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mahastory ([personal profile] mahastory) wrote2010-07-29 07:54 am
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A through Z Glossary of Characters, Names, and Places.

VALID THROUGH: "Exile 02: Past Tense."
Last glossary update: Feburary 6th, 2010.

A ~ Z Glossary of Characters, Places, and Terms


Abhira. A star system kingdom with multiple terraformed planets, which has traditionally had a friendly relationship with Kuru.

Adhiratha. A talented weaponsmith from Anga. Husband of Radha and adopted father of Karna.

Agni. A deva of fire.

Agrapani. "Right hand." The title taken by either a priest or a warrior who has vowed to devote himself completely to a king. Traditionally an asura practice, although Drupada is perhaps the first human king on record to take an agrapani.

Ajagava Order. An order of warrior-priests from an isolated region of Panchala, usually more concerned with perfecting the martial arts than with scholarly pursuits. Drona is a member of this order. Ajagava is the name of Lord Shiva's sacred bow.

Anga. A domed colony on Kuru's only moon.

Arjuna. Devakin prince via Kunti and Indra; legally, Pandu's third son. His Gift is the devaweapon Gandiva, a bow. [ profile] steelehearts explains the meaning of the name "Arjuna" well, so I'm going to shamelessly copy and paste her words here: "White, but also bright and unsullied, not in the sense of never been sullied, but more like purity that cannot be touched by corruption." He is married to Draupadi, as are his other four brothers.

Ashvins. Twin devas who represent sunrise and sunset. They are also the physicians of the gods.

Ashwatthama. Devakin priest via Kripi and Shiva; legally, the son of Drona and Kripi. This makes him half-Kuru, half-Panchalan. His name means neighs like a horse.

Astra. Celestial weapons. Extremely difficult to learn and control; usually only devakin using devaweapons can master astras. They are mostly verbally-based.

Asura. Beings that are the polar opposites of the devas. As devas created humans in their own image, so did the asuras create the rakshasas in their image. Asuras are most commonly believed to be "extinct" in the sense that they no longer enter or interact with our universe.


Balarama. A young dairy farmer on the island of Khandava. Krishna and Subhadra's older brother, cousin of Satyaki, and unofficially Kritavarma's apprentice in various matters.

Bhima. Devakin prince via Kunti and Vayu; legally, Pandu's second son. His Gift is superhuman strength. His name means mighty and terrible. He is married to Draupadi, as are his other four brothers. He also has a son, Ghatotkacha, who is half-rakshasa.

Bhisma. A rare devakin born from the union of a human man (King Shantanu of Kuru) and a female deva (Ganga). If you ask him, he'll tell you that his only Gift is an immunity to wrinkly fingertips in the bathtub. This may or may not be a lie. Brother of Vichitravirya, uncle of Dhritarashtra/Pandu/Vidura, and generally addressed as "Grandpa Bhisma" by all of his nephews' children. His name means he who made a terrible vow. No, that isn't the name that he was born with, and yes, the backstory behind that is coming eventually!

Border System. A system with a few planets - all of them terraformed - about a week's jump from Kuru. Once upon a time, the system was the limit of the known frontier to Kuru and Panchala, hence its name. Although it is no longer the case that the "Border System" is the border of known space, it still retains its traditional name when referred to by Kurus, Panchalans, or Madrans.

Brahmastra. An astra so destructive that it is said to be able to destroy entire worlds. Theoretically.


Chitraka. Duryodhana's youngest brother, the youngest son of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari, and the youngest prince of Kuru.


Dakshina. A price that a student pays to his teacher, for lack of a better explanation. Dakshina is a tradition that survives almost exclusively among Panchalan priests, and is practiced in very few other cultures.

Danava. Servants of the asuras. The opposite numbers, so to speak, of the gandharvas. Unfortunately, they tend to find humans to be tasty and delicious.

Darpala. A popular Kuru singer. Darpana's sister.

Darpana. A Kuru intellectual who criticizes the royal family's policies and much of Kuru's ironclad social hierarchy. Darpala's sister.

Dasarna. Princess (and future queen) of Dasarnika, daughter of King Hiranyavarna, and wife of Sikhandhi.

Dasarnika. A planet that is far, far away from Kuru and Panchala. So far, in fact, that it takes months to make the jump between Panchala and Dasarnika.

Daya. Arjuna's childhood nanny.

Deva. A God, for all intents and purposes. Devas are beings who created humans in their own image, control the forces of nature on the worlds where humans live, and regularly interact with worthy humans. Most humans have conflicting theories about the true nature of the devas, whether they're divine beings or otherdimensional aliens that can be explained through advanced science; but nobody can deny or dispute the simple fact of the devas' existence.

