The Passage of Time
The world of Eckor is old by the standards of its nations. The oldest item ever discovered by archeology that can be conclusively proven to have been created by humanoid hands is a metal helmet found in a small tomb in Taj-Alid. According to magical investigation, it dates back 6578 years, which is more than 1500 years older than the oldest calendar system in use today. Among the few that are aware of other planes of existence, a small number are aware that there are other civilizations in the universe that are far older than that of Eckor.
Regardless of how time is measured by an individual, for the purposes of spells, powers and effects that last a specific amount of time, a day is one full rotation of Eckor on its axis. This takes 24 hours. A year is one full rotation of Eckor around its sun. This takes 384 days. Regardless of the individual calendar of the land, an effect that has a duration measured in days or years uses these numbers as the duration. Additionally, any effect that has a duration measured in weeks lasts for 8 days per week, and any effect that has a duration measured in months lasts for 32 days per month.
The Imperial Calendar
Since the founding of The Empire, trade all over the civilized world has increased greatly. Commerce has spread across the world, opening the borders of many nations. As Imperial has become the de facto language of trade and commerce, so too has the Imperial calendar spread and been adopted by many. The various nations of the Empire use it almost to the exclusion of any other calendar. Many other areas have adopted it as well, seeing the spread of Imperial values as an inevitability. Across the civilized world, almost anyone that is involved in trade or commerce in any meaningful way will have a basic understanding of the Imperial calendar.
The Imperial calendar is separated into two suffixed parts. IC, meaning ‘Imperial calendar,’ refers to a year after the founding of the Empire. The current year is 856 IC. PIC, meaning ‘pre-Imperial calendar,’ refers to a year before the founding of the Empire. PIC dates count backwards from the founding date, so a date two hundred years before the founding of the Empire will be referenced as 200 PIC.
The Imperial calendar is based on a 384 day year. The year is separated into twelve months. The year begins with the month of Trayh, which makes up spring along with the months of Devel and Harken. Summer follows in the months of Naamor, Rola and Hendor. Vera, Timor and Sylar make up Autumn and the year finishes with the winter months of Hathor, Wray and Druja. The first day of each month is generally called ‘Firstday’ and the last day of the month is called ‘Lastday.’ A full moon occurs each month, and the day following a full moon is generally called ‘Moonday.” Each month is split into four weeks, each containing eight days.
Example: Today is Firstday of Hathor, 384. We will be reading about the infamous Battle of Green Wood, which happened on the fourth day of Druja, 127 PIC.
The Years of Shi’al
The Years of Shi’al is the world’s oldest numerical calendar, and goes back farther than any major calendar in use today. By and large, it is only used by the nation of Al-Amim and is, as everything adopted by the leading government of Al-Amim, a tribute to the god Shi’al. The current year is 4993 and Shi’al’s faithful claim that this calendar began the year that Shi’al created his chosen and gave them the land of Al-Amim.
Shi’al is a sun god, and his followers were among the first to pinpoint the revolution of Eckor around the sun at 384 days. Each year is broken down into several ‘cycles,’ which begin with the first full moon or dark moon (new moon) of the year and last until the next full or dark moon. Each cycle lasts approximately 14 days, and there are usually 23 or 24 cycles in a year. The cycles act somewhat like months in more modern calendars, with times being recorded by the number of like phases that have come before in the year.
Example: “Today is the eighth day of the fourth dark cycle in the Year of Shi’al 4993.”
The end of a cycle usually does not coincide with the end of the 384 day year. A cycle that begins in one year and ends in another is called a “continuing cycle.” A continuing cycle is not considered the first such cycle of a new year, and the next two cycles will be called the first dark and full cycles of the new year. When recorded, a date during a continuing cycle is recorded as such using the new year.
Example: “Today is the fourth day of the continuing full cycle in the Year of Shi’al 4993.”
