TFD Glossary

Defiance: A rebellion against Prevailer’s Regime, or a time period where such is occurring.  There have been four recognized Defiances.  The first was the ad hoc resistance of the human military following the American government’s collapse and capitulation.  The second was an Ultra led attempt to roll back the revolution.  The third was an atack on the Regime by one particularly mighty Ultra.  The fourth was a notably unsuccessful large scale assault on the Regime by Pantheon forces operating out of Mexico.

Tally: An Ultra’s Tally is the number of other Ultras that she or he has killed.  There is a strong implication in the phrase that these deaths were ‘fair’, or at least accomplished in battle.

The Union:  The Union is the last remnant of the old world, a pluralistic democracy centered in old Europe.  Humans and Ultras live in strained harmony in the Union, and the technology and organization of the old world still prevails there.  They fight a two front war against the Pantheon and the Regime.

Decimation:  A Regime punishment, consisting of the execution of ten humans from each of the Regime’s cities and towns.  Generally leveled when an assassination attempt occurs on Prevailer.

The Pantheon:  A loose alliance of feuding Ultra led states, occupying those parts of the world which are neither Union nor Regime.  The Pantheon controls approximately 4/5 of the human race.  Its Leadership Council, led by the Ultra known as Zeus, is located in Australia.

The Company: the organization which forms the logistical backbone of the Regime.  The Company mans facilities throughout the known world, allowing any human to roll the dice and attempt to become an Ultra.

Ultras:  A human who has survived the Process is often called an Ultra.  These Ultras remain ordinary in most respects, but possess gifts which transcend the laws of physics.

She/Her:  A regime figure of speech, the feminine pronoun is capitalized in writing, and pronounced in a singular manner when speaking, when it refers to Prevailer.

The Posture:  Someone kneeling with their wrists crossed behind their head is said to be in/assuming the Posture.  Prevailer has given out a general guideline that this is the appropriate way for humans to show respect and pledge allegiance to Ultras.

Company Men:  The staffers at Company Facilities are created by Copyer, and are all identical versions of one man.  These Company Men are unfailing subservient to Regime Ultras, and are generally polite and obedient to humans as well.  They administer the protein paste which keeps the populace from starving, and perform the Process when called upon to do so.

The Process:  A human who undergoes The Process will either die or become an Ultra.  Most will die.  The Process is described as metaphorically reeling in a person’s soul, such that it gets closer to the material world, and can impact it in ways other than simply creating cognition in brains.  Physically, the Process appears to entail drugs and electric shocks.  The details are a carefully guarded secret of the Company.

Knights/Knights of Purity:  A racist hate group in the old world, the Knights were transformed into Prevailer’s underlings when their leader, Refiner, fell under her control.  The irony of a white supremacist movement serving a black woman is lost on them.  Members wear red robes and skull masks, and bear scythes.  All of their regalia is blessed by Refiner’s gift.

Dagger: A racial slur used to describe unpowered humans.  Mostly used by Ultras, for obvious reasons.

Sigil: In the Regime humans are not permitted head ware of any kind.  Ultras each have one distinctive hat or head covering, referred to as their sigil.  This is Prevailer’s solution to the problem of humans and Ultras generally looking similar.

Regime:  The governing body of the former eastern United States.  Also used to refer to the Ultras that take Prevailer’s orders.  A dictatorship controlled by Prevailer.

Fists:  Groups of five Ultras, loyal to the Regime.  They are linked by another Ultra’s gift, which resurrects any dead members of the group so long as one of them is alive.  These fists are the Regime’s most dreaded warriors.

Kill Every Monster/KEM:  A human movement to wipe out all Ultras.  This underground organization holds that Ultras are inherently evil, and wants to destroy every one of them.  The extent of this organization’s membership is vague and ever shifting, with a lot more sympathizers than active members at any one time.

6 thoughts on “TFD Glossary

  1. ” In the Regime humans are not permitted headware of any kind. ”
    Headware => headwear.

  2. (First time reader, so if these questions are answered later in the text please ignore)

    I really liked this glossary! I’m particularly curious about the etymology of “dagger” — will that be discussed at some point?

    Also very intrigued by Sigils — there seems to be more to them than just the hat. IIRC Haunter’s sigil “walked back to her” when she lost it in Lanta at some point.

    Oh and that reminds me, are we going to learn why the Regime drops the first syllable of old city names?

    1. None of these seem super spoiler-y.

      A lot of folks think dagger became the go-to racial slur because it kind of sounds like another one they used to use, but the official reason is that if Ultras are swords, humans are just daggers.

      Sigils are, in fact, just hats. If one of them walked somewhere it was my writing being unclear. Only Ultras are allowed to wear hats in the Regime, which lets people know at a glance who is who.

      The dropped first syllable was initially supposed to be a reference to the Toppling of the old world’s cities. Atlanta was a thriving metropolis, Lanta a desolate ruin, etc. It spread from there though, and now generally denotes an old world city, whether it was Toppled or not.

      1. Kind of a random update, but: I was just reading about the name change from Constantinople to Istanbul, and it turns out that Turkey has occasionally added to the front of some city names: Antep -> Gaziantep (“War hero Antep”), Maraş ->Kahramanmaraş (“Heroic Maraş”), Urfa ->Şanlıurfa (“Urfa the Glorious”). The historical comparison (without casting judgement in any way on the Turks!) makes the in-story change of city names feel a little more plausible to me.

  3. Again thank you for the response! I hope this doesn’t sound lame but I just really like these answers — the amount of thought you’ve put into the world building is really incredible.

    Re: Sigils. The specific sentence is from Haunter 1:5 — “I put my sigil back on. It had fallen off somewhere during the night, and walked to the door.” Now that you’ve explained it the metaphor is pretty obvious, and it’s a very minor detail, so I don’t think you need to change it.

    On the first syllable dropping — I like how it’s kind of a ideology thing. A few chapters back (don’t remember exactly where, sorry) there was some discussion of the fight between the Regime and the Pantheon in (former) Texas and different chapters used different names for a given city (I think it was “Dallas” vs “Las” but I’m not sure) and just from that you could tell which side/viewpoint the (in-story) author was writing from. Also, I’ve notice that Haunter occasionally uses the old names of cities (e.g. she uses “Atlanta” once in Haunter 1:5) and that totally fits with her characterization as one of the few who remembers and hangs onto the old world.

    1. Man, I love these questions! You keep asking, and I’ll keep answering.

      The intent was something like “I put my sigil back on, *explanatory aside* it had fallen off somewhere during the night *end explanatory aside* and then I walked to the door.

      Not as clear as it might be…hmm…

      Syllables: Yeah, you have it exactly. There are more ideological divides than are immediately obvious in this setting, and that’s one of them.

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