Time on EÄ

It is not hard to understand why the Fall would be a defining event in almost all civilizations on Eä, more so human civilizations than others. While naturally the Hundred Kingdoms and the City States can track their very birth to this calamity, the Nords have readily adopted it, be it because of their lack of record keeping during the reign of the Jotnar or because of the limitations of their oral tradition, which largely disregards the accurate study of history and focuses more on deeds.

In the Hundred Kingdoms, it would take some time for the calendar to settle. The first effort to keep track of time would differ from one group of Old Dominion refugees to another, as they usually attempted to count days based on their own escape. As the groups started gathering on the shores of the Bitter Sea, however, the abbreviations A.R. (Ante Ruinam) and P.R. (Post Ruinam) would come to be used as a common reference point between everyone, signifying the years before or after the Fall respectively. Still, while this counting first appeared long before the Tellian Empire, it would take the first Emperor to establish it as a standard measure of time. It has since been referred to as the Imperial Calendar, when for the first time the abbreviations became official and used by the state in all provinces. In short, this is how the Emperor counted years.

The Theist Church agrees with the Imperial Calendar, however, it uses the abbreviations A.S. and P.S. (Ante/Post Sacrificium). The phrase “In the Year of Redemption” or “In the Year of Penance” followed by the current year is often used in correspondence and record keeping, a practice adopted by most of the nobility, especially in formal situations. Similarly, Deists have adopted the Imperial Calendar, however specific Aspect worshipers may use entirely different calendars based on the latest incarnations of an Aspect. These variations are too many, too limited in use and often too short lived to merit further exploration.

The Russ adopted the Imperial Calendar in their dealings with the other Kingdoms, but in their official records they refer to year 7 P.R. as year 0 Brez, or “Without” (it should perhaps be noted that the Russ consider that the Fall happened on 2 P.R. and the Imperial Calendar is wrong by 2 years). Most Russ nowadays do not know what the original phrase was. Some claim it implies “without Theos”, while others claim it means “without Sin”, “without pain” or “without struggle”.

The Imperial Calendar has twelve months, each with 30 days. These, however, do not compile a full year, for there are an extra twelve days. These do not belong to any month, but are simply referred to as the Goddays. While all the Kingdoms share this format, the names of the months of course differ, according to the language or dialect of a specific cultural group. In Tradespeak, however, the names of the months are the following (starting from the first of the year): Ianus, Febus, Maritus, Apuas, Mea, Jux, Jul, Avgustus, Settua, Ottus, Noctima, Decarpus. After Decarpus, the Goddays come, twelve in number but for every five years. In the so-called “Tall Years” the Goddays are thirteen and they are generally considered years of bad luck. The seven days of the week in the Kingdoms are, in Tradespeak, the following: Preda, Dueda, Welda, Terda, Freta, Godda, Sondus.

While local customs and different beliefs have different holidays, some days are recognized throughout the Kingdoms. Detida and Prima, the last and first days of a year, for instance, are always holidays. Every spring, usually during Maritus or Apuas, the Fall is commemorated in twelve days.

For the Paeneticum, these are the days spent in prayer by Theos’ Chosen, before His sacrifice. The first nine days are days of fasting and contemplation. On the tenth day, the Catena, He was chained to the materialistic world of Men, so that He could sacrifice Himself to save them. It is a day of mourning, when long processions march slowly from every chapel and church, carrying their sacred relics for the world to see, accompanied by beautiful, sad music that echoes on the streets of every faithful city. The eleventh day, called Ruina, is a day of death and the faithful are not permitted to eat or drink anything but water and a simple, tasteless soup when the sun sets. Cemeteries fill on Ruina, as the people visit the graves of their departed and offer flowers, while a statue of wood is built on every temple’s bell tower. On the stroke of midnight, under cheerful bells, the statues are lit and thrown on a field of flowers beneath, and the twelfth day, Nova, begins, the new day when the faithful escaped the Fall and offered humanity hope and a new beginning.

