Kritos

Kritos – Olympian world, ruled by Minos the God-king and his Queen, Pasiphae.

 

Knossos – Capital city; home of Minos. Knossos is located on the central plain of Kritos. The city sits on a high spur, at the far end of a long valley from the Chappa'ai of Kritos. Behind it lie the swamps; there is only one road to the single gate in the city wall.

The Labyrinth – A truncated, force-shielded pyramid protecting the palace of Minos at Knossos. Those entering must pass through an ever-shifting maze in order to reach the inner palace.

Shrine of the Intercessors – Small temple attached to the Labyrinth where supplicants pray for Minos and Pasiphae's favour.

The Sanctuary of Pasiphae – temple on the outskirts of Knossos where the Daughters of Pasiphae tend their mistress' private residence, to which she retreats to escape her husband's all-consuming paranoia. The Sanctuary also includes the Orphanage, where the Daughters raise abandoned youngsters, many of them ‘blessing children'.

 

Akrotiri – coastal city and main port of Kritos, ruled by Medusa, one of Minos' lesser Captains. The Hall of Medusa, home of the Gorgons, is in Akrotiri.

 

Kalipolis – coastal city not far from Akrotiri, also in the demesne of Medusa.

 

Stymphalia – mountain city and home to the Eyrie, the shipyard of Icarus, Master of the Udajeet.

The Stymphalian Birds – The name given to the death gliders of Minos. Icarus and his ma'djet decorated their craft with feathers of bronze.

Ma'djet – Flight engineer; contraction of ma'shan-na-udajeet. A master flight engineer is a tek ma'djet; the Master of the Udajeet is simply Tek'wadjet.

 

Halicarnasus – valley housing a large share of Kritos' agricultural production. Known for its wine, woollen cloths, olives, grain and dairy produce.

Agora – chief town of Halicarnasus and home of the Market, the greatest agricultural fair on Kritos.

 

Selene – the smaller of the two moons of Kritos, a soft, bluish orb. The craters on the moon's face are seen as a face, smiling benevolently on the planet below. It is associated with the Olympian Athena.

Tamis – the larger of the two moons of Kritos. Tamis is an angry, red satellite which casts an eerie glow down on Kritos. It was once associated with the Titan Metis and now with the Queen of Kritos, Pasiphae.

 

Kritori day – one cycle of the Kritori sun; approximately twenty-seven terrestrial hours in length. The cycle is divided into day and night of eight hours each; day is four hours before and four hours after midday, night four hours before and after midnight, regardless of season.

Kritori week – a seven day period. The last day of each week is the day of rituals, on which all but the most vital work is suspended for religious observances and sacrifices. The day of rituals is more observed in the cities than in the country.

By the sun – Kritori civilians live ‘by the sun', measuring their day according to sunrise and sunset and their year according to the seasons.

By the clock – Kritori warriors and priests live ‘by the clock'. Their day is regimented according to the sixteen hours of day and night, often resulting in their rising well before dawn, and their year by the lunar calendar.

Lesser month – a single cycle – full moon to full moon – of the smaller of Kritos' moons, Selene. A lesser month is twenty-one days long; three Kritori weeks.

Greater month – a single cycle – new moon to new moon – of the larger of Kritos' moons, Tamis. A greater month is fifty-three days long.

Civil year – a lunar cycle comprising 17 lesser months, a total of 357 days, approximately matching the seasonal year. As the lunar month is very slightly more than 21 days, an additional ‘dead day' is usually added to the end of the year to bring it to the next full moon. The civil year is the principle measure of time for city folk.

Seasonal year – a solar cycle of 382 days. The season year is principally used by farmers and other country dwellers. It is divided into four seasons: sowing, growing, harvest and winter.

Ritual year – a lunar cycle of 7 greater months or 371 days. As with the civil year the moon is never completely vanished by the 371st day and an additional three-to-four ‘dead days' are allotted to the end of the year. Priests use the ritual year to time the most important religious festivals.

Dead days – on the days between lunar years only the most vital work is done. When the dead days of the civil and ritual years fall together, all of Kritos celebrates the Grand Festival of the Stars.

Grand Festival of the Stars – a worldwide holiday in honour of the Watcher (the benevolent moon Selene). It is held when Tamis is gone from the sky and Selene is at her largest and is thus seen as symbolic of Athena's eventual victory over Pasiphae and her husband. Minos tolerates the festival only to prevent worldwide rebellion.

 

Minos – The God-king of Kritos; a paranoid tyrant who sees enemies everywhere. He dwells in his palace, isolated from the world and rarely dares show his face in public.

Pasiphae – The Queen of Kritos, wife-consort of Minos. Pasiphae attends to the day to day running of Kritos and Minos' other domains and shields her husband from all news that might either disturb him or reveal to him how much power she has wrested from him.

Ariadne – The beloved daughter of Minos. Ariadne is a human blessing child of great beauty who is shown particular favour and raised as Minos' own. She is his doting and devoted daughter and loves no other but her father. When she begins to show signs of rebellion or independence, or grows too old to flatter Minos' vanity as his child, Ariadne is killed and replaced with a new beloved daughter.

Medusa – Captain of Minos and ruler of Akrotiri. Medusa is not the first servant of Minos but she is the only Captain permitted to raise her own élite company.

Icarus – Tek'wadjet of Minos and Lord of Stymphalia. A master engineer and craven coward who nurses a deep and sexless love of Medusa.

The Watcher – This is a cipher under which the people of Kritos still honour the goddess Athena as personified in the benevolent face of the moon, Selene. As it uses no temples, Minos has been unable to stamp out the Watcher cult; instead he has commanded the Watcher to be recognised as his own Queen, Pasiphae, with limited success.

 

Blessing Children – The offspring generated by the God-king's lusts are usually kept by their parents. In the event of the mother's death, or where the mother is a temple priestess or harlot, these children are raised by the Daughters of Pasiphae and taught to despise their natural father.

Blessing children enjoy an unusually close symbiosis with their prim'ta and frequently display prodigal technical or artistic skills. They will often continue being able to take a prim'ta well past the age of one-hundred-and-fifty.