Canno: The Global Strategic Calendar

hi, readers! It’s been quiet for a little while here. I’ve been working on a great deal behind the scenes for Sword of the Outsider. Today, though, I decided to take an hour to run through and clean up an article from my archives that I’ve never posted before. Thus I present to you, the GSC! A world of its own deserves a calendar of its own, don’t you think? Well, deserved or not, this is the one I devised for Canno!

A small reader advisory: I wrote up this document to guide my own writing throughout the Necromancer’s Vengeance series. It entered life as a technical rather than poetic piece, and that surely shows in the early paragraphs. I’ve done some work to liven it up, but some of its wording remains dry and textbook-y. Hopefully the flavor of the months themselves will make it worth the trip. We begin below the asterisks!

***

As suggested by its name, the Global Strategic Calendar was developed during the Age of Splendors to enable greater coordination against the periodic extra-planar threats and other difficulties which sometimes found Canno’s peoples. It proved no help at all during the Loar War, where the locals were too scattered to bother coordinating offensives by the time they could launch them. Unlike many of its makers, the GSC has survived to allow consistent timekeeping across Canno.

The Cannoan year consists of 430.7 Cannoan days. Rather than add a 431st day every second year, the Calendar’s creators—specifically, Naiboran high command—decided to aggregate the extra days every ten years. This created the 437-day Heel-Dragging Year. This was decided on the grounds that it simplified accounting for the extra partial day without pushing it to such a long duration that it would be easy to forget it existed.

The seven days became a national holiday in Naibora, a custom which spread immediately to most of Anseth. It found equal favor in Hest and the Torkan Free States. Most Ceslonian countries took their cue from Stoßdär, where the first three days were marked as holidays and work days on the other four ended after 12:00.

After this, Canno’s other lands and peoples all came to use the calendar sooner or later out of simple pressure.

The Cannoan day is, sensibly enough, broken up into 20 individual hours—lesyeg, in Kiwodan. Since Kiwodan sailors had always relied on highly accurate timekeeping to map out and sail many shallow water routes which were only navigable at certain times of day. Along with their highly-advanced ship design, this gave them an early edge on shipping speed. Come the Age of Splendors, it meant that they contributed much to the GSC from a stock of longstanding Kiwodan words and concepts.

Each lesyeg is broken into exactly one hundred Cannoan minutes apiece, called osal. These minutes run slightly longer than an Earth minute—1.08 times longer. Each subdivides into ten sepas each equal to about 10.8 seconds. The old Empire of the Southern Seal deemed this more useful than the smaller units popular in nations like Ulm—a sepa contains time for someone to perform a sequence of actions rather than just one. Regardless any one person’s agreement or disagreement with that logic, the GSC and its associated push for a global time scale were Naibora’s brainchild, so it was only fair that they contribute a basic unit of time in their turn.

Canno’s year, or orbital period if one prefers, equals about 1.77 Earth years. While Canno’s people circa 1295 V.R. are unaware of other worlds and how long their years run—though scholars have inferred a great deal from the lore that survives about the Loar invasion—they do have an underlying feeling that a Cannoan year is a long, long time to treat as an unbroken whole. The ages of people are thus further divided into semesters equivalent to .885 Earth years.

The calendar features ten months of twenty-nine days each, and four thirty-five day Bracer Months calculated based on the most feverish periods of seasonal change within the kingdom of Naibora—specifically the seasonal changes in the land around its capital, Immeasurable Tushirsi. Naiboran High Command meant these extra days to allow broader leeway for training exercises at periods when weather was likely to severely undermine movement. Since the Loar War the Heel-Dragging Year’s have come to be doled out differently in each region, making the calendar more difficult to understand.

As a final wrinkle, the GSC is organized based on the inverse of the Ansethi seasons as they’d previously been organized because just about every Naiboran-allied nation was located well into the northern hemisphere whereas Anseth is located entirely within the southern hemisphere. Naiboran high command saw no disadvantages in this: they hoped that, at a stroke, it would create feelings of connection between themselves and the northern powers, and make the “lesser” nations of Anseth feel shut off the global stage.

For their part most Anseth’s other nations, including close neighbors like Chuth to the south and Kedla to the west, saw Naibora as an age-old imperial oppressor—an attitude that abated only briefly after the Loar War before Naibora’s own re-expansion rekindled it.

