And So…

Posted: November 3rd, 2012 under the writing life.

The ensuing days have been busy, and the first essay deadline’s been met.   Though I should be working on the foreword for the 10th anniversary The Speed of Dark, Book V dragged me back (interrupted by watching the Sandy coverage and for friends’ return online after.  Also, there was this 43rd anniversary we had, and yes–we went out to dinner.)    I don’t have the final title for Book V (as you can imagine, communication with Editor has been…er…nonexistent as the whole publishing industry in Manhattan has been struggling to get back to work, along with others.)

But…a critical scene is slowly coming together.    As previously hinted, yes–certain things left hanging in Liar’s Oath will be dealt with.  How to deal with them has been a problem, and how to gauge the effect of magelords who slept through close to 500 years has been tricky.    Is it even possible for them to be wakened and brought out of Kolobia?   What if it’s not?   Will they all just die?  Or–would something kill them in place?    If so, what, and why not before now?

Assuming, for the moment, that waking them is possible, what then do we have, in terms of people interacting with people?  For instance: what language(s) do they speak?    When they ruled the lands that are now Fintha and Tsaia, the native peoples, whom they’d subjugated, had their own language and a sort of creole with the magelords’ own language (which had changed since they lived in Aare–as Gird’s time is some hundreds of years after the Fall of Aare.)  English today isn’t the same as in the early 1500s; even where the same words are used, they were pronounced differently then.

So…who could talk to, or understand, whom?   What’s really changed, beyond the political system in the years since Gird, besides language?   Not as much as has changed in our world between 1512 and 2012, for sure…but politically a lot.   The Aarenis of Gird’s day did not have the Guild League–not the merchant-built cities or the Guild League agreements or roads or trade networks or the standard Guild League currency.  How would the magelords of Luap’s colony (assuming they can be revived, for the moment) be perceived by those in the Paksworld of the present…and how would they perceive the present?    From the older book–from Luap’s perspective, which is how I wrote that book, fogged as I was by grief at my mother’s death–it seems like all the magelords who go with him to the west were “safe” magelords–the good ones, or at least repentant ones, the bad ones all having been killed off.

But…that is unlikely, just on the basis of human history.   The rich and powerful (and some downright nasty) may be forcibly evicted and turned into hardworking and cooperative subsistence farmers somewhere else, but is that a real conversion or…are there those who–unbeknownst to Luap and to the young paladins Seri and Aris–were still as they had been?

And what do the old magelords know–that was common knowledge 500 years ago–and isn’t common knowledge in the present?

Figuring this out has been slower than I hoped it would be…deciding which of several approaches to this would be best for the whole Paladin’s Legacy story arc…has been less obvious.    Also, on the trip to NYC, I realized that a large chunk already written for Book V did not belong to this story but to another.   (Why this wasn’t obvious when I wrote it, I don’t know.)

This late in the whole story, I’m a little concerned that speculation here  on both Limits of Power and Book V (which some of you enjoy, and no wonder) will be major spoilers for others (which you don’t enjoy, and no wonder.)    Those of you good at speculation are too darn good sometimes.   So…do those of you who want to speculate want another spoiler-space thread for that purpose, or do you want to speculate purely off-list?


  • Comment by pjm — November 3, 2012 @ 10:03 pm


    Speaking(?) for myself, I would like a new spoiler space. I enjoy the speculation, whether it turns out to be right or wrong. Of course if there is enough speculation some of it will be right – the question is which parts.


  • Comment by Kerry aka Trouble — November 4, 2012 @ 6:41 am


    I’m with Peter – I love reading it and even putting two cents in occasionally. It might be called spoiler space, but it never spoils the book or the experience of reading it for me.

  • Comment by Kerry aka Trouble — November 4, 2012 @ 6:43 am


    Oh – and the chunk that doesn’t belong in Book V? You ARE keeping it so you can put where it belongs, aren’t you?

  • Comment by Linda — November 4, 2012 @ 7:06 am


    I too think a spoiler space is best for my tastes.

    Funny, I have been re-reading the Paks/Kieri/Luap exchange over and over the last few days and then circling back to related (maybe) bits in other parts of the series. So it has been on my mind that there’s an awful lot to be cleared up. I wondered if you had had something all planned out, but it appears not. In a way that is reassuring, as I like it when events and characters take off in unexpected directions … you always make them wonderfully interesting.

    I assumed that Gird or the High Lord took care of the communications at the conference at the end of Luap’s “reign” although the conversation seemed entirely natural. It got me thinking about the difference between the sort of intervention Paks and other paladins can pray for and the results/processes of magery.

