I can sit up and use a keyboard perfectly well without having my limbs twisted around into an imitation hominid, thank you most kindly. (You anthropocentric jackass.)Rhif Oüärwaff,
quoted in Morphology Is Not Cosmetology
To clarify the ongoing rumors:
It is NOT true that people who kick the floor-cleaning robots in ISA-administered starports tend to have their luggage accidentally rerouted to Geydagan Down, where it is pillaged by a bunch of black-hole cultists, torn apart, used to clean up after ritual sacrifices, and recycled as toilet paper. The floor-cleaning robots are professionals, after all.
It IS true that we let everyone think so, because those sophs who are bothered by the notion more or less deserve to be.
– ISA Planetary Relations, internal update 7216/3, “Overheard…” column
In today’s episode of Speak Eldraeic Like A Semi-Literate Barbarian, we cover descriptive metaphors. These are the least accurate and thus, inevitably, the most common type of modified word, a phrase that can take the place of an análar in any part of a sentence where one may be used, including both the anesprel and the rélar.
The descriptive metaphor (or the atratanálar, “typed-concept-word”, to give it its native name), is the least accurate type of modified word because it avoids the complexity of precisely defining the nature of the relationship with sub-clauses and cases by relying on metaphorical interpretation by the listener. For example, the name for a certain common weapon, tragalrás athánar, “Meat Machine”, or by its extended gloss, meat TYPE-OF machine, actually says very little about the relationship between meat and mechanism.
Is it a machine made out of meat? A meat-covered machine? A machine implant for meat? A machine for growing meat? A machine that serves the function of meat? Or a machine, as it in fact is, for reducing folks to meat?
There’s no way to tell. It depends on interpretation of the metaphor¹, so it is a form best avoided in scientific or technical discussions, unexplored areas of intercultural or interracial exchange, and other precisionist-grade speech. To use them is to assume the risk of being misunderstood in exchange for briefer expression.
That said, atratanálar are the closest equivalent to the adjective-noun² or adverb-verb combinations found in Anglic³, which also blend two concepts in a type-of relationship. It should be noted, however, that while it and other languages have rules concerning which words are allowed to modify and be modified, in Eldraeic, any análar may modify any other; you have complete freedom of metaphor generation, limited only by the comprehension of your listener.
So, some examples (using a few words that aren’t in articles we’ve reached yet, but not in the vital parts):
pí tramúlet lórravár
This-here is-a apple-type-of-tree.
This is an apple tree.
ádar Méris tradúëlin nissívár
The-person-named Méris is a young type-of female.
Méris is a young woman. or Méris is a girl.
val tralaras hainár
I words-type-of fight.
I argue. (Probably. Heh.)
This is the basic form of the atratanálar. The descriptive análar is placed before the described, and prefixed with tra- to indicate its descriptive function. Within the atratanálar, the first component is referred to as the carylan, the modifier-concept, and the latter as the cadarylan, the modified-concept. The cadarylan carries the primary meaning and the carylan modifies it with secondary overtones to be applied in a manner appropriate to the cadarylan. (For example, in the second example, tradúëlin should be interpreted as “young in the manner in which nissí, i.e., females, are young⁴”.
Sometimes we need more complex descriptions, either attaching more than one descriptive metaphor to the same cadarylan, or using a descriptive metaphor to describe the carylan of a second descriptive metaphor. To combine this with an example of ambiguity resolution, consider the following Anglic phrase⁵:
That’s a little girl’s school.
If treated as an example of the former, it would be interpreted as
That’s a little school for girls.
And if treated as an example of the latter.
That’s a school for little girls.
Many languages use intonation, stress, or rhythm to show the grouping. Eldraeic does not, by design. Rather, it structures such sayings in the form of a stack of stacks, thus:
pá tracalma tradúënissí alathyravár
That-there is-a small TYPE-OF [and] girls TYPE-OF school.
That’s a little school for girls.
pá tratracalma tradúënissí alathyravár
That-there is-a (small TYPE-OF girls) TYPE-OF school.
That’s a school for little girls.
In constructing these complex atratanálar, the prefix tra- binds the carylan to the next cadarylan to its right on the same level of the stack. In the first example, therefore, both calma and dúënissí modify alathyra. In the second example, the doubled prefix tratra- does so at the next level of the stack; i.e., it binds the carylan “calma” to the cadarylan “dúënissí”, and does so before, interpretatively speaking, the single tra- present there binds the now-complete carylan “tracalma dúënissí” to the cadarylan “alathyra“.
Which is to say, it is simply two nested atratanálar. Various combinations of nested atratanálar form the basis of all the more complex descriptions we will cover below.
It should be clear that this system can recurse through arbitrary depths of modifiers, with increasingly repetitive prefixes of tra-, tratra-, and tratratra- – although as is a common feature of Eldraeic grammar, the language permits syllabic numerals (discussed in a later article) to be used rather than repetition⁶ – and that any construct thus assembled is necessarily unambiguous.
It’s worth saying, of course, that the equivalents of “pretty little girl’s school” in Eldraeic don’t have quite as many variations as those in Anglic. For example, aelva strictly means “beautiful” and does not have the auxiliary “very” sense that “pretty” does. Likewise, calma means only “small in size” and cannot mean “young” (which would be dúëlin). And, of course, alathyra technically doesn’t mean school, inasmuch as the Empire doesn’t use such institutions – it means institute/academy/university.
So we’re still going to use this convenient phrase in our example, but do bear in mind that we’re discussing a Beautiful Academy of Short Young Women.
There are five ways in which the análar of “pretty little girl’s school” can be grouped using tra- without reordering them:
traäelva tracalma tradúënissí alathyra
pretty TYPE-OF [and] small TYPE-OF [and] girls TYPE-OF school
a school which is beautiful, small, and for girls
traäelva tratracalma tradúënissí alathyra
pretty TYPE-OF [and] (small TYPE-OF girls) TYPE-OF school
a beautiful school for small girls
tratraäelva tracalma tradúënissí alathyra
(pretty TYPE-OF small) TYPE-OF [and] girls TYPE-OF school
a beautifully small school for girls
tratraäelva tratracalma tradúënissí alathyra
(pretty TYPE-OF [and] small TYPE-OF girls) TYPE-OF school
a school for girls who are beautiful and small
tratratraäelva tratracalma tradúënissí alathyra
((pretty TYPE-OF small) TYPE-OF girls) TYPE-OF school
a school for girls who are beautifully small
And that’s all she described!
See also later: inverted descriptive metaphors; logical connection in descriptive metaphors.
- While no general theory of interpretation exists, it is considered appropriate to maintain regularities of usage. Inasmuch as, for example, calma (“small”) and zahúën (“large”) are parallels, so too should be tracalma azik (“small stone”) and trazahúën azik (“large stone”), and in approximately the same way.
- Eldraeic only has análar, which serve all these functions.
- The closest convenient transliteration of “English” into Eldraeic phonology.
- Quite dissimilar, obviously, to the way in which yoghurt, buildings, or stars, are young.
- Yes, we’re going to use “pretty little girl’s school” as our example phrase, just like everyone else who gets here.
