The birthday in Al’terra is not marked in the same way that we would take note of such a thing - with parties and gifts and things - but in a rather more quiet and dignified manner. A typical birthday would involve giving the recipient a cup of tea, formal or informal, and a book. Some books go with certain ages: The Laws and History of Al’terra at age 16, The Gilied at age 20, and Readings of Eastern Shores at age 30.
In this way, birthdays aren’t remarked on nearly as much. after all, why are they so important to us?
There is an Al’terrian calendar in my room and as we are at the beginning of the year, we have reached the first birthday on that calendar - all the escapees are marked on there and major non-escapee characters. Today is the birthday of our beloved Queen Cyrus, whom is intelligent and wise and stunning and a very good Queen to Al’terra for her very short reign. Long live the Queen!
Archaeologists might not be the right word, because the Al’terrians can get a bit….hoarder….at least of important things. Museums have sprouted up (especially with a lot of temples not being used) all over the place and are pretty specific. For instance, there is one specifically devoted to local geology near where Kite grew up (she lived in Stone Corner. I see the irony, maybe she did too). Anything of historical importance is kept, preserved, and displayed as knowledge for all to see. Anything you would deem ‘archaeology’ such as the digging up of remains and finding ancient jewellery, would be of other culture besides Al’terra. In the past, the Pride has done just this but since this long period of peace, they’ve more or less decided to hole-up on the Board and write a lot of theoretical type stuff.
There are a lot of museums. Museums on art, and pens, and feathers, and glass bottles, and medicinal types, and rook pieces, and fruit, and orthography.
Thank you so much for the question! Al’terra is so much fun to be in and around :)
Perhaps you thought that given an apparent lack of mention, stars had no factored into my world building, especially considering I’m not an astronomer. The joke is on you as I did lay out stars a long while ago!
When I was first laying out Al’terra and deciding on the importance of readers and reading, I didn’t want to throw away the concepts of star reading, zodiac, palm reading, tarot cards, and crystal reading as they all fascinate me. I also realized that while star reading is cool, I needed to remain accurate so I sat down with my Earth Planisphere and started mapping.
There are two general hemispheres of stars (so to call them Al’terrian stars is as foolish as saying French Stars) and what Al’terra sees is the ‘Southern Hemisphere’ set (I say this hesitantly because I can’t find any of my star references in my manuscripts so I’m going a few mental clues). The easily identifiable star, seen all year round is ‘the bright southern star’ but no one but the tincane would know that name. It’s just ‘the bright star’. You are correcting in guessing constellations are feline, such as ‘the tiger’ and ‘the running cat’ and ‘the fangs’. However there are a lot of constellations, so here are a sample: ‘the glade cluster’, ‘the mist’, ‘the broken spine’, ‘the hull’, ‘the crow and the butterfly’, and ‘the feather’. There are also some well known and quite visible stars such as Annoch, Ebrius, Keppa, and Vrent.
Certainly there are legends behind most of these that I haven’t written yet, but this one I do know. When the nine gods walked Al’terra and eventually left the earth to dwell in paradise, they left behind many blessings to the people of Al’terra and Galeez: intelligence, knowledge, the ability to learn, logic, reason, and so forth. They also left behind six curses to test the people, not as punishment but as a struggle to remind them of their own mortality and the importance of life. These are, in no particular order except that which I remember first, fire, water, forgetting (amnesia), rent souls (lose of soul as opposed to life), dragga, and trap (better known as claustrophobia). These six constellations dwell in the southern hemisphere, and also make up a lot of the curses, as you can hear particularly in Damien’s use of language, as he tends to curse by fire and water.
The stars perform in a way similar to that of earth: the earth rotates while the stars remain fixed (relatively). I’m sure you who asked the question, who I happen to know is my best friend and an astronomer himself, would have a thing to say about it but for the purposes of world building it’s a safe assumption. Some worlds have the stars move in order to give signs, and I don’t feel like breaking too many laws of physics in my work, so I will make the assumption.
How stars are used to tell future over people is perhaps a bit different. The entire globes of visible stars rotates through a person’s life independently to what’s going on in the sky, and even independently of what actual constellations belong near each other. A reader will gauge how they are moving and what forces are cast over a person and discern from there. It’s a bit tricky. Timethy has a theoretical knowledge of stars while Sam has a much more practical one.
Al’terrian tincane haven’t shown a lot of interest in the stars or sky: cats are pretty earth bound creatures. Perhaps the Septavians would have more to say. I don’t think they care too much about movements or outer space, or any of that, unless it proves useful or effective, and besides constellations shedding some light on the future as a reader, it really hasn’t been.
