Saiva and her language

I meant for this to be a quick post about language, but it seems to have devolved into a little bit of everything.


I write my books in English. And like many fantasy authors this is my variant of ‘the common tongue’ that, for one reason or another, everyone on earth can understand. It makes things easier and it’s a trope that’s well known.

That said, I do not ignore other languages. Clandestina is a mix of countries, but mainly influenced by France and England. You see this from the main character’s name, Pierre, to the occasional French term or phrase thrown in. It is flavoring, and at the same time it sets up how the world works.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’re going to need some of the mythological background here too.

Saiva is the personification of Nothing. She is the pair and partner of Amôru, Everything Good- The One God (lower-g gods/goddesses are mentioned sometimes in world, but they’re not technically gods in the same way, usually just kyrioi or similar). Their son, Sebelas, is the personification of Good, and is ruling until sin can be extinguished from the world and his father can return.

If Amôru is comparable to the Judeo-Christian God, and Sebelas is Jesus, Saiva is a mix of the Holy Mother of God and Buddha.

She is not evil. She is not the opposite of Amôru. If Amôru is the charity of sharing food, Saiva’s is the feeling of thanks and warmth afterwards. If Amôru is a great tree, Saiva is the soil after the tree has been cut down waiting for another plant. She is what is left, ‘a good nothing’ after a good takes place. She is also seen as universal- the common denominator between all people and creatures. While Amôru may have specific laws that certain bestia may not break, and others can, she is the same to all.

So when referencing this common tongue anywhere in Noctuina, it is called Saiva’s Tongue. She isn’t necessary the creator of it (though she might be, I’m not sure about the mythology of it yet), but it represents her.

That isn’t the only language in the world though. Each realm is inspired by a number of varying real-life cultures, with one being the main influence usually. This culture tends to bring its language with it into the realm, being said realm’s tongue, and a more intimate and personal way of speaking. When a character in Clandestina switches to French they mean it far more than if it was in English. Promises turn into swears, vows might be preferred in the realm’s language, emphasis is placed on the words.

Terms sometimes too appear in different languages. Words in general have meaning, especially in Noctuina, so names are not passed on without a thought, and terms are specific (but like I said before, not everyone gets this right all the time– calling a kyria a goddess, for instance).

Pierre is a duc. This does not just mean I wanted to write duke in French to make it look foreign. It also means that, in his duchy, he is the authority of all bestia residing there. So a fée (or a vampire, or a werewolf, or any other bestia) who lives in his domain will have to answer to Pierre.

[Side note: Aimé is referred to as a prince, but the spelling is the same in French and English. It is pronounced differently though.  I do mean it to be the French term though].

If he was merely a duke, a vampire or a fée might be able to disobey the laws of his land, as long as they complied with the laws of their own people.

Of course the world is never simple, and there are many instances where the law can be seen one way or another based on how you interpret it. A visiting fée to Pierre’s land might be able to argue they belong to their Queen, not him, because they are only there for a short time. And a human in Faery might have very few rights indeed, no matter their status outside of that plane.

New Author Note

I’ve written a new author note at the beginning of Larkspur. It has a few calls to action as well as my warm regards. At the end of the book I’ve also added the opening scene to Delphinium – read it here

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Hello, dear reader. Thank you for picking up Larkspur, my first story out of many planned. I hope you enjoy it and I’d truly appreciate a review after you finish.

This is a dark story, with equal displays of affection and violence. The tenants and practices of the magic are strictly fictional. But I hope you see the love as real.

Volume two of The Larkspur Series, Delphinium, or A Necromancer’s Home, is being written and will be out soon. It expanded from a short sequel to a 100K+ novel, so it is taking me a bit longer than I’d planned to finish. In the meantime, I am writing short scenes, vignettes, from Clandestina and other realms, on my website – vmjaskiernia.com

If you would like upcoming information, tidbits, and promotional days, please sign up for the Noctuinad Mailing list – www.eepurl.com/P2FIT

In addition to the current series, many other stories that take place in Clandestina (and in other realms of Noctuina) are in the works.

You may also contact me personally by:

Email:  vmjaskiernia@gmail.com

Twitter:  @vmjaskiernia

Happy reading,

Victoria M. Jaskiernia

Wolf Girl (Astrarctia)

She should return to the woods. She’d lived in this town for five full moons, longer than she usually stayed in one human place, but she had been comfortable. Another like her lived here and though she had not met with him he felt like family. It was more than she usually had and she had not wished to give it up.

But they knew. She did not think it was her that was caught, but it was a warning she could not ignore. If a ringian had not already been sent for one would be soon.

