Authors: David Weber
Sorcery—also called “wizardry” or “wand wizardry;” the portion of the wild magic which may be indirectly (and very cautiously) manipulated by a sorcerer or sorceress.
Sothōii—literally “Sons of the Fathers” in ancient Kontovaran; humans ruling the kingdom of the Sothōii and claiming pure descent from the noble houses of the Empire of Ottovar. Noted for their superb horses, matchless cavalry, and their relationship with the Sothōii coursers.
Sothōii Courser—a race of fully sentient horses of very large size, human-equivalent intelligence, and incredible stamina and toughness. They are the descendants of arcanely augmented warhorses produced for the army of Toren Swordarm by the White Council in Kontovar. They choose their own riders, with whom they bond permanently, and they and their riders form the elite of the Sothōii army.
Sothōii, Kingdom of the—the third-largest realm of Norfressa, noted for its unmatchable cavalry; an ally of long standing of the Empire of the Axe.
South Keep—the largest and most powerful fortress of the Empire of the Axe, built in South Wall Pass to control the point of access between the Empire of the Axe and the Empire of the Spear.
South March—a province of the Empire of the Axe between the Whitewater River and the East Wall Mountains.
South Province—the southernmost province of the Empire of the Axe.
South Wall Pass—the southernmost of the major passes through the East Wall Mountains. Guarded by South Keep.
South Wall River—a river in Kolvania which drains into the Bellwater River.
Spear, Empire of the—the second largest realm of Norfressa and to the primary rival of the Empire of the Axe. The Spearmen are ambitious and expansionist, but not essentially evil.
Spearman—a citizen of the Empire of the Spear.
Strafing of Kontovar—the final counterstrike of the White Council following Toren Swordarm’s final defeat in the Battle of Lost Hope. The attack did catastrophic damage to Kontovar and prevented the Council of Carnadosa from immediately following the Kontovar refugees to Norfressa and completing their conquest.
Strictures of Ottovar—also known as the “Strictures of Wizardry” or simply “The Strictures;” the code of conduct imposed on white wizards by Ottovar the Great and Gwynytha the Wise in Kontovar. Transgressions of the Strictures was a capital crime in the Empire of Ottovar.
Sword Oath—an oath of truth and loyalty sworn by worshipers of Tomanāk.
Sword of Tomanāk
—flagship of the Belhadan Order of Tomanāk.
Toren Swordarm—also known as “Toren the Great” and “Toren the Last;” the final emperor of the House of Ottovar in Kontovar.
Torfo, Barony of—a feudal territory of the kingdom of Angthyr ruled by Wulfra of Torfo.
Torm Fen—a huge swap south of the kingdom of Angthyr between the Lake of Torm and the Western Sea.
Traitors Walk—a major pass through the East Wall Mountains between South Wall Pass and Cragwall Pass.
Trōfrōlantha—the capital province of the Empire of Ottovar.
Unicorn Inn—an inn in Sindor popular with worshipers of Tomanāk.
Ushian—a powerful stimulant/restorative used primarily by magi.
Vonderland—a northern province of the Empire of the Axe, noted for the quality of its archers, the severity of its climate, and the wealth of its silver and gold mines.
Vonderwatch—capital of the Province of Vonderland in the Empire of the Axe.
Wakūo—fierce desert nomads and city dwellers in southeastern Norfressa.
Wand Wizard—another term for “sorcerer” (see above).
War Maid—a member of a legally recognized female subculture in the kingdom of the Sothōii. Many are deadly fighters, and all are answerable only to their own leaders and the Sothōii Crown.
Warlock—a magic user with an inborn sensitivity for the art so great that he requires no training to use. Because of his lack of training, however, he never acquires the degree of capability possessed by sorcerers.
Wave Beard—another name for Korthrala Orfressa.
—ship owned and captained by Brandark Brandarkson.
Wellso, Earldom of—a feudal territory in the kingdom of Angthyr.
West Barony—a coastal barony of the kingdom of Angthyr ruled by the uncle of Queen Fallona.
