ABYSS, THE  Name given to the calamitous era commencing around 2025 by your reckoning and lasting for some sixty years. During this period all government in Sarwhirlia breaks down and the human species is brought close to extinction by climatic disturbances and the Amoeba Plague.

AEE  Artificially Engendered Entity. Roughly corresponds to your r*b*t but with greatly enhanced capacities. At present estimated to constitute between 30% and 50% of the population of Sarwhirlia.

ALCILTHYIA  Prominent member of the Yther sect and previous  Praesidian of the Yther Sanctuary on Mortalysium. Vehemently opposed the introduction of DETP (q.v.) and was accused of planning an insurrection against the current dominants. After the Interdiction of the movement Alcilthyia self-destructed .

ALFRESTON Advanced experimental AEE, becomes a friend of Yilkin.

AMOEBA PLAGUE  Bacterial disease originally contracted from seaweed and which was easily transmitted by hand contact or sneezing. Mefam (your ‘males’) were much more susceptible than fam.

AOULLNNIA  ‘All That Is or Can Be’ conceived as a single entity. From Lenwhil Katylin ‘aullunn’ meaning ‘single’, ‘unique’, and the gender suffix ‘-ia’. Aoullnnia is traditionally divided into the Manifest and the Unmanifest, and further subdivided into Occurrent and Non-Occurrent.

ARUELLA Celebrated subdominant, sky-explorer and sporting mirage. Invincible in zinn-coursing (aerial single combat) over twelve seasons. After the banning of zinn-coursing, Aruella seized some uninhabited islands in the Sea of Scisterl and set up her own state, Zarfyll. Refused rejuvenation and presumed extinct.

AWAILYIA  Religious reformer and founder of the Yther movement. Denounced existing Aoullnnian Orders for worldliness and founded a purified movement, the Yther, to replace them. Her pessimistic but inspiring doctrines rapidly gained adherents amongst subdominants and after her extinction she came to be venerated as ‘sky-born’ (divine) in Majentia. Extinguished during a flying accident at the age of forty-four.

CIKARTHYIA   Praesidian of the Mortalysium Sanctuary when the Yther movement was put under restriction. Majentian by birth, she studied themistrics before joining the Yther. Alcilthyia appointed Cikarthyia to succeed her when the latter’s term ended.

CLEOI  Mixed biological/electronic species that prominent during the latter Magnatte era when they developed DETP. Reproduce by mitosis (splitting), but can also reverse the operation at will by group merging; consequently its ‘numbers’ have a lower limit of one and no upper limit.

DETP Acronym for Dark Energy Transformation Processing, a technology developed by the Cleoi which extracts energy from the Unmanifest Occurrent. Currently accounts for a fifth of all energy production on Sarwhirlia. The process was fiercely opposed by the Yther for doctrinal reasons and the resulting controversy led to the interdiction of the movement.

DOMINANT  Member of current parthenogenic type on whom all  life on Sarwhirlia is believed to depend. Are never seen or heard by ordinary inhabitants of Sarwhirlia since they live in revolving cloud-masses. Communicate their decisions via the Harlin Counsellors.

 EXCHANGING  What you would call inter-gender intercourse. The procedure is no longer used for reproduction except in Majentia.

HARLIN  Interdominant fam type recruited by examination from fam subdominants. Have a role somewhat similar to your Civil Servants. At the initiation ceremony, they take a vow to abstain from all future intergender relations. They are the only  Sarwhirlians who meet the dominants.

HRITH Right position in society according to one’s abilities and temperament.

 KATYLIN Language invented by the Sarlang, the first Parthenogens. The pure form, Sarwhil Katylin, is never spoken though still used in some official documents; the Lenwhil or ‘Simple Mode’ form is spoken by certain subdominants and by the Yther.

MAJENTIA Semi-autonomous region of Sarwhirlia, corresponding roughly to your Indonesia. The inhabitants depend on the dominants for oxygen and must obey the main rulings of the Code of the Conglomerate, but are otherwise self-governing. Voluntarily backward, even regressive, the inhabitants still live in mixed gender groups and reproduce by exchanging. They are not eligible for rejuvenation and re-emergence, nor do they apparently desire it. At final withdrawal, they burn the body.