Folkloric tradition, adopted in part by the Deists, tells another tale, naming the days in echoes of the names of the old gods:

Draech, the day when the beasts of Eä cowered
Nabus, when empty was the seat of a seer
Duoda came, and two to none lowered
Ferus, and only barbarians now cheer

Dionus, no good luck can anyone save
Festos, the day when god’s hammer starts forging
Cleon, when way a knight’s broken shield gave
Hazlia, skies darken from the Allfather Falling

Vagerro is now worshipped, wonderers all
Nunc, soldiers and victims now everyone’s peers      
Ishamos, twos split in ones in heart-broken calls
Ninuah, mother’s body, her children in tears
‘till ash and cloud move, to a new morning clear.

Oh, ash and cloud move! Bring a new morning clear!

This song is sung by the Deist faithful and, instead of one, twelve statues of Aspects are built in a circle. While the forms and names of these may differ from tradition to tradition, the twelfth is always that of Ninuah, the Mother aspect. Counting down to midnight, the statues are set on fire one by one. Tradition says that unless all statues keep burning Ninuah is lit, it signifies a bad omen given by the Aspect whose statue’s flames died out.

Heroica, the midsummer day, has ever been celebrated as Highsun, but it was thus named and established by the Tellian Empire as a day of memory to the fallen in combat, commemorated in many Kingdoms with tourneys and games. This holiday falls at the end of Jux and marks the longest day of the year. The Paeneticum also celebrates the same day as Sacrema, the day when Theos hears prayers clearer than ever.

In contrast to Heroica, the unexpected holiday of Iudica is a moving holiday with irregular intervals. This, however, is not a day of celebration. Iudica is a day of Judgement, when Theos’ angry eye is turned on Eä, judging all sin harshly, no matter how small, as he is reminded of the fall of His Herald. This event occurs when the sun’s light seems to burn brighter, as if a pale shadow is lifted over it. The Iudica cannot be predicted save but on the very morning it is happening (and sometimes not even then but closer to noon). When observed, however, all activity stops. Windows are bared, roads are empty and people move not unless they have to. No matter what one’s beliefs are, the Iudica, even if differently named and explained, is respected and feared. Even the City States hold this day as a bad omen and citizens are urged to stay indoors. If their Epestimons have explained the natural phenomenon, they have not shared their observations but endorse the tradition nonetheless.

While the Imperial Calendar has pretty much been adopted by the Nords, when it comes to the counting of years before and after the Fall, the similarities on time-keeping end there. The Nords divide the year in two seasons, Winter and Summer, based on the movement of the sun. They further divide a year into four sub-seasons, as it were, or Spells: Howler and Longwhite usually come in Winter, one signified by the rise of the northern winds, the other by the fall of heavy snow. In the Summer, usually, come Runwater and Sail, the first signified by the partial melting of snows, the other announcing that the weather is good enough for raids to start. The Spells, however, are not stable and their coming is announced by High Gothi, shamans and ship captains, judging by the weather. It is not unheard of, and in fact more common than not, that any of the sub-seasons last for only a few weeks or are even completely skipped. This makes for an extremely flexible system, which can vary even between neighboring settlements. For more precision, the Nords count the weeks of a season, twenty six for Summer and twenty seven for Winter. Their week days are Manigur, Tiyrgur, Wudengur, Thorgur, Freygur, Einherdag and Sondag

Holidays are rare in the north and many seasonal celebrations have merged naturally with the commemoration of significant events. The Night of the Burning Tree is celebrated a few days before the end of the year, when a heavily decorated tree in the village square is set on fire to dispel the darkest and coldest night of the year. It is not hard to see how the memory of Yggdrasil is kept alive, turning one of the most tragic events in their history into a message of endurance, if not hope.