Western Sea—ocean waters to the west of Norfressa.
Whitewater River—a river in the Empire of the Axe which flows into South Banark Bay.
Wild Magic—the totality of the “magic field,” the energy or force which imbues the entire universe and binds it together.
Wild Wizard—the only type of wizard capable of utilizing the wild magic directly.
Wind Plain of the Sothōii—a huge subarctic plateau/plain which forms the heart of the Kingdom of the Sothōii and is held to be the finest grazing land in Norfressa, despite a relatively severe climate.
Wind Riders—the chosen bonded brothers (and it went very special case, sisters) of the Sothōii coursers.
Windfel—a province of the Empire of the Axe which lies east of Vonderland.
Windhawk Inn—an inn in Sindor.
Witch—a female warlock.
Wizard—any trained practitioner of wizardry.
Wizard Wars—the wars between wizards which Ottovar the Great and Gwynytha the Wise brought to an end. This term is sometimes also used to describe the final wars in Kontovar, but the term “the Fall” is more normally employed to denote that war between wizards.
Wizard Wind—a wind conjured by wizardry.
Wizardry—also called “sorcery” or “wand wizardry;” the use of that minute portion of the wild magic which may be channeled and controlled by sorcerers and warlocks. Wizardry manipulates those portions through a series of complex commands, each of which achieves a unique effect. Wizardry is external to the wizard; it requires careful concentration and control but does not place any direct physical strain on the wizard. Any loss of concentration, however, may well result in the spell going wild with generally disastrous effects.
Word of Unbinding—the incantation pronounced by Wencit of Rūm to free the White Council from the Strictures so that it could attack the Council of Carnadosa with wizardry after the Battle of Lost Hope.
A Selection of Norfressan Oaths
“By the Sword!” “By the Mace!” (by Tomanāk’s sword or mace)
“By the Trident!” (by Korthrala’s trident)
“By the Scorpion!” (by Sharnā’s scorpion)
“Sharnā send them scorpions!”
“By Carnadosa’s flaming locks!” “By Carnadosa’s ebon eyes!”
“Fiendark’s Furies!” Paragraph break
“Krahana fly away with your soul!”
“May the fish lick their bones!” (traditional Shith Kiri malediction)
Months of the Orfressan Year
The Orfressan year is divided into twelve months of thirty days each, plus Lellandor (the “Festival of Orr”), and adjustment. At the beginning of each year. Normally, Lellandor’s four days long, but once every eight years the festival last six days, with the two extra days given up to meditation and fasting. Lellandor is the high holy season of the Orfressan year.
Month Name Meaning
Lellandor Festival of Orr
Blancnachimo White Ice Fang
Orcimo Ice Breath
Nienfresso Rain Maiden
Yienkonto Flower Birth
Asoyien Yellow Bud
Haniyean Green Leaf
Ortomayan High Feasting
Shomanforg Harvest Weaving
Siemnach Wind Fang
Lacrimorfo Snow Bearer
Barchimo Black Ice
Gods of Light and Dark
The Dark Gods
Called “Father of Evil” and “Lord of Deceit,” Phrobus is the seventh child of Orr and Kontifrio, which explains why seven is considered
unlucky number in Norfressa. No one recalls his original name; “Phrobus” (“Truth Bender”) was given to him by Tomanāk when he cast Phrobus down for his treacherous attempt to wrest rulership from Orr. Following that defeat, Phrobus turned openly to the Dark and became, in fact, the opening wedge by which evil first entered Orfressa. He is the most powerful of the gods of Light or Dark after Tomanāk, and the hatred between him and Tomanāk is unthinkably bitter, but Phrobus fears his brother worse than death itself. His symbol is a flame-eyed skull.
Called “The Twisted One,” “Queen of Hell,” and “Mother of Madness,” Shīgū is the wife of Phrobus. No one knows exactly where she came from, but most believe she was, in fact, a powerful demoness raised to godhood by Phrobus when he sought a mate to breed up his own pantheon to oppose that of his father. Her power is deep but subtle, her cruelty and malice are bottomless, and her favored weapon is madness. She is even more hated, loathed, and feared by mortals than Phrobus, and her worship is punishable by death in all Norfressan realms. Her symbol is a flaming spider.
