A Lexicon of Assan
Aktiri: Humans that have an unnatural relationship with flow, to the extent of being able to perform large scale manipulations of the skein of fate in Assan. Aktiri were superstitiously killed and misunderstood until the ascension of Ma'elKoth. The Emperor still does not understand how their existence influences the world as a whole, but does understand that having them in his employ effectively weakens the numerical advantage that Lipke has over the smaller kingdom of Ankhana. It is relatively impossible to distinguish an Aktir from the rest of the populace other than by actions as they look like normal humans.
Alientown: Like the Warrens except only for non-humans. Though denizens of both ghettoes do mix during the day, when night rolls around, it is dangerous for a non-human to be outside of Alientown. Humans have a slightly better chance roaming around Alientown (for a large part because of the influence of Kierendal and the need for business for the Exotic Love), but it is not advised.
Ankhana: The second most powerful Empire on Assan is also the capital city of the Ankhanan Empire. The city itself is relatively new, less than a thousand years old, and has only been in control by Ankhana for less than half that time. Ankhana rests on the northwest continent of Assan (as does the city). See also: Ankhana
Brass Stadium: The ancient, crumbling coliseum known as the Brass Stadium used to run gladiator games an age ago, back in the days of the Brass King. Now it's in the Warrens, and unofficially owned by the Kingdom of Cant. Decades of smelting in the coal-ran manufactories of the Industrial Park trailing corrosive coal-smoke against the stadium have left its walls crumbling and stained brown and black.
Chambara: The god of the river the Great Chambaygen. Nobody worships Chambara, because Chambara doesn't take part in the lives of mortals. To Chambara, all life is equal, from maggots to seaweed to primal mages to great heroes. All life is equally sacred, and death is just a part of the great circle of life.
The Colhari Palace: The grand palace of the Ankhanan Empire, sits near the center of Old Town, on Gods' Way. Has two towers and a large spire, this enormous palace is more than nine stories tall and between the Dawn and Dusk towers, you can look out over the entire city of Ankhana, and for hundreds of miles beyond.
Commons' Beach: A large beach in Alientown, bonfires can often be seen struck up at night and large parties go on there all the time, though few people go for a swim, as it is from the Industrial Park.
Council of Brothers: The name of the ruling body of the Monasteries. It's often said that the Council of Brothers cannot even agree what day of the week it is, which is why major decisions in the Monasteries takes a long, long time to come to pass.
Court of the Gods: An area on Gods' Way in Old Town of Ankhana, it sits between the Colhari Palace and the Temple of Prorithun. There's quite a few works of art here, and it's kept cleaner than any other part of Ankhana. The Fountain of Prorithun and Prince-Regent Toa-Phelathon's statue on his rearing charger sit here, amongst other things.
The Donjon: A dungeon that sits below the Courthouse of Ankhana, it is buried deep within the limestone bedrock that the whole city sits on top of. Because of this, Flow is all but completely blocked out from down here, making Thaumaturges and pretty much all types of magick completely impossible.
Dukes of the Cabinet: These Dukes of Ankhana formerly ran the Empire in a similar fashion to the U.S. Congress, except they had a little less power. Toa-Phelathon was a member of the Dukes of the Cabinet before he became Prince-Regent, and when Toa-Phelathon died, another one of the Dukes would have been chosen to take over as regent. However, the death of the Child Queen made this a moot point. Now they have been restored in the wake of the succession wars, but have almost no power.
The Dungheap: A territory inside the Warrens that is run by the Dungar gang, this area is crowded with ramshackle tenements. The streets are more often mud than not, with the drainage system doing little to correct the problem after rains. Foot traffic is the most commonly seen type of traffic in this little traveled area, mostly day laborers picking across the rotting boardwalks toward a chance of work in the Industrial Park across Rogues’ Way.
Friar: A sworn Monastic citizen. These men run the monasteries, work as guards and even personal assassins of the Monastics. These men typically have studied and worked hard for years to achieve this rank. Friar’s can be armed, with short shoulder-high staves which are ideal close-combat weapons, and they can be trained to be extraordinary combatants.
The Gods' Teeth: Enormous Mountains near the border of Ankhana and Lipke, east of Ankhana, the Great Chambaygen (which passes through Ankhana) passes through the Gods' Teeth as well. The Gods' Teeth are jaggedly shaped like fangs, which is how they got their name. The Iron Mine, run by the stonebenders is here, and is constantly being disputed over between Ankhana and Lipke, not to mention the stonebenders themselves, who don't enjoy being treated as slave labor to either Empire. The Gods' Teeth is known to contain many ogrillo tribes, at least one of which takes human slaves and breeds them like cattle, eating them once they mature and become nice and plump.
The Great Chambaygen: An enormous river that cuts through the main territory of Ankhana. The capital city Ankhana itself is split in half by the half-mile-wide river. It says that the river god Chambara watches over the river, but doesn't partake in the lives of mortals. When the sun hits twilight, the sun will strike fire from the slow boil of the river, hiding the garbage and filth of human waste that Ankhana poured into it, and will gild the immense anti-ship nets of heavy chain that stretch from the Northwest and southwest garrisons across the channels of the river to One Tower at the westernmost tip of the island.
