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Orson Scott Card


  Orson Scott Card

  Orson Scott Card



  Note on the Conventions of Naming

  Among the Nafari humans, it is the custom for persons of distinction to add titles of honor to their names, as honorifics. Formally, the honorific is put at the beginning of the name, so that on state occasions the king of Darakemba is Ak-Moti; but most commonly the honorific is added at the end: thus, Motiak. Some honorifics are altered in order to combine with the name, and some names to combine with the honorific. Thus when Jamim was heir, he was Ha-Jamim or Jamimha, the normal pattern; but as king he was Ka-Jamim or Jaminka (compared with Nuak/Ak-Nu and Motiak/Ak-Moti); and as former king he is spoken of as Ba-Jamim or Jamimba (compared with Nuab/ Ab-Nu and Motiab/Ab-Moti).

  The honorifics for men that show up in this book are: Ak/Ka, which means "reigning king"; Ha/Akh, "heir"; Ab/Ba, "former king"; Ush, "mighty warrior"; Dis, "beloved son"; Og/Go, "high priest"; Ro/Or, "wise teacher"; Di/Id, "traitor." The honorifics for women that show up in this book are: Dwa, "mother of the heir" (whether she is living or dead); Gu/Ug, "most-honored wife of king"; Ya, "great compassionate woman."

  In addition, the syllable da is used as an all-purpose term of endearment, and is inserted at the end of a usually shortened name, but before any added honorifics. Thus Chebeya, in private, calls her husband "Kmadaro," which is (A)kma + da (endearment) + ro (honorific meaning "great teacher"), and Akmaro calls her "Bedaya," which is (Che)be + da (endearment) + ya (honorific meaning "great compassionate woman").

  The sons of a prominent man are regarded collectively as his "tribe" and are referred to that way. Thus the four sons of Motiak are sometimes called "the Motiaki"; the four sons of Pabulog are called "the Pabulogi" until they repudiate the name.

  It is also worth pointing out that there are several terms for the different intelligent species. The sky people, earth people, and middle people can also be called angels, diggers, and humans, respectively. The former three terms suggest formality, dignity, and equivalency among the species. However, the latter three terms are merely informal, not necessarily pejorative, and members of all three species readily use both the formal and informal terms for themselves.

  Humans (Middle People)


  Motiak, or Ak-Moti-the king, conqueror of most of the Darakemba empire

  Dudagu, or Gu-Duda-Motiak's present wife, mother of his youngest son Toeledwa [toe-eh-LED-wah], or Dwa-Toel-Motiak's late wife, mother of his first four children

  Jamimba, or Ba-Jamim-Motiak's late father

  Motiab, or Ab-Moti-Jamimba's father, who led the Nafari out of the land of Nafai to unite them with the people of Darakemba, forming the core of the empire

  Aronha, or Ha-Aron-Motiak's eldest son, his heir Edhadeya, or Ya-Edhad-Motiak's eldest daughter and second child Mon-Motiak's second son, third child; named after Monush Ominer-Motiak's third son, fourth child; the last of Toeledwa's children

  Khimin-Motiak's fourth son; the only child of Dudagu, Motiak's current wife Monush, or

  Ush-Mon-Motiak's leading soldier


  Akmaro, or Ro-Akma-a former priest of King Nuak of the Zenifi, he now leads a group of followers of the teachings of Binaro/Binadi; his people are sometimes called

  Akmari Chebeya, or Ya-Cheb-Akmaro's wife, a raveler

  Akma-Akmaro's and Chebeya's son and oldest child

  Luet-Akmaro's and Chebeya's daughter and youngest child

  Pabulog, or Og-Pabul-former high priest of King Nuak, and now a particularly vicious leader among the Elemaki, with an army at his disposal

  Pabul-Pabulog's oldest son Udad-Pabulog's second son Didul-Pabulog's third son Muwu-Pabulog's foruth and youngest son


  Zenifab, or Ab-Zeni-the founding king of the Zenifi, for whom the tribe is named; their fundamental belief is that humans should not live with angels or diggers, and they tried to re-establish a pure-human colony in their ancestral homeland of Nafai after the Nafari merged with the Darakembi