“The Lady of Wizardry” is the fifth child of Phrobus and Shīgū. She has become the goddess of black wizardry, but she herself might be considered totally amoral rather than evil for evil’s sake. She enshrines the concept of power sought by any means and at any cost to others. Her symbol is a wizard’s wand.
The first-born child of Phrobus and Shīgū, Fiendark is known as “Lord of the Furies.” He is cast very much in his father’s image (though, fortunately, he is considerably less powerful) and all evil creatures owe him allegiance as Phrobus’ deputy. Unlike Phrobus, who seeks always to pervert or conquer, however, Fiendark also delights in destruction for destruction’s sake. His symbols are a flaming sword or flame-shot cloud of smoke.
“The Lady of the Damned” is the fourth child of Phrobus and Shīgū and, in most ways, the most loathsome of them all. She is noted for her hideous beauty and holds dominion over the undead (which makes her Isvaria’s most hated foe) and rules the hells in which the souls of those who have sold themselves to evil spend eternity. Her symbol is a splintered coffin.
The second son of Phrobus and Shīgū, Krashnark is something of a disappointment to his parents. The most powerful of Phrobus’ children, Krashnark (known as “Devil Master”) is the god of devils and ambitious war. He is ruthless, merciless, and cruel, but personally courageous and possessed of a strong, personal code of honor, which makes him the only Dark God Tomanāk actually respects. He is, unfortunately, loyal to his father, and his power and sense of honor have made him the “enforcer” of the Dark Gods. His symbol is a flaming steward’s rod.
Called “Demonspawn” and “Lord of the Scorpion,” Sharnā is Krashnark’s younger, identical twin (a fact which pleases neither of them). Sharnā is the god of demons and the patron of assassins, the personification of cunning and deception. He is substantially less powerful than Krashnark and a total coward, and the demons who owe him allegiance hate and fear Krashnark’s more powerful devils almost as much as Sharnā hates and fears his brother. His symbols are the giant scorpion (which serves as his mount) and a bleeding heart in a mailed fist.
The Gods of Light
Often called “The Creator” or “The Establisher, Orr is considered the creator of the Universe and the King and Judge of Gods. He is the father or creator of all but one of the Gods of Light and is also known as “Orr Hnarkonto,” or “Orr the Unborn” (a more precise translation might be “Orr the Never Born”). He is the most powerful of all the gods, whether of Light or Dark. His symbol is a blue starburst.
“The Mother of Women” is Orr’s wife and the goddess of home, family, and the harvest. According to Norfressan theology, Kontifrio was Orr’s second creation (after Orfressa, the rest of the universe), and she is the most nurturing of the gods and the mother of all Orr’s children except Orfressa herself. Her hatred for Shīgū is implacable. Her symbol is a sheaf of wheat tied with a grape vine.
“The Lady of the Storm” is the sixth child of Orr and Kontifrio. She is the goddess of weather, good and bad, and has little to do with mortals. Her symbol is the sun seen through clouds.
“The Singer of Light” is the fourth child of Orr and Kontifrio and the younger twin sister of Tomanāk, the war god. Chesmirsa is the goddess of bards, poetry, music and art. She is very fond of mortals and has a mischievous sense of humor. Her symbol is the harp.
Known as “The Laughing God” and “The Great Seducer,” Hirahim is something of a rogue element among the Gods of Light. He is the only one of them who is not related to Orr (no one seems certain where he came from, though he acknowledges Orr’s authority…as much as he does anyone’s) and he is the true prankster of the gods. He is the god of merchants, thieves, and dancers, but he is also known as the god of seductions, as he has a terrible weakness for attractive female mortals (or goddesses). His symbol is a silver flute.