The full moon had been last night, and unlike months before many had hid in their homes from late afternoon, when the moon first appeared in the day-sky. As a born werewolf she could change shape whenever she wanted and was not even forced to by the moon, so she had not dared shift. She had wanted it, desperately, and felt dizzy and on edge all night, but she sat with the other urchins and homeless of the town in the meeting hall and tried not to bring attention to herself. They were told they had been brought to the hall for their own safety, but more likely it was to make sure they were human. She stole a cap to wear over her white hair and did not look up, hoping her amber eyes would seem hazel in the shadows. She had not slept at all.

Now it was dawn and she felt safe enough to leave. She would eat, hide things she could not take, and disappear. Once she was far enough in the forests she would shift and find a place to curl up and sleep. If she was lucky she would run into a pack that could take her in for a time, but she had been a lone wolf before.

She had caches all over the town and she went from one to another. Most had food, meat she had caught or stolen and then packed in snow, and some had clothes. One had a knife she had found in the woods. She ate the food and left the clothes- maybe some of the other urchins would find them and use them. She would not need them with her fur. The knife she wished she could take, it was a good quality, but would be useless with her teeth and claws.

Every moment she stayed was another moment she was in danger. Some of the shops were opening for the day, people were beginning to leave the safety of their homes, and all would be wary and on the lookout for a werewolf in their midst. She decided she had eaten enough and abandoned the last few caches, heading towards the woods. It would be best if she was not seen, even though she had ‘proven’ her humanity. It would be foolish to be seen going into the forests the day after a full moon.

Voices stopped her. She froze behind the thick trunk of a tree and listened. They were speaking to each other and it did not seem they were looking for her.

“Go!” a woman sobbed.

“Quick, son.” A man’s voice, gruff with emotion.

“But if I leave they will know!” The third voice was of a boy.

“If you stay you will die.” The man again.

The wind picked up and blew towards her, bringing her a wealth of information. The man and woman were married, and the boy was their son. He also had the scent of wolf and blood on him.

She peered around from her hiding spot. The boy had a hand wrapped in bloody bandage, and his clothes were torn and ragged. This was not the werewolf she had scented before, though, this werewolf seemed to have shifted for the first time last night, not even aware enough about what was happening to take his clothes off.

She began to walk to them slowly, but the boy turned to her as the wind changed direction again, and now gave him information about her. The parents looked at her too and the mother’s eyes widened in fear. The father moved towards her, as if he could silence her and protect his son. If she was a human girl who heard what was being spoken, and then told the town it could be death for all of them.

“She’s one too,” the boy said, figuring out what her scent meant, moving to stop his father.

“Was she the one—”

“No,” the boy said quickly. “It was a male, a man, that..” He moved his hurt arm. His father took a step back, but did not look away from her.

“I’m Inisaira,” she said, reaching them. “Aira. I was leaving after last night.”

“Ander,” the boy replied when his father said nothing. “I was too, I guess. I… changed last night.”

“We want him safe!” his mother said. “Please, help us. Take him far away!”

How could she turn him away? He was was taller than her by a few inches, older than her,but she had certainly been a werewolf longer. She had felt safe enough just knowing a werewolf was in the same town (even though she now thought horrible things about the wolf that had bitten a child). This could be the start of her own real pack.

She began to take her clothes off. The man turned away, but the mother and boy did not. She was still young enough that it was not unusual to be naked in the summer months. Of course this was winter.

“Hurry,” she urged Ander, throwing her shirt on to the ground. “We will run faster as wolves. Your parents want you safe, that is more than I’ve seen in some other places.”

Once they were both naked, the boy looking more uncomfortable than her, she nodded to him. Good, he was listening to her. “You were bit, but you can still turn into a wolf if it isn’t a full moon. You need to mean it- say a prayer to Luna and picture yourself shifting.”

It took him a few minutes to change. Aira was a wolf in only a moment, and she observed the boy while he concentrated. Finally his limbs began to move and fur sprouted from his body. The mother gasped and she hid in her husband’s arms, but the father did not look away. Ander crouched and then fell in the snow, but quickly his new form appeared, one accustom to snow and the forest.

He stood, shaking off the snow that clung to his golden fur, the same color as his hair. He was an older puppy, like Aira, neither yet adults as people or beasts but needing to act without guidance from adults.

They regarded each other in this second form. Their scents filled the air and both knew even more about each other than when they had scented each other in human form. Ander knew she was a born werewolf, the alpha, and that she was tired and worried, even if she tried to hide it. She knew he was bitten a few days ago, the bite tearing when he shifted last night and reopening wounds. He was worried too, even afraid, but was determined.

