Language, People & Places of Darbas

This is a lengthy and growing page.  To speed your search, use CTRL F  (Windows) or ⌘ F  (Mac) to open a “Search on this page” box  in your browser. The alphabet links below also will  jump to the selected section. A glossary for translations of Mullaqat language appears on this page. 


Above the Ring: In Sidon slang, a term signifying a “new-money” kind of wealth and power. Based on addresses located uphill from Ring Street in the Sidon Heights District of South Sidon Ward.

A’Heayde: Old Clydish for “The Lady.”

A’Hurance: Old Clydish for “The Furnace,” Name of a secret Frihite ceremonial circle established by Clan Kade in Cerdwyn, the provincial capital of Llyr. 

Al Ath: A small desert settlement built around the massive surface ruins above an underground complex located just west of Gwynyr in the northern Mullaqat Wastes. Also known as the “City of the Dead” (Caedhyr na Marbyr in Old Clydish). Al Ath is the site of a dhrae reactor from a previous continuity that escaped containment. It is generally believed that the higher-than-usual density of dhrae in Gwynyr and its western environs is the result of the continuing “spindle of dhrae” created by the runaway generator.

amanboku: The Mullaqat martial art.

Amarynth: An Old Path religious order in Gwynyr, typically considered the most politically powerful and socially/culturally elite order in the highland nation. 

Anayat County: A coastal county in Dutan on Darbas, it borders Duma County to the west, Tanu County to the south, and the city of Cossakun to the east. Anayat is the oldest county in Dutan, and the site of the earliest DuQaddic settlement on the continent. It is considered one of the three (or four, depending) Home Counties of Dutan. 

Anker Caste: The highest caste within the Order of Amarynth.

arendhrae: An Okori word that translates roughly to “cohesion” or “alignment,” it can also be translated as one of several technical terms describing what we genetically call “consciousness.” Arendhrae is the root of the antonyms “dhrae” and “orendae.” While dhrae and orendae are typically defined as “creative energy” and “chaos energy” respectively, strictly speaking, neither is an “energy” in the classical sense, in that neither can be employed to do physical work. Rather, arendhrae refers to a common field that underlies the observable world. When portions of that field are flowing in various states of coherent alignment, disconnected creative potentials within the arendhrae field can be drawn temporarily into that coherence. Attempts to overtax the natural balance between coherent arendhrae (dhrae) and incoherent arendhrae (the field’s natural resting state) are experienced as orendae — a chaotic, irritating, painful disruption of consciousness.

Armormen: The Llyrian heroes of Darbas’ victorious Gheraldic War in 259 p.e.. 

Army of Dutan: The only standing army on Lowland Darbas not commanded by the Gheraldic Empire in 1100 p.e. Headquartered at Fort Ustaruk, Ta Nupa District, Dutan.

Arnell: Capital city of the Gheraldic Empire.

Arx Syrib Maigdh dena Baedna: Old Clydish term meaning “High Servant Mistress of the Goddess.” This is the formal title of the woman commonly referred to as The Maig, the highest ranking priestess of the Old Path religion.

Arx Temple: The temple complex in Beltan’s Holy Quarter occupied by The Maig and her staff, including the training facility that prepares young women for priestess duties. Formally “A’ Arx Temple de Naio Rhoanne.” The current iteration of the Temple was built atop the original during the reign of Lady Rhoanne, founder of the Sacred Line of hereditary Ladies of Gwynyr, and has expanded to include educational facilities for all aspiring Old Path priestesses, regardless of House or Order.

Azulade: One of several words meaning “blessed” in DuQaddic, it references the DuQaddic Church’s controversial and coveted “Census of Azulade Properties.” In colloquial DuQaddic, “Azulade” means “aristocrat,” in the sense that the stewards of Azulade Properties are essentially Church-sanctioned aristocrats, “Blessed Families.”

Azulade Properties, Census of: As the only entity that may legally own land in Dutan, The One Church (Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula) collects a pass-through percentage of every standard real-estate transaction, limits property ownership to believers (DuGuji), and maintains a list of Dutan’s most valuable properties (“The Census of Azulade Properties”) for “stewardship” by Church-selected “Blessed Families.” To be offered stewardship of an Azulade Property is to join the DuQaddic version of the landed gentry.

Baedna: “Goddess” in Old Clydish.

Bal’a’Blos: A legendary underground library, established by members of a technologically advanced previous Continuity. Bal’a’Blos is located west of Al Ath in the Mullaqat Wastes west of the Gwynyrian escarpment, and inhabited by a strange group of people called the Qatfablos. Millennia before the events in The Darbas Cycle, the Qatfablos — with assistance from the Mullaqat — recruited the Old Path Calpathian Clydes of Central Gnia to emigrate to the continent of Darbas. Since this historical event, the Old Path priestesses of Gwynyr have projected and sustained a psychic field around the entrance to the subterranean complex that renders it effectively unobservable to most humans. 

bangi: The Mullaqwa term for marijuana.

Bangoon: An island colonized by the Gheraldic Empire.

Behjame: The Korvish prophet who brought the followers of his cult on Northwestern Gnia to Darbas in search of the underground “throne” at the Ta Nupa complex. Remembered as the first Tanu Mutan. See: Tanu Mutan.

Beltan: The capital city of Gwynyr, located on the shore of Lake Bregon.

Bhengal: A resource-rich country on the southern shores of the large continent of Gnia, it is the largest and most significant colony of the Gheraldic Empire. 

Birren Province: A Borderbelt province on northern Darbas. Originally one of the four “Home Counties” of Dutan, Birren retains its heavily DuQaddic cultural identity, but separated from Dutan after the Gheraldic Empire applied the Sulist Edict of Heresy to the DuQaddic Church. Birren borders the Dutan counties of Anayat, Tanu and Gotha to the west, Borderbelt province The Don to the south, and Clydish Edain Province and the city-state of Sidon to the east. Its largest urban areas (Cossakun, Hof, Argon and the western outskirts of Sidon) are all located on the province’s borders. This simultaneously lessens Birren’s authority while increasing Birren’s influence. Though ethnically diverse like the other Borderbelt provinces, Birren is the most ethnically and religiously DuQaddic of the bunch.

Blessed Families: An aristocratic class of DuQaddic families assigned provisional “stewardship” of Dutan’s most valuable land and properties by priests of Ta Dezveld Bezrika — with the expectation that those families will meet annual tithes to the Church, plus additional “Sacred Obligations.” Those obligations include rules about the proper treatment of the middle and lower classes, obedience to church doctrine and clergy, public propriety and piety, and the anachronistic expectation that the family will produce at least three sons. See: First Son, Second Son, Third Son.

blut: In Old Path practice, a moons observance emphasizing the opportunity for doing magical work.

Borderbelt: A term referring to an ethnically diverse area in north-central Darbas, much of which was administered by the DuQaddic Church before the Great Voice of Picthia declared DuQaddic Sulism a heresy in 910 p.e. Faced with a choice between paying a new, prohibitive tithe to the DuQaddic Church or adopting a more secular lifestyle, Birren County officially devolved from Dutan in 911 p.e. and became Birren Province in Darbas. The unincorporated area south of Birren, referred to as The Don, was never part of Dutan proper, but declared itself for Darbas in 912 p.e. The eastern portion of Lopan County in southern Dutan formally broke away to become East Lopan Province in 913 p.e. Birren and Don provinces are contiguous. East Lopan Province is not. Collectively the three provinces represent a Clydish political group that is aligned neither with the Clydelands nor Dutan. In that sense, the Borderbelt is not specifically represented on the Council of Darbas, although in practice it is aligned with the Clydish bloc. 

Borjes: One of the great cities of the Korvish-Sopkan Empire, located in northeast Central Gnia. 

Bosq: A village in the High Dollen region of Llyr Province, south of the provincial capital at Cerdwyn.

Brauden, The: A club for officers in the Army of Dutan, typically restricted to Direct Commission officers serving on active duty. The club (its name means The Brotherhood in DuQaddic) was founded by a group of young Azulade officers including Serbotus Bartelmus and his friend Dunor “Clumpy” Korkun. In 1100 p.e. those founding members who continue to serve on active duty are generals, men in positions to make the kinds of reforms they hoped as young men would modernize Dutan. So far they’ve done little with their power except build networks.

Brocktyne: A celebrated breed of draft horse in Gwynyr. 

Bunci Kuti: In the DuQaddic and Korvish traditions, a piece of wooden furniture, typically lacquered, that contains the stafi patroxi (“ghost boxes”), racea (reliquaries) and recivae (relics, typically bones and hair) of a family, tribe or group’s most significant ancestors or historical figures.

Burnach: Old Path Clydish term signifying the deepest state of consciousness.

Burnach Hool Dramrach: Old Clydish phrase meaning “the root of all mystery.” 

Calpathia: Southern port city in Central Gnia, currently part of the Empire of Korvish-Sopka.

Calpathians: A distinct race of genetically engineered humans from a technologically advanced previous Continuity. Distinguished primarily by their innate psychic abilities, secondary Calpathian traits include fine light hair, taller than average height, and irises with metallic colors, ranging from gold to bronze to silver. Calpathians were so distrusted at the end of the planet’s most technologically advanced Continuity that its members were forbidden from underground shelters and spacefaring Sky Ships as the Cosmic Hammer descended on their planet. Undeterred, the historic Calpathians built and launched hundreds of small, unmanned spaceships bearing fertilized Calpathian embryos. Only one of these robot-tended colony probes successfully established a settlement on the home planet. This settlement has been traced to the northern slope of the Bhengal Mountains. Its golden-eyed, psychic descendants are remembered as “The Dandelion Children.” Several other ethnic groups in Western Gnia, and particularly in Gherald, claim descent from Calpathian origins.