MAGNATTE Current dominants, now nearing the end of their term. The Magnatte era was marked by the re-introduction of certain ancient mefam technologies and the development of completely new ones such as the Vaporization Process and DETP.

MEFAM Your ‘males’. Because mefam were much more susceptible to the Amoeba Plague, their numbers drastically decreased compared to those of fam, and have remained that way ever since. Now only 15% of the population, they live in uni-gender clusters and usually only interact with fam subdominants  at special locations and seasons.

MORELLASTS Voluntary colonists of mixed gender, though mainly mefam, who elected to settle on Mortalysium. They sometimes live in mixed gender clusters and are viewed with disapproval by most inhabitants of Sarwhirlia.

MORTALYSIUM   Artificial orb constructed during the Typhen era where final withdrawal rites are celebrated and human essences are stored in the ‘Lake of Souls’. Situated in the asteroid belt.

NAROUBE  Artificial orb devoted to birthing and child-rearing, the twin of Mortalysium. Subdominants go to Naroube to give birth and infants live on ‘child islands’ on Naroube for two years before being returned to Sarwhirlia.

PARTHENOGEN Biological entity that reproduces by Introjection, a self-induced cloning process. Since the Sarlang, the first Parthenogens, the Parthenogens have controlled Sarwhirlia. Each Parthenogenic type gives rise to its successor after a given term and then disperses. There are eight types in all and the current dominants, the Magnatte, are officially the seventh.

PARTHENOGEN, THE LOST Theory that there was an extremely short-lived Parthenogenic Type between the Tryollin and the Lintrunn and that all records concerning it were subsequently destroyed. This would bring the current count up to eight, rather than seven as officially stated, and thus make the current type, the Magnatte, the last of the Parthenogens.

SARLANG The first Parthenogens. Seem to have originated in groups of fam during the Abyss who lived in a network of caves to avoid the violent conflicts raging on the lands above. Here they developed two key new technologies, firstly a way of cultivating edible plants that require very little sunlight and, secondly, a procedure by which fam reproduce without contact with the opposite gender, i.e. parthenogensis. Invented the symbolic system, Whoirl, which allegedly enabled them to contact species’ group minds and non-material entities. Through their intervention the Amoeba Plague was brought to an end and humanity saved from extinction.

SARWHIRLIA  What you know as the Earth. There have been vast climactic changes since your era and most of Sarwhirlia remains uninhabitable without localised artificial atmospheres which only the dominants know how to maintain.

STRAYLKHA Complicated competitive sport very popular amongst mefam. Is played on a vast inverted cone with helical tracks and scatterers at the apex which return the players to the starting position. Players wear magnetic ‘surger-forms’ which give out coloured sparks. Spectators, known as the ‘tiers’, are seated  on the inside of the transparent sides. There are various styles founded by famous players.

SUBDOMINANT  Term applied to fam on Sarwhirlia (excluding Majentia) who have not graduated to Interdominant status. Live in uni-gender clusters and comprise the majority of the biological population. Exchange with mefam at certain seasons but must travel to Naroube to give birth and must obtain permission from their cluster to do so.

XINTHIA  Subdominant from an élite cluster with whom Yilkin forms a relationship. Becomes a Harlin Counsellor and disappears from view.

YILKIN Mefam living in the Magnatte era. Officially employed in yatthin cultivation, he is a straylkha player of considerable talent but in a style that has completely gone out of fashion. He feels himself to be at odds with the society around him and his own era. Meets Xinthia at the pleasure city Lunkod and depth-exchanges with her. When on  Mortalysium attending the funeral rites of a fellow player, he visits the Yther Sanctuary and becomes embroiled in the controversy about DETP and the Interdiction of the Yther movement. Maintained in solitary confinement in the Sanctuary awaiting the arrival of the Committee of Enquiry, to while away the time, he experiments with Yther meditational techniques recounted in a manual and eventually, purely by chance, makes contact backwards in time with someone in the early 21st century. The various episodes of The Web of Aoullnnia are based on his transmissions.

ZARFYLL    Island in Southern Majentia colonised by Aruella and her followers who turn it into a semi-autonomous state. Ruled dictatorially by Aruella and her immediate circle.