The Imperial Year
Season of Air
The autumnal climate of this season sees a great majority of the harvesting and preparations for winter.
- Heptagram Graduations: Those who are up for graduation from the Heptagram have one final challenge to go through: Calibration alone on the Isle of Voices. Those who survive this challenge are ready for graduation in the month of Ascending Air.
- Spiral Academy Graduations: The Spiral Academy graduates its students in the beginning of the month of Ascending Air, just before First Taxing Season. This generally ensures that its graduates can be in place to help with the financial wrangling that has to go on at that time.
- Deliberative Session Begins: The Imperial Deliberative returns to session the second week of Ascending Air.
- First Taxing Season: The first harvests occur in the month of Ascending Air, and the first tax-collection occurs of landowners then. This is traditionally when the Great Houses pay the annual upkeep necessary for the Legions and other Imperial functions within their financial responsibilities, often paid at Imperial facilities as they arrive in the Imperial City for the Social Season.
- Primary School Year Begins: Primary schools all over the Blessed Isle begin their schooling year in the month of Resplendent Air.
- Social Season Begins: The Social Season of the Great Houses begins in the Imperial City in the month of Resplendent Air. The Imperial Palace is quickly overrun by Dynasts, and many of the choice inns and rental villas in the Imperial City fill up with less-regarded Dynasts who cannot be found a place in the Imperial Palace.
- House of Bells Graduation: The House of Bells graduates its cadets at the beginning of the month of Descending Air. This is also traditionally the time when many officers return home from their commissions, their troops safely tucked away for the winter.
Season of Water
The coldest season of the year, with the North clad in ice, and blizzards and snow common in the Blessed Isle, East and West. The South receives cooling rains during this season as well. Temperatures begin to rise in Descending Water, and early spring arrives.
Season of Earth
Spring continues to bloom, bringing storms in the East, melting season in the North, monsoons in the West and hurricanes to the Blessed Isle and the South. This begins a long growing period, as well.
- Primary School Mid-Year Break: Primary schools across the Blessed Isle give their students the entire month of Resplendent Earth off from school.
- Cloister of Wisdom Graduation: Graduation ceremonies for the Cloister are held in the middle of the month of Resplendent Earth.
- Social Season Ends: The Social Season of the Great Houses ends in the Imperial City at the end of Resplendent Earth, and most of the Dynasts retire to their country estates, practically vacating the Imperial Palace.
- Deliberative Session Ends: The Imperial Deliberative retires for the season the last week of Descending Earth.
- Hunting Season: In the month of Descending Earth, the Dynastic Hunting Season begins, which occasionally features hunting trips, but mostly amounts to an excuse to throw lavish parties in rural hunting lodges and estates.
Season of Wood
Climate continues to warm, with a rich growing spring for half of the season of Wood, moving into a full summer in the latter half of the season.
- Second Taxing Season: The second harvests occur in the month of Descending Wood, and the second tax-collection occurs of landowners then. This is traditionally when the Great Houses pay their tithes to the Scarlet Throne.
Season of Fire
Summer is in full swing, with endless days of scorching sun in the South, parched plains and forest fires in the East, and bright, temperate days in the North and the Blessed Isle. The very end days of the season begin to cool, and leaves turn the colors of autumn.
- Third Taxing Season: The third harvests occur in the month of Descending Fire, and the third tax-collection occurs of landowners then. This is traditionally when the Great Houses pay annual stipends to their scions, to allow them to prepare for next year's Social Season.
- Primary School Year Ends: Primary schools all over the Blessed Isle end their official school years in the month of Resplendent Fire.
A cursed time of the year, when the night sky is perfectly black, without moon or stars, and spirits of all kinds find it easier to materialize and haunt mortals. Essence flows increase during this time of the year, and Essence-wielders may be prone to slightly euphoric states as a result.
- Calibration Festivities: All over the Blessed Isle, Calibration is celebrated as the time when the Anathema were thrown down by the Dragon-Blooded Host. Children dress as all manner of monsters and evil spirits, including legendary Anathema (though the Bull of the North was acknowledged to be in bad taste, in sensitivity to recent Tepet tragedies) and go from house to house, extorting sweets and money in the fashion that the ancient Anathema used to. On the final night of Calibration, however, the children in costumed are "rounded up" and herded by Dragon Dancers depicting the five Elemental Dragons to Immaculate temple grounds, where they throw their costumes into the bonfires that burn there, and then set off fire-crackers to frighten away the spirits of Calibration.