  Nuak, or Ak-Nu; also Nuab, or Ab-Nu-Zenifab's son and recent king of the Zenifi; in speaking of the time when he reigned, "Nuak" is used; in referring to later times, he is called "Nuab"; there is always some confusion for a while in changing over from one honorific to another

  Ilihiak, or Ak-Ilihi-Nuak's son, who was never expected to be the king, but had the office thrust upon him in the crisis after his father was murdered

  Wissedwa, or Dwa-Wiss-Ilihiak's wife; she saved the Zenifi after Nuak's cowardly retreat

  Khideo-leading soldier of Ilihiak; he refuses all honorifics because he once attempted to kill Nuak

  Binadi, or Di-Bina; also called Binaro, or Ro-Bina-condemned to death and executed by Nuak and Pabulog, he was officially designated a traitor (thus Binadi); but among Akmaro's people, he is called Binaro and revered as a great teacher


  Shedemei-the starmaster, a brilliant geneticist, she is the one survivor from the original group of humans who were brought back to Earth from the planet Harmony. Among the diggers, or earth people, she is known as the One-Who-Was-Never-Buried

  Angels (Sky People)

  Husu-commander of the spies, a sort of "cavalry" composed entirely of sky people bGo-Motiak's chief clerk, head of much of the bureaucracy of Darakemba

  Bego-bGo's otherself, the king's archivist and tutor to Motiak's children

  Diggers (Earth People)

  Uss-Uss, or Voozhum-Edhadeya's chambermaid, a slave; but something of a sage and priestess among the other digger slaves


  What used to be MesoAmerica and the Caribbean were transformed by a single geological event under the Earth's crust-the formation of a fast-flowing current in the mantle that plunged the Cocos plate northward at an incredible rate. Behind it, more than a hundred volcanos formed an uninhabitable archipelago extending hundreds of miles to the east and west of the Galapagos-dozens are still active. At the leading edge, the Cocos plate attacked the Caribbean plate far faster than it could be subducted. The result was dramatic uplifting and folding; by ten million years after the departure of the human race, there were several whole ranges of mountains above ten kilometers in height, with some peaks reaching higher than eleven kilometers. Between erosion and the slowing of the Cocos plate to merely three times the speed of any other plate on Earth, the highest peaks are now only some ninety-five hundred meters above sea level.

  Besides the massif of high mountains, the Earth's crust behind the mountains was also forced upward, causing Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti to be connected to the torn and distorted land mass of Central America. Millions of years of flooding from the great mountain rivers created a vast plain of fertile soil from the Yucatan to Jamaica.

  Even farther north from the Cocos plate, the general uplifting (and the same current in the mantle) hastened a process that had begun long before-the rifting of North America at about the line of the

  Mississippi River. The eastern (Appalachian) plate began rotating counterclockwise and shifting northeastward; the western (Texas) plate continued its northwestward drift. (Northern South America [the Orinoco plate] was also gradually dragged along to drift somewhat northward, with a rift opening in Ecuador.)

  It was the sudden rapid movement of the Cocos plate and the accompanying earthquakes and volcanism, not the limited nuclear exchanges that took place around that time, that made the Earth uninhabitable and forced humankind to abandon its birth planet. Nevertheless, all human emigrants carried with them the story that human actions had caused the destruction of the world.


  The gornaya (GOR-na-ya) is the great central massif lifted by
the surging of the Cocos plate, with perpetually snow-covered peaks that are higher than any oxygen-breather can climb. Because most peaks are constantly invisible in clouds, they are not used as landmarks and are almost never named. Instead, rivers and lakes are used as landmarks, with their deep valleys forming both the highways and the habitats. The border of the gornaya was determined, before the return of the humans, by the lowest elevation where the digger/angel symbiosis could survive.


  Because the folding of the land into the ranges of the gornaya left most ranges running southeast to northwest, the rivers also run in those directions. This, rather than sunrise, the north star, or magnetic north, determined the cardinal directions of the diggers and angels (they had no compasses and even on clear days could rarely see the north star and could see sunrise or sunset only at the edges of the gornaya). Thus "north" in the names of various places means northwest of the gornaya, "west" means southwest, "south" means southeast, and "east" means northeast.

