Tag: Martian Phrases

Dry and Awash

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This refers to the practice of exiling undesirables. In some tribes it was traditional to take the unsuspecting person, who was soon to be exiled, out on a patrol and stake them to a dune in the desert, leaving them without water and awash in sand—hence the term ‘dry and awash’.


Companion Wife

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Companion Wife is a term used to denote when a woman is married to the same man. The Muvari are a polygamist society due to the fact that females outnumber males at birth sixteen to one. For this reason, men are highly prized and not allowed onto the field of battle unless as a resort of great extremity. Because women execute the duties of war, their numbers dwindle so that the ratio of adult women to adult men usually settles at around a dozen to one—fully a quarter of women being lost in defense of Ledgrim. This ratio sometimes dips higher or lower, and the Technopriests keep a population tally, which they cross-reference with such factors as galbran and exile incursions, pesthule raids, and such natural causes as disease and accident.


Cutting off Your Thumb to Pay the Enemy

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Above: Depicts a thumb protection device which is used by some Martian tribes.

“Paying the enemy” is a term that is used by the Muvari and some others of the Martian tribes, which means to return some of the misery that the enemy has already inflicted. These crossbows are known for their power and require levers to pull back the cable in order to fire. Levers sometimes break and a taut cable will snap forward unexpectedly, or sometimes a crossbow will be fired when an extremity is not clear of the cable, and a finger will be lost. The phrase “Cutting of your thumbs to pay the enemy” developed, which loosely has a similar meaning to the Earthling idioms “Robbing Peter to pay Paul,”, denoting an action which has little meaning because of the cost associated with it.


Gutter Muvari

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Gutter Muvari are those members of the tribe without other useful skills or abilities who are given the task of keeping the streets clean and the gutters and water channels free of debris and pollutants. Though an important and even vital service, this task is considered menial by many Muvari and ‘gutter muvari’ is used as a derogatory term to indicate someone of low station or of little use.

Speaking with Both Hands

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This saying originates from an incident where a Kranuvi ambassador met with an ambassador of the Tredwari tribe to negotiate a treaty. With one hand the Tredwari ambassador offered up gifts to the Kranuvi and with the other hand he drew his dagger and plunged it into the heart of the Kranuvi ambassador. So when someone is believed to be speaking deceitfully, they are said to be “speaking with both hands.”

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.