Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Calendar

In Teleleli, and the surrounding towns, the year is measured from the supposed time of the city's founding.

The Telelelene year ends on Crones-Night, the mid-winter darkened moon (the opposite of a full moon). The cold (by Telelelene standards) and the long, dark night, mean it is considered the 'low point' of the year. The next clear night, when the new moon can be seen, is considered the start of more pleasant weather, and is a time of celebration.

Telelelenes generally consider months to begin with a new moon, and end with a darkened moon, rather than having a set number of days.

The exception is the monsoon, a season of almost continuous heat and rain, which runs for roughly three or four months, during which no moon can be seen.

The calendar runs thus:

NameDescriptionNotable Holidays
Young MoonThe final month of Telelelene winter.First New Moon (first clear night after Crones-Night)
Worm Moon or Crow MoonThe month in which the ground-worms (and some other creatures) end their winter hibernation, and migratory birds return.Return of the Bell
Pink Moon or Walking MoonThat full moon which appears lowest in the sky.
Flower Moon (sometimes Rabbit's Moon)The month which sees the flowering of various plants and herbs, notably the cherry blossom, which only flowers for a few weeks every year. It is said that the falling of the cherry blossom, which lasts roughly a week, is the best time to work magic relating to convincing others to kill themselves in despair.
Thunder MoonThe last time a full moon can be seen before the monsoon.Lost Saturday and Don't Talk Like A Pirate Day
MonsoonSome three or four months/moons in length.Marriage Day
Red Moon, Lightning Moon or Dog MoonThe first time a full moon can be seen after the monsoon.New Eyepatch Day
Corn Moon, Harvest Moon or Barley MoonThat full moon which appears highest in the sky.
Hunter's Moon or Beaver's MoonThat full moon which appears smallest in the sky.
Oak Moon or Cold MoonThe onset of the brief and mild Telelelene winter.
Old Moon or Wolf MoonThe second moon of winter.

Some Moons may be combined, or not occur at all, in particular years.

The Old Moon only occurs every four or five years. Whether it does or not, there might be some cloudy days between the last month of the year, and the start of Young Moon. These days are not considered to be part of either year. They are a time for spiteful pranks and revenge under cover of darkness.

In many years the Pink Moon will occur at the same time as either the Worm Moon or the Flower Moon.

Likewise the Corn Moon and Hunter's Moon often occur at the same time.

On the rare occasions when a Thunder Moon is mis-named, and another full moon appears before the monsoon, that moon is called the Cunning Moon.

The major holidays are as follows:

Don't Talk Like A Pirate Day: On this day pirates imitate the nobility, prominading in their best clothes and buying presents. The festival arose because the time before the monsoon is a time of unusually rough and treacherous seas. Thus sailors are traditionally in port, spending time with friends and family.

New Eyepatch Day: On this day the priests of the sea god Numen Mari parade through the streets, giving out free eyepatches.

Many sailors, whether law-abiding or pirates, wear eyepatches. They believe that using only one eye strengthens it. They will usually move their patch to the other eye once a month - traditionally on the full, or 'open' moon (the Moon is believed to be the eye of a female giant, which opens and closes over the course of a month). This practice also has the virtue that the sailor who goes below decks does not need to wait for their eyes to adjust to the darkness. They need only move the eyepatch to the other eye, and open the eye previously covered.

A successful captain might have an eyepatch for each day of the week, each studded with a different precious stone. Poor sailors might only get a new eyepatch once a year, on New Eyepatch Day.

Corpses of the priests of Numen Mari are preserved and turned into sacred puppets, with strings made from rope that has been used on board ship. Rope from ships which have sunk are particularly valued. Drowned corpses which wash onto the beach may be bought by the temple, and initiated as priests to be turned into puppets. The living priests manipulate these puppets on the New Eyepatch Day parade, and in certain other, more solemn ceremonies.

The puppets are filled with sawdust. The most holy priests have their mouths filled with semi-precious stones. As they parade through the streets the stones dribble from their mouths - this is said to symbolise the value of their preaching (although some say that this is secretly a representation of the jewels said to be set in the Sky-Skull).

Return of the Bell: This day commemorates the recovery of the bell of the Temple of the Crone. A replica of the bell is paraded through the streets, ending at the Temple where a feast takes place. The previous week is known among members of this religion as The Loss of the Bell, and is a solemn occasion of fasting and lamentation, not marked by the general population of the city.

Note that the impious continue to whisper that the bell was never recovered, but that the senior priests caused a new one to be forged in order to keep this knowledge from the faithful.

Lost Saturday: A carnival marking the last summer days before the monsoon. On this day queens (female talking cats) can court toms (males).

Marriage Day: Observed only by the Shallow Ones. It is held on the first rain of the monsoon season.

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