Some city-states (such as Draj) have their own calendars, but the most commonly used across Athas is the Calendar of Kings.
In the Calendar of Kings, years are counted off using a pair of concurrently running cycles; one of eleven parts, the other of seven. The eleven-part, or endlean cycle, is counted and spoken first, in the order presented below. The seven-part, or seofean cycle, is counted and spoken second. The endlean cycle is complete when Athas’ two moons, Ral and Guthay, meet in the heavens – a major eclipse that occurs once every 11 years. The seofean cycle is more abstract, meeting when agitation in the cosmos leads to fury.
Every 77 years the cycle repeats itself, ending with a year of Guthay’s Agitation and starting again with a new year of Ral’s Fury. Each 77-year cycle is called a King’s Age; there have been 189 complete King’s Ages since Tyr adopted this calendar (more than 14,500 years).
So, the first year of each King’s Age is a year of Ral’s Fury. The next year is a year of Friend’s Contemplation, followed by a year of Desert’s Vengeance, etc. The 76th year of each king’s age is a year of Enemy’s Reverence, followed by the 77th year, a year of Guthay’s Agitation.
Most Athasians find this complicated calendar less than useful; they rely on the templars to tell them about important events related to the passage of years.
|The Endlean Cycle||The Seofean Cycle|
Superstition and folklore surrounds each of the years of the King’s Age. Storms during a year of Wind’s Vengeance are believed to be more powerful and dangerous, so many overland trips are avoided. Sacrifices and prayers are called for to ward off the mighty Draon during years of Dragon’s Agitation. Years of Enemy’s Contemplation are supposed to enliven treaties and alliances – the list goes on.
Months and seasons are commonly counted in a simple calendar known as the Merchant’s Year, which is based on the subtle motions of the sun and the weather that comes to the Tyr Region. This 375-day year has three “seasons,” each with four 30-day months and one 5-day festival week in the middle.
During the three festival weeks, celebrations and gatherings differ from locale to locale and range from pleasant fairs to grim sacrifices. Merchants use festival weeks to take stock, unload unwanted or overstocked products, and prepare for the next third of the year. A festival is a time of good deals in the emporiums.
- Sorrow (The “Season of the Dragon”, when the Dragon of Tyr roams the region collecting his levy, and the beginning of the year by the Merchant’s Calendar reckoning; 1 Sorrow is referred to as “Liberation Day” in Tyr, as it was the day Kalak was assassinated.)
- Festival of the Highest Sun (start of the year by the Sun Calendar reckoning)
- Festival of the Cooling Sun
(Lowsun, the midpoint of the year)
- Festival of the Soaring Sun
Year of the Messenger
Every 45 years, a brilliant comet visits Athas. By night one can read by the messenger’s light, and it can be seen clearly in the full light of day. Folklore holds that the messenger visits the dragon every 45 years to deliver to him important information – reconnaissance that the stars have observed since its last visit.
Starting the Campaign
For campaign purposes, the calendar starts on the second day of Sorrow in the season of High Sun (the day after the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Kalak). It is the Year of Wind’s Reverence, in the 190th King’s Age. The next Year of the Messenger will be the Year of Enemy’s Slumber, five years away.