She took a step to him and looked up into his eyes. He tilted his head in confusion, and then slowly bent his head in understanding. He licked her snout, crouching before her.

Brother, she said, nudging him. Beta.

Sister, he agreed, nuzzling her face. Alpha.

She looked to his front paw. He had taken off his clothes but had forgotten about the bandage. It was now lose and twisted up in his fur. She bent over and grabbed an end in her mouth, pulling and shaking her head until it came loose and she dropped it. When his wound began to bleed and he whined she licked at it until it stopped.

She glanced to the parents and gave a nod so they would understand. The father nodded back, and then mother tried to hide her tears by picking up their clothes. With a meaningful look to Ander she dashed off into the underbrush. He followed.

 

Scene 7

Working on Scene 7, ‘Wolf Girl.’ The main character is Inisaira, one of my first characters from way back when I was 13. Her story has been a constant in my mind for years, and I’m glad to be getting back to that realm (and werewolves, I love werewolves). Charting the timeline is helping me sort through 13 years of memories, old ideas, and plots that no longer work. Like with Clandestina I have several generations of stories there (I love a family saga).

I’m thinking Inisaira’s story might be the second series I begin properly (alongside Pierre and Lizzy’s), but much of that is still in the air. Plus I want to write the short-story ‘Dear Friend’ (which is in yet another, third, realm) which seems too long for a Scene, but shouldn’t break 10K. I might put it up for 99cents or even free from the start. I have six or seven main realms where many of my stories take place, and many many more minor realms that I don’t know enough about yet, but plan to work in. Remember, Noctuina has 256 different magical realms, with different cræfts, bestia, and histories.

Delphinium is coming along well too, I’ve been at the beach this last week and that helped with a lot of thinking and plotting. I’ve actually updated Larkspur with the opening scene of Delphinium, and an author’s note near the start.

‘Wolf Girl’ should be up tonight🙂

Fantasy and Religion

I had another one of those lovely ideas that show up out of nowhere and takes over. I’ve fleshed it out for the past hour-and-a-half and now have a nice, if vague, plot and history. It’s like Arthurian Legend as mixed with Henry VIII’s shenanigans, with a dash of Hamlet.

I am trying to pick a scene to write out that can be introductory, doesn’t reveal everything, and still makes sense. Which is far harder than you would think it would be.

There’s also a lot of discussion about religion in this. Of course it pertains to my fictional faith, but many of the feelings and situations can be seen in reality. I’m not sure if that’s a subject I’m ready to tackle as an author. Of course this story isn’t planned to be next after the Larkspur series or anything, so I have lots of time to mull it over, but it’s still difficult to imagine.

I happen to be a devout Roman Catholic, by the way. I take my faith seriously. I believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, follow Canon Law (including the things that many believe are ‘outdated’), etc. With my presence as a writer online I don’t mention it too often, but I don’t deny it, and there are bits of Catholicism that have made their way into my writing and worldbuilding.

That said I’ve also incorporated many faiths and cultures into my world. I think they’re all very interesting, if not necessarily as True as I understand Catholicism. I’m trying to take a Tolkien approach to this- make sure folk get the fantasy part of the fantasy, while not writing anything against God, or endorsing it in reality. I may write about a divorce at some point, but I may add a subplot about annulments so that there is the understanding that a divorce after a valid marriage isn’t possible. This is also why I don’t write explicit sex scenes by the way.

Of course that’s all very technical and generally not what people are looking for when they pick up a fantasy book (then again, nerds, so technical may be great), but details are important and if nothing else it makes the world richer.

But yes, this particular story puts all of that up front. It’s no longer a neat background mention about religion, it’s center-stage. It’s an Old Norse type realm, only this isn’t Pagan vs Christian like one might assume, it’s more “The Pope vs Henry VIII” where in Noctuina there is one true religion that essentially everyone knows (and follows to varying degrees), but one person wants to tweak it because they think they can do better (also for their own personal reasons). And while this one faith is quite Christian, I also have parts of hinduism, greek mythology, wiccanism, etc tossed in it. I have to tread a fine line so it doesn’t go against what I believe, yet be different and fantasy-like.

I think I have a Scene I can type up, it came to mind as I was writing this, so I’ll work on that being the next one.

I’ll go into more detail about this in worldbuilding posts, specifics about each faith and what I do with it in writing. I’ll make Religion separate from Culture (I’ve dropped the “Playing With-” tag since I realized I had far too many variations for it to be worth using, and I’m just going with Language, Culture, etc.) and go from there.

