- Louis Sauvain
Watch Your Tongue
Asullus Anguli VII ... Asullus’ Corner
Watch Your Tongue
So, Asullus here once again, along wi’ trusty an’ sweet Morphia the Spritae, still actin’ as our scribe, fer all ye oldsters an’ wee ones alike as ha’ been writin’ wi’ yer requests an’ demands — some more polite than others — to be informed o’ the most serious an’ needful questions o’ our time an’ tryin’ to bring answers to the queries such as those as reach the Tower o’ the North.
Now, fer today we are respondin’ to a query from one C. Home-in-the-Sky (fanciful name, that), inquirin’ aboot some o’ the language ye Gentle Readers are tendin’ to find in this an’ that scroll as do make up our Sorcerous College stories.
The title fer today’s expedition – ‘Watch Your Tongue’ -- was, as it turns out, nominated in all seriousness by our own Sweet Nannsi, Sorceress an’ constant consort to Anders o’ Fornia. Howe’er, I must confess when it was she were gi’in’ me the legend fer today’s piece I, at first, thought I was recei’in’ me some sort o’ command as in, “Watch your tongue!”
Now, ‘tis no secret I ha’ been followin’ the orders o’ crotchety old Sorcerers and imperious, mature Sorceresses fer quite some time, ye see. So I be always on the alert to hear such a phrase, an’ I did immediately attempt the instruction. So, I donno’ how many o’ ye Gentle Readers ha’ e’er had the occasion to actually try to watch yer tongue, but ‘tis a difficult piece o’ work, take it from this here mule – most especially when you might be puttin’ effort into such a challenge in front o’ a Sorcerous community as is laughin’ in all their mirth at yer endeaver. An’, o’ course, I did urgently make to explain meself, an’, o’ course, the moreso I did o’ that, the louder the laughter became. Hrmph. Humans.
Well, back to our topic fer today.
Some o’ ye ha’, from time to time, brought up the same question aboot the language an’ what they calls the ‘linguistics’ o’ the Sorcerous speech, as ha’ our honorable questioner. “Why is this?” an’ “What is that?” I hears all o’ the time. So, into the subject we dives.
As I suspect the majority o’ ye knows by this time (an’ should ye no’, then go get yerself busy an’ read the scrolls) the language one uses fer Sorcerous spells an’ certain other occasions, goes by the name o’ Lingua Imperatoria or, as we common folk are wont to say, the ‘Imperial Speech’.
Now as Brother Vaticinati ha’ informed me back in the day, this language ha’ been around an’ aboot fer some thousands o’ years. Now, this may be o’ interest to ye in that I ha’ asked me lad, Thaddeus, aboot what was told him by that Iam o’ the First our Master ha’ met that time he visited the Orbis Magnus, that great circle o’ standing stones that lies northwest in the Forrest Surround, west o’ the Arx Montium.
Now ‘tis certain a mystery surrounds this place. Fer one, when one sees it this day, this all fallen down an’ in a ruin, as I, meself, knows, ha’in’ been there once. An’ also fer certain, no guardin’ recluse lives anywhere around an’ aboot in these times welcomin’ the occasional traveler or lost soul.
But, back in the day, as the Master ha’ described – an’, in fact, ha’ caused to ha’ been sketched down upon his instruction – ‘twas once quite the monument, all fresh an’ put together. Its purpose, howe’er, has been largely lost o’er time an’ few there are who can say it so.
Me lad, Thaddeus, I ha’ heard – along wi’ Master Anders, I know – ha’ conjectured it be some sort o’ machine as can, under certain conditions, transport a body back an’ forth in the space o’ time.
Now, that be quite a claim. This act can, apparently, occur when a likely lad or lass runs through one o’ a pair o’ capstones o’ one o’ the twelve trilithons that was standin’ in the center o’ the giant stone circle. As I understands it, each set o’ the trilithons has a different markin’ on it an’ respond to only one traveler an’ no’ another.
