A stanza is the most important measure of time used by the Stability Council to organise its operations across evolutions and archetypes.   The stanza (and the associated smaller unit, the verse) is designed to solve a descriptive problem with interuniversal record keeping. The Evolutions are defined by their strict adherence to physically based linear time but that does not mean that time within them all flows at the same rate. In the Archetypes the situation is much worse, but the requirements of narrative ordering nevertheless impose a kind of sequencing, even if it is subject to "reboot" events that lead to self-similar circular flows. Deeper within the Discontinuum, there are still stranger realms where the geometry of time itself expands over two, three or even more dimensions. Non orthogonal time, time running backwards, looped time and wave driven time dynamics are all known to exist.   The stanza system is based on the idea that time should be measured according to units of meaningful intellegent possiblity. Each realm is measured according to an internal semantic standard, broken down into stanza's and verses, where a stanza is defined as the local time interval corresponding to the level of meaningful change that can be achieved in an average month on Earth Stable. A verse is the same idea but for just a day of Earth Stable time. Stanzas and Verses are pegged to the Earth Stable base line, (which formally starts from the point of the first known break in the barriers) and then qualified according to the local flow.   For example, time in Magicians' End runs at about 200% of the rate of Earth Stable, so events might be timestamped:-   S 2300 V 10 : S 0 V 20   where S 2300 V 10 is Earth Stable stanza two thousand three hundred and verse ten and then within the reference stanza interval (NOT including the verse), there is a local change of no stanzas and twenty verses. Where time runs more slowly than Earth Stable, there is no need for a qualifier.   This definition glosses over some of the difficulties associated with measuring stanzas and verses which can be problematic when relative time flow rates vary (which they sometimes do).

Cover image: The Discontinuum by DMFW


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