  North Sea-the remnant of the Gulf of Mexieo, a narrow sea jammed between the Texas/Veracruz coast on one side and the Yucatan coast on the other.

  East Sea (Gulf of Florida)-a new sea opened in the straits between Cuba and Florida by the new rotation and northeastward movement of the Appalachian plate.

  South Sea-the remnant of the Caribbean Sea

  West Sea-the Pacific Ocean


  On the Atlantic side, the gornaya gives way to a great fan of lowlands, much of it raised up from the ocean floor, covered with rich soil eroded from the gornaya and carried by great rivers which deposit new soil during flood seasons every year. The jungles there are rich with life, but since vast areas spend part of the year under muddy water, most of the fauna is arboreal. Diggers and angels who lived near the edges of the gornaya often sent hunting expeditions out into the wilderness, but they never went farther than the distance they could travel to carry game home before it spoiled. Three great regions of jungle are distinguished by the angels and diggers; their names were translated into the language of the Nafari and Elemaki and eventually those names replaced the names in the digger and angel languages.

  Severless (SEV-er-less)-The great north wilderness, including the land that used to be Chiapas and Yucatan. The great rivers Tsidorek and Jatvarek flow through it; the Milirek marks its western and Dry Bay its eastern boundary.

  Vostoiless (voe-STOY-less)-the great east wilderness, including the land that used to be Cuba, which forms most of the northern shore and a mountainous peninsula running eastward. The Vostoireg and Svereg Rivers flow through the lowland plain. The Mebbereg, the third great river of the east, is generally regarded as the southern boundary of the Vostoiless.

  Yugless (YOOG-less)-the great south wilderness, which includes a low, wide isthmus between the Pacific and the Caribbean and reaches eastward to include a mountainous peninsula made up of what were once Jamaica and Haiti (or Hispaniola). The Zidomeg flows out of the land of Nafai down into the heart of the Yugless, and the northern boundary is the land of Nafai and the land of Pristan, where the humans first landed.

  Opustoshan (oh-POOSS-toe-shahn)-in contrast to the well-watered jungles of the three great wildernesses, the fourth uninhabited land was called "desolation" by the diggers and angels because, being in the rain shadow of the gornaya, the area just west of the Milirek is desperately dry, to the point the vast regions are nothing but blowing sand. Soon the land rises to the old Mexican plateau, however, but the diggers and angels regarded it all as uninhabitable.


  An anomaly in the gornaya consists of a region of subsidence running on a north-south line, where rivers, whether flowing "north" or "south," formed lakes. As the rivers wore deeper channels into the mountains, the lakes subsided incrementally, forming fertile terraces up the canyon walls, so that the shores of the lakes have fertile land ranging from a few meters to as much as five kilometers in width. The seven lakes are named, from "east" to "west" (as the angels and diggers thought of them; we would say from north to south):

  Severed-fed and drained by the Svereg

  Uprod-source of the Ureg

  Prod-source of the Padurek

  Mebbekod-fed and drained by the Mebbereg

  Sidonod-source of the Tsidorek, which flows through Darakemba and, farther downstream, the eastern reaches of Bodika. Issipod-source of one branch of the Issibek Poropod-fed and drained by the Proporeg


  There are thousands of rivers in the gornaya, running in every canyon and valley. Though the entire gornaya is within the tropics, shifting winds and the extremely high mountain ranges cleft by long, deep valleys cause adjoining watersheds to have completely different amounts of precipitation at different seasons-of the year. Rivers are highways, landmarks, and, where the gornaya opfcns ap into wide valleys, they are the source of life in all seasons. Seven great rivers flow out of the gornaya and, after passing through wilderness, to the Atlantic. Four great rivers flow into the Pacific. In addition, some of the rivers have major tributaries. In the religion of the angels, rivers have varying degrees of holiness; the rivers are presented here according to their order in their hierarchy of sacredness (though the names are now a mish-mash of human, angel, and digger names and forms).