- Common examples being totra-, the little-used equivalent of tratra-, tetra– for tratratra-, and fotra- for tratratratra-. Not incorrect but never heard is netra-, identical to simply tra-, and using nitra- to mean something that does not describe the cadarylan at all is considered entirely too precious.
And yes, there’s a contemporaneous update of the vocabulary page, too.
Most blights are considered not only places not to go, but also places you cannot go, thanks to the englobement grids wrapping around them, having been correctly declared existential threat zones by the appropriate authorities.
The large ice moon of Torren, a gas giant in the Empta (Qulomna Maze) system which had the misfortune of playing host to the Torren Moon Incident, is an exception to this rule. Its englobement grid has a carefully maintained hole in it, monitored from an orbital habitat above.
Necrotheos Station, however, does not cater to the potential ghoul-tourism industry. Rather, the Torren Moon Blight is an example of what forensic eschatologists refer to casually as a friendly perversion and also as mostly dead; after the responsible perversion escaped its livelock laming, its bloom ended, as so many do, in a Falrann collapse which is believed to have wiped out the upper layers of its intelligence. In combination, these two factors ensure that, if you follow every guideline in the God-Botherer’s Safety Handbook with neurotic, obsessive-compulsive precision and run away promptly – while maintaining strict adherence to safety protocol – at any sign of undocumented behavior, you probably won’t have your brain eaten.
Naturally, this means that it was the perfect blight to preserve as a training venue for would-be forensic eschatologists. While primarily administered by the Imperial University of Almeä, the Empire’s Imperial State Security, the League’s Invisible Executive, the Photonic Network’s OOPSKILL, the Echelons’ Echelon of Hindsight, and even the Voniensan Republic’s Exception Management Group all make use of the facilities.
Public access is available to Necrotheos itself, primarily for visitors to the Memorial to Foresight Unheeded, constructed to honor the forensic eschatologist who provided warning to the wakeners a full eight minutes before the bloom. Public access to the moon below, on the other hand, is not permitted to anyone but those training there, and indeed flight guidelines state clearly that any starship traveling closer to the englobement grid aperture than the station itself will be destroyed without warning.
As one without any training in forensic eschatology nor desire to acquire it, I was not permitted to visit the moon in person. I was, however, permitted to view a small number of cleared slink recordings from previous visitors. From these I offer this brief summary:
The perversion was partway through the process of reformatting the moon into a computational megastructure at the time of its collapse: beneath its perforated surface lies a fractal maze of ice tunnels layered with ice-silicate opto-fluidic circuitry, occasionally broken by concentrations of metal identified as manufacturing centers and other facilities either newly made or repurposed from the original outpost equipment. Intense and variable radiation and magnetic field hazards abound near these facilities.
Robots of unknown design – and bioroid cyborgs of unknown design, repurposed from the material of the original project team and those involved in bloom response unlucky enough to be captured – continue to roam the maze, engaged in construction and repair activities without any apparent coordination (and occasional hostility) between groups. All are, however, uniformly hostile to any visitors.
The time trainees are permitted to spend on the surface, even in maximally protective suits/shells including Lorith cages (encoded transmissions are broadcast at random intervals within the tunnels) and anti-basilisk sense-filters, is strictly limited. Patterns in the opto-fluidic circuitry have been reported to have pseudohypnotic effects. The recovered mind-states (subsequently erased or archived in the Aeon Pit when not being actively researched) of those who overstayed these limits report memory gaps, impulses of unknown origin, and “whispers”.
Disturbingly, these whispers have occasionally been reported to include information from, or claims to be, one of the original outpost staff. However, there has never been any verifiable evidence of any intact or restorable mind-states within the blight zone; indeed, as researchers pointed out to me, it is entirely possible and indeed quite likely that the whispers themselves contained meta-information intended to produce the apparent familiar feeling of such information.
To close, I shall quote some of the warnings prominently displayed near the station’s docks and locks:
Do not joke about your mental state at any time while on the surface of the Torren Moon, during the return journey from it, or at any time before the expiry of your mandatory mental hygiene quarantine period. Under system safety edicts and professional conduct guidelines, any such behaviors may result in summary spacing without recourse, laser-grid incineration, and erasure of mind-state.
Beneath this, an unofficial addendum reads:
Frankly, it’s not all that great an idea to do so after you’ve been released from quarantine, either.
Those who have studied the prospectus of the Imperial University of Almeä may also have noted that their primary course in forensic eschatology lists a field visit to the Torren Moon facility as a final step before graduation – and that passing the class requires a perfect score on the first attempt. While surprising to some, this is generally accepted as the level of care required for any practice of the field.
It only reinforces this that the last warning to be seen before descent to the moon is the following:
Please note that participation in training events held on the Torren Moon WILL result in your current and any descendant mind-states being permanently listed as a potential contamination vector. Plan accordingly.
– Leyness’s Worlds: Hazards of the Core Worlds
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant;
if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be thought remains unthought;
if what must be thought is not thought, then what must be done remains undone;
if this remains undone, apprehension of truth and beauty will deteriorate;
if apprehension goes astray, the people will act poorly in helpless confusion.
Hence there must be neither arbitrariness or ambiguity in what is said.Aurí Péng, philosopher of Ochale, quoted in the charter of the Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology
This matters above everything.
Author’s note: This is inspired/based on a quotation from K’ung-fu-tzu, on the Rectification of Names (see The Analects of Confucius, book 13, verse 3, for the original), modified in accordance with the then state of Imperial philosophy. I think it fits quite well.
From the Truth and Reason/So Or No?/Extranet Claims memeweave:
The popular extranet site Caliéne Sargas Facts published the following fact:
In 7240, Admiral Caliéne Sargas of the Imperial Navy was awarded 1.8 billion quidpro in a defamation suit against the Ionazere Tribune. The Tribune had alleged in a 7239 Gradakhmath article that the Admiral had shown mercy during the reduction of asymmetrist bases in the belts of Refugium (Madel Cauldron).
Contemporary news articles from Ionazere (Cariane Deep) record the lawsuit and its outcome. Furthermore, even a brief examination of the remains left over from the Battle of Honne Gap, carried out from minimum safe distance, clarifies that the reduction was carried out with the Admiral’s customary efficiency, lethality, and attention to detail. Published tactical records, additionally, clearly show no evidence for survivors and no plausible mechanism for the possibility of survivors.
While Caliéne Sargas Facts is not known, in general, to be a reliable source of factual information, in the case of this particular claim they do appear to be accurate.
Ithával excellence tip:
“Pretentious” is the whip wielded by insipid souls against the ambitious. Treat it with appropriate contempt.
Kubé Salvarin legal tip:
He who guards a thing, guarants a thing.
Azuma Morotai family tip:
Devotion does not come from blood, but from the heart.
Olbria Amanyr courtesy tip:
Humility is a shameful admission in the low, and a nauseating affectation in the high. Eschew it.
Gilea Cheraelar lifestyle tip:
The best things in life are expensive. That’s what value means.
Olbria Amanyr pride tip:
Only the inferior must prove their superiority.
Arlannath ethics tip:
Ill means poison all good ends.
Vinaz Oricalcios health tip:
If someone doesn’t want to live forever, find out why they don’t want to live now.
