Time is tracked according to a 360 day calendar split across 12 months of 30 days each. The months are not officially named by Hylian law, though individual races and cultures sometimes do so in honor of local influences such as the Great Spirits, old legends, or figures of note.
First Month, Second Month, and Third Month are the Spring months.
Fourth Month, Fifth Month, and Sixth Month are the Summer months.
Seventh Month, Eighth Month, and Ninth Month are the Fall months.
Tenth month, Eleventh Month, and Twelfth Month are the Winter Months.
Hyrulean months have 5 weeks each, which are divided into six days apiece. Each day is 24 hours long. Though midnight officially marks the start of a new day, sunrise is when people SAY the day's really begun. The sun rises at 6AM even, noon is reached 6 hours later, followed by sunset a full 6 hours after that. The moon rules the skies for the next 12 hours.
Two langauges dominate in Hyrule. Hyrulean Common is the official dialect of the Kingdom of Hyrule as maintained by its scholars and governmental officials. Nearly all races can pronounce and learn it just fine.
The second is usually called Ancient Hylian, though more officially it is the Sacred Tongue of the Old Gods and all of the Great Spirits. This language is no simple spoken tongue: only those who can channel Force energy are capable of truly reproducing Ancient Hylian, for each syllable's infused with mystic meaning.
Ancient Hylian can only be spoken properly by Force Energy users, and is quite difficult to understand without those talents. The pointy ears of Hylians are special in this regard - Hylian listeners, whether inclined towards the mystical arts or not, tend to grasp the core meaning of what is said through instinct, even if they have never heard it before. The written form of the language is an esoteric series of runes that anyone can translate if they have studied it. Only a small selection of Ancient Hylian is suitable for ordinary conversation, and many races find it difficult to enunciate, hence the switch. The language was designed to encompass the concepts of natural law and Hyrule's physics so the Great Spirits could easily communicate with one another. Those who hear it describe the language as very flowing and poetic when spoken properly.
Few bother learning Ancient Hylian, and those who do rarely know it completely fluently. Only the Great Spirits know it fully fluently - all others know at best bits and pieces, enough to make do. Those who attend to the Great Spirits are, surprisingly, often far more fluent than the flock of Mages who use it, claiming that its structured and descriptive nature makes it a firm foundation on which to ground their spellweaving.
Many other languages exist among various regions, races, and cultures, though most fell out of favor after the Great Cataclysm in exchange for Hyrulean Common. They are used more for tradition or obfuscation than communication.
Law and Government
The Hylian Royal Family sits squarely at the top of Hyrule's government, backed by the divinely ordained right to rule instituted by the Goddess Hylia - or so the story goes. Traditionally, the King and Queen manage different aspects of the leadership: the King is expected to handle matters of military importance and matters of national security, while the Queen's role is more aligned towards management of economical and social issues. Both hold authority to step in on any matter when called upon or of their own choosing and make judgements, but this is not something to be done on a whim - the Royal Family has a legion of advisors and ministers for a good reason after all.
Beneath the Royal Family sits the Council, a democratically elected series of individuals who represent the various provinces, guilds, and races of Hyrule. Elections are held every six years, though replacements are statistically rare unless someone does an absolutely terrible job. The Council further subdivides itself as it sees fit based on various philosophical and economical divides. It is rarely unanimous in its decisions, but they efficiently handle most of the matters - the threat of answering to a Sheikah for blatant corruption or outrageous factionalism keeps candidates quite honest.
Law is a tricky subject - their execution and intricacies vary widely based on location. A local group of Guards that doubles as militia is present in every Human/Hylian city, town, village, etc, throughout Hyrule, and other races tend to adopt similar measures. They are largely focused on keeping the peace, whether that means protecting important assets, inspecting travelers for trouble, tracking down troublemakers, and the like. Each community keeps their own standards within some flexibility, but one will not find any communities that tolerate things such as theft or vandalism - just ones that respond to it differently.
Crime in Hyrule is actually statistically rare. Beyond the occasional acts of mischief, few engage in full-fledged thievery, vandalism, or violent crimes like mugging. There is more than enough food and housing to go around, which keeps honest-minded folk employed and severely cuts down on banditry. Actual punishments are usually decided by local figures of authority (who will defer to the victims first, but may override choices they feel will endanger the community or are simply too unreasonable) or, failing that, the Guards themselves. Minor acts of intentional troublemaking like shoplifting are often dealt with through fines, whipping, and occasionally servitude depending on the value of the object stolen and whether it could be recovered. The reasons and personality of the culprit also tend to factor into these decisions.
