Tag: Martian Etymology

Never Trust a Hungry Hobranx


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The Muvari and other of the Martian Tribes have a number of proverbs, which are used to instruct children and remind themselves of basic truths. One such proverb is:

Trust a hungry hobranx and soon he will no longer be hungry.

This, of course, is a cautionary proverb about the perils of putting faith in those who are untrustworthy … or of turning your back on an insatiable beast.



Nailed Naked to a Board

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Some tribes, notably the Ekshant Tribe from which Lambrin was exiled, will administer punishment for violations of law by tying the criminal up to a board and whipping them. In some cases, where the sentence is death they will nail the criminal to the board.

This has given rise to the saying, “I’d rather be nailed naked to a board” when some task or event seems particularly odious.


Spits Nor Tacks

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‘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.


The Sinthral

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The sinthral are a race of monstrous half-human half-spider creatures who inhabit portions of the Rift and perhaps other remote places on Mars. The legendary lost tribe of Brecknar is said to worship the spiderous sinthral and make them human sacrifices.

To the Muvari Tribe, the idea that the life of a tribal member would be esteemed at so little value is revolting. So to the Muvari, to suggest someone be made a sacrifice to the sinthral is to suggest they are utterly worthless to their tribe–an insult of paramount gravity.

Quote from Ntashia: “You weren’t invited to take part in this conversation, and I’d suggest you back off before I slit your throat and throw your carcass into the Rift as an offering to the sinthral.”


Martian Phrases: Put Some Heel Into It

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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.



Safe and Sharp

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The ‘sharp’ in this Muvari-coined phrase refers to a state or readiness–the term originating in reference to the household weapons of a clan, which are whetted and ready for use in defense of the family.

Eventually, the phrase “safe and sharp” evolved to mean a general state of preparation and alertness. It is still used to mean to refer to battle readiness, but also other such mundane things as having a meal prepared or the tools ready and waiting to go out and harvest a mushroom crop.