Arlannath lifestyle tip:
You, and only you, are responsible for yourself.
Alwyn Muetry theology tip:
Seek not answers from the gods; ask them only for the right questions.
Arlannath philosophy tip:
Seeking the truth is a simple matter compared to accepting it, once found.
Olbria Amanyr ethics tip:
A gentleman’s promise is a gentleman’s debt.
Imperial surrender tip:
EMBRACE LIBERTY OR YOU WILL BE ERADICATED.
Kynthia Andracanth courtesy tip:
In his own hall, there is every man a sovereign.
Valentia Amanyr ethics tip:
None may perform by another an act which he may not perform himself.
Azuma Morotai social tip:
Fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.
Lord Blackfall plotting tip:
Explain your victory only once it has been achieved.
Isif Alclair preparedness tip:
Train as if you’re in command. You never know when you might be.
Orimúr Falsazik engineering tip:
If a solution’s side-effects make things worse, it never was a solution.
Gilea Cheraelar economics tip:
One should weep to hear the poor rail against greed, for it is as if the starving blamed hunger for their plight.
Azuma Morotai courtesy tip:
When one wolf seeks to challenge a rival, they bow.
Vinaz Oricalcios health tip:
Wounds to the body heal faster than wounds to the spirit.
Gilea Cheraelar economics tip:
That which has no price has no value.
daráv xíjirár; jaqef vigínár
(“A sophont chooses; a servile complies.”)
– traditional wisdom
Elyse Phylarius conflict tip:
We best destroy our enemies when we make them our friends.
Alphas Amanyr ambition tip:
Do not quail, nor turn away, nor shun risk, nor hide behind the mask of cautious counsel, for fortune favors the bold.
Sung Iliastren rationality tip:
You are the slave of the thoughts that you refuse to think.
Overheard From Another Universe courtesy/survival tip:
Don’t go visiting other folks’ intentions. Don’t ever.
Niomé Sargas dating tip:
Mortal peril may make for a fun date, but always let your companion know in advance so they can dress accordingly.
(Shoes that are both fashionable and perilous take time to arrange.)
Irilenne Naratyr fashion tip:
A sharp appearance may cut deeper than the sharpest of swords.
Elyse Phylarius negotiation tip:
She who speaks with anger makes her anger heard, but her words forgotten.
Octíëve Súrnedal documentation tip:
Write it, or you’re going to the special hell.
Marú Liuvis temporal mechanics tip:
Time travel can’t solve any problem that it hasn’t already solved.
Galatia Allatrian conflict tip:
If a situation requires violence, it can only require violence of an appropriate severity.
If it does not, it befits you as a daryteir to remain courteous, kind, gentle, generous, honest, and clement until the killing begins.
Even afterwards, if you can manage it.
Gilea Cheraelar economics tip:
Cultures that develop elaborate philosophies about their lack of need for wealth are compensating for something.
Alphas Amanyr greatness tip:
Look upon my Works, ye Mighty, and surpass them!
Here as a partial apology for a slow COVID-caused month is a collection of random things of a snippet-like nature I have said over the past couple of months in places other than this blog. Enjoy them, such as they are!
On attempting a rapid “unsafe start” of a fusion torch drive:
The result of most attempts at an unsafe start is melting assorted things in the engine room and/or the containment vessel, and having to pay very large fines and the costs of having a HAZMAT team get your wreck into a safe condition to drag to the wreckyard. It’s sort of like putting a bunch of monkeys in charge of starting up one of our CVNs; they can very easily wreck a very expensive boat, but you’re not going to need to replace Norfolk any time soon.
So, for example, you accidentally screw up by bypassing the proper automatic sequencing and collapse the mag-bottle for the nozzle. The energy that was in the mag-bottle gets fed back into the containment power circuit. Alarms sound, breakers trip – the really big ones that use explosive charges to separate the closers – and a whole bunch of machinery in Drive Power One through Three, including the buffering accumulators, turns into molten slag as there’s a real intense local thunderstorm. The spikes that make it through the breakers, because you’re a civilian ship, cause some random electrical failures and trip the main bus off the line in self-protection.
You, sitting in the maneuvering room, get to watch your console light up and then black out as the corresponding machinery stops existing, the emergency fire procedures dump liquid nitrogen into, then vent, the Drive Power spaces, and the master alarm signal adopts a particularly dramatic tone. Then the lights go out, and you’re left sitting there in the bloody glow of catastrophe from your console and emergency bug-lights.
You have a few seconds to contemplate your poor life choices before the Flight Commander comes down there and introduces your brains to a BIG GODDAMN WRENCH.
“All I’m saying is that pansexuality is a very large claim to make in a universe with as many sophont species as this one.”
“We’re shipping forty million tons of individually-packaged spider-silk personal refreshment wipes twelve-hundred light years?”
“Do you want the detailed answer, or just a comment on the absurdity of the universe?”
“The details, please.”
“It’s hard to keep them wiping their asses with sand when they’re sitting on a fortune in spice.”
For reference, my notes on the Transcend’s position at any given time read as follows:
“[continuing to win its game of full-contact solitaire Calvinball with the universe]
insert ‘all according to keikaku’ meme here.”
When complaining about the “you must be smarter than this stick to ride the Empire” immigration rule:
“We have empirical evidence that those who do not pass these specific tests are dangerous to themselves and others in our environment.”
“Yeah? Show us this evidence!”
passes over data rod full of watchvid
“This… this is the last three seasons of Too Dumb To Live, Too Unlucky To Die!?”
I’m sorry, but around here we only do consensualist agoric-annealing group-mind transghiblian art-deco ecotopic benevolently-hegemonic technothearchy with elvish characteristics.
“Where the fuck did all these dragons come from!?”
“As per chapter nine of the manual, dragons are a normal side-effect of a kami-based ecopoesis system.”
“She’s a bit of an alkahestic.”
“You mean an alcoholic?”
“Not unless alcoholics like dissolving things more than anyone ever should, no.”
“We do not negotiate with terrorists.”
“And yet you are here talking to us.”
“Did I mention that I am officially classified as an Ambassador of Mass Destruction?”
From an extranet compilation of Calíëne Sargas Facts:
“Calíëne Sargas does NOT possess the Eye of Balor, and as such is unable to vaporize enemy vessels simply by glaring at them. This ability has only been confirmed to affect officers ranked lower than Commander (O-6) or equivalent grade.”
Also, in defined terminology, once naval types produce something larger than a superdreadnought (bearing in mind that a hyperdreadnought is fundamentally based on a superdreadnought hull profile), they are formally typed as BM (“warmoon”) and BP (“dirigible battle planet”).
(The latter is currently a hypothetical category. Should it stop being, or a stage be skipped – well, no-one actually knows what the next type up would be, but it probably won’t be “Death Star”.
And for those curious as to Imperial titles of nobility – more specifically, runér titles – the planetary ones are rather too long a list to get into for the moment, insofar as they’re a tangled mass drawn from a large number of cultures maintaining their own systems welded into a single Table of Ranks.