Devakin. Term used for half-human, half-deva people. Devakin are in many ways indistinguishable from humans, save for three things: 1) scrambled DNA that makes paternity/maternity testing impossible; 2) unique markings on neck, shoulders, and back; and 3) a unique Gift from his/her devaparent. Devakin, when born to a human couple, are legally considered the children of both members of the couple, even if devakin children are biologically related to only one human parent.

Devaweapon. Magical weapons that certain devakin host as their Gifts. Devaweapons are slightly parasitic in nature, capable of manipulating their hosts, and can be dangerous in the hands of an unfit wielder.

Dharma. The deva in charge of what is right, for lack of a better term. Also the term for What is Right. Also, Death. Does that sound confusing? Good. It should be.

Dhaumya. A priest who has long served the royal family of Kuru.

Dhritarashtra. The eldest of King Vichitravirya's three sons (Pandu and Vidura follow). Blind from birth. Because of his disability, Dhritarashtra was passed over in favor of Pandu for Kuru's crown. After Pandu's illness forced him to step down from the throne, however, Dhritarashtra became Kuru's king at last. Husband of Gandhari, and father of one hundred sons (including Duryodhana), one daughter Dusshala, and one illegitimate child, Yuyutsu. His name means one who holds/clings to the state.

Dhristadyumna. Son of Drupada, a devakin via Shiva; he has a twin sister (Draupadi) and one elder brother (Sikhandhi). Has given up his Gift in exchange for Shiva's guarantee that he will be the one to kill Drona. Despite being Drupada's second son, he is actually the heir to throne of Panchala.

Draupadi. Daughter of Drupada, a devakin via Shiva; she has two brothers, Dhristadyumna (her twin) and Sikhandhi. She is married to all five of Pandu's sons, and is the queen of Indraprastha.

Drona. A priest from Panchala. Husband of Kripi and legal father of Ashwatthama. His name means black, but also he who was born in an earthen pot. Interesting backstory, there...

Drupada. The king of Panchala. Has three devakin children: Sikhandhi, Draupadi, and Dhristadyumna. He once wanted Drona dead, for reasons that nobody seemed inclined to tell Arjuna. Except that now he doesn't anymore.

Durmada. Duryodhana's twenty-first brother (twenty-second in line for the throne). Along with Vikata, one of Duryodhana's closest and meanest lackies.

Durmukha. Duryodhana's third brother (fourth in line for the throne). A peaceful, even-tempered person who sometimes succeeds in keeping Duryodhana in check.

Duryodhana. Eldest of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari's one hundred sons. Since birth, has been devoting himself to preparing to suceed his father as King of Kuru. Eventually, he becomes the king of half of Kuru, oops. His name means wages corrupt war, which is totally a spoiler. I guess.

Duryona. The name that Kunti gives the first ship that her sons take on their exile.

Dusshala. Dhritarashtra and Gandhari's only daughter, and the only princess of Kuru.

Dusshasana. Dhritarashtra and Gandhari's second-oldest son. Duryodhana's staunchest supporter. His name means difficult to control/chastise.




Gajapati. A system in the Yama Quadrant that is relatively close to Kuru. It takes a jump of about two weeks to reach Gajapati from Kuru.

Gandhara. A planet not too far from Kuru, one of Kuru's few historical allies.

Gandhari. Former queen of Kuru, wife of Dhritarashtra, mother of Duryodhana et al, and sister of Shakuni. Out of love her blind husband and an extremely over-the-top sense of the dramatic, Ghandari constantly wears a blindfold over her eyes. She is named after her home planet of Gandhara.

Gandharva. Servants of the devas. That doesn't mean that they're particularly nice to humans, though. The opposite numbers, so to speak, of the danavas.

Gandiva. The name of Arjuna's devaweapon, a bow.

Ganga. The greatest river on Kuru's surface, as well as the name of the deva who is the river. Ganga gave many devakin sons to the Kuru royal family, although Bhisma (the youngest) is the only one of them still living, during the timeframe of the story.

Ghatotkacha. Half-rakshasa, half-human son of Bhima and Hidimbi.

Gift. Any superhuman ability bestowed upon a devakin child by his or her deva-parent. Gifts can be very, very powerful... or very, very lame, as in the case of Bhisma's my-fingertips-don't-wrinkle-in-the-bath Gift. A "devaweapon" is a special subset of Gift. Most devakin cannot use or control their Gifts until they reach puberty or adulthood. A select few never manifest any discernable Gifts.

Groom-chosing. My chosen dumbed-down term for swayamwara. Anyway, a ceremony in which a potential bride chooses a husband. Pretty self-explanatory.


Hastinapura. Capital city of Kuru. Means city of elephants. Later, after the planet of Kuru is divided into two kingdoms, Hastinapura becomes Duryodhana's capital.

Hidimba. A self-styled rakshasa emperor who has united many systems in both his own universe and the Lower World under his rule.