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging (Clandestina) [Rough]

The professor was not in the classroom as the students walked in to Anatomy. There were instructions written on the board in large letters (each student was to pair up with two others, choose one of the corpses laid out, and disassemble as much as possible, labeling each organ and its function. For extra credit they could find out the cause of death) but that was all. They had done this, or similar, exercises several times before under the watchful eye of their teacher, but today it seemed to be a test of how well they could work on their own.

Pierre Salvador stood by himself while most of the group paired with friends. Piers had finished his studies already, leaving for home a few weeks before, not needing the extra time in surgical schooling. The princeling therefor found himself alone more often than not now that his only true friend here was gone. It did not bother him much, he preferred working alone, but it was not pleasant. Possibly his status was scaring others away, or perhaps something about him radiated with Mora’s cræft? He had never looked into the problem.

At the end there weren’t enough students for an even number of triads and Pierre stayed alone. He noted that one group had four students, and he should have at least been paired with one of them, but it let it go. There were also not enough bodies either so another group would be useless. He could make a fuss, or join one of the groups to observe, but he had better things to do. This was something he knew well already, and Mora has asked he kill a man for her.

He made to leave, minding to tell the professor later that he was feeling ill and to either get the assignment dropped or allowed time to remake it, but the door opened as he was walking towards it.

Two men in guard uniforms entered,  a covered tray between them. They saw Pierre, apart from the others and the eldest, and addressed him.

“Monsieur! We are here to bring a body for the students. He was just hanged and sent here immediately for their observation.”

“Merci,” Pierre said, taking the wheeled slab and flipping over the white sheet. Beside the angry blue bruises around his throat he seemed asleep. His skin was still warm.
The prison guards said something and left a moment later after receiving no reply, the princeling having stopped paying attention to them. The corpse took his whole attention. The man was still in tattered rags.

He did not feel like a corpse, not in the same way the others had, but he had not spent extensive time with very many bodies. Perhaps they felt different based on their type of death?

Most of the others had abandoned their chosen body to come observe him now. A fresh corpse was rare, and never this fresh. Those unlucky enough to get the last body often had to deal with the stench of decay.

Pierre held out a hand and someone obliged him by handing a scalpel over. He cut into the torso only for blood to spurt onto his hands and clothes.

“Merde!”

“He’s still alive!”

If the bright lively blood had not confirmed it, a moan from the man and his eyes opening did. One of the youngest boys fainted. A few turned to help him, even more turned away entirely, but Pierre continued to watch in silence. He had seen men die before but every experience was new. Had he been dead and come back through a miracle, or had the doctor on staff at the prison merely not done his job?

Someone finally yelled out that they would run and get a professor and the door slammed on his way out. Pierre bent over the body and touched his pulse. The neck was bruised and swollen, presumably by the hanging that hadn’t managed to snap the spine, but it throbbed a slow heartbeat. He wrapped a the rest of his hand around the windpipe. No one was looking at him, no one dared looked up to see the eyes of a man who had been pronounced dead. He squeezed, and there was a gargling noise before the heartbeat stopped.

The door burst open and their professor had returned.

“Away, away,” the surgeon called, shooing his way near the body opposite Pierre.

“Your Graceful Highness,” he addressed Pierre respectfully. “What seems to have happened?”

“Monsieur, he still seemed alive when I started to cut. His blood flowed and his eyes snapped open. He made a noise as well.”

The professor was nodding, placing a stereoscope to the man’s chest, then neck. After a minute though he shook his head.

“Well he is not alive now. Do not worry, it is nothing you did, merely a dead man hanging on to life as tightly as he could until no more. See, he is malnourished, dehydrated, and was through a trauma. Let us merely call it a delayed hanging and leave it at that.”

Done with the analysis he nodded to himself again, wrapped the stethoscope around his neck and looked to the student.

“Well?” the professor prompted. “Back to your stations, there is still an hour and a half left in the course.”

Students shuffled back to their chosen bodies, one group’s left alone as the two boys who were paired with the one who fainted helped him to the side.

“I will go check on Raoul,” the professor said to Pierre. “You may continue with this body but I understand if you wish to skip this class.”

“Non, merci professor, I will be fine.”

He lined the slab up in the back of the room with the others, on the leftmost side with his back to everyone else. He finished taking off the man’s clothes.

“He would have lived.”

The voice in his ear was female, and Mora suddenly stood by him wearing what only could be called a women’s uniform in the style of his own, though the students were all male at this University. Her hair was tied back in a deep crimson ribbon, and his wings were furled close to her back, but still there.