Calpathian diaspora: Specifically refers to the sacking of the port city of Calpathia in 180 b.p.e., and its aftermath. The first Calpathian settlement on the northern slope of the Bhengal Mountains in Central Gnia was abandoned in prehistoric times, with the Calpathian peoples generally moving west under pressure from proto-Sopkan raiders. By the beginning of the fifth century b.p.e., Calpathian civilization was focused on the southern shore of Central Gnia, between Bhengal and Picthia, and faced threats from traditional enemies like the Irits and Sopkans, but also competition with the Korvish. After centuries of warfare, a combined army of Sopans and Irits over-ran South Central Gnia in the summer of 180 b.p.e., and burned the capital city. Most Calpathians sought shelter in Picthia, Korva and Gherald, but a sizeable number migrated to New Calpathia and Celon Province in Darbas, where they joined in the ongoing Second Clyde-DuQaddic War, which ended in Clydish victory in 175 b.p.e. These new Clydish arrivals in Darbas were not followers of the Old Path, and their hostility toward its matriarchal system created new tension in Celon, and among Darbas Clydes in general.

capa racea: A small box, containing bones or other relics of a deceased family member, which a DuQaddic man ties to his head as a symbol of a vow that he has made to his ancestors. To “wear the capa racea” in Dutan is to swear oneself publicly to a quest. 

Ceidha, the: Another term for the Touwaithe Realm.

Celadine Heresy: The widely unpopular belief that The Mandate of Order, a fundamental building block of Gwynyrian theocracy, goes against the teachings of the Old Path. 

Celon Province: The easternmost province of Darbas, considered part of the Clydelands. Known for its whiskey, horses, and political theories.

Cerdwyn: The provincial capital of Llyr Province in Gwynyr.

Clyd the Hero: A central figure in Calpathian mythology. In the Dandelion Children origin story, Clyd was the first human born on the planet after its recovery from the Cosmic Hammer. Raised alone by an all-knowing giant, who served as his mentor and teacher, Clyd raised the first generation of Dandelion Children on Central Gnia. 

Clydes: Descendants of a nomadic Calpathian tribe that came into contact with the Tesmyn originators of the Old Path religion on Central Gnia. They were recruited by the Qatfablos for immigration to Darbas, where they have served as protectors for Bal’a’Blos and the secret resources hidden in the Gwynyrian highlands. After their surprise victory in the Gheraldic War, the Clydes of Darbas split into two distinct groups after the Clydes living in the Gwynyrian Highlands refused to sign the Treaty of Sidon (the treaty reserved certain rights for the Gheraldic Empire in exchange for the continuing recognition of Darbas’ sovereignty). During the events described in The Goddess Daughter trilogy, the Lowland Clydes are followers of the Western World’s mainstream, patriarchal Sulist religion, and have become closely allied with Gheraldic culture and authority. Considered “first among equals” on Darbas, they provide elite “Clydish regiments” that serve overseas in the empire’s Colonial Army, and have three votes on the Council of Darbas. Lowland Clydes accepted a security agreement with the Gheraldic Empire, and therefore are prohibited from funding or mustering an army on Darbas. The Clydes of Gwynyr continue to live in a matriarchal society and follow the Old Path religion. 

Clydelands: A designation indicating the three provinces of lowland Darbas (Celon, Conall Forest, and The Edain) where Sulist Clydes are the predominant ethnic group and Clydish culture dominates. Though Gwynyr is almost exclusively Clydish, it is considered a separate country, and not a part of the Clydelands. Before the Treaty of Sidon, the Clydelands also included Gwynyr and the Tamesis Coast.

Clydish Guards Regiments: The original Treaty of Sidon in 259 p.e. established the right of the “Three Peoples of Darbas” to each maintain their own independent military force, within agreed-upon limits. A subsequent amendment, however, allowed the Lowland Clydes to effectively rent their three Clydish Home Guards regiments to the overseas Gheraldic Colonial Army, headquartered in Bhengal. In return, the Gheralds agreed to protect the Clydelands with its Gheraldic Legon, headquartered in Sidon. The re-christened Clydish Guards Regiments are considered an elite fighting force, but also imperial mercenaries. First enlistments last 20 years, Clydes are not allowed to serve as officers, and no Guards unit is allowed to be stationed or deployed in Darbas.

Code of Smada: Korvish King Smada II, after suffering a catastrophic defeat during an ill-advised invasion of Sopka, was forced to retreat across the endless steppe back to his own distant borders. With few of his nobles left alive, he was forced to trust and rely upon his peasant soldiers, who repaid him with cleverness, insight, and selfless heroism during the long retreat. When they reached safety, King Smada promoted the natural leaders from the conscripted soldiery into a new professional officer corps and proclaimed the Code of Smada: Any enlisted soldier who proves himself in battle shall receive a commission, training as an officer, and a chance to advance as high as his talents allow. The Code of Smada is considered the backbone of the Korvish military system, and is often credited for the Korvish reputation as the toughest defensive fighters on the planet.

Colaeste Fionna: The Fionnan Academy at Slyden Ferry in Gwynyr, training center for the House of Fionna’s international intelligence service.

Cosmic Hammer: One of several names for the event that ended the most advanced historical continuity in the planet’s pre-history. Despite the Continuity’s advanced technologies it was incapable of preventing the disaster. The planet was bombarded by asteroid strikes over more than a decade, rendering the surface uninhabitable.


Dandelion Children, the: In Calpathian mythology, the only Calpathian survivors of the advanced Continuity that existed until the Cosmic Hammer destroyed the planet. Because the Calpathians were despised by the other people of the Continuity, they were excluded from the Sky Ships and underground shelters before the Hammer fell. To extend their line into the future, the Calpathians froze their children and sent them into space, in hopes that some of them might return and repopulate the planet.

Darbas: A small continent located southwest of Gnia at the western edge of the Western World. It is home to multiple ethnic groups (the indigenous Darbi, who gave rise to the nomadic Mullaqat culture; the enigmatic Qatfablos, who live exclusively within the underground complex called Bal’a’blos; the Korvish-related DuQaddic people of Darbas’ northwestern territories, and the two groups of Clydes, including the insular, matriarchal residents of the Gwynyrian highlands). Considered a provincial backwater by most residents of Gnia, it contains the final repository of knowledge and technology from the planet’s most advanced civilization, as well as its last substantial reserves of available iron.

Darbas, Confederacy of: A weak political confederacy established by the Treaty of Sidon in 259 p.e., it allows local rule for the three ethnic “homelands” of Darbas, with a central government led by a nine-member Council of Darbas represented by three Councilmen from each of the groups. Because the Mullaqat/Darbi representatives seldom participate, most important matters fail on a 3-3 vote splitting the DuQaddic and Clydish representatives. The Confederacy is housed in the “capital city” of Sidon, but as an independent city-state, Sidon is not subject to Confederacy law. 

Darbi: The indigenous people of Darbas, they emerged from underground shelters at the beginning of the current historical continuity. Though ethnically, linguistically and culturally distinct from the Qatfablos, the history of the Darbi is associated with the Qatfablos back to the previous Continuity, when a war between the Darbi on Darbas and the Calpathian-led civilization on Gnia forced humanity to return to underground shelters constructed by previous continuities. The original Mullaqat were a cultural departure from traditional Darbi society, and modern Mullaqats are now the most distinctive Darbi culture on the continent. Sedentary Darbi identity has largely been subsumed by acculturation and intermarriage with waves of DuQaddic and Clydish immigrants. 

Darkwinter: The period of the year between the crossquarter preceding the winter solstice and the first crossquarter after the winter solstice.

(Du) Dezvel Bezerika tag Sula: The Revealed Church of Sula, better known as Du Bezerika (the Church) or Du Dezvel Bezerika (the Revealed Church), is the modern DuQaddic religion practiced in Dutan and other parts of Darbas. An outgrowth of the original DuQaddic dissenters’ religion (Du Dezveluri, or “The Revelations”), it emerged from discourses between the Tanu Mutan (the head of the DuQaddics’ original Du Dezveluri religion) and a shipwrecked sailor from Sechan better known to history as the Great Prophet Sula. The result is a mixture of generally Manichean Sulist teachings wedded to archaic DuQaddic traditions (many of which continue to revolve around the tending of a sacred flame) with a dash of “Great Throne” mysticism from Ta Nupa, the underground ruin at the heart of DuQaddic spirituality. After perhaps a decade among the DuQaddic, Sula departed to heal and preach in Pictairn, where a self-proclaimed “Great Voice of Picthia” established a religion based on the prophet’s teachings soon after the Sula’s sudden disappearance. Picthian Sulism went on to become the mainstream religion in most of the Western World, including lowland Darbas. When a subsequent Great Voice declared his infamous Edict of Heresy centuries later, the Gheraldic Empire in Darbas threatened the DuQaddic minority with Holy War if they continued to practice their Dezvel Bezerika religion. The crisis ended with the Bezerika agreeing to provide a hefty annual tithe (bribe) to the Great Voice in exchange for an exemption from the prohibition on heretical belief. The cost of this bribe, known as “The Great Obligation” to the DuQaddic, is borne by the people of Dutan, who have lived as second-class citizens on Darbas ever since. Although there are Dezvel Bezerika parishes in Sidon and scattered across other provinces of Darbas, the provinces that comprise Dutan are unique in one regard: All land belongs the the Church, which means the Church not only gets a cut of every real estate transaction, but has a say in who may and may not purchase property. Consequently, the only people living in Dutan who are not members of Dezvel Bezerika and subject to The Great Obligation are either renters or tourists, and DuQaddic who get on the wrong side of the Church can quickly find themselves homeless.