Hidimbi. Hidimba's twin sister, a peaceful scientist who opposes her brother's political power. Hidimbi has a son, Ghatotkacha, whose father is the human (or rather, devakin) prince Bhima.

Hiranyavarna. King of Dasarnika.


Indra. A deva of thunder and lightning and rain. Often referred to as the King of the Gods.

Indraprastha. The capitol of Yudhisthira's half of the Kuru kingdom.


Jara. A powerful rakshasa who leads the outcast group of pro-human rakshasas on board the Pantha. Jara's closest friend and confident is Hidimbi, an anthropologist who studies human cultures.

Jayadratha. A prince from Sindhu. Dusshala likes him. A lot. Nobody else in her family seems to like him very much, though.


Kampilya. The capitol city of Panchala, where Drupada reigns.

Karna. A devakin from Anga. Adopted by Adhiratha and Radha; his birth parents are unknown. His Gift is the devaweapon Vijaya. He is the husband of Shrutakiirti, and the father of Vrishasena and Susena. Currently he is the nominal "king" of Anga, although in reality he is a vassal subservient to Hastinapura. His name Karna means ear, although this is actually a nickname that he earned because of his earrings. His birth name is Vasushena.

Khandava. An island in the southeastern quarter of Kuru. Eventually the location of Indraprastha, the capital of Yudhisthira's kingdom.

Kishkinda. Empire of the Kishkindans, contemporaries of Ravana (i.e. ten thousand years before the time of this fic). The Kishkindans were monkey-like beings with great intelligence and advanced technology. They are, at the present, believed to be extinct.

Kripi. Formerly a Kuru diplomat stationed on Panchala, she eventually decided to betray Kuru and take on the role of a double-agent passing intelligence to Drupada. This set her on a path that eventually led to her marrying Drona. Mother of Ashwatthama.

Kripa. Kripi's twin brother, a fellow traitor of Kuru. He stayed with Drupada, and tutored Drupada's children, after Kripi left Panchala.

Krishna. Just some guy, really. Nobody special. Yet. ;) Balarama is his older brother, Subhadra is his younger sister, and Satyaki is his younger cousin.

Kritavarma. Governor of Khandava. Also an expert fisherman, large animal veterinarian, and unofficial militia leader. He is grooming Balarama to be his successor.

Kunti. First wife of Pandu, former queen of Kuru, and mother of Yudhisthira/Bhima/Arjuna/Nakula/Sahadeva. Originally from a planet also called Kunti (yes she is named after her adopted kingdom). [Yes, I said adopted. OMG vague shadowy spoiler.]

Kuru. A planet that is mostly ocean. Most of the main characters in the story are from Kuru.


Lower World. Term that rakshasa use to refer to the universe that humans inhabit.


Madra. A planet close to both Kuru and Panchala.

Madri. Princess of Madra, and sister of Shalya. Mother of Nakula and Sahadeva. Like Gandhari, Madri is named after her home planet.

Mahavahu. One of Duryodhana's brothers, who literally holds the record for having the briefest mention in the fic.

Manikaran. A remote planet in the Border System, notable mostly for some temples. Madra royalty traditionally hold coming-of-age ceremonies there.

Maya. The power of "illusion," the term used collectively to refer to the supernatural powers that asuras command.

Mayasura. According to Drona, "both the most brilliant and the most inexplicably foolish asura ever born."


Naga. A species of half-snake, half-human creatures that command powerful maya and generally live in the same universe as the rakshasas.

Nakula. Devakin prince via Queen Madri and the Ashvins (yeah both of them, don't ask how that works); twin brother of Sahadeva; legally the fourth son of King Pandu. His Gifts include superhuman cognitive abilities and unusual physical features, such as oddly-colored skin, hair, and eyes. His name means mongoose. He is married to Draupadi, as are his other four brothers.



P-rocks. Slang term for radioactive material that are necessary for the production of various types of weapons of mass destruction. One of the few things that Nakula is (fortunately or unfortunately) unable to secure through his usual methods.

Panchala. Nearest habitable planet to Kuru, and Kuru's longtime military rival.

Pandu. King of Kuru and (legal) father of five devakin children: Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva. Although the younger brother of Dhritarashtra, Pandu was chosen to be Kuru's king because of Dhritarashtra's blindness. Husband of Kunti and Madri. Elder brother of Vidura, younger brother of Dhritarashtra. His name means pale.

Pantha. A large city-ship captained by Jara, filled with rakshasa and naga refugees attempting to escape persecution by Hidimba.

Parashurama. Cranky, crazy old man who hates everything about the civilized world, especially law enforcement. He likes Karna, though. Karna is cool. His name means Rama with an axe.

Pinakin. Lord Shiva's favored bow.



Radha. A talented weaponsmith from Anga. Wife of Adhiratha, and adopted mother of Karna.

