In the last few days, I've been posting a few links about time keeping in my novels and a rough guideline theory of how I'm going to create a calendar:

  • Part 1: My reasons for doing this
  • Part 2: Some theory on what makes an interesting fictional calendar
  • Part 3: An example of creating a messy calendar
  • Part 4: Creating a visual representation of the calendar

And now I'm actually getting to the crunchy bit of creating a fictional calendar. Creating the mifuno ripōchya (desert calendar), which I need to document when things happen in Sand and Blood.

Culture background

There are a few things that are important while creating this calendar:

  • The clans treat the clan itself as the primary purpose. So, instead of a family, they have a clan.
  • Clans get powers from the spirit of their clan.
  • All clan spirits get their powers from one of two powers: Tachìra, the sun spirit, or Chobìre, the moon spirit. Both Tachìra and Chobìre (male spirits) are in love with the desert spirit (Mifúno). They don't like each other.
  • The desert clans are big on ownership, even if it is only in people's minds. This results in them naming their horses, weapons, and even mechanical devices.
  • Clans have accented names (Kosòbyo) but when used as an adjective or ownership, it has no accent (Kosobyo Valley).
  • There are no capitals, but I write it with capitals to make it easier for English readers.

World mechanics

Though no one has figured it out, we have a couple of cycles that we need:

  • The solar cycle is currently 368.3087 days long.
  • The lunar cycle is currently 32.8873 days long.

There are more decimal places beyond that, but I'm not planning on getting into any more details. The world isn't precise enough yet for that.

The three base calendars

Because Tachìra and Chobìre are considered rivals for the desert's love, their cycles were developed apart from each other. Because of this, we'll end up creating an Aztec-style calendar where we have two related cycles that combined together to form a more holistic calendar.

  • tachira ripōchya (TR): The solar calendar
  • chobire ripōchya (CR): The lunar calendar
  • mifuno ripōchya (MR): The desert calendar, the combined version (the Aztec "long cycle")

The neat calendars

I like to start with a neat and idealistic calendar. This is just the first blush where things seem to "mostly" work without being too accurate.

  • TR (368 day year):
    • 8 solar periods (ríchi) named after the eight initial spirits
      • Wochifúmi (Wochifumi ríchi)
      • Netsugío
      • Myuràku
      • Hizogōma
      • Kosòbyo
      • Jiyokòni
      • Sachikónu
      • Kyodòte
    • …of 46 days (rōte)
  • CR (352 day "year"):
    • 11 months (chòchi) for the 11 children of Chobìre
      • Wochyòko
      • Pyakígo
      • Defòshyu
      • Jipóre
      • Rozàtsu
      • Byóki
      • Nabunìro
      • Guwifómu
      • Jyuùchi
      • Radága
      • Tokomōfo
    • … of 32 days

The least common multiple of these two calendars is 8096, so the TR and CR come in sync once every 8,096 days (22 TR, 23 CR) using this system. That isn't so bad, but obviously these aren't very accurate calendars but they are a good start for an idealistic person who tried to come up with the "perfect" system to account for time.

Let's screw it up.

Changes to the solar calendar

The changes I'm going to make the calendar are in order but the actual time of them isn't as important at this juncture. I want context and to show the gradual changes of the calendar over the centuries.

To mix the calendar up, I'm just creating a few moments in time of the calendar's history where it was changed.

  • Initial State
    • 368 = Wo 46, Ne 46, Myu 46, Hi 46, Ko 46, Ji 46, Sa 46, Kyo 46
  • Kyodote Upheaval
    • Kyodote richi goes from 46 to 47 days
    • Sachikonu richi goes from 46 to 45 days
    • 368 = Wo 46, Ne 46, Myu 46, Hi 46, Ko 46, Ji 46, Sa 45, Kyo 47
  • Language diminutives (mostly inspired by the oral traditions spreading the names)
    • Wochifumi ríchi becomes Wofuríchi
    • Myuraku rìchi becomes Myoràchi
    • Kosòbyo rìchi becomes Kosobyòri
    • Sachikónu rìchi becomes Saríchi
    • 368 = Wo 46, Ne 46, Myo 46, Hi 46, Ko 46, Ji 46, Sa 45, Kyo 47
  • Kyodote Dominance
    • Myoràchi goes from 46 to 47 days
    • Jiyokoni richi goes from 46 to 45 days
    • 368 = Wo 46, Ne 46, Myo 47, Hi 46, Ko 46, Ji 45, Sa 45, Kyo 47
  • Bochigomāsu
    • Growing trade from the southern countries gives the concept of an eight-day week. Since eight is a holy number in the desert, this becomes quickly popular.
  • Migafi Mapyózi
    • Mapyózi, as a teenager, realizes that the calendar isn't accurate enough. She spends the rest of her life traveling the desert to spread the understanding. This is also where the idea of giving an extra day and taking it away was the way to correct the calendar (instead of leap days as in our world). Later, she realizes that she wasn't correct and commits suicide.
    • Netsugio ríchi goes from 46 to 47 days, loses a day once every four years
    • Kyodote richi loses a day once every four years
    • 368.50 = Wo 46, Ne 46.75, Myo 47, Hi 46, Ko 46, Ji 45, Sa 45, Kyo 46.75
  • Myuraku Jinokìn
    • Upset about the diminution of his clan's name in the calendar spends his life trying to get it renamed back to the original name. He fails, but in the process of trying to garner favor, he shifts the days around before he failed his life's mission.
    • Myoràchi is reduced from 47 to 46 days
    • Jiyokoni richi is increased from 45 to 46 days.
    • Jiyokoni richi is changed to Jinòkyo
    • 368.50 = Wo 46, Ne 46.75, Myo 46, Hi 46, Ko 46, Ji 46, Sa 45, Kyo 46.75
  • Fimùchi Calculations
    • Kosobyòri loses a day once every eight years
    • 368.375 = Wo 46, Ne 46.75, Myo 46, Hi 46, Ko 45.875, Ji 46, Sa 45, Kyo 46.75
  • Hizogōma's Betrayal
    • The Hizogōma clan becomes one of the most famous of the clans to turn their back on Tachira and join forces with Chobìre.
    • Hizogoma rìchi is renamed to Hizofūne
    • Hizofūne is reduced to 44 days
    • Myoràchi is increased from 46 to 47 days
    • Kosobyòri is increased from 46 to 47 days
    • 368.375 = Wo 46, Ne 46.75, Myo 47, Hi 44, Ko 46.875, Ji 46, Sa 45, Kyo 46.75
  • Language continues to drift
    • Wofuríchi is now known as Furíchi
    • Netsugio ríchi is now Netsúo
    • Kyodòte is now Dòte
    • 368.375 = Fu 46, Ne 46.75, Myo 47, Hi 44, Ko 46.875, Ji 46, Sa 45, Do 46.75
  • Mansūpi Observation
    • This was a politic reform in an attempt to "normalize" the calendar. It makes the leap days more evenly spread out through the year, continues the stealing of days from Hizofūne and shows the continual rise of the Kosòbyo clan.
    • Hizofūne loses a day once every 1/8 years
    • Kosobyòri no longer has a fall day
    • Jinòkyo loses a day once every 1/16 years
    • 368.3125 = Fu 46, Ne 46.75, Myo 47, Hi 43.875, Ko 47, Ji 45.9375, Sa 45, Do 46.75

I could keep going, but I think this has enough of a messy feel for me. There are other things I can do to add in complexity, but for purposes of my novels, I'm pretty happy.

This calendar may have started with a regular (neat) system, but by making little changes here and there, I build up a little bit of the world's history, add some interesting events, and gives me some hooks.

The calendar is also fairly regular. The shortest "month" is 44 days and the longest is 47. This is similar to the Gregorian calendar (28 to 31 days). There are more "fall" days (as opposed to leap days) than the Gregorian (4 verses 3).

The final solar calendar (mansupi tachira ripōchya, MTR) at the point of Sand and Blood is:

  • Furíchi: 46 days
  • Netsúo: 47 days, fall day 1/4 years
  • Myoràchi: 47 days
  • Hizofūne: 44 days, fall day 1/8 years
  • Kosobyòri: 47 days
  • Jinòkyo: 46 days, fall day 1/16 years
  • Saríchi: 45 days
  • Dòte: 47 days, fall day 1/4 years

I'll do the same with the lunar calendar, but this post is getting a bit long.

Year

The last big part I need for the novel is a year number. The number itself isn't that important, though it will pretty much identify when the Hizogōma's Betrayal happened (which is the "zero point" of the calendar, 0 HB).

As a completely arbitrary number, I'm going with 1471. It keeps it in line with our own dates. I'm planning on using 1832 (the rough beginning of the Victorian age) in a different calendar to represent the same time period, but I like having numbers close to each other.

Formatting

How to write a date is important. We have a number of formats in our world, so we need to have the same. These are influenced by the northern countries by using one-based numbers, but the desert doesn't follow the conventions of zero-padding.

  • 1471/3/1
  • 1471 Myo 1
  • 1471 Myoràchi 1
  • Myo 1

The slash is used because it is the closest symbol to the symbol in Miwāfu.

2013-09-21