Thieves & Kings
Time and Seasons
Almost all people in Argoth mark the passage of days, seasons and years in some fashion. In the Kingdom of Phaedra, and more than a dozen other realms of Argoth, astrologers follow a common reckoning of time, that unites the people in more ways than trade or anything else. Even the fierce peoples of the wilderness reckon days and years with fierce war chants and heroic ballads.
Day and Night
Days on Kethira are 24 hours long, divided into night and day by the setting and the rising of the sun. In the far southern lands, time does not vary much with the seasons, and a rule of 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark is the rule, year-round. In the north, days become notably longer in the summer and shorter in the winter. Midwinter Day sees little more than eight (8) hours of daylight, and Midsummer Day almost sixteen.
Ten days comprise the typical week, commonly known as a “tenday”, or sometimes a “ride”. Individual days do not have names within the week, but rather are simply referred to as 1st day or 6th day, and so forth.
Timepieces are rare, and most people break the day into larger slices – dawn, morning, highsun (noon), afternoon, dusk, sunset, evening midnight, moondark (“night’s heart”), and night’s end. Foreign lands often use different terms, so travelers might encounter some confusion. These divisions are approximate, and one person’s late evening could be another person’s early dusk. Local customs determine the reckoning.
Few people have cause to measure time too closely, and so depend on their intuition, the movement of the sun or moon, and the activity of others around them. Two merchants might agree to meet at a particular tavern at dusk, and chances are both will arrive within 15 to 20 minutes of each other. In larger cities, the tolling of temple bells, or the blowing of the gate horns, replaces the casual reckoning of hours, and marks time for most local inhabitants.
The calendar most in use today throughout Argoth takes the date of the foundation of the Kingdom of Phaedra as the year of its inception. Known as “Tuarvim’s Reckoning”, it was devised in TR 130 by Tuarvim of Phaedra, a court astronomer in the reign of Everard Pendragon, but was back-dated to the founding of the kingdom by Everard the Third.
Throughout the last millenia, this calendar has gradually been adopted by all the nations and peoples of Argoth, replacing a multitude of other local calendars, most too inaccurate to be useful. The Sindarin and Khuzdul keep their own reckoning systems, but are familiar enough with the human system to refer to it in their presence. Most tribal peoples follow a reckoning of the sun/moon and the seasons, close enough to Tuarvim’s Reckoning, that they can understand most dates with a little patience. Dates given in Tuarvim’s Reckoning may be either proceeded by the symbol “TR”, or followed by the symbol “BT”. Historians have used these symbols to identify dates as either “Before Tuarvim’s” Reckoning, or after “Tuarvim’s Reckoning”, and thus the placement is important to ensure the context of dates in historical literature.
The calendar using Tuarvim’s Reckoning has twelve (12) lunar months, each consisting of three “Tendays” or thirty (30) days in a month. Sometimes, a “Hinyael” of fifteen (15) days is also reckoned by merchants who have long journeys. A new moon occurs on roughly the last night of each month, and the full moon on the evening of the 15th. Both are commonly seen as days of rest in most parts of Argoth.
There are also selected seasonal holidays, setting apart each season, based on planting, harvesting, and various religious festivals, and are considered days of rest as well. There is also a single high holy day, marking the start of each year, which stands alone on the calendar. Although originally set to coincide with the equinox, the beginning of the year has had an error of one day creep into it over the millenia since it was first adopted.
The first day of the new year is considered the height of Winter, and the day of the year which is darkest, longest. Most folk identify specific days of the month numerically, such as the 23rd of the Drawing Down, or the 6th of the Claws of Winter.
Each month has a religious name, a common name, and a name associated with arcane lore (in that order), though most simply refer to it by the common name.
