Wind Horse is set in an alternate Earth in which many of the ice age beasts which are extinct here are still alive there, and in which steam has not been displaced as a source of power. The names of people and places should be somewhat familiar, but are rarely exactly the same as they are here. A glossary follows:


Afreeca   The continent which lies to the south of Europa. [Fact: The continent of Africa is a real place].

Alash   The Alash are the people of the eponymous Alash Steppe, forming a loose confederation of tribes and clans in three primary divisions: the Blue, White and Red Hordes. [Fact: Alash is the name of the legendary ancestor of the Kazakh people, whose traditional nomadic way of life the Alash culture resembles].

Aleksandr Lyukin   Boyar of Orousska famous as a trophy hunter.

Alexei II   Current Csar of All Orousska.

Andrei Grishkin   Chief man-at-arms of House Suslikov.

Antillia   The double continent of the western hemisphere. [Fact: The Americas are a real place. “Antillea” was the name of a legendary paradisal land believed by Europeans at the time of Columbus to lie beyond the western ocean].

Aqsuyek   “White Bone”; the traditional Alash noble class. The White Bone comprise those Alash who can trace male-line descent from the ancient Great Kaghan, Jangiz, and have the privilege of being eligible for the Kaghanate of the Three Hordes. [Fact: The White Bone were the traditional Kazakh noble class, who could trace their descent from Genghis Khan]. See also qarasuyek.

Araby   Peninsula of Western Asia adjoining Afreeca. [Fact: The Arabian peninsula is a real place].

Arkady Vlychanin   Imperial Army colonel-general and hero of the Wars of the Vengrian Succession. Cuckolded “father” of Kasimir Vlychanin.

Arshin   “Span”; a standard Orousski measurement of length. [Fact: A traditional Russian measure of length equivalent to about three inches].

Astanovitye! Kto prikhodit’?   “Halt! Who goes there?”

Atlantine Ocean   The large body of water separating Europa from Antillia. [Fact: The Atlantic Ocean is a real place].

Aurochs   A type of wild cattle, black in colour and large and fierce in aspect. Sometimes called tur. [Fact: Aurochs (Bos primigenius) are the wild ancestors of all domestic cattle. They became extinct in the Middle Ages].

Ayman Aydaruli   Father of Jildiz Aymanqizi. Possibly deceased.

Aysulu Mirasqizi   Wife of Marat Serkeshuli.

Blue Horde   Most southerly division of the Alash.

Boris Timofeyevich Suslikov   Yevgeny and Gennady’s deceased father.

Borscht   Orousski beet stew. [Fact: Russian beet stew].

Boyar   A member of the Orousski nobility. [Fact: A member of the Russian nobility].

Boyar Duma   “Council of Nobles”. The government of the Empire of Holy Orousska, divided between the upper and lower nobility. [Fact: The Boyar Duma was the name of the Imperial Russian governing body that advised the Tsar. The modern Russian parliament is also called the Duma].

Bratishka   “Little brother”.

Cave lion   Large feline predator of northern Eurasia. The cave lion has a faintly striped coat and a short ruff of fur at its neck; not really a mane but close. It frequently dens in caves, hence the name. [Fact: The cave lion Panthera spelaea was related to both lions and tigers. It became extinct in the last ice age].

Church of the Tree   National religion of the Orousski Empire. [Fact: Loosely based on Russian Orthodox Christianity].

Colonel-General   Imperial Army rank roughly equating to Brigadier. Highest rank attainable by boyars of the lesser nobility. [Fact: A rank of the Russian Army].

Crown Prince Mikhail   Eldest son of the current Csar.

Csar of All Orousska   Shortened to “Csar”. Title of the hereditary ruler of the Orousski Empire.

Dacha   An Orousski summer cottage outside the city. [Fact: A Russian summer cottage outside the city].

Dmitri Kisaliev   Eldest son of Vadim Kisaliev. A generally nasty piece of work.

Europa   The western portion of the Earth’s largest landmass. [Fact: Europe is a real place].

The Gampucha   Alash pronunciation of the name of the Khitai religious philosopher Gung-Fu-Tse. [Fact: Analogous to Confucius].

Gennady Suslikov   Part-machine inventor and younger brother to Yevgeny.

Giant deer   Common name for a species of very large deer with immense antlers. [Fact: The “Irish elk” Megaloceros became extinct during the last ice ages].

Goroda Nizhnov   Major city of the Orousski Empire. [Fact: Corresponds to Nizhni Novgorod].

Gospodin   “Mister”. Polite form of address for an Orousski man of no particular title.