What I means by that is, that were one o’ ye Gentle Readers to run through one specific pair o’ the standing stones yer chances o’ goin’ somewhere new or old would only be one in twelve, don’ ye know. On the other hand, if a Traveler were to try all twelve pair, one by one, then certainly one o’ them would work fer the visitor, but only one. But why one trilithon works fer one person an’ no’ another ‘tis a mystery to meself.
Addin’ to that is the interestin’ observance that each o’ those twelve mighty trilithons bears a different mark, one from another.
Concernin’ this findin’, Master Anders ha’ speculated that the marks could represent symbols put there to designate the months o’ the year. In other words, perhaps one trilothon’s marks represent Ianuarius, another, Iunius, an’ so forth.
The implication is then bein’ that only a Traveler born in the month indicated on the stone can use it in the right way. So when a Neptunius goes through a trilithon marked with the Neptunius sigil, that person might be born away here or there. But were the same Traveler to pass through a Trilithon marked with a Uranius sign, naught would occur, them just comin’ out the other side o’ where they entered, still in the same place an’ none the worse fer wear.
So, who it was might ha’ set this up, wi’ what powers an’ fer what purpose, none livin’ in these times can surely say. But it must ha’ some meanin’, otherwise why go to all the trouble o’ importin’ the stones as is there from some distant quarry, an’ go through all the work o’ settin’ them up in such a way an’ so on. I ha’ no idea o’ the why o’ it, but if there be among any o’ you Gentle Readers ideas on this topic, ‘tis I who’d love to hear yer philosophy on the matter.
Well, that said, ‘tis mete we return to our original topic.
So, Iam o’ the First ha’ said he were no’ so familiar wi’ the Imperial Speech arisin’ at that time nor bein’ in use fer the practice o’ Sorcery an’ such. But, goin’ back to Master Anders, he ha’ told this ol’ mule that at aboot the same time as the First were constructin’ their Great Circle, the Daemon ha’ been able to connect wi’ their Tower o’ the East an’ to begin to draw into it those as could come to be Ancient Ones.
Now, would this be true, that could imply that the Lingua Imperatoria was first originated by Daemon-kind! Now, there’s an idea as would set some old mule on his or her ear. But methinks that could hardly be a true thing – it just no’ seem right. But then do that mean that it ‘twas the Lady as made this universal language fer all to know? I ha’ no idea, but must it be one or the other ‘twould prefer we be usin’ powerful talk as was stemmin’ from Mater Naturae, herself, rather than the evil Daemon lads? Regardin’ this, this old mule ha’ no idea.
In person, I thinks that neither came up wi’ it entire. P’rhaps it was a product o’ the same mysterious force as did push into creation the Orbis Magnis? Well, ‘tis possible-like but I’m no’ so convinced o’ that line o’ thought either. ‘Tis a Mystery, as Brother Teagueus ha’ tole this ol’ mule on more than one occasion. (An’ e’en though he ha’ said such in a kindly an’ learned manner, ‘tis, somehow, no’ so satisfyin’ fer some reason.)
In any case, we be ha’in’ the Imperial Speech, howe’er we come by it, an’ stuck wi’ it we are, I says.
So, to C. Home-in-the-Sky’s query – how is it there be the occasional an’ odd use o’ the Imperial Tongue in our scrolls? Well, fortunately, our Inquisitor ha’ submitted several o’ these ‘inconsistencies’ to use as examples, so we may as well go ahead an’ see what it is an’ where an’ all they may lead us.
First on his list be the title under which our entire series o’ scrolls lives, that is, the Collegium Sorcerorum series, or the College of Sorcerous series, itself.
An’ here be our Gentle Reader’s well-thought point – there be no such word as Sorcerorum, in the Imperial Speech entire. Or, rather, there be no such a word as Sorcerer, in the old lexicon. An’, wouldn’ ye know – he’s correct! What a wonder that was to verify. I mean, whoe’er would ha’ though that the very word indicatin’ some o’ the most powerful bein’s as walk this earth, no’ to mention the chronicles as list their various exploits, do no’ really exist anywhere? Whoe’er would ha’ thought it?
