The Ascarna tree is prized for its hard dark wood that polishes to a sheen. However, the Ascarna tree is very dangerous, plucking up unwary travelers or flying creatures (such as birds or the pictured pesthule) with its jagged branches and draining the blood from them.
To harvest such trees stakes filled with poison are planted near the tree, but out of reach of the branches. Gradually, as the tree dies, stakes of poison are placed closer and closer until the tree is completely dead and can safely be cut and harvested.
Martian hounds have a particularly keen sense of smell because they have a trio of noses spread equidistant across their faces, allowing them to simultaneously catch aromas in three directions.
The watering holes of Ledgrim, where young people are sent to fetch water for their clans, are notorious places to meet, socialize, and flirt. Young women who have not yet reached graduation into full-fledged warrior status primp and will sometimes wear full armor to the springs and pools, so that they might impress the males they meet with their martial prowess and their ability to defend and protect their potential mates.
When someone is “early to the water” they have attempted to get a jump on the competition so that they might have more time with a potential suitor. This phrase has grown to include anyone who gets an early start, and is not dissimilar to the earthly phrase, “the early bird catches the worm.”
There are several types of bees that roam the surface of Mars, but the honey of the striped bee is particularly sought after because of its smooth flavor and particular sweetness. Hives can be found hidden amidst rocky crevices and declivities, and the bees can be smoked out long enough to remove the honey without being attacked by the swarm. Originally a simile evolved comparing the sweetness of this honey on the tongue to the pleasantness of someone’s beauty or a longed for sight, such as water to a thirsty man or a landmark to a lost traveler. Eventually, this phrase was shortened.
This term indicates a woman who is married to one’s father, but who is not your biological mother. In the case where a biological mother is slain in battle or in defense of Ledgrim, the companion mothers will take up the rearing of the bereaved children.
It is likely that the companion mother will already have been involved in the upbringing of these children since they are often called to fill in when companion wives are assigned to various watches and outposts which take them away from their family.