Alain devLacey (AL-aind dev-LACE-ee): Baron of Francais. A southern marcher lord

Alarion Aravon (A-LAIR-ion AIR-a-von): Youngest son of House Aravon, ruling house of Sevakand. Nickname: Alya

Alexian Walker (A-LEX-ee-an): Earl of Renland, head of House Walker

Alloq (AL-lock): Drug used to dull pain, most often mixed with wine. Addictive if used long enough, and hallucinogenic to a certain extent

Anatel (AN-a-tell): Southeastern corner of Mosain province, held by Zenan Lord Anatel. His sigil is a running horse.

Anavar (AN-a-var): God of healing. His priests wear green and are known as Navri.

Angless (AHN-gless): Common language of Nemistak

An-Utah (U-tah): Southern marcher province renowned for its red sands. Founded by a descendent of ancient Cheyenne ancestry and named for a region on Earth because of the resemblance found in its queer, colorful rock formations. It is also the center of the Stoneshaker cult.

Aravon (AIR-a-von): Great-grandson of Sarah Linden, founder of House Aravon and first King of Sevakand

Bahia (Bah-HEE-ah): A Mosaini orvi, Traven’s mistress

Bapst: Easternmost of the major Senit tribes and accounted the fiercest. They ride dun horses.

Beldon: A southern march and the repository of most of Ariel’s known iron ore reserves, name for Torian Beldon, one of the original Founders. It is renowned for its armor and weapons and to a lesser extent its glass. Held by House Pilot.

Blood: Generic term for any person born into the family of a ruling House

Boondie (BOON-dee): Generic term for anyone judged odd or insane. Taken from Bundar, the planet where the galaxy once sent its incurably insane.

Boris din’Aravon (BOR-is): A minor marcher lord’s third son, he fought entry challenge to the Comman at the age of eighteen. He is a friend and mentor to all three royal sons.

Bren Shea: Duke of Heravin and uncle to the royal sons

Buddhán (Boo-DAHN): God of peace, accounted one of the greater gods. His Chosen wear blue and are known as Buddhánri.

Cath: A sect of Crizan despised on both sides of the march. They breed white horses.

Chosen: General term for a priest or priestess of any god

Citadel: The three-hundred meter high rock platform adjoining the plateau of Yarom, containing the Aravoni palace, which also is generally known by the same name

Claira (CLARE-ah): Sev’ of House Aravon, Alarion’s mastra of spies

Comman (CO-man): The elite Aravoni bodyguard originally founded as the Commandos, Sarah Linden’s personal bodyguard. They evolved into a five-hundred man regiment restricted to sons of noble Houses, who fight entry challenge to the death like any Mreen. They are awarded a black turban and abandon their names and their House affiliations for those of House Aravon.

Commanzik (Co-MAN-zik): Any member of the Comman

Conjunction tide: The awesome upheaval of wind and waves caused by the quadriennial conjunction of Ariel’s three moons

Casmir Gregor (CAS-meer GREG-ore): Eldest son and heir of the Duke of Kiel and a Young Lord who lives in Hostage House

Covan (CO-van): A small Senit tribe given to breeding golden horses coveted as a mark of distinction among their warriors

Crescent house: Safehouses established "under the crescent" painted above the door where the poor and indigent can find shelter

Crizan (Creh-ZAHN): The Unrepentant, those who fled the atheistic rule of Sarah Linden shortly after the Hadí were overthrown. Their only common link is a belief in the same One God, but their beliefs and worship practices are defined by tribe, and vary wildly, as evidenced by the Messiah legend, which some believe to be prophecy, and others history. They are nominally ruled by the Archbishop of Nemistak, whose seat is in Ro’om and who is elected by the tribal elders from candidates presented by each tribe.

Crusades: A series of campaigns fought by kings of Sevakand against the cross-bearing Crizani tribes in Nemistak

Damon Pilot (DAY-man): Earl of Beldon

Daniel: Archbishop Gabrial’s gentle successor

Din’: Honorific bestowed upon all members of a household guard after successfully fighting entry challenge and swearing oath to the House

Dome: Oldest building on Ariel. It was erected as the control center for the spaceport when Farreacher grounded on Ariel. Its three upper floors are used now to house visiting dignitaries; the understory, carved from solid rock, contains House Aravon’s war room.

Donovar Ballymar (DON-oh-var BAL-ee-mar): Second son of House Ballymar and heir to the province of Nerin.

Elam Thunderwalker (EE-lam): Chief of the Cohapt sect of the Uhnit tribe of the Crizan

Evan Ballymar (EV-an BAL-ee-mar): Count of Nerin

Entry challenge: The bloody ritual by which din’ of any House win the right to stand in the bodyguard of that House. It is a fight to the death or surrender between rival candidates.

Er: God of knowledge. His priests wear dust-brown robes and are known as Evri.

Evion (EV-ee-on): Largest and second brightest of Ariel’s three moons

Falal (Fah-LAL): The judge of souls and one of the greater gods. He sends souls either to rebirth or to the eternal, lightless clutch of Shaitan. He is equated with the sun, especially in southern lands.

Farouk Sahd (Fah-ROOK SAWD): Sheik of Mosain, elder brother to Zenan

Fate: Goddess of destiny, sister to Seev and Shaitan. The most feared goddess of all. Her Chosen wear orange and are known as Fatri.

Farreach: Eastern marcher province, famous for grain and timber. Held by House Major.

Farreacher: The spaceship which brought the original colonists to Ariel

Flosh (FLAWSH): Literally, gutter trash, a contemptuous term

Founders: The original founders of Ariel, the colonists who are almost a legend to their descendants

Francais (FRAN-case): One of the seven southern marcher provinces, between Heravin and Utah. Held by House devLacey.

Freeborn: Those born without House affiliations. They wear a plain white turban and are looked down on by those lucky enough to be associated in any capacity with a Great House. During the Wars of Succession, those born outside the protection of the Houses were usually the first to die.

Fenn Major (FEN): Eldest son and heir of the Duke of Farreach and a Young Lord of Hostage House

Gabrial: Archbishop of Nemistak whose personal mission is to convert the heathen Sevakandi by fire and clear the way for the Messiah

Ghoul: Contemptuous term bestowed upon any inhabitant of the Citadel who is not Aravoni, sev’, or din’. Most are minor officials or bureaucrats responsible for the paperwork of running the government.

Golden Charter: The difficult agreement reached between House Aravon and the peers which ended the Wars of Succession. In it both monarch and peers are bound to the rule of law as agreed upon in open council called by the King. A consensus of seven of the eleven peers is required to make law. Any seven voting against the King can overturn his decision.

Grays din’Aravon (GRAZE din AIR-a-von): Sarjent of the White Mreens, Alarion’s regimental bodyguard

Great Dance: The eternal game of Sevakandi politics

Great House: Any of the twelve principle families of Sevakand, including the royal house

Gunter (GOON-ter): Chief of the Luran tribe

Natan Rob (NAY-ton ROBB): Ambitious warrior of the Covan tribe

Habb: (HAHB) A bay stallion belonging to Zenan Lord Anatel

Hadí (Hahd-EE): Religious zealots who began on the rim world Cannell and carried their campaign of conversion to the stars. They conquered Ariel in the year 2367 (Earth calendar). Overthrown in rebellion by the colonists in the year 2429 (Aravoni Reckoning Year 1), their rule left such a scar on the Arielan psyche that to call someone a Hadí can spark a duel to the death.

Hael (HAY-el): An orphaned boy from the Mreen barracks recruited by Grays to be Alarion’s body squire

Hall of Gods: Audience hall of the King of Sevakand, constructed of materials stripped from Farreacher and the remains of the Hadí temple.It takes its name overtly from the crystal masks of the gods that line the upper floor galleries, and covertly from the unofficial title bestowed upon Sarah Linden long after her death of "mother of gods."

Hara’ani: (hair-a-AH-nee) A royal decree establishing primogeniture, ending the right of the peers to choose their own successors

Harv devLacey: Eldest son and heir of the Baron of Francais and a Young Lord of Hostage House

Haván (Hav-AHN): Title of the heir to Sevakand

Hebraik (Heh-BRAKE): Descendents of Ariel’s small Jewish population, they fled into the Hebron mountains at the onset of Hadí rule and never came out. They survive by trading with all sides, allying with none. Most Sevakandi look down on them for clinging to a religion, but find them less odd than the Crizan, who fled after the Hadí had been overthrown.

Hera: Smallest and dimmest of Ariel’s moons, it casts a reddish light and runs in a high eccentric orbit

Heravin (HAIR-a-vin): One of the southern marcher provinces, between Mosain and Francais. Held by House Shea.