The Grey Cats: Elite soldiers of the Empire. They wear dove grey leather jerkins and breeches that are reinforced with wire, but that’s it. They rely purely on their speed and fighting prowess to get them the hell out of the way of swords and stuff in battle. They’re the Imperial Special-Operations division. See also: The Grey Cats
Industrial Park: The industrial district of Ankhana, this part of the city sits on the North Bank between Alientown and the Warrens. Has tenements nestled between the manufactories. These are grimy apartments, but typically those with money live here. Apparently subhumans come here too. The thick, coal smoke the factories belch out tend to blot out the sun and pollute the river.
The Iron Room: A room inside the Colhari Palace, just outside is an anteroom with a beautifully glazed window that fills one wall. It sits high in the Dusk Tower of the Palace. The anteroom’s floor is made of pale limestone. The inner door is a great black slab of cold-worked iron, on the door hangs a massive ring forged in the ancient symbol of the serpent devouring its tail. It’s a knocker, essentially. The Iron Room was built over a century ago, early in the reign of Til-Menelethis the Golden, the last Ankhanan king to dabble in sorcery. The windowless interior of the room was plated with interleaved sheets of hammered black iron, the joints worked with binding runes of silver. Silver runes ring the doorway and the only two places where the palace’s stonework was exposed: the matching mystic circles, one at the center of the floor and the other on the ceiling above. The Iron Room had been sealed by order of the Council of Dukes in regency for Til-Menelethis’ heir after the King descended into wailing madness; the wards had been set by the legendary Manawythann Grey-Eyes, and have stood inviolate against all attempts to break it. In the northern quadrant of the mystic circle lays an altar of native limestone, now grayed with soot and crusted with ancient brown blood. A treelike metal rack, the arms of which end in silver hooks sit at the altar’s side. There are lazily smoking braziers that provide both reddish light and a juniper-oil scent that nearly covers the sulphurous fecal tang that always hangs in the air within this room.
Jhanthogen Bluff: A small province founded and completely owned by the Monasteries. This is the only location of official territory the Monasteries own. Some great crafts come out of there, and there are farms there as well.
Jheled-Kaarn: A crappy little province southeast of Ankhana, on Ankhana's border with Lipke. Though technically a province of Ankhana (and Ankhana does have a garrison there) they frequently have territorial disputes with Lipke here. Jheled-Kaarn has nearly a hundred thousand free-peasants, many of whom are starving all the time because of the disputes between Ankhana and Lipke.
The King’s Eyes: Are the intelligence agency behind the Ankhanan Empire. They dress in blue and gold tunics when in their dress-livery, and often carry shortswords on their waists along with identical daggers. Sometimes they even carry small, compact crossbows. See also: The King's Eyes
Kirisch-Nar: A crappy little province southeast of Ankhana, on Ankhana's border with Lipke. Though technically a province of Ankhana (and Ankhana does have a garrison there) they frequently have territorial disputes with Lipke here. Kirisch-Nar is known for their cat-pits, where they have lions and tigers and puma and all sorts of other beasts fight it out with each other and gladiators for fun and sport. Lots of money is made gambling away at the cat-pits.
Khryl: Khryl is a god of war, and his healing is intended for use on the battlefield; it is fast and certain, but savagely uncomfortable. A deep wound that would normally take months to fully heal, and in the meantime would throb and itch and shoot the occasional stinging stitch through the limb, Khryl’s healing takes every scrap of discomfort of those months and compresses it into five eternal minutes of agony.
Khryllian: Somebody who worships the god Khryl. For one of these priests to heal your wounds, you must have attained them in battle, and you should await them in meditation. Khryllian healing works only on wounds sustained in battle. They wear full armor, they even sleep in it, and the steel of their armor is so incredibly polished that it reflects candle flame like chrome. The last time a priest of Khryl ever kneels is when he receives his Order of Knighthood. They chant to bring about their healing powers.
Knights of Cant: These are the guards and police and basically the gang members of the Kingdom of Cant. Generally they wear black scuffed boots, red cotton breeches, the bottom edge of a knee-length chain shirt painted black, and a broadsword. They always travel in pairs. They can be assholes. If you talk smack to them, they charge an insolence tax, which can be as high (or higher) as five nobles. Their chain mail is painted black with the silvered borders of the Kingdom of Cant's colors.
Lipke: The Lipkan Empire, this is the most powerful Empire on Assan. The Lipkan Empire sits mostly on another continent, southeast of Ankhana, though they do have some territory on Ankhana's continent.
Mindview: The mental state necessary to perceive Flow, to cast and maintain spells, is a meditative state, almost transcendental. When in mindview, you don’t feel tired, you don’t feel fear, you don’t feel much of anything at all; you’re only aware of your environment and your will, what adepts call your intention. Mindview uses creative visualization to "tune" the adept's consciousness to certain resonances of Flow; such disciplines also cause permanent changes in the hard-wiring of the central nervous system.
