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The continent of Tamaranth has a single annual calendar, although the divisions of the days into weeks vary from country to country. This is the ancient Amanesh calendar, in use since before the time of the Great Wars, and is divided into twelve months, each with 30 days, in recognition of the twelve Primal Gods.

The months are called:

In HumanIn DwarvenIn Elven

The days of the week are called:

In HumanIn DwarvenIn Elven


Additionally there is the great year-end holiday that lasts for 5 days and is not part of any month. In the human lands it is known as the Sol Invictus Festival; in Tanalok, it's called Wintersonnenwende, and in Assel-Vesdra, Yenearsira.

Wintersonnenwende. The end of the old year, the beginning of the new. The time of endings and beginnings, life and death, affirmation and remembrance.

All across Tanalok the end of the year brings a rededication of the hearth and home. The family gathers around and the year just passed is discussed and pondered. It is also the time to solemnly mourn those who passed away in the year just ended, and reflect on all they meant to those left behind. Finally all the detritus of the year--bad habits and foolish quarrels, worries and sorrows--are symbolically consigned to the flames. When all has been consumed the hearth fires are ritualistically extinguished, the fireplace cleaned and purified, and a new fire lit to welcome the new year. It is traditional to fast from the time the fire is quenched until the first meal prepared on the rekindled fire is served--usually for twelve to twenty-four hours. That first meal is a feast to share with family and friends. Again loved ones gather to reflect on the year just past, but this time it is to celebrate the accomplishments and the blessings that will be carried into the new year. It is time to raise a glass to joy, to new babies and new businesses, to weddings and handfastings, and to all the other pledges to hope and the future. This is also the time to declare promises for the new year. Dwarves often make public vows to pursue a defined, beneficial course of action, such as learning a skill or promising aid ("Before the haying I pledge to help my brother Ingolf raise his new barn," for example.) Marriages and business ventures that begin on the last two days of Wintersonnenwende (after the new fire has been kindled) are considered particularly propitious.

On a more practical level, Wintersonnenwende is the time of year when a dwarf is encouraged to seek forgiveness from those he has harmed or offended, and offer it to those who harmed or offended him. It is the time when sour relationships are ended, current ones reaffirmed, and new ones announced. Business enterprises are settled or reviewed, debts are satisfied and profits and allowances are paid, labour contracts are concluded and new ones are negotiated. The goal is to start the year with a clean slate and a clear conscience. Few vows are considered as sacred and binding as a Wintersonnenwende Oath.

Adapted from a post by Yohan Haunreiter


On the first day of Viertmond the dwarves celebrate Huttag--Hat Day--a playful celebration where custom mandates everyone to exchange hats with each person they meet all day or pay a penalty in the form of food or coppers or other guerdon. König Werner der Siebte makes it a point to go out amongst as many of his subjects as he can, his courtiers carrying large baskets of cakes, sweetmeats, silver coins, and toys. He won't give up his crown, of course, so he has to pay out heavily--to his great enjoyment (a rather affable monarch, the King of Tanalok). Children trade paper hats with each other all day (origami-style, party hats, clever tissue paper whimsies, etc). Those a little bit older use it as an excuse to trade more important gifts, while sweethearts might pay a ransom of kisses.

Also, one of the more touching (and highly embellished) tales of the Royal Family is associated with Huttag. The year was 1647, and the young and beautiful Prinzessin Anya-Karolina, only surviving child of König Werner der Fünfte, was the belle of Tanalok and courted by a thousand suitors, but she rejected them all…

The issue was…well, issue. The bards focus on the 'young and beautiful' part which was actually--surprisingly--more-or-less true, but the historians admit the greater part of her attraction was because she had to marry suitably and produce a male heir before her father died or the whole succession--already on shaky ground due to the death of her brothers--would be entirely overset.