1 – Hammer, Deepwinter, Darkwood
2 – Alturik, The Claws of Winter, Gloomlight
3 – Kelen, Frostend, Coldeven
4 – Nolus, Stomrbring, Planting
5 – Larane, Greenflocks, Seedwell
6 – Kythorn, The Time of Roses, -
7 – Flamos, Summer’s Tide, Youngfire
8 – Azura, Highsun, Sweet Life
9 – Savor, The Fading, Copperfield
10 – Shorn, Leaffall, Goldharvest
11 – Uktar, The Rotting, Redtree
12 – Echos, The Drawing Down, Snowdrop
The Argothic Zodiak
Few Lythians have any understanding of real astronomy. Most of what knowledge exists, rests with the Mangai, the Shek-Pvar, and those guides and hunters who must rely on navigation by the stars and heavens. Even casual star watchers, however, cannot fail to notice that the night sky changes with the seasons in an endlessly recurring pattern. Only the planets seem to wander aimlessly about the heavens but even the mystery of their courses will yield to diligent study.
Most star gazers study the heavens intent on discovering their patterns that relate to the lives of men and kingdoms; their appetite for astronomical knowledge is whetted only by a desire for power gained through prediction of the future. However, a few arcane loreists practice true astronomy. They own a few simple telescopes, of widely differing capabilities, their existence a closely guarded secret. Through these rare instruments, resolution of the planets and their moons is vaguely possible. These heavenly bodies have been named, mostly from the western pantheon (the eastern pantheon has it’s own gods and names), but the knowledge they possess seems to exceed their capacity for casual observation.
The average Lythian can identify some major constellations and can use the pole stars to find their way at night. The north pole star, Zexus, is located in the constellation of Geriam; the mast of the constellation of Lado (the Galley) points to Zexus. In the southern hemisphere, the brightest star in the constellation of Uhla (the Lantern), Tyn Nadix, serves as the pole star. There are thirty-five (35) highly visible constellations that are visible to the naked eye at night, and commonly known by most people.
In the northern hemisphere are twelve noteworthy constellations, and the Zodiac consists of these constellations through which the sun passes in one year. A person’s sunsign is the zodiacal constellation under which they were when they were born. These twelve sunsigns also correspond to the twelve months of the year.
1 – Skorus, “The Mixer”
2 – Masara, “The Chalice”
3 – Lado, “The Galley”
4 – Ulandus, “The Tree”
5 – Aralius, “The Wands”
6 – Feneri, “The Smith”
7 – Ahnu, “The Fire Dragon”
8 – Angberelius, “The Flaming Swords”
9 – Nadai, “The Salamander”
10 – Hirin, “The Eagle”
11 – Tarael, “The Pentacle”
12 – Tai, “The Lantern Bearer”
Festivals and Holidays
Over the centuries, many festivals and holidays have been grafted into the framework of the Tuarvim’s calendar, many of which see international respect. Holidays are days during which a particular mythic figure is closely attributed to its power cycle. At such times, sacrifice becomes more deliberate and occur more commonly among its temples and shrines. Festivals are those days which do not (usually) have a holy significance, but are nationally or regionally significant. Festivals, as its name suggests, are days of feasting and celebration. Common celebrations are also listed below.
1st of Hammer : “Night of Darkness” : Officially starting at midnight, this is the longest and darkest night of the year, also considered a night of fear and trepidation by most, though the followers of Invis hold it as her (un)holiest of moments. Most people remain behind shuttered and locked doors, remaining close to their hearths which burn throughout the night. The strongest of blizzards are rumored to occur on these nights.
1st of Hammer : “New Year’s Day” : The mornings after the longest night of the year, are celebrated as “New Year’s Day”, a time of feasts and dancing, elaborate masks and costumes, and snow sports and raucous laughter and entertainment.
15th of Hammer : “Festival of Silver” : Set aside as a break in the long winter, it is usually a day when the community gathers for dancing and socializing. It is considered the traditional day of breaking the ice of lakes, wells and streams, with flooding and muddy roads keeping travel limited.
9th of Alturik : “Festival of the Silver Purge” : A day steeped in tradition, it is a day marking the annihilation of werewolves in the Kingdom of Brak. It is a day of feasts and wine drinking.
13th -14th of Alturik : “Night of Ice” : Also called the “Festival of Ice”, it is considered the coldest night of the year, the “Night of Ice” is the (un)holiest night of the year for Enkara. many people gather and celebrate by burning large bonfires in the village square in defiance against her powers, and to bring a quicker end to the Winter.