Hevai (hev-EYE): A word from the Aravoni House tongue, closest in meaning to Bravo! or Well done

Hostage House: The body of eldest sons of the peerage brought to Yarom as hostages to peace in the provinces. The building itself sits on the first ledge below the western cliff wall of the Citadel, directly below the royal ways.

House Aravon (AIR-a-von): The ruling House of Sevakand, tracing its descent from Sarah Linden. House sign: silver sunburst and three arrows under an arch of seven stars on a midnight-blue background

House Ballymar (BAL-ee-mar): Ruling House of Nerin province. House colors: blue, black and gold. House sign: Unicorn leaping a crescent moon

House Corbinay (COR-bin-ay): Ruling House of Tanistan province. They control all ship-borne trade on Ariel by dint of licenses and a monopoly on shipbuilding. House sign: ragged green sail on white background

House devLacey (dev-LACE-ee): Ruling House of Francais province. House sign: silver nova enchained on a black background

House Gregor (GREG-ore): Ruling House of Kiel, self-styled the Forge of the Sun, for Kiel’s desert heat and their relentless pursuit of Crizani raiders. House sign: black anvil on red sun

House Major: Ruling House of Farreach province, taking its name from the now-unused military rank of its founder. House sign: gold oak leaf on brown

House Pilot: Ruling House of Beldon province, founded by the grandson of the pilot of the Farreacher. House sign: gold sailing ship’s wheel on gray

House Sahd (SAWD): Ruling House of Mosain. House sign: gold curved saber and shattered sword on green background

House Shea (SHAY): Ruling House of Heravin province. House sign: green tree on black background

House Toyev (TOY-ev): Ruling House of Sind province, accounted hotheads with long memories. House sign: silver moon in eclipse on gray background

House Walker: Ruling House of Renland province. House sign: blue mailed boot on green background

House Walkingwolf: Ruling House of Utah province. House sign: black wolf inside a red arch on a white background

Ivanar Gregor (EYE-van-ar GREG-ore): Earl, later Duke of Kiel

Jon Ellay (JON EL-lay): Mayor of Ro’om

Jeram (JER-am): Chief of the Covan tribe of the Crizan

Josia (Jo-ZI-a): Chief of the eastern Bapst, the fiercest of all the Crizani tribes

Joyhouse: Legal houses of prostitution, inhabited by women who have chosen to be there, usually to escape lesser-rank marriages or because they like the freedom to choose their own sex partners

Kanara (Can-AHR-ah): Mastra of Protocol for House Aravon, she manages the Hall of Gods and all matters related to the functioning of the King’s court

’Kandi: Common language of Sevakand, a trader tongue incorporating words from most of the other seven major tongues

Kane Major (CANE): Duke of Farreach, nicknamed the Iron Duke. He is the most powerful of the eastern marcher lords, ambitious and power-hungry.

Kay: Common unit of measure everywhere on Ariel, equivalent to one kilometer

Kept: Title of war leader of a Crizani tribe

Kevan Toyev (KEV-an TOY-ev): Eldest son and heir of the Earl of Sind and a Young Lord of Hostage House

Kesh ka’vah: Invocation against the intervention of the gods, accent on the last syllable

Kiel (KEEL): One of the seven southern marcher provinces, renowned for the quality of its glass sands and the treachery of its ruling family, House Gregor

Lars: Healer to the Covan tribe

Lord Worley (WHIRL-ee): One of Veran’s regents, later Earl of Snowsden

Lukas Pilot: Eldest son and heir of the Earl of Beldon, he is a Young Lord and resident of Hostage House

Luran (LURE-an): A major tribe of the western Crizan who ride bright bay horses and wear black

March: The border provinces between Sevakand and Nemistak

Markus Toyev (MARK-us): Earl of Sind, hotheaded and a fighter

Marsin (MAR-sin): God of war, accounted one of the greater gods. His Chosen wear grey and are known as Marsri. They never carry weapons but are deadly in unarmed combat.

Mastra (MAS-tra): A corruption of the older word "master," it is now an honorary title most often given to people in charge of a household or agency

Medár: (meh-DAR) A person chosen to stand as sacrifice for a Great House in any dispute that might otherwise lead to war. It is a position of great honor, giving that person coveted House affiliation and access to many secret councils. Few Houses let themselves be maneuvered into actually losing a medár. House Corbinay forever disgraced itself by using a medár to assassinate a King.

