Reegatia’s people were all women, or at least they were all ladies.
It had come about because of a misunderstanding with an explorer who had “discovered” the people that he – the explorer was a he, at least – had called The Ladies of the Jungle.
There were three things wrong with that, possibly 5, and it was a title only 5 words long in the Imperial language, one in the explorer’s native tongue – Pialejiarnna.
But the end result – because the explorer had returned to his own people with drawings and notes and more notes, had come back and then returned with even more notes, more drawings, and a few of the weird new Daguerreotypes, and then on his fourth voyage had brought back four of the Pialejiarnna – was that the world believed that Reegatia’s people were all women. They were the Ladies of Pia, and the fact that they called themselves the Ineguruhh was a fact only known to those that considered themselves in the know; the etymology of that term had been hotly debated in certain groups but, unfortunately, nobody had ever asked an Ineguruhch.
For decades, for centuries, the Ineguruhh had shifted between fully encouraging this idea and only vaguely attempting to overturn it. What did they care if some strange people in a strange land thought something about them? They themselves knew what and who and why they were.
This, however, was before the trade route had opened up, bringing with it more of the people from the explorer’s home land, now absorbed into a larger land, and bringing people who had read about the Ladies of Pia, who wanted to see the Ladies and ask all sorts of awkward questions.
This was before the Universities in the mainland had been willing to open up several spots to the Ladies of Pia, and to a few of the other nations who shared their large, well-populated and deadly island, in return for shared studies at their University; although the people from the mainland obviously thought of it more as an anthropological study than as proper study as they should.
This was before Reegatia and four others of the Ineguruhh stepped into the Great University of Gaelocious Dovanni Heylneil and were met with five of the mainlanders ready to be their guides, their Imperial-tongue educators, and their instructors in proper dress.
One of the things the Ineguruhh knew already about the Imperial people was that, although they considered themselves worldly in their understanding of clothing and dress, some things were for male people, Gentlemen, and some things were for female people, Ladies. It hadn’t just been a misinterpretation of several words that had led that original explorer to assume that they were all women; it had also been the way that all people of the Ineguruhh dressed. They did dress differently according to role in the society, which someone had managed to explain to the explorer, which had led him to believe that men did indeed wear different clothing than women…
Thus he assumed there were no men among the Ineguruhh. And from there, he assumed that the Ineguruhh were somehow not entirely human, which was a very interesting assumption and had led to him also assuming that an Ineguruhch could not get pregnant from sex with, say, him.
This had led to several children from his visits, something that he never figured out, looking almost entirely at the clothing and not at features like his prominent nose on an otherwise lovely Ineguruhh face.
Reegatia had Opinions about this first explorer and many who had come after him, but that was part of why Reegatia was here.
And now, Reegatia was being faced with a very lovely ( for an Imperial person – how anyone could find that hair or those noses attractive?) Imperial who was probably female and probably about the same age as Reegatia. And this Imperial was clucking in dismay.
“We have got to get you into proper clothes. Something in lawn, I think, and I have the budget to do it. Although, you know, the sort of thing that you’re wearing has a lot of interesting elements. Maybe we can talk to my tailor and get him to incorporate some of them into the latest fashions?” She smiled widely at Reegatia. Reegatia found that the only thing to do was smile back. “I’m Lily Penderest-Attenborough, by the way, absolutely no relation, if you were worried.”
Attenborough. That was the name of the explorer, Sir Roland Attenborough. Reegatia bowed deeply.
“That would be lovely,” he told Lily Penderest-Attenborough in clear, careful Imperial. “I am Reegatia lat Azstone iteh Ineguruhh.”
She was staring. Reegatia let his smile widen a little. His voice was very deep when he did not attempt to make it sound softer or higher.
All Ineguruhh were Ladies, as it turned out, but not all Ladies were women.
This story written after we dealt with a ladybug at home and were questioning whether or not all lady bugs were thus “she.”
Thanks to Masterpiece Generator’s Fantasy Name Generator (https://www.name-generator.org.uk/fantasy/) for Reegatia and Azstone’s names and to Seventh Sanctum’s Elf Namer (https://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=elfnamer) for the name of the Ineguruhh.
This ended up probably-in-Things-Unspoken, because they seem to have had a rash of explorers with poor critical thinking skills (see The Masks of the Eshadra http://www.lynthornealder.com/2020/04/14/masks/ as well.) I know I set it up with every word in “the ladies of the jungle” being wrong and really only got to “ladies” and tangentially to “the”. I suppose the reasonable answer then would be for me to write something about why, say, “jungle” wasn’t right, or why “the” wasn’t right, either of the these. I mean, one of those is relatively easy; there’s more than one group in the jungle…
ahem. So, enjoy the ladybug tale.