Book of All Time

This material is intended for those who have purchased the Audible version of Book of All Time and may contain spoilers.



Melfar conceptu­alize time in terms of cycles. They utilize a lunar calendar over­laid on a solar one, measuring time in tides, returns, and meeds. A tide is a full lunar cycle. The only consistently named tides are Darktide, Brightening Symmetide, Sun­tide, and Darkening Sym­metide (corre­sponding to lunar cycles encompassing winter solstice, vernal equinox, summer solstice, and autumnal equinox, respectively). Other tides receive descriptive labels, which can vary from one return to the next (e.g., Fogtide, Budtide, Fruittide). A return is a cycle of all the solar seasons, with a new return always beginning on the full moon closest to the start of Bright­ening Symmetide. 

There are twelve named returns corresponding to the twelve types of stone from which a Benison is crafted to mark the start of each return (see diagram). A full cycle of returns comprises a meed, and meeds are named in the same sequence as returns. The completion of a full cycle of meeds is called a Great Turning. Returns of the cur­rent cycle are called New,with previous cycles referred to as Old, Ancient, and Preterit, in that order. A par­ticular event is “dated” by one saying that it occurred in a “Fogtide of the Amber Return of the Old Jade Meed.”

Mundani, on the other hand, utilize a rigidly linear solar calendar. Their equivalent of a Melfar return (our year) is a passage. Pas­sages are sequentially numbered, beginning with the birth year of Razak Caloyer, a revered prophet. Each passage is divided into twelve stints, each with exactly thirty days, comprised of five sixes. These stints are not named, only numbered. To regularize their calendar, they observe a period of five (sometimes six) days at the conclusion of Twelfth Stint. These days are called the Binder. The new passage begins on the longest day (summer solstice), which they call Full Sun. 


The map on the following page represents the Mundani world. Melfar don’t use maps as such. The eastern “Waste­land” is what was once the Melfar Forest of Cödweg and the southern “Wasteland” is where the For­est of Cesta once stood. The Melfar Forest of Serani lay on the slopes of the western mountains. For the benefit of readers, the map shows the approximate locations of the following places that are important only to Melfar:

  1. Beniford
  2. Aldbeck
  3. Lindmor
  4. Woodclasp
  5. Gorshfen (on the lake called Glasllyn) 
  6. Selbourne
  7. Túl
  8. New Beniford



aurynx: The organ that sonically verberates biophotonic patterns. It is located in the throat near the larynx. 

Benison: A stone monument crafted by Melfar to com­memorate the end of one meed and the start of the next. Each Benison contains the imagery of a song. 

billbug: A biting insect similar to a mosquito.

Binder: A period of five or six days between passages that calibrates the Mundani calendar. It is considered “time out of time,” when rules are often broken. 

breth: A kinship term meaning “born of.” 

cabra: A goat-like mammal sometimes kept for milk. 

Calumet: A “peace-bringer” who serves as a respected social and cultural leader among the Melfar. 

cavouti: A species of large rodent raised for meat.

clauster: A sacred space surrounding a Mundani temple. 

ecphorite: A substance Melfar use in the crafting of Ben­isons that imprints imagery through sound. 

equid: A horse-like mammal kept as a draft animal. 

fellspan: The distance to the horizon on relatively flat ground. (Approximately 4.2 miles.) 

fireblock: A fabricated fuel made from waste material soaked in groundfat. 

fireseed: A spark of energy; an electrical pulse. 

gnosic orb: The sensory organ that pertanges biopho­tonic pat­terns. It is located in the center of the brow just above the eyes. 

kinren: Any employee, servant, client, appren­tice, or woman attached to a particular Sidayen. 

lamin: An alpaca-like animal kept as a beast of burden and draft animal. 

Meed: A cycle of all the seasons (see Appendix I). 

Melfar: A “race” of people who traditionally inhabited the forests and who preferentially communicate in images and sounds without words. They are short in stature, stoutly built, with curly blonde or red hair, tawny skin, and eyes generally yellow or green.

Migrant: The ineffable presence that, according to Mel­far belief, motivates and em­powers everything. 

Mundani: A “race” of people living primarily in towns and farms with written codes and formal religion. They are tall and slender, with generally wavy dark hair and dark skin and eyes.

Palinjian: A devotee of Zibal Palinj. 

patkány: A very large species of predatory rodent. 

passage: Mundani term for a year (see Appendix I). 

pertange: To sense in a tangible way the biophotonic and sonic verberations of people and natural things. 

return: Melfar term for a year (see Appendix I). 

Revelant: An individual who has died and come back to life in the same body. 

Sidaya: A code of moral conduct among the Mundani, revealed by their Prophet Razak Pherson. There were six rules: 1) Honor the Creator and the Order His creation ordains. 2) Keep his temples pure. 3) Respect the House of your upbringing and its line­age of fathers. 4) Do not defile your body with impure foods. 5) Do not defile your spirit with impure associations. 6) Do not defile your heart with doubt.

Sidayen: One who adheres to the Sidaya; a high status exclusive to Mundani men. 

stint: Among Mundani, a passage is composed of twelve stints of thirty days each and a Binder. 

tide: Among Melfar, a tide is a full lunar cycle. 

verberate: To sonically generate patterned biophotons. 

vital nexus: The energetic network centered around an indi­vidual’s heart. 

waif: A stone associated with a Benison and sharing some of its properties. 

weftred: A clandestine network of women and other kinrens among the Mundani. 

zaki: A large predatory feline. 

Appendix 4