Wolves on Watch
The Clans speak Star League Standard English, disdaining and avoiding the use of contractions and similar practices in speech. As part of the SLDF’s legacy, the language is seen as very nearly sacred, though some Clansmen are capable of reading and speaking other languages, typically Russian.
Words and phrases from their dialect include:
A warrior captured but then accepted into his new Clan as a warrior.
Batchall is a shortened form of “Battle Challenge”. The Batchall is the ritual by which Clan warriors issue combat challenges. Though the type of challenge varies, most begin with the challenger identifying himself, stating the prize of the contest, and requesting that the defender identify the forces at his disposal. The defender also has the right to name the location of the Trial. The two sides then bid for what forces will participate in the contest. The sub-commander who bids to fight with the least number of forces wins the right and responsibility to make the attack. The defender may increase the stakes by demanding a prize of equal or lesser value if he wins. All batchalls and bids are closed and final when the phrase “bargained well and done” is spoken by both members of the bid.
The history of the Bloodnamed warriors of a particular Bloodright is called the Bloodheritage.
The Bloodcount is the number of active Bloodrights associated with a particular Bloodname, and thus is the number of individuals that may hold that name at any given time. Traditionally, this number is twenty-five, but it may be less in the case of inferior Bloodnames or Bloodheritages found useless or unworthy. In some cases, the Bloodcount has been known to drop as low as five. The process for reducing a Bloodcount is known as ‘Reaving’, and the process for increasing it is called ‘Propagation’, both of which demand an associated trial. A Bloodcount may also be reduced by Abjuration, or by decree of the ilKhan.
Bloodname refers to the surname of each of the 800 warriors who stood with Nicholas Kerensky during the Exodus Civil War. The right to use one of these surnames has been the ambition of every Clan warrior since the system was established. Only a maximum of 25 warriors, depending on its Bloodcount, are allowed to use any Bloodname at one time. When one of the Bloodnamed warriors dies, a special Trial, called a Trial of Bloodright, is held to determine who will assume that Bloodname. A contender must prove his Bloodname lineage, then win a series of duels against other competitors. Only Bloodnamed warriors may sit on the Clan Councils or are eligible to become a Khan or ilKhan. Bloodnames are determined matrilineally, at least after the original generation. Because a warrior can only inherit from his or her female parent, he or she only has a claim to one Bloodname.
A specific Bloodname lineage is called a Bloodright. Up to twenty-five Bloodrights are attached to each Bloodname. A Bloodright is not a lineage as we define the term because the warriors who successfully hold the Bloodright need be related only through their original ancestor. As with Bloodnames, certain Bloodrights are considered more prestigious than others, depending largely on the Bloodright’s history.
A woven cord worn on the wrist to indicate the wearer’s status as a bondsman. The color and highlighting indicate the Clan to which the wearer is bound and the capturing unit.
The person that takes a Bondsman and is the primary determiner of when a Bondsman has fulfilled his Bond obligation.
A prisoner taken during combat, of any caste or rank. Considered a member of the Laborer caste until freed or promoted back to active service. Custom indicates that any prisoner remain a bondsman for at least a token amount of time, even high-ranking and Bloodnamed warriors. Some Clans do not free bondsmen to certain castes, especially the Warrior caste.
Ritual suicide to prevent becoming a Bondsman. The person performing Bondsref must have the permission of their Bondholder and perform said act before taking a Bondcord, otherwise the performer is considered Dezgra and their genes won’t be used in the Clan breeding program.
Someone or something that is either outside acceptable Clan culture or that challenges it.
“Circle of Equals”
The area in which Trials take place. The area can be anywhere from a few meters across for personal combat, or thousands of kilometers across, or even span several worlds for large scale Trials. A contestant that voluntarily leaves or is forced to leave the area is considered dishonorable or weak, and is disqualified. The area can be of any shape, though it is traditionally a circle.
The Codex is each warrior’s personal record. It includes the names of the original Bloodnamed warriors from which a warrior is descended. It also records background information such as a warrior’s generation number, Blood House, and Codex ID, an alphanumeric code noting the unique aspects of that person’s DNA. The Codex also contains a record of the warrior’s military career.
A Contract is an agreement between the commanders of two units that allows the commander of one to include the units of the other in his bidding for rights to a battle or trial. During the invasion of the Inner Sphere, Cluster commanders within Galaxies frequently made contracts to allow greater, and often more extravagant, bidding, while still maintaining a good mix of BattleMech, Elemental, and fighter combat units.
The lowest acceptable level of force that can be bid to take a military objective. To force a rivial to bid below Cutdown is considered to be either a mark of craftiness or just plain underhanded, depending who is asked. To win a battle with a force that is below the accepted Cutdown is considered to be a mark of superior skill.
Adjective referring to the disgraced state of the subject, such as a unit that disgraced itself in battle, or a person or unit without honor. Units or persons marked as dezgra are not considered worthy of zellbrigen, so normal clan rules of combat can be suspended when facing such opponents. Also the noun referring to a ritual by which a unit is marked as Dezgra and punished.
The leader of a Cloister.
The name the Clans use when referring to Nicholas Kerensky.
Pejorative version of “Freeborn”. Considered an insult and curse.
A person born naturally, a person not born into the Clan genetics program.
The primary warriors of a clan, the offensive Touman that participated in Trials against rival clans.
Victorious Clan warriors sometimes extend the courtesy of Hegira to defeated opponents. Hegira allows the opponent to withdraw honorably from the field without further combat or cost.