Merc (MERC): Second largest of Ariel’s moons but the brightest

Messiah: A hotly-debated term among the Crizan, used to describe a person believed to be the savior of the faithful. Some tribes believe that the "New Books" of their religion tell his history; others believe the New Books are prophecy, and eagerly await the Messiah’s coming, believing that he will lead them on a bloody conquest of Sevakand.

Michal Shea (MY-kal SHAY): Only son and heir of the Duke of Heravin. Cousin to the royal sons.

Mir: (MEER) A corruption of the older term "mister," now a general term of address for male commoners

Mosain (Mo-SANE): A southern marcher province where the rebellion against the Hadí began. Held by House Sahd.

Miza (MEE-za): A corruption of the older term "mistress" or "missus," it is now a general term of address for women of uncertain rank

Mreen: A corruption of the older term marine, which Sarah Linden’s militia called themselves after the Earth Alliance troops. Every House maintains a standing army varying from several hundred to several thousand Mreens. They fight entry challenge and can be identified by the turbans they wear, generally in the main House color, with the exception of House Aravon, whose Mreens are the only ones allowed to wear red turbans.

Mt. Sinon (SIGH-non): The Crizani holy mountain where God is said to have left a footprint in the red sands. Its monastery serves as a neutral sanctuary to any comer. Here all Archbishops are elected, though they rule from Ro’om.

Mustav (MOO-stahv): Keeper of the Seal of House Aravon, controller of the King’s schedule

Navara (Neh-VAHR-a): Only daughter of Sarah Linden and founder of the Temple of Anavar, the god of healing

Nemistak (Nem-is-TAHK): The lands held by the Crizan and claimed as a province by House Aravon

Nerin (NER-in): A northern province comprised of rolling, stony hills best suited for grape-growing. Held by House Ballymar.

Devi (DEV-ee): Goddess of fertility, accounted one of the greater gods. Her Chosen wear yellow and are known as Devri.

Nightwing: A small black bird native to Ariel that was genetically enhanced during the Hadí war to make it capable of speech and limited reasoning abilities. They are used extensively as messengers and small spies within the walls of rival Houses, usually for private communications not suited for the signal mirrors.

Onetree Walkingwolf: Eldest son and heir of the Earl of Utah and a Young Lord of Hostage House

Orvi (ORE-vee): A corruption of "whore" slyly bestowed upon the courtesans of the court of Sevakand. Fiercely competitive and utterly ruthless, their presence at court ensures that sex is a weapon without real value for those plotting against the royal House.

Pacifica: Goddess of the sea and wind, sister to Thundershaker. One of the lesser gods, but powerful in Tanistan. Her Chosen wear parti-colored lavender and white and are known as Pacri.

Peer: Collective term for the scions of the eleven Great Houses of Sevakand, reserved to provincial leaders

Petra (PET-ra): Rev to the Covan tribe

Puhk (pook): Creature of mythology native to Nerin. Supposedly a bony spirit that wails and scratches at doors and waits for unwary travelers caught by the night

Rasir (rah-SEER): A recorder, usually associated with the Temple of Fate. They witness official events and announce each hour from the pinnacle of the temple, calling Fate’s kind regard on the community.

Rev: Crizani term for priest or holy man

Renland: An eastern province famed for the quality of its horses, especially the big draft horses bred there. Held by House Walker

Ronal (ROAN-ahl): A Bapst warrior exiled from his tribe

Ro’om (Ro-OHM): The Senit holy city

Royal ways: Part of the royal palace within the Citadal. Its upper floors form the private residence of members of House Aravon in residence in the Citadel. The bottom floor houses the Hav’an’s audience hall and certain administrative offices such as that of the Mastra and the Keeper of the Seal.

Sarah Linden: Revered as the mother of gods, leader of the rebellion against the Hadí, later military governor of Ariel until her death. Her grandson Aravon was the first king of Sevakand.

Sarjent: A Mreen rank one step above ordinary din’

Seev: God of death, brother to Fate, he is held in contempt by most, in fear by a few, but accounted one of the greater gods. His Chosen wear red and are known as Seevri.

Rafe Corbinay (RAYFE COR-bin-ay): Eldest son and heir of the Duke of Tanistan and one of the Young Lords of Hostage House

Sera: A white mare belonging to Alarion Aravon

Seravion Corbinay (Sir-A-vion COR-bin-ay): Duke of Tanistan, known to have engineered the assassination of King Merinon, Veran’s father, but was never convicted.

Sev’: Title proudly borne by the servants of any House in Sevakand. Their ancestors saved themselves and their children by swearing service to the owners of embattled farmsteads fighting for survival in the aftermath of the Hadí War. Although the original oath was for eternal service for all the generations of the House, modern sev’ are allowed to foreswear service if they choose. Few do, as association with any House is considered far more prestigious than the white turban of a freeborn.

Sevakand (Sev-a-KAND): Ariel’s single continent was originally named Sevik’s Land for James Sevik, captain of the Farreacher. In the present day the name refers to the land north of the march between the Hebron mountains in the east and the Sea of Storms to the west. As a kingdom it claims all of the eleven great provinces ruled by the peers as well as Hebron and Nemistak, which are occupied respectively by the Hebraizik and the Crizan.

Shaitan (Shay-TAHN): Known as the Eater of Souls, he is the one inescapable god, taking souls judged by Falal to be without redemption. He has no priests but is accounted one of the greater gods, feared by all because those he takes are not reborn into a new life.

Shattered Lands: A region of Nemistak where the land is broken into thousands of criss-crossing ravines running for hundreds of kay in every direction.

Shem: Abbot Francistino of the Mt. Sinon Monastery in Nemistak. A quasi-Jesuit, his order is all that remains of the Catholic tradition on Ariel.

Signal heights: The promontory of rock jutting above the Citadel, housing the Aravoni signal mirrors

Samel: Warrior of the Covan tribe

Sind: An eastern province famous for wine and spotted horses, it is also one of the breadbaskets of Sevakand. It is ruled by House Toyev.

Sira: A white mare belonging to Alarion Aravon

Sky Walkingwolf: Earl of An-Utah, a southern marcher lord with a mystical bent

Snowsden (SNOWS-den): Icy province at the top of the world inhabited by tough survivors of the Hadí war, it ekes out a living selling ice, fish, and peat cut from its half-frozen marshes.

S’Dane: Head of Aravoni Intelligence

S’Dav: Commander of the White Mreens

S’Gillam: Lord Marshal of Sevakand, commander of the King’s armies

Stoneshaker: God of earthquakes, little known outside Utah, one of the lesser gods. His Chosen wear black and are known as Shakri.

Sweetsmoke: The most common painkilling drug in use on Ariel. Effective whether inhaled or mixed in wine or food, it can be fine-tuned to a surprising degree, with effects lasting from a few minutes to several hours.

Tanistan (TAN-is-tun): Westernmost of the southern provinces, held by House Corbinay and famous for its ships

The Thousandth God: Husband to Fate, the joker feared by all the rest for his unpredictability. He has no priests and no temple save a pillar on the Street of Temples in Yarom.

Thomas Jonison: Rev to the Cohapt sect of the Uhnit tribe

Traven Aravon (TRAY-ven): Second son of House Aravon after Veran and elder brother of Alarion. Nickname: Tray

Thundershaker: God of journeys, long out of favor

Tovarin (toe-VAHR-in): ’Kandi for friend

Uhnit (OO-nit): A major western tribe of the Crizan, given to breeding black horses and raiding weaker tribes

Vanok Hills (VAN-ock): The low hills north of Ro’om, site of an epic battle between House Aravon and the Crizan

Veran Aravon (VAIR-an): Eldest son of House Aravon and King of Sevakand

Wars of Succession: Thirty-year period of constant warfare commencing thirty-seven years after the death of Sarah Linden, when the hereditary commanders of the Citadel troops withdrew their regiments to begin carving out kingdoms of their own. It ended when Aravon Linden managed to conquer all of the warring lords and establish House Aravon as preeminent.

White turban: A somewhat contemptuous term for anyone born outside the influence of a Great House. It encompasses all freeborn citizens of Sevakand, those not sev’.

Yarom (YAIR-um): The capitol city of Sevakand, once the spaceport

Zenan Lord Anatel (Zeh-NAHN): Second of House Sahd, younger brother of Sheik Farouk of Mosain, holder of Anatel in his own right. Nickname: Zevya (ZEV-ya)


Map of Ariel
The Citadel
History of Ariel


The Mask of God by S. A. Bolich

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The Mark of God by S. A. Bolich

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The Heart of God by S. A. Bolich

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