Dhoma Birshem: In DuQaddic religion, a small, black, private chamber with two entrances, one connected to the utilitarian area behind a church’s sanctuary, and the other opening behind the altar in the sanctuary itself. The word means Chamber of Holy Unity in DuQaddic, and the priest pauses within the closed chamber to purify himself before emerging into the sanctuary to conduct a service. Dezveluri doctrine says the priest is alone with Zotshem in the Dhoma Birshem.

dhrae: A proto-Darbi word typically interpreted as “lifeforce,” dhrae is a modern borrow-word in every language commonly spoken on Darbas. Typically described as a form of “creative energy” that can be applied for assistance in various endeavors, it is also considered the polar opposite of orendae, or “chaos energy.” Neither description is fully accurate. Dhrae is a tangible field, sometimes visible as a blue glow, that may be attracted and condensed to enhance performance, speed healing, or assist psychic abilities, such as remote viewing and communication. Dhrae occurs naturally everywhere, but is most densely concentrated in the North Eidatta High Plain and the Gwynyrian Highlands, due to the catastrophic failure of a dhrae generator from a previous historical continuity, located near Al Ath, a sparsely populated desert ruin known as the “City of the Dead.”

Dolloir: A form of banned Morkwa magic with allegedly dangerous side-effects.

Domadig: A mainstream Old Path religious order.

Donnage: A low, marshy island south of Gnia and Northeast of Darbas, administered by the Western Gnia nation of Pictairn. The straits on either side of the island — particularly the northern Straits of Donnage — can require skilled navigation. Despite its size, the island is almost entirely uninhabited beyond some coastal fishing villages and an obsolete coastal fortification leased by the Gheraldic Empire. During the events described in The Darbas Cycle, this desolate Gheraldic installation serves as the initial training base for Clydish recruits to the three Clydish Regimental Groups serving in Gherald’s Colonial Army. 

du: The standard definite article (“the”) in DuQaddic. See: Ta.

DuGuji: In DuQaddic, the term refers to members of The One Church who are obedient to Church teachings as interpreted by clergy.

DuKesishem: Standard clergy, belonging to multiple recognized religious orders, within the DuQaddic church (Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula).

DuQaddic: An ethnic group on the continent of Darbas (also the word for their language). The DuQaddic people were originally a Korvish religious sect that migrated to Darbas in the fourth century b.p.e. Dutan, the DuQaddic homeland, is their primary population center, but DuQaddic people also live in independent city-state Sidon and in the Borderbelt counties and provinces of Darbas. Ethnic DuQaddics can be found scattered around the Clydelands and in the Darbi/Mullaqat south. The DuQaddic are clannish, tribal, superstitious and often deeply religious. They are patriarchal, traditional, and tend to be insular in both Dutan and the West Quaystable District of South Sidon Ward, the most ethnically DuQaddic of all the Sidon wards and districts. Settled DuQaddics fought two wars against “Clydish invaders. The First DuQaddic-Clyde War ran from 206 to 201 b.p.e., followed by the much longer Second War, fought intermittently between 201 and 175 b.p.e. They joined with the Clydes to resist the expansion of Gheraldic power beyond Sidon from 254 to 259 p.e., but suffered relative to the Clydes under the resulting Treaty of Sidon and its subsequent amendments. DuQaddic religious practice began as a stylized form of Korvish paganism, but evolved into reincarnation-based monotheism following the Holy Prophet Sula’s meetings with Tanu Mutan Imjan in the first century b.p.e. 

Dutan: The “Home Counties” (Duma, Anayat, Tanu, Gotha and Lopan) of the DuQaddic North in Darbas where only Ta Dezveld Bezrika may legally buy, sell or own property. Dutan is a theocracy. Its head of state is the Tanu Mutan, a religious leader elected by the high priest of the religious order Ta Zagedhem, with power generally administered by clergy at various administrative levels. Compared to other areas on the continent, Dutan is both impoverished (primarily due to a crippling annual bribe the DuQaddic Church has paid since 911 p.e. to the Great Voice of Picthia to avert a punitive holy war) and otherwise underprivileged in Darbas society.Dutan is the only one of the three “homelands of Darbas” as defined by the original Treaty of Darbas to field its own Army. The Darbi/Mullaqat have no interest in warfare, and the Clydes rented their three Home Guards Regiments to the Gheraldic Colonial Army in exchange for a promise of protection by the Gheraldic Legion in Sidon in 772 p.e.

DuZaged: A DuQaddic word meaning “The Chosen,” DuZaged is a smaller, higher class of DuQaddic clergy in Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula, generally drawn from the upper strata of society. Ta Zagedshem (The Holy Chosen) is an elite group within DuZaged. Members of Ta Zagedshem work directly for the Tanu Mutan, and meet to select a new Tanu Mutan from their ranks upon the death or retirement of the previous religious leader.

dynr: Paper Gheraldic currency or “script.”

dynt: Gheraldic coin, or “hard cash.”

East Lopan Province: A Borderbelt province on Darbas located northwest of the Mullaqat Wastes and south and east of the Dutan counties of Gotha and Lopan, respectively. Formerly a sparsely settled portion of Lopan Province, East Lopan declined to accept continued control by the DuQaddic church after the imposition of the Edict of Heresy. 

Edain (commonly “The Edain”): A pleasant province in the Central Clydelands of lowland Darbas.

Effington: A breed of horse.

Eidatta Mountains: A mountain range on the West Coast of the Southern (or “Mullaqat”) Peninsula of Darbas. Its western slope is famed for its tea farms, while its landward, eastern slope grows the world’s most sought after bangi. Few people live in the Eidattas full-time, but working its tea and bangi terrace farms is an essential component of “living the Mullaqat round,” a nomadic lifestyle associated with the region. An area below the mountains and to its northeast separates the Eidattas from the Gwynyrian Highlands. Known as the North Eidatta High Plains, it is the most desolate region of Darbas, home to multiple archaeological sites, the ruined “City of the Dead” at Al Ath, and the rumored entrance to Bal’a’Blos, a legendary underground library. The only permanent settlements in the High Plains are at Sa’Urtha, an unincorporated “bangi town” on the border with East Lopan, and a few occupants of the mystical ruins at Al Ath.

Eilydon (or “Eilydon Steps”): At the western tip of Gwynyr, a river that falls through rock, carving out covered stairs beside the river. At the bottom, is a waterfall, and “beneath the falls” is an all-female Old Path community that is neither sanctioned by the Lady of Gwynyr nor infringed upon by the lowland Sulists. 

Entirien: A horse breed, aka Entirien Trotters.

es-vrajit: A circle ceremony marking a Bright Moons, Dark Moons or single-moon event in Korvish/DuQaddic paganism. Unlike a vrajit, an es-vrajit is always held at night, and it is conducted with the intent of maximizing the magical power available to the group, to do work for the group. The ceremony may be led by either the top female witch (Mare-Attoactra) or the top male witch (Inalt-Attoactra) in the group, but it always requires witches of both sexes to achieve maximum power. 

Eurram, Brotherhood of: An insurgent group, typically associated with the House of Frihite, that believes in the equality of the Divine Masculine and Feminine. Named after a historical heretic who argued that the Rhys Kapall “horse god” was more powerful than the Goddess. Often considered “Goddess haters.”

Fenryce the Giant: In Calpathian mythology, the giant metal mentor and protector of the Dandelion Children.

fidenschmits: An infectious disease, sometimes fatal, which often produces severe pustules and lifelong skin scarring. 

Fionnan: A psychic spy in the national intelligence service of Gwynyr, trained at the Slyden Ferry campus of The House of Fionna. 

First Son, Second Son, Third Son: According to the DuQaddic Rule of Four, each Azulade Family is expected to provide Dutan a minimum of three sons, thereby producing a family kadum of Patriarch, First Son, Second Son and Third Son. The eldest, or First Son, is the heir to the Patriarch. The Second Son is given to The One Church. And the Third Son must train to defend Dutan and/or keep the peace in the family’s jurisdiction. Failure to meet this “Sacred Obligation” is considered a sign of divine judgment and can be sufficient cause for the local Church to replace the current stewards of an Azulade Property. Consequently, even bastard sons of the Patriarch can be used to fill vacancies. See: Azulade Families, Census of Azulade Properties, Rule of Four, kadum.

Floodtide: A now-banned Sulist “sacrament” on Darbas that perverts the Old Path Fulltide observance of fertility and eroticism.

Fulltide: In Old Path tradition, an observance of the full alignment of Bright Moons. Fulltide is associated with fertility and eroticism, and is often observed by women who hope to schedule a fortuitous conception.

Fultam: An area in the West Penn of Gwynyr associated with the Fultam River and Fultam Valley.

fysaelle: A highly formalized erotic party involving an exclusive guest list and planned around voyeuristic group sexual encounters called “tableaus.” Once exclusive to the Old Path Order of Amarynth in the Holy Quarter of Beltan, the concept of a fysaelle as a semi-public erotic social event is a controversial, titillating subject in Gwynyr and abroad.