The Grast remained prickly towards Naibora throughout the Age of Splendors, keeping the rest of Taifen in line with their own goals, and the myriad nations of the Shards and the Coyetta Republic primarily hoped to be left alone. Naiboran mythology from two or perhaps three eras before the Age of Splendors also holds that the world began in fire and will end in fire. Since the Loar War, Naiborans of a philosophical bent feel it’s all too appropriate that the years now begin and end in summer.

The months of the Global Strategic Calendar are as follows:

Shonsye (Bracer Month): the last month of the Ansethi summer. It’s thus the final month of winter in the northern hemisphere, and the year’s first Bracer Month.
            Naiboran High Command decided that starting the year just before the northern spring would make planning easiest. The month is named for a fabled mage-king reputed to have lived long before the Age of Splendors. Shonsye has been credited with many arcane feats. Research disproved some of the more outlandish, such as the belief that he crafted the Crystalline Conclave. It is known that many of his arcane principles were still in use even by Morsibrand and his peers in the Age of Splendors. Morsibrand himself refers to Shonsye in his magnum opus, A Poor Attempt at the Arcane.
Otherwise, Shonsye is supposed to have come to power through working with the Scrivenous Cabal. No one has ever determined who or what this name refers to.

Ketu-Chay: the first month of the Ansethi fall. Its name comes from Naiboran and translates roughly to “grasses riot”—referring not to fall itself, but to the many young lovers who sneak off into the underbrush to “appreciate nature” as temperatures mellow and wildlife becomes less likely to interfere. Ketu-Chay is known for being an especially rainy month near Tushirsi, which does nothing to reduce the jokes.

Fliegstrei: a Schwarzhafener term dating deep into prehistory’s murk. It’s believed to refer to a war—perhaps apocryphal—glimpsed by an ancient seer in which “flying ships” unleashed hellish barrages against each other. In the Age of Splendors, it also came to refer to the Black Haveners’ tendency of holing up in the Havens proper and sending aggressive aerial raids to destroy invaders as they attempted to advance during the spring thaw.

Thair Onach (Bracer Month): the second Bracer Month marking the end of the Ansethi fall and first few days of winter. Derived from ancient Ulmish words which meant something along the lines of “Trickster’s Tide” or “Tide of Tricksters”—the phrase is so old that the Ulmish themselves had forgotten which word was which by the time the GSC was devised—this marks the utmost depth of the southern fall and, mirroring it, the height of the northern spring. The modern Ulmish have come to regard the month with considerable superstition, believing that it’s the month when the disgruntled dead have the most power to escape the afterlife and toy with their mortal descendants.

Anunkad: The first month of the Ansethi winter. A Sibyan naming word which translates roughly to something like “Blades Unbounded”. Thus they branded a nightmarish event that transpired during the Loar War. While the Sibyan themselves found it so traumatic they have erased any records of it, poets and horror writers throughout the ages have indulged themselves in musings about what the Sibyan might’ve witnessed—what dire visions they could only expel by crafting a naming word to seal them inside.

This name was naturally given to the month after the Loar War, replacing the original “Werabanye” as suggested by the Kiwodan protectorate of Beles in the Shards. “Werabanye” refers to the feeling of tranquil contemplation inspired by a foggy dawn which is just clear enough to let the rising sun glint on the waves beneath the mist.

Keeak: the second month of the Ansethi winter, its name a reasonable Shieldtongue adaptation of the Veeth word for “sun oppresses.” So they name the equatorial Taifen summer: a famously miserable season even for species well-built to face the heat. It’s well to remember that unlike the arjoth, whose body chemistry benefits greatly from heightened temperatures, and humans and ilbaret who have both the ability to sweat and the more favorable mass-to-surface ratio of a primate physique to disperse heat, the veeth are preybirds covered in large amounts of plumage.

Emtith: the third month of the Ansethi winter, and historically the coldest before shifting ocean currents—themselves aggravated by Canno’s rising temperature—brought warmer waters and warmer winds south to create the comparatively mild final month. The Loar War so mangled Canno’s landscapes and climate that these currents no longer exist, and the old chill is fiercer yet. Anseth has now become the coldest continent, with freezing waters streaming northward along its coasts from the White Nothing.
            Emtith is peculiar not just among the months of the Global Strategic Calendar, but Cannoan languages in general; its mix of consonants and vowels doesn’t quite suit any known tongue, nor can any sage find records of its meaning.

