What's in a name
Within the Realm, every individual has a personal name, however the name of an archangel is followed by an indication of their House. Archangels of Tiamät are also linked by name to the three clans of House Tiamät; Ashik, Enna and Gok.
All archangels are referred to as being of their house, for example Ubaid of Naghar, Alis of Naghar. Tiamäti, however, are referred to by clan then House, eg. Duvät Gok of Tiamät, or more commonly with their Clan suffix only, (since the clan is obviously 'of Tiamät'). For example, Kandät Enna is a Tiamäti belonging to clan Enna, Duvät Gok is a Tiamäti of clan Gok.
When referred to by their full formal name, the first-born child of the House Leader is called First, eg. Anu, First of Maatu. This signifies them as the heir to that Great House. The next oldest child is termed Second, then Third etc. In common usage the numerical position is dropped from a name.
Under normal circumstances, only a First may inherit House Leadership. After the death of the parent that was House Leader, the First is presented to the Throne of El in the Imperial Palace on Giahn. If accepted, they receive the Mark of their House on their back and become the new House Leader. If they are not accepted, they may die or be permanently maimed. In this case, the new leader will be Chosen from among their closest relatives, each trying in succession until one is accepted.
The leader of a Great House is often simply referred to by the name of their House, for example, The Trianog, or The Leth. When linking the personal name and House of a leader, 'of 'is not used, as in Arien Leth, or Manu Maatu. This rule also applies to husbands and wives of Great House Leaders, the partner of a Leader being automatically embraced by the term. For instance, both Manu and his wife, Ariel are collectively known as ‘The Maatu’.
Angels have House affiliation but are known only by their personal name.
The following names are used as further examples:
- Sari is an angel.
- Alis of Naghar Tells us an individual named Alis is an archangel of House Naghar.
- Shamkarun Huldar of Leth. Huldar is an archangel of House Leth. The prefix 'Shamkarun' identifies him as a gifted singer of charms.
- Shamkarun Anu, First of Maatu. Anu is called First of Maatu because he is the firstborn of the House of Maatu.
- Shamkarun Manu Maatu. Manu is not referred to as being 'of ' his house because he is the leader of House Maatu.
- Kaskarudjan Kariiel Enna Naghar. This name tells us that Kariiel is an archangel of House Tiamät, clan Enna, and that she has married the leader of House Naghar. The prefix Kaskarudjan tells us that she is host to and master of the spirit-creatures, the Kaskaru.
Guild titles are bestowed by their representative Guilds.
- Isatudjan; Worker of fire and light.
- Zaīkhanun; Stone mason and engineer who builds with song.
- Navigator; One who can journey and transport others between planets.
Civilised Sentient Races
To be deemed 'civilised', a species must be capable of consistent interplanetary travel via their own unique means. Sentience is rare, and civilised sentience almost never achieved. Pre-civilisation sentients, called 'indigenous sentients' or 'indies', may trade with the Realm, but no annangi is permitted to interfere with the development of indigenous technology.
- Annangi - A Dimorphic race composed of angels and archangels. Annangi are strongly empathic, and communicate using telepathy coupled with vocal and visual cues. They access the galaxy with a special style of song sung by highly-trained navigators.
- Simurgh - Are known to have been the first civilised race. They are dedicated healers and are able to change form at will. Simurgh access the galaxy through the dreamways, or the Dream. They are secretive and have little traffic with other sentient species, although they observe them closely.
- Terric - A small, furry, raucous, and ambi-pedal people with five retractable limbs. Terric tend to travel in groups, and access other planets using vehicles constructed of the bodies of their deceased elders. Terric have been expelled from the Realm by the God-Emperor Ishät Ashik.
- Mhurri - A relatively small people, grey skinned, bipedal, nocturnal and very sensitive to psychic emissions and vibrations of all kinds. Their physical form appears to waver between dimensions. Mhurri use mind-speech, but with a modality annangi find difficult to hear and decipher. They access the galaxy with vehicles constructed of metal and other substances. The ancient culture of the Mhurri is based on aggression and domination or destruction of all in their path. They do not like annangi and generally do not participate in the affairs of the Realm.
- Kratha - Tall, segmented beings with six arms, four legs and various degrees of wingedness, from fully winged drones to vestigial-winged types such as warrior-priests. They communicate with a language of clicks, intricate postural varioations and conceptual thought-waves.
- Arfallon - Slender, tall, invariably peaceful beings who communicate primarily through coloured skin changes augmented by vocalisation and limited higher speech. Arfallon live in symbiosis with wool-worms and neither worms nor Arfallon can live for long if taken from their home planet.