Gherald: An island northwest of Western Gnia that gave rise to the modern Gheraldic Empire, with colonial holdings in Bhengal, Bangoon, and the Ulash archipelago. In its first bid for imperial conquest, Gherald invaded Darbas in 254 p.e., but was repulsed in by a united native force in the First Gheraldic War. It is nominally governed by a King/Emperor in the capital city of Arnell, but most decisions are made by nobles from prominent families, or “houses,” who meet to conduct debate and business in a building known as the “Dinner Dome.” Since the emergence of the rival Empire of Korvish-Sopka in 776 p.e., the Gheraldic Empire has been involved in a variety of wars and conflicts with the Central Gnian power. Most ethnic Gheralds share some common hereditary with the Calpathian Clydes of Darbas, and the Gheraldic and Clydish languages are similar. 

Gheraldic Empire: At the time of The Darbas Cycle, the Gheraldic Empire consists of its home island, the Bhengal region of Gnia, the island of Bangoon and the Walaeshae island chain, and Ulasha, the central land mass of Ulash. In an extended sense, Darbas can be considered a vassal of the Gheraldic Empire, as can most of Western Gnia. Ruled from the “Dinner Dome” complex at the imperial capital of Arnell.

Gheraldic War, First (254-259 p.e.): Soon after annexing the marsh island of Donnage, the fledgling Gheraldic Empire invaded the continent of Darbas in cooperation with the independent city-state of Sidon, where Gherald had been a significant presence since 205 p.e. The Empire was successful in its early campaigns, breaking independent militias and armies fielded by the continent’s independent ethnic factions and driving the survivors south to the Gwynyrian mountains. But the Darbas peoples formed and outfitted a unified Army of Darbas during two years in the Highlands, and then routed Imperial forces during the war’s second phase. The war ended with a Gheraldic retreat to Sidon and a peace treaty that recognized Darbas as a sovereign nation. But the Old Path Clydes of Gwynyr refused to sign The Treaty of Sidon, and in the centuries that followed Gherald “won the peace,” turning the Darbas Confederacy into a puppet regime in its imperial portfolio.

glamoury: the ability to bewitch, bewilder or beguile another person, via psychic, psi or other means.

Glyse Rithdura University: The largest and most prestigious university in Gwynyr, located in Beltan.

Gnia: The central, and largest, continent of the Western World. The planet contains other significant land masses, but due to the limits of ocean-going ships in the current continuity, contact beyond the Western World is rare and limited. 

goldeneye: Slang term referring to persons of Calpathian heritage, indicated by metallic eye colors, but implying psychic abilities.

Gotha: A geologically hilly and largely forested county in eastern Dutan adjacent to the Borderbelt region of Darbas.

Great Awakening, the: A historical philosophical movement which led to the division of the Darbi people into Mullaqat nomads and sedentary Darbi.

Great Obligation, the: The DuQaddic term for the tithe it pays to the Great Voice of Picthia via the Gheraldic Empire.

Great Voice of Picthia, The: The leader of the Picthian Sulist church, commonly known as The Worldwide Church of Sula. The first “Great Voice,” Eulugin, began the Picthian Era when he returned to the capital on instructions from Sula in 1 b.p.e. When Sula (who had disappeared with his closest followers when their ship sailed into “an unusual cloud”) failed to appear in Picthia upon completion of the new Cathedral of Sula, Great Voice Eulugin sat upon the cathedral throne reserved for the Prophet, stating that he would occupy it “until He returns.” By Church tradition, the Great Voice typically announces his successor, who then serves as his Second Deputy until the Great Voice either steps aside or dies. In most cases, the new Great Voice is then confirmed by voice-vote affirmation at a meeting of the Church’s top leaders. Over the centuries, however, there have been various exceptions to that tradition, ranging from contentious roll-call votes to insurgent candidacies to the infamous Convocation Riot of 221.

Gwynyr: A mountainous region in Darbas, located west of Celon Province, south of Edain and Don provinces, east of the North Eidatta High Plain, and north of the Tamesis coastal region. Modern Gwynyr is primarily populated by Old Path Clydes, plus a Tesmyn ethnic minority. According to their own tradition, psychic Old Path Clydes migrated from Central Gnia to the Gwynyrian Highlands in the late third century b.p.e. on an invitation from an ancient race called the Qatfablos. The Qatfablos are associated with the spacefaring Historical Continuity No. 2, which was destroyed by an event called the Cosmic Bombardment, and they are said to live in an underground library called Bal’a’Blos, located on the North Eidatta High Plains. The Old Path believes it has a responsibility to protect Bal’a’Blos from discovery by the outside world, and meets that obligation by obscuring the entrance to the underground library via psychic techniques, which are assisted by the region’s unnaturally dense concentrations of dhrae.

Gwynyr, cont.: Gwynyr also has the last abundant iron reserves on the planet, which the Old Path seeks to conserve and protect. Originally considered part of the Clydelands, Gwynyrians fought in the First Gheraldic War (254-259 p.e.), sheltered and re-armed the defeated armies of Dutan and the Clydish Lowlands, and provided the decisive advantage in the successful campaign that drove the Gheralds back within the Walls of Sidon. The Gwynyrians effectively seceded from the rest of the Clydelands by refusing the sign the Treaty of Sidon in 259 p.e., and officially closed its borders two years later. In 771 p.e., Gwynyr defeated a joint invasion by the Gheraldic Empire and the Lowland Clydes, and the subsequent Treaty of Niamh established Gwynyrian legal sovereignty, at least in the eyes of Gwynyrians. Modern Gwynyr is an Old Path theocracy, ruled by a sovereign, hereditary Lady of Gwynyr, each of whom is a direct descendant of Lady Rhoanne, the great leader of Darbas’ resistance to the Gheraldic invasion of 254 p.e. But Gwynyrian political power is bifurcated in the form of a unique position formally known as “Arx Syrib Maigdh dena Baedna,” which translates to “The High Servant Mistress of the Goddess,” and who is commonly referred to as “The Maig.” 

Gwynyr: cont.: Gwynyr maintains a significant army called The Va, plus the Valand, an elite brotherhood of 100 warrior monks selected from the Va ranks and sworn to the service of The Lady. Officially, the Valand are a religious order. Religious houses and orders serve administrative functions as well as spiritual purposes. Gwynyr, for instance, collects no tax, but each religious organization must meet an annual quota of tithes. The exception to this rule is found in western Llyr and Tibron provinces, home to the world’s last great iron mining and metalworking industries. These western provinces collect revenues via clan licenses for business monopolies. Though isolationist Gwynyr has no formal embassies abroad, its secretive House of Fionna, also a religious order, serves as a powerful international and domestic intelligence agency. In addition to espionage skills, Fionna spies are trained to communicate via psychic techniques. In one of the only examples of cooperation between Gwynyr and the Darbas Confederacy, Gwynyr provides Fionnans to the Office of the Messenger of Darbas, the confederacy’s non-voting representative to the Dinner Dome council in Arnell, the capital of the Gherald Empire.While the rest of the world uses the Picthian Era (p.e.) standard for counting dates, Gwynyr uses its own system, dating all history as before or after the founding of its Sacred Line (s.l), an event that began with the birth of Lady Rhoanne’s daughter, the future Lady Ria, in 262 p.e. (1 s.l.)

grimoire: A book of spells or applicable wisdom.

Hasada: A parcel of cattle-grazing land on the Dutan Plains, traditionally passed down from generation to generation within the “Blessed Families” granted stewardship of the land by the priesthood of the DuQaddic religion. Should that family fail to meet its annual tithe, it runs the risk of having its hasada lease revoked in favor of another family. Other than its grazing land, the hasada-proper is a self-sufficient settlement for the ruling Azulade Family and the families of its hasandan workers. Additional workers, who are not given the right to live on the “hasada proper,” are called ouhasandans.

Hasandans: Middle-caste rural professionals, supervisors, craftsmen and tradespeople recognized by the DuQaddic Church (Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula, or “Ta Bezrika”) as holding rights under the law. Those rights include residence on the grounds of the hasada, hence the name. Successful hasandan families may compete for stewardship vacancies on Dutan’s “Census of Azulade Properties.”

Havachen: A port city in Lopan County on the southwestern coast of Darbas, located in Greater Dutan, beyond the Home Counties. Havachen is situated at the mouth of the navigable Lopan River, which also forms Dutan’s eastern border with the Borderbelt province of East Lopan. The eastern shore of the Lopan River across from Havachen has developed into the East Lopan municipality of Poradeux, but the combined urban area is generically referred to as Havachen. Havachen is the only port city on the western shore of Darbas, and though it does some legitimate international trade with Western Gnia, its primary shipping trade connections are to the Port of Sidon.

Historical continuity: The modern concept of previous civilizations that existed in unbroken periods of continuity, separated by periods with no record of civilization. The historic continuity preceding the events of 1100 p.e. is only a few thousand years old. The most recent previous continuity was a civilization that destroyed itself in a brief but cataclysmic war between a Calpathian civilization on Gnia and a Darbi civilization on Darbas, but archaeologists and historians believe there were at least two previous historical continuities before it. Continuity No. 1 was a global civilization that collapsed for unknown reasons; Continuity No. 2 was an advanced, spacefaring civilization that was destroyed by a mysterious “Cosmic Bombardment,” and Near-Continuity No. 3 was the one that preceded the current historical period. All three were far more technologically advanced than the current civilization, or “Fourth Continuity.” 

