In my post on the muddled linguistic nightmare/heaven that is the Giva POV, I failed to mention that an additional consideration rattling around my head is what Cedeiran scholarship on Elentian would even look like. I mean, the standard Cedeiran party line is that Elentians are a subhuman, demonic, bastard race. Even skeptics are hardly going to have a positive or neutral take on them—and that does spill over to language.

Naturally, I whiled away a few hours imagining the horrorshow of Cedeiran texts on Elentian. Something like:

The Elentian tongue, like its people, has origins in a past so distant and unknown that none can guess at the true stock. Whatever its base, the language today can only be described as the mongrel child of some gross linguistic hedonism, the result of many different languages mixing freely together without regard for the quality or legitimacy of the result. Consequently the language produced by this heedless admixture suffers from constant perversities, inconsistencies, unpleasantnesses, and general impurity—also, one might say, just as its people.

To their credit, however, the Elentians have made repeated attempts to enforce some order and respectability on their bastard tongue. Over a thousand years ago, the Elentian empress Elleyne [nb: Helaina of House Moiradar] ordered the dialect of the imperial city to be taught throughout the schools she established. More recently, some three hundred years ago, a Marelian queen named Jypolia [nb: Xipolye of House Myrane] commissioned the creation of a dictionary to be used in the schools, which rear up all Elentian children. The dictionaries standardized spelling and instituted a system of diacritics to untangle the disastrous orthography. Nevertheless, only so much can be done for so degenerate and wayward a language. Particularly in Nerocna, rogue dialects sprout up like weeds, and persistent just as stubbornly.

If this description seems too harsh, the intricacies of the Elentian plural should serve to illustrate.

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@crocordile asked:

BEFORE THE BEGINNING, focused on either Rei, Loraya or Aceptra 

Let’s see, Loraya is pretty much covered (;_;), and … yeah, a non-spoilery bit from Rei’s backstory:

[excerpt from a letter]

I’ve just arrived at Athian-Llyrende. The Fire Temple here is enormous. There are more people than I could begin to count, from children scarcely older than you to old, old Alayr, and pillars and towers and–I’m sorry, I am too tired to describe it properly. I’ll send a picture so you can see for yourself. They even have an amphitheatre for duels; there aren’t many, but there’s a Magrai’la every year and everyone comes to see. I’ll tell you all about it, I promise.

How are your studies going? Splendidly, I’m sure. I sent some lighter books this time; you need something more than mathematics and domination to occupy your time!

I was going to tell you something else, but I can’t remember! Please forgive me, I am so tired. I will write again soon;–take good care of yourself.

@crocordile asked:

writing meme,

something that’s already happened, retold from another character’s perspective

At first, Ormod laughed it off. Giva, a witch? Just because some black-haired hag out of Nerocna said she was?


When he went to see her, he said, “You’re too dull to be a witch. Witches have demons to do their sums.”

She barely smiled. Her face was white, her eyes wide and staring unless he talked to her. So he talked. He talked and talked and talked until he hardly knew what he said. And when she slept, or Elfrida shooed him away, he crept into the little room overlooking the gardens, where neither his father nor Elfrida ever went. In his lap he held the case of jewels Bletsung had left behind. He’d never cared much about them; Elfrida made a better replacement for his mother than the cold stones.

He held up a necklace. In the sunshine, a blue stone and big white pearls gleamed with a bright clear light, like a waterfall. He could almost—not quite—hear his mother’s voice again, singing nonsense. He’d chanted the same nonsense at Giva after Mama died, made games out of it

On and on the clear stream goes, hop hop skip jump, on and on it brightly flows, last one to the stump has to sit beside Brother Edric—

Ormod dropped the necklace in the case and cried.

@crocordile asked:

something that’s already happened, retold from another character’s perspective

Ariana left Cyrada almost the instant that she saw the attack on her daughter’s entourage. Only later did she consider that she had given Lian the opportunity she had been waiting for. Damn Lian, anyway, and Tal could manage a decorous andaren girl for a day. In the space of twenty minutes, she had ordered a transfer to Mairan and all but hurtled into the ancestral house in the first circle.

“The most eminent Inquisitor, your Grace—”

“Never mind that,” said Ariana, pushing aside the butler (who staggered and withdrew, offended; Ariana apologized to her when she returned three days later). “Have you seen it?”

If not, it could be a mere glimmer of possibility. But Arith, standing at the window, was already nodding.

“I cannot leave Mairan,” she said, tapping her fingers against her skirt. “You must manage this affair, sister—with discretion, if possible, but if not—she will be returned. I trust you to do whatever is necessary.”

Ariana bowed. “As always, Arith.”

@crocordile asked:


The andhar of children, fluid and chaotic, could not really be considered in the same light as the andhar of grown mages. It was not even entirely their own, fusing easily with those nearest to them. Scholars suggested that about half of all Elentian children formed a spontaneous bond of this kind, to a parent or parent of the blood, brother or sister, nurse or close friend. Regardless of the object, Elentian law agreed that it could not be permitted to persist; all bonds must be severed in childhood.

Princess Evadne knew this. Though she’d never bonded to anyone, her mother and several of her cousins had, and in due course been severed with no ill effects. It was both law and custom. And yet as she watched Lyssaré holding Val in her small arms, smiling happily into his face, something in her recoiled.

“Not yet,” she said; Val, still an infant, might be harmed by so invasive a procedure. Everyone considered this a reasonable point. The severing of the very young was often delayed for that very reason. By the time he was four and Lyssaré eight, however, the enquiries began again.

A good age, said the Queen; the Duchess of Kyristeia, subtler, merely remarked that the princess seemed very devoted. But Evadne, watching her little children together, could only say again—not yet.

At ten, Lyssaré was to begin her education at the Collegium of Athian-Llyrende, with all the other children of empresses and queens and great ladies. It must be done before then, Evadne promised herself. The law put down twelve as the absolute latest, and nobody had pushed it so far. But at ten, Lyssaré left promising her brother that her absence would not be so bad. They could still hear each other, even if they could not see, and though six-year-old Val sobbed when she passed out of sight, it seemed to console him.

Perhaps then would have been the best time; distance always weakened attachments of this kind. But there seemed a dishonesty in that. And so a year passed, and nearly all of another. Lyssaré’s twelfth birthday drew nearer. And so Evadne took her children to the pleasant estate she had inherited from her grandmother, to do the thing in something like privacy. It would be harder now; she had been foolish.

When the attack came and flames swallowed up her wards, she could only thank the gods for her folly.