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CONLANG  May 2012, Week 3

CONLANG May 2012, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Whale of a Tale

From:

Padraic Brown <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 16 May 2012 06:39:46 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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--- On Mon, 5/14/12, Puey McCleary <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> http://www.wycliffe.org/go/careers/typesofwork/languagework/translation/bibletranslationstepbystep.aspx

Quite a lot work!

> I have no idea what a "Lolcat Bible" is supposed to be. But
> I found this while looking for the above:

Looks like a combination of garden variety email misspellings plus texting
conventions plus everything has to do with cats. Not sure quite what the
point is supposed to be. Especially with the cats.

> Padraic, there are several different routes that you could
> take if you were
> interested in writing a novel (or series of novels), or a
> collection of
> short stories, or as Garth has suggested a travelogue. If
> you’re more
> comfortable with discussing novel-y things with me off-list,
> go ahead.

Sure, we can do that! I'm not sure how interesting that would be for the
whole group.

> Otherwise I may start tossing ideas at you. 

That's fine! Ideas are always helpful!

> But this all depends on what
> exactly your intentions with the World are.

Would "finding out everything there is to know" be too high to aim? ;)

> I do like the travelogue idea, and there are many ways to
> make that part of
> your plot. For instance, we have a young character who needs
> to go on a
> journey, and on the way he or she ends up seeing the world.
> Just think of
> The Odyssey, or Dune, of the Lord of the Rings. You get the
> idea.

That's actually a pretty good idea. Sort of "young woman, tis time to go
back to your own people now, far in the East. Here. Your parents had this
with them -- it seems to tell one everything one needs to know about
Easterners. Very strange. Perhaps it will guide you well?" And on she 
goes, off to seek her destiny, armed with only her atlatl, knife and a 
travel guide of dubious quality that purports to be the ultimate guide to 
the far distant Lands of Sunrise...

I could still do a straight travelogue, and quote from it when our hero
finds herself in a bit of a pickle.

> However, I get the impression from your writing (and I may
> be quite wrong
> about this) that you’re able to expand on some aspect of
> the World in an extemporaneous and rather humorous manner. I can see 
> some of these
> descriptions such as of your "polyspeculum" as being a foot
> note. 

I've never been afraid of long and diversionary footnotes! 

> Gulliver
> meets Bartram and maybe just sees the polyspeculum, and the
> somewhat
> intrusive narrator adds a footnote which is basically the
> first five paragraphs of your last email epistle.
> 
> I think anyone would like to see a comic opera based on
> Alexander the
> Possibly Above Average. Alex was after all the very model of
> an ancient princely general.

Badoom tsh! I was thinking almost the exact same line!

> I’ll have to write down peweytas-LU. 

You have three basic options. See http://www.frathwiki.com/images/5/5e/Peweytas.jpg

The first is the little used syllabary, then the regular and cursive
alphabets.  As you can easily see, all three are closely related. The
syllabary always left quite a lot to be desired, as the symbols didn't
quite fit the phonology. The alphabet resulted from simply dropping the
nonsensical vowel readings. In addition to the alphabetic forms, there
are about a hundred-some logograms, some of which are determiners others
are simply ordinary words.

> Puîye is the diminutive of Puîyos, the
> name of the Crown Prince … it’s all complicated thing.
> It’s actually almost
> a feminine diminutive. He has three sisters and some female
> cousins who’ve
> afflicted him with that name, and of course his future wife
> calls him that.
> This occasionally causes humorous situations when a rather
> large and
> ferocious enemy looks at the Prince and, before the combat,
> has to ask him, "How did you get a girl’s name?"

(:

> It actually would be interesting to see the world where the
> Fenian Cycle or
> the Ulster Cycle, in a highly developed form, were the
> equivalent of
> Arthurian mythology. So there would be some very ancient
> bones to these
> stories, but they’ve been mashed together many times,
> developed and mutated and blossomed.
> 
> This could be used as a plot for a story that you write. In
> the World,
> what’s the legend that’s the equivalent of the Quest for
> the Holy Grail, but in this different cultural context?

I'd have to think about that one. I don't know of a particular legend that
quite fits the bill. The knights of various realms in the Eastlands have
gone after all sorts of quests from the Seven Wands of Weem [1] to the
Beeker of Sewemas to the Quest for the Milch Cow of Qarabaw [2].

Well, all except for the knights of old Yllem. They never went a-questing
at all. Not since that infamous incident with Sir Rodger and the Hare of 
Ardmore.

"Ah, yesyesyesyesyes. No. Yes, we don't go a-questing no more," said Sir
Puukembol.
"Oh, nonononono. Yes. No, we don't go a-questing no more, sir! Give it up
fer Lent we did," said Sir Frompe Lais.
"Gar! Giver up fr Lent!? Youse two ain't even good Kristian gents!" said
the Jester John.
"Ah, yesyesyesyesyes. No. Yes, we ain't Kristian gents. Give it up fer
Lent too!"

> I do like, though, how the World is a little different to
> some alternate
> histories in that some alternative histories just seem to
> have Everything
> Our World Has, but with slightly different names. 

Well, there's some of that too. But there's usually a twist or a turn to
it as well. One thing I liked about how we came up with people in the Ill
Bethisad project was to take a real person and craft a sort of doppelganger
that would be both obviously based on the real person but also quite
different. Some of that goes on in the World too. Thomas Eddystone, who
deducified and demythified the mystical Spirits of Elektra City is on the
one hand a nod to Thomas Edison who invented light bulbs and so forth but 
also a nod to the Eddystone Light which is also a light bringer of a 
slightly different sort and quite his own man in the World, being a
hawker and monger of all things elektrical as well as an artificer and
tinker of the highest order. Does a pretty good turn at advertising his
wares, too:

"Clean Energy! No more fussing with arcane rituals or thaumics of dubious 
origin and quality! No more mussing about with smelly lamp oils or 
obnoxious incantations! You too can come aboard the waggon that is 
carrying the band & light your home or workshop with the Clean 
alternative! Write today for our informative broadsheet on the NEW energy 
source that is lighting up the whole nation! The powerful alchemical 
amalgamation of Nature and Thaumology -- the harnessment of the Spirits of 
Elektra City! (Eddystone Power Works, No. 22 Wharf 7, Auntimoany North; 
Thos. Eddystone, Prop.)" 

His system involves using specially bred salamanders arrayed in something
called "bat trees" and by agency of small imps that periodically tap the
beasties on their tails, the salamanders emit a steady current of juice
which is brought into houses and shops by means of copper wires. The beasts
want nothing more than to lounge about in their bat trees sunning 
themselves. It's practically free energy! Lord Nicholas "Don't Even Talk
to me About Salamanders" Teilsecoueille would be proud!

> The fact that the World *doesn’t* have Charlemagne or Islam or the Song 
> of Roland almost makes it more different than the fact that it actually 
> has magic as a real force.
> 
> As exotic as I may find the Rum of Kemeteia-Misser and the
> marriage
> practices of their ruling houses, in all fairness there are
> similar customs
> among the holy Pwéru, the House of the Sun, who are
> Princess Éfhelìnye’s
> family, the Divine Caste. Her father’s parents were
> siblings, after all,
> and their parents were almost certainly half-siblings.
> However, in their
> defense, considering that they really are divine, perhaps
> those of us in
> our world shouldn’t worry about it too much.

Well, naturally, the gods can pretty much get up to whatever shennanigans
they like! I mean, when you've got a bloody lightning bolt for a lance,
who's going to say "um, isn't that your sister you took to make out rock
last night?"

I should note that sibling marriage is well known among the Daine as well,
though for quite different reasons. It is not held in high esteem, as far
as relationships go, but it is tolerated when the siblings in question are
twins. Twins are just plain odd -- Daine believe that twins are one
person in two bodies, and it is true that they can hardly stand to be
separated for long periods of time. Some can hardly stand to be out of
sight of their other. Imagine forcing one to marry some girl from out
east while you force his twin to marry a girl from up north! They'd go mad.

It's not a problem when both twins are the same sex. They tend, if they're
after marrying at all, to find a set of girl twins and settle down all
four. The problem is when the twins are a boy and a girl. That can be a bit
dicey as they more often than not are too closely bound to each other to
even consider a relationship outside their own pairing.

> This does however cause a few quirks in their language.
> Words for "brother"
> and "sister" quite often can mean "cousin" or "friend."
> However,
> occasionally, especially among the upper classes, such words
> also get used
> even among married couples, even though they’re clearly
> not siblings.

Interesting. Well, I guess if your father is a god and he banged his own
mother, that would make you your own uncle, so it's not a surprise that
their language ends up that way! ;)))
 
> This actually is quite relevant to Ruth. Boaz consistently
> calls Ruth
> "daughter," in our version. In the Khlìjha version it will
> almost certainly
> be "maiden" or "sister."
> 
> Your outline of great cataclysm is wonderfully descriptive.
> 
> I’m going to guess that the Dark One could be used as a
> translation for the
> Satan character in the Bible, if he already isn’t the same
> chap. 

They aren't the same person, though in the sawyery [3] of Men, the two are 
usually fused along with Lucifer who is also different.

The satan, in the heavenly order of the World, is nothing more than an
officer in God's court. The Adversary. The satan is an angel who happens
to be tasked with, well, testing wayward Man.

The Dark One is one of the Powers -- the firstborn and mightiest of God's
children. The Powers are above all the ranks of angels. The Dark One,
or Dwimmerdwere as he is known to the Wise, rebelled in choosing chaos
over the order of the created universe.

Lucifer is our more well known "devil" or "satan" figure. He is indeed the
mightiest of angels and his rebellion at the time of the creation of the
first Men stemmed from his deep and unshakable love for his Creator and
his pride as First, this latter of which has distorted the former and has
kept him from being able to acknowledge the gifts of the younger races.
From this devotion to the Creator and his banishment has evolved his
particular hatreds of all the younger races.

One might wonder "why are there two devils? Surely one is enough for any
universe!" It seems to me that they differ, not just in relative might, 
but also in kind of evil they have brought into the universe. Lucifer
brought forth from himself "moral evil" -- the evil done by one person to
another by agency of their will. Rape, murder, war, slavery, racism,
specisism -- all of these are evils that people choose to inflict on
other people, and because Lucifer has such disdain for beings of earth
and physicality, such loathing for base matter, such incomprehension that
his beloved Creator would meddle in such impure things, he delights when
he is able to coax someone to fall from the Way even a little.

Dwimmerdwere is an entirely different fellow -- his contribution to the 
Plan is "chaotic evil" -- the evil that results from a deviation or
breaking away from order. When a lion strikes down a gazelle and devours
him, we call that the natural order; when a hurricane blows up a hundred
miles from the east coast, we say that's a close call. But when that same
lion takes down a child and eats him, we call that animal a monster; when
a hurricane slams into a city and floods it and hundreds of people die,
we call that a tragedy and divine retribution against sinful man. These
are the evils that Dwimmerdwere delights in. He doesn't care if you
strike your brother or call your little sister a bad name. He likes it
when a volcano erupts and destroys an ecosystem; he revels in the deaths
of stars and the collision of asteroids with planets. He brought into the
universe the shattering of the First Order -- before he came onto the
scene, the universe was an absolutely perfect creation. Not a single
subatomic particle was out of place. Everything was in perfect order -- a
beautiful and static masterpiece. When Dwimmerdwere cracked open the egg
of being, what he made was a chaotic scramble.

He does this simply to oppose and mess with order, not to destroy and not 
out of any kind of hatred or enmity. Lucifer wants to destroy the physical
races -- but to what end? Will he be truly happy with no one left to
torment? Dwimmerdwere was simply happy watching chaos unfold, knowing that
once introduced, chaos and order will ever be in delicious balance.

> The Beings in the flaming heart of the world may lend their names to
> Beelzebub or any other similar names mentioned in the Bible.

The Beings referenced here don't inhabit the flaming heart of Gea -- they
live quite a ways up from there! The circles of the world beneath our
feet are home to many hidden peoples, these Beings are but one that the
Wise know about.

Deep in the basement layers of the Gea's crust lie the Pillars of the 
World, well beyond the ken of the wisest of Daine or Teor or Man, even 
beyond the ken of the deepest or all but the very allerdeepest delvings of 
Dwarrow or Gnome kind, there dwell unnamed beings of immense age and 
indeterminate nature -- spirits or entities that have inhabited the heats 
and immense pressures of the Ankanic Fire, the world's seething and 
roiling molten interior since the Creation. 

Word of these beings comes to the wise through the lore of Gnomes and Dwarrows, who although they surely have no direct knowledge of such beings, nevertheless inhabit the subterranean worlds and at times delve quite deep. Their knowledge therefore does not appear to be direct but rather comes at second hand. Whose hand that might be is anyone's guess!, for the heat at those depths burns all flesh and the airs become heavy and will crush any being of the upper worlds. This must mean that there are other peoples or beings who have acted as middlemen in passing on knowledge of the deepest parts of Gea.