    And I noticed that Dragon seems to be pan-lingual and although he has great powers, but he is not all-seeing.

    So please, do create a space for those of us who have minds which tend to wander deep into the stories you create. Thanks for letting us have our 2 cents worth!

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 4, 2012 @ 7:31 am


    OK–three’s the crowd that decides this issue. There will be a space (in a few minutes, when I get there) dedicated to speculation. I will try (willpower being what it is and isn’t) to stay out of it. Play nicely in the sandbox, please.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 4, 2012 @ 7:51 am


    And it’s up. Have fun. Those of you who don’t want to deal with possible spoilers (in case someone guesses right), don’t open comments on the Speculation Space thread.

  • Comment by Larry Lennhoff — November 4, 2012 @ 4:15 pm


    Not all languages change as quickly as English. in my 4th year Spanish class in high school we had to read Don Quixote in the original spanish – which was a LOT closer to contemporary Spanish than the English of 1605 is to today’s. I’m told Polish has changed even less than Spanish, though I know nothing of the truth of that statement.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 4, 2012 @ 4:29 pm


    One reason I think this language would have changed is that today’s language is a descendant of a creole of original magelord language and original Old Human language…there was a lot of flex in it at Gird’s time…spaces in which new stuff could grow and solidify. I could be wrong, but it feels right that there’s a difference.

  • Comment by Genko — November 4, 2012 @ 5:10 pm


    I too love reading speculations, though sometimes I react — you think that?! No way! How could anyone…etc., etc. And I don’t think anything could spoil these books. Having read them multiple times, and planning to read them again, I always find more in them to enjoy. Just like the world, I suppose.

  • Comment by Sam Barnett-Cormack — November 4, 2012 @ 5:53 pm


    What I wonder about this is being consistent with the wrapper bits of Liar’s Oath, the bits that are more ‘now’… though they’ve already been somewhat contradicted, depending on how you read them.

    It implies that it’s happening about 25-30 years from the original trilogy (Paks looks the same age as Kieri), and it would be weird for it to be happening when the Magelords in Kolobia had already been woken or killed. Unless there’s some other way for Paks and Kieri to look the same age. Has he aged backwards since his elven blood was awoken?

  • Comment by Iphinome — November 4, 2012 @ 6:17 pm


    What has bothered me about the language isn’t spoken but written. Why is it they have the letters G and L at all much less for the same sounds we do?

  • Comment by Jenn — November 4, 2012 @ 7:08 pm


    On the up side, all that writing hacked out of book V will save you time in writing series III. 🙂

    So that means we are getting a series III. (say yes) 😀

  • Comment by Sam Barnett-Cormack — November 4, 2012 @ 7:12 pm


    Iphinome: because otherwise it would be very hard to ‘get’. Just assume it’s all translated/transliterated.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 4, 2012 @ 7:27 pm


    Iphinome: It’s written in our orthography because it was written in English to be read by English speaker. So it appears they have G and L because we have G and L, and I want readers to have a chance to grasp the names quickly. I don’t have the expertise (and my publishers wouldn’t have the patience) to create a new distinctive written language and then try to get readers to learn it. Tolkein didn’t write the entire LOTR in runes. And I have enough trouble with copy editors who want to change stuff I know is right for a translation of Paksworld speech into something modern urban American.

  • Comment by Ginny W. — November 4, 2012 @ 8:41 pm


    Thank you for the speculation space! And for the teasers concerning Liar’s Oath. I really must dig it out and reread. Although I didn’t like Luap much by the time the book was over.

    My sympathy and concern to editor and all the publication staff concerning the storm.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 4, 2012 @ 9:49 pm


    Ginny W: You weren’t supposed to like Luap much. He’s a very flawed person whose inability to admit his flaws resulted in a world of hurt for his followers and for the Fellowship of Gird as a whole. The structure of that book is Greek tragedy–the fatal flaw that leads to catastrophe. Within a decade of writing it, we had a major politician of the same kind.

    Yes–I’m still concerned about those I worked with in NYC I haven’t heard from, but I’m telling myself to be patient. They don’t need to be bothered by me right now.

  • Comment by Iphinome — November 4, 2012 @ 10:07 pm


    Tolkien didn’t write in runes but we were to assume any writing done in universe was done in alphabets other than our own. So I wasn’t concerned with seeing the letters G and L on the page so much as confused by reading about those specific letters being used in universe. I don’t remember the specific mention of any others that match ours.