Helladia   Modern nation and ancient civilisation in southeastern Europa. [Fact: Corresponds to Greece].

Holy Pyotromir   Second city and occasional summer capital of Orousska. [Fact: Modeled on St. Petersburg].

Indrik   A long-legged, hairy, single-horned giant rhinoceros of the steppe, domesticated by the Alash and used as a riding animal. [Fact: Elasmotherium sibiricum was a giant, single-horned rhinoceros that went extinct during the last ice age. It stood almost as tall as a woolly mammoth at the shoulder. The “indrik” is a large single-horned creature from Russian mythology].

Itali   A country in southern Europa. [Fact: Loosely based on Italy].

Ivan the Dread   Former Csar of All Orousska, feared by the Alash and used as a bogeyman to ensure obedience in their children. [Fact: “the Dread” is a closer English rendering of the Russian word “Groznyy”, more usually translated into the primary world’s English as “the Terrible”].

Ivan Gregorovich Zheleznikov   Lieutenant, 17th Radoslavsky Dragoons, based in Orengrad.

Izba   Orousski peasant house, often single-roomed and of log construction. [Fact: Wooden Russian peasant house].

Jildiz Aymanqizi   Alash girl-child raised as a war captive in Muskograd.

Kasimir Vlychanin   Illegitimate son of Vadim Kisaliev and ally of Gennady Suslikov. Discoverer of orikhalko.

Khitai Empire   A huge civilisation and empire to the east of the Alash Steppe. [Fact: Loosely based on China].

Khrovitchenko   Orousski General and woolly rhinoceros enthusiast.

Mammoth   The woolly or common mammoth is a large proboscidean of the northern tundra and taiga. Mammoths are larger and more intelligent than indriks, but flightier and more prone to panic. [Fact: Mammuthus primigenius, the woolly mammoth, became extinct at the end of the last ice age. Mummified specimens are occasionally thawed out of Russian glaciers].

The Mani   Prophet of a mystical, fire-worshipping cult originating in the trading cities between Parsa and the Alash Steppe. [Fact: Analogous to Manes, sometimes called Mani, founder of the extinct Manichaean religion].

Marat Serkeshuli   Alash warrior.

Mazandaran Sea   Large landlocked sea lying between southern Orousska and the Alash Steppe. [Fact: The Caspian Sea is a real place. “Mazandaran” is the name of the Caspian Sea in Persian].

Mechanik   Any mechanical device or vehicle, especially any Orousski steam-powered vehicle. [Fact: Steam engines are real, though in reality not powerful enough for their weight to do most of what Wind Horse‘s world has them do].

Mira Kutuzov   Housekeeper of Yevgeny Suslikov.

Mountains of Heaven   The high mountain range separating Sindia from Asia. [Fact: The Himalayas are a real place. “Mountains of Heaven” is an English translation of the Chinese “Tien Shan”, a Himalayan spur extending into Central Asia].

Muhit   Alash word meaning “ocean” or “great sea”; used indiscriminately to refer to any of the connected bodies of water surrounding the Europa-Asia-Afreeca-Sindia landmass.

Muskograd   Capital city of Orousska. [Fact: Corresponds to Moscow].

Nichevo   “It can’t be helped”. Commonplace Orousski expression of resigned acceptance.

Oibai-ai   Alash exclamation of shock and distress. Somewhere between “alas!” and “oh no!” and “eek!”, but with more feeling.

Oprichnina   Csar Ivan the Dread’s secret police, possibly resurgent in contemporary times. [Fact: Tsar Ivan the Terrible’s secret police, known and feared for their brutality and terror tactics].

Orengrad   Eastern fort city of the Orousski Empire. [Fact: Corresponds to Orenburg].

Orikhalko   High-strength metal used by Gennady Suslikov to make ultrapowerful clockwork mechanisms. [Fact: “Orichalcum” was the name of a legendary Atlantean metal often thought to be some form of electrum alloy].

Orousska   The Orousski Empire lies to the west and north of the Alash Steppe. It is a powerful, steam-using empire, though less advanced than some other Europan civilisations. [Fact: Orousska is loosely based on Russia. “Orus” is a Kazakh word denoting the Russian people].

Parsiak   Orousski descriptive word for people and goods from the Empire of Parsa to the south beyond the Mazandaran Sea. [Fact: The Empire of Parsa is loosely based on the old Persian Empire].

Patriarch Semyon   Religious leader of the Church of the Tree in Orousska. A major political figure in the Csar’s government.

Pavel Antoninovich Chebelev   Commanding general of Orousski garrison in Orengrad.