On the other hand, the interstellar titles are nice and simple, being a creation postdating the Consolidation and thus a simple hierarchy. So, from the bottom up, we have:
- Ecumenarchs, holders of the Imperial Mandate over a given planet, dwarf planet, or large moon, of constituent world membership class, including its associated local orbital habitats. Captain-governors of relativistic city-ships are also ranked as ecumenarchs.
- Starkeepers, holders of the Mandate over a given star system, along with all its inhabited planets, other bodies, and drift-habitats.
- Sectarchs, holders of the Mandate over groups of high-population or otherwise important worlds, requiring more attention than would be practical for the attached constellarch, such as the Galari Trinary. Note that there is no regionality named a “sector”; the title comes directly from the root.
- Constellarchs, holders of the Mandate over all Imperial worlds within a particular constellation.
- Great Lords of the Sextants (after the Spice Way Program is placed into effect), holders of the Mandate over all constellations attached to a particular Far Star Station. There are not necessarily six of them; the title is a recreated historical holdover.
Other interstellar runér titles include Marchwarden, a title used for the holder of the mandate for a remote ecumenical colony or Imperial Exclave, not yet suited for full constituent status, but which for whatever reason requires a full runér rather than a Ministry of Colonization-assigned rector; and Castellan, assigned to the attached civilian governance of a military or scientific outpost beyond the borders of the Empire.
Far different from Loral Torateir is the second acclaimed as peerless among warriors. Born in a small village in the north of Fúmókorá, the northernmost of the six primary islands of Kanatai, Kadí:ú of House Shótará – or, to give his name in the traditional manner of Kanatai, Shótará Kadí:ú – was a lordling of the House, which at the time of his childhood was a allied family to House Amilá, whose genarch in turn was one of the warlords contending to rule all Kanatai, having already established rule over the northern two-thirds of the island.
In his youth, Shótará Kadí:ú was educated as a gentleman of Kanatai and as befitted an aspirant heir to the Shótará. However, it is recorded that he proved a trial to his father and genarch both with his determination to master the arts of the blade over and above any other skill, and spent much time avoiding his other studies in favor of spending time in training with the ashigaru and shikari of the House, and in sparring with any visiting swordsmen who might have anything to teach him. It was at this time that men first began calling him Kadí:ú the Duelist.
The path of his life was set, however, at a contest held to honor the visit of the House’s Amilá allies. It is recorded in the annals of the House that Kadí:ú returned early and unexpectedly from transacting family business in Kyo Shimana to find the contest beginning, and so competed wearing the dusty ashigaru armor he had worn for the road. It was after defeating all challengers before their eyes and all the worlds’ that the Shótará acknowledged Kadí:ú’s true calling, and that his genarch presented him with the weapon – already an heirloom of House Shótará, although little before recorded – that was to define much of his later career, the Sword That Cuts All Without Distinction.
In the hands of a lesser man, the Sword might have – and did – defined its wielder by the slaughter they could so easily inflict. In those of Shótará Kadí:ú, however, the Sword served a different purpose. While he bore the naked blade of the Sword¹ with him all his days, he made use of it on only a few occasions throughout his life.
For Kadí:ú was a man dedicated to the art of the blade, rather than the thrill of battle. As such, he declined to use the Sword in duel or war, believing that its use made for no true challenge of skill, and while honor-bound to use no lesser blade, he rose to this challenge by becoming the greatest single-blade combatant in the history of Kanatai.
In this way he fought with the smaller blade alone even as his name grew, from Kadí:ú the Duelist to Kadí:ú of the One-Hundred and Forty-Four Duels², and as he was named a general in the service of the Amilá warlord, and as that warlord’s realm spread by his efforts across Fúmókorá, and across Airíshú, and the isles around. Such was his reputation that many of his later battles were resolved by challenges, rather than meleé, and such were his honor and his gentlemanly ways that many of those who surrendered to him in his master’s name found themselves becoming his strongest supporters, and attaching themselves to his legend.
Said legend, alas, was cut short when Kadí:ú crossed paths with a legend to be, Morotai Marála, later acknowledged as the greatest master of the two-sword style. A friendly spar between the two ended in tragedy when a dyanail practice blade shattered during their bout and a long shard struck Kadí:ú in the eye, to fatal effect.
It is a matter of record that after Kadí:ú’s death and without the weight of his name, the Amilá proto-empire collapsed. However, while it took centuries, the line of Shótará Kadí:ú rose in prominence to become the first of those to stand second to the apex in the newly-unified Kanatai Imperial Shogunate.
– Legends of the Time-Before
1. The Sword That Cuts All Without Distinction was, naturally, unamenable to being sheathed. When not being worn or hung from its unique stand, wielders of the Sword would often simply drive the blade into a convenient boulder or even the ground, into which it would promptly sink up to its guard. Despite this, it could be drawn forth as easily as if it merely rested within water.
2. This epithet reflects only the lethal duels of his career; counting the others, Kadí:ú fought several thousand over the course of his life.
The latest of the unique experiences to make a splash on the Summerion culinary scene is Mortal Delights (135° Cordané Circle). Owned and operated by a mysterious chef going only by the attributive name, “Shikairá”, Mortal Delights offers the unique opportunity to experience lethal cuisine.
This need not be a terminal experience. Shikairá has taken advantage of the disposable demishell technology pioneered by Synthetic Extras, ICC of Mirrortown to render dying for one’s dinner both safe and economical.
The process begins when you make a reservation, and submit with it a copy of your bio-profile. (This isn’t strictly necessary, but most diners prefer not to have the experience inside a generic blank, especially when dining in company. Mortal Delights then grows one of their custom demishells – designed for enhanced perception of taste, smell, and texture, along with resilience, and a minimally traumatic death experience – to match your profile.
The experience, contrariwise, begins with your arrival at the restaurant. If you arrive by physical travel, temporary storage of your usual body – and equivalent nutrition – is provided courtesy of their on-site body hotel. Alternatively, you can mindcast directly to the restaurant. In either case, you’ll reinstantiate into the demishell and be ushered to your table.
Dining itself always begins with a tasting platter, a collection of samplers of various foods from across the taste spectrum, to allow you to first acclimatize to the demishell’s enhanced senses, and then to cleanse your palate before moving on to the main event.
And what an event it is! While some standbys are always available, Mortal Delights has fortnightly specialty experiences covering many of the Empire’s most dangerous cuisines: live cheese from Tortelys, the entémaerth of Kanatai prepared without the removal of the poison glands, a plethora of fungal dishes, stone-wine tastings, “hot” nuclear gastronomy, reflexively-digestive cultures, and a variety of exocuisines ordinarily considered indigestible. Pick your poison, as they say.
After dinner, you may yourself – should you survive for the moment – transfer your mind-state back to your usual body; if not, this will be taken care of by the staff. Either way, you’ll return home remembering the experience – no pun intended – of a lifetime!
– from Delphys, Planet of Myriad Delights,
(pub. Delphys Resplendent Awareness Circle)
(In the course of reading through this, the attentive reader and language hobbyist may note that Eldraeic bears more than a few similarities to Loglan and/or lojban. This similarity is, of course, purely intentional.)
To examine the grammar of a language, one must start by breaking it down into its most basic elements. In Eldraeic, being a language of logical form, the basic compound element is the predication, or esprel, an assertion of something about the world:
It is blue.
