Vocabulary of the Orion Arm: The H’s and I’s

(Don’t forget to tune in to the latest episode of the Radio Free Covenant podcast!)

The calerre are the founders of both the Covenant and the Old Empire which, after the valka Matriarchy, are the two most ancient civilizations in the Orion Arm. They are vaguely reptilian-looking humanoids with functional wings on their backs and stubby tails. However, they share many traits with Earth mammals: they are warm-blooded, bear live young, and even suckle their children with specially adapted salivary glands.

Calerre tend to slender but tough. They also adapt to different worlds and cultures with surprising speed. Humans relate to them with ease.

This is despite the fact that calerre are probably the most alien of the sapient species in the Orion Arm. They stop aging physically sometime in early adulthood and are effectively immortal, though injury, hunger, and thirst can kill them. They also have conscious control over much of their own biochemistry, allowing them to edit their bodies, personalities, and even gender.

Calerre also seem have a different perception of time than humans, with some studies suggesting that they are in communication with both their past and future selves on a subconscious level. None of these studies are conclusive, though.

The calerre living in and defending the early Covenant created Trade so that they would have some way to communicate despite their disparate cultures. However, its barebones construction inadvertently let it absorb words and vocabulary from across Cadelle, their homeworld, and now it’s doing the same thing in the Orion Arm.

Read on to learn common Trade words that start with the English letters H and I.

  • Hahanakh (chiroptim, term): Literally “two-faced religion.” The Ya’os practice of worshiping both a human god and the Lady Danaïn. This is why Roman Catholicism is so popular in chiroptim communities: because the Virgin Mary is usually a stand-in for the far more interesting Lady Danaïn.
  • Hakallas (chiroptim, term): Derogatory slang for humans, literally “evil alien creature”.
  • Hanakhzhiy (chiroptim, term): Literally “two-faced talk.” Lying or deception, especially when telling one person one thing and telling another person something else about the same thing.
  • Handbag (aco, slang): Money. From British Polari.
  • Hedanim (chiroptim, term): Any place in a temple where the sun shines through to the floor. Most temples have several hedanim to accommodate a chiroptim community’s many spiritual needs throughout the day. One of these, the yendanim, marks circle of floor lit by the noon sun, when the Lady Danaïn is at the height of her power. This is the holiest place in the temple and is only used for the most important ceremonies, like funerals. All hedanim are holy ground, though, and anyone entering them must ritually ask for permission from the Lady Danaïn and the hedanef spirit that guards the circle. See also yendanim and hedanef.
  • Hedanef (chiroptim, term): A simple-minded spirit that guards the ceremonial circles or hedanef of a temple consecrated to the Lady Danaïn. These spirits will supposedly attack anyone entering a circle without first performing the proper rituals. See also hedanim.
  • Hedantokh (chiroptim, term): “Suncatcher stone”. Chiroptim would fly above the clouds with pieces of this stone on overcast days to capture the sun’s holy energy. Hedantokh was only found back in the Old World but is thought to be a phosphorescent mineral like calcite or one of the selenide minerals.
  • He’ovpakh, The (chiroptim, term): Literally “Holy Defensive War.” 1. Supposedly the final war before the Yashak, or the destruction of the legendary chiroptim homeland of the Yassam. 2. What Noch Yassam has called its fight against its many rivals. See also Noch Yassam, Yashak, The and Yassam, The.
  • Hepam, The (chiroptim, term): Holy book for worshippers of the Lady Danaïn, the chiroptim racial goddess. The most notable part of the Hepam, at least to non-worshippers, is a supposed “Book of Lies”. No one can agree which part is the Book of Lies. However, most theologists agree that it doesn’t exist; instead, the Book of Lies is a story devised to encourage critical thinking in the Lady Danaïn’s worshippers. See also Lady Danaïn, The.
  • Hepatem (chiroptim, term): A school for priests to the Lady Danaïn. See also Lady Danaïn, The.
  • Herbert (spacer, slang): Astrogation assistance drugs. Named after Dune author Frank Herbert, who created the perpetually tripping pilots of the Spacing Guild. Also spice.
  • Heshakhish (chiroptim, term): Firedancing. A very ecstatic and Dionysian way of worshipping the Lady Danaïn that is practiced by only a very few chiroptim. Also shakhyasish.
  • Hetem (chiroptim, term): Temple or church.
  • Hevassuzh (chiroptim, term): A dangerous form of worship where a chiroptim will fly up into the air until he passes out from anoxia. It’s the ultimate test of one’s faith in the Lady Danaïn and whether she’ll revive the celebrant before he crashes into the ground. Also Fall of Faith. See also Lady Danaïn, The.
  • Hevos (chiroptim, term): Religious icon or statue, usually of the Lady Danaïn or one of Her religion’s “saints”. Some of these are massive and are carried by teams of worshippers throughout chiroptim communities during holy days. See also Lady Danaïn, The.
  • Heyasam (chiroptim, term): Chiroptim heaven and the realm of the Lady Danaïn, the chiroptim racial goddess. Known as “The Valley of Lost Fangs” because chiroptim souls lose their fangs and can eat normal food upon entering. See also Lady Danaïn, The.
  • Hibetyeth (chiroptim, term): A harrowing ritual that some chiroptim perform when their loved ones are facing a life-threatening crisis (e.g., childbirth, sickness, etc.). During the ritual, The celebrant will flog themselves or have themselves flogged in an effort to transfer some of their strength to whoever is in danger. Also The Rite of the Pilgrim Prostrate.
  • Horrorshow (valka, slang): Good. From Nadsat, derived from khorosho (good).
  • “Hot and cold without warmth” (Covenant, slang): 1. A contradiction. Dissembling. Bullshit. 2. Mindless repetition or work without purpose. Also “up and down without going anywhere“.
  • Hour (Covenant, term): The basic currency unit of many Covenant worlds, similar to a labor voucher. Doing an hour’s work – any work, mental or physical – earns you one hour, which entitles you to one hour of anyone else’s labor or its equivalent in goods. Hours aren’t exchanged like money. Instead, spending an hour destroys it.
  • Huckleberry (chiroptim, slang): 1. Best friend, someone you can rely on. 2. A mark, a rube. Someone who’s long on good intentions but short on sense.
  • Ilcok (chiroptim, term): Literally “dumb food”. 1. Livestock. 2. Derogatory term for humans.
  • Ilcok Mazel (chiroptim, slang): Literally “human luck”. A combination of Yashef, the Ya’os ethnic language, and Yiddish. 1. Dumb luck. 2. An unearned advantage.
  • Immigrant (general, term): A human whose family was evacuated in the distant past by the Covenant, almost always from Earth. They are typically grateful to the Covenant for this tend to work well with other sapient species. However, they are a little naïve about how much the Covenant is hated in the rest of the Orion Arm.
  • Integrationist (general, term): Acoes who want to integrate with other species and who love technology.
  • Invader (slang, thk’kok): Derogatory term for human. Used only on the thk’kok homeworld of Slice o’Heaven or by recent thk’kok emigrants from that planet.
  • Iron (chiroptim, slang): Small arm, especially a pistol. Also machine.
  • Ironwing (spacer, slang): Flying nonstop in a personal aetherwing rig from a planet to a portal or vice versa. Trips like these usually take a full day or more. Also ironback.

See Also:

Note: Some of these terms are original, but the rest are gathered from numerous sources. This is only a partial list of these sources.

Published by radiofreecovenant

A podcast about the science-fiction roleplaying game "Covenant" and the urban fantasy novel "Crossing the Line", soon to be published by Black Opal Books.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: