Alt-curses

I think I have a very profound statement to make: people in America curse a LOT. Surprising, I know, but it must be pointed out. In some places, I’m surprised that there aren’t people just standing around checking people’s ID (“I’m sorry son, but this stretch of sidewalk along Elm’s Street is rated PG-13 for excessive profane language, go take your chalk somewhere else”).

Contrast this with people like me, who have been so thoroughly had it drilled into their heads to not swear that they mouths will either autocorrect to something technically not the bad word (I have literally once referred to someone as a ‘she-dog’), or lock up and refuse to say anything at all. Well, that statement is slightly false. I do cuss, just not with four letter words. My default curses are ‘pinky-curses,’ which means anything sort of nonsense you would expect to hear shoot out of Pinky’s mouth (poit, narf, troz, etc.). After those, I have come up with a few originals with very specific uses. For those out there looking to thin down their language, I shall list three examples of the alt-curses that I’ve come up with, alongside their uses and origins:

Maharlgle (muh-har-gle): An expletive that goes to denote a state of panic or surprise. The actual origin of this curse is quite a mystery. It’s most likely the byproduct of the LSD that naturally flows through my veins. As a further note on how to pronounce this word, imagine yourself being trod over by a giant shoe. The ‘ma’ is said right as the heel strikes the ground. Start and hold the ‘har’ as the foot rolls across your now crush body. End will a throaty ‘gle’ is perfect sync with the shoe departing your now bloodied corpse. ‘Ma-HAR-gle,’ very useful visual, isn’t it?

Blargh!: Used generally to refer to high levels of frustration. Ironically, this minced-curse was taken from ‘Red vs. Blue.’ The aliens that frequently appear on the show all speak in  equally absurd and unintelligible ‘blarghs.’ Just don’t ask me how I associated this word with the effect, I’m also trying to figure it out.

Frilled-neck-lizard: Pronounced in a muppet-like voice, frilled-neck-lizard is used for situations of confusion or amusement. It is inspired by the quirky behavior and appearance of the frilled-neck lizard.

Return of the Grump: Accounting

There are many things in the world that lack any sort of sense. First and foremost amongst these is the dark art of economics and the numerology of accounting.  To some out there, this may sound like a cruel statement, but allow me to give you a basic understanding of how I feel.

First, let’s say that you have three apples you want to sell. You manage to sell one for $2 and eat another. How much money did you earn? If you were to look at this from a straight forward perspective, the answer would have to be $2. The end result of this answer would be an ‘F.’

Why do you ask? Because you forgot to factor in some of the most basic concepts. The apples cost 25 cents each, and you must pay this no matter what. There is also a sales tax of 3.21%. A worm was also found in one of the apples, which forced you to take off 15% of the price on the apple you ate. Oh yeah, and the apple you sold is a recurring sale, which means that you must deduct 2% from the end price for every time that that same person perchased an apple from you. That number of times can be determined by the equation x = 0iy, where ‘y’ equals the base height of the customer.

Also, 45 of the pennies you had were really fairy eggs that hatched shortly after business hours and ate the last apple and robbed $420 from you (how could you forget that part, seriously?). You shall never find the answer.

This, THIS is why, in my opinion, it would be much easier to go back to trading pigs. Then you can just squabble about how valuable the pig is based upon how many apples it ate.

EDIT: My brother, The-Thing-From-The -Realm-Where-The -Impossible-Works, has also informed that there is an egregious mistake in my answer. The discounts should be applied BEFORE the taxes.

Geila: The Fifth Island

Geila is the youngest of the Five Islands and the goddess of the moon, water, death, and repose. Like the other Five Islands, she was born to her mother Polaia. However, her birth was also met with much tragedy. In order for Polaia to bare any of her children, she had to take a portion of her own identity and place in the child. Polaia was the last of the five because Polaia used the last portion of her own consciousness to make her, thus turning Polaia into a maddened blight. Geila banded together with her siblings to put down Polaia, turning her into the ocean floor.

After that first tragedy, many stories depict Geila being at odds with her siblings. Most often, Reho, or Kaweio, or Lila is off doing some boisterous or comedic antic that leaves Geila either disgusted or frustrated.

One day, their foolishness grew so great that Geila completely abandoned them. Kanuha had managed to get all the gods together to make the human race, but they were unable to complete them because all five siblings had their own idea about what the perfect human should be. The debates grew so heated and intense that Geila had had enough of them all period, so she flew up into the sky and became the moon (it should be noted that the moon is considered an island in Polaian tradition).

Time passed and the moon became her permanent home. In this period, she married the Wild Dog King, Iwau, and took on the mantle of goddess of death. The moon is now also referred to as Dalon or ‘The Choosing Grounds,’ for it is where Geila oversees the reincarnation process.

On the earth, her primary worshipers are the religious caste of Kanuhon, the central island in the Polaian empire. There they attend to funeral rights, prayers to ease the stress of the wet seasons, production of medicines, and other duties that pertain to their goddess’ wishes. One of the less savory jobs they have is the care of the Muwau, for they are the creation of Iwau, and thus the ward of Geila. Regardless, most Geilan priests use steep precautions to bring contact down to the absolute minimum.

AKS Appendix: The Miscellaneous

The following, as suggested by the title, are all various little details for Across the Kolgan Sea. Whether they are less than primary characters, cultural references, or strange tools, they are listed here.

Appendix:

Aegir – The giant who lives at the bottom of the sea.  Hosts great parties for the other gods.

Aesir – One the two families of deities.  They are the gods of fate and warfare.

Ahrad – Elven master of illusions who is tasked with redirecting humans from Clafel.  Best friends with Kaihar.  Can be a little distractible.

Alfheim – Home realm of the elves.

Alfhild – Erland’s youngest sister.  Born on the same day that Erland was taken away by Aegir.

All-father – Title of Odin, king of the Aesir.

Alodia – An Agrian who is on friendly terms with Erland.   She has blue skin from her time spent in silver mines.

Bergson – Fridtjof’s best friend and husband to Runa.  Can have a rather loose tongue.

Bylgia – One of Aegir’s nine daughters.  Known as the billowing or big wave.

Chanting poem – A form of magic spell.

Clafel – Home of the elves built inside a now ruined castle.

Dverv – Dark elf title for chieftain.

Eira – One of Erland’s sisters.  She is 14 years old.

Alfwood – An aspen-like tree that have been cross-pollinated with the Nooa tree.

Erika – Erland’s older sister.  A student in the ways of magic.  She is 20 years old.

Erland – The protagonist of the story.  He is 18 years old.

Eydis – One of Erland’s sisters.  She is 13 years old.

Feljust – According to Shaloor legend, he was once a man who used the tooth of a witch to transform into a gull.  He was later cursed by that same which to destroy all land and sea he touched.

Fimblewinter – The three year long winter, filled with war and famine, brought upon by the frost giants.

Fredrick – One of Solas’s assistants.

Frey – Son of Bergson and Runa.  Not to be confused with Freyr.

Freya – One of the Vanir, daughter of Njord, and sister to Freyr.  Goddess of love and her name means ‘mistress’.

Freyr – One of the Vanir.  Patron to kings and the kings over the elves.  His name means ‘lord’.

Fridtjof – Erland’s father, who has nine other children.

Gullinbursti – The flying boar mount of Freyr.  Its name means ‘golden bristles’.

Hel – Queen of the underworld, Niflheim.

Hognosht – The fire giant that burned down the forest around Elderbear.

Jarl – An agrian title of authority, similar in nature to king and chieftain.

Jotunn – Giant.

Juusto – A type of Agrian cheese.  Also a derogatory term for Agrian.

Jussi – One of Solas’s assistants.  Also a traitor to the Shaloor people.

Kaarle – One of Solas’s assistants.

Kaihar – An elven expert in magic and combat.  Erland’s teacher.

Maarku – One of Solas’s assistants.

Mannheim – Home realm of the humans.  Also referred to as ‘Midgard’.

Muspleheim – Realm of fire giants and one of the first realms to exist.

Niale – Elven chieftain in lieu of Freyr.

Nidaveller – One of the home realms of the dark elves, the other being Svartalfheim.  It is a subterranean realm.

Niflheim – The realm where most deceased people go to.  There are nine sections of this realm in accordance with how one lived their life.

Nooa tree – A magical tree given to a mortal king centuries ago by Freyr.  It stays in full bloom even when in the dead of winter.  Sometimes, it is referred to as the sacred or Freyr’s tree.

Njord – One of the Vanir and father to both Freya and Freyr.  Benevolent god of the sea and representative of its bounty.

Oili – One of Erland’s sisters.  She is 9 years old.

Olga – One of Erland’s sisters.  She is 5 years old.

Oydis – One of Erland’s sisters.  She is 4 years old.

Ragnarok – The Norse version of Armageddon.

Ran – Wife of Aegir.  Constantly dredges the ocean floor with her net, be they treasure or people.

Ranis – Elven for ‘dawn bear’, this is the name given to elderbear by the elves.  They are named this for their nocturnal tendencies.

Reokashothi – Niale’s daughter and tormenter of Erland.

Reino – One of Solas’s assistants.

Runa – Wife of Bergson and the town’s primary midwife.  Also an accomplished volvu and Erika’s mentor.  Not to be confused with runes.

Rune – A magical marking or spoken word.  Can be used for many things if the user understands them.  The word ‘rune’ means ‘secret’.  Not to be confused with Runa.

Shaloor – An affiliation of island-dwelling kingdoms.  They were driven off to sea centuries ago by the Agrians and are still resentful for it.

Sigrun – One of Erland’s sisters and twin to Solveig.  She is 2 years old.

Skidbladnir – Freyr’s ship.  Able to ferry an entire army across the sea in the harshest of storm and yet be folded as to fit in someone’s pocket.

Solveig – One of Erland’s sisters and twin to Sigrun.  She is 2 years old.