The Prophet   Founder of an aggressive prosyletising religion from Araby. [Fact: The Way of the Prophet is loosely based on Islam].

Qarasuyek   “Black Bone”; the traditional Alash commoner class. The Black Bone are those Alash who cannot trace a male-line descent from Jangiz Kaghan. Apart from being ineligible to be considered for the Kaghanate, their lives are little different from the White Bone. [Fact: The Black Bone were the traditional Kazakh commoner class]. See also aqsuyek.

-qizi   Component of Alash female names meaning “-‘s daughter”.

Red Horde   Northeastern division of the Alash.

Sheepeaters   Derogatory term for the Alash, referencing their nomadic sheep-herding lifestyle.

Simatar   A lion-sized feline predator with bladelike saber teeth. Its front legs are longer than its back legs, giving it a hyenalike running gait. [Fact: Homotherium simum was a sabertoothed cat from the last ice age, native to Eurasia and North America. “Simatar” is derived from the name sometimes applied to Homotherium: the scimitar cat].

Sindia   The (sub)continental land on the other side of the Mountains of Heaven. [Fact: The Indian subcontinent is a real place, though in the primary world not normally considered a continent in its own right].

Sindian Ocean   The ocean laying to the south of Asia and Sindia and to the east of Afreeca. [Fact: The Indian Ocean is a real place].

Steam troika   A steam-driven sleighlike vehicle popular among the boyars of Muskograd for winter driving. [Fact: The troika was a type of fashionable Russian sleigh pulled by three horses].

Steppe bison   A relative of both the Antillian bison (North American buffalo) and the Europan wisent (wisent or European bison), native to the Alash Steppe. It has a less prominent hump than the Antillian creature and longer, straighter horns. [Fact: The steppe bison Bison priscus became extinct towards the end of the last ice age].

Svetlana Nachalieva   Zhiznik serf of House Suslikov.

Tamgha   “Sign”; a brand-like geometric figure used as an identifying mark among Alash tribes. Functionally-speaking, roughly equivalent to a clan coat-of-arms.

Tengir   Sky-father spirit in ancient Alash paganism. Usually associated with the Creator. [Fact: “Tengri” is the high god of Turkic shamanistic paganism].

Turkuman   A people of the desert to the southwest of the Alash Steppe. [Fact: Named after and presumably similar to the Turkmen people].

Ukryna   Southern province of Orousska. Its natural environment is steppe, but it is widely cultivated and known as “the bread-basket of the Mother Land”. [Fact: Corresponds roughly to the Ukraine].

-uli   Component of Alash male names meaning “-‘s son”.

Urul river   River which forms the eastern boundary of Orousska at the start of Wind Horse. [Fact: Corresponds to the Ural river in modern Russia and Kazakhstan].

Vadim Kisaliev   Elder boyar of House Kisaliev and chief minister of the Orousski government.

Vengria   An empire in Europa, on the southwestern border of Orousska. Focus of a recent dynastic struggle generally known as the Wars of the Vengrian Succession. [Fact: Loosely based on the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but covering a more easterly territory including most of Romania and Bulgaria but not necessarily the parts of Germany that were considered part of that empire in the primary world. “Vengria” is the Russian name for Hungary].

Verst   Traditional Orousski measure of distance. [Fact: Traditional Russian measure of distance equivalent to 3500 feet].

Vitaly   Mysterious zhiznik serf of House Suslikov.

White Horde   Western division of the Alash.

Wind Horse   Spirit of the winds in ancient Alash paganism. Sometimes considered a favoured servant of the Creator God worshipped by the Church of the Tree (and other faiths). Alash religious thought is a little muddled. [Fact: Spirit of the winds in ancient Turkic shamanistic religion].

Woolly Rhinoceros   A very shaggy two-horned rhinoceros species of the northern tundra. Smaller than the indrik of the steppes and considered intractable and impossible to tame. [Fact: The woolly rhinoceros Coelodonta became extinct at the end of the last ice age].

Xelot   A saber-toothed feline predator from Antillia. [Fact: Smilodon fatalis was an ice age sabertoothed cat from North America with related species in South America also. The name “xelot” is loosely derived from “ocelotl”, the Nahuatl word for jaguar].

Yevgeny Suslikov   Inventor and Orousski boyar of a minor house.

Yurt   Wood-framed felt tent of round, domed construction, used by the Alash.

Zhiznik   Biomechanical construct created by grafting mechanical parts onto or into a living being. [Fact: The word “zhiznik” is modified from the Russian word “zhizn”, meaning life].