Herkevine: An Old Path religious order in Gwynyr. 

High Dollen: A region south of Cerdwyn in Llyr Province fraught with separatist militias.

Home Counties, the: A region within Dutan and Darbas that describes the historic heartland of DuQaddic settlement. Originally considered the counties of Duma, Tanu, Anayat and Birren, during the period described in The Darbas Cycle, it refers to Duma, Anayat and Tanu.

Honor Period: In Dutan, an era beginning in the sixth century and ending in 906 p.e., when the DuQaddic church formally ended its policy of sanctioning familial wars for land on the western plains. During this period, hasadas were effectively isolated fortresses, and the plains were run as feudal fiefdoms.

Hundred Boats, The: In DuQaddic tradition, the term that references the mass migration of DuQaddic faithful from the Korvanichka coast of Northwestern Central Gnia to the northern shore of Darbas. Though the DuQaddic believe their original Tanu Mutan, the prophet Behjame, led an “exodus by faith” within a literal 100 boats, this is a cultural myth. The actual migration took place over a longer period.

Hywel Stone Circle: A megalithic sacred circle. Overlooks Lake Bregon from Beltan’s Holy Quarter. Cedar lined marble stairs descend from it to the shore.

Iden Priory: The original Morkwa priory in Beltan. 

Iron shortage: Though science suggests the planet has virtually unlimited iron resources closer to its core, available untapped reserves of iron ore are rare, difficult to extract, and produce generally low-quality iron. As the shortage grew worse, civilization’s advance slowed, with recent centuries producing little in the way of new technologies and opportunities. Because of its rarity and demand, iron is as valuable as gold, making basic tools prohibitively expensive.


Jolucan: A quasi-independent port city and the largest urban area in the effectively ungoverned Tamesis region of Darbas immediately south of Gwynyr. Under the terms of the Treaty of Sidon, Tamesis and Jolucan within it are legally a part of sovereign Darbas, governed by the Council of Darbas. Consequently, the Council of Darbas has never explicitly recognized Jolucan’s claim to be an independent city state run by an elected council and mayor. In practice, Jolocan is run by an organized crime leader named Lady X.

Kade Forge: A walled forge complex within the Llyrian provincial capital of Cerdwyn, operated for centuries by the license family Clan Kade.

kadum: A symbol from DuQaddic tradition dating back to its Korvish past. It’s a square, divided into four smaller squares, and rotated one eighth of a turn to display it as a diamond. These internal diamonds are the top, bottom, rising and descending diamonds, and together form a single larger diamond/square. The kadum symbolizes the divinity of the Number Four.

kava: Something like coffee. Duh.

Kogmut: God of Thunder, War and Virility in Korvish/DuQaddic tradition. Son of Zeitya and Cucormane. Immortal. 

Ko-Han: An insular kingdom in East Gnia that has shown little interest in trade or open borders. The kingdom makes use of three languages to enforce class differences. It is illegal, punishable by death, to teach any one of the languages to a foreigner, and for members of the ruling class, it is illegal to teach the elite language to anyone who is unauthorized to speak it.

Korva, Kingdom of: A nation of culturally Korvish peoples located east of Pictairn and Western Gnia on the Central Gnian Steppe. Its capitol city, Sherigul, is located near the confluence of the Lo and Calpa Rivers, and Calpathia, on its southern coast, is one of the great port cities in the Western World. Though it is part of the “hybrid empire” of Korvish-Sopka, the Kingdom of Korva remains an independent sovereign nation. Much of its foreign policy is based on a desire to reclaim “Great Korva,” which includes the nation of Pictairn in Western Gnia. Modern Korva includes Steppe and northern territories that were previously independent nations and rivals. 

Korvish-Sopka, Empire of: Initiated in principle in 776 p.e. when Sopkan Emperor Sethic III and Korvish King Kral Zovorly signed the Treaty of Lo, the idea of a “hybrid empire” focused on military cooperation grew into a Central Gnian empire capable of challenging its Western rival, the seafaring Gheraldic Empire. Prior to the Treaty of Lo, the Kingdom of Korva in the west and the Empire of Sopka in the east fought with and against each other and the various other ethnicities of the Central Gnian Steppe on a near-annual basis. But as Korva and Sopka began to emerge as the Steppe’s two dominant powers, their wars became more expensive and less profitable. Hence, the idea of forming a cooperative, military-based empire while retaining individual sovereignty over their homelands evolved to bring peace and prosperity to Central Gnia for the first time in its history. The empire depends on two interrelated principles: “The Pasmurno System” of mutually shared imperial bureaucracy at the imperial city of Pasmurno; and an agreement to expand the power and wealth of the empire by conquest against other nations and regions. Since its creation, the Empire of Korvish-Sopka has fought four wars with the Gheraldic Empire, to varying degrees of success. In 1100 p.e. it is on the verge of a fifth.

Krake, Order of: A lesser Old Path religious order that is utterly fixated on crows and ravens. Members of the order work to develop the psychic ability to communicate with — and in some cases, possess the bodies of — birds from the genus Corvus.

Ladoch Complex, the: An archaeological site in the Arid Heights region of Southeastern Gwynyr, discovered by the famous archaeologist Haf-Jalen Pemory. 

Larkwin Chamber, the: An underground ceremonial “circle” chamber constructed by the now-banned Order of Morkwa on the grounds of Tasmes Priory in the Llyrwullen district of Cerdwyn, the provincial capital of Gwynyr’s Llyr Province.

License Family (also: License Clan): The Gwynyrian theocracy raises most of its government revenues via annual tithes collected by its Orders and Houses. In Llyr Province, however, most of the revenues are raised by licenses granted by the Lady of Gwynyr to conduct certain businesses — mining, metalworking, retailing, importing, etc., are all protected monopolies issued to families by the Lady, and each must pay her an annual license fee to keep that license.

Llyr: A western province of Gwynyr famed within the highlands for its inexplicable iron reserves, as well as the world’s most advanced metalworking craftsmen.

Lokin: The smaller of the planet’s two moons, it has a highly erratic orbit and is known as “the Mischief Moon.”

Lopan: An area covering southern Dutan and the Borderbelt province of East Lopan. 

Lopan County: The southernmost county of Dutan borders Tanu County to the north and Gotha County and East Lopan Province to the east. It’s only significant urban area is Havachen. 

Luzustrus: The evil figure in Picthian Sulism’s dualistic Manichaean theology. DuQaddic Sulism includes not a single reference to a figure by that name or description. 


Maig, the: The informal title for the High Priestess of the Arx Temple (formally, in Old Clydish, Arx Syrib Maigdh dena Baedna, meaning High Servant Mistress of the Goddess). Though not on equal footing with The Lady of Gwynyr as national sovereign, the Maig has distinct legal powers in Gwynyr: She collects the nation’s revenues via tithes from Old Path Houses and Orders, runs the nation’s banks, and administers Gwynyr’s free legal defense service.

Marlton: The name used by the current ruling Dynasty of kings in Gherald (Marlton I through Marlton IV), styled “Emperor” during the events of The Darbas Cycle. 

Memlynton: A village in the Fultam district of West Penn, just beyond the entrance to the Order of Amarynth’s sprawling agricultural Estates. Named for Memlyn Chalyse, a prominent Amarynth matriarch. Its residents are some of the finest craftspeople in Gwynyr, most of whom are associated with the former Estate School run by Shyree Chalyse, Memlyn’s daughter.

Morkwa, Order of: A now-banned Old Path religious order famed for its First Principle, “The Important Things Are Always Hidden.” Morkwa was disbanded for rediscovering, but refusing to share, a system called Memory Magic.

Mother Moon: The larger of the two moons, with a much more predictable orbit.

Mullaqat: A cultural evolution of Darbas’ indigenous Darbi people, the nomadic Mullaqat reject attachment.

Mullaqat Wastes: The Southern portion of Darbas. Though much of the area is inhospitable desert, the southern area of Amarna contains highly productive alluvial farmland, and the western highlands produce valuable tea leaves and bangi.

Naisley Farm: A productive and prosperous Tesmyn community farm in the West Penn of Gwynyr.

Naulau: The northern peninsula of Ulash. Formerly the least valuable portion of the Gheraldic Empire’s lucrative Ulash colony, Naulau declared its independence from Gherald during the Empire’s war with Korvish-Sopka and sought the protection of Necht. Accepting Naulau as a colony inferred status upon Necht, but protecting the unprofitable peninsula continues to drain Necht’s coffers. 

Necht: The largest country in Western Gnia. It aspires to colonial status on par with Gherald and Korvish-Sopka, but remains essentially a vassal state of Gherald. Its one colony on the Naulau peninsula of Ulash is a sort of poisoned chalice, having never turned a profit for the Gherald’s before it declared independence and sought Necht’s protection. 

Nitrile: A deadly poison.

nupa: DuQaddic word meaning “womb.”

Poradeux: A growing municipality in East Lopan Province located across the Lopan River from the port city of Havachen in Dutan. Poradeux is currently more prosperous than the older settlement across the river, but the urban area is generically referred to as Havachen.

Okori: The language spoken by the Qatfablos residents of Bal’a’Blos.

Old Path: A religion originated by the Tesmyn people of Central Gnia and passed on to the psychic Calpathian Clydes. All Clydes on Darbas were originally followers of the Old Path, until the Lowland Clydes converted to Picthian Sulism. Gwynyr is last place on the planet where the Old Path remains a dominant religion. See: Gwynyr.

