A math: (from the Dictionary 3rd Edition, 3000)
Compounds where Avout live and work. Several maths grouped together form a Concent.
Maths are surrounded by walls and, in general kept closed to isolate them from the rest of society (the Saecular world), other maths in the same Concent as well as other Concents. The primary exception to this is during the ten day period of Apert when the gates to the math are opened allowing those from outside to enter and tour the math and also allowing Avout to travel Extramuros. Total isolation is not practical, and specially trained Avout known as heirarchs interact with the Powers That Be in the outside, Saecular world, as well as coordinating shared functions between the maths in a Concent. This is done in ways to minimize the transmission of information about the Saecular world to the Avout. Coordination of policies within Maths is maintained by the Inquisition, a group of heirarchs who travel between Concents and therefore must interact with Saecular society.
The Avout grow all of their own food from plants which have been genetically engineered to contain chemicals that leave the Fraa sterile, thus preventing Fraa and Suur from having children which might eventually lead to a new race of hyperintelligent people. This sterility is not permanent, and the effects can be reversed in a matter of weeks if Avout stop eating food containing this chemical. By growing their own food the Avout are also able to avoid plants which contain Allswell, which is common outside of the maths. It takes two weeks of consuming Extramuros food for the effects of Allswell to become apparent, which is why Apert is restricted to 10 days.
A math may contain Avout from several orders.
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