WAYFARER: The Calendar
The scrolls, parchments and scribblings below record the observations of the famed historian Stygtep Tehoth and his understanding of calendrical time as it passes on the world-shard of Asora.
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Locked in a dangerous stalemate with his challenger, Priad cracked his whip. The young farm boy drove his kalippas forward, pressing the pair of beasts ever toward the finish line. Beneath his fatigued legs rumbled the age worn chariot of his honored grandmother, champion of a now forgotten Magna Festum.
Caked with dust, Priad yelled to the wind, emboldened by the sight of his journey's end, and the success of his life's defining trial. From the humble countryside start, he had thusfar survived the chariot race through a rugged stretch of dirt roads, his determination driving him to the end.
Where the fallen had only met ruinous disaster at the hands of the other charioteers, his young mind knew in his heart that victory would be his. Only through victory could Priad burn away his family's obscurity and reignite the rustic glory of his household. In triumph, he could prove the Archangel's approval to his beloved and her disapproving father. For her hand in marriage, Priad would risk the greatest contest of the Magna Festum.
Outside the Pearl Walls of Carthak the masses huddled in excited abandon. All who could fit, littered the ramparts to view the surviving charioteers; or to their greater delight, bear witness to the spectacle of their ruin. Even during the sanctity of the Magna Festum, the people cheered for blood when custom dictated they should pray to the Angelic Host for peace.
Breaking through the threshold of the Pearl Walls, Priad and his final adversary spewed out onto the High Bridge, its vaulted path a straight shot to the race's end. From his high vantage, Priad broke his concentration to hazard a view of the Nikaian capital. Nearly rebuilt from the Narcossak Incursion some three years ago, the city of Carthak was awash in color for the week's festivities.
As punishment for his lapse of focus, the patrician challenger pulled hard on his reigns, bringing his team of kalippas to the right and smashing into Priad. The impact's suddenness drove Priad off of his footing. Had his hands not been tangled in his reigns, he would have met the white marble in bloody failure.
With the driving force of the assaulting chariot, Priad was pressed to the High Bridge's parapet, marking his passage violently onto its austere finish. Should his chariot surrender under the stress, he could very likely careen in a storm of splinters over the edge; and fall to a very certain death on the cobbled streets some fifty feet below.
Surging with overconfidence, the patrician laxed his grasp on his reigns to whip the insolent upstart. Bringing his right hand up in an instinctual defense only reserved to those accustomed to a plebian life, the stinging tail of the whip coiled itself painfully around Priad's arm. In low-borne defiance, Priad pulled with reckless zeal, offsetting the challenger's balance, turning his proud bearing into a final moment of terror before his head was dashed below, turning the white marble red. Their thirst for blood quenched, the people went wild, the roar of their cheering lost to Priad in the strident turn of his chariot's wheels.
Pulling his chariot before the newly repaired White Tower in all its majesty, Priad handed his reigns off in triumph. Ascending the grand entrance's wide stairway, he approached the awaiting Empress, a gold crown of leaves in hand and made all the more magnificent with the full might of her royal guard behind her. Where triumph had left the young farm boy awestruck, the Empress' presence pushed him over the precipice of exaltation. In that moment, when the Empress lowered the gilded leaf atop his bowed head, young Priad forgot everything of his beloved back home. In devotion, Priad gave silent prayer to the Angelic Host and the Empress, swearing a new oath and vowing to one day secure her royal hand in marriage.
+ The flow of time on Asora . . .
The everyday cycles of the common people are not so much guided by an organized calendar but the slow turn of the seasons. Times passage is not marked by individual months, but by the seasons until they themselves begin anew with a fresh year. The beginning of an annual cycle starts in Spring's first days with the Turning, with every season then being divided into 93 days, until the year's 375th closes with the final day of Winter.
For the majority every day of their live's is one filled with work and toil, for there is no weekend break because there are no system such as weeks to subdivide the seasons. Only on those holidays dictated by the calendric cycle do people find time to make merry and recuperate. Most of these days, like stone, are firmly established into the cycles of people's lives, always occurring on the same date. Other holidays of the year however, fluctuate based on celestial events in the sky. Only those cities that can afford to send yearly delegations laden with gifts to the city of Thal-Qlunarum where the moon worshiping qlunar dwell, are provided the dates of these ever-changing days of significance.
