THE ILLUMIN CALENDAR
The Empire reckons via the Imperial Calendar, via Anno Nicosa — years since the formation of the Empire under Emperor Nicosa. Under this system, it is currently AN 410. The Illumin calendar has four seasons, each of which has 90 days: Spring (corresponding to our March, April, and May), Summer (June, July, August), Autumn (September, October, November), and Winter (December, January, February). Sometimes people will speak of “early Spring” or “Summer’s heart” or “late Autumn” to indicate a specific portion of a season. At the end of Summer, the Illumin calendar has a 5-day week called Midyear, which is generally considered a holiday. In Alberia, this is a week for a grand festival. In hardworking towns and outer provinces, it is usually a week for markets, trades, and carnivals or festivals. Every fourth year, the calendar adds one day to the very end of the year (at the end of winter). This day is called Hex Day and is considered highly inauspicious. Most townspeople avoid doing business on this day, and it is considered a sign of ill luck to be born on this day. The Illumin day is divided into offices, each of which typically measures about two hours. Pre-dawn and dawn (our 5 AM-7 AM) mark the first office. Thus, the day then proceeds to second office (7 AM-9 AM), third office (9 AM-11 AM), fourth office (11 AM-1 PM), fifth office (1 PM-3 PM), sixth office (3 PM-5 PM), seventh office (5 PM-7 PM), and eighth office (7 PM-9 PM). The nighttime is usually not divided by offices, as it is assumed that people of good character will be asleep. Of course, this simply means that most scoundrels and dissolute nobles have taken to referring to “late evening,” “midnight,” or “early dark” to reference times of night when they might be creeping about.
THE IKHTEN CALENDAR
The Ikhten have an old calendar that has fallen largely into disuse, though the Ikhten council’s policy of promoting hieroglyphs and traditional culture have brought this back into some repute. The Ikhten calendar is divided into six chambers; each chamber of 61 days references the characteristics of the weather and the farm season. Thus, the chambers are Frost (our December and January), Mist (our February and March), Flood (our April and May), Fire (our June and July), Marsh (our August and September), and Dark (our October and November). The chamber of Dark has only 60 days, though once every 24 years a correction adds one day to each chamber. Ikhten time recons the day in four-hour blocks: morning (7 AM-11 AM), midday (11 AM-3 PM), late day (3 PM-7 PM), evening (7 PM-11 PM), ghosting (11 PM-3 AM) and dawning (3 AM-7 AM). Usually, Ikhten are not especially precise about time within these blocks. It is not uncommon for one to speak of plans in vague, broad terms such as “I shall join you for a meal in midday,” which could be any time near the sun’s peak. Some sun acolytes use sundials to track time a bit more rigorously, but there is no strong cultural predilection for punctuality.
The Verrakans use the Illumin calendar, but they have made a few changes of their own. First, the Artificer’s Guild has started to spread the use of clocks. Though gear-and-spring clocks are in their infancy, they are considered marks of prestige and wealth. Thus, the use of clocks has allowed the Verrakans to measure time in distinct hours, and to subdivide their days appropriately. Second, while the Verrakans still use the Illumin calendar year, they have taken Hex Day as a day of special activity. To the Verrakans, Hex Day is a day when tradition is turned on its head. All manner of scoundrelly and questionable behavior goes on. This is a day for pranks and practical jokes. Many scalawags have taken to wearing masks on Hex Day and using it as a day for petty retribution, larceny, or simply to cause mischief.
Since the Culberrans don’t have clocks and don’t need a highly accurate calendar, their reckoning of time is similar to the Illumin. The druids track the passage of seasons, and keep specific dates computed through their standing stones: equinoxes and solstices are especially celebrated.
Like the Illumin from whom they branched off, the Bechans use the Nicosan calendar. They have, however, started to import clocks from Verrakis, leading to higher precision and the hour-by-hour measuring of the day. Bechans are extremely superstitious about Hex Day and almost always stay inside, with either a horseshoe over the door, an iron nail or spike hammered into the door, or a sprig of holly hanging over the jamb. Similarly, the stoic Bechans do not consider midyear a time of celebration, but rather a time to soberly reflect on the prior issues of the year and the upcoming hurdles of the second half. It is a time when Bechans trade gifts to show their appreciation for members of the community, but also when they settle grudges.
Who knows what these savages are doing? Some explorers from Verrakis claim that deep in the jungle ruins they have seen massive stone structures and specialized astrological charts carved into cliff faces, designed to measure the passage of seasons and the movement of the heavens, but if so, how come most of the Aswahi are barely-literate barbarians?