Alternate Timekeeping

The other major way that Ages are categorized is according to “ruling principle” which is a system that was developed by the alchemists and astrologers of the Free Cities. This methodology has named the ten ages thusly:

I – The Night Age; the ruling power is Mother Night, and darkness.

II – The Dawn Age; the ruling power is the emergent sun and moon, the stars.

III – Pillar Age; the ruling power is magic and the men of Miles.

IV – Sword Age; the ruling power is war and conflict.

V – Dust Age; the ruling power is entropy and decay.

VI – Moon Age; the ruling power is rebirth.

VII – Sun Age; the ruling power is conflict and fire.

VIII – Red Age; the ruling power is returned to Miles, the red of the Red Wizard.

IX – Blood Age; the ruling power is blood, both in the chaos of war and represented by the Bleeding Plague.

X – Shield Age; the ruling power is consolidation, defense, and the yearning of peace.

The other important methods are, of course, dwarven and elvish methods of reckoning. While the ancient Milean Age-system is used for simplicities sake by most, the elves and dwarves DO have their own culturally significant methods of tracking the passage of time.

The Dwarven Method

The dwarves do not follow the same calendrical cycle as the mannish nations, primarily for the reason that the seasons in Harnholme were slightly different. The dwarven calendar is divided into a cycle of four seasons, but they do not correspond to the spring/summer/winter/fall pattern.

The count of years is divided into very small units rather than the vast epoch-spanning division of Ages. Most dwarves find the idea that it is the “tenth Age” laughable. “The earth has no age,” they are fond of saying. The current dwarven cycle began when Eiri Earthfather first strode the land and looked into its hollows; the current dwarven year is thus recorded as the two hundred and thirty third year of the fourteenth century. Dwarves write this as: 233 år and in longform it is “14.233.” (As it is no X.502, the year is 234 ar).

Dwarven Calendar

Stonedeep (Steindyp) Rising (Stigende) Highmount (Høyfal) Fall’s End (Falend)

Within the last five hundred years the dwarven calendar has been normalized to reflect the four seasons of the common Milean calendar. This means that Steindyp corresponds to Winter in a mannish calendar. Each “month” is 90 days long being subdivided into First, Second, and Third delvings (each of which are 30 days).

Elvish Cycles

Elvish calenders, while still retaining the months of the Milean year, calculate longer periods of time not in Ages, but rather in grand epochal cycles that cover 4,200 years when one epoch is over.

The outermost and largest cycle is the Epoch; There are six eras: Beech, Ash, Yew, Oak, Willow, and Hornbeam. Each era lasts for 700 years. Within each era run the cycles of stone, as seen below.

Each cycle of stone is divided into seven periods. These periods are known as Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Topaz, Moonstone, Amethyst, and Diamond. Each of these periods lasts for one hundred years and is divided into 10 sub-cycles.

Each year is associated with one archetypal feature: the Plowman, Harp, Swordsman, Forge, Poet, Staff, Priest, Book, Mage, and Leaf. Thus, the years run as follow: The First Year of the Sapphire Plowman, the first year of the sapphire harp, etc. When the lesser years run out, the number before the stone changes – eg, the Second Year of the Sapphire Staff, etc. After the Tenth Year, the cycle changes (Sapphire to Ruby etc.)

The year X.502 is, in the elvish system, the 350th Epoch of the Beech and the 4th Year of the Emerald Forge.


Alternate Timekeeping

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius