Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

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

From:Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>
Date:Sunday, November 9, 2003, 3:08
--- Isidora Zamora <isidora@...> wrote:

> >Yep. And unlike (I suppose!) the Cwendaso and > >Trehelish, a Daine could never pass for a Man. > > Yes, a Cwendaso can pass for a man, because he > is a man.
:) Note the capital M! I was going to ask how the Cw and Tr differ, but you answered that. What I meant was that you probably couldn't distinguish a Cwendaso and a Trehel who are wearing cloaks in a darkling alley. A Daine's wings will stick out, making him quite obvious. In the light of day, I guess they'd be equally obvious!
> The Nidirino have also never been accused, as > the Cwendaso have, of being > atheists by the Trehelish. The Nidirino build > temples and offer > sacrifices, while the Cwendaso do not. (But a > quick glance through the > first portion of Tovlm will convince you that > Cwendaso are polytheists. Of > course, Tovlm is an oral work, and has not yet > been translated in > Trehelish, and Trehels don't speak Cwendaso, so > how would they know...or > why would they even care about getting the > facts straight.) In any case, > the way that many Trehelish see things, the > Nidirino have their own > religion, but they worship some of the same > deities as the Trehelish. From > the Nidirino point of view, the Trehelish are > idolaters, not to mention > Death-worshippers. The Trehelish build temples > to the sun and moon, as do > the Nidirino. The difference, and the Nidirino > understand this more > clearly than the Trehelish do, is that the > Trehelish worship the goddess > who made the sun and the god who made the moon > and have statues of them in > their temples, while the Nidirino worship the > *visible* Sun and Moon. They > have symbols (which are fairly abstract) of the > Sun and Moon in the > temples, and on other items, but they worship > the visible heavenly > bodies. (And I am writing this in the middle > of a very nice lunar eclipse, > a spectacle which the Nidirino, unfortunately, > cannot sit back and enjoy > the sight of, since the occasion calls for > emergency prayers.)
Interesting. And of course, you're lucky to see the eclipse at all. It's too cloudy here, though it was nice and clear a few hours ago. :( Do they worship things other than Sun or Moon? What do they think of the Trehelish penchant for worshiping deities rather than realities?
> >I'm sure officers both in the Guard and Army > need > >to be literate, but I doubt the common > soldiery > >need be any more than functional. > > Is that meant to be interpreted as > "functionally literate" or merely > "functional"?
Functionally literate of course. [I suspect they'd have to be functional in general as well! ;)] A Guard has to be able to sign the gaolers' chitty when he brings in or moves a prisoner, and has to be able to quote the Law to a prisoner if need be. Of course, that often turns out to be little more than bonking the chap on the head and saying "That's the Lawr, yer sodding bastard. Naow just shut thy lousy gob!"
> >There are no printed books in the World. If > you > >have a book, some monk or slave spent a while > >copying it out for you. > > The Trehelish will copy by hand, too, if they > need only a few copies. This > accounts for printers also being calligraphers. > The great usefulness of > printing is that you can make a whole lot of > books at once.
Well, yes. The problem with making books in that manner is that the typeface tends to Remember what it's printed before. Words, spoken and written, have a Power of their own; and they have an effect on the things they touch. Especially when it comes to the printing of magickal works, there is the real danger of reisidual magic imbuing, say, a later printing of a children's runebook or similar. Even nonmagical printings can build up a sort of bibliographical static which might discharge later in unexpected ways. An experimental press was set up in Auntimoanye some years back. A run of Forsythe's "Cookerye for Begynneres" was followed by a popup book of "Monsters Under Thy Bedde!" An advance copy was given to the King's small son who opened it as was immediately gobbled by some sort of hideous Thing with a napkin round its neck. Needless to say, the printer was hanged from the nearest yardarm and the whole printed book and printing press idea was deep sixed. This in and of itself was probably a mistake, as the octopusses of the region have been acting very strangely ever since. They say that it's not unusual to see octopusses wielding spears and herding or riding large fishes. But of course, "they" are just a load of drunken sailors and are prone to say any old thing... For reasons not entirely clear, copying by hand doesn't have this side effect.
> The other > great usefulness of it, in their eyes, is that > you can print a book with a > lot of illustrations, such as _The_Herbal_, > which is the standard medical > reference book, very large, very heavy, very > expensive, very indispensible.