A predication (esprel) is made up of several components. At its center, you find the anesprel, or predicate, the assertion being made. An anesprel is one of the análar, or concept-words (derived from anála, concept, and laras, word) which make up the majority of the Eldraeic vocabulary, which has been adorned with -ár, the predication suffix, which marks it as the anesprel. (The predication suffix may be lengthened to -vár when the análar ends with a vowel.)
análar, thus, effectively serve as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and many adverbs, all of which are types of assertion.
The esprel also requires arguments (rélar) to fully define the assertion being made by filling in the complete form (see below) of the anesprel. These can appear anywhere around the anesprel, although conventional, non-poetic form places the subject/actor before the anesprel and the remainder of the arguments after it. The precise function of a given argument relative to the predicate is given by a case tag which is prefixed to the argument, although that for the subject/actor is normally omitted when placed alone before the anesprel. Others are mandatory.
While a full list of case tags will be given at a later date, that for subject/actor is a-; that for object/acted-upon is an-. These two are the most commonly used. More details on forming arguments will also be given at a later date. For now we are using mirílar (lit. structure-word, derived from miríë, order, and laras), words with special grammatical functions, specifically some of those which can occupy the role of a pronoun. Strictly called free variables, the special words sá, sé, sí, só, and sú can be bound to any argument, regardless of any other properties it may have, and used later to refer back to that argument.
Thus, we can see that in the phrase
sá fidúrár an-sé
the first rélar, the subject, is sá (A), the anesprel is fidúr (…is bluer than…), and the second rélar, the object, is sé (B). Or, to write it in plain English simply, A is bluer than B.
Comparative? No, Complete Forms
It should be noted that fidúr, when used as an anesprel, means not simply “blue” but “SUBJECT is bluer than OBJECT” (or to give its full complete form “SUBJECT is bluer than OBJECT by STANDARD”). This is the case for most análar which refer to properties; likewise, relational análar, such as aldren (sister), can have a similar complete form, “SUBJECT is the sister of OBJECT [by bond/tie STANDARD | from parents CREATOR <set> ]”.
Every análar has (and is listed thus in an Eldraeic dictionary) a complete form expressing its full meaning when used as an anesprel, defining the entire meaning of the resulting esprel by showing the places in which its expected arguments sit (and the case tags to be attached to them). This complete form is not binding with regard to which arguments you must supply – you may omit arguments and add additional ones via case tags which are not found in the complete form – but it is assumed that the arguments from the complete form are present, even if unspoken. Thus, all blue objects are bluer than something, all sisters have sororal bonds and/or parents, and when you make something:
mahav (make) has the complete form “SUBJECT makes / assembles / builds / manufactures / creates OBJECT out of materials / parts / components COMPONENT using tool INSTRUMENT”
It is implied that you make it out of something and use a tool to do so.
The Omitted Argument
What then does sá fidúrár, which we earlier translated as “it is blue” mean? Well, technically this is an allowed elision of a slightly longer form:
sá fidúrár an-uis
uis is an indefinite argument (of which more later), which serves as a verbal ellipsis, a placeholder for when an argument is omitted; such incomplete esprel always imply uis. Naturally, it can be elided – in normal speech, you never actually need to say uis – but it can be useful if you wish to draw attention to the argument you are omitting.
As an omitted argument, uis means “something which exists but which I am not bothering to define, except as implied by the esprel I am within”. In the case of sá fidúrár an-uis (or simply sá fidúrár), you are simply saying that the subject is bluer than “something”, which is to say, that the subject is blue.
Two special types of esprel are the observative and the imperative. Of the imperative we shall speak later.
An observative, meanwhile, is simply an esprel in which the subject/actor is omitted. These are referred to as observatives because their common usage is to observe that something is happening without details and to communicate that quickly; for example, should one find oneself in a crowded theater, one may cry:
without wishing to take time to establish precisely what is burning.
For those who can’t follow @firstname.lastname@example.org on Mastodon, or who prefer their helpful space elf life advice in larger lumps, here’s this month’s monthly digest post.
Imperial lifestyle tip:
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you’ll be alive.
Saravóné integrity tip:
Even if? Let justice be done especially if the heavens fall. Any heaven built on corruption is no true heaven.
Imperial civics tip:
If you would have a better world, pick up a hammer.
Kanáralath debate tip:
A sword is not an argument.
Cordelia Vintar-ith-Vidutar exploration tip:
When you detect a new civilization, call down and introduce yourself. No-one likes a creeper.
dar-bandal ethics tip:
A pup’s ball is the pup’s; a pup’s teeth are the pack’s.
Istar Sargas resource-management tip:
A dagger in the night is worth sur-dodeciad swords at dawn.
Ianthe Claves technepraxic tip:
The problems of knowledge will not be solved by ignorance.
Bertil Rúädha business tip:
To better compete, cooperate; to better cooperate, compete.
Alphas Amanyr management tip:
Trust your people. If you need to stand over them or bind their hands with rules, you shouldn’t have appointed them in the first place.
Galatia Allatrian social tip:
Courtesy is a man’s obligation; friendship, his gift.
Jynne Cerron safety tip:
Where arms may not be borne, there it is well to bear arms.
Valentia Amanyr lifestyle tip:
To be honored, behave with honor. To be respected, be respectable. To earn credit, pay your debts. This is the thing and the whole of the thing.
Lauré Muetry-ith-Mirari aesthetics tip:
The purpose of art is to uplift, inspire, and enlighten. Never subvert. Only supervert.
Olbria Amanyr character tip:
Noble blood is born from ancestry; noble souls are born from right action.
Fellowship of Natural Philosophy research tip:
Knowledge is its own justification.
Octíëve Súrnedal networking tip:
It’s always the Endpoint Location Protocol. Even when it isn’t. Even when it can’t possibly be. It’s ELP.
Lyris Belacquan transparency tip:
Dark deeds flourish in darkness; what cannot be done in the light ought not be done at all.
Traest Sargas tactical tip:
Treasure an enemy who seeks to die in the service of his cause; for you and he have the same objective.
Olbria Amanyr leadership tip:
If authority must be exerted by force, it is already lost.
Esseldár progress tip:
The old ways are best, except when the new way is better.
Cinníäs lifestyle tip:
No intemperance is greater than lack.
Eight Bloody Sages exploration tip:
Don’t fear the unknown. Make sure the unknown fears you.
Galatia Allatrian Darkest Night tip:
A gift is an appreciation of the recipient’s worth. Appraise your people highly today.
Valentia Amanyr ethics tip:
Where the law fails, honor must make good.
Alphas Amanyr career tip:
Pride is not a weakness. Ambition is not a failing. The stars are yours if you have but the will to grasp them.
Alwyn Muetry theology tip:
A god is a verb; an idea potent enough to reshape the world simply by existing.
Behold the faces of the gods that you refuse to name.
dar-bandal self-defense tip:
Tear at the throat, and be done.
Cordelia Vintar-ith-Vidutar exploration tip:
Death is not the next great adventure, nor is it an undiscovered country. Rather, it is the end to all possibility of adventures and discoveries.