The greater passage of time and its great ages, are less of a historical study, but a vague knowledge shared by the collective population through the means of oral tradition. To most, the times of old are only stories to be told to frighten children and to instill traditional values; nightly tales with no practical appliance during the day's hard labor and to be cast away at the dawn of each new workday. Scholars who are familiar with the great ages, know that the years themselves count up from a value of zero until the end of an age, the date of their turning and their titles usually decided upon by an event which drastically redefines the material plane of Exos.
Common myth holds that reality began with the Void Age which saw the arrival of the Father God Yogoroth and his creation of Exos' countless suns and their orbiting planets. With the beginnings of historical record, the Void's time came to the close with the Mythic Age to follow. This fabled period, rich with countless tales in which the Blood Gods, the children of Yogoroth, ruled over the mortal races with the Gods ruling over their creations until Prime Evils of Hell conquered Exos in the Demon Age. After the angels expelled the demons with the sundering of Haven, the home of the Blood Gods, th world-shards continued their isolated existence during the Sundered Age. Now with the advent of shard-craft technology the Wayfarer Age is in full swing within its eleventh year.
+ CALENDRICAL HOLIDAYS . . .
SPRING (Days 1-93)
Spring 1 The Turning: This day festival marks the end of Winter, the first day of Spring and the beginning of the new year. It is typically spent outdoors among feasting and performances.
Spring 31 Mustering Day: During times of war, a country's officials will send out emissaries to provincial regions to raise armies for that year's campaigns. In peace time, this day is often demarks a youth's rite of passage into adulthood regardless of gender.
SUMMER (Days 94-186)
Summer 123-26 Highsear: Formerly known as Highsun in the ancient past, these three days are "said" to be the hottest days of the year. It is on these days that all work is put aside for a summer festival and rest. In the Broken Wastes, this festival is of extreme religious importance in reverence their most sacred symbol, the sky-sear.
AUTUMN (Days 187-279)
Autumn 213 Day of the Fallen: This norstari remembrance day is celebrated throughout the Jeweled North to mark the day in which the united powers expelled the Narcossak Incursion and to give thanks to those that died reclaiming their people's homeland.
Autumn 269-279 Last Harvest Festival: Before winter finally sets in, this 10 day festival marks the reaping of the year's last harvest and is spent in merriment before the cold season's frosts.
WINTER (Days 280-375)
Winter 1 Elders Day: Bound to their homes amid the winter season, children of all ages give thanks to their elders and parents.
Winter 31 Magna Festum: Across each of the Jeweled North's capital cities, this 10 day festival marks a time of thanks toward the Archangels of the Angelic Host. Among the games, spectacles and prayer: regional vassals and emissaries congregate to discuss treaties and plan the coming year's campaigns.
+ NONCALENDRICAL HOLIDAYS . . .
??? Hallow Veil: On nights when no celestial bodies dot the black sky, Hallow Veil marks the time when the barriers between Oscuros and Exos are thinnest. It is on these night that spirits of the dead may easily visit the material plane.
??? Iona's Caress: On those rare instances when each of Haven's moon's grace the night sky magic is at its absolute strongest. It is on these nights that the greatest rituals and practices are upheld.
??? Hunter's Moon: So long as there is not one celestial body in the night sky save for the Dying Sun, Solgnys, casting any sort of magic is impossible. It is at such times that witch hunters and inquisitors assault compounds of magic casters when they are most vulnerable.
??? Day of the Dragon: For those settlements unable to defend themselves against the aerial attacks of a dragon with shard-craft, they must give tribute to their local dragon. Whereas the date upon which a dragon comes to collect its due varies from settlement to settlement, what does not change are the feelings of resentment and fear. For the people of the Jeweled North, this day is one of rejoice, for in their technological strength, the great dragons dare not approach to steal their wealth.