Languages, Names, Mythology

I love language. Languages, even, not just my own. The differences, similarities, translations, and meanings of words in my tongue, and in the languages of others.. it’s amazing isn’t it? I think it started with my love of names- you may have noticed I have a varied group of names in my work. Larkspur’s Clandestina is influenced by France, and the UK, so you have ‘Pierre’ and ‘Elizabeth’ but it’s also a fantasy world. It wouldn’t be a good fantasy world if some of the names didn’t have deeper meanings, would it?

Some are mundane even so. JosĂ©phine, the reine (I’ll get to the title translations in a second) is named so because A) I like it and B) it was Napoleon’s wife’s name. And C) It was also the name of the evil princess’s horse in the Story of Evil Vocaloid series. Ok, that was the main reason I used it.. 😉

Edgard, the roi, has the French name version of Edgar, named after one of my favourite authors and influences Edgar Allan Poe.

Other names are more foreign. Ophion, Pierre’s uncle, has a Greek name. Mythological actually. Ophion was once the ruler of the universe, as well as a giant snake (his name means serpent). Ophion’s adopted daughter is Eglė, who in Lithuanian mythology marries the serpent king. Her name though means Spruce, as in the tree, for she is turned into one at the end of the myth (her children are also named after, and turned into, trees). So far you don’t see the snake connection, but it’s addressed in book 2 and a prequel book devoted just to Ophion and Eglė fleshes this out.

Now, you don’t *need* to know any of this to enjoy the story. I forgot why I had chosen Ophion as a name until I googled it a few days ago. I assumed it was a form of Ophelia (who commits suicide in Hamlet) or a variation to Orpheus (who goes to the underworld to bring back his lover). That said, OphĂ©lie (Pierre’s mother) is the French for Ophelia, and I’m going to use Orpheus somewhere for something.

But it is still nice and fun, and to the few people that get it a little extra joy. I’m certainly pleased.

About those royal and noble titles: in Clandestina you see most of the terms used are in French. Roi, Reine, Duc, Prince (yup, spelled the same as in English, but it’s French). The ‘default’ language of the world is our English. Mainly because I speak English, but also because English is largely becoming a lingua franca and truly is in many ways a ‘default’ language.

(Mythology sidetrack)

In-Universe this is explained as the language being Saiva’s gift. She is a somewhat of a goddess, the ‘Nothing’ to AmĂŽru’s ‘Everything.’ I’m trying to be precise about terms, because like Middle Earth, while there are many magical creatures, even divine beings, there is only one God- AmĂŽru. The personification of Everything Good. Saiva, who is the personification of Nothing (not evil, or a lack of good, just stillness and.. nothing) is his wife. AmĂŽru’s name means 10, though I also chose it because it reminds me of Amor, a term for Love. Saiva means 0, though it seems to also be a variation of Shiva’s name in Hindu mythology.

(Back on track)

So everyone innately speaks and communicates in English. Each realm though is influenced by a real world country or countries and other languages still exists. So yes, Pierre and Elizabeth are speaking English. But there are times where the French term holds more weight than the ‘generic’ English, and so code-switching happens in everyday speech.

Most of the time this is in the form of Titles. With the addition of magic, other beings, other realms, and planes of existence, there have to be more terms to quickly differentiate who or what everyone is.

In plain terms, the English titles refer to the rulers and nobles of that ‘race’ (I say race, but I don’t like the term. Hence the in-universe bestia, ‘beast’). So the King of Triumphe can only hold authority over other humans in that kingdom. Still in Clandestina, but outside of Triumphe, he would be respected but not have authority. Perhaps of a lesser title. The Queen of Werewolves though holds power over all of Astrarctia, but only about/in matters involving werewolves.

Clandestina is very entwined with Faery though, and while a full-blooded fĂ©e living next door is unlikely, the shenanigans of the fay might well cause lots of harm. So the king is called Roi, and if the fĂ©e step in Triumphe they must defer to him. Not as strongly as a human, not if they don’t permanently live in that plane, but even so. (Outside of Triumphe Edgard would be well respected, but not a king to anyone there).

Same thing with Pierre- he is a duc, not a duke. FĂ©e, or as we see more in Delphinium, vampires who come up from Italaviana, are his to hold power over.