“With medical attention,” Pierre agreed. Attention a class full of students could have begun to provide until someone with more knowledge arrived. But the man was a prisoner sent to death. He would have only been executed once more. This was in a way kinder.

Mora looked to him and made to say something, but stopped instead. She smiled and then disappeared, off to greet the dead man’s soul in her plane.

Pierre had the feeling she had been about to inform him of the man’s innocence, a mistake in the roi’s judgement (for the roi was the duc in this land as well). But even if that were true it would no change the sentence. The roi had spoken. Pierre merely complied.

——-

This scene is very rough. I wrote it in two days, the bulk one evening with the ending tagged on the next morning. I *had* to finish writing it because it just wouldn’t go away. But now that it’s out I can’t find it in myself to edit it much. It isn’t ready for any official publication, and I don’t think I will put it up over on wattpad until I get around to fixing it, but it may offer a good overview as to what a rougher draft of my stuff looks like. So I’ll post it with the Rough tag and when I get around to fixing it up I’ll relabel it. Might be useful to compare and contrast later for me too.

 

Magic in Noctuina (plus some Mythology)

The magic system I’m most entrenched in at the moment is that followed by Mora’s Suitors (and Confidantes) of Death. If I need specific examples here I’ll be using that.

But before we get to specifics let’s see how magic works in general in Noctuina. The first thing you need to know is that there is a lot of variations of magic. It is a world where magic is as core to the land as the types of animals  and plants in the different parts of the world, to the people and their cultures.

There are 256 distinct Realms in Noctuina. On a flat map they’ll come up as rectangles, 16 across by 16 down. Each realm is approximately 2080 miles across and 1040 miles from north to south. So, give or take, 2.1 million miles squared. This is somewhere between India and Australia in size.

(Ok, I may need to rethink this “Playing With” series as I’m wondering if I need another one for Geography now).

The magic is not the exact same throughout the entire realm. Similarly to how one would imagine the culture of Northern India being different than Southern India, and so on. But it has a certain consistency to it. A mage from the north will be able to perform his magic in the south, though it may need some adjusting, or have a different temperament.

In Clandestina, the realm where Pierre lives, there are a few different magics. Among humans there’s blancræft, white healing magic; noircræft, a darker more volatile magic that can be used to heal or harm; and necrocræft, magic that involves the dead, dying, murder and resurrection of human life. The fée, faeries, of Clandestina have their own versions of magic that are less categorized. It’s more inherit, they’re born with it and while they can shape it, they can not get rid of it. Eglė, for instance, is fay (related to the fée though not from Faery) and she can take the form of any serpent (from cobra to boa ). A human though could learn this magic if they found a way to study it, and it would probably later be labeled as under a different type of -cræft. He could in theory also lose his magic. Probably changing to different types of serpents would be possible, but more difficult than it is for Eglė.

This is where things get a little inconsistent between the ‘reality’ and what passes for vernacular in a realm. Pierre often mentions his cræft as being necrocræft alone, as if he didn’t know noir or blanc, and while that is how it’s seen currently among the population, it isn’t entirely true. This is something I got to thinking about while working on Delphinium. If we’re being technical, necrocræft alone shouldn’t allow for things like healing, though it does. So he does have more than just necrocræft.

Here’s where more terminology comes in and the previous name I used, Suitor of Death, comes into play. There’s also some mythology here.

There are beings in Noctuina that I call Kyrioi. Kyrioi as a word is the Greek for Lords. Kyrios being the male singular, and kyria the female singular. They are akin to gods, with their title meaning they can bestow certain powers and magics to people. Usually this is a careful mix of several cræfts that work together to form, essentially, a whole new magic. Those that are devoted to certain kyrioi are given titles to express their variation of magic. In other realms this might be Wizard, or Ringian, or Sorcerer, but in Clandestina for those that follow Mora is it Suitor of Death.

So Mora, as the last of the keres, has been given the title of Lady of Death; Kyria. Those that follow her are Suitors, if male, and Confidantes if female, and those that pass all of her tests are lords and ladies in their own right, though not kyrioi. This is not yet something explained deeply in the books, and what it means for the realm as a whole is still up in the air, but it sits in the background as a detail I plan to unwrap more.

This also relates to the post I made a few weeks ago about consistency and how people make up things that aren’t quite true, but get passed off as true. I continue to call Pierre’s magic just necrocræft for the moment, even if a scholar of magic in the realm would disagree, because that is just what it is called among the people.