I would not put it past the hazy memories and lazy scholarship of Men to
mistake these entirely a-moral Beings with devils and demons like 
Beelzebub!

And they aren't even the deepest dwellers of Gea, for well below the
viscous Pillars of the World exists the wild and untamed thousand mile
deep Ocean that is at the Uttermost Deeps of the World. Only the Creator 
knows with any certainty what wonders and perils lie further down below 
the Pillars of the World or what creatures else might live down in Gea's 
depths. Saranay, a Daine sender of Darennalie, who was able to send some 
part of her spirit riding along with the spirits of other creatures, cast 
her net deep and wide, and found some things swimming in the vast ocean of 
nickel and iron, or else moving about at the bottom of that ocean whose 
heat is so powerful that the heat of the Ankanic Fires up above seem 
frigid in comparison. For there are indeed creatures of immense size and 
incomprehensible composition that swim through the vast thousand mile deep 
ocean of liquid iron. 

Crushing pressures no surface animal could withstand; unimaginably violent 
hurricanes whip across the surface of their world unchecked; powerful 
currents flow twisted by the convection uplift from the unfathomable 
depths and solid metal precipitation rains back down from above -- these 
mark the habitat of these unknown and unknowable beings of the Uttermost 
Deeps.

They live in an electric world -- a five thousand mile wide dynamo 
generating massive amounts of electrical, magnetic and thaumic energies. 
These creatures use these waves to communicate as easily as wolves howl or 
whales sing. Their forms are varied and many are curiously angular. All of 
them are cloaked in superrefractory alloys or compounds utterly unknown on 
the surface, and their bodies, protected by thick armour, are latticeworks 
of metal, animated by the magic around them. More than one kind of them is 
cloaked in thaumium, pure, solidified magic. Any wizard of the upper world 
would give his right nut for an ounce of the stuff. Most of them swim in 
the upper Ocean, where the temperatures are cooler, and only the hardiest 
of them dive into the deep Ocean or better yet, creep and scuttle along 
the deep vales and traverse the plains of the solid core itself. 

And down at the bottom of that Ocean of Iron? Traverse the unimaginable 
depths more hellish than any mere demon could withstand, all the way down 
to the Hot Valleys where at last solid ground is reached and temperatures 
soar to eleven thousand degrees or more. Down here is the World's Heart --
a solid globe of compressed nickel, iron and other goodies spinning around
within the Ocean above. Here, in the deepest of all recesses of the
planet called Gea lives a being known to the Daine as Yeola, and she is
one of the Star People, extremely ancient factitioners whose magical 
powers were so great and extensive that they left their original world 
that could no longer contain them and went up into the sky. And when they 
left their homes and went up into the black sky, there they began to sweep 
together dust and light in order to make their own worlds. After many ages 
of careful sweeping together, the first and most powerful of the 
factitioners, whose name was Halem, created the first and largest star in 
the heavens. So much dust and light and magic had gathered around Halem's 
body that it began to whirl all on its own and formed around him a 
luminous globe that later people would call a star.

Yeola is the daughter of Varen, who swept together the Sun, and she has
three brothers and seventeen sisters (I'm guessing they either know or
suppose that there are 20 planets orbiting the Sun.)

So, that's a quick lesson on World cosmology. If anyone tries to sell you
a story about world trees and oliphants wandering round pon the backs of
bloody great turtles, well, that just so much mythology!

> I’m guessing the Beings have suitably Cthulhu-esque names.

I'm sure that if they have names at all, they would unpronounceable by
human mouths! But I'm also sure that two-bit scholars and alchemists of
past ages have made up plenty of names for them.

> Oliphants toppling the ancient city of Jericho is quite
> imaginative.

No imagination on my part! That's straight out of the Bible! Joshua had
his lads saunter round the walls of Jericho blowing upon their ram horn
oliphants and the walls came tumbling down! Well, they did have the Ark
as well, so perhaps it wasn't jùst the blaring horns!

> However, my real concern is what one would do with the rest
> of the Book of
> Joshua. The historical texts are quite a complicated web of
> references, and
> trying to find a cognate for each one would be quite a
> challenge.

There I could get away with about anything -- there's no guarantee that
history works out the same *there* as *here* after all!

