A Few Notes on Zurvár

Put here so I can find them easily…

Traditional Zurvár belief systems don’t have the concept of an all powerful deity. The closest equivalents would be either pak vâmâkan (‘the creator’ – the ancestor being said to have created the Zurvár race) or pak rèzaq (‘the wave’ – the spiritual plane to which certain components of the Zurvár soul are said to return to await reincarnation).

When discussing deities from non-Zurvár cultures the term báèsûad – ‘being of great power’ – is generally used. The term has no implication as to whether said powers are used for good or ill however, and would be used equally to describe (for instance) the Christian God and the Christian Devil.

When referring to a specific deity, a Zurvár rendering of the deity’s name is usually improvised. Examples from Earth’s religions include,

  • Báèsûad Kot, Báèsûad Cesùs, Báèsûad Gris, Báèsûad Cùhová – The Christian God
  • Báèsûad Alá, Báèsûad Alûá, Báèsûad Máhumd – Allah
  • Báèsûad Ašem, Báèsûad Yáwe, Báèsûad Abráem – The Judaic God
  • Báèsûad Pùdá, Báèsûad Pùd – Buddha
  • Báèsûad Odin, Báèsûad Tâ, Báèsûad Loqè – Norse Gods/MCU Characters

The Zurvár creation myth is based around five elements, and these permeate most factors of their culture, including their traditional calendar. In order they’re lòtò (boats), minak (stars), katálá (fish), rindû (birds) and táká (knots).

The traditional calendar (as opposed to the revised calendar used on Zurvár Arèáná) uses a week (mán) of five days named after these elements (dásûln lòtò, dásûln minak, etc). A month (kadatán) consists of five weeks (25 days), each of which is also named after the five elements, and five months (125 days) – again named after the five elements – makes up a full year (rin).

A date is traditionally written with the full title of the day, week and month, followed by whatever system of year identification the House in question uses. The fourth day of the third week of the fifth month for instance would be dásûln rindû dámán katálá dákadatán táká. Even before the adoption of the revised calendar however it was more common to simply use numbers – for instance sûln tò-rû-zadat “day four three five”.

The combination of the day and month element of a person’s birth is said to predict their character, similarly to that of horoscopes here on Earth.

The calendar used on Zurvár Arèáná has a split derived from the Gregorian BCE/CE system, but in a slightly complicated way.

The Zurvár calendar is based on the calendar used by the Metaphysicians’ Guild, which itself is based on the Gregorian calendar. The epoch however is fixed to the start of the Gregorian century in which Zurvár Arèáná was settled – the 20th – so the zero year of the Zurvár calendar is 1900 CE.

As such the current year on Zurvár Arèáná is ST0123, which breaks down as…

  • ST – Indicates that the Zurvár Arèáná epoch is being used
  • 01 – It’s the second century of said epoch
  • 23 – It’s the 23rd year of that century

Years prior to 1900 CE are indicated with a negative century indicator. 1788 CE for instance would be -ST0288.

The century indicator is written with a minimum of two characters, but can be expanded as necessary for dates in the distant past and distant future.

The Zurvár are humans originating from a nearby parallel Earth (although not even they can pin down their actual world of origin). They’re close enough to ‘standard’ humans to interbreed but have a number of evolutionary adaptations suited to their marine focused culture.

  • Most Zurvár have webbing between their toes and fingers. On the toes this extends almost to the tips, on fingers it rarely extends beyond the first knuckle.
  • Zurvár skin is more resistant to sunburn and is extremely resistant to UV induced cancers. It varies in tone between III and IV on the Fitzpatrick scale, but even the lightest shades almost never burn.
  • Zurvár kidneys process dissolved salts far more efficiently, to the extent that a Zurvár can drink nothing but sea water for around a week before suffering any ill effects (as such, human visitors to Zurvár Arèáná should keep in mind that municipal water supplies may require additional filtration before being safe to consume).
  • The Zurvár spleen is significantly larger than that of ‘standard’ humans, providing a larger reserve of oxygenated blood. This allows the average Zurvár to easily hold their breath for several minutes without discomfort, and remain submerged and active for anywhere up to 15 minutes. With practice Zurvár free divers routinely reach depths of 200 metres while remaining submerged for up to 40 minutes.
  • Around 30% of Zurvár have epicanthic folds. Debate continues over whether this is some kind of adaptation to marine environments or simply the result of genetic drift across the historically nomadic Zurvár population.