The Monasteries: Also known as the Monastics, this is a nation without borders, much like the Catholic Church of Europe of a thousand years ago. They fight for the Future of Humanity, and are extremely political. They've been established in Ankhana for a hundred years. They're neck-deep full of traditions, and have symbols for everything. Their typical strategy when confronted is to give way, and then later inflict the harshest of punishments. Monastery is the word we use for the Westerling Krasthikhanolyir, which translates roughly as Fortress of Human Future. The Monasteries are centers of learning, primarily, and serve as schools for the children of nobility and such of the common folk as can pay their fees. They attempt to spread familiar philosophy of the brotherhood of man, and that kind of thing. The Monasteries teach a number of very advanced fighting arts, and several Monasteries are known for their schools of magick. The Monasteries are aggressively political, and are certainly not above toppling a government that they perceive as being dangerous to their long-term goal, which is nothing less than the survival and dominance of the human race on Assan.
Mucker Shafts: The shafts that run parallel down the shafts of the Pissoirs. Unlike the pissoir shafts, which have fine bronze-mesh that prevent solid material from getting down into the bottomless pits, there are concealed doors in these shafts that can get you into those bottomless caverns, through which one who knows his way can move freely beneath the city.
Old Town: The Island in the middle of the Great Chambaygen, it sits between the North and South Banks of Ankhana, and is the downtown district of the great city. There are crowds of people here frequently, along with a giant stone wall that encompasses the entire island, preventing people from getting here without crossing one of the bridges on either bank. Ten towers sit along the wall as well, these are lookout posts amongst other things, and they are named “One Tower”, “Two Tower”, “Three Tower”, and so on and up to “Ten Tower”. One Tower is on the westernmost tip of the island, and going clockwise around you can count out the other towers.
Outside Power: A name given to anything beyond mortality but less than a God. Usually these are demons, but nobody wants to name them as such, for it is said that even saying the word "demon," or worse, calling out the name of one is enough to get their attention and bring you a whole world of trouble. Calling upon an Outside Power is very dangerous, and when they arrive, they tend to arrive hungry. The demons tend to feed off of pain and anguish and fear and misery, and are known to eat souls. This typically requires a sacrifice, or several sacrifices.
Pissoirs: The elaborate city-pissoirs of Ankhana, relics of the Brass King, Tar-Mennelekil, who had nearly bankrupted his nation with his public works. The public pissoirs of Ankhana were built above the shafts sunk through the limestone that formed the bedrock beneath the city; within these shafts are three screens of progressively finer bronze mesh to capture the solid wastes and allow the liquid to drain into the bottomless caverns below the city. A parallel shaft descends alongside each. The muckers make their rounds about once in a tenday, to collect the valuable shit and cart it away to Lucky Janner’s Ankhana Muckers and Manure on the outskirts of Alientown.
Right of Sanctuary: Something a Monastic Citizen can claim at a Monastic hold. Nobody can turn you in, under pain of death. To claim sanctuary, declare: “I claim Sanctuary. I am a Citizen of Humanity and Servant of the Future. I have broken neither oath nor law. By law and custom, Sanctuary is mine by right.” There are ways of proving that you are a Monastic citizen, including a secret handshake amongst other things. If somebody claims Sanctuary, it’s the law to grant it to them. In fact, the oaths of Sanctuary are among the most sacred vows a friar ever takes, and the penalties for violating them usually include death.
The Shattered Cliffs: Adventurers sometimes claim they've been to the Shattered Cliffs, as a point of patting themselves on the back, but few people actually have any idea if these Cliffs even exist, or what's over there, beyond immeasurable danger.
Shell: A person's Shell roughly corresponds to what we think of as a person's 'aura'; it is a mindview-visible representation of how that individual's mind is currently interacting with Flow. Adepts have more control over their shell's than those unfamiliar with Mindview and spellcasting, but everyone has some control over their Shell, unintentional or otherwise.
The Subjects of Cant: “The Subjects” is how the Kingdom of Cant is referred to. These guys are usually blind, amputees, deformed, or lepers, beggars and all kind of unseemly folk. They know the caverns under the city better than anyone.
Temple of Prorithun: A large temple that sits across the street from the Colhari Palace. It is three stories tall, but has a bell tower that goes up several stories more. The giant brass bell is rung at sunrise and sunset, to declare the beginning and end of curfew, and is the signal for when the bridges of Old Town should be raised and lowered.
Tyshalle: A god of Assan, his gospel is of radical liberty and personal responsibility. Many people worship Tyshalle; though he's not as mainstream as some, he is far less controlling than a lot of the other deities.
The Warrens: The ghetto of Ankhana, the warrens is an area rife with gang activity and crime. The average life expectancy here is much lower than the rest of the city. The Warrens resides within Old Town.
The Working Dead: Sort of like the Zombie Rent-to-Own, except it’s on the border of the Kingdom of Cant and the Rats. It’s right next door to Fader’s Whores, with an alleyway between them. Generally there’s considerable traffic outside this place, men with sharp prods driving roped-together strings of zombies from the Working Dead, which is the only thriving business for blocks around.