> I don’t know why I imagine Thomas Eddystone with wild
> white hair standing on end and mutter "1.1 giga-ambers."

(: 

> But that’s all a story to be told at another time. I’m
> going to get back to Bible translation issues for now.
> 
> ##
> 
> Since we’ve brought up Judas, I must say, one reason why I
> like Jonah is
> that it’s challenge was fairly one dimensional. One reason
> I like Ruth is
> because the problem is almost entirely cultural. But once we
> dip our toes
> into the New Testament, there are all sorts of theological
> concepts, or
> plot points, or the like that may cause problems. One of them
> may well be Judas. I don’t know what exactly to do with him.

Well, here it shouldn't come as any surprise that the World is divergent
from *here*. I'm not a theologian or a biblical scholar (and I don't even
play one on radio). For me, issues of theology and exegesis are definitely
back burner items. It's its own world with a different cosmology and
a different cosmogony. It stands to reason that the theology of its
religions and even its Bible-analogue should be reflective of that world's
reality rather than be forced to conform to our world's theological or
doctrinal imperatives.

Thus, Judas is an angel who has come to Gea with his Lord to journey here
a while. Does this fit with our Bible or any Christianity's doctrine of
Judas's treachery? I doubt it.

In order to answer your question, I'd ask this: is it your intention to
"inject" a Bible foreign to the Land of Story, treating it like an alien
object to be translated in such a way that natives of the Land can
understand the outlandish concepts? Or, is it your intention to "grow" a
Bible that is an organic constituent of the Land of Story, treating it
like a thing native to the Land in such a way that the concepts it
presents are seen as utterly natural to the natives that might read it?

For the World, I chose the latter approach. The former approach is equally
valid, though would be out of synch with the World. It is not a place that
is home to a star base or some galactic empire's trading post. The people
that live there have always lived there (or at least no longer recall the
time when they lived elsewhere). Their Bible is the product of their own
faith and imagination, not a work brought in from outside. (Except, I
suppose, in a mythological sense -- it is believed that the various
components (Torah, Psalms, Evangel) are reflective of the Prototorah,
Protopsalms and Protoevangel that exist in the presence of the Creator.)

> The other problem is what to do with Satan or the Devil. The
> Land of Story
> has no character that quite corresponds to him. But then
> again, we’re
> famously told that Klingons have no devil, but I’m sure
> that a Klingon
> Bible would probably press the word veqlargh ("devil, demon,
> Fek’lhr") to service.

The above question applies: are you translating a foreign concept or are
you presenting the native one? The World has, according to my notes, five
figures that could answer to the devil or satan of *here*. None of them
quite fit our modern concept of "Satan", for the evolution of his
literary character is different *there* -- the cultures that give us our
modern Satan (medieval and renaissance Catholic and Protestant Europe, the
demonisation of the heretics, sectarian strife and all that) simply don't 
exist *there*. The history is quite different, even to the very heart of
early Kristian history. Take for example: while Custantinyus never made
Kristianity the official religion of state, neither was it horribly
persecuted. There was no invective between the orthodox camp vs. heterodox 
camp, and neither was able to overpower the other. So, we have modern
branches that could easily pass for "Orthodox" and other branches that
seem far more "Gnostic" or even "Something Else" altogether. Their "devil"
is rather different sort of character and of much less import, in some
ways, than he is *here*.

> ##
> 
> However, let’s imagine that the Quendi decide to translate
> the characters in the Gospels as Elves …
> 
> If the Elves do decide that they have to be baptized, than
> we do have all
> sorts of questions as to when, how many times, and in which
> incarnation. If
> an Elf is literally born again, does he also have to be
> baptized again in his new body?

Good questions! I'd wonder why Elves would bother -- the whole theology
and set of doctrines is intended for humanity, not the Eldar kindreds. Even
in the World, where Daine live in close proximity to Kristian Men, you find
almost zero Daine formally practicing Kristianity. Many Daine are fond of
Jesus's teaching (he taught the Way, after all); but the religion that has
sprung up around his teaching doesn't fit them. They don't need baptism
because they are not fallen (and neither are the Elves of ME); they don't
need the redemption of a saviour.

> Or what about in John where we do have the term "born again/
> born from
> above." Not only is that going to be a translation challenge
> (if one wants
> to keep the pun) … well, the Elves really do get born
> again!

As do the Daine, after a fashion. But is this the same kind of being born
again?

> Perhaps the Incarnation could somehow be likened to elements
> of Elvish
> history (or even Elvish mythology if you think that The
> Silmarillion
> contains elements that the Elves themselves considered
> folklore and not
> history, such as the entire flat-earth beneath the sun and
> moon spirits
> things). For instance, Melian was incarnated in a way, when
> she came down
> to Middle-earth and became Thingol’s wife. The death of
> Lúthien is a
> sacrifice a little like the death of Christ – the death of
> an Immortal
> because of love. I could imagine terms like that being used
> to describe
> elements of the Gospels.

Quite so.

> ##
> 
> So far I’m on chapter two of Ruth. This part is a bit
> easier than chapter
> one, because we get to the agricultural portion rather than
> the back-story
> portion.
> 
> The only real difference is that, instead of Ruth’s
> meeting Boaz in the
> fields, she meets Boaz’s mother (the Queen). The Queen is
> the one who’s
> impressed with Ruth’s filial piety to her foster-mother,
> plus it makes
> sense for the Queen to call Ruth "my daughter."
> 
> In this version the story emphasizes Ruth’s service to her
> foster mother
> and her future mother in law, her potential as a good
> daughter by marriage.
> Mothers are pretty much the people one wants to impress, at
> least in this
> story.

Real life as well! :)

[1] The Seven Wands of Weem refers in some way to the ancient watchtowers 
that line the coast of the Congealed Ocean in the far north of Eosphora.
Seven in number, they were constructed by unknown persons at some 
unremembered time in the remote past up along the coasts of the Congealed 
Ocean. Their names are known: Vorrh, Mardalf, Elroar, Minhen, Minmar, 
Vodalf, Ninhwath, Rimnor, Elwaloar, and Nerthar. Their builders and 
purpose are not so well known. The most sensible snippet of wisdom 
concerning the towers is this, for it is said that in ancient time, even 
in the days of Sir Eisenmain, the Watchtowers stood tall and haughty along 
the coasts of the Ocean: "...the Towers where baleful Watchers ever look 
to the northwards towards the distant Grinding Ice of the frozen Sea where 
in ancient time the lands of the Dwimmerdwere sank beneath the waves. For 
it is written that when the Ice at last marches south and seeks dominion 
over the land, the Watchers will gry out their dire warning. Then the 
noble warriors of the Unvanquished Sun will ride out from Southlands and 
come to the defence of Gea. But in those distant days, warm yet were the 
waters at the Watchtowers' feet and their mournful cry unheard for many 
ages." 

Of Weem itself, little enough can be said: in days long gone by, when Gea
was warmer than she is now, trees grew right to the shores of the Northern
Ocean and a great kingdom was there and their stone cutters' works were
mighty to behold. Alas for the wending of the years, those unknown Ancients
are now long gone to their rest, and only the bitter winds out of the
North moan among the tumbled stones that dot the cold steppes of Weem.

The only place of any note in the whole North is the little domed city of
Mereby-on-Sea, a wee town snug under its dome of clear crystal and kept a
nice 74deg year round on account of the geothermal vents. Some way to the
south, along the coastal road, is a singular sight indeed. Any taveller
that treads along the coastal road sees little but herds of muskoxen and
then almost as if by magic there rises from the low grasses at the road
side a circle of cut stones surrounding a mound of bluebonnets and flame-
orange merespath and from the midst of the flowers a great eisensilver
column with a great crystal globe on top glowing all baleful orange-red in
the arctic twilight. It's a street sign! And its ancient placard tells the
weary traveller that Mereby-on-Sea is just six miles up the road...

The city itself is rather cunningly built. Its thick wall is constructed of a single black stone and is pierced only twice: once in the south where is the Waygate and once in the north where is the Seagate. Both gates are guarded by gatehouses, as are gates in every walled city in the Eastlands, but the gates of Mearsby are designed to keep out not hordes of advancing Hotai but bitter cold winds. Should a traveller or citizen seek admittance to the city, the outer gate opens first, allowing him to step into a kind of antechamber that slowly warms up to the ambient temperature of the city. Once the antechamber is warm, the inner gate opens up and he may walk into the city itself. The reverse process is used when someone leaves the city: the inner gate admits him to the antechamber and then closes behind him. Then, the outer gate opens and he is out in the wilds Outside. The Seagate works similarly, but while the Waygate is large enough to accomodate a
 waggon, the Seagate is able to accomodate a fishing vessel. 

