A collection of terms from the "Betty Sterling" books...

  • Length/Distance
    The smallest measurement of distance (or dimension) is the width, which is equal to the width of a normal person's thumb (about one inch). Next is the span, equal to the span of a normal person's hand (about 4-1/2 widths or inches). Next is the four, equal to the distance from a person's outstretched fingers to the elbow (about 4 spans or 18 inches). (The term four is derived from "forearm," though some mistakenly think it refers to "four" spans.) Finally, the length is the distance from a person's outstretched fingers to the shoulder, which is about 7 spans or 30 inches.* The most commonly used longer distance is the furlong, which is 440 lengths (about 660 feet). Occasionally, people will refer to "walks," being the distance a normal person can walk in one-half a day (about 8 Earth miles).

    *Significantly smaller (such as elves) or bigger (such as ogres) races dispute the standard measurements and there can be confusion in conversations between members of different races. Standardized measurements have not been introduced, but most public works are constructed on ogre-scale.

  • Mark: Standard unit of currency. Marks are small metal discs (coins) issued by the authorities. Corporate agencies mint the coins and imbue them with a special spell that authenticates them and can be detected by anyone holding the marks. They are thus officially "marked" as being authentic currency, from which they derive their name. Marks come in different denominations and are referred to by their number, such as a 1-mark piece, or a 10-mark piece, etc.

  • Scrying: Literally "to use divination to discover hidden knowledge or future events." Scrying is a generic term referring to using mental powers to see hidden things, or to see far away things, or to see into the future (prophecy). Doctors are trained to use scrying to see internal injuries, etc. Some techs can see into the future, though that is a very imperfect art. Most techs with telepathic powers are able to "far see," i.e. see objects that are very distant.

  • Tech/Technology/Technician
    In the world of Berrea, magic is so common, the physical sciences have not advanced much at all. Rather, magic is used commonly in everyday life and is referred to as technology. People who can cast spells naturally are called technicians. Both magic itself and magicians are also called "tech" or "techs."

  • Time
    Berreans use time measurements similar to Earth, except they do not have the concept of the "week" and there are 13 months in a year. The Berrean day is 24 hours. There are no named days nor named months, they simply refer to the 13th day of the 1st month, for example. The first month of spring is always month #1.

  • Weight
    Berreans use a very specific method of measuring weight based on the weight of refined gold. The base unit is the "grain" (about one ounce). A "disc" is a small, flattened piece of gold weighing ten grains. Ten discs are shaped into a "bar" (about 6-1/4 pounds). Ten bars create a "brick." Five bricks equals a half-block and ten bricks equals a block. Some people still use the term "ogre" to refer to a block weight (a little over 600 pounds).*

    *There are, as you can imagine, hard feelings in the ogre community over the use of this antiquated term for large weights.