  The Seven Lake Rivers

  Tsidorek-the holiest river, flows north from the lake Sidonod. Because the lake comes near the top of the river valley, there is no major river flowing into it. Therefore Sidonod is the "pure source" of the Tsidorek, and it also has a tributary, the Padurek, which flows from a pure source (Prod), making the water twice pure. Darakemba, the capital of Motiak's kingdom, is located near where the canyon first widens into a broad valley where intensive agriculture is possible.

  Issibek-flows north from lake Issipod, a pure source. It has a major south-flowing tributary, only the two rivers don't so much join as collide head-on. They once formed a lake there, which filled the long canyon for fifty kilometers before it spilled over the lowest pass in the oceanside range. But the lake eventually found an outlet through a system of caves and drained completely. Now the rivers seem to collide head-on, and since they flood at opposite times of the year, there is always enough water that the outlet is underwater. The result is that the river seems to flow downhill from the lake until it comes to a tumultuous low point, whereupon the valley goes up and the river continues, flowing in the opposite direction. The outlet runs underground for kilometers until it erupts from a cave on the other side of the range and flows into the Pacific. The outlet once had another name, but before the coming of the humans, a digger proved that it was the outlet of the Issibek. However, the river that flows north from lake Issipod and its tributary that flows south to join it are still considered to be the same river, but with two sources, one pure and one not. It is this strange river that Ilihiak's expedition to find Darakemba followed by mistake, leading them past Darakemba (several giant mountain ranges over) and eventually down into the desert of Opustoshen, where, on the shores of a seasonal river (bone dry at the time), they found bodies and weaponry suggesting that a devastating battle had been fought there. The corpses were so perfectly preserved in the desert that they could have been five or five hundred years old. Nearby, they found written records in an unknown language.

  Mebbereg-Flows south from the lake Mebbekod. Not itself a pure source (the river flows into the lake from the north and then out of it on the south), but it has a pure source as a tributary (Ureg, out of Uprod). Akmaro's first settlement, Chelem, where his people were kept in captivity, was along the Mebbereg.

  Svereg-Flows momentarily south from Severed, the "easternmost" (northernmost) of the lakes, then bends east and drops down rapidly from the gornaya into the vast jungle of the Vostoiless. Not a pure source.

  Proporeg-Flows south from Poropod, the "westernmost" (southernmost) of the lakes, and drops rapidly to the West Sea (Pacific Ocean).

  Padurek-A tributary river, but a pure source, it flows north from lake
Prod until it joins the Tsidorek many kilometers downstream (north) of Darakemba. Akmaro's second settlement, called Akma, was on the shores of Prod, and it was the Padurek that Akmaro followed northward until he crossed over the pass that led down to the land of Darakemba.

  Ureg-A tributary river, but a pure source, it flows south from lake Uprod and then joins the Mebbereg.

  The Five Narrow Rivers

  Zidomeg-flows south from near Poropod to within sixty kilometers of the West Sea (Pacific), then turns east through the Yugless to the South Sea (Caribbean). Nuak's kingdom of Zinom was at the head of the Zidomeg, and his people were conquered by the army of the overking of Nafazidom, downriver from him.

  Jatvarek-Flows north (west) out of the gornaya and then turns east (north) to flow through what was once the Yucatan peninsula and is now the Severless. The city of Jatva is located at the very edge of the gornaya, overlooking the vast watery jungle. When Motiak extended his boundaries to take the entire settled valley of the Jatvarek under his protection, he officially gave the name Jatva to the enlarged kingdom, leaving the name Darakemba to refer to the kingdom of his father along the Tsidorek. In fact, however, everyone usually calls the whole empire "Darakemba."

  Milirek-Flows north (west) out of the gornaya directly into the narrowest part of the North Sea (Gulf of Mexico), as if the North Sea were a continuation of the Milirek. The nation of Bodika had already conquered the habitable part of the Milirek before Motiak brought them to submission and included them in his empire.

  Utrek-Entirely within the gornaya until it flows into the West Sea (Pacific), the river with the second lowest source.

  Zodzerek-Entirely within the gornaya until it flows into the West Sea (Pacific), this is the river with the lowest source.