dark period of domination by the “Beaster” druids of Sanst Kiena, the region was Codified in 1290 NC.

Oswamba:

Equatorial continent located on the southern side of the Interminable Ocean.  Home to several powerful kingdoms, and the origin of the Golden Colonies of the Hikosians on southwestern Kandala.

Parnian Leutian:

Members of the Leutian tribes which entered the Girding Basin some five centuries before the Norothian Calendar and ultimately settled north of the Parn River in what is now Exland.  Generally viewed as distinct from the High Northerners who kept moving and settled beyond the Basin.

Tartheagu (Tarthage):

The northernmost nation on the west side of Noroth occupies a craggy peninsula surrounded by the three Cold Seas, including the Sea of Tarth which divides it from the Girding Basin and the mainland to the south.  Long the homeland of High Northern raiders called the “Gar,” who terrorized western Noroth’s seas, bays, and rivers for centuries.  During the 990’s NC the power of the Gar was broken at home by the priesthood of Tarth, and Tarthage has since been ruled by the “Queen’s Council,” as the Ennead Goddess called The Ruler is seen as true mistress of this inhospitable land.

Thol:

Province of the Codian Empire located on a mountainous peninsula extending northwest from the Girding Basin.  Long a Gwethellen Kingdom, Thol was Codified in 1259 NC.

Tull:

Province of the Codian Empire on the western shore of the Great Girding Basin, north of the mountains and south of the Tholish peninsula.  Originally a Gwethellen Principality, Tull was later ruled as the “Witch Kingdom” by powerful Circle Wizards.  Codified in 1249, the Circle now serves the Empire.

Trade Houses (Great):

The familial corporations controlling the ocean-going trade of the Miilarkian Islanders.  Some Houses trace their origins to chieftain households predating the 1188 NC wreck of the Nyystrashima (Paganai, Lokendah), some claim ancestry from the crew of that vessel (Deskata, Durazh), while others derive from powerful families who have relocated to the Islands only in the last two centuries of Miilarkian dominance (Akamur, Khemina).  At any given time there are around forty Houses commonly recognized as “Great,” each of which takes the sign and coloration of a gemstone to represent their interests, and a voting seat in the Assembly of House Lords.

Varanch:

Coastal region and sometimes nation of northwestern Noroth, inhabited mainly by humans of mixed High Northern and Kantan stock.  Enslaved for centuries by the nation of Tarthage, though presently independent.  Varanch was the place of origin of the famed vessel Nyystrashima.

Wind, The:

Miilarkian shorthand for “fate,” or for powers beyond the control of everyday men and women.  As the seasonal variations experienced in the Miilark Islands both enable oceanic transport and threaten to bring devastating storms, the Wind has long been the governing force expressed in Island culture, literature, art and life.

Worthin Isle:

(formerly Gweiyer)  Island province of the Codian Empire, located northwest of the Girding Basin just off the Tholish peninsula.  Regarded as the ancient homeland of the Gwethellen tribes of Thol and Tull, the island was conquered in 1313 by a Codian Earl, ostensibly to liberate it from occupation by Tarthage.

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