Which isn’t to say the stars aren’t awesome, it’s just the tincane are a rather left-brained and practical sort of bunch in their research. They do not differ form normal people, insofar as they enjoy star appearances and perhaps think on them, but their interest has never been academic.
I hope that answers your questions. Thank you so much for asking, me and the characters absolutely love questions and comments and silly pictures :)
School is back and actually it’s been back for quite a while for me and while I love Al’terra and its people dearly, I have rediscovered my love of text based role play and I’ve decided to take that up for a time. So I don’t become an insomniac - much to your chagrin and mine - I’m going reduce posting frequency to requests and pictures of interest unless I get some written inspiration.
So I’m not going anywhere, just focusing a bit of my energy elsewhere. Feel free to send the characters questions and me questions and funny messages and pictures. I’ll be here!
You can’t take this trope in the literal sense as described by TvTropes. It just doesn’t work, they’re talking specifically about game play. However, it is close enough that we can bring to light some relevant Al’terrian thoughts.
Al’terra has some pretty demonic spiders.
Al’terrian spiders of the most fearsome sort are called Dragga (drajja in Al’terrian) and singularly are tarantulas about the size of the hand with large double wings. They don’t function like normal spiders, rather like hymenoptera (social insects: bees, ants etc) and move in groups and colonies in hive like mentality. When they find prey, they easily over take and devour it, most active at dusk and dawn.
Though there is an antidote, it’s hard to find one for the strength of the venom of the dragga, fatal within minutes. So feared are these creatures, found mainly in woody areas, that they are listed as part of the six curses.
In TCM3, as part of the touching of the curses, we see Rob unable to defend himself and Timethy forced to reverse time to save him. Pretty insane.
Pride (also known as ‘the Pride’ or ‘Prideful’): The socially elite class that remain in the centre of the city, carefully guarded and enclosed. They are allowed to leave the city but most do not. Their city is divided into male and female parts, but the majority of both genders study abstract concepts of life and philosophy called the tincane (scholars). Since knowledge is considered power, they are some of the most powerful people in the world. Formally, when the world fought more wars, they were the adventurers and practical scientists. Another group of people are fighters and adventurers who do the bidding of various councils and orders for battles, diplomatic missions, or shows of power. They used to be leading generals in armies. They are known as Jin-Tï warriors and they physically manipulate the chess board as well use what they do to change other people’s outcomes. Warriors feel the chessboard in them and control the moves by their actions in the physical realm. A third group of people is dedicated to the study and use of magic. They are known as fvïya. They use and gain magic of their own or other use. Part of it includes manipulating the chess board for very different outcomes. They can use their chess board to influence the world around them (super natural). In Tantus, the smartest, most brilliant of all the Pride live and work here. Children of the Pride run wild until the age of five when they enter school to learn all the basic skills. At age 16, they are apprenticed to the role that fits them best. As apprentices, they are not allowed to love and must learn to control their hormones. The Pride controls the common government system.
Privileged: A previously unofficial class of full adults in the outside part of the city with jobs that give them authority or power, such as government officials, wealthy business men, or those in the law. Middle class or Privileged work as high class servants for the Pride.
Commonality: Everyone else is society.
A few notes about how this is relevant to the story. All of the escapees, except for Olivia, are born common. There is minor distinctions within being common which have to do with a bit of your dress and mannerisms, what you’ve read in your life, your hair style, and the length of your name. Kite Durand is a low birth name but she has more reading experience than those of her birth. Nicki ‘Mianna is mildly better, Rob Mentra about on par. Timethy is a Pride name on a common boy (arguable, he’s about half Galeez we think).
But what about out friends who have reason to the rank of Pride? Olivia becomes tincane and a studies tigers for a living. Go figure. Rob? Tincane too, but who knows exactly what he studies? And Timethy, who is Jin-Ti and while we see a bit of skill in his weapon training, we actually get a glimpse into his ability to use chess to change reality. If you don’t remember this, in book 3 while Rob is pretty much dying, he sits down to play chess which ends up reversing time and bringing him the antidote to save Rob, who alone knows what happened. Pretty wickid. Cyrus is raised tincane but I suspect she knows a great many more things. And the Jay, really the only fviya we meet (fviya actually has an i with a double dot but that formatting is hard to find/time consuming so I generally using a normal i) and we know he studies reading and probably things related to sight. But I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the chracters and they’ll tell you about class experience and their Pride work?