Guide

A guide to the science fiction universe of the Foreigner series, created by C.J. Cherryh.

This is a work in progress. I envision it as being an encyclopedia or concordance, including entries from fans and myself and perhaps even C.J. Cherryh herself.

Head

A

aiji
The ruler of an Association, comparable to a king or emperor. Historically, a feudal lord.
aiji-dowager
The ostensibly retired wife, mother, or grandmother of an aiji, comparable to a queen mother or dowager empress. However, the human reader must not confuse age or reputed retirement for lack of activity and involvement.
alkaloids
Certain alkaloids are used or enjoyed by atevi and planetary lifeforms. Human readers should note these may be more or less toxic to humans.
associate
An acquaintance or associate of an ateva, potentially someone with whom the ateva shares man’chi.
Association
A government and national or tribal group with a leader, council, and form of parliament, congress, or senate.
atevi
(noun, adjective) Plural: atevi; Singular: ateva; The atevi are persons, members of the sapient species on the atevi planet. There are male and female atevi. They are much larger than humans and mammal-like. They have very dark bronze-black skin and hair. The have golden eyes that have some degree of nictating membrane, which causes their eyes to glow or shine in low light, and which enables them to see clearly at night. Their vision, hearing, and sense of smell are acute. Atevi have a very different emotional and psychological makeup than humans. Concepts such as friendship and love, common to humans, are untranslatable in atevi. They instead have the concept of man’, which is as natural to them as like/love are to humans. The human reader is cautioned never to confuse or compare the atevi concept, nor to assume atevi have human-like feelings and thinking. Their psychological and emotional makeup; their motivating forces and instincts, are fundamentally different from humans. They are aliens. They consider humans as inexplicably alien. As with the word, “human,’ ateva/atevi is considered a common noun, rather than a proper noun, and thus, not capitalized in human writing.

B

baji-naji
Fortune and Chance. An iconic and philosophical symbol of how atevi view the world. These are not so much good versus bad, as they are simply related forces governing outcomes. The baji-naji symbol refers also to a duality of nature, the contrasts of a thing.
Banichi
[BAN′-ee-chee] Male guard assigned personally by the aiji to protect Bren Cameron.
braids
Atevi braid their hair as a habit of culture and fashion and neatness. Ribbons tie the braid, and carry significant meaning for the status and ties of an ateva.

C

Cajeiri
A boy, a young lord and heir-apparent, clever, thoughtful, and feisty like his relatives, who appears later in the history.
Cameron, Bren
The paidhi-aiji, the translator and representative of humanity to the aiji of the Ragi Western Association.
Cenedi
[kehn-AY′-dee] Senior guard to Lady Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager.

D

E

F

G

H

humans
A sapient alien species from Earth and not from the ateva homeworld. Adult humans are about the size of an ateva child.

I

Ilisidi
Lady Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, remains an outspoken critic of her grandson, the aiji, and of human presence on the world. She is a forceful personality, quite intelligent and capable. One would be mistaken to assume she is in any way retired or feeble in mind or body. Despite her opposition, based on her own views and philosophy, she maintains relationships with her grandson the aiji, and with Bren Cameron whom she finds interesting.

J

Jago
Female guard personally assigned by the aiji to protect Bren Cameron.

K

L

M

man’chi
 
mecheiti
 
Mosphei’
 
Mospheira
 
Mospheiran humans
 

N

O

P

paidhi
A translator and interpreter.
Phoenix
 
Phoenix humans
 

Q

R

Ragi
An ethnic or national grouping of atevi, the largest group on the largest continent.
ribbons
Ribbons carry significant meaning for the status and ties of an ateva. Ribbons tie the braid or queue of an ateva’s hair.

S

seal
 
Shejidan
 
station
 

T

Tabini
 

U

V

W

Western Association
 

X

Y

Z

Tail