So, Morphia an’ meself ha’ spent some time in the Fornian Library, as I ha’ acknowledged in earlier writin’, an’ we did find that there be no such word as Sorcerer. Nor, for a fact, be there such a word as Wizard (though who there is would write aboot such folk, do seem a mystery to me in any case).
No, Gentle Readers, the closest we could come to such a person is the word, Magus. Now, I an’ some others would tend to look to that word as signifyin’ ‘Magician’ o’ some sort. Howe’er in me experience in dealin’ wi’ the Sorcery-gifted, they be in near-universal agreement o’ the disdain they holds fer this term. E’en the Mystics o’ the East – those who all know to be, at their best, just star-gazin’ charlatans an’ card-trick sharps – will strongly decline to be identified as such.
That, then, leads this ole mule to the conclusion that Sorcerer be a made-up term. Now, ’tis true the suffix ‘-orum’, do be a legitimate part o’ Imperial Speech construction, meanin’, roughly, ‘o’ the’. I ha’ heard Brother Vaticinati disclaim that such a word part is “a Genitive, signifying possession” adding that it is “inflective, and identified as both plural and male in gender.”
Now, I ha’ the greatest respect fer the Brother, an’ sorry was I as any, to hear o’ his passin’ but, still, how is it a word can be a boy or girl? This, methinks, somehow goes against nature, don’ ye know. But he were the expert on language, no’ meself.
So, the leading title o’ all the works, the College o’ Sorcerers, be made up. How is it one can ha’ confidence in anything that follows somethin’ made up right at the beginning is beyond me an’ asks very much o’ the Gentle Reader’s suspense o’ belief, if ye asks me.
Now there be other instances o’ made-up words, I’m thinkin’ but as we’re headin’ near the end, I’ll only mention two additionals. An’ those be Trebuchet an’ Melanois.
So, let me start by sayin’ Master Rolland, Consul o’ Frantilla entire, ha’ related to these ol’ ears that both o’ these words likely ha’ their origin in the south o’ his country. He, himself, claims the dialogue in those parts be a little sweeter an’ a little softer than in other climes.
Well, I note they says the same things aboot the spritied mares as they ha’ down there as well, so I’ll no’ be arguin’ wi’ him. So on we goes.
Now, Trebuchet (this bein’ pronounced, to these old ears, as ‘treh-boo-SHAY’) as ye Gentle Readers may recall, be the name gi’en to the carriage-turned-sleigh that the Four converted fer their interestin’ trip to an’ from the Bright Manner estates o’er with stops in ill-fated Bannock both comin’ an’ goin’. Now, me researches say Trebuceht refers to a type of castle siege engine knows as a large catapult. So, why did those callow lads think to give their winter conveyance such a name-meanin’, I ha’ know idea. Howe’er, the very next time I sees any o’ the Four, I intends to ask.
An' so, on to Melanois (an’ this bein’ pronounced as ‘mel-lan-WAW’). Best I can determine, the term do refer to a sense o’ the darkest Evil an object may ha’ or be imbued wi’ an’ exude. Now, neither meself nor me sweet little Morphia could find such a word reference in any o’ the scrolls ha’in’ to do wi’ such things. It was Master Thaddeus as I first heard use the term, so I supposes ‘tis possible he just made it up an’ ne’er told a soul such. Will ha’ to ask Sorceress Marcia o’ the truth o’ that at some point.
Well, me time is tricklin’ away an’ I see meself left wi’ but one further request an’ that be to identify any an’ all words as rhymes wi’ ‘orange.’ Hmm. Actually, I do know o’ such, but I believes I will wait fer a later time to make this pronouncement.
So, to all folk, large, small or indifferent, take yer best care an’ come back to visit as ye will. An donno’ neglect to send in yer scrolls askin’ answers to the various questions as may perturb ye.
The Great North Tower, Northfast