Where possible, Hyrule prefers avoiding costly imprisonment where reparations can be managed. If nothing else, a criminal can become a servant of their victims for a few years - or, as many victims might not want to be anywhere close to them, instead enslaved as a public worker doing all of the worst jobs (dredging a harbor, cleaning the sewers, road maintenance) with their wages garnished as reparations. Accidental manslaughter is a serious offense that can result in years of service and reparations depending on the victim's remaining family and community opinion. More serious crimes, such as rape or intentional murder, are grounds for severe punishments - exile, permanent imprisonment or endless service on public projects, or even the death penalty. The same awaits those who are simply too dangerous for everyone around them, those whose existences threaten entire communities or Hyrule itself.
All of this is assuming the lawbreaker is a citizen, of course. Hyrule's people hardly consider it even remotely idealogically wrong to slay members of the savage races, such as River Zora, or Moblins. Hyrule views them as little better than beasts (although Moblins at least are slightly more respected than the River Zora) and their demise makes the world a little safer.
While Crime in Hyrule is statistically rare enough the average person doesn't have to worry about it, and punished wherever it is found, it does happen. Because food and living space is cheap and abundant, crimes of desperate necessity are simply unheard of. Communities find it fairly easy to maintain a high standard of living with only basic effort, and this cuts down severely on banditry save for the few oddballs driven by vices like greed alone. In short, for much of Hyrule there simply isn't a 'poor class.' Even the most destitute farmer can earn enough wealth to support his or her family with enough left over for casual luxuries - there is very little 'going without' for the lowest of the low for basic entertainments.
Should their farm be ravaged by a Moblin raid, then these people can at the very least expect to be clothed and housed by their nearest neighbors and helped back on their feet. Grudges and feuds between neighbors are not unheard of, but it's rare for this to move into outright criminal behavior. When it does, it tends to be crimes of passion - country folk are rarely the sort to plot heavily against their neighbors. Beyond that, the most typical crimes that happen out in the country villages… well, occasional bouts of disruptive hooliganism and the odd social scandal.
This is not so in the big towns and cities. In these places, where the rich nobles and merchants have long since bought up all premium living space and control much of the local policies and industries, while caravans flock to and travelers seek shelter, where birth rates skyrocket and the call of riches and business brings all the more and more people in, problems are the norm. Social mobility is the biggest drive behind crime in these places, where faces are easily forgotten in the crowd but riches are accepted by all. Here, the greedy set their sights on the wealth of others, engaging in all manner of illicit activities to squeeze some extra Rupees into their pockets. For others, the thrill of it is enough, and the two tend to come together in Thieves Guilds who establish hideouts and all manner of secret ways to communicate and identify each other.
Local authorities are strained to the limit just handling normal business and can spare little time to deal with petty theft, but serious crimes draw a harsh and swift reaction, and some of the richer folk have been known to call down witchhunts on miscreant behavior, raising cane until the guards give in or find their reputations suffering. The tenser hustle-and-bustle of city life does result in a greater amount of brawls and outbreaks of minor violence, but few people take them too seriously until weapons break out or an angry Goron comes barreling down the street.
Hyrule is a self-sufficient nation, growing its own food and raising its own livestock. For this reason, Hyrule is covered in farms and ranches, many tucked into defensible valleys or in sight of the protection of larger towns. These settlements grow the food that the growing population of Hyrule relies upon.
Hylian farms produce grains, beans, fruit, corn, melons, and root vegetables, and this is the primary food of the Kingdom, many of the grains ground into flour for breadmaking by wind or watermills. Some amount of grain and fruit juice is fermented, but strong liquors and beers are relatively rare, largely due to a clean supply of water and the more popular milk industry.
Fresh meat is surprisingly common in Hyrule, though it plays a secondary role in the average person's diet. Cattle and pigs are common, and in times of need, goats supplement the supply with their tougher and less delicious meat. Several other species of game wander the land for huntsman to track down and bag. Cuccos, small chickens native to Hyrule, are commonly raised for their eggs alone; their tendency to aggressively swarm when they feel threatened or detect a fellow Cucco's distress terrifies farmers out of raising them for meat. Finally, fish are plentiful, forming a delicious addition to the Hylian diet. Greengill, Hylian bass and Ordon catfish are the most common freshwater fish, and sea fishermen add various species of saltwater fish such as skippyjacks, toona, and loovar.