The Desert Calendar
By its proper name, the Desert Calendar is called the Calendar of Salid et Heis, which translates to the ‘Calendar of Sun and Sand.’ It is an old calendar that spans more than 4000 years of time. The Desert Calendar is broken down into three eras, the First Era (FE), the Second Era (SE) and the Common Era (CE). The First Era ended when the great wizard Najm ad-Din Mustadi, who was advisor to the great kings of the day, disappeared with much concern after performing the ritual of lichdom. The years of the First Era are listed backwards, with the first year being the year before the Second Era begins and the rest of the years stretching out to infinity across the past. The Second Era lasted 1834 years, and ended during a night of destruction when the stars rained from the sky. The years of the Second Era are counted ahead, with the first year being the year after the First Era. The years of the Common Era are counted ahead, with the first year being the year after the Second Era. The current year is 473 CE.
The recording of time is somewhat less important to most denizens of the desert than to those that specialize in very specific fields, such as astronomy, archeology or arcane study. Most desert dwellers mark the passage of time in great lengths, rather than in smaller portions. Instead of being based in weeks or months, the Desert Calendar records time by use of the equinoxes and solstices. The year begins on the date of the summer solstice, and the dates of the northward equinox (which occurs in spring), winter solstice and southward equinox (which occurs in autumn) are also important, as they mark one in sh’hai, which translates roughly as ‘heavenly rotation’ or ‘shift in the heavens.’ The time between these events is generally between 95 and 97 days, which means that there is often a difference of a few days between a year in the Desert Calendar and other calendars that keep more accurate track of the days in a year.
Example: “Today is the twentieth day since the northward equinox in the year 473 CE.”
The Zymian Calendar
Upon the founding of the Zymian Empire almost 1400 years ago, a new calendar system was established as one of many means to pacify and unify the various tribes and peoples that had been conquered under the Zymian flag. At first, it was little more than a means to count the number of years that Zymia was the world’s largest empire. However, over the centuries that Zymia remained an effective world power, the calendar was added to and changed to suit the needs of the times and occasionally to play to the ego of a dictator. While the Zymian Empire has ceased to be a major world power, Zymia and several of the lands she influenced, most notably Inama and Kobukia, continue to use the Zymian Calendar.
The Zymian Calendar is a yearly calendar of 384 days. Time is separated into two groups, the Years of the Zymian Empire (YZE) and everything that happened before the founding of the empire (BZE). The years before the Zymian Empire are counted backwards from the Founding Year (1 YZE), and contain a zero year. Thus, the year before the founding of the Zymian Empire is 0 BZE, the year before that is 1 BZE and so on. The current year is 1382 YZE.
Each year is comprised of 8 months, each named for generals and dictators that were popular or powerful enough to immortalize themselves by insinuating their names on the recording of time. From the beginning of the year to the end, the months are named Baccinai, Dromos, Hevelina, Marius, Ptrovinus, Serverinei, Titus and Trovius. Each month lasts for 48 days, and each contains at least one minor holiday called a ‘Feastday.’ During a Feastday, most businesses close, and the wealthy and important throw lavish parties, either for those who serve under them or for peers in an effort to gain station. The year begins on the festival day of Ferrinalia, the holiday commemorating the founding of the Zymian Empire.
Example: “Today is the eighteenth day of Dromos, 1382 YZE.”
The Calendar of Times
The lands north of the Empire have traditionally used a calendar system known as the Calendar of Times. It is widely thought that this calendar is the oldest in the civilized world, since stone carvings at religious sites date the calendar back over 5300 years. The nations of Pichu Tah and Tupu use the Calendar of Times to the exclusion of any other system. The city-states that make up the nation of Mon Gaar used this calendar in ancient times, but have adapted to using the Imperial Calendar. Still, old superstitions persist, and it’s widely believed in Mon Gaar that some aspects of a person’s personality and perhaps even his destiny can be determined based on which Time he was born in. Some archeologists have theorized that the Calendar of Times may have originated in the Savage Lands, as some ancient sites have been discovered there with extremely old calendar stones.
The Calendar of Times is a cyclic system that records time in 10-year cycles called ‘Times.’ There are 10 times, named (in order) Dragon, Water, Ape, Serpent, Angel, Naga, Crocodile, Stone, Demon and Jaguar. When one Time is over, the next begins and the circle continues. Therefore, when the Time of the Jaguar is over, a new Time of the Dragon begins. According to the oldest temple in Pichu Tah, it is currently the 6th year of the 53rd time of the crocodile.
Example: “The last earthquake this village felt was long ago, in the 8th year of the 53rd time of the Naga.”