Zeitgeist Teaser #3: Glossary of Foreign & Invented Terms

The Zeitgeist 1919 editing process marches ever on, and the manuscript should be ready for proofreaders' critical gazes later this month. With all signs "go" for a November release, it's time to brush up on some lingo. Sneak peek number three is a glossary of the most-used foreign and invented words in the novel and will appear as an appendix to the main text. No spoilers included, but this should give you a taste for what's coming next month...

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accumulator:  An apparatus used to tap vryl fields for the purpose of powering technomantic devices. Also referred to as a Tesla accumulator in homage to its inventor.


Armiya Mertvykh:  (Russian) Translates as “Army of the Dead.” A growing undead horde created by Russian necromancers to combat the German invasion. Initially composed of dead Russian soldiers, it has fed and expanded, adding the slain to its ranks and devouring the Russian Empire and the easternmost regions of the German Empire.


bokor:  (Haitian Creole) A sorcerer in the Haitian vodou tradition.


Die Fliegertruppen:  (German) Translates as “The Flying Corps.” The airborne wing of the German military. Initially machine-based, the expanding influence of the zaubersänger and their magics has resulted in the drachenwölfe largely displacing fighter aircraft in Die Fliegertruppen, though airships and larger bomber aircraft are still employed.


drachenwolf:  (German, plural: drachenwölfe) Translates as “dragon wolf.” A genetic chimera of pterosaur, bird, wolf, and dog that can fly by virtue of magical assistance. When mentally and emotionally bonded with human riders, drachenwölfe are the elite aerial strike force of the German Empire.


Edison lamp/lantern:  Any of a range of lighting that uses vryl as a power source to produce a glow. Such lights can range in size from handheld (flashlights/torches) to massive floodlights. One of the most famous and transformative technomantic devices to emerge from Edison’s Menlo Park.


elben:  (German) Variant version of the German for “elves” and used by the zaubersänger to denote a type of creature fashioned from humans using magic. They are tall, pale, silent, and expressionless. Gifted with great strength and speed but little grace, they are brutal and deadly. Observers often associate them with stones and winter. Though not mindless creatures, they do require direction, but follow orders with unflagging determination.


Gebieter:  (German) Honorific meaning “master” or “lord.”


Geissler tube:  A lighting device that employs gas discharge to produce a glow in a glass cylinder. It has been largely replaced by Edison lanterns for most practical applications. 


Götterdämmerung:  (German) Translates as “twilight of the gods” and is itself a translation of the Old Norse Ragnarök (“fate of the gods”), a war among gods and supernatural beings that ends in the world being burned, drowned, and renewed. More specifically, it is the title of the last of four parts that comprise Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.


hexenmeister:  (German, both singular and plural) Translates as “sorcerer,” “wizard,” or “warlock.” The term most commonly used outside the German Empire to refer to zaubersänger. Initially used in a pejorative sense within the Empire before zaubersänger rose to political and military prominence. Some zaubersänger consider the title an insult, but others relish its occult and dangerous implications.


houngan:  (Haitian Creole). A male vodou priest.


Imperialer Zaubersänger:  (German) Honorific that translates as “Imperial Spellsinger.” Denotes the individual zaubersänger acknowledged by the others to be the most powerful of their order and their chosen representative in dealings with the Kaiser.


Jasta:  (German) Abbreviated form of Jagdstaffel, which translates as “fighter squadron.” Originally referring to groups of flying machines in Die Fliegertruppen, the term was later applied to groups of drachenwölfe and their riders.


Kaiserliche Marine:  (German) The Imperial German Navy.


loa:  (Haitian Creole) Derived from the French “les lois” meaning “the laws.” A collection of spirits in the vodou tradition that act as intermediaries between the divine and mundane worlds. Specific loa mentioned in the text include: Baron Samedi, master of the dead; Agwé, ruler of the sea and patron of sailors; Simbi, serpent loa associated with water; Loko, patron of healers and plants; and Ogoun, the warrior.


oanga:  (Haitian Creole) A magical charm bag used by vodou practitioners.


technomancy:  A scientific approach to magic based on rules, standardized symbology, and the use of crafted devices. Though an ancient practice, the American hunger for all things modern has seen a flowering of magical technologies aimed at removing the mystery from spellcraft, making it more predictable and usable by all, not just those who study the thaumaturgic arts or have a natural gift for them.


Tesla weapon:  A technomantic device that uses vryl energy as fuel to create a destructive particle beam. Tesla weapons vary in size from pistols to cannons, and their output can be adjusted by trained users to produce a variety of effects. The normal firing of a Tesla weapon results in the creation of a temporary vacuum that produces a thunderclap when air rushes to fill it.


unterseeboot:  (German) A submarine. Translates as “undersea boat.” Popularly referred to in English using the shortened, derivative form, “U-boat.”


vodou:  (Haitian Creole) A Haitian spiritual/religious practice based around ritualized interaction with spirits known as loa.


vryl:  Magical or spiritual energy tapped or manipulated by magicians to create spell effects. It exists in fields and can move via currents, sometimes gathering in a nexus of strong magic.


zaubersänger:  (German, both singular and plural) Translates as “spellsinger” or “charmsinger” and is the preferred title of German warlocks that practice spellsong.