    Also on a different topic may I direct your Ladyship and interested others to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s offering a number of its past publications as free pdfs. Of particular note one on renaissance hose barding (page 3).

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 4, 2012 @ 10:42 pm


    Thanks for posting the link to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s past publications in .pdf. I had seen that on Twitter (I think while I was in NYC) but didn’t get it up here or on LJ. DUH.

    I haven’t had time to dig into them yet.

  • Comment by Iphinome — November 5, 2012 @ 12:22 am


    Would you prefer that such links be sent to your LiveJournal rather than here? I know they’re not directly related to Paksworld so much as useful pre-industrial especially pre-firearms uh, stuff.

  • Comment by Gareth — November 5, 2012 @ 3:30 am


    Yes – speculation place is great fun. Thanks.

  • Comment by Karen — November 5, 2012 @ 4:48 am


    Can I just add another, “that would be wonderful!” to the thought of a new series!?!

  • Comment by Richard — November 5, 2012 @ 4:49 am


    I tried to verify the story about how “awful” three hundred years ago meant “awesome”, and found

  • Comment by Richard — November 5, 2012 @ 6:11 am


    though your reply to Sam’s #10 went into Speculation Space (since it concerns where you might be going) I’ll comment here to be sure you see it. Whatever new story you come up with, I will not be gulping whole, because that would be an insult to your cooking; I shall savour and enjoy it.

    I think I can also comment here (rather than there) about where you are starting from. Coincidentally (to Sam’s comment), 30 years seems about right for the time span from Gird’s war to the crisis in Kolobia (going by how Seri and Rosemage aged). We last saw Seri and Aris leading the bulk of the magelords (parents and children) out of the frying pan and out of the story. Those left for Paks and the expedition to find were a select group – the rearguard, the militia. If that means mainly young adults then those are not survivors of Gird’s rebellion (“good”, “repentant” or otherwise) but their children born since – shaped by, or against, how each has been treated and taught.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 5, 2012 @ 7:03 am


    No, that’s fine here…someone else in this group might well be interested, though links to contemporary and future tech aren’t that appropriate. I do keep meaning to make a list of references I’ve used, but so far just haven’t had the time to sit down and collect all the data and make a tidy list of it.

  • Comment by Sam Barnett-Cormack — November 5, 2012 @ 7:57 am


    Decided to reread the Gird/Luap books, and me and my fiancée decided it would be good to do it together by audiobook (we’ve got the others from Audible already) – but Audible doesn’t have those ones 🙁

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 5, 2012 @ 8:12 am


    Audible hasn’t wanted those. Other audiobook producers haven’t shown an interest. Audiobook companies choose which books to produce (as do print publishers); we’d happily make a deal with them, but there was muttering last year that the Paks books, though selling fairly well, were too costly to produce for the level of sales. We took a lower offer to get them to go on with the new group. So…can’t help you there.

  • Comment by Sam Barnett-Cormack — November 5, 2012 @ 9:54 am


    No, didn’t expect you could, just sharing my disappointment 🙂

    They do quite a lot of F&SF, which I’m very glad of, but it is patchy in places. I think there’s a lot more (especially unabridged) F&SF audiobooks since distribution went digital, though, so the situation is better than it once was.

    I have an odd feeling that F&SF is getting a little less ‘fringe’ lately, possibly due to all the, what do they call it now, “young adult” fiction that is F&SF becoming popular with adults. I still hear about people being told by publishers that book pitches they are getting would be more acceptable if they were targeted at the young adult market when they are F&SF, though.

    Of course, I hear about such things usually at several removes.

  • Comment by Richard — November 7, 2012 @ 7:00 pm


    Thinking about language change/continuity since Gird’s time, I notice that humans have the same language – Common – nearly everywhere Paks went, from Fin Panir to Lyonya, and as far into Aarenis as Cha, one of Siniava’s cities in the South Marches. (She could understand, despite his thick accent, the little boy looking for his puppy in the middle of a battle.) Only the seaport cities at the mouth of the Immer have a different native language. (As do the reclusive Woodsfolk, plus of course the Pargunese in one direction and horse nomads in another. And Aesil M’dierra said something in her native tongue that Arcolin thought must be an oath, though Elizabeth hasn’t yet told us where she comes from.)

  • Comment by Genko — November 7, 2012 @ 7:08 pm


    I assume “Common” is just that – a trade language, maybe used in addition to a person’s native language. I’m not assuming that everyone in all of those places speaks it as a common or native language. Though I suppose that’s possible — much like English is pretty common around much of the world at this point, though with different accents, sometimes different vocabulary, etc.

