The Elthern calendar

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The Elthern calendar

Post  Berserker on Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:05 am

The Elthern calendar is built around major events occurring every year. Those events have given name to the time periods the year is built around, meaning that each year is split into set time intervals, wherein the date is counted from the day the event is occurred. Originally, each such period varied in length and depended entirely on when something happened; the period from 1st of Sun’s Peak until the 1st of Winter’s Eve was determined exactly by how long it took until snow fell. In more recent years, the periods have been set to certain dates instead, so that they can be relied upon by those living in other areas of the world.

The first such period of the year is called Sun’s Peak, and starts at the day the sun stands highest in the sky. Sun’s Peak is the longest period of the year, lasting a whole 100 days. This is a busy period for the peasantry, as there are crops to harvest, earth to till, cattle to herd, and beasts to hunt. Much warfare happens in this period as well, as it’s easy to collect supplies, move armies and set up forts. Elthern’s sages and wizards, however, take this time to venture out of the city and seek out lost lore in remote corners of the continent.

100 days after Sun’s Peak, on the date 100th of Sun’s Peak, the next period starts; Sun’s Fall, starting the day the day and night are equally long. On this day, 1st of Sun’s Fall, Elthern’s citizens hold a grand event, celebrating what they gained this year. It is also traditionally considered the last chance to eat their fill before a long, long winter sets in; during the dread winters of 1743 to 1750, Elthern’s citizens only barely made it through the winter by rationing food and nearly always going hungry. The Sun’s Fall feast is made in honour of those who didn’t survive. Curiously, in Elthern, Sun’s Fall is the one time the gap between slave and noble is fully erased. In times of crisis, hunger gnaws at noble and slave alike, and the event symbolises that.

53 days after Sun’s Fall, Winter’s Eve begins. In 1913, when the calendar periods were first made regular, the first winter snow fell 53 days after Sun’s Fall, and the period has remained that long ever since. It usually doesn’t take long until snow falls after 1st of Winter’s Eve, even if it’s only a thin blanket that disappears after a few days. Elthern slows down during Winter’s Eve; only traders and merchants still hawk their wares, and the Council still hold their meetings, but the slave market ceases its activity, and only those few wagon manufacturers in possession of indoor buildings keep plying their trade. Elthern is quiet and peaceful in this period.

48 days after Winter’s Eve comes the shortest day of the year, Winter’s Dawn. In more southern areas, Winter’s Dawn is nearly always a beautiful, if terribly short day; in Elthern, it’s a short day in which much of Elthern’s population stay indoors, spending time with their household. Winter’s Dawn is considerably longer than Winter’s Eve, however; it lasts a whole 68 days. Elthern is slowly getting more active again during this period, as it becomes clear that this winter, too, was not one lasting for years.

The shortest period of the year comes next; after Winter’s Dawn comes Winter’s End, when the snow in the mountains southwest of Elthern melt and makes the river flowing past Elthern flood its shores. Winter’s End is marked by another great celebration; most food stored away in the city is taken out and eaten in a great feast lasting for many days. When the feast is done, the peasantry inevitably steal away with the food that remains, while the nobles have to sleep off their hangover. Until the peasantry return with their first harvests, the nobles of Elthern go into a collective competition to lose weight and get back to normal. In 32 days, much can happen to a body, but there are always some nobles - normally the same ones - that still haven’t gone back to their former weight by the time Winter’s End transitions over into Sun’s Rise, the period from the day in spring the day and night are equally long and until Sun’s Peak begins.

Sun’s Rise is the last period of the year, lasting a whole 100 days, as Sun’s Peak does; this is when the fields around Elthern bustle with activity. New farms are built, old farms re-tilled, cattle is purchased from as far as Corville in Adrila; all part of restocking Elthern for the next long winter that comes. The first and boldest scholars venture out of Elthern to get a headstart on their slower, more experienced colleagues; a gambit that usually does not pay off. Before the best scholars are gone, the Council decides upon any new members for the coming year, as some of the old no doubt are forced to leave, and another year of conniving tactics and unpleasant politics follows, as always.

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