Rajiva. The Crown Prince of Abhira. He and his (unnamed) brother are close friends and allies of Duryodhana, although they function more as Duryodhana's sycophants and lackies than as his friends.

Rakshasa. The devas created humans and gave them a universe to live in; the asuras, likewise, created the rakshasas and gave them a universe to live in. Rakshasas can freely cross over into the human universe, however. As they consider humans to be unevolved and lacking self-awareness, rakshasas will frequently prey on them for food.

Rama. A great hero who overthrew Ravana over ten thousand years ago.

Ravana. An asura king who (forcefully) united half the galaxy under his rule, ten thousand years ago. His empire was the largest in the (known) history of this universe.

Rukmaratha. Shalya's adopted son, and heir to the throne of Madra.


Sagala. The capitol city of Madra.

Sahadeva. Devakin prince via Queen Madri and the Ashvins (yeah both of them, don't ask how that works); twin brother of Nakula; legally the fifth and youngest son of King Pandu. His Gifts include superhuman cognitive abilities and unusual physical features, such as oddly-colored skin, hair, and eyes. His name means closeness to (a) god. He is married to Draupadi, as are his other four brothers.

Sama. Duryodhana's twenty-sixth brother (twenty-seventh in line for the throne). Picks his nose and has a pet tiger, apparently.

Sanjaya. Dhritarashtra's most trusted lifelong aide.

Satyaki. Only mentioned once so far as the younger cousin of Krishna and Balarama.

Shalya. King of Madra, brother of Madri, and uncle to Nakula and Sahadeva. Although he has no children of his own, he has adopted Rukmaratha as his son and heir.

Shakuni. King of Gandhara, brother of Gandhari, father of Uluka. Might be corrupt, might be under investigation by his own government, definitely an asshat.

Shiva. A deva who represents one third of the holy trinity.

Shrutakiirti. Originally a grocer, now the Duchess of Anga; she is the wife of Karna, and the mother of Vrishasena and Susena.

Sikhandhi. The eldest son of Drupada, devakin via Shiva; brother to Draupadi and Dhristadumya. Despite being Drupada's eldest son, he is, due to a sexual scandal, not actually the heir to Panchala's throne. Instead, he married Dasarna, the only daughter of King Hiranyavarna, and has been promised the throne of Dasarnika eventually.

Sindhu. A system of some unspecified distance from Kuru. Jayadratha is a prince from Sindhu.

Subhadra. Krishna and Balarama's younger sister.

Susena. Karna and Shrutakiirti's second son. His older brother is Vrishasena.



Uluka. Prince of Gandhara; the only son of Shakuni. This makes him a cousin to Duryodhana et al.


Vali. Legendary king of the Kishkindans.

Vayu. A deva of the wind.

Vibhishana. An asura. Ravana's pious and just brother, who restored freedom to the worlds that Ravana had conquered.

Vidura. Youngest brother of Dhritarashtra and Pandu. Uncle of Yudhisthira, Duryodhana, et al. His name means wise.

Vijaya. The name of Karna's devaweapon, a bow. The name means conquering or triumphant.

Vikata. Duryodhana's twenty-fourth brother (twenty-fifth in line for the throne). Along with Durmada, one of Duryodhana's closest and meanest lackies.

Vrishasena. Karna and Shrutakiirti's eldest son. His younger brother is Susena.

Vyasa. A wild mountain man whom both Bhisma and Drupada seem to have a lot of faith in, for some reason. Everybody else tends to treat Vyasa's advice with a healthy dose of skepticism. His name means one who divides/arranges.




Yadava. What's a Yadava? Krishna knows, but isn't telling anyone. Yet.

Yaksha. Supernatural creatures that nobody is quite sure whether to credit the asuras or the devas for.

Yama. The deva who administers death to mortal creatures. Also, the same as Dharma. It's complicated.

Yama Quadrant. An area of the universe where space is expanding so rapidly that the boundary between our universe and the rakshasa universe is thinning. There are planets there that Kuru has not been able to contact for hundreds of years, due to the speed with which they are drifting toward the edge of the universe.

Yudhisthira. Devakin king of Indraprastha, born from Queen Kunti and Yama/Dharma; legally the eldest son of King Pandu. His Gift is unknown and unmanifested. His name means he who is firm/unshakeable in battle. Ironically enough. He is married to Draupadi, as are his other four brothers.

Yuyutsu. Illegitimate son of King Dhritarashtra and a servant. His name means he who is eager to fight. Again with the ironic misnomers.


Your writings

(Anonymous) 2009-09-06 05:46 am (UTC)(link)
Dear Mahastory/ Nenena,
I am a writer on Hinduism and on Mythology. I found your writings while surfing the net for a research on Karna. Your writings are extremely interesting. Could we communicate on email? I would be honoured.
deepamjee @ gmail dot com

Warm regards,
Deepam Chatterjee