Glossary of Terms

Because the audiobook versions of the novels do not include the glossary at the back of the print and ebook editions, we are posting it here for your convenience.


An individual licensed to conduct business within the Charterhouse, usually on behalf of a noble house.

The titles used for nobility who are not the heads of houses.

One of the five seats in the Cinquerat, addressed as “Your Elegance.” Argentet oversees the cultural affairs of the city, including theatres, festivals, and censorship of written materials.

A drug made from powdered seeds. Although it is commonly spoken of as a hallucinogen, Vraszenians believe that aža allows them to see into Ažerais’ Dream.

Ažerais’ Dream
This place, called “the realm of mind” by inscriptors, is a many-layered reflection of the waking world, both as it was in the past, and as it may be metaphorically expressed in the present.

A title used when addressing a Vraszenian.

One of the five seats in the Cinquerat, addressed as “Your Mercy.” Caerulet oversees the military affairs of the city, including prisons, fortifications, and the Vigil.

Ceremony of the Accords
A ritual commemorating the signing of the peace agreement that ended the war between the city-states of Vraszan and Nadežra, leaving the latter in the control of its Liganti nobility. The ceremony involves the ziemetse and the members of the Cinquerat, and takes place each year during the Night of Bells.

The seat of Nadežra’s government, where the Cinquerat offices are located.

The five-member council that has been the ruling body of Nadežra since the death of the Tyrant. Each seat has its own sphere of responsibility. See Argentet, Fulvet, Prasinet, Caerulet, and Iridet.

Vraszenians are traditionally divided into seven clans: the Anoškin, the Dvornik, the Ižranyi, the Kiraly, the Meszaros, the Stretsko, and the Varadi. The Ižranyi have been extinct for centuries, following a supernatural calamity. Each clan consists of multiple kretse.

The titles used for the heads of noble houses.

Faces and Masks
In Vraszenian religion, the divine duality common to many faiths is seen as being contained within single deities, each of which has a benevolent aspect (the Face) and a malevolent one (the Mask).

Festival of Veiled Waters
A yearly festival occuring during the springtime in Nadežra, when fog covers the city for approximately a week.

One of the five seats in the Cinquerat, addressed as “Your Grace.” Fulvet oversees the civic affairs of the city, including land ownership, public works, and the judiciary.

The Great Dream
A sacred event for Vraszenians, during which the Wellspring of Ažerais manifests in the waking world. It occurs once every seven years, during the Festival of Veiled Waters.

The numen associated with both 0 and 10 in numinatria. It represents beginnings, endings, eternity, the soul, and the inscriptor’s self.

A form of craft-based magic which has the effect of making objects function more effectively: an imbued blade cuts better and doesn’t dull or rust, while an imbued cloak may be warmer, more waterproof, or more concealing. It is also possible, though more difficult, to imbue a performance.

A practitioner of numinatria.

One of the five seats in the Cinquerat, addressed as “Your Worship.” Iridet oversees the religious affairs of the city, including temples, numinatria, and the pilgrimage of the Great Dream.

Kaius Sifigno/Kaius Rex
See the Tyrant.

The “ancestor dance” of the Vraszenians, used on special occasions such as births, marriages, and deaths. When performed well enough, it has the power to call up the spirits of the dancers’ ancestors from Ažerais’ Dream.

A term, derived from Vraszenian custom, for a street gang in Nadežra. Members mark their allegiance with a knotwork charm, though they are not required to wear or display it openly.

A Vraszenian shawl that records an individual’s maternal and paternal ancestry in the pattern of its embroidery. It is usually only worn for special occasions, including when performing the kanina.

(sing. kureč) A Vraszenian lineage, a subdivision of a clan. The third part of a traditional Vraszenian name marks the kareč an individual belongs to.

(sing. lihosz) The Vraszenian term for a person born female, but taking on a male role so as to be able to lead his people. Lihoše patronymics end in the plural and gender-neutral -ske. Their counterparts are the rimaše, born male but taking on a female role so as to become szorsas.

The titles used for members of delta houses.

The Night of Bells
A yearly festival commemorating the death of the Tyrant. It includes the Ceremony of the Accords.

The numen associated with 9 in numinatria. It represents death, release, completion, apotheosis, and the boundary between the mundane and the infinite.