- Human - Little known Annangoid sentients who dwell among the denizens of planet Earth, a favourite planet of the Simurgh. Humans are divided into several distinct types, ranging from those of small and seemingly delicate appearance to those of taller, more robust physique. These groups rarely mix. Communication is through vocalisation coupled with intricate body movements. Within some racial groups the ability for telepathic communication is commonplace, while other groups have few individuals with this ability.
GLOSSARY - (Alphabetic)
Annangi - a dimorphic race consisting of angels and archangels.
Asheru - El's divine consort
Ashut - A game played on three tiers. The base board is called ersetu, the centre is arden, and hevahni is at the top. The objective is to capture the palace on arden, the centre board. The range and movement of the pieces are set according to their type and the board they are played on. Each player starts with three red fled, three blue fled, the ranger, the fish, the huntress, the moon, and the mother. The Palace is the center piece and often ornately carved of precious materials.
Ashessé - The God-Emperor’s peacekeepers.
Bond – an enduring, deliberately formed psychic connection. See ‘Marriage’.
Breath - The Breath of El, the Creator, which blew all things into being and continues to flow through all.
Cassadi - A spicy dish of kanth and talemgal.
Children - can only be conceived by partners who have exchanged a marriage bond, and then only rarely. Children are termed 'the blessing of El', and pregnancy is regarded as a sacred state.
Chord – the song used by navigators to travel from one planet to another. Each chord may have several variations according to the strength of the singer and the rest-stops they make. See ‘Navigator’.
Dabaku - A deliberately formed psychic bond of friendship.
Derran - Herbal infusion which imparts a feeling of well-being.
Djan’rū - the point at which a planet can be joined by a navigator’s song. A Greater Portal used by navigators as access points when navigating or singing their way between planets.
DuMah - Outer planet belonging to House Rukh.
El - deity - Annangi believe that the Breath of El blows through all and that Asheru is El’s consort.
Erkessi - translucent yellow stone found only in the deep deserts of Garma, the third great land-mass of Giahn.
Giahn - The home planet of Tiamät.
Great House - There are ten Great Houses, each with a home planet and a leader who has been accepted by El.
Hanta – Eating utensils. A matching pair of smooth sticks one and a half times the length of the owner’s hand from wrist to finger-tips.
Haze - The easily visible aspects of an individual’s aura. Etheric or psychic signature.
Hirasu - Title of ‘chief of kitchens’
Ice Wand - Ice wands are a rare and sought after herb which grows only on Ekeridu, in the ice-swamps of the southern continent.
Iskilatu - Shell of a creature native to Giahn’s oceans. The shell shines when touched by annangi hands and becomes transparent.
Kadderin - Huge animal native to the swamps of Ekeridu. It has one long curved horn and a thick shaggy coat, armoured with tough scales on the shoulders, neck and underbelly. They are very aggressive, especially during their breeding cycle and when protecting their young, called ‘akkibi’.
Kahmayre - A wetland plant with reddish, fern-like foliage. It is not native to Lentath’s western continent, having been accidentally introduced from the south. It is poisonous to shuna, but sometimes used as a boiled infusion to soothe insect bites.
Known (The) - The known galaxy, all that has been explored.
Kreth - A herd animal with waterproof fur. Kreth are plentiful on several planets of the Realm. Blue fur is a rare and sought after mutation which originated on Ekeridu. Young kreth are called ‘kressie’.
Kressie - Baby kreth.
Mark - the soul mark granted by El to those who become proficient in a particular psychic gift. The Mark appears as a symbol shining through the skin.
- A marriage bond is a deep psychic link between two people and must be forged by a Shamkarun. Once the bond is in place, emotions, words, thoughts and vision are instantly shared, although the level of sharing can be altered depending on what the couple are comfortable with. The bond cannot be severed without great physical and emotional pain, and it is usual for partners who are considering marriage to become dabaku first in order to gauge their long-term compatibility. The dabaku bond is also painful to break, but far less so than a bond of marriage.
- Children can only be conceived by couples who have exchanged a marriage bond. This is a biological prerequisite.
- Love is not necessary for a marriage bond to be successfully forged. Before House Leaders or their first-born can enter into marriage, approval must be sought from the God-Emperor. Many factors may influence his decision, including political liaisons and protecting the integrity of blood lines. For instance, marriage between the Houses of Rukh and Cantori will never receive the God-Emperor’s approval as the offspring of such unions are often psychologicaly unstable.
Nacrite - An extremely rare, lighter-than-air metal. It is highly prized by swordsmiths, but extremely difficult to work.
Navigator – One who travels between planets by singing a memorised polyphonic chord. They are often assisted by ‘spinners’ who strengthen the chord's vibration and hold it while the navigator rests. (See ‘Qalān’.)
Nasca – Flying, insectile creatures native to Ekeridu. They are drawn to shiny objects and will take what they can to decorate their nests. They often colonise the masonry of buildings.
Nikkassé - Head of Great House treasury.
Padmil - A planetary rest stop for Navigators. Parsay, Padmil, Leccha and Loch / Sadil, Saraway, Mecha and Doch, is a mnemonic rhyme taught to apprentice navigators to remind them of the principle planetary rest stops.
Qalān - The interstitial space between dimensional envelopes.
- Personal Qalān surrounds every individual. Annangi access this space by an individual song or thought-pattern initially discerned by specialist Shamkarun, and use it for storage of personal items. For a few weeks after an individual's death, a specialist Shamkarun can stand beside them, sense their Qalān and release any stored possessions. However, if too much time has passed the contents of personal Qalān may be lost. It is impossible to store living things within personal Qalān.
- Planetary Qalān surrounds every planetary body in a web of interconnected wormholes. Skilled Annangi can create portals in this system and adapt it for instantaneous transport between any two places on a planet. Each entry may have many exits within a great geographical range. Portals must be tuned by a Shamkarun to make them suitable for general use, and once stabilised, they exit, or ‘step’ to predetermined exit points. In major cities and centres, portal sites are paved, sometimes quite elaborately, and clues to prime exit points are given in decorative tiles or carvings. Alternative exit points can be reached by stronger singers with an ability to scry planetary Qalān, however unskilled users should attempt these manipulations with care, as small mistakes may lead them to unexpected places, inhospitable locations, or worse, they may be trapped within Qalān with no way of escape. Although un-tuned portals are visible to archangels, most angels can only see strong portals with tuning reinforced by millennia of use.
- Greater Qalān or Galactic Qalān connects the stars and planets of the galaxy, merging with planetary Qalān at specific points of consonance known as Djan'rū. Navigators join Djan'rū by song to access the planets of the Realm. Such points are sprinkled sparingly around each planet’s surface. Djan’rū must be refined and tuned to make them useable for general navigation, and although some non-navigators can learn this skill, it is work best performed by a specialist. Only navigators have the ability to use Djan’rū to move themselves and others between planets. Upon finding a new planet, Scryers use a combination of Ziquarra and navigational skills to find Djan’rū and then devise the chord which will reach them. Great House families may incorporate Djan’rū sites into their dwellings, building translation bays around them for ease and control of use. Constant use makes Djan’rū bigger.
Maatu nasak - Twin swords used by elite Maatu warriors.
Screen - internally, a psychic construction that hides private information; or externally, a shield that hides one’s presence.
Scryer – one who searches with the power of Ziquarra to find new planets and the possible they contain. Specialist navigators can devise a chord that will join two Djan'rū and make travel to the new planet possible.
Shuna - Gentle, long-eared herd animals, four-legged, preferring to live on open fields with ample water. They grow to about the height of an archangel’s chest. They are native to the western continent of Lentath, where they are farmed for their milk, meat and hides.
Summer sprite - Small plush creatures, inhabiting grass-lands and meadows on Lentath, the Lethian home planet. When alarmed, summer sprites inflate and rise swiftly into the air as a defence against predators.
The Throne of El - The throne stands in situ in the Imperial Palace Throne Room which was built around it. Aspiring House Leaders are presented to the Throne to be either accepted or rejected by El. If accepted, the Guardian Spirit of the House will enter the Leaders soul, and a glowing Mark will manifest on their back. Failed aspirants usually die in the attempt.
Translation Bay - a building constructed over a Djan'rū, incorporating several 'bays' where navigators can gather their clients and cargo ready for a journey between planets.
Uri’madu – This term means ‘Planet Walkers’ in the old tongue, a language remembered by navigators. The Uri’madu are a team of specialist explorers, contracted by the Imperial Explorer's Guild to assess and report on new planets.
Veil - a psychic construction that hides thoughts and feelings from the perception of others.
Waystation - A self-perpetuating fold in Greater Qalān, usually made by several highly skilled navigators working in concert. A Waystation provides a permanent reststop for those who know where it is and how to access it. Known Waystations are regularly stocked with supplies and basic comforts for travellers.
Talents, or Marks of El
All annangi have psychic abilities to some degree, however, when a certain level of competency is reached in a particular talent, El may recognise that person's efforts with a characteristic Soul-Mark. These Marks shine from beneath the skin of the face, or in the case of a Healer, the hand. Marks grow as the bearer's knowledge and ability increase and spread beneath the skin in patterns that reflect specialties and areas of greater growth. Marked individuals have higher rank than non-marked, and the more extensive the mark, the higher the rank.