Milk is the drink of choice in Hyrule. Its nutritional value and refreshing taste is revered only slightly less than the zesty kick of Force Energy-related phenomena packed into them. A hearty glass of Milk is surprisingly good at keeping people on their feet while at the same time serving a similar but less poisonous role to what alcohol plays in other worlds. Some Milk varieties are extremely potent, capable of flooring first-time drinkers with the rush and buzz it brings - children are rarely allowed near them. Milk producers have long since developed secretive techniques that preserve Milk against spoilage and easy-to-produce refrigerated containers, and are fiercely protective of their herd's grazing lands and supplemental foods. Milk Bars flourish across Hyrule, stocked with a wide variety of popular brands (the famous Lon Lon Milk almost always chief among them.)
Of course, the nonhuman species have their own traditional or preferred diets. Gorons eat only rocks and widely drink mineral-filled hotspring water. Ocean Zora by convenient eat mostly fish and a few aquatic plants. Kokiri forage fruit, nectar, root vegetables, honey, and other forest goodies easily, while Deku Scrubs drink waters and some juices and draw nutrients from soil and sunlight. The omnivorous, savage Moblins tend to eat whatever they can get a hold of and safely digest, while Lizalfos and River Zora prefer flesh, and aren't picky about where it comes from.
Because food is scarce in the mountains and the Gerudo Desert, food raids are common among the Gerudo and Moblinkind. While the Gerudo prefer fast bandit raids on small food supplies and caravans, Moblins tend to assault the farms themselves, taking the high risk for the equally high reward.
Food preservation is accomplished through many ways. Enchanted containers can keep foods fresh for as long as they're kept inside, while various spells can bestow a similar enchantment on foods that last for months. The Seaside Province harvests salt from the ocean by dredging up great tubs of seawater and boiling the contents, or hunting down areas where evaporation results in natural deposits. Pickling, drying, and fermentation offer other methods for places without access to even the basic magic rituals to preserve food.
Health in Hyrule is rarely a powerful issue. For general injuries, milk's well-known for its healing qualities, and a good glass or two of it handles all sorts of cuts and bruises. Serious or life-threatening injuries, however, require the attention of a Healer. In towns and cities this will often be a professional medic who's well versed in an array of pharmaceutical mixtures and/or direct healing magics depending on aptitudes. Villages usually have someone wise in the ways of magic who doubles as a healer - one without one is one certain to fail - though quality can vary.
Many areas have access to a local Great Fairy. The Great Fairies and their host of helpers are often capable of dealing with any sort of injury or wound, but a handful of rare illnesses and poisons can stymie even them.
In short, casual injuries and illnesses may be painful, but are rarely life-threatening. Most health issues arise from strange and rare diseases, which often require special ingredients that grow in exotic locales to make the proper cures from.
Means to communicate instantly over long distances are rare in Hyrule. Mostly, it's limited to magical methods. Magic-using Hylians easily develop telepathy, but it's usually limited to individuals they're familiar with and is incredibly taxing to use, though certain magical devices can greatly aid range, targeting, and clarity. The Sheikah employ their network of Sheikah Stones (more commonly known as Gossip Stones for their tendency to spout useless jibber jabber and rumors when harassed) through secretive rites that let them imprint visions and knowledge for other Sheikah to access.
Small towns and villages usually employ word of mouth to get news around, while larger ones employ simple local post for private messages and town criers for public ones. For long distance, Hyrule Post is the only economical choice, requiring only a modest fee. Mail is a hierarchially distributed system, with collected letters arriving in the nearest hub town for to be sorted and arranged for delivery. Delivery is accomplished through whatever means are most appropriate and efficient. Horse relays or carts part of larger merchant caravans are used between hub town distribution centers, while from a distribution center to a village or other destination… they vary greatly.
For safe, short routes, runners (who often learn Enhancement Magic to achieve great speed and staying power) simply carry mail bags. Longer and/or more dangerous routes may involve guarded horse relays. Deliveries to extremely remote or dangerous areas, and any deliveries of highly sensitive information are handled almost exclusively by the Rito, though Loftwing Riders are sometimes employed as well. Flight keeps them safe from virtually any creatures or obstacles that might impede anyone else. Large packages often involve deliveries by wagon, attached to merchant caravans, or requests for pickup.
Smoke signals, drums, and other more primitive measures are used in certain special scenarios (drums are one of the most effective means of making sure signals are heard in war, for instance) or by more primitive races.
The Rupee is the currency of Hyrule and all the lands around it. Rupees are small gemstones cut from processed and exhausted Force Gems that come in a variety of colors, fashioned in a unique double-sided septagon - 7 facets across their two stretched-out hexagonal shape. They are known for their brilliant sparkle, and their value is more or less a constant throughout the lands. Despite this, they are generally only used as money, though some magical items are known to consume Rupees by draining the last vestiges of Force Energy they hold. Rupees, through the Force Gems they stem from, have been legal tender since before recorded history, and nearly everyone accepts them, or the slightly more valuable Force Gems of equal color. Hyrule's government runs a Force Gem trade-in program exchanging Force Gems for Rupees, using the Gems to maintain enchanted equipment and some crucial elements of Hyrule's infrastructure - like the Great Bridge of Hylia, and minting new Rupees from the drained gems they replace.
