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This is a list of common words in the major languages of the Haven galaxy, as well as notes on how to pronounce those languages. The notation "ex. chapter" beneath an entry links to where a word's use or meaning is explained in detail within the narrative.

  1. Ranuir (Society)
  2. Zia Ţai (Empire)
  3. Thalishte (Union)


The engineered language of the Society of Worlds.



-a direct object (accusative) case marker
-ar plural marker
-i 1. on nouns, marks the genitive case; 2. on verbs, after a doubled final consonant, marks the subjunctive mood (e.g. tesetessi)
-it locative marker
-at adlocative marker
-e on verbs, marks the indicative mood.
-im on verbs, marks a direct order, carrying the weight of the speaker's formal role and authority within the Society's hierarchy, and accepting all responsibility for the outcome of the order. not simply an imperative and not to be used lightly.


an “I,” “me.” unmarked for dominance polarity; used when a control contrast has not been established or is not active.
elen “I,” “me.” positions the speaker in a submissive role; shows trust and respect to the listener, requesting/accepting their guidance and control. c.f. val.
pronoun · varshol
san “you,” “ma'am,” “sir.” indicates deference towards the listener, accepting their authority and placing oneself under it. not usually used in intimate contexts. sometimes used between friends, though usually only in an emergency or other situation in which one person is giving explicit orders, no matter the dominance context or use of elen/val.
pronoun · form of address · sahshol
ash “you,” “hon.” expresses dominance over the listener. unlike val which is a relatively gentle, reassuring expression of dominance, ash is extremely assertive. if a dominance context has not already been established, use of ash is incredibly risky, verging on a breach of ettiquette. where val offers gentle reinforcement and support that need neither be explicitly acknowledged or accepted, ash stakes a claim on the addressee, whose only options are to accept it or push back assertively.
pronoun · form of address · varshol
cas hope.
nil peace.
tal part, element, component.
tar humility, knowing one's proper place and duties.
ran the native name for the Society and the People.
rad facility.
rantal a commune, the basic unit of civilian settlements in the Society. Under normal circumstances a rantal has no more than 1,024 residents.
rantash a full citizen.
surin a term similar in use to “comrade,” though not used as lightly as rantash is.
honorific · ex. League 9 “Harmony”
shal star, sun.
sor the Net, cyberspace: the Society-wide interstellar data network. the sor is also the system that tracks the positions, movements, status, and authorities of all residents of Society space. Society-made non-disposable goods (the vast majority of the Society's annual production) can also be located and tracked through this system, which registers who they are checked out to (and flags suspicious patterns such as a slate registered to one person remaining for several nights in the dorm of another, or a medicine dispenser being located somewhere other than a citizen's person or assigned sol.) tightly integrated into Society’s hierachy; an enforcement as well as a communication tool.
shev protection.
Shevran the internal security service charged with maintaining the culture and norms of the Society and protecting its people from administrative malfeasance.
proper noun
sil light.
sov unarmed combat.
sovrad a training facility for unarmed combat.
Sovran the distinct style of martial arts practiced by the Society.
proper noun
teg mountain.
tel planet.
uir language.
val “I,” “me;” positions the speaker in a dominant role; reassures the listener and instructs them to submit. compare elen.
pronoun · varshol
var literally "shadow," figuratively connotating a relationship of dominance and submission. the concept var expresses is complex and tightly interwoven with core Society ideology. in short, var is the relationship between a superior (varin) and an inferior (selin or more specifically varan): the duty of loving care and protection on one hand, and the duty of obedience and respect on the other.
varlas the most basic role in the Shevran, a varlas is fully trained in combat and ideology, but has no specific responsibilities and may be assigned to guard duty or overt actions. a varlas has no specialist skills and does not serve in a leadership role except over non-Shevran personnel.
varshol the system of var relationships that structure the Society, encompassing aspects of ethics, interpersonal responsibility, cultural practices, language use, and the expression, function, establishment, and manipulation of the dominance contexts at the heart of the system. in the context of this glossary, varshol tags words that are significant parts of how the system signifies, communicates, and expresses itself, such as vocabulary with explicit dominance polarities.
sahshol the system of command authority and responsibility in the Society's formal hierarchy, including the duties of subordinates (minar sahani) and of superiors (minar sahini). it also refers to the cultural, linguistic, and practical ways this system expresses itself, ranging from words used to navigate and participate in the system, to military courtesy and discipline, to the design and wearing of uniforms.
vartash a "guardian;" a (usually) older member of a cohort assigned to care for and protect a younger member identified as having social and/or mental health difficulties. this relationship creates various duties (minar) between the pair, and a vartash is given a degree of formal authority over her charge (her selin). the exact degree of authority is negotiated by the pair and their counselor as appropriate to the needs and issues of the selin. (for example, a vartash might be authorized to physically restrain a selin given to suicidal or self-harming impulses.) in general, a selin assigned a vartash gives up some (or in extreme cases, all) of her freedom in exchange for stability, care, and comfort. vartash relationships are long-term and a very serious commitment that can only be dissolved in exceptional circumstances, such as long-term remission of symptoms coupled with the consent of both partners (though renegotiation is common).
honorific · varshol
lahtesh the use of sex to resolve conflict and determine hierarchy. one of three main socially-accepted conflict resolution strategies used by the People, the others being physical combat and counseling.
sexuality · varshol
lan roughly, “decision-labor.” lan is the work of making choices, selecting and giving direction, taking responsibility for oneself or for others. in some ways analogous to “leadership.” lan is seen as a particularly burdensome and selfless form of labor. should not be used to mean political power; see lanuas.
lanuas the misperformance of the duty of lan, particularly by making decisions for others in such as a way as to personally profit.
riv in Society culture, a riv is an action disharmonious to the unity and wellbeing of the People: broadly, an “offense.” riv as a category contrasts with esurinnen: while esurinnen is the conscious, willful betrayal of the People and one's comrades, riven is more thoughtless, smaller-scope, having more to do with interpersonal disharmony than politics or personal enrichment. while betrayal is handled mercilessly at a very high level, with openly punitive intent, riv is usually a matter handled between counselors and the local militia, with a restorative and rehabilitative intent.
ias a particular category of riv dealing with the broad category of intrusion and violation.
conias hacking, in either the cybercrime sense or in the “she hacked my facebook!” sense. conias is intrusion into one’s partition of the sor by another, the penetration of an area where one citizen rightfully expects privacy and autonomy. the People regard this as a fairly serious offense, equating it with intrusion into one’s mind and private thoughts.
riv · ias · sor
latias bodily intrusion or violation. a broad category but often used semi-euphemistically to refer to rape (less euphemistically known as iastesh.) latias is committed when one forces their will on another’s body against their explicit refusal. it is not as broad a category as assault; bodily contact even between strangers is part of the norms of Society body language, and citizens are not regarded as having an absolute right to freedom from unwanted contact, any more than an American has the right to be free of hearing the voices of others on the street. attacks on others are also not automatically considered an offense; physical combat (within strict limits, any damage beyond bruising or minor breaks or lacerations is forbidden) is to the Society an acceptable and pro-social way to resolve conflict. however, outside this limited context, physical assault is considered latias as well.
riv · ias
iastesh a certain kind of sexual assault approaching rape, less focused on the sexual aspect and more on the aspect of forced intimacy with an intruder. the sex act referred to by tesh is less about intercourse, which may or may not occur, and more about catharsis, reinforcement of hierarchy, and the breaking down of defenses and barriers; the central violation of iastesh is therefore being having one’s defenses torn down by an intruder. for instance, the ongoing sexual aggression between Cassil and Lisuan increasingly approaches this. differs from lahtesh in that the latter is fundamentally and wholly consensual.
sexuality · riv · ias

Zia Ţai

The language of the Zyahua (zia hua) people, and the official language of the Empire, in which the Zyahua are an ethnic majority.


The phonology of Zia Ţai is very alien relative to English and the orthography is relatively complex, so pronunciations are simply shown next to individual words.


Note: Imperial words require special "singulative markers" to indicate that a noun does not refer to a collective or unspecified number. Where relevant, the appropriate singulative is listed in parentheses.

dzèiņ [dzəjɳ] 1. the color green; 2. (slang) the Society; Society citizens.
dzèiņ lèu [dzəjɳ ləw] (slang) a female Society citizen.
dzèiņ şai [dzəjɳ sˠɑj] (slang) a male Society citizen.
fi dua şai [fiː dwɑ sˠɑj] (derogatory) a male homosexual.
La [lɑ] (collective form only) God, as it exists dispersed into the souls of the living.
ngai (lèu) [ŋɑj (ləw)] a wife, a head of household.
phaņ (şai) [fˠɑɳ (sˠɑj)] a husband, a man married to a head of household.
sèing [səjŋ] "opium;" more precisely, the hydromorphone content of the opium vine.
zèņ (lèu) [zəɳ (ləw)] a wife, woman married to a head of household.


The common language of the Thalisan Union.



ashtisa a physical community of no more than 128 people; the basic political unit of Thalisan society, roughly analogous to a Society rantal.
ashtisea a member of one's ashtisa, a neighbor.
mpare the digital network that connects the entire Union, hosting virtual communities and worlds.
mparisa a person's community of choice, as connected through the mpare.
mparisea a friend, prototypically someone met through the mpare by way of shared interests.
nsheth the physical universe, as distinct from the mpare.
mroqa a unit of time, on the order of days.
riaqa a unit of time, on the order of minutes.