Emulating the Ocean Sound

The following bit of sub-par Giant Days fanfiction has been wedged in my brain for several years. I have had vague plans of drawing it, but I suspect it’s not really worth the effort, so I will instead present it here as a script (along with copious apologies to John Allison).

SCENE: Daisy’s room, Catterick Hall, first year. Daisy is studying while music plays from a portable CD player.

Enter Esther and Susan through door (dramatically of course)

Susan: Daisy Wooton, what is this noise?

Esther: Did Enya find a mellotron?

Daisy (picking up and displaying The Mollusk CD case): It’s not Enya, it’s Ween. Ed Gemmel lent it to me.

Esther (while Susan takes and examines CD case): You shouldn’t listen to people weeing Daisy, it’s not healthy for developing young minds!

Susan (looking through CD insert): It appears to concern a grown man talking to a young boy about his ‘mollusc’…

Esther (grabbing CD insert): Is that LEGAL?

Daisy: It’s marine biology! It’s perfectly respectable!

Susan (with barely suppressed glee): It occurs to me that a winkle is a type of mollusc…

Daisy (in horror): Is… Is Ed Gemmel an oceanography pervert!?

Esther (reading CD insert): I’d be concerned if someone’s ‘winkle’ “emulated the ocean sound”. It doesn’t sound biologically plausible.

Susan (finger on chin, in thought): Maybe if they were waiting in an extremely long bathroom queue…


Is this even legal?!

Vale Ducky

David McCallum – famous as Illya Kuryakin in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. but better known to my generation as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the NCIS franchise – has passed away at the age of 90.

NCIS has always been fundamentally silly, but still quite enjoyable in a unthinking ‘hunt down the bad guys and shoot them pew-pew-pew’ sort of way, and Ducky’s appearances were one of the most enjoyable aspects. I don’t think he’s been in it much of late (I haven’t been going out of my way to watch since the classic cast were replaced), but he will still be much missed.

(I think McGee’s still there, but he has a beard, and McGee with a beard isn’t real McGee)

As it happens, one my earliest encounters with the works of H. P. Lovecraft was a set of books on tape of The Dunwich Horror and The Rats in the Walls that I borrowed from the local library. Years later I actually managed to buy them when the library decided they were past use. Examining them a few years back I was astonished to discover they were read by Mr McCallum. His reading of the description of Dunwich will always be the definitive version for me.

I’ve managed to find a copy of it on YouTube, although it’s a little faster and higher pitched that the version that I first heard creeping out of my tape player a good 30 years ago. But I’ll include it nonethless.

I’ve also found a copy of The Rats in the Walls, but be aware that the name of the cat (unfortunately common at the time of the work’s writing but appallingly racist) is not edited.

Vale Mr McCallum, and thanks for all the fun!

Booragoon Boys

The following message was submitted through the contact form of an accountancy firm that happens to be one of our clients…

Sick cunt sick cunt looking for a figggght. Two options, suckit lickit. Booragoon boys already back in towwwwn. ECEM

I can’t decide if this is utterly appalling or the funniest thing I’ve seen all week.

Pigeon Girl

Fly, fly, pigeon girl, my beautiful pigeon girl,
When I see you flying,
I think about the birds in the sky,
But you’re better than them ’cause you’re pigeon,
And pigeon has much nicer eye,

You’re Maltese,
Just like me,
And like Nathan Buck-a-ley,
And you’re also like that other Maltese person,
Darren Gauci,
He might win the Caulfield Cup,
But I don’t mind,
All in all for me,
You are my pigeon girl,

Fly, fly, pigeon girl,
Fly for me?


This – I hesitate to call it a ‘song’ – was submitted as a theme for the Pigeon Racing segment on Triple J’s breakfast show in the early 2000s, despite the fact that the Triple J breakfast show did not have (and never has had) a pigeon racing segment. It has lived rent free in my head ever since.

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