“The Lady of Remembrance” (also called “The Slayer”) is the first child of Orr and Kontifrio. She is the goddess of needful death and the completion of life and rules the House of the Dead, where she keeps the Scroll of the Dead. Somewhat to her mother’s dismay, she is also Hirahim’s lover. The third most powerful of the Gods of Light, she is the special enemy of Krahana, and her symbol is a scroll with skull winding knobs.
“The Lady of the Lightning” is Orr and Kontifrio’s second child and the goddess of elemental destruction. She is considered a Goddess of Light despite her penchant for destructiveness, but she has very little to do with mortals (and mortals are just as happy about it, thank you). Her symbol is a forked lightning bolt.
Called “Sea Spume” and “Foam Beard,” Korthrala is the fifth child of Orr and Kontifrio. He is the god of the sea but also of love, hate, and passion. He is a very powerful god, if not over-blessed with wisdom, and is very fond of mortals. His symbol is the net and trident.
Known as “Friend of Women” and “The Silver Lady,” Lillinara is Orr and Kontifrio’s eleventh child, the goddess of the moon and women. She is one of the more complex deities, and extremely focused. She is appealed to by young women and maidens in her persona as the Maid and by mature women and mothers in her persona as the Mother. As avenger, she manifests as the Crone, who also comforts the dying. She dislikes Hirahim Lightfoot intensely, but she hates Shīgū (as the essential perversion of all womankind) with every fiber of her being. Her symbol is the moon.
The “Lord of Chance” is Orr and Kontifrio’s ninth child and the god of fortune, good and bad. His symbol is the infinity sign.
According to Norfressan theology, Orfressa is not a god but the universe herself, created by Orr even before Kontifrio, and she is not truly “awake.” Or, rather, she is seldom aware of anything as ephemeral as mortals. On the very rare occasions when she does take notice of mortal affairs, terrible things tend to happen, and even Orr can restrain her wrath only with difficulty.
Known as “The Watcher,” Semkirk is the tenth child of Orr and Kontifrio. He is the god of wisdom and mental and physical discipline and, before The Fall of Kontovar, was the god of white wizardry. Since The Fall, he has become the special patron of the psionic magi, who conduct a merciless war against evil wizards. He is a particularly deadly enemy of Carnadosa, the goddess of black wizardry. His symbol is a golden scepter.
The fourteenth and final child of Orr and Kontifrio, Silendros (called “Jewel of the Heavens”) is the goddess of stars and the night. She is greatly reverenced by jewel smiths, who see their art as an attempt to capture the beauty of her heavens in the work of their hands, but generally has little to do with mortals. Her symbol is a silver star.
Known as “Iron Bender,” Sorbus is the smith of the gods. He is also the product of history’s greatest seduction (that of Kontifrio by Hirahim—a “prank” Kontifrio has never quite forgiven), yet he is the most stolid and dependable of all the gods, and Orr accepts him as his own son. His symbol is an anvil.
“The Torch Bearer” is the twelfth child of Orr and Kontifrio. He is the god of light and the sun and the patron of all those who work with heat. His symbol is a golden flame.
Tomanāk, the third child of Orr and Kontifrio, is Chesmirsa’s older twin brother and second only to Orr himself in power. He is known by many names—“Sword of Light,” “Scale Balancer,” “Lord of Battle,” and “Judge of Princes” to list but four—and has been entrusted by his father with the task of overseeing the balance of the Scales of Orr. He is also captain general of the Gods of Light and the foremost enemy of all the Dark Gods (indeed, it was he who cast Phrobus down when Phrobus first rebelled against his father). His symbols are a sword and/or a spiked mace.
“The Huntsman,” also called “Woodhelm,” is the thirteenth child of Orr and Kontifrio and the god of nature. Forests are especially sacred to him, and he has a reputation for punishing those who hunt needlessly or cruelly. His symbol is an oak tree.
Known as “Stone Beard” and “Lord of Earthquakes,” Torframos is the eighth child of Orr and Kontifrio. He is the lord of the Earth, the keeper of the deep places and special patron of engineers and those who delve, and is especially revered by dwarves. His symbol is the miner’s pick.