This post is a glossary of some terms from the Providence Paranormal Universe, where all of the college series books take place. I’ll have something later this year set in the same world but in a different town in Rhode Island. Stay tuned!
The Academy– Something between a community college and a military academy for extrahumans, the Academy is geared toward helping extrahumans who don’t play well with mortals get ready to join a blended society.
The Big Reveal– The term used for the 1990s, when the world discovered magic was real and extrahumans existed. The decade was marked with fear as everyone adjusted to the changes. Since the 21st Century, law and technology work for both humans and extrahumans.
Boston Internment– A reaction by Boston government officials to the disappearance and suspected trafficking in extrahumans, especially shifters. All registered extrahumans in Boston lived on barges for close to a month under guard by the Boston Police. But the traffickers got their hands on some magical gadgets, rendering the protection useless. Few survived.
Changeling– A mortal child of either one or two Faerie parents. They have the potential to become Faeries themselves if they use their powers enough, though they can avoid it indefinitely if they also have magic or psychic powers and use those instead. Most changelings tithe sometime in their twenties, though some do it earlier than they have to.
Cherry Blossom School– A dojo geared toward teaching extrahumans self-restraint, meditation, and how to temper their enhanced physical abilities with more mundane skills. It’s been around for close to 100 years, run by the Ichiro family. Mundane classes used to be offered as a front but now are just a separate division.
Dragon– The only shifters who can see both magic and psychic abilities, though only while shifted. The most powerful ones can partially shapeshift. Dragons are immortal and reproduce infrequently. There are so few of them since the Reveal that they’ve started taking other magical shifters as mates.
Faerie– A term used to describe either a changeling who has tithed to a Monarch and spent a year and a day in the Under or the Pure creatures such as Gnomes and Pixies who were created by the King and Queen.
Ghost– A dead mortal or vampire with unfinished business becomes a ghost. If a mortal makes a contract before death, that gives them unfinished business and lets them linger. When ghosts finish their business, they move on, But no one knows where they go from here.
Kelpie– A magical shifter who gets their abilities from an enchanted Faerie pelt which bonds with their soul. The Kelpie pelts were created by the Goblin King, so they have unseelie energy and restrictions. A Kelpie’s animal form is a horse. Families pass the pelts down each generation, and part of each ancestor lives on to help their descendant. The ancestors can get distracting, however.
Magus– A mortal who can use magic. Magic comes from energy in the world. A magus channels the energy into an element or sometimes, light or darkness. Magic is universal, making one magus’s fireball spell nearly the same as the next’s. Most magi can only use one type of magic, usually an element. However, there are a rare few who can do more than one kind. Those are called Extramagi.
Providence Paranormal College– A school founded just one year after Brown University and located right in its shadow. Providence Paranormal used to admit only magi and psychics, but it’s been accepting all types of extrahumans ever since Henriette Thurston became Headmistress. There has been trouble since then for students and faculty, leading people to believe dissenters are sabotaging the school.
Psychic– A mortal with a psychic power. Psychic ability comes from a person’s own body and mind. A psychic’s power is individual, so two psychics with the same power might not use them exactly the same way. For example, one precognitive psychic might use tarot cards while another will use the I Ching.
Seelie– A word to describe the Sidhe Queen’s court. The Seelie way is all about following the letter of the law, even when it’s hard or seems cruel. They have a hard time reconciling Faerie rules with the new mortal laws since the Big Reveal.
Selkie– A magical shifter who gets their abilities from an enchanted Faerie pelt which bonds with their soul. The Selkie pelts were created by the Sidhe Queen, so they have seelie energy and restrictions. A Selkie’s animal form is a seal or sometimes a sea otter. They can use water magic as long as they wear the pelt. Families pass the pelts down each generation, and part of each ancestor lives on to help their descendant. The ancestors can get distracting, however.
Shifter– A mortal who can take on the shape of a vertebrate animal. Shifters have one distinctive form, with coloring similar to what they have in human form corresponding with fur, feathers, or scales. Shifters lose whatever they are wearing when they change forms, so they often keep a change of clothes handy and wear something easy to get out of in a pinch. They usually have an enhanced sense while human-shaped, which goes along with their animal. For example, an owl shifter might have keen eyesight and a wolf shifter a great sense of smell.
Spectral– Magic that manifests as the light of day. Powerful practitioners of Spectral magic are charismatic and have an easy time lying to others.
Summoner– A type of psychic who can form a contractual bond with Pure Faeries, letting the Summoner call them at times of need. Each creature has an anchor, some item symbolizing the bond. Mastery of Summoning takes decades of study, which is why the most powerful are either vampires or past middle age.
Tanuki– A magical shifter with enhanced speed and the ability to see all types of magic while shifted. They are also the only creatures who can manipulate Luck, causing it to turn from good to bad or the other way around. They stop aging if they own a charm infused with Luck from humans. Very few of those charms exist, having been either used up during the reveal or locked away.
The Under– The Faerie realm. It’s been divided into two parts ever since the Sidhe Queen and the Goblin King split up thousands of years ago. Mortals don’t age in the Under, but it’s a dangerous place for them to be. Getting lost means never being seen again and it’s easy to get indebted to something nasty while trying to get through or out of the Under.
Umbral– Magic that manifests as darkness and shadow. The most powerful practitioners of Umbral magic are difficult to remember without psychic ability, Faerie magic, or a shifter pack bond.
Unseelie– A word to describe the Goblin King’s court. The Unseelies bend the rules, making them much more appealing to the new generation of changelings. Unseelies can navigate mortal society much better than their seelie counterparts.
Vampire– An undead mortal who drinks blood to survive and enhance their abilities. Only regular mortals, psychics, and magi can get turned into vampires. Shifters, changelings, and Faeries won’t turn, though most of those won’t survive the attempt.