Oh, well, illustrations are entirely possible in hand copied books. It is not uncommon for a scriptery to create woodblocks, print them on paper and then write out the text surrounding the pictures. Many books are copied out using hand rendered illustrations. Illustrators are highly skilled (consider student artists who make a little money by copying the works of great masters - some of them are quite good). Of course, such a book will be very expensive. This largely means that books are rare and usually chained into large libraries.
> So I take it that there is slavery, based on > your comment above?
Yes. Humans can sell themselves into debt slavery (they have considerable rights, mind); foreigners can be taken in war or slave raids and sold in Roman markets. Slave raiders come up from the wilds of Barbary at times to steal Daine and Men as slaves. Daine can be taken by force and bought or sold at will. They're usually used as oarsmen or treadmill runners in mills and the like. Some task where they can be chained to their station. They would try to run away otherwise, unless you captured a friend or relative as well. You can keep a Daine in slavery without ever chaining or whipping him - simply imply a threat against the other one you have captured.
> >Requires a little more space than just arms > >and hands, though! > > How big are the wings?
They have the same three segments as the other extremities: an upper and a lower segment plus a "hand". Like a bird's wing, the "hand" is fused bones, though some Daine have been found with a wort of thumb on the wings. The upper two segments are about as long as their arm segments, so about 22 to 24" for both together. The third segment varies wildly. Women have as a rule shorter wings, men have longer ones, and it's the "hand" segment that varies most. A woman's wing might be 5' when extended, while a man's might be 8'. Daine usually keep their wings folded neatly behind them, except when doing stuff like talking or fighting or having sex. As I said, they use wings for pointing and gesticulating. (A Daine orator would be a sight!) Excitement (as when old friends meet) is shown by a rapdid movement of the "hand" up to about 90deg, then back down again (sort of like how you see women throw their arms up in order to hug each other). An adversarial or indignant stance is signalled by a triangular stance (the upper segment is 90deg to the body, the middle segments meet over or behind the head and the "hands" point down to the ground at about 45deg. Hands will also be on hips). They often hug each other with their wings as well as arms; and when walking side by side, people usually have their arms around each other and their wings intertwined. They spread them out a little when they wrestle or fight, and sometimes try to put the long feathers at the wingtip into their opponent's face to blind or distract him. Sometimes they use the bony bit at the wrist to strike an opponent. When flirting, men will unfold their wings a little to show off any curve and to show off the length of their wings. When making love, a Daine's wings involuntarily unfold and if unhindered will point up (above the head). It is considered a mark of close friendship or family relationship to allow someone to preen and comb out your feathers. They use the _carman an tyellow_ for this, and it's a narrow comb with long broad picks on one end and a single pick at the other. While humans might consider it a landmark to kiss for the first time; a Daine boy considers it quite the hurdle passed when his girlfriend allows him to comb out her wing feathers. The primary feather colour generally matches the primary hair colour. So, brown haired people have brown wings; but they may also have some yellow, tan, white or even black feathers mixed in there (which are secondary colours). Some people have mottled patterns in their feathers; some even have mottled hair colour (areas of brown, tan, yelow). A common pattern is to exhibit darker hair and feathers on one side and lighter hair and feathers on the other. The effect is spectacular in black coloured individuals - where perhaps the left wing will have black feathers and the left armpit black hair; across the chest the hair lightens and the head is a swirl of black, white and perhaps grey; the right armpit is white and so is the right wing. The effect is frightening if the eyes are coloured differently as well! Hm. We haven't talked about actual corpses for a while. One of the funeral preparations amongst all Daine is combing out the feathers and the hair. A hair comb is called _tamack_. A corpse's wings are arranged in a natural pose, rigor granting, and the hair is often plaited and twined with flowers or pretty vines. Padraic. ===== fas peryn omen c' yng ach h-yst yn caleor peryn ndia; enffoge yn omen ach h-yst yn caleor per la gouitha. [T. Pratchett] -- Ill Bethisad -- <> Come visit The World! -- <> .


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>