The liberation from the rule of the Jotnar and the coming of the Einherjar is commemorated along with coming of Runwater, usually a few weeks after the coming of Summer, if the weather is kind enough. From the day Summer starts until its announcement, the Valkyries, or women dressed as Valkyries where there are none, stand before the Great Hall of the settlement and ask loudly “Is it today? Are the chosen awake?” If silence is their response, they will howl sadly, banging their weapons together to awake the Einherjar. If Runwater has arrived, then the village elder will sound the village’s horn. Soon, all horns in the village will sound, with the “Valkyries” joining in with happy warcries.  The two weeks after are spend in preparation, feasting and work, with kids dressed as Einherjar playing pranks upon their elders. At the end of those weeks, aspiring youths will depart to join the Kapp-a-Görask, the proving grounds where their mettle will be proven and their future will be decided.

Highsun is the last common holiday of the Nords, celebrated during the biggest day of the year. While the day is filled with music, feasting and merriment, spouses of warriors that have joined the raids are expected to stand near the shores or the edge of the settlement, holding candles for their loved ones to find their way home.

It is speculated that all Spires keep two calendars: One counting the years since their exodus to Eä, and another counting the days of operation of each Spire. Findings suggest that in some documents a third way of time keeping, this time backwards, may be used. All of the above, however, are mere theories, as the inscriptions of the Spirelords are yet to be fully deciphered and even the Merchant Princes never share information about their people and instead mimic the calendar of the humans they trade with.

Since Dweghom memories are perfect and because of the art of Mnemancy, it could be argued that they do not actually need any kind of calendar, save for everyday use or as a quick reference point. In a way, that is true. When it comes to referring to the past, the Dweghom simply divide time in campaigns. The Dragon War is the first campaign, followed by the Memory Wars, then the Exile Campaign, etc. Anything before that is simply referred to as the Nedwegh, a time before the Dweghom, when accurate time keeping and recounting of events have neither meaning nor importance to the Dweghom, save for the insults suffered by their former masters. The Dheureghod, the memory of the descent to War’s prison, stands alone in history, an event and time separate from anything else.

Perhaps another division one can discern in Dweghom timekeeping is the “Rule”. Living lives distanced from seasons or any celestial observations, days, seasons and even years mean nothing to a Hold. Instead, time is divided into Rules, referring to a Hold’s Raegh’s rule or the absence of one. In human counting, a Rule could last for periods ranging from weeks to centuries. For the Dweghom, these lengths don’t matter. The Raegh’s name is sufficient, the rest is remembered. Further divisions are simple and practical, more than intentional time-keeping, in a Hold. A Rule’s length, varying as it may be, is usually measured in Commands, meaning the rotation of same-ranking officers as supervisors of the next twelve duty rosters. Rosters, in turn, mean the assignment of twelve Duties to the soldiers, and each Duty is divided into twelve Watches.

When it comes to comparing to the human way of thinking, these divisions are not as alien, not unlikely because of some influence between the two races, possibly pre-Fall humans adopting Dweghom military habits. Much like in most human militaries, a Dweghom Watch is approximately two hours long. Since a Duty is twelve Watches, this means a similar twenty-four hour “day” for the Dweghom as well. The similarities end there, however, as the Dweghom divide everything in twelves. 1 Command (“month”) has 12 Rosters (“weeks”), which has 12 Duties (“days”), which has 12 Watches (“hours” or rather two hours).

This, of course, presents a problem. Since different Holds have different Rules, Commands would be impossible to discern, so one could not communicate a specific point in time to Dweghom of another Hold. First, there is one thing that one must understand and that is that the Dweghom do not care. Time holds no meaning to them the way it does to humans. If precise information has to be shared between Holds, the Mnemancers will make it happen. If two Holds meet and/or cooperate during a Campaign against a third party, the ups and downs of the sun are good enough to coordinate their timing of attacks, for instance. These are sufficient for Dweghom communication. For the rarest of exceptions when it is not, the Dweghom count back to the first Watch of the first Campaign, against the Dragons. It is the only stable point in time, as Watches have since run uninterrupted for every Hold, clan or even platoon and each Hold’s involvement in a Campaign may have differed. In layman’s terms, whatever the exact “common” date today for all Dweghom is, it’s over a billion Watches, although it is possible that Duties, Rosters and Commands are also used in that regard, themselves running uninterrupted since.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter