Titles

Sep. 23rd, 2009 09:39 am
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I think it's probably been a little vague, so here's a breakdown of the titles used in BtHW. There are lot that aren't mentioned, mostly religious and military titles.

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Okay, it's not an official extra day, but I just had to share this. The fabulously talented [personal profile] aglassfullofstars has drawn a picture of Alexia looking in particularly fine form.

Tasteful nudity, but probably NSFW. )

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
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Religion

Sep. 11th, 2009 11:58 am
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Edessans are polytheistic, and they've never met a ceremony or religious service they didn't like. Most of their piety is for show, however. They don't really emphasize personal belief -- it's okay if you don't believe in the gods, so long as you make the right offerings and show your face in the right churches. Edessans tend to pick one god or goddess with whom they feel a particular affinity and worship them especially. The major Houses also practice ancestor worship. Morality and religion are almost completely separate in Edessan culture. A goddess might smite you for failing to offer her a proper sacrifice, but not because you're a philanderer or murderer.

A (very) brief list of Edessan deities and their specialties:

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This scene is set 20ish years before the beginning of Behind the High Walls.

He woke up and immediately regretted it. )
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The Edessan calendar is complicated, but here's a rundown.

A year is made up of four season, each of ninety days. Between each season is a day outside of the calendar. On these days no business is conducted and no marriages are performed. Children born on these in-between days are considered unlucky. Every now and again the standing ruler will tack on more of these days so that the solstices fall where they ought.

The first (priman), thirtieth (trian), sixtieth (exsen) and ninetieth (teleuten) day of a season are used for marking dates. I.E. “four days after the Trian of Ardalia”, “the day before the Exsen of Theros”. The New Year begins on the Priman of Hylous (first day of spring).

Here is a table that (very roughly) compares the Edessan and Gregorian calendars:Read more... )

Whew, yeah, there's a reason I pretty much hand-wave time whenever it comes up. I swear I didn't set out to make everything convoluted. Convolution just seems to happen to me.
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Edessa is a peninsula on the eastern coast of the continent. To the south and southwest lie mountains and to the north and northwest is the Erammos desert. Overland travel is, if not impossible, at least extremely challenging. The difficulty of land travel is one of the reasons Edessa is a major naval power on the Amarna.

The Djaan people -- a loose confederation of tribes -- control all passage through the Erammos. They're tough; pretty much the only people who can survive in such harsh conditions. They are fierce warriors and excellent horsepeople. They don't think much of Edessans, who they consider weak, effete and corrupt.

Below are a couple of pictures of Wadi Rum in Jordan, which was the biggest inspiration for the Erammos.
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Edessan fashion fairly unisex; the most basic garment being a tunic. Under tunics are usually longer and lighter than over tunics and usually in a contrasting color. Linen and wool most commonly materials. The very richest also wear imported silk and cotton.

They have dyes in just about every color: blues, reds, yellows, purples, greens, etc, but most of these are extremely expensive and only worn by the richest. The poorer classes wear undyed clothing, black, brown, dark reds and blues. Sandals are common, as well as boots. Going barefoot in the house is customary. Hairstyles among the rich tend to be long and elaborate, with more sensible styles among the working class.

Wives wear veils in public, generally a rectangle of light cotton or silk worn draped over the hair and around the shoulders. It can be drawn down to obscure the face, but usually isn’t. Bright colors and patterns are favored. Loukas might wear a longer, darker and more restrictive garment among the rabble, a lighter, looser veil at the races and more formal ceremonies; at home or the home of friends and while riding in the country he wouldn’t wear a veil at all.

Every few years the Council tries to crack down on skimpy veils and wifely modesty, but the reforms never last for long.

Ear piercings are worn by just about everyone over the age of five. Nose piercings are worn by prostitutes as an indication of their trade. Now, because I love shiny things, have some Edessan-style jewelry:

This stuff can't be comfortable to wear ... )
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I think I’ve got most of the characters introduced, so maybe now would be a good time to include a pronunciation guide -- as irritating as they may be. All of the Edessan names are either stolen from Greek or heavily influenced by it. I tried to pick names that would be relatively pronounceable, but sometimes I can’t help myself. ;)

The stress falls on the penultimate syllable in two-syllable words and on the antepenultimate syllable if three syllables or longer.

Chapter 7

Aug. 17th, 2009 07:12 am
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Note: I'm going out of town for the rest of the week and will be sans internet, so there won't be extras this Wednesday and Friday. Things will be back to normal next week.


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Q&A

Aug. 12th, 2009 07:26 am
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Lynn K. Hollander had a question about a passage from chapter one:

“Eugenia Kommene, Archon of House Kommene, had carried both of them and afterward declared herself done with childbirth. Eleutherios was Loukas's younger brother and only full sibling; ... Loukas's half-siblings had all been carried by Eugenia's wives, sired by her favorite brother ...“

Lynn wants to know:

Is 'her favorite brother' also Loukas's father? If not, how are Eugenia's wives' children his half siblings? If so, why isn't this incest?

Edessans like to keep it in the family. But not like that.  )

Have a question? Or comment? Or complaint? You can comment anywhere on this blog or email me at rb.lurks at gmail.com.
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