These days, very few Rupees are actually minted, though people tend to stumble upon them in all kinds of bizarre places fairly regularly thanks to the miniscule Picori, who love the idea of distributing a little wealth and happiness here and there. In addition to these finds, adventurers routinely come across hundreds of Rupees in forgotten crypts, uncovered caves, monster hordes, and ancient ruins, throwing the economy of the first town they come to into disarray as they spend their hard-won treasure.
The increase in adventurers in the past few years has also spawned an increase in barter. Citing the instability of the Rupee in this busy time, some commoners prefer to trade goods for goods. Cynical adventurers say they're just foisting off junk, while paranoid ones believe there's some kind of "trading game" conspiracy among the commoners.
Malicious enchantments have been laid on some Rupees, turning them black. These 'Rupoors' consume other Rupees on contact. Woe to the wealthy man who happens upon one of these and doesn't notice or know their danger.
Besides the Rupee, gemstones and precious metals are considered valuable, though not generally as currency. Even so, gold coins do turn up in ancient dungeons and treasure hoards, relics from before the Unification Wars or other long-forgotten civilizations, or perhaps minted for other reasons during Ancient Hylia.
Though local prices will always vary based on supply and demand, some example prices for goods and commodities are as follows for reference:
Glass of Milk: 1 Rupee
Glass of Lon Lon Milk: 2 Rupees
Loaf of Bread: 5 Rupees
A Dozen Eggs: 7 Rupees
Cucco (female): 50 Rupees
Peasant Clothing: 15 Rupees
Lodging (Tavern, Inn, etc): 5-15 Rupees a night
Longbow, high quality: 100 Rupees
Merchant or Noble's Clothing: 175 Rupees
Academy Tuition: 400 Rupees per Term
Work Horse: 70-100 Rupees
Fine Milk Cow: 200 Rupees
Warhorse and Equipment: 1,000 Rupees
Stabling for Horse: 10 Rupees a day
Land can be priced in the thousands of rupees per acre, and buildings range greatly depending on size, material, and craftsmanship. Hundreds of thousands of Rupees go into the work and materials involved in maintaining large cities. Enchanted equipment that is available, but rare and requires much skill and exotic materials to make (such as Pegasus Boots) might cost hundreds or even thousands of Rupees. Anything useful that can't be produced at all anymore is absolutely priceless.
- Rupee Values -
The Hylian Guard
The most prevalent security force in all Hyrule are the Hylian Guard, or more simply just 'the Guard' or 'town Guard.' At the top, the organization's centrally run out of Castle Town, which manages reports and sets overall policy and maintains kingdom-wide law as the Royal Family and Council decides. They arrange hierarchially downwards, further distributing authority to each of the 'hub towns/cities' (such as Windfall) and from there to each village.
Despite its name (which stems from the Royal Family whose interests they are guarding), anyone can join the Hylian Guard. The majority of members are Humans, and a great many Hylians are with them too - often easily reaching positions of authority. Still, Gorons, Zora, Rito, and even the odd Deku sometimes end up joining, among others. While Guards are paid, most village Guards end up needing to be vetted by public opinion before they're respected. For towns, recruitment is more of an employment matter and simply signing up. Guards do receive training and support from the government, and must meet certain standards, ethics, and inspections and so on, but have no rigidly set and codified procedures of how and when they operate - these are all decided by local needs. One requirement is uniform standards. While individual aesthetics can vary, Guards must wear some form of armor bearing the heraldry of the Hylian Royal Family to promote recognizability and the clear image of authority, and every city, town, or village in Hyrule has an official Captain of the Guard.
In remote villages that lack the money (and generally reason) to have a great host of Guards, they tend to be few in number, mostly autonomous despite the official rank structure, and have a fair amount of leeway in exactly how they handle day to day operations. Whenever anything big happens, they often call on locals for extra muscle, eyes, and ears, forming an impromptu militia. In bigger cities, which need far more patrolling for crime and defenses and keeping order, Guards are often elaborately equipped with expensive weapons and armor and maintain an ever expanding array of practices and procedures to keep up efficiency, with greater emphasis on rank.