Don’t go in without backup. Or until you’ve made a backup.
Xian Anandonos-ith-Anaxios strategy tip:
The ignorant fight to win; the enlightened win before they fight.
(And if you have forgotten, the quick guide to who all these folks are is found here.)
Memeweave: Threats and Other Dangers/Microbiologics/Other/Open Access
Classification: WHITE (General Access)
Distribution: Everywhere (Bulk)
As received at: SystemArchiveHub-00 at Víëlle (Imperial Core)
Language: Eldraeic->Universal Syntax
From: Interstellar Immunity (Trailing Central Division)
This is a CASE CHYLE declaration for the Hope Nebula, Lisune Pass, and Sullen Wildlands constellations.
To recap, this division dispatched a task group of hospital ships to several worlds in the Hope Nebula, Lisune Pass, and Sullen Wildlands constellations in response to a number of requests for assistance stemming from an epidemic outbreak of a non-specific microbial infection provisionally typed as Xhelageneae paracoccus aminophilus.
Reports received from our senior medical staff aboard IS Bradycardia, flagship of the task group, indicate that the infection shows the distinctive markers of genetic engineering. It is not a registered engineered organism or based on known industrial prototypes. However, it is the product of a relatively advanced biotechnology.
Note that we do not believe that this modified Paracoccus is intended as a bioweapon or ecoweapon; its symptoms are merely those of a mild pneumonic infection (although infection is systemic), accompanied by severe loss of energy.
However, it is notable that the Paracoccus possesses a lengthy strand of purely non-coding genetic information in addition to the functional plasmid, a strand which is notable for undergoing substantial directed mutation (accompanied by high restriction enzyme and ligase activity) in the period between replications. We have concluded that this strand represents the working data for a DNA-based computer; informatic study of this strand’s sequence suggests that it is a digital representation of encrypted data.
While full analysis and simulation studies are yet to be completed, we believe that this anomalous Paracoccus strain represents an attempt to use an epidemic disease as a massively parallel processing system for cryptographic purposes.
It will of course be necessary for the designers of this disease to collect the output data when the underlying process has run its course. Since the processing is stochastic, our current model assumes that it will be necessary for successful bacteria to engage in rapid replication (possibly accompanied by enhanced virulence) and generation of a unique protein marker – possibly an artificial symptom – likely to appear in the medical literature to enable recovery of a sample containing the successful bacterium’s sub-strain. These may in themselves constitute a hazard to private and public health.
As such, we recommend that all medical facilities within the Hope Nebula, Lisune Pass, and Sullen Wildlands constellations contact their Interstellar Immunity representative with details of any unusual symptomology or unique protein markers appearing in patients admitted with X. paracoccus aminophilus infection; and that all the above medical facilities perform security reviews of all staff in a position to obtain, purloin, or analyze fluid or tissue samples from any such patient.
(While this last is not within our ongoing medical remit, we strongly urge all intelligence and security authorities to cooperation in this in the strongest possible terms. We ourselves will be communicating all relevant data current and future to the Biologics TAG, to Imperial ExSec, and to the medical and security attachés of every Conclave delegation.)
Further information will be made available as it is confirmed.
For the Foundation,
Dr. AATAACAGGAGA, DM, ExB, ExMB, FICS.
We talk this week about the Eldraeic alphabet, and how it is pronounced.
There are 48 symbols in the Eldraeic alphabet. Leaving aside the twelve numerals (whose pronunciation as words will be addressed later when we get to syllabic numbers), the remaining thirty-six characters are letterals; twelve vowels, and twenty-four consonants.
Note that Eldraeic doesn’t use capitalization; there is only one case. When it is desired to emphasize a word (or a name), traditional means include – depending upon mode – a change of color of ink, a cartouche, or a suitable calligraphic fillip.
The traditional representation of these, as taught to students across the Empire, is in a grid with a few missing cells at the bottom right, like this:
|Short Vowels||Long Vowels||Plosives||Fricatives||Sibilants||Nasals & Rhotics||Exotics|
|a [æ]||á [a]||b [b]||v [v]||z [z]||m [m]||l [l]|
|e [e]||é [e]||p [p]||f [f]||s [s]||n [n]||h [h]|
|i [I]||í [i]||d [d]||ch [t͡ʃ]||zh [ʒ]||r [ɾ]||! [ǀ]|
|o [ɒ]||ó [o]||t [t]||th [ð]||c [ʃ]||rr [r]||q [kw]|
|u [ʊ]||ú [u]||g [g]||j [ðʒ]||x [ks’]|
|y [ə]||ý [«]||k [k]|
Not here that the two-letter combinations reflect single Eldraeic letterals.
Additional symbols are used in some modes to indicate stresses and tones, but while these provide useful side-channels for communication, they aren’t part of the strict language grammar and won’t be touched on additionally here.
Having now disposed of the orthography, let us move on to the phonology. While the IPA representations of the various letterals have been included above, in the more detailed notes below, I include some examples of equivalent English phonemes for the non-IPA speaker. The trouble, of course, is that these reflect how I pronounce English, so caveat reader. You may also find this page useful.
First, we go through the vowels, of which there are two mirrored sets, short and long. To begin with the short, we have:
- a [æ], a near-open near-front vowel; pronounced like the a in cat.
- e [e], a close-mid front vowel; pronounced like the e in pet.
- i [I], a near-close near-front vowel; pronounced like the i in bit.
- o [ɒ], an open back vowel; pronounced like the o in dog.
- u [ʊ], a near-close near-back vowel; pronounced like the u in put.
- y [ə], a mid central vowel (schwa); pronounced like the a in about.
And then the long vowels:
- á [a], an open central vowel; pronounced like the a in father, but a little further forward.
- é [e], a close-mid front vowel; pronounced like Spanish e, French é, or the trailing part of English say without the closing glide.
- í [i], a close front vowel; pronounced like the i in machine.
- ó [o], a close-mid back vowel; pronounced similarly to the o in dough or joke, but without the closing glide.
- ú [u], a close back vowel; pronounced like the oo in boot.
- ý [«], an elongated schwa; pronounced like being very confused “uhh”.
Now on we go to the consonants, and we open with the plosives. All very simple:
- b [b], a voiced bilabial stop; pronounced as in boy, sober, or job.
- p [p], an unvoiced bilabial stop; pronounced as in pay, super, or up.
- d [d], a voiced dental/alveolar stop; pronounced as in dog, soda, or mad.
- t [t], an unvoiced dental/alveolar stop; pronounced as in tea, later, or not. Note to American English speakers – even between vowels, the Eldraeic t never elides to a d.
- g [g], a voiced velar stop; pronounced as in go, eagle, or dog.
- k [k], an unvoiced velar stop; pronounced as in kill, token, or flak.
And then the fricatives:
- v [v], a voiced labial fricative; pronounced as in voice, savor, or live.
- f [f], an unvoiced labial fricative; pronounced as in fee, loafer, or chef.
- ch [t͡ʃ], a compound; pronounced as in church, chutney, or chew.
- th [ð], a dental fricative; pronounced as in thus, therefore, or they.
- z [z], a voiced alveolar sibilant; pronounced as in zoo, hazard, or fuzz.
