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Re: OT: Corpses, etc. (was: Re: Gender in conlangs (was: Re: Umlauts (was Re: Elves and Ill Bethisad)))

From:Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Date:Friday, November 7, 2003, 21:55
>Same in the human cities around Westmarche, and >certainly in old Hoopelle. It is certainly every >Man's right to bear weapons, but if you try to >use them while commiting a crime or in an attack >on the City Guard, you can expect some deadly >force comming your way.
I think that a Trehelish citizen would be a fool to stand up against a soldier. Most citizens carry only a dagger, and soldiers wear long swords. Those swords reach a lot further than a dagger, unless you know how to throw the dagger, and that is a specialized skill which the overwhelming majority of Trehels have never learned. A Trehelish soldier would almost never need to get into a knife fight with a civilian, because he carries a sword, and perhaps a bow. Even if you are wearing a sword and know how to use it, you would still be betting your own swordsmanship against the soldier's, and the soldier (at least in Sovchilen) has been extensively trained in the use of weapons. You are also betting on your ability to disappear completely and permanently after winning the battle, because it's not going to go well with you in court if you've killed a soldier. I don't know to what degree the military will use deadly force against someone caught committing a crime. For instance, I don't know whether, if a thief is caught in the act and runs from the military, and the soldier has a bow, if he is allowed to simply shoot him down. That would be consonant with just about everything else I know about Trehelish society: the general level of violence and brutality, the very low regard that they have for thieves, and the general tendendency to attempt to solve problems by unsophisticated application of force. (I guess I don't hold such a high view of them, huh?) On the other hand, soldiers are certainly not allowed to shoot into a crowd, since they could easily kill an innocent civilian. I think that the goal is generally to subdue the criminal without killing him. Most of them will surrender at swordpoint; they're not suicidal. But if he resists to the point where he forces the soldiers to kill him, well...
> Guards wear leather >armour with fancy bronze plates riveted on;
I think it would be an oversight on my part if I did not have the soldiers patroling the streets wearing armour. Sovchilen can be rather dangerous. Leather armour would be stout enough to turn a knife blade and lighter weight than metal. The regular uniform is a yellow shirt and a green vest with brown trousers (green and gold are the national colors, the brown is optional, but complements the others nicely.) For use on the streets, the vest could probably be replaced or covered with a leather...what is that piece of armor, a cuirass? I can't recall at the moment. Green in color, of course. The yellow knots indicating the rank of the soldier are sewn onto the vest, so they would have to be placed on the armour in some way, too, perhaps by tooling the leather and painting the design.
>leather boots (bronze studs and bronze upper >plates, for kicking);
They wear leather boots, but I had never though of adding metal to them. Really, though, they are not supposed to be getting into those sorts of fights with civilians. For all their brutality, the Trehelish do have a sense of...well, something or other. (I had the word, then I lost it.) The Trehelish try to think of themselves as less brutal than they really are by not fully admitting to a lot of the things that they do. I think that "propriety" was the word that I was looking for earlier.
> leather and bronze maniples >and leggings;
I'll have to think about how much armor a soldier needs on the streets of Sovchilen. Just protecting the trunk might not be enough - or it might.
> a short sword (bronze); a dagger >(bronze or iron);
Trehelish soldiers wear a long sword and a dagger made of steel. They sometimes carry a bow. In Sovchilen, at least, some of them are on horseback.
>a truncheon (stone tipped or >bronze plated wood)
I know that soldiers working in jails or prisons carry a wooden rod (and no dagger so that the dagger can't be pickpocketed), but I haven't decided whether the rod is used outside of prisons. At this point, it isn't, but I could change my mind if I decide that it would be useful on the streets.
>and a set of manacles.
They don't use manacles except in prisons. Out on the street, they have a pouch of leather thongs, which are disposable and are simply cut to release the prisoner's hands. It's more compact, and you don't have to worry about losing the keys. You also don't have to worry about the prisoner picking the locks. Tied tightly enough, they don't come lose.
> There >were special Guards in the Bank and in Court that >walked up around a catwalk and had crossbows or >short bows.
I decided quite recently that crossbows were something that the Trehelish had never invented. They would be convienient, though, because you can keep one loaded and ready, rather like the very old muzzle-loading single-shot pistols. Regular bows can't be kept drawn for an indefinite period of time; eventually, anyone's arms will fatigue, mine faster than most - I can't even fully draw my own 40 lb. recurve bow at present; I think I need to start working out with weights. (Regular bows do reload much faster than crossbows, on the bright side.) I had originally had soldiers on guard or on patrol carrying crossbows, and that is very convenient, but I finally decided against it. I probably should have warned you long before now that that <h> in the middle of Trehel is actually a glottal stop in standard dialects. Trehel is pronounced ["t4e.?El]. My husband suggested that I use an <h> for the glottal stop, since it was a character that wasn't otherwise being used for my transcription of Trehelish. I decided to go ahead and use it because, although it looks misleading, it also looks a whole lot nicer than some other alternative notations that I can think of for a glottal stop. (We were trying to avoid placing punctuation marks in the middle of words.) And some dialects do not have the glottal stop at all; they actually have [h] in the places where the more standard dialects have a glottal stop, so it seemed a reasonable choice, although having chosen to spell it that way is starting to give me a bit of an "h-dialect" in my pronunciation, if I don't watch it. (And my husband doesn't even bother with the glottal stop; he pronounces them as [h]'s.)
>Hoopelle had a high crime rate as well, largely >because of the restrictions placed on the Daine. >If they didn't nick things, they'd have nothing, >as they weren't allowed any kind of industry, >etc.
Yeah. I'm familiar with another variation on the same dilemma. The Trehelish don't seem to realise that they are, to a great extent, causing their own problems with thievery. A man who has once been punished for theft may well find himself unemployable afterwards. As I said, Trehelish people have no respect for thieves, and most employers will will not hire one. The whip that is used on thieves is tipped with metal and is designed to leave scars, and an additional scar is made (with a knife) on the collarbone, marking him as a thief (and is used to convienently keep track of the number of convictions). A quick physical examination will determine if a potential employee has ever stolen (or at least if he's been caught at it.) If there are scars on his back, most employers won't hire him. Now what is he supposed to do? He could try begging. Trehelish people will give money or food to beggars, but they are unlikely to take pity on someone obviously ablebodied who ought to be working instead of begging. So he isn't allowed to work, and he can't beg effectively...I guess stealing is the only real option left. Either that or starvation. So, once someone has been caught stealing for the first time, he doesn't have any real choice but to keep stealing until he ends up at the gallows. If the Trehelish would readjust some of their cultural attitudes, they would have far less theft - and end up hanging far fewer men. Isidora


Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>
Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>