Friday, July 21, 2017

Character Practice: Gen. 1 Koldrogan Series

I've been drawing my head off recently, with some writing mixed in. I'm feeling great. I’ve been trying to put a face to all of the characters from Generation 1 of the Koldrogan storyline. Granted, a few didn’t make it on the list, and there will undoubtedly be more as the story progresses, but I managed 16 before really finding the need to move onto scarier things, like poses and expressions.

I’ll post the main picture and then split it up row-by-row for the who’s-who.

I'm one proud pappy.

So, row one, from left to right...

1. Dugalan Koldroskaro [Name roughly means “Spirit of Honor” and “One From the Plains Tribe”]: Antegga’s cousin and Kundabren’s right-hand man.
2. Svoga-Doga Kundabren [Names mean “Stone-Warden” and “Wiseblood”]: Antegga’s self-proclaimed big brother and right-hand man. Calling him Svoga-Doga is a no-no unless he REALLY likes you. Narrator of the story, as he is chronicling Antegga’s story throughout their lives.
3. Antegga Koldroskaro [Namemeans “Heartsong” and “One from the Plains Tribe”]: THE main character. I could go on for days, but I won’t until I have better drawings. Future warlord of Koldrogan. Also has a lion doll.
4. Goldona Borseto [Name means “Earth Daughter” and “Windspeaker”] A main character. Kundabren’s sister, who took her mother’s surname out of spite to their father, whom she loathes. She also loathes Kundabren, and the feeling is pretty mutual.
5. Kuldinaro Koldrogano [Name means “Sentimental One” and “Of Koldrogan”] A roaming shaman and loremaster who collects folk tales, songs, and current news as he travels. Friends in many places. Pacifist if he can possibly help it. Apparently looks like Jesus without his headdresses and paints on.

Second row, left to right:

1. Malgra: The only character whose name I do not have a meaning to. Also, the first picture drawn of her. Original shaman of Antegga’s hometribe, exiled when he takes command of it. This turns her into the closest thing to a villain on this list… terrifying shamaness. TERRIFYING.
2. Tambra: Not Golboren at all, but Nebaiche-Sivlan, from the far north of the globe. Brought over as a slave from another contenent by Mehega’s group of characters to guide them to the great fire spirit of Koldrogan, because he spoke enough Golboren to translate for them. Caused so much trouble that Teluro “sold” him over to Antegga just to be rid of him. He’d become the blacksmith and Kundabren’s dungeon buddy. (In the assistant torturer sense, not kinky LOL)
3. Brenugan Kuto [Name means “Blood Raven” “Of the Clouds”] Looks hilarious without his warpaint. The most terrifying warlord in the east… None dare challenge him. Likes to feel the blood of the enemy run down his chin when he bites them at the neck.
4. “White Wolf” [Actual name is Ruroga, meaning Blizzard] This is the first picture drawn of him. A Charro, sort of a crazed feral druid. He is Golboren, but born albino. He is also mute, but that was his own doing. His hair was supposed to be matted/dreaded somewhat. Looks funny without sticks, dirt, and berries covering him.
5. Begruni [Name means “Wolf Mother”] A witch, meaning mastery over the spirit world AND the supernatural. She came out looking too young here compared to the others. Anyway, she’s Malgra’s sister. They’d like to see each other dead, but their rivalry is more serious than Kundabren’s and Goldona’s. Also, she keeps Ruroga captive, but they love one another.

Third row, left to right.

1. Garudan Koldroskaro [Name means “Spirit of the Hunter” and “One from the Plains Tribe”] Father of three of the character’s on the list, including Antegga. His tragic death starts the whole story in motion. This is the first picture drawn of him.
2. Nakna Koldroskaro [Name is a profession similar to “Shieldmaiden”] Garudan’s wife, mother of Antegga and his sisters. The actual villain of book one. This is the first picture drawn of her.
3. Antegga’s older sister, who is currently in the market for a good name. Strong, stern, but loves a good laugh and a good drink. Supports Antegga despite knowing she could oust him and command the tribe for herself. This is the first picture drawn of her.
4. Suri Koldroskaro [Her name meaning is still under development too, actually] Antegga’s younger sister. Eager warrior, but hyper and undisciplined. She swears she’ll wed Kundabren some day, but he is as far from interested as possible. This is the first picture drawn of her.
5. Kaigavan Kundabren [Name means “Lion Cub” “Wiseblood”] I really didn’t do him justice, but he did come out looking like a cave man… cave troll. So that’s good. He’s kind of bitter. His wife bit his ear off and left him. Oh, and he’s Kundabren’s father and an important elder spirit that shamans make pilgrimages to visit.
6. Kundabren’s mother, also unnamed. Looks like she will burn your village to the ground, lol. Her kids definitely took after her… which really gripes their father. She runs a particular ancient syndicate of spies, scouts, assassins etc in Koldrogan… like, completely. Sweet on the outside, but not the woman you want to offend. This is the first picture drawn of her.

I can’t wait to get better with poses. I’m FLIPPIN’ TERRIFIED though. I’m a stiff, unanimated person, unless Heavy Metal Perse is playing apparently, then I have to fight to contain myself. Naturally, this means my poses come out stiff and inexperienced. I did do a pose sheet recently though, as well as this picture of Kundabren:

I drew that and didn’t finish it because 1. those pauldrons are really not Golboren but I didn’t have the heart to erase them, 2. I can do way better than that on hair, and 3. the pose is ambiguous at best. The arm seems wrong, the hands are way too small, feet are too small, his body is FAR too lean, like, I WAS SO WORRIED GETTING THE POSE RIGHT that I forgot the person I was drawing was supposed to have some freakin’ muscle. Like, Kundabren gets some thick muscle for a good long time… not ugly ripped comic hero, just naturally bigger.

I lose my head is what I’m saying, lol. I want to make an outfit and height chart and practice expressions, but anxiety. I’m sure as hell about to dive in, though. Maybe I should start with what I AM cool with… headbanging and moshing poses. LOL no, no… maybe.


Here were the sketches that came before the drawings :) ANTEGGA LOOKS MORE LIKE HIMSELF IN THE DAMN SKETCH. I was like… damn.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Golboren - Verb Tense Reconstruction

So I learned from a Quora post that Turkish does not use the present perfect tense. Fascinated, I looked into other language groups and, if perfect tenses are missing, how they express specific timespans for actions and the events and the like. Turns out, there are many language groups without perfect tenses, and it does not limit their expression of specific thoughts and concepts.

This post is a great one that talks about varying tenses and functionality without them. Here is an excerpt from it:

"The following sentence, out of the blue, can be either past or present, through a quirk of verb morphology:
(7) When I put my books away, I set them on the shelf.
(7) can describe a past tendency, or a current one... out of the blue.  But you would hardly ever start a conversation with this sentence.   In a conversation, it would be more appropriate, but we would already have established if we were talking about the past or the present (or the future, using the present tense form!).  So in any realistic context, (7)'s ambiguity gets resolved immediately.  And that's the principle at work in tenseless languages."

I've hated the verb tenses in Golboren since I scrapped them together. The perfect ones, specifically, were awful. With the help of this new brain food, I've been motivated to now scrap the old perfect tense suffixes and refine the basic tense ones instead. Certain turns of phrase will now be developed to express ideas in an alternative way to the perfect tense.

Here is a verb sheet example of what the tenses looked like before. They