Svartalf – Shaloor name for dark elves.  Plural, svartalfar.

Svartalfheim – One of the home realms of the dark elves, the other being Nidaveller.  It is a marshy realm.

Thor – One of the Aesir.  Sworn guardian of Mannheim.

Vanir – One of the two families of deities.  They are the gods of prosperity, passion, and peace.

Wichel – The dark elf who once held Erland prisoner.

Yantha – Elf and Ex-wife of Ahrad.

Looks Promising

HRacrossthekolgansea

I just got the official cover art for Across the Kolgan Sea. The fellow on the left is Erland, the hero of the tale. The elder on the right side is the sea giant Aegir, the god who left Erland ransacked on Agrian soils at the beginning of the tale. The ships in the bottom of the image have absolutely no bearing on the story, they just look pretty.

All in all, this is starting to come together to be really promising.

Polaia: The Muwau

Like all societies, be they ancient or modern, the citizens of Polaia have a lower class, a sub-culture of slum-dwellers, an ‘avoid eye contact with them’ group. The Muwau are this on a formalized scale. For a basic understanding of just what that means, take a look at this article about the Dalit. The Muwau take up many of the same rolls of handling ‘unclean’ jobs (although they only handle the burial of their own dead and waylaid corpses that have no realistic chance of being buried properly).

That having been said, the concrete of how they came to be is quite different. Instead of being the ‘leftovers’ after the rest of the castes were made, Muwau are considered to be the byproduct of Iwau’s feeding. While it is true that Iwau is a god, the fact remains that he feeds upon souls. Whether they are aqcuired from the improperly buried or hunted down for sport, there are times that Iwau finds himself gorged upon to many lives. On nights like this, Iwau vomits, turning the moon red and unleashing a swarm of undigested spirits. These spirits then become reincarnated as Muwau. Being such incomplete souls is why they are scorned, and why they were named Muwau, or ‘dog vomit.’

It should be noted that not all Muwau were born into the cast proper. Should a man of any station commit a sufficient crime, like murder or crimes of a large enough scale, they can be demoted to a Muwau. This is religiously justified by acknowledging that not all the souls vomited up by Iwau neccessarily are reborn into a Muwau family. The end result is that most parents experience greater ostracizement and ridicule than had their child simply been executed or exiled.

AKS Appendix: The Elderbear

Elderbear, or ‘Ranis’ as the alfar call them, a magical beast native to the forests of their namesake town. As the name implies, elderbear resemble aged bears. Their heads are completely bald and their chests bare a white, beard-like pattern. What makes them so unbelievably prized by everyone is that very skin of their’s.

An Elderbear’s hide is so thick that no mortal substance can puncture it. Only the use of magic can make it possible to break the skin. This has made hunting elderbear a major game for the alfar, as it gives them superb armor and a greater chance to prove their magical talents. Even the alf-king, Freyr, has been known to descend to Mannheim for the sole intention of bagging an Elderbear. The Alfish term ranis means ‘dawn bear’ in their tongue, referencing their strong tendencies to only appear in the morning and evening.

Iwau, The Wild Dog King

The Wild Dog King is a rather peculiar character within the legends of Polaia. According to legend, Iwau was one of the two demons that entered into the world when the god Reho rent the heavens open in his fury (see Reho’s entry later for more about that). Upon reaching the shore, Iwau brought forth hordes of wild dogs that now live across the land. The gods and men fought a furious battle against him in an attempt to drive him back to the realm he once resided in, but the same legends that recall this change in perspective later on.

To put it in brief, he was the first and only being to successfully court the goddess Geila. This went to show that he had a much more chivalrous side than was portrayed when he was chased by the other gods. As he was the first thing to have ever shown true concern and care for the Moon goddess, he eventually married her and was (grudgingly) accepted into the rank of the gods.

In his newfound position, he found himself with two responsibilities. The first is the jurisdiction over the hunt. In his role as god of the hunt, Iwau espoused the virtues of taking and expanded his domain into the realms of opportunity, fortune, and preservation. His main teaching is that things, be they living, dead, valuable, or anywhere in between, must be taken by someone, or else they will be snatched away by the careless world. Additionally, Iwau points out that ‘one must take so they might give,’ meaning that you cannot help your friends or family if you do not have something that was ultimately taken from another person or thing. His worshipers often extend this philosophy to all things, becoming ruthless capitalists and cunning leaders.

His primary followers are members of the Muwau cast. They are treated with incredible scorn by the majority of people. The only people who treat the Muwau with any sort of respect are the priests of Geila, who provide them with as much help as they can… Even while they avoid direct contact.

AKS Release Status

For the last month, I’ve been cataloging the various characters and concepts that are present in the story for Across the Kolgan Sea, but now I’m going to talk a bit about its publication. As it stands, AKS is to be published through Blue Swan Publishing, a US based producer of numerous genres for young adult readers.

Progress on getting the actual book brought into the realm of polished, shiny, and presentable have all been going incredibly smoothly. As a result, you can expect to start seeing AKS floating around in early to mid-November.