Guards are tasked with keeping the peace, which typically involves physical protection of Hyrule's citizens and their property. They deal with criminal investigation and the defense of civilization as everyone knows it. As Hyrule lacks the resources to maintain a standing army, the Guard steps up in war times, assembling armies commanded by veteran Guard members and filled with brave citizens - or, in truly desperate times, conscripts.
The Knights of Hyrule
The Hylian Guard has never been able to handle quite EVERYTHING that comes along to trouble Hyrule. It is for this reason that the Royal Family employs the Sheikah to work in the shadows where the Guard can't reach or faces corruption, but sometimes something else is needed: A hero, someone to stand up and accomplish what no others can. These are the Knights of Hyrule, champions hand-picked and vetted by the Royal Family and their trusted advisors. Individuals of great martial skill and personal merit who have proven themselves stalwart allies of the Kingdom.
These are people whom the Royal Family could, and often does, trust with their lives and the lives of the citizens.
The Knights are an organization separate from the Guard, and rarely do more than a hundred or so exist at a time. The Knights work off of a vast budget overseen by the Royal Family and their advisors, and can exert considerable legal authority superseding that of Guards and even many government officials in the Royal Family's name when times call for it - though they must answer for everything they do. They have access to many national secrets and resources, when they have need to know or use them, and work more closely with the Sheikah than the average person would ever imagine. Knights are often called upon as champions of the people, and used as public role models, and are often sent out in small teams to deal with problems that would be far too costly in lives, rupees, and time investment for anything lesser.
Knights come from all walks of life, and all races. They operate purely based on merit, although Knights often gain so much respect and resources over time that they and their families effectively become nobility. The relatives of Knights do have it easier in becoming Knights themselves, given how easy it is for them to acquire funding for education, training, and even field experience - some Knights, for example, pass their skills on to offspring directly in hopes that they too can be accepted and take up the role alongside them.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Knights were lost fifteen years ago on a mission that went horribly wrong. According to the only eyewitness, Agahnim, they were all devoured by a terrible monster that he barely managed to seal away with his magic.
The Adventurer's Guild
Five years ago, the Princess Zelda took action against Hyrule's decline, and a method to compensate for the loss of its Knights. Secretly funding funneling and manpower, and relying on the Sheikah's information networks for the specifics, she orchestrated the founding of a new Guild, an 'Adventurer's Guild.' Essentially, it's a mercenary organization that receives tasks that need to be done by merchants, townsfolk, Guards, and whoever else has the rupees or goods to pay for them - though a few more altruistic members will work for free on occasion.
The Adventurer's Guild is a diversely distributed organization that Headquarters in Castle Town, but has very little regulations besides loyalty to a job and the poster and following the laws of Hyrule. Those belonging to it fall into two categories: Agents and Managers. Anyone can become an Agent of the Adventurer's Guild for a small fee and a test of basic competencies and ethics, but Managers are picked from the best of them and occasionally bought up by wealthy individuals.
Agents take up and fulfill requests, which vary widely. Tasks could be anything, quite literally ANYTHING. Examples include finding a lost cat, retrieving a rare medicinal flower that grows only in Summer on the slopes of Death Mountain, harvesting Dodongo hide and stomachs, demolishing a Moblin camp, recovering lost treasures from old ruins… the list goes on and on. Members are encouraged to share at least SOME amount of helpful information about they go about these jobs with the Guild as a whole, increasing the overall competency of the operation - though some trade secrets persist among individuals, which is only to be expected from experts.
The Adventurer's Guild filled a niche in Hyrule's economy that had been underutilized before, and caused a surge of new developments and prosperity. It organized what was before simply disparate enterprising groups and optimized them. The Adventurer's Guild has branches in most towns and cities, and even a few villages know someone they can send job requests to. For the most part, the operation has been a success: the Adventurer's Guild is responsible for averting several growing disasters and stabilized economical growth in many areas.
However, the guild serves purposes far greater than any member can imagine.
At the core of the Adventurer's Guild, a specially chosen group of its managers and agents performs the duties of the real reason it was formed. The Adventurer's Guild is the eyes and ears of Princess Zelda herself, expanding on the information that the Sheikah already collect. As an anonymous Sheikah who only goes by Sheik, she meets with them in Telma's bar, where they all together go over all of the information collected by Adventurer's Guild members, compiled and scoured to find patterns such as changes in the actions of Savage Races, odd shifts in local ppolicies or economies, or other weird events. She uses it to hunt for the cause of Hyrule's decline… and has so far found nothing concrete.
The Group holds no official power, and does not know exactly who it is they are collaborating with, but believe strongly in the Adventurer's Guild as a whole. Most of them would be Knights if they weren't otherwise employed in this more specialized task.