Bantchas (Bracer Month): the name of Naibora’s oldest fertility goddess. None know why she disappeared from Canno prior to the Loar War, nor why her worshippers so swiftly ceased trying to call her back. Some speculate that the march of technology and increasing understanding of human reproduction over the ages—knowledge that grew more solid even as civilizations rose and fell—simply made it impossible to offer serious worship to such a deity, no matter how kind and motherly she may have been.
            This answer has too many holes to bother counting, and only the most cynical scholars treat it as a serious answer. Regardless, this Bracer-Month marks the end of the Ansethi winter, and start of its brief spring.

Downfall: this Shieldtongue name replaces the original choice of Thayet: a choice derived from Thunek, the Hestite god of rulership and history. It’s the second month of spring in the south and fall in the northern hemisphere. The varied tribes and little countries of Hest have a shared love of fall as the best season for scholars. In the Age of Splendors Hest’s deserts weren’t deserts at all, but a verdant land crossed by many rivers, full of ancient sites easier to excavate in the cooler temperatures.

The Hestite Concord’s representatives argued that it was appropriate, indeed auspicious, to grant Thunek’s blessing to this month in the calendar—itself a historic event. The GSC’s other contributors, swayed by their passion, agreed.

The Loar arrived in this month. In the end even Thunek himself joined their victims: so weakened by the loss of history and worshippers alike that he faded from godhood. He became but a forlorn spirit—seen now and then silhouetted between the skeletal tumbles and rib-like protrusions of fallen towers and dead cities, a hazy and crownless wanderer veiled by the shifting sands and ashes of the Hestite desert. In remembrance both of the lost god and the War which reshaped Canno forever, Downfall received its new name.

Selaben: a Kiwodan word meaning “storming days”, for in the Age of Splendors this was the month when the warm waters from the north often became most active. The Ansethi spring thus passed through to summer in typhoons and chaos. Since the Loar War the name no longer refers to anything meaningful, survives only as a matter of legacy.

Tessalosh (Bracer Month): an ilbaret naming word translating roughly to “walk the waves.” It comes from to the pre-Loar War climate when the northernmost waters around Ilbara became so frigid that icebergs drifting down from Van’s Cap would persist long enough to cluster in the narrow archipelago between Ilbara and Ceslon. Ilbaret mages were able to establish force-bridges along these icebergs in denser years, though as of the Age of Splendors this practice faced steepening regulation due to the risks it posed for shipping.
            This Bracer Month marks the end of the Ansethi spring and the northern fall.

Kulratechla: this word comes from the culture of the now-extinct Nochtle, a species who could not readily be identified as mammals, reptiles, insects, or any of the other animal orders now present on Canno. Sophisticated and empathic, the Nochtle were mediators of conflict in general and especially adept at working out compromises in religious feuds.
            It’s no longer known what “Kulratechla” means except that it promised great change. The Nochtle’s ruins persist throughout the off-kilter lands now known as The Between, just as they have since the Loar finished exterminating the stubborn species, but contemporary visitors are more interested in looting than linguistics.

Aboseyl: once again named for a historical figure. Aboseyl was a Nikalan expatriate famous for serving in every army then active on Canno during his lifetime. At any rate, he served in more of them than anyone else since. He used the knowledge he gained to turn Nikal into a military superpower upon his homecoming. For a brief period his people, under his leadership, challenged Naibora as the hereditary unifiers of the Ansethi continent.
            His sons proved unworthy of him. Their feuding allowed Tushirsi’s dynasties to reclaim their crowns. It’s not a coincidence that Aboseyl’s name marks this middle part of summer; it serves as a warning to the ambitious that every sun must sooner or later set.

Makyewarimakye: an intentionally-repetitive word from the Koshel tribe of the Shards. The Koshel migrate every ten years to ensure they do not become stagnant in their ways. The month of Makye’s syllables may appear to represent component words, but in truth they have only one translation, and that as a whole: “As on the first day”.
            This refers to the Koshel tribe’s creation myths, which hold that the world emerged from storms and shall return to them when the Koshel find the right gateway and pass through it. This, they say, shall undo its stagnation, and the cycle shall begin anew.
            Naibora’s leaders in the Age of Splendors appreciated the synchronicity, though Naiboran mythology’s “end in fire” is understood to be a permanent one. It’s considered acceptable to shorten the month-name to just “Makye” for ease of writing. Regardless, “Makyewarimakye” was deemed an excellent way to link one year’s end with the start of the next.

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