There was one term left in English which you may even have missed at the start of Larkspur: Margrave. A variation of the term Marquis, meaning a rule of a land at a border. Margrave specifically is used for those who rule between the borders of planes. So the Margrave Bastoni who spoke to Pierre rules the mountains where there happen to be a lot of portals to fée. He has authority on both sides of the portal, though much of that comes from his fée wife as well.

I could go on for another hour typing up why I chose one certain term or name, but I think I’ll save the rest for another post at a later time.

((For those wondering, I am quite well now that I’ve taken a little time to reset, worldbuild, and get back into the flow of things. I’m no longer worried or doubting. I am writing.))

Worlds

Yesterday was Larkspur’s last day in Kindle Select. I made the last two days give-aways and had 430 copies taken up by folk on the internets. Hope a few end up leaving reviews ❀

It’s been 90 days since I published Larkspur. Sold 138 copies, and gave away over a thousand. It’s been sent through Draft2Digital, though it seems to take Nook/Kobo and those lot longer to get stuff up than Amazon. I’ll write another post when it’s live.

Delphinium is taking a few twists and I’m having to change a few scenes here and there. The more I write, the more.. different it gets in a few ways. I’m trying not to make the same mistake as with Larkspur and rush it, so I’m letting this play out. Much more to do with Italaviana, and the inter-realm politics, but it should settle back to just being about necrocrĂŠft for a book or two after. It is fairly full circle since in the first versions of these stories, Pierre and company were vampires (as well as necrocrĂŠft users. Well, back then it was Black Magic and Forbidden Magic). You’ll meet a new character from Italaviana, Silas, who has his own set of stories that take place a few hundred years before the Larkspur series.

I’m also starting to think about what the next series I want to be writing will be. It should be better to have two or three realms engaged at one time so I don’t end up bored with one set, and so people get used to a lot of different places. I don’t want to be that author who has one series everyone likes, but everything else they do is ignored because it just isn’t that first one. I love Clandestina, and I’m very proud of the necrocrĂŠft magical system, but there’s so much more I just want to write about- wizards, dreamers, werewolves, ringian, unicorns, magicians… Noctuina is a conglomerate of so many countries and kingdoms and worlds, they all deserve to be noticed. I’m hoping that since they are all take place in the same universe and occasionally interact, this won’t be as difficult as if they were different universes entirely.

I’m thinking Ibella. Also Italy inspired, it’s near Italaviana. The magic of the realm comes from it being connected to the planes of dreams and nightmares. Political issues arise when the ruling powers in Reality are threatened that some of their citizens hold allegiance to other royals in different planes. Those that can enter the realm of dreams or nightmares are being taken and imprisoned. Dreams and Nightmares also have problems with each other.

Mannerpunk

Fantasy of Manners / Mannerpunk

“The protagonists are not pitted against fierce monsters or marauding armies, but against their neighbors and peers; the action takes place within a society, rather than being directed against an external foe; duels may be fought, but the chief weapons are wit and intrigue.”

“A typical fantasy of manners tale will involve a romantic adventure that turns on some point of social punctilio or intrigue.”

– Quotes taken from Wikipedia ‘Fantasy of Manners’

So, I write dark fantasy. And in most ways it falls under fantasy-of-manners/mannerpunk. It usually starts with some sort of romance, and political issues, and then because of said complicated scenarios the plot unfolds. I do weave in more fantasy/fairy-tale elements than others in this subgenre, with a bit of epic-fantasy here and there as well, but at the heart it’s usually a love story gone… interesting.

Larkspur- princeling meets old childhood friend, the comte’s daughter, falls in love. … But has to deal with his other love, a personification of death, and his secret/illegal practice of necrocrĂŠft.

There’s also the mortal who falls in love with the King of Nightmares in a land where dreaming is punishable by imprisonment (and the problem of nightmares and dreams not getting along among themselves either).

The three brothers set to marry their loves, three sisters, when word arrives that the virgin-hungry dragon is on his way.

Etc.

And it’s more than just the love stories. It keeps going- I work in generations more often than not, histories and grand scales of time. The protagonist’s parents usually have their own story of interest, and often the children do as well. The interplay between family, friends, and social issues, work together interestingly and nicely.

That’s what I write and what I want to bring to modern fantasy.