8th of Kelen : “Festival of Beasts” : An obscure festival, usually marked by a feast of hunted beasts, many think it is a special day dedicated to Kraven, though few know for certain.
16th of Kelen : “Day of the Seas” : Traditionally held as the first day of sea travel and mercantile shipping, it is also known as the “Race of Pennants”. The holiest of days among sailors and followers of Hydania, it is marked by pennants and flags of all colors decorating the docks and ships of port cities, often with boat-racing and various water sports.
4th of Nolus : “The Desportium of Magick” : An annual wizard’s fair in the Kingdom of Phaedra, the mages’s colleges in other realms also hold competitions among themselves, but many powerful mages travel to Melderyn to meet in the illustrious convocation at its large College of Magic.
27th of Nolus : “Festival of Flowers” : Usually marking the day when the first flowers bloom, it is often a day of travel and gathering of visiting families. Wreathes of flowers and leaves are commonly worn in the hair on this day, during the feasts, but horse-racing, livestock markets and parades are also common.
3rd of Larane : “Day of Planting” : Considered the final day of planting among rural districts, it is commonly the holiest day for followers of Galana. Also known as the “Festival of Doves”, many consider it a day to propose or renew peace treaties. Usually accompanied by community picnics, horse-racing and non-lethal combat.
4th of Larane : “Coronation Day” : The day of King Chunel, present monarch of the Kingdom of Phaedra, was crowned is a day of feasting and celebration, especially as it occurs between two holy days. It is a common day for army parades among city and town militias, usually in the morning, and accompanied by feasting, gambling and jousting.
5th of Larane : “Day of Healing” : Considered the day when both land and beast rests, it is also the holiest day to followers of Amalthea. Traditionally a day of family gatherings, celebrations and gift-giving, many use it as an excuse to visit clans separated by the winter season. It is sometimes also called the “Day of Children”.
19th of Larane : “Day of the Mangai” : A festival in Mornhaven, where the local Hall of the Mangai meets and celebrates their founding. They engage in a series of competitions amongst themselves to mount the greatest display of illusion and pyrotechnics to the city at large. The winner is crowned “Mage of the City”, and granted an artifact from the armories of the Hall.
23rd of Kythorn : “Festival of Roses” : Also known as the “Troth Festival”, it is a day for clandestine meetings between lovers and a day of marriage proposals. Roses are commonly seen as wreathes or adorning carriages and balconies.
Mid-Year Day : Held as a separate day in the calender between the 6th and 7th months of Kythorn and Flamos, it is sometimes known as the “Day of Scrolls”, and is the holy day of Magos. Most consider it a day of rest and use it to begin taking stock of supplies and potential incomes following the coming harvest.
7th of Flamos : “Festival of Water and Fire” : A festival when barns, houses and shops are washed,painted and cleaned. Everyone in the community then takes their unwanted goods and household furnishings, usually broken, and piles them together in the square where they are burned as darkness settles.
1st of Azura : “Day of Light” : Longest day of the year, Bright Day is usually a day of rest and the holiest of days to followers of Nolom. The day is usually marked by the blessing or dedication of shrines, temples and homes against evil forces.
16th of Azura : “All’s Reckless Day” : Citizens wander the streets of their communities, waving scarecrows, wearing colorful costumes and masks, and otherwise laughing, dancing and making as much noise as possible. In rural areas, the costumes tend to be of wolf skins and wolf or other beast masks are common. The festival is often seen as a way to chase the forest spirits back into the wilds. The festival starts at dusk and runs all night until dawn.
12th of Savor : “Festival of Stars” : A night festival dominated by sages and fortune tellers, it is a night of numerous astrological conjunctions, and strange things are said to happen on this night.
13th of Savor : “Day of Flames” : Considered the (un)holiest days of the year to followers of Agrik. Most people spend the day indoors, or visit their local taverns to while away the hottest day of the year.
20th of Savor : “Festival of Stones” : Also known as the “Stoning Gather”, it is an obscure festival during which villagers gather loose stones about the fields and pastures, and gather them along the roads in tall stacks. Although shrouded in mystery, it has become a popular family event, usually held throughout the day as people come and go about the village.