- s [s], an unvoiced alveolar sibilant; pronounced as in so, basin, or yes.
- zh [ʒ], a voiced coronal sibilant; pronounced as the s in pleasure or in vision.
- c [ʃ], an unvoiced coronal sibilant; pronounced as in the sh of ship, ashen, or dish. Never pronounced as either s or k. (Well, hardly ever: sometimes I fudge some C-as-K when transliterating to English for the convenience of English readers who would expect one there.)
- j [ðʒ], a voiced post-alveolar affricate; pronounced as the j in juice.
The nasals and rhotics:
- m [m], a voiced bilabial nasal; pronounced as in me, humor, or ham.
- n [n], a voiced dental or velar nasal; pronounced as in no, honor, or son.
- r [ɾ], a rhotic sound; pronounced as the short r found in car, baron, or right.
- rr [r], a rhotic sound with trill; the tongue-tip trill found in Spanish and Scots.
And finally the exotics, most of which are not particularly exotic but which don’t fit neatly into any of the other categories:
- l [l], a voiced lateral approximant; pronounced as in low, nylon, or excel.
- h [h], an unvoiced glottal spirant; pronounced as in aha or hello.
- ! [ǀ], a dental click; not found in English – since species vary widely in their ability to click, you can substitute any other click here and it would be understood, but for a human speech apparatus, it’s supposed to be a dental click.
- q [kw], a compound; similar to the q in quart, or quake, but while the w-part is there, it’s also swallowed somewhat. Just not enough to make it identical to k.
- x [ksˈ], a compound; pronounced as in xanthine or Alexander.
There are also the diphthongs, but while I may get back to them later, I’m going to let you figure them out yourselves from the vowel descriptions for now, mostly because if I have to listen to any more pronunciation examples to figure out the correct IPA, I may just stab myself in the larynx.
But that does bring up one important point. Apart from the acute accent used to indicate long vowels, core Eldraeic does make use of one other accent, represented in the transliteration by the diaeresis. This indicates that the letter it is placed above is pronounced separately from the previous one. So, for example, it indicates that the last part of ashíël is not a diphthong, and would correctly be pronounced ee-el.
While mostly used for diphthongs, the accent can also be used on consonants. For example, the word
which has a diaeresis here represented by a trailing colon over the second s, is properly pronounced kas-sendal.
Other things we will get to later include that letters have both pronunciations (i.e., patterns to turn letterals into words) and names which are used as a phonetic alphabet. But that’s not now, and nor is it next time.
Next week, we’re gonna do some predication.
(ttto: O’er the Hills and Far Away)
The generals ask if we will go
To test our strength against the foe
And make the host barbarian pay
Beyond the stars and far away
Beyond the stars and worlds away
In Fringe, in March, or off in Ley
The throne commands and we obey
Beyond the stars and far away.
When duty calls us we must go
For sentinels ’tis ever so
A legion life the coin we pay
Beyond the stars and far away
So to the transport we shall come
Our eagles burnished as the sun
She lifts, and we are on our way
Beyond the stars and far away
Then we shall fight with beam and shell
Until the field resembles Hell
But for the Empress we shall stay
Beyond the stars and far away
When Darkness lies upon the land
We will not hold or stay our hand
But fight to bring the break of day
Beyond the stars and far away
If we should fall on foreign shore
As legion brothers have before
Then drink, and let the trumpets bray
Beyond the stars and far away
But courage, lads, that’s not today
While conquering colors we display
We’ll live to fight another day
Beyond the stars and far away
– legionary marching song
A quick meta-post for those who haven’t already learned this elsewhere –
Inspired by (but not affiliated with in any way) the Twitter account @PicardTips by way of a reader suggestion, helpful life advice from a variety of colorful, mostly-Imperial characters from the Associated Worlds is now available in the Fediverse / on Mastodon by following:
For those of you who don’t have Mastodon, you can always read them directly off that account’s profile here, or add the RSS feed to your reader here. Also, while very short at the moment, a guide to the characters offering individual bits of advice can be found here.
(And remember: if you take advice from anyone named Sargas, you know what you did.)
As people have been requesting more linguistics and vocabulary, welcome to the first article in our new approximately-weekly series, Speak Eldraeic Like a Semi-Literate Barbarian. (From the remarkably unpopular Like a Semi-[whatever] Barbarian series of self-help books.) It will consist of a series of chapters discussing different features of the language from the bottom up, and will (once there is some) also add a vocabulary list page to the site that we’ll expand on as we go.
In this first chapter, the introduction, we talk a little bit about the language and its various forms – most importantly, what the rest of this series won’t contain.
First of all, one should bear in mind that Eldraeic is a constructed language within as well as without the Associated Worlds universe. It was specifically developed to be the official common language of the constituent nations of the Empire of the Star. As part of the Imperial Charter, the various constituent nations and their successors agreed to universal fluency in Eldraeic.
The language was developed, to some extent, before the Imperial period; reifying the original version took nearly a century of scholarly debate (with the odd duel and brawl to break the monotony), combining aspects of the sundered languages of the original nations redesigned for precision and clarity – its exquisitely regular grammar has a strong mathematical basis that makes it ideally suited to express logical and technical concepts. It was eventually released for general use in 8.
However, while Eldraeic became, as intended, the shared language of governance, education, global media, and commerce, it was accepted and encouraged that the constituent nations would keep their original languages for daily use. As a consequence of this, Eldraeic has adopted many loan words and borrowed features as the Empire has expanded – indeed, it has become quite fashionable to lard one’s conversation with words and phrases borrowed from one’s cultural tongue – and many of these have found themselves incorporated into subsequent releases by the Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology.
There are two –
(Okay, three, but the third is one people would prefer not to admit to.)
– well-known Eldraeic dialects.
Low Eldraeic is the one we’ll be talking about in this series. It’s the standard version of the language spoken by the entire Empire for day-to-day purposes.
Then there’s High Eldraeic, which we won’t be covering. Unlike such languages as High German, High Eldraeic is an extremely sophisticated prestige dialect, used on the most formal of formal occasions, the highest of official documents, by savants and scholars, poets and artists. As well as the normal alphabets, it can also be written in several dedicated glyphic systems conveying multiple dimensions of meaning.
(We won’t be covering this because it’s every bit as complex and flowery as the most elaborate forms of Heian-period court Japanese on top of that of the language itself.)
Then there is Trade. Trade is, from one perspective, the interstellar language of communication, trade, and diplomacy that predated ubiquitous machine language translation. From another perspective, it’s an Eldraeic pidgin hacked for simplicity, which incorporates a significant number of words and grammatical features from other languages of the Worlds, split into many mutually-mostly-comprehensible dialects. From yet another, it’s a painfully grating mutilation of a beautiful language that it would be nice never to have to hear again now that machine translators can render just about anything into minimally competent Eldraeic.
(We won’t be covering that one, either.)
Another aspect of the language is its variations adapted to the different vocal apparatuses (and to an extent, psychology) of the different sophont races of the Empire. While difficult, it has thus far been possible to keep the variations isomorphic.
The version we will deal with here is Eldraeic I, the original varietal of the language released in 8, and thus obviously suited to the eldrae throat and range of hearing. (And thus, additionally, suitable for human speech and hearing.)