The Wall itself is rather low, only about 15 feet high and almost as thick, and is made from a singularly huge block of black stone. Upon this wall rises the hemispherical Dome itself that protects the city and makes it a Wonder of the age. Mearby is built upon a thermal vent -- a great underground reservoir of hot water and stone. The heat from the hot water is used to radiate warm air throughout the city, making it rather temperate inside, even on the bitterest of Winter days. The city is surprisingly green. Houses and buildings are all rather low -- only two storeys at most -- and on the roof of each are gardens. Lush and luxurious, Mearby residents are able to grow plenty of food for themselves and the few domestic animals they keep: a kind of small chicken they breed for egg laying, and small goats they keep for milk. Several kinds of songbirds inhabit the city as well. 

Visitors are rare to Mearby. One curious record in the annals for 1202 read: "There came up the Waygate Roade a man of curious demeanoure upon the twelfth new moon of the year. Rare indeede are visitores in these dark times and rarer yet are visitores icome out the bitter Weste along the coastal way in the deepes of Wintertide out of the Wastes of Weeme. For biting cold are the winds of the Lord of Winter and even the great wildebeastes of the vaste steppe huddle for warmth and keep their heads low out of the wind. Yet this man came from those lands, red and green great coates flapping in the gale and a tall peaked cap of some dense and warm fur upon his head. His grey bearde was unkempt during his travels and he whistled a slow sad tune the sound of which carried far on the wind." As is the custom of the City, the visitor was admitted to the guest house and was feted with a merry feast and entertained with music and dancing. But while the visitor seems
 to have enjoyed his brief stay in Mearby, "...he saide not one word to any man or woman. He only bowed deepe when meeting some man, his hands clasped in outlandish manner, and bowed as deepe upon taking his leave." 

The last visitor on record to come up the Waygate Road arrived extremely late in the season, on 20 September 1788. The Annals record it as a "redde letter daye, for no Visitoure has icome to our Cite this past fortenyear" in which a great feast was held in the visitor's honour, and many days of dancing and festivities were contrived. He was put up in the guest house, as is customary, and remained until late Spring when he disappeared into the West. 

The Annals for 1390 record a great horde of "vile looking Men and Goblins of evil aspect" passing into the East. These were "not the sort of gentle Folk admitted as Guests of the City". While the main body of the horde passed by, a couple bands thought it would be great crack to sack a small armyless city along the way. Their bronze swords and diminutive engines of war "were of no avail against the Black Stone of the city's wall". Not to mention the great Spear of Lightning, mounted high up on the Dome, that caused great shocks of brilliant white light to rain down upon the invaders, incinerating most of them and horribly burning the survivors who fled back towards the main army. Little would the scholars of Mearby know that these same brigands would in a few short years descend upon the hapless lands of Husick and Heckla, far away to the south and east, enveloping them in the Orck War of the early 15th century. 


[2] The Quest for the Milch Cow of Qarabaw is clearly a tain of some sort,
though I don't as of yet know where it's from or what form its narrative
takes. I suppose it must come from the Romishcallia -- they're the most
Celtic of any Aryan people and they go in for all things literarily bovine.

[3] The philosophical study of the Old Stories is called sawyery and 
practitioners are called sawyers. Many are the collections of these 
stories that have been gathered in the libraries of the world. Fine 
examples can be seen at the great libraries in Alexandria of Kemeteia-
Misser, Pretorias of Rumnias and Auntimoany as well. The sawyers' public 
trust is to preserve and expand collections of Old Stories; collect, 
collate and index the pronouncements and interpretations of philosophers, 
priests, and spiritual teachers; and to make available to the people 
whatever they wish to study from these collections. Therefore, anyone who 
can read or is accompanied by someone who can read is allowed unrestricted 
access to a library's collection of Old Stories. Several famous catalogues 
of Old Stories have been made by sawyers in recent centuries, especially 
those of Arny and Thompson, sawyers of Auntimoany who devised a topical 
and cross-referenced indexing system for their collection not only of 
stories but of the episodes and characters within them. Also well known is 
Franko Childer, a Husickite sawyer, who catalogued fables and various 
kinds of folk songs. 

Their stock in trade is divided into several broad categories: myths,
legends, folktales, parables and fables. Sawyers also deal extensively with
folk songs: chanties, ballads, and the like.

Padraic

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