    It might be interesting to see how many places they have a true native language that is still in use locally, while much of trade and other discourse is done in Common. There are many places in Mexico where there is a native language (Maya is widespread, but there are many others), and then Spanish is layered on top of that. When those folks come to the US, they then try to add English on top of all of that, with mixed success.

    Since almost everything in the Paks books is translated into English for those of us reading them, it’s hard to tell, except when we get the clue (“parley in Common,” for example) explicitly. And I suppose we can assume that Paks speaks Common as a native language, since we don’t hear of her learning it on her travels.

  • Comment by Richard — November 7, 2012 @ 7:35 pm


    since we are told when Paks is speaking elven (and how she learnt it) it is natural to assume everything else is Common. That does leave room for Lyonyans to have borrowed a lot of elven words not used in Tsaia, Fintha or the south.

    Why shouldn’t all those places have the same language? Magelords were in all of them (even the kings of Lyonya have some magelord ancestry, and Falk’s cult as near as I can tell came from magelords too).

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 7, 2012 @ 7:39 pm


    “Common” is a descendant of the creole (or several creoles) that were the result of contact between Old Aarean and the Old Human languages of the northern continent, mixed with bits of elven and other Elder languages in places where gnomes or dwarves dealt much with humans–and in the north by some vocabulary from the horse nomads and later the Seafolk in Pargun. Because the Aareans conquered the lands they moved into, the natives had to learn enough of their language to survive (understand orders, etc.) It was further mixed and massaged and developed over the centuries by trade and the social changes that took place. As the Elder races come more into contact with humans (for trade and because the human population grew) they too used Common and added things to it.

    Pak’s native language was a dialect of Common that contained more Old Human/steppe elements and less Old Aarean than one from an area where Aareans had dominated longer.

    The southern horse nomads had interacted with the northern hill farmers (in Paks’s area) for a long time–the border was uneven and often fuzzy, varying with weather. Theirs is another Old Human language, and along the border another minor (for the main story) blend developed. Interactions were occasional, but frequent enough that everyone knew about the other culture and had at least some experience with it.

    Horse nomads, in a bad year, would steal sheep and cattle the farmers kept. In a good year, they might trade–braided horsehair ropes and other items for a sheep. Occasionally (very rarely) a colored stone or gold nugget.

    Farmers occasionally stole horses (yearlings, mostly) from the nomads, as nomad horses made good small “chunks” for hill farm work. Horses from the richer lands to the south were too expensive and not really suited to that kind of life. Nomads almost never sold or traded horses, and if they did, farmers learned there was something wrong with the animal (bad hoof, bad temperament, blind, etc.) However, to keep peace, if someone stole a yearling, there was a ritual gift to the nomad clan the next time they came by. If the animal was broken to harness, they never took it back, but expected the gift.

  • Comment by Sam Barnett-Cormack — November 9, 2012 @ 3:40 pm


    I keep being struck by the pronunciation (or one version of it) of Aarean being quite like one pronunciation (in the real world) of Aryan.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 9, 2012 @ 6:40 pm


    The only people I’ve heard say “Aryan” say it as “AIR-yun” or “AIR-yan”. Aarean is “ARE-ee-an” or “AIR-ee-an”. The latter is more common, and I guess it is close to Aryan for people who stick an extra vowel in. (I once worked in the same office with a guy who seemed to run through all the vowels whenever one showed up, but that’s another story.) The way I hear Aarean in my head, there’s a prolongation of the initial /a/ that I don’t know how to render without suggesting it’s another syllable instead of just a long, LONG /a/.

    Kieri’s Arian is always ARE-ee-an

  • Comment by Sam Barnett-Cormack — November 11, 2012 @ 6:42 am


    The reader of most of the Audible versions of the books does the first 4 with Aare as “air” (and Aarean as AIR-ian), someone else does the fifth, and then in the sixth she does Aare nearer to the stereotypical pirate “aarrrrr” than anything else, but with more stretch on the “ah” sound than the ‘r’. It sounds like that last one might actually be more what you intended, but I’m still not sure which vowel sound you’re saying it should be (but stretched).

    I’m sure there’s a diacritic used somewhere for stretch… the difference between the a in ‘happen’ and the a in the British RP version of ‘grass’ (or ‘ah’) is denoted by an overbar in romanised Japanese, but it sounds like you’re saying it’s stretched further than that (and possibly more like the vowel sound of ‘air’ then ‘are’). I’m sure I’ve seen something for that in some language or another.

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