Other versions include:
- II, released in 443, which is a sign language based in gesture and digit positioning (having its origin in military and engineering gesture-sign languages);
- III, based on pause and interval like Morse code, and therefore suitable for even primitive communication channels;
- IV, a variation of I adapted for the canid throat, and while still relatively close to the original has a growling, howling character;
- V, designed to be best spoken underwater;
- VI, a compressed binary representation used primarily between digisapiences, which in its slowed-down audio representation resembles the twittering of modem cant,
- VII, encoded in color and pattern, for species with chromatophores,
- VIII, designed to resemble the natural communication of silicon-based species such as the galari, and many hydrogen-breathing gas giant species, for use over natural radio communication,
- IX, made up of ideographic chimes and tones of various harmonic frequencies forming thousands of sub-symbols, similar to mynenio and thus favored by the myneni and similar tympanic speakers,
- X, a varietal of whistles and trills used by avians and other whistle-speakers,
- XI, a scent-based variant for those who speak via chemosynthesis,
- and more…
There are three primary written forms for Eldraeic – if we discount the ideographic writing, which is now largely relegated to commonly used store signs, calendars, watch faces, emoji, and other such usages – each of which uses the same 48-character alphabet written in different forms.
The runic alphabet, commonly known as hexrunic, is derived from forms of writing pioneered by the azikeldrae for carving into stone or inscription upon metal. Thus, it largely eschews curves, and avoids ascenders and decenders which interrupt symmetry; hexrunic is compact, making use of modified hexagonal and part-hexagonal shapes which use space efficiently. Combining accents are placed within the letters.
This alphabet was also commonly used on early computer displays, both teletypes and pre-WYSIWYG digraphic displays (being naturally monospaced), and many of the most commonly used technical fonts are designed for it.
There are also two cursive alphabets, one designed for pens and descended from Selenarian originals, a language of graceful, tall curves, with an italic slant and ascenders and descenders offering free scope for calligraphic flourishes and ornamentation. Each character flows freely into the next. Accents are added above the text.
A second cursive variation, designed for brushes, is taken from the writing styles of Ochale and Kanatai, which has also become popular for writing on slates and other pressure-sensitive surfaces. This variation also gave rise to claw-letters, a modification devised by dar-bandal savants for easy inscription by clawed species.
Next time, we’re going to discuss the actual 36 letterals (and 12 numerals) of the Eldraeic alphabet, and the language’s phonology.
oolkor voäin: A gutterspeak corruption of the Low Eldraeic, and Trade, phrase ulquor vohaïnár, literally “no brawl (is present herenow)”. (From ulquor, zero degree quantifier + vo, second size prefix + haïn, battle + ár, predication affix, in this case creating an observative.)
Unlike the original phrase, which is not used in this sense by civilized speakers, the gutter form is often heard grunted as a greeting and farewell by the less reputable sort of mercenary, pirates, slavers, street gangs, and other assorted lowlives and scum of the galaxy, indicating a lack of desire to fight at the present time and place and a hope for its reciprocation.
It reflects a surprisingly sophisticated sense of irony that the traditional response, “ankan voäin”, is a likewise corrupt form of anqan vohaïnár, meaning “just a little brawl”.
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
In all of legend and the Time Before, only two warriors are acclaimed as peerless, those whose renown alone carried such force of authority that none would dare stand against them.
Of first note among these was the Sky-Born Loral Torateir of Telírvess, daughter of Marlais Torateir of the Drake-Bone Blade, shield-maiden, shield-biter and blade-licker to the hearth of Cloudpeak’s jarls, the Grimward-Kissed, eldest of the thirty-six Sky-Born Lighning-Blades, the Wolf-Spirit Maiden-o’-the-Pack, captain of the Blood-Blued Wave, crowned with braids of crimson and gold, who in youth sailed and raided with the Fangs of the Storm, who, having earned her name, carved her legend in blood across the islands of the North, and whose bones, and dust, and name lie forever beneath the mount upon which her name was earned.
Fell-handed, tall and grim of mien, she came to the Stairs of Arkuel’s Watch as the ant-men of the southern green-lands descended, and in that narrow place did slay and slay again, step by step, pace by pace along the winding stair. By their hundreds they came upon her, and they died. In hundreds more they held their ranks against her, and they died. The last hundreds fled from her, terrible in aspect, with armor drenched and hair thick with the blood of their fellows, and they too died, slain as they fled wailing, until the last, in their terror, hurled themselves from the cliffs of the Watch.
And from that day, it was said that none would face the Sky-Born Loral Torateir, now known as the Blood-Washed, such was the fear her name alone inspired.
– Legends of the Time-Before
A DOUBLE ANCESTRY:
MAPPING ELDRAEIC GREENLIFE GENETIC ANCESTRY
FROM PRIMORDIAL PSEUDOELDRAE ARCHAEA
Academy of Genomic Archaeology
Fíä Eredhech, High Daëntry, Llorallin
<CYAN GLISSANDO IN B FLAT>
Information-Bearing Molecular Mechanics Lab,
Self-Replicating Carbonics Interest Group,
Well Elíeran, Adírdis, Tessil (Galari Trinary)
Underside Institute of Genetic Studies
Isonímé, Kyo Kanatai, Kanatai
Center for Holistic Bioinformatics,
WITH THANKS TO
Office of Biological Preservation,
Imperial Genome Repository
Imperial Grand Survey
The eldraeic genome is both a mosaic and a palimpsest with respect to its evolutionary and engineered history. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of the DNA sequence alignments found in the approximately 76% of the eldraeic genome shared with Pseudoeldrae archaea, encompassing both genes and intergenic regions, we have been able to construct a map of the greenlife segment of eldraeic genetic ancestry.
We conclude that the eldraeic genome is derived from the intermingling of two groups of Pseudoeldrae archaea, which while having considerable genetic overlap nonetheless possessed sufficient group divergence for sub-species classification. One of these groups is typified by specimens recovered in or near the Precursor site found in the Dragon’s Nest range of Greater Cestia, for which we suggest the taxonomical name P. archaea amanhadír; the other is typified by specimens recovered in or near the upper Unsea and lower Sweetshallow and the Dragon Gate Precursor site, for which we suggest the taxonomical name P. archaea aecalhaër. In both cases, these specimens date to the primordial period of approximately -360,000; later specimens show evidence of ongoing interbreeding or the potential use of artificial methods of gene transfer.
Furthermore, we have been able to trace the development of a variety of genes in the eldraeic genome from these primordial subspecies through to E. alathis. Of greatest interest are a number of genes whose development can be traced specifically to one or the other subspecies. Most prominent among these are the melanocortin receptor allele responsible for the distinctive skin and hair coloration of the Daën-lin and other lumeneldrae ethnies, present solely in the primordial P. archaea amanhadír; and the now-ubiquitous EPAS1 low-oxygen adaptation allele present solely in P. archaea aecalhaër. The rare epicanthic fold alleles found in some ethnies tracing their ultimate ancestry to the Ochale or Kanatai regions also appear to be specifically derived from P. archaea aecalhaér.
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