Landing Page: Things Unspoken

…And seriously creepy. Did I mention the creepy? – kelkyag

It is best to keep your head about you in this world, because if you do not, someone else may keep it for you.

The shadows whisper, the Empire reaches, and all around, progress marches slowly on, heedless of the Old Things lurking in its way.

The world is a continent-spanning empire, and other places that are not the empire and thus less important but no less interesting. The era is that of steam engines and ridiculous fashion, of public shows of manners and private displays of lewdness.

The empire consists of many nations. Every one of them has their own secrets, their own governments. Each nation is semi-autonomous – but only semi. For the Empire rules over everything.

And if strange things creep in the shadows? Well, in the end, those things too are ruled by the Empire.


The Stories

Unspoken Worldbuilding

The Freshest Fish

The Freshest

This story is a follow-up to Fresh Fish from my Fishy Prompt Call, as it has reached 10 comments (As of the last time I counted).  It is set in the city of Scheffenon in the world of Things Unspoken; The story of Scheffenon begins with N is for Nereids ; the story of Eliška begins with R is for Ritual. (I really oughta do another alphabet call…)

“I’m sorry, I have nothing but what you see.  I have the freshest river fish, the freshest pond fishes.  These here, these are delicious with an herbed butter.  These here, they come from a spring where nothing else lives, just these fish, and they taste like the gods themselves would like to eat them.” Continue reading

Fresh Fish

From yesterday through mid day Thursday, August 6th, I have a Prompt Call running here – anyone can prompt and please do!

This comes afterR is for Rituals and Linguistic Tricks and Finish It: Scheffenon, but the information you need to read the below story is:

Scheffenon is a city on the North See, in the norther-western part of a sprawling Empire.  Eliška is an Informer, an Imperial position which is part anthropologist, part internal spy, part propaganda artist for the Empire. 

And there is something creepy about the sea in Scheffenon. 


“Fresh fish!  Freshest fish, pulled from the ponds and rivers to the East!  Fresh fish!” Continue reading

The Ladies of the Jungle

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. Continue reading

The Masks of the Eshadra

The Eshadra had been wearing masks long before the Empire had discovered them.

At first (for a long time, actually), the Empire, or at least the Imperial would-be scholars1 who attempted to treat with the Eshadra2  believed that the masks were simply a guard against the weather.  After all, the Eshadra lived in a cold, dry climate which was unbearable on the naked face and would quickly rip ones lungs to pieces without some sort of filter; in this weather, the Imperial explorers gladly took the gifted face-masked, lined with the softest fur, and did not ask too many questions.

Of course, in that time and in that place, they were not inclined to ask questions as much as they were to make assumptions anyway.  The Eshadra greeted Imperial people only in the small front room of their houses – houses which Imperial people first thought were that small, little huts built into mountainsides.  When they realized the huts were only the fronts of the home, they assumed that the Eshadra cloistered their women.

When they realized a few of the Eshadra they’d been talking to were women, they assumed then that the Eshadra cloistered some women. Perhaps there was an exception for certain trades?  By this point, there were certain trades that the Empire, if not all its client components, had declared were to be open to people no matter their gender or rank.

Meanwhile, they had studied the form of the masks, the style of them, and realized that there were patterns of beading on the outside, or fur trim, or embroidery, or all three.  They asked what the decorations meant, belatedly, but because they did not understand the answer, they assumed it was superstition and chalked it up as such.

One particularly interested scholar, who was unnoted in their own time but later considered remarkable, asked more questions.

The scarf, ah, the fleoioa-

ffle-e-o-ioa-a, the guide corrected.  Helloanei was, according to this scholar – we will call them by the name the Olleaiaelloa gave them here, Loearanni3, the-story-bringer – not only a willing guide and very quick to pick up both Imperial Standard and (as the Imperial folks learned later than they expected), several of the home-tongues, Helloanei was also an attractive and clever young woman and an amazing hunter. 

Ffle-e-o-ioa.  This wards off demons.  The ice?

The ice is one demon.  See here, these lines here.  If I need to take a mask, this mask tells me it protects me the most from cold.  But if I am sick, this mask here, it keeps the sickness demons from bothering others.  And this one, if I visit a sick relative, see?

they all have a similar central pattern.

ah, well.  Here, Loearanni’s notes tell that Helloanei laughed.  Well, when one is covered head-tip to toe-tips, those tell people who one is.

Ah.  What do ours say?

yours, yours says Lo-e-ar-ran-ni, that is, story-bringer.  The others,. and here she giggled.  One can tell from Loearanni’s notes that already the Imperial scholar was smitten.  The others, they all say ‘stupid stranger’.  That tells us that we should make sure they stay away from steep cliffs and wild dogs and not let them go into the desert alone.

Her, Loearanni’s notes say “I did my best in Helloanei’s language to thank her for her care to my idiot kinfolk.”

Loearanni was the first, as far as we can tell, to connect the Eshadran demons to then-speculative theories on disease transmission.   Loearanni was also the first to be able to document the ceremony with which an Eshadran removed their face mask.

For many years, Loearanni was called a liar, among less kind things – because the notes on this said when Helloaneei began to remove her mask, she explained matters to me which are secrets in the Olleaiaelloa and in the Hafeallo as well. I will not relay these secrets, but I will say: if an Olleaiaello-eh-a takes off their mask for you, take it very, very seriously indeed.  There is no more serious thing for their people.

