Elanthian Calendar (book)

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The Elanthian Calendar
An Introductory Guide to Timekeeping and its History

by Herpo Drakonides
of the Guild of Warrior Mages
Member, Foundation for Arcane Research
Truffandu 6 Lirisa 352, the year of the Golden Panther

Table of Contents:


From earliest antiquity Elanthians have been fascinated by the passage of time. Before the Empire there were countless calendars. Dwarven calendars were different than Elven calendars, for example, and even two Elven cities might have different names for months, or a different number of months, or have entirely different systems altogether. Some calendars were based on the sun, others on one of the moons. One Elothean calendar seems to have been based on all three moons and scholars are still attempting to understand all of its intricacies from the scraps of evidence we have about it. With the coming of the unifying presence of the Empire a 400 day solar calendar was settled on as the standard and we modern Elanthians have inherited it only slightly modified from the time of the first emperor.

I. The Solar Year

The years roll by in an ever recurring cycle of 7 year names. Each name reflects a mythological animal: Bronze Wyvern, Golden Panther, Amber Phoenix, Iron Toad, Emerald Dolphin, Crystal Snow Hare and Silver Unicorn. The year of the Redeemer's victory (Year 0) was a year of the Silver Unicorn. Year 1 then, was a year of the Bronze Wyvern, Year 2 a year of the Golden Panther, Year 3 a year of the Amber Phoenix, and so on.

The 400 day (0-399) solar year is broken down into smaller months. Of these there are 10 and each is made up of 10 andaen (often translated "weeks") which are in turn made up of 4 days each so that each month contains 40 days (0-39). These 10 solar months were variously named in different parts of the Empire despite the presence of Imperial names for them all. Some time after the victory of the Redeemer, they were renamed in honor of great figures and objects from Elanthian history. For a fuller account of each of the eponyms see the famous account of the bard Silvyrfrost in _Human Histories_.

II. The Ten Months

Akroeg, called the Ram, gives his name to the first month and he is a suitable choice. He looked forward to the new order of the Empire and of a united Elanthia but was also a part of the old ways. Similarly, his month signals both the beginning of the new year as well as the end of the old.

Ka'len, called the Sea Drake, gives his name to the second month. A great sailor he was and therefore it is appropriate that this month, at the end of which the sailing season begins, is named after him.

Lirisa, called the Archer, gives her name to the third month. This month is the height of spring and consequently the best season for hunting, Lirisa's lifelong pursuit. She disappeared in this month after striking down her last and most dangerous prey.

Shorka, called the Cobra, gives her name to the fourth month, for it is during this month that the S'kra would begin their migrations and the summer heat would begin. It was at this time that Shorka pledged herself to Lanival's cause and gave him hope for victory.

Uthmor, called the Giant, gives his name to the fifth month. This month is the first full month of summer and is the height of the campaigning season when Uthmor, the greatest of Lanival's generals, smote his foes. He also died in the last week of this month.

Arhat, called the Fire Lion, gives his name to the sixth month. This month is the second full month of summer when the heat is at its worst and fires are most dangerous. So this month is doubly suited to Arhat not only because he was the greatest of the Fire Mages but also because just as Arhat was inseparable from Uthmor in life, so he is in the calendar. He died in the first week of this month.

Moliko, called the Balance, gives her name to the seventh month. As the Lawgiver herself wrote: "Justice does not always consist of giving equally to all sides but rather it is the reasonable application of reward and punishment in the proper degree." Thus Moliko's month rounds out the ten months but it is no surprise that it does not come directly in the middle of the year. And yet there is good reason for its placement here since the month divides the warm part of the year coming as it does on the dividing line between summer and autumn. "Chadatru," as Moliko wrote, "does not always work in a way that is immediately clear to all observers."

Skullcleaver, the great Dwarven ax of Uthmor, gives its name to the eighth month, for it was in this month that Uthmor received it as a gift from the Dwarf Hexoch and first fought with it victoriously for Lanival.

Dolefaren, the brigantine of Ka'len, gives its name to the ninth month, for it was in this month that the ship and her captain slipped down through the icy waves as the lands of Elanthia fall into the chill of winter's grip.

Nissa, the Elven healer, gives her name to the tenth month. For it is in this month, the first full month of winter, that life is at its lowest and nature is most in mourning over the loss of the unjustly murdered maiden. And just as the mourning of her death led to the joy of Lanival's victory, so the mourning of the death of the old year leads us to the rejoicing of the new.

III. The Andaen

Each of the months is, as was pointed out above, divided into 10 "weeks" of 4 days each. These groups of 4 days are each named after one of the great divinities of Elanthia. Kertandu after Kertigen, Hodandu after Hodierna, Evandu after Everild, Truffandu after Truffenyi, Havrandu after Hav'roth, Elandu after Eluned, Chandu after Chadatru, Glythandu after Glythtide, Faeandu after Faenella, and Tamsandu after Tamsine. The word "andu" (pl. andaen) literally means "day" in High Gamgweth but since each of the "days" here is actually four days long, "weeks" is the more common translation.

There are many local tales concerning the naming of the andaen and explaining why Meraud, Damaris and Urrem'tier are not honored in this particular way. In one S'kra version, for instance, Meraud refuses the honor and prefers hidden devotion to open reverence. Damaris and Urrem'tier, on the other hand, are said to require no special weeks set aside for them since Night and Death are always with us. At any rate, many such stories circulate and some are of considerable interest. Few of the variants agree to any great degree in particulars.

IV. The Days

Each day was divided by the soldiers of the Empire into 15 sections or watches, 9 for the day and 6 for the night. This usage has survived into present times. Each watch is of single (s), double (d) or quadruple (q) length. The day watches begin with Dawn (s) and then proceed through Early Morning (s), Mid Morning (d), Late Morning (s), Noon (s), Early Afternoon (d), Mid Afternoon (d), Late Afternoon (s), and end with Dusk (s).

The six night watches are: Early Evening (s), Mid Evening (d), Late Evening (d), Midnight (s), Very Early Morning (q), Almost Dawn (d). Both day and night, therefore are made up of the equivalent of 12 single watches.

V. The Date

The date is officially given in the following notation <week name> <day in month> <month> <year>. Thus: Kertandu 0 Arhat 350.

VI. The Seasons

There are four seasons in Elanthia: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.

Winter begins on Glythandu 30 Dolefaren (day 350) and extends to Evandu 9 Ka'len (day 49) of the next year.

Spring is from Evandu 10 Ka'len (day 50) to Glythandu 29 Shorka (day 149)

Summer is from Glythandu 30 Shorka (day 150) to Evandu 9 Moliko (day 249)

Autumn is from Evandu 10 Moliko (day 250) to Glythandu 29 Dolefaren (day 349).