28th of Savor : “Festival of the Vines” : Celebration of the grape harvests, important in the Kingdom of Brak, the City-State of Kephira, and other regional areas where they make wine.Locals often engage in wine-tasting competitions, with wine merchants often visiting obscure locales to sample new vintages.
9th of Shorn : “Day of Harvest” : Considered the most joyful day of the year, the Day of Harvest is the holy day most associated to Korg. Representing the mid-point in most harvest schedules, it also marks the preparation for the coming winter. Fairs, markets, jousting and vigorous travel dominate the season, and most of the great feasts in rural areas are held at this time.
13th of Shorn : “Festival of Chestnuts” : A harvest festival important only in the Mage Isles, where the nation’s nuts are gathered.
16th of Shorn : “Festival of Harvest’s Crossing” : Traditionally one of the last days of harvest, it is a day of markets and fairs, and marks many nobles travelling to their extended clan’s holdings before winter. Most general merchants and craftsmen close for the day, and many servants are given the day to indulge themselves.
19th of Shorn : “Festival of Wine” : A festival during which households and inns prepare house ales and wines for the coming seasons, often breaking old casks and kegs of last year’s brewing to make room. Some consider it a holy day for followers of Ohmar, but this is not officially sanctioned.
4th of Uktar : “Festival of Nobles” : A day similar to Coronation Day, the Festival of Nobles is held only in the Forest Kingdom, with the knights and nobles of the realm honoring the monarchy of the realm. Jousts in Seville are held to determine the Champion of the Realm, the winner of which is knighted on the field, if they do not hold a title, or given an increase or grant of lands in the name of the Crown, if they do. The winner of the competition is usually also made a member of the Knights of the Stag, a knightly order dedicated to the Crown and their protection.
15th of Uktar : “Taxation Day” : Considered among the last days of travel, this is the time during which all taxes, all rents and fees must be paid. The Sheriffs of the realm travel extensively after this period, though within a ten-day the ground and all rivers and streams begin to freeze over. Many travel to Seville and conduct their business on this day, to prepare for the Maker’s Morn the following day.
16th of Uktar : “The Maker’s Morn” : Marking the morning when forces first laid siege to the northern towns of Citadel and Starfall in the Barony of Archenshield, the celebration is held in Seville. In the dawning light of the sunrise, every citizen makes as much noise as they can using pots, shields and musical instruments to waken the town to the danger that was rising in the north, known as the “Dawn Clamour”. It is often also a time for the local militia to gather and march through the town, displaying their martial prowess in games and competitions through the day. Not a day for jousting, its high point is the Grand Melee, where bands of men attempt to become the Champion of the Grand Melee, which often includes a grant of armor and the title (and lands) of Yeoman in the Royal Household.
18th of Uktar : “Festival of Ancestors” : Also known as the “Dance of Bones”, it is a night festival held to honor the ancestors of all clans, and what they have done for their families. Garish costumes and masks are common, and balls are often held among the nobles, during which dancing is important, as the ancestors are believed to visit the celebrations. Candles hold a special significance at such events, and each guest keeps themselves close to a flame throughout the night. Many consider the night special to followers of Neroth, but this is not officially sanctioned.
14th of Echos : “Festival of Swords” : A day of celebration in Seville, commemorating the day when the Warduke broke the siege of the northern wall of the city, and chased away the Tauri army that had invaded the realm in TR 993. Traditionally the city decorates itself in red and green banners. At highsun, the town stops for a minute of silence, with the town’s gate horns the only sound, and then processions begin travelling through the town streets, each group sporting drums and horns where they compete against each other to determine the loudest, where they join the winners. This continues until dusk, when they all gather in one final competition before the northern Black Gate, where they halt and spend the rest of the night in feasting and revelry.
30th of Echos : “Festival of the Bells of Fate” : At midnight, all communities ring their bells or blow their horns for a full minute, often to the unexpected shower of stars in the heavens. Stars that fall to earth at this time are considered an ill omen, but are found on occasion by wanderers risking their souls in the chance of finding one, since they also bring fell powers. This festival leads immediately into the “Night of Darkness”.