A DNA sample taken posthumously from a warrior who died honorably in battle. Considered by custom superior to previous samples taken, and more likely to produce superior warriors.
“Great Father, The”
The name the Clans use for Alexander Kerensky.
The spoils of battle taken by warriors. Includes Bondsmen as well as any military supplies, lands, or equipment taken.
The unit which provides a Khan’s bodyguard.
Specific to Clan Fire Mandrill. Denotes a specific set of Bloodnames that have banded together for mutual protection. There are a number of these, each of which is in competition for resources, power, influence, and prestige with the others. This competition, in effect, creates a model of the Clans in miniature.
“Martial Code, The”
The Martial Code is a set of rules governing Clan actions during a time of war. It is designed to minimize the political maneuvering that normally prevails duing Grand Council meeting, and forces the participants to concentrate on the matter at hand. When in effect, this also gives the ilKhan a wide range of powers, such as the right to dismiss any charges brought before the Grand Council he or she deems frivolous.
A term of respect for a person of higher rank. It also name for a commanding officer rank in Clan Sea Fox in the 32nd Century whom is in charge of Aimag size fleet.
A shortened term for powerless, denoting the vulnerability that a warrior feels when forced to fight without his accustomed weapons. For example a heavy ‘Mech pilot using a light ’Mech or an aerospace pilot fighting an elemental in melee combat. In other words, the feeling of taking a test you haven’t studied for.
Shortened form of “Query Affirmative.” Used to query the subject’s agreement, but specifically with an expected affirmative answer (“Aff”). Often used rhetorically.
Shortened form of “Query Negative.” Used to query the subject’s agreement, but specifically with an expected negative answer (“Neg”). Often used rhetorically.
Shortened form of “Rising Star.” This term refers to a particularly gifted warrior on his or her way to high position.
A promise or oath that reflects on the swearer’s honor is considered a Rede. Breaking a rede is considered extremely serious, and is sometimes punishable by death.
The Remembrance is an ongoing heroic saga detailing Clan history from the time of the Exodus from the Inner Sphere to the present day. The Remembrance is continually expanded to include contemporary events. Each Clan has a slightly different version reflecting their own opinions and experiences. All Clan warriors can quote whole verses of this marvelous epic from memory, and it is common to see passages from the book lovingly painted on a warrior’s vehicle or armour.
A Clan council may cast a veto, or satarra, to settle or postpone disputes between castes within their jurisdiction. Satarra is invoked only when negotiations seem at an impasse and/or threaten to disrupt the work order of the Clan. It seems to be more a ritual than an act of legislation.
A Clan epithet.
The secondary warriors of a clan, the defensive Touman that performs garrison and policing duties, and rarely participated in Trials against rival clans. If involved in Trials, this will invariably be as the defender due to the clan’s Frontline forces being outmanoeuvred.
Depending upon the clan the Secondline units may one and the same as Solahma or an honoured (albeit less so) force below the Frontline forces but distinctly above the Solahma units. The former is more conservative and orthodox, the latter more progressive and an adaptation to changed conditions since the founding of the clans. At this time Clan Wolf makes the greatest use of Secondline forces, maintaining extensive garrisons for defence of the Clan Wolf Occupation Zone verses rival clans and Inner Sphere forces.
A word uttered only in the most sacred and respective of manners. The origin is Hebrew, but it works like “Amen”. It is found in Psalms as Selah. It is a way of saying ‘so shall it be’.
A group or “batch” of Trueborn people born from the same genetic makeup; also the smallest element used for early training above a single person. Usually separated only by death until testing decides final placement in Clan society. Bastardized form of “SIBling COmpany”.
An old or disgraced Clan-warrior that has not gained the rank or reputation to stay in a frontline or secondline (garrison) unit. They are dispatched from their old units and concentrated in Solahma-units, where they get combat tasks deemed unworthy for frontline or secondline warriors. Battlemechs and Battle Armour are rare in Solahma-units and most end up as infantry, hoping they will find a way to die in honour. This is the fate of fallen clan warriors who can not or will not enter another of the Clan Castes.
Clan Wolf maintain second line garrison units especially in the Clan Wolf Occupation Zone and encourage fallen warriors into other Clan Castes, to the point that joining a Solahma unit is considered an elaborate and inefficient form of ritual suicide.
A Clan epithet.
An epithet referring to a cute, monkey-like mammal native to the Clan Homeworlds that the lower Castes keep as pets.
Surkai is the Right of Forgiveness. The Clans honor uniformity in thought and belief above all else in their society. When warriors disagree, when a Clan disagrees with the Grand Council, or when a member of one caste offends a member of another caste, surkai is expected. It is a matter of pride that the offending party freely admit his wrongdoing and request punishment. Those who show great surkai are held up as examples to others for their willingness to accept the consequences of their independent thoughts. Those who do not show surkai when it is expected of them are viewed with suspicion.
The Rede of Forgiveness, or surkairede is the honour-bound agreement between the majority and any dissenters. According to the surkairede, once a dissenter accepts punishment for having disagreed with the majority, he should be allowed to resume his role in society without suffering any further disgrace for having spoken out.
The term used for the fighting arm of a Clan.
A member of the same sibko or a respectful name.
A lab-raised result of the Clan selective breeding program, coming from gene pools modified to accentuate positive attributes and eliminate negative ones.
The body of rules defining dueling behavior and honor in combat.