It would have done the whole world a great deal of good if more in the Empire had heeded this.  Less than a century later, the Empire found itself in a tricky situation when an Emperor demanded that the Eshadran envoy remove his mask in the presence of the Emperor.

Due to some careful verbal footwork by the translator, seeking to avoid offence, the Eshadran envoy took this as a request, which led to the envoy believing the Emperor had just proposed marriage.

And ever since, the Eshadra have been part of the Empire.

1 The scholars of this point were not the Informers.  The Informers were already a nascent organization, but they would not reach the Eshadra for many years yet.

2 from a word in the home language of one of those scholars, which referred to mythical ice demons; they called themselves the Olleaiaelloa.

3 While the reasons for such will not be clear here, we can state this one: that this is the name that Loearanni themselves preferred in later days.

This story brought to you by:

Current events, gasp

Listening to Today I Found Out, something about Miasma Theory, and something similar (it all sort of merges togther)

The Inuit, although not directly.  

Today I am Feeling uncreative

The Great NanoWrimo Prompt Call

Today, I am feeling uncreative, and so I beg your aid in a story I am writing for the Great NanoWrimo Prompt Call.

I point your attention, if I may, to the world of Things Unspoken.

Cities/places already in existence include

Scheffenon, the Scheif Harbor, high on the Northern Sea (where there are Cornesc-speaking people)
(Scheffenon isnot a Cornesc word, but one from the people who had been here before)

Orschëst, down by the southern border

Corthwin (where the Ash remains unburnt)

the western cities, the ones that had once belonged to an Empire called only To (never the To Empire, the Tovan nation, or anything else, just To)

Here is a very draft map –

So!  I need another city.  There’s sort of obviously not one language to this Empire, so it doesn’t have to sound like those above, but should sound… “exotic?”  Well, not Springfield or Washington, let’s go with that.

(Most of my named people have Eastern-European-inspired names, just as a note)


(If I get more than one, i’ll clearly just have to write another story)

Curating the Empire

Originally posted on Patreon in September 2019 and part of the Great Patreon Crossposting to WordPress.
A Story of Things Unspoken.  I did not unlock this one solely for Kelkyag, no, of course not. 


It was called a Museum, and it served as such to the public in the Imperial Capital.

That is, people could visit and, for a nominal fee, they could peruse the items stored within.  They could awe at the sculptures, puzzle at the paintings, meander around the mosaics.

They could read portions of ancient texts, both in the original and in several translations.  They could learn from a trained and patient docent why a particular civilization had, for instance, created garments which were beaded over the entire (relatively skimpy) piece with shells and bits of shiny stones, or from another guide why the famed painter Kelizanie Patrischezch had chosen to use only five shades in her The Dawn Comes (Ukethetchesziezie)  series.

And, because it was available, because their were discounts for students, and because it insisted on a certain level of quiet but used firm barriers to keep small children from, say, climbing on the statue of The First Empress, it was well-attended, if perhaps not as well attented as it should have been.  It was, in terms of museums, quite a success.

All of which did a wonderful job of concealing the original mandate of the building and the organization which ran it.

Mayie Retoziven, lead curator for the Northeast Territories Section of the Imperial Museum of Arts and Culture, was up to her elbows in a box of trinkets and gizmos, objets d’art and fine embroidery when her alarm went off.

As she had both been trained in and then trained countless others in her decade as a lead curator, Mayie froze.  “Castellan!” she called to her assistant.  “There’s an issue.” Continue reading

Darling it’s better… a tale for MerMay

Things Unspoken, South Coast

There were not people in all the seas.

Some of them were too dark, too cold, too inhabited by things that either had been driven off the land or had simply claimed the water for their own.

Some were too close to human people, some were too heavily sailed, some were simply not very nice to swim in.

But there was this place off the southern coast of the Empire where wise captains did not send their ships.  And there was this place deep in this cove where people lived.

Elliallein and Milleffeou conferred in the shadows.  Mille had the sort of magic that allowed her to take on legs, and the sort of voice that sometimes convinced people to listen.  And so she would wander to the ports and tell people how unwise it was to portage all the way around rather than just sailing through the cove, or she would tell people how good of fishing there was deep in the cove.

Elliallein was too far from the humans to do that.  Her magic was a different sort – the sort that came later.  She draped a necklace over her cousin’s neck and hummed a little song.  There would be boats along soon.  There always were.

And when there were, the sea here would do what it always did, and very few boats would make it out alive.

But Elliallein and her sisters and cousins, they would save who they could.  Some they would drag to shore, of course.  But the best ones, the strongest swimmers….

Elliallein’s magic would teach them how to swim properly.  And her children and theirs might be able to walk on land.

Written to Eseme’s prompt: I quite like this one, because very colorful mermaid! Which likely indicates poison or something. I expect the tail has bright angel-fish fins.

Want more?

Mermay: Pedestal

They had given her a plinth.

They collected the most interesting members of every family, and for them, she was very interesting indeed.

There were three of her distance cousins who also had plinths, but hers was the highest and the most decorated.  And if there was a chain, and she could not swim that far from her plinth, well, many others had chains as well, in this land.  It seemed to her, watching the land from her water-bound pedestal, that there were more people with chains than without. Continue reading