The Heart of a Defiled Land
The sorcerer-kings make sure that hardly anyone knows the true age of Athas. Regardless, most Athasians are too concerned with day-to-day living and survival to wonder about what happened in the past. People suppose that things are more or less as they have always been.
Years on Athas are named, not numbered, and recorded by the Calendar of Kings. By this calendar, the current year is the Year of Priest’s Defiance, in the 190th King’s Age. Last year was the Year of Desert’s Slumber, and next year will be the Year of Wind’s Reverence. Every 11 years an eclipse occurs, and every 45 years the Messenger’s comet that turns night to day blazes through the sky. Most Athasians find this complicated calendar less than useful; they rely on the templars to tell them about important events related to the passage of years.
Months and seasons are commonly counted in a simple calendar known as the Merchant’s Year, which is based on the subtle motions of the sun and the weather that comes to the Tyr Region. This 375-day year has three seasons, each with four 30-day months and one five-day festival week in the middle.
Festival of the Highest Sun (start of the year)
Festival of the Cooling Sun
(Lowsun, the midpoint of the year)
Festival of the Soaring Sun
During the three festival weeks, celebrations and gatherings differ from locale to locale and range from pleasant fairs to grim sacrifices. Merchants use festival weeks to take stock, unload unwanted or overstocked products, and prepare for the next third of the year. A festival is a time of good deals in the emporiums.