One Church, The: The early DuQaddic Church on Darbas celebrated a form of Korvish paganism under the guidance of a religious leader called the Tanu Mutan (“Anointed Messenger”) who communicated with God (Ta Zotshem) from an underground ruin called Ta Nupa. A subsequent Tanu Mutan named Imjan invited a shipwrecked prophet named Sula to join him there, published a series of “discourses” with the prophet, and renamed the Church The Revealed Church of Sula (Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula). Imjan’s reformed Church, based on his interpretation of the teachings of Sula, preaches a reincarnation-based liturgy called “Progress Toward Holy Union with God Through Death.” It emphasizes obedience over faith, virtue or intent, while conserving its original pagan rituals involving fire and water. In 910 p.e., under pressure from the Gheraldic Empire, the Great Voice formally declared DuQaddic Sulism to be heretical, preparing the way for Gherald to wage “holy war” against Dutan. Recognizing that it could not win such a war, the Tanu Mutan of the DuQaddic church agreed to pay an annual “tithe” to the Great Voice in exchange for the right to practice its otherwise heretical religion in peace. But the punitive cost of this annual bribe has rendered by the One Church, and Dutan, perpetually impoverished.

orendae: Generally considered “chaos energy” and the opposite of dhrae. From the Okori root “arendhrae.” More accurately, arendhrae is the “dense,” or resting state, of the ambient arendhrae field, while dhrae is that field’s temporarily activated, or “coherent” state. Orendae is better understood as the conscious experience of an incoherent disruption of the arendhrae field. See: arendhrae.

Orwyne, Order of: An Old Path religious order in Gwynyr. Orwyne is generally considered the least pretentious of the Gwynyrian orders, with a strong grounding in ancient Old Path values. 

ou-: DuQaddic language prefix meaning “outside of,” “less than,” or more precisely, “associated with or belonging to a person or thing, but not a part of it.” As in “ouhasandan,” meaning outside of the hasada, or the descriptive “ouHrabar,” meaning a person associated with Hasada Hrabar, but not qualified to live on the hasada and receive its perks.

ouhasandans: From the prefix meaning “outside,” or “below,” the term referred originally to rural bottom-caste laborers who live near a local hasada, but lack the rights afforded its upper-caste landlords or its middle-caste hasandan residents. The term has come to apply to bottom-caste laborers in general. Denied the legal privilege of a last name, ouhasandans must take the last name of their local Hasada, employer, or place of birth — with the prefix “ou” attached to it. As in: ouBartelmus (hasada family), ouHassan (town name), or ouBichette (workshop name). Not only are ouhasandan denied rights under Dutan law, the reincarnation doctrine of the One Church rationalizes harsh treatment for lower-caste people on the logic that birth into the ouhasandan class is Zotshem’s punishment for those who were Disobedient to his will in previous lives. 


Pyth Nuemyn: The sprawling home of the Order of Orwyne in Beltan. Located outside the Beltan peninsula’s exclusive Holy Quarter, its famous down-to-earth hospitality — offered to Gwynyrian pilgrims of all Houses and Orders — led to its continuous growth over the centuries. The oddly connected and often unexpected building has expanded so much that its most recent additions are built up increasingly steep mountain slopes. 

P.E.: Picthian Era. As proclaimed by The Great Voice of Picthia, the founding of the Picthian Sulist Church in 1 p.e. began the dating system used across the Western World. Dates before the founding of the Church are counted as Before Picthian Era (b.p.e.), while all others are counted as p.e. The only holdouts in the Western World are Ko-Han, which uses language as a means of isolation to the point that it is unclear what system they use, and Gwynyr, which dates time from the foundation of its Sacred Line in 262 p.e.

Penn, the: In Gwynyr, a term for the generally hospitable region surrounding Lake Bregon. West, North and South Penn are all significant regions.

Penner: Gwynyrian slang for anyone from the central Penn region, but more specifically from the prosperous West Penn. 

pfenning: Specifically the name of a low-value Gheraldic coin, it’s also slang on Darbas for money, something insignificant, or any kind of imperial currency.

Pictairn: A modern nation in Western Gnia that shares a both long, mountainous border and a lengthy history of conflict with the Kingdom of Korva, located to its East. It is best known as the home of Picthian Sulism, which was founded in the Pictairn capital city of Picthia. Many of its citizens are culturally Korvish. In 780 p.e., the fledgling Empire of Korvish-Sopka invaded Pictairn briefly reclaimed the city of Picthia and much of Southern Pictairn in what it called “The Reunification War.” A year later, a Western army led by the Gheraldic Empire liberated Picthia, though Korvish-Sopka would hold some of its gains in the south for more than a century, when they were liberated by a Western army. Pictairn remains religiously and culturally significant, which gives it some political relevance in foreign affairs, but in terms of economics and military power, it is rapidly fading. Pictairn is an amalgamation of small, squabbling principalities, and its government is notoriously corrupt and petty. The Kingdom of Korva considers Pictairn a part of “Greater Korva,” and considers the re-establishment of this imaginary nation — ruled from the Korvish capital of Sherigul — to be the Kingdom’s central aim. 

Picthia: The capital city of the Western Gnian nation of Pictairn, better known as the seat of The Great Voice of Picthia, the leader of the Picthian Sulist Church, also known as The Worldwide Church of Sula. Prior to the creation of modern Pictairn, a smaller, culturally Korvish nation called Picthia was a dominant power in Southwestern Gnia. Wealthy, educated, cultured and famously corrupt, it began its decline in the third century p.e., but eventually joined with lesser, neighboring principalities to create the nation of Pictairn.

Picthian Era: The standard for marking years, retroactively established as the date when Sula established his “Great Voice” representative in Picthia. See: P.E.

Picthian Sulism (Worldwide Church of Sula): After the DuQaddic updated their church to include his teachings, Sula departed Darbas for Western Gnia sometime between 6 b.p.e. and 3 b.p.e. He once again gathered attention for healing outbreaks of the Blood Death plague, and eventually wound up in the city of Picthia, in Pictairn, where an entirely separate church was founded in his name. Picthian Sulism began in 1 p.e. following the prophet’s mysterious disappearance and the naming of his representative, known as The Great Voice of Picthia. In contrast to DuQaddic Sulism, the Picthian variant says nothing about reincarnation or fire and water and instead preaches a monotheistic Manichean faith based on a creation myth called “Luzustrus’ Bargain,” which divided the eternal One into opposing Good and Evil sides pending a final, time-ending “Great Counting.” It became the dominant religion of the Imperial Age after the Great Voice proclaimed a new policy called The Edict of Heresy in 770 p.e.

Pitchball: A popular team sport played by lowland Clydes, pitchball is also gaining traction in the Gheraldic Quarter of the independent city-state of Sidon, as well as two of the ethnically diverse Borderbelt provinces of Darbas (Birren and the Don). 

Qatfablos: The inhabitants of Bal’a’Blos, a.k.a. “The Librarians.” Believed to be descendants from a previous historical Continuity, they speak Okori and effectively contracted their security to the Calpathian Clydes a millennia before the events of The Darbas Cycle. Only the Gwynyrians have diplomatic relations with them, although the Mullaqat routinely bring them food and other offerings. The Qatfablos are obligated to provide Gwynyr regular releases of useful ancient technologies, but are famously slow and inscrutable. 

Quaysides, the: A slang term that refers to the low-rent areas of South Sidon Ward as a collective identity. Otherwise understood as areas governed by the city’s “loosely organized crime.”

racea: DuQaddic word for a portable reliquary box containing relics (recivae, typically the bones or hair of an ancestor). This is one application of a tradition typically known as “ghost boxes,” the other being the more permanent stafi patroxi. A very small racea that can be tied to the head (capa), is called a capa racea. Wearing a capa racea publicly demonstrates a man’s commitment to whatever cause he has sworn an oath to fulfil. Racea can be stored in a family’s Bunci Kuti cabinet alongside its stafi patroxi, but most families store their relics in stafi patroxi and only move them to racea for specific missions or purposes. 

recivae: DuQaddic word meaning relics of one’s ancestors. Such relics are typically bone or hair, but may be other items as well. The patriarch of a family keeps the line’s most valuable recivae in separate boxes dedicated to individual family members, which are stored together in a cabinet called a Bunci Kuti. When families meet to discuss important matters, the Bunci Kuti is opened, along with the various racea boxes within it, as an invitation to those ancestors to assist in the coming action.

Retferdix, Order of: An Old Path religious order in Gwynyr.

Rhoanne, Lady: A former Lady of Gwynyr famed for three things: Her role in the Gheraldic War (254 p.e. to 259 p.e.), closing the borders of Gwynyr in its aftermath, and founding the Sacred Line of hereditary Ladies of Gwynyr. 

Rhodig: A region in northeast Gwynyr.

Rhys Kapall: A male horse god from Calpathian Clydish mythology, once more central to the Old Path faith.

Rodellen: In Gwynyr, the term “Rodellen Age” refers to a darkly romantic period in the nation’s architecture associated with the reign of Lady Rodellen. “Rodellen architecture” features gabled roofs, distinctive curves, trellises and porticoes. 

Rose and Iris: A famous and generally well-regarded saloon and brothel located in South Sidon’s North Quayside (“No-Quay”) red-light district. With the tacit approval of the local criminal syndicate, the R&I was acquired in a run-down state by former prostitute and drug trafficker Neva Marisch, who promptly restored the business to its former glory. The modern R&I is a vertically integrated criminal enterprise, and Madam Neva is regarded as an innovator in the field of “loosely organized crime.” Trusted associates of the brothel refer to themselves as “Friends of Roseanne Eyrish.” 

roso: An addictive drug, derived from a flower.

Rule of Four: The DuQaddic of Darbas are descendants of Korvish religious dissenters from Gnia. Among their culturally Korvish beliefs is the concept of The Holy Four, expressed in a symbol called the Kadum (Four diamond-shapes — top, bottom, rising and descending — that together form a larger diamond). Consequently, DuQaddics view four as a lucky number, and fear the number three. See: kadum, Tanu Patru.

Sacred Line, the: The Gwynyrian custom, founded during the reign of Lady Rhoanne, whereby a ruling Lady of Gwynyr would select her eldest daughter as Lady Ascendant, then step aside for that daughter. Prior to the creation of the Sacred Line, most Ladies of Gwynyr died in office, and successors were appointed via a conclave convened at the Arx Temple and led by the Maig. Hence all Ladies of Gwynyr since Lady Rhoanne have been her descendants. Though not formally established, the tradition of the Sacred Line includes the convention of future Ladies of Gwynyr giving their first-born daughter a name that begins with the letter R.  

Sacred Obligation, the: TheDuQaddic expectation that its Azulade Blessed Families must provide three sons to society — a First Son to replace the father and lead the next generation, a Second Son to serve the Church, and a Third Son to defend Dutan and the faith.

Sacred Throne of Sula, the: A psi-throne in a dhrae condensing sphere, left behind by previous continuities, this one is located within the ruined underground complex at Ta Nupa, which the DuQaddic consider the holiest place on the planet. In DuQaddic Sulism, the Tanu Mutan led the prophet to the Throne, and when he emerged after days of meditation, all bowed before him because they understood that the messiah was among them.

Saulae Peninsula: The western/southern peninsula of Ulash. Once the most profitable colony in the Gheraldic Empire’s portfolio, it was lost to the Korvish-Sopkan Empire in the events preceding The Darbas Cycle. 

Sa’Urtha: Two significant places on Darbas share this ancient Calpathian place-name, which translates roughly to “pilgrimage destination.” In Gwynyr, Sa’Urtha is an ancient Old Path megalithic holy site in the Cunaugh, associated with the Queens of the Touwaithe Fey. In Borderbelt East Lopan Province at the frontier of the Mullaqat Wastes, Sa’Urtha is a crossroads town famed for its bangi and counterculture. 

Sendant: In Gwynyr, the word is both the name of a religious order devoted to the healing arts, and the generic title of any member of the Order of Sendant who practices medicine. 

Seven Fathers: In Old Path tradition, the practice by which a significant young woman may arrange to be impregnated at Fulltide in one of several “Round Chapels” in Gwynyr by a group of seven men chosen for their family connections. Fulltide children of Seven Fathers are considered highly important, and benefit from being considered the product of eight lines: The mother’s, and all seven of the fathers’ lines. Since the founding of the Sacred Line by Lady Rhoanne in the 3rd century p.e., all Ladies of Gwynyr have been the daughters of Seven Fathers convened at Amarynth Hall.

Sidon: An independent city-state and port located at the mouth of the Clyde River and the tip of The Bay of Sidon. Sidon is the largest, wealthiest, most diverse and cosmopolitan city on Darbas. It is simultaneously the home of the Gheraldic Empire on Darbas, and the seat of The Council of Darbas, its subordinate Lower Chamber, and the central offices of the Confederacy of Darbas. The city consists of seven wards: Cambertowne, Kovenfields, Abbeyport, Lowlands, Old Sidon, South Sidon and Upton, plus the Gheraldic Quarter, home to both the Gheraldic Legion and the Imperial Fifth Fleet. It is governed by a mayor and council system, but control of the city is generally directed Sidon’s traditional elites and Gheraldic occupiers. By treaties and amendments, the city’s port activities are all administered by the Gheraldic Navy, even though the city remains an “open port” for legal purposes. The city is protected by significant harbor defenses and reinforced city walls to its south and east. 

Sidon, Treaty of: The original treaty, which spared the city a prolonged siege in 259 p.e., ended the First Gheraldic War by recognizing the new Confederacy of Darbas as a sovereign nation and granting both Sidon and the Gheraldic Empire certain rights. Lady Rhoanne, the ruling Lady of Gwynyr, refused to sign the treaty, and closed her borders to the Lowlands in 261 p.e. Various amendments, typically forced upon the Confederacy by the Empire, took place over the centuries, but the most significant amendment was signed in 772 p.e. after the Gwynyrians defeated a joint Gheraldic and Lowlands invasion. This resulted in the Lowlands Clydes swapping their Clydish Home Guard regiments to the overseas Gheraldic Colonial Army in exchange for the Empire’s promise to defend the Clydelands with imperial troops stationed in Sidon. 

Silkie: A breed of horse.

siobeth: The sacred steel sword of the Old Path Order of the Valand. Upon acceptance into the Order (membership is limited to 100 active members), a new Valand travels to Kade Forge in Cerdwyn, Llyr, and assists in the forging and construction of his personal weapon. Siobeths are considered an energetic extension of their owners. Though the length of a siobeth is determined by its owner’s measurements, its design is fixed. A siobeth is a slightly curved, single-edged, double-beveled blade with an irregular triangular chisel tip. Its full-tang base is encased in a tightly bound wood and fabric handle (topped by a thin, steel, oval guard) that allows the weapon to be wielded with either one or two hands.

Sioned: A popular breed of hunter-jumper horse.

Slyden Ferry: A small lakeport town at the southeastern tip of Lake Bregon in Gwynyr, primarily known as the secretive home of the infamous House of Fionna intelligence agency and its Colaeste Fionna, or Fionnan Academy. 

Sopka, Empire of: A nation of nomads on the steppes of Central Gnia, Sopka is associated with the world’s greatest horsemen and famed for its daring, mobile, highly effective warriors. Originally from the area northeast of the Irit River, the ancient Sopkans spread south and west, eventually incorporating multiple ethnicities. Modern Sopka takes up Northern Central Gnia to the Ko-Han Mountains, and its capital is located at the royal city of Chukhal Khot. As a member of the Empire of Korvish-Sopka, the Kingdom of Sopka manages its domestic business from Chukhal Khot, and its military and foreign policy from the imperial city of Pasmurno, located in Sopka near the geographical center of the Empire. In 753 p.e., Emperor Sethic the First conquered most of Korva and proclaimed the Second Sopkan Empire. Twenty-three years later, his grandson signed the Treaty of Lo, which gave rise to the Empire of Korvish-Sopka. Westerners, including their Korvish partners in empire, tend to consider them untrustworthy and far more interested in raiding neighbors than administering conquered lands. Theirs in an independent, honor-based culture. 

stafi patroxi: In the DuQaddic and Korvish traditions, these are hinged wooden boxes, each of which contains the relics (recivea) of an ancestor. The spirit of that ancestor is not believed to be trapped in the box, but when the stafi patroxi is opened, that ancestor attends upon it and is present in the room with the living. Also known as “ghost boxes.”

Sula: The son a mute woman who died giving birth to him after she washed ashore on the island of Sechan, Sula was raised by a village sailmaker and his wife. By the time he was 13, Sula was recognized as beautiful singer with unexplained psychic gifts. Historians are divided on the reliability of various stories about his youth, but it is generally agreed that Sula became a merchant sailor in his early teens and travelled widely, spending time not only in Picthia but also in the insular nation of Ko-Han. Around 20 b.p.e., Sula and several survivors of a shipwreck washed ashore in Anayat County, Dutan. Nearby Korvot was in the midst of an outbreak of the Blood Death, and Sula some of his fellow sailors came to the aid of the sick and were credited with multiple miracles. This eventually drew the attention of Tanu Mutan Imjan, who brought Sula to Ta Nupa. The two men spent several weeks underground in spiritual conversation, and when they re-emerged, Imjan declared that Sula was a Holy Prophet (“Sulashem”) sent by Zotshem (God) to reform Ta Bezrika (The One Church). Imjan later published a series of “Discourses” based on those conversations, and those holy scriptures provided the foundation for a DuQaddic reformation and the re-naming of the One Church as Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula (The Revealed Church of Sula).

Sula, cont.: Sometime around 6 b.p.e., Sula and his closest followers departed Darbas. He traveled first to Sechan, then to Asch, healing outbreaks of Blood Death in both places. In 3 b.p.e., Sula arrived in Picthia during an outbreak, and when the city’s despotic ruler tried to have him murdered, he cursed the man and his family, all of whom quickly became sick and died. Only Belliss, the tyrant’s daughter and a new convert to Sula’s teachings, survived the plague. She took the throne, proclaimed Sula a holy prophet, and sent him out under her protection to spread his teachings in Western Gnia. In 1 b.p.e, during the prophet’s travels, Belliss’ political enemies assassinated her and took her son hostage. According to Church doctrine, when Sula heard this news, he sent his acolyte Eulugin, a cousin of Belliss, back to Picthia with instructions “to be my voice” until his return. Citing undisclosed business elsewhere, Sula then departed on his own ship, crewed by his closest disciples, shouting back to the faithful on shore to “Make ready for my return!” before disappearing into “an unusual cloud.”  Eulugin became the first Great Voice of Picthia, leader of the new Church of Sula. Great Voice Eulugin rescued Belliss’ son and heir, Raegnus, who took his mother’s throne as Picthia’s political sovereign, and completed the construction of the Cathedral of Sula. When Sula failed to return for the Cathedral’s grand opening, Eulugin took his place upon its grand Throne of Sula “until the Prophet returns.” Sula left no written record of his teachings.

Sulism: See: Sula, Picthian Sulism; One Church, the; Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula.


Tamesis: A narrow coastal region of Darbas south of the Gwynyrian Highlands between Celon Province in the east to the Bay of Gaedel. Originally designated as part of the Clydelands in the original Treaty of Sidon, Tamesis fell into administrative limbo when Gwynyr closed its borders at the top of the escarpment in 261 p.e., leaving coastal Tamesis simultaneously within the penumbra of Gwynyrian power, but also vaguely within the sphere of both the Lowland Clydes and the Darbi/Mullaqat. Legally, Tamesis remains a territory of the Darbas Confederacy, although the Confederacy makes no attempt to enforce its laws there. Clydes of various origins and settled Darbi make up most of its year-round inhabitants, but Mullaqat safaqunzis make frequent visits, and the annual zupzup fish harvest in the Bay of Gaedel is a regular event for those who “live the Mullaqat round.”Most residents of Tamesis rely on fishing and farming to make their living. The region’s only city, Jolucan, is a traditionally Clydish port that operates as an independent city state, like Sidon, except no nation formally recognizes its sovereignty for diplomatic reasons. Jolucan has a nominal mayor and council government, but is run by the city’s organized crime syndicates. Its crime bosses insure continued independence by distributing enough bribes to prevent more detailed attention to its activities.

Ta: In DuQaddic, the “ultimate article,” signifying that a thing is the ultimate, divine, or highest expression of a concept or thing. Hence the definite article “du,” meaning “the,” combined with “bezrika” (meaning “church”) could refer to the church building at the end of the block (“du bezrika”), whereas “Ta Bezrika” mean the one ultimate church, Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula.

Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula: The One Revealed Church of Sula is the state religion of Dutan, also known as the One Church (Ta Bezrika), or as the Revealed Church (Dezveld Bezrika) or sometimes as “the Revelations” (Dezveluri), as in “Dezveluri theology,” or “Dezveluri scripture.” It conserves pagan practices related to the Number Four, the tending of sacred flames, water rituals, and ancestor worship, including the keeping and usage of family reliquaries. Since Tanu Mutan Imjan’s publication of the reincarnation liturgy “Peparat per Videk te Bershem qwan Zotshem” (Progress through death toward unity with God), its focus has been on reincarnation as the one path to God, placing emphasis on rewards for obedience and punishments for disobedience. The Church teaches belief in Sula’s concepts of Natural Order and Divine Truths. Since 911 p.e. the Church has collected a punitive annual tithe to the Worldwide Church of Sula to forestall a declaration of Holy War by the Great Voice of Picthia and the Gheraldic Empire. 

Ta Nupa: The name refers to two things — Ta Nupa proper, an underground ruin and holy site, and Ta Nupa District, a larger, secular administrative area where the Tanu Mutan rules by fiat. Ta Nupa proper is an underground complex dating back to Historical Continuity No. 2, the most advanced continuity in the planet’s history. Its centerpiece is Ta Nupa Crater, which is surrounded by a walled area called Temple Park, and all members of the DuQaddic church are expected to visit it. The subterranean portion of Ta Nupa is commonly thought to be accessible only via the bottom the crater, but it is actually accessible via several entrances, all of them guarded by the DuQaddic church. Subterranean Ta Nupa contains a feature called “The Throne of Sula,” where holy men may converse directly with Ta Zotshem, the One Holy God. Only the Tanu Mutan, or his proxies, are allowed access to these features. A public “Throne of Sula” at the bottom of The Stepped Stream/Pilgrims’ Progress pathway down the crater puts on performances for visitors, who believe they are seeing the actual throne. See: Ta Nupa District.

Ta Nupa District: Though Dutan operates as a unified theocracy, local clergy of various ranks run things on behalf of the Tanu Mutan everywhere except in the Ta Nupa District, where the Tanu Mutan himself rules directly. In practical terms this generally means little, but there are exceptions. Outside the district, rules, procedures, courts and bureaucracies apply to the implementation and interpretation of laws. Within the District, the Tanu Mutan rules by fiat, with no institutional checks his power. The district includes Ta Nupa Crater and its surrounding Temple Park, which includes a pilgrimage cathedral, the Tanu Mutan’s Palace and the adjacent Synod Palace. The “secular” city of Perparat beyond the Park walls is also within the district. But most the District is reserved for Dutan’s only permanent military installation, Fort Ustaruk. The fort is home to the Army of Dutan High Command, its full-time Training Battalion, the Army’s one active-duty Regiment (The Tanu Mutan’s Mounted Spears), and the combined campus of the Army’s Military Academy and Military College.

Tanu County: The most rural of Dutan’s “Home Counties,” cattle-ranching Tanu County lies south of Duma and Anayat counties, north of Lopan and Gotha counties, and west of Birren Province. 

Tanu Mutan: DuQaddic term meaning “Anointed Messenger,” it is the title given to the leader of the One Church (See: One Church; Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula). He presides over the theocracy of Dutan on Darbas via his clergy, but the Tanu Mutan rules by fiat, not law, within the region called The Ta Nupa District. The first Tanu Mutan was the Korvish prophet Behjame, who brought the Dezveluri cult from Northwestern Gnia to Darbas in search of the underground throne at Ta Nupa in 327 b.p.e. The most significant Tanu Mutan was Imjan, who invited the shipwrecked prophet Sula to Ta Nupa, and later published a series of religious texts purporting to be private discourses between the two men in The Illuminating Darkness of the underground complex. All Tanu Mutans are selected from the ranks of Ta Zagedshem, and only members of the Ta Zagedshem are allowed to vote for a successor. It is common for the Tanu Mutan to die in office, though some retire.

Tanu Mutan’s Mounted Spears: The only active-duty unit in the Army of Dutan, it’s an elite cavalry unit that is also capable of fighting as mounted infantry.

Tanu Patru: In DuQaddic religion as interpreted by the modern One Church (Ta Dezveld Bezrika Tag Sula), the Tanu Patru is a holy symbol representing divine perfection and harmony. It consists of a traditional Korvish kadum — four diamond shapes (red, yellow, blue and black) that fit together to form a larger diamond – enclosed within a circle. The symbol reflects Ta Bezrika’s encapsulation of the DuQaddics’ pagan past (the kadum) within the structure of provided by the modern One Church. See: kadum.

Tasmes Priory: A former Morkwa priory in Cerdwyn, Llyr, which currently serves as the headquarter of the House of Frihite.

Tellios: In the Sulist mythology promoted by the Worldwide Church of Sula, Tellios is the good divine being who accepts the burden of the dishonest wager foisted upon an innocent maiden goddess by the evil divine being Luzustrus.

Temple Park: See Ta Nupa District.

Tendax: An eastern island near Ulash, not occupied by an imperial power.

Tesho: An eastern island near Ulash, not occupied by an imperial power.

Tesmyn: The Central Gnian people who introduced the Calpathian Clyde heretics to the spiritual beliefs that would become the Old Path. An ethnic minority in Gwynyr.

Touwaithe Fey: In Old Path mythology, an otherworldly race of magical beings.

Touwaithe Realm: A separate state of consciousness beyond the Waking World, accessible in various ways. See: Ceidha.

Ulash: An eastern landform consisting of a central island (Ulasha) with lengthy peninsulas extending to the north (Naulau) and southwest (Saulae). Conquered and colonized by the Gheraldic Empire in the century preceding The Darbas Cycle, during the events of the series Ulash is divided between the Gheralds (Ulasha), the Korvish-Sopkans (Saulae) and the Nechtians (Naulau).

Va: The army of Gwynyr.

Valand, Order of: A maximum of 100 monks are allowed in the Order of the Valand, the elite military unit of Gwynyr. When a vacancy opens, a replacement is chosen from the ranks of the Va. Individual Valand are sworn to the service of the Lady of Gwynyr.

Walashae Islands: An eastern archipelago, including the island of New Bronald, located west of the Saulae Peninsula of Ulash. The Walashaes are nominally under the control of the Gheraldic Empire, but the archipelago has little economic or strategic value, and only New Bronald has an administrative Gheraldic presence. 

Western World, the: In practical terms, the portion of the planet centered on the continent of Gnia in which travel and trade are practicable. Residents of the Western World are aware of additional lands across the ocean on the other side of the planet, but given the iron shortage, high costs and severe risks of crossing those oceans with available naval technology, contact and exploration is minimal. 

Worldwide Church of Sula: Originally styled simply “The Church of Sula” by the original Great Voice of Picthia. By far the dominant religion in the Western World.

Zint: Gwynyrian currency.


Walashae Islands: An eastern archipelago, including the island of New Bronald, located west of the Saulae Peninsula of Ulash. The Walashaes are nominally under the control of the Gheraldic Empire, but the archipelago has little economic or strategic value, and only New Bronald has an administrative Gheraldic presence. 

Western World, the: In practical terms, the portion of the planet centered on the continent of Gnia in which travel and trade are practicable. Residents of the Western World are aware of additional lands across the ocean on the other side of the planet, but given the iron shortage, high costs and severe risks of crossing those oceans with available naval technology, contact and exploration is minimal. 

Worldwide Church of Sula: Originally styled simply “The Church of Sula” by the original Great Voice of Picthia. By far the dominant religion in the Western World.

Zint: Gwynyrian currency.

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