January by the numbers continues (now FIVE days off but still going strong).
From clare_dragonfly‘s prompt “ambiguity;” worldbuilding for a world I’ve just barely started. It’s a little unclear… but that suits the prompt.
The world known as Calepurn has many nations, sprawling across the mainland, the islands, and the connected piece of land known, for no good reason, as the Appendix.
Many of these nations have their own languages, and all of them have their own dialects, but almost everyone who travels between nations can speak Lengraffa, the language of Firrset.
Lengraffa is a language evolved from many different tongues over thousands of years, and while it has a root here or there in English, it bears even less resemblance to Modern English than Modern English does to Old English.
(Spaston, a language spoken almost solely in a tiny mountain nation on the Eastern coast, is much closer to Modern English, with many loan-words from Spanish. But that is a story for another day.)
Lengraffa is a language drenched in ambiguity. Like Modern English, it drips with homophones. Words sometimes wander the continent, only to come back wearing a similar-looking coat but having an entirely different purpose. Casual usage changes words, until the same word can mean both a thing and its opposite.
Now into this language of uncertainty, where a simple sentence can be as clear as mud, throw a magic system which required precise geometry and very clear intention.
Magic was found in Firrset, they say, but nobody outside of Firrset truly believe that — and neither do many within Firrset. In a system of magic where the faintest ambiguity in phrasing can ruin an incantation, how could magic have ever risen in a place that speaks Lengraffa?
As further proof, many non-Firrsets point out that when an incantation goes wrong, the magic leaks into the environment, causing occasional eruptions of strangeness. And in Firrset, there is more strangeness than there is anywhere else on Calepurn.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1242759.html. You can comment here or there.