Tanalok succession of cognatic male primogeniture is quasi-Salic in that a woman cannot inherit except when, in the absence of direct male heirs, succession is allowed through the direct female descendants, although excluding the females themselves in favour of their sons. Or, in simpler terms, if a daughter (Anya-Karolina) didn't give birth to a legitimate male child before her father died, the succession would pass to his brother and then to his brother's offspring. While the law sounded fine in theory, there were serious problems with it in practice, since the King actually had a younger brother who had produced sons. Several sons. Six, to be exact, all by different women and none born in wedlock. (A bit of a rake was Prinz Eberhard. Yes, well…) Be that as it may, the potential consequences if any of the six managed to substantiate a claim of legitimacy were…not pretty…

Anyway…look as she would (or as her father's advisors would) there seemed to be no worthy young men amongst the nobility… (Read: young men who wouldn't try and rule in their own right based on the claim of marriage, hereby precipitating just the constitutional crisis the Royals were trying to avoid…)

Things looked black for our Prinzessin until one day she was reviewing the troops in typical Gracious Prinzessin fashion and her Destiny was revealed to her in a glorious flash of light. Or, more accurately, concealed from her, lost in a haze of red spots dancing in front of glare blinded retinas. (That's what happens when, right at the moment the sun breaks from behind a cloud, you look at a hopeful young knight who, along with three squires and the scullery maid, had stayed up all night polishing his plate armour to mirror brightness…)

Once she could see again she prudently shaded her eyes and took a better look at the Brave Hero. The army had seen some fierce fighting in the Gnoll Wars, and for his selfless heroism the Knight in Shining Armour had just been promoted to the exalted rank of Major and given command of a regiment. He was riding a splendid roan destrier at the head of the column of his men. As the regiment drew level with the reviewing platform the Knight stepped to one side, bowed to the Prinzessin, and then coaxed his horse into executing an elegant levade, holding it while the men marched smartly past. Justifiably impressed, the Prinzessin tossed the gallant the rose from her corsage…

Caught in the sweet embrace of True Love, the Beautiful Prinzessin decided to get to know the Knight in Shining Armour (as soon as a few dozen courtiers, scribes and spies had finished performing a background check that documented everything the Hero had ever done back to the day he was born, including when he'd put a goat in the Commandant's bed during his second term at the Akademie…and no one had even suspected him for that prank at the time.) Major Konrad Stahlhart wasn't noble, but he was a popular Hero with no stain on his escutcheon (or anywhere else.) More importantly, he had neither claim nor interest in ruling a country…his burning ambition was to command a division…or an army. That…could be arranged…

The Major and the Prinzessin soon became the subject for much speculation, for they were seen everywhere together--balls, fetes, concerts, rides in the park, often in small, intimate parties of barely a dozen companions and attendants! Then came Huttag, to be celebrated with a splendid dinner in the Castle with the finest entertainments--jugglers and tumblers, musicians, and a holiday pantomime with marionettes followed by dancing!

A festive crowd arrived, carrying bags of trinkets and many wearing or carrying a collection of clever hats, almost like a masquerade. Amidst the general conviviality, a laughing Major Stahlhart challenged the Prinzessin for her hat. The room froze and every eye was riveted on the couple when she removed her crown and placed it on his head. The major was caught completely off-guard. His poise deserted him, leaving him speechless, staring wide-eyed at the Prinzessin.
Anya-Karolina started to laugh. "Did you not ask?"
He nodded mutely.
"So, where is my reciprocation?" she coaxed.
Confused, still stunned, he stammered, "Wha--what do you want?"
Shaking her head at his gaucherie, she teased, "Your heart?"
Once in a while someone says exactly the right thing at exactly the right time…
"But…you've had that since the first time I saw you!" the Major blurted, his sincerity unmistakable.
Even a Prinzessin is not proof against such blandishment. Maybe especially a Prinzessin, accustomed to being courted for her position, not for herself. "Ohhh…" she said. It was her turn to be at a loss.
It had taken a while, but the implications had finally penetrated Konrad's thick dwarven skull. He started smiling, wider and wider with each second. Taking his clan badge from his hair and his signet from his finger he handed both to the Prinzessin. She accepted, and so was the betrothal made.

Six months later they were married, and if they didn't always live happily ever after, they came a lot closer than most. Upon the death of his grandfather their eldest son was crowned König Werner der Sechster.

croiduire/orbs/almanac.txt · Last modified: 2014/11/09 16:32 by Croi Duire