Caladrex or Caladrexian steel was used to forge weapons of superior edge and durability by the blacksmiths of that ancient and now lost city. An entrance to that now buried city was discovered by Garvey Dire and Ntashia Dire through a cavern in the cliffside of the Rift, and there is another known entrance through the Valley of Diamonds.
This lost city beneath the Martian planetary crust was at the time partially controlled by a malicious computer entity known as Sved who could also appear in apparitional or semi-substantial form. Another portion of Caladrex is controlled by Thenylis, High Priestess of the Omnipotent Vackri, who rules over the remnants of the once great people.
Caladrex steel may or may not have been actual steel at all, but in reality an alloy unknown to exile, Galbran, or Muvari, and even to the mad wizard Sar Savaht.
‘Spits nor tacks’ is a phrase derived from a Muvari game in which darts are thrown at increasingly small targets. When a player gets behind in points he can attempt to steal another player’s points by striking or ‘tacking’ the other player’s dart through the feathers. Sometimes players will lick or ‘spit’ on their fingers with the idea that perhaps this will improve their grip upon the dart and allow them to throw more accurately. Because this strategy of ‘tacking’ another player’s dart is extremely difficult, and a bit of saliva on the fingertips rarely helps the throw to succeed, the phrase “spits nor tacks” evolved to indicate a pointless or meaningless thing, gesture or action.
Martian telepathy is possible only between male and female. Even so, it is prevalent only among certain tribes–the Muvari being one of them. Garvey’s ability to communicate telepathically suggests a latent ability in some born of Earth.
Among the Muvari, telepathic communication is generally reserved for use between spouses, as it usually is activated only by touch with one’s partner. There are some notable exceptions to this though, as animal shamans are known to communicate and command their animals telepathically.
Lana Dire broke the intimacy taboos of the Muvari Tribe and used telepathy to communicate with Garvey, a man who, at the time, wasn’t lawfully her husband. When Garvey released her from the stasis loop in which the Warlord Shaxia had trapped her, she found that she and her savior spoke different languages and so touched him to bridge the communication gap. This enabled them to speak and flee the torrack eunuchs who were attempting to slay them.
Her second communication was inadvertent after Garvey Dire had been poisoned in his death duel with Bray Kraz. The communication, Lana knew, had been meant for her sister Ntashia, but she had picked up on it as well.
Since she was, by virtue of Clivok’s death, technically affianced to Garvey, pending the ceremony, this was no longer taboo. The first time she had communicated with Garvey she had touched him, but the second time she had merely been within close proximity.
During their marriage, this ability to communicate without touch increased, but never to the same extent as Garvey and Ntashia, who could pass thoughts at a much greater distance.
The ceremonial taking off the earring generally indicates a breaking of the marriage–something rarely allowed according to Muvari Law–or the decession of a spouse, so it is a sad and solemn occasion.
In the case of a husband’s death, Muvari Law requires for the brother-in-law of the senior wife’s oldest sister to take over a family’s assets. This includes marrying the wives of the deceased man and taking over responsibility for providing for any children.
However, if both the brother-in-law and the wife of the deceased husband agree, they can solicit for a marriage of circumstance. In order to do this, the prospective wife must find an eligible male that will agree to marry her. In the case she cannot find an alternative husband, she must marry the brother-in-law. This custom is enforced because it ensures children will always be provided a family unit to watch over them.
Heel- This term is heard in conjunction with a number of phrases: “I need a crossbow with a little more heel” and “Put your heel into it”, for example. It has come to indicate a measurement of strength or exerted effort.) The latter phrase indicates a need for a crossbow with a stronger/more difficult pull and the former is similar to the Earth expression, “Put your back into it”.
The phrase originates from the loading process of a crossbow. The more powerful types of Martian crossbows can’t usually be cocked by hand, and come with foot stirrups so that the shooter can use his whole body to pull back the cable. The term ‘heel’ is derived from the fact that a shooter must place his foot or heel into the stirrup in order to stretch back the prods of the crossbow and nock the bolt.
The geltar is a cold-blooded, scaled creature which is sometimes domesticated for use as a beast of burden. They are thick-skinned, slow-witted, but incredibly strong and sometimes incredibly stubborn. The geltar whip is braided with diamond chips that can lacerate even the thick hide of the geltar, and is a most effective tool in making the geltar more submissive. They are slow to anger, but there are more a few tales of a “geltar pushed too far” which has turned on its master and made a meal of her.
The geltar are used among the steltic ice mines of the Rathuri Tribe and also as beasts of burden among the agricultural tribe of the Fejuvisi. Geltars are not commonly used among the Muvari Tribe.
Certain species of these insects are omnivorous and will eat carrion or flesh. In fact, some healing shamans use them to treat infections, by setting the rottelivers in the wound and letting them eat the infected and necrotic flesh.
However, this treatment is best performed only by skilled shamans as there are some species of rotteliver that have a taste for living flesh just as well as dead flesh and are not so selective about what they eat. There are reports of entire scouting parties that have been devoured by rottelivers after they had the misfortune of stumbling into a colony.