The numen associated with 8 in numinatria. It represents sensation, sexuality, procreation, honesty, salvation, and repentence.

(sing. numen) The numina are a series of numbers, 0-10, which in are used in numinatria to channel magical power. They consist of Illi (which is both 0 and 10), Uniat, Tuat, Tricat, Quarat, Quinat, Sessat, Sebat, Noctat, and Ninat. Each numen has its own particular resonance with concepts such as family or death, as well as associated gods, colors, metals, geometric figures, and so forth.

A form of magic based on sacred geometry. A work of numinatria is called a numinat (pl. numinata). Numinatria works by channeling power from the ultimate godhead, the Lumen, which manifests in the numina. In order to function, a numinat must have a focus, through which it draws on the power of the Lumen; most foci feature the name of a god, written in the ancient Enthaxn script.

In Vraszenian culture, pattern is a term for fate and the interconnectedness of things. It is seen as a gift from the ancestral goddess Ažerais, and can be understood through the interpretation of a pattern deck.

pattern deck
A deck currently consisting of sixty cards in three suits, called threads. The spinning thread represents the “inner self” (the mind and spirit), the woven thread represents the “outer self” (social relationships), and the cut thread represents the “physical self” (the body and the material world). Each thread contains both unaligned and aspect cards, the latter of which allude to the most important Faces and Masks in Vraszenian religion.

One of the five seats in the Cinquerat, addressed as “Your Charity.” Prasinet oversees the economic affairs of the city, including taxation, trade routes, and guilds.

An iridescent metal created through the use of numinatria, and associated with Sebat.

The numen associated with 4 in numinatria. It represents nature, nourishment, growth, wealth, and luck.

The numen associated with 5 in numinatria. It represents power, excellence, leadership, healing, and renewal.

(sing. rimasz) The Vraszenian term for a person born male, but taking on a female role to act as a szorsa. Rimaše patronymics end in the plural and gender-neutral “-ske.” Their counterparts are the lihoše, born female but taking on male roles to lead their people.

The numen associated with 7 in numinatria. It represents craftsmanship, purity, seclusion, transformation, and perfection in imperfection.

The numen associated with 6 in numinatria. It represents order, stasis, institutions, simplicity, and friendship.

In Vraszenian cosmology, the soul has three parts: the dlakani or “personal” soul, the szekani or “knotted” soul, and the čekani or “bodily” soul. After death, the dlakani goes to paradise or hell, the szekani lives on in Ažerais’ Dream, and the čekani reincarnates. In Liganti cosmology, the soul ascends through the numina to the Lumen, then descends once more to reincarnate.

Contrasting terms used for many purposes in Liganti culture. The sun hours run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the earth hours run from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sun-handed is right-handed, and earth-handed is left-handed. Sunwise and earthwise mean clockwise and counterclockwise, or when referring to people, a man born female or a woman born male.

See pattern deck.

The numen associated with 3 in numinatria. It represents stability, family, community, completion, rigidity, and reconciliation.

The numen associated with 2 in numinatria. It represents the other, duality, communication, connection, opposition, and the inscriptor’s edge.

The Tyrant
Kaius Sifigno, also called Kaius Rex. He was a Liganti commander who conquered all of Vraszan, but according to legend his further spread was stopped by him succumbing to his various desires. Reputed to be unkillable, the Tyrant was supposedly brought down by venereal disease. His death is celebrated on the Night of Bells.

The numen associated with 1 in numinatria. It represents the body, self-awareness, enlightenment, containment, and the inscriptor’s chalk.

The Vigil
The primary force of law and order within Nadežra, nicknamed “hawks” after their emblem. Separate from the city-state’s army, the Vigil polices the city itself, under the leadership of a High Commander who answers to Caerulet. Their headquarters is the Aerie.

The name of the region and loose confederation of city-states of which Nadežra was formerly a part.

Wellspring of Ažerais
The holy site around which the city of Nadežra was founded. The wellspring exists within Ažerais’ Dream, and only manifests in the waking world during the Great Dream. Drinking its waters grants a true understanding of pattern.

(sing. ziemič) The leaders of the Vraszenian clans, also referred to as “clan elders.” Each has a title taken from the name of their clan: the Anoškinič, Dvornič, Királič, Meszarič, Stretskójič, Váradič, and (formerly) the Ižranjič.