“How exactly does the calendar system in Sword and Verse work?”
That’s a question I get often from readers curious about the Shinings and Veilings of Qilara’s calendar, so I thought I’d share some of the background information about the system here.
The story of the gods, of course, plays a huge role in the Qilarite understanding of time:
Gyotia fashioned a lamp from the sky-fire and carried it as he wandered the night philandering, though he veiled it when he visited the bedrooms of mortal women. So regular were his wanderings that the mortals below began to order the year by the fourteen Shinings and fourteen Veilings of Gyotia’s Lamp.
Each Shining/Veiling pair, then, is what we know as one lunar cycle. The Qilarite year is made up of fourteen of these cycles.
A Shining begins at the waxing half-moon, continues through what we would call the full moon, and ends at the waning half-moon. A Veiling (i.e. when Gyotia covers his lamp) begins at the waning half-moon and continues through the new moon and until the next waxing half-moon. Shining and Veilings are fourteen to fifteen days each and vary in length depending on the visibility of the moon in Qilara at various times of year.
Here is how Qilarite scribes envision the year:
This calendar begins at the peak of the diamond and goes clockwise. As you can see, the year begins at First Shining, halfway through the dry season of Lilana. Eighth Veiling, in the middle of the wet, dark season of Qorana, is considered the low point of the year.
Notes about special days:
First Day of First Shining: Festival of Gyotia. This day is sacred to Gyotia and many weddings are held on this day to earn his blessing.
First Day of Second Shining: Festival of Lanea, also known as the Day of the Brides. On this day, women who were married at First Shining are celebrated by the female members of their families. This day signifies the end of their wedding celebration and their taking on the full responsibilities of a wife.
First Day of Fifth Shining: Festival of Qora, also known as Qorana Qia (first day of Qorana). Traditionally celebrated with a fair or market and several days of festivities.
First Day of Eighth Veiling: Sotiana (the festival of Sotia). This has not been openly celebrated in Qilara for hundreds of years, though it is celebrated on the Nath Tarin. It is the only festival celebrated at the Veiling instead of the Shining, and it centers around images of the light of Sotia’s wisdom against the dark.
First Day of Tenth Shining: Festival of Suna. Celebrations of this festival center around home, memories, and family.
First Day of Twelfth Shining: Festival of Lila, also known as Lilana Qia (first day of Lilana). This festival is celebrated with several days of physical contests and mock battles to welcome the dry season.
First Day of Thirteenth Shining: Festival of Aqil. Celebrated with a pantomime telling tales of the gods, with the highest ranking Scholar boy of sixteen playing Aqil.
How would you identify a specific day on the Qilarite calendar?
Years are identified by the monarch. For example: “the seventh year of the reign of King Tyno”.
Specific days are identified by their place with a particular Shining or Veiling. For example: “the second day of Fifth Veiling”.
Put them together, and you identify the date. Here are some important dates within the timeline of Sword and Verse:
The story opens with Raisa in the Library: Seventh day of Eleventh Veiling in the Thirteenth Year of King Tyno’s Reign
Jonis tries to recruit Raisa to the Resistance: First Day of Thirteenth Veiling in the Fourteenth Year of King Tyno’s Reign
Mati’s Eighteenth Birthday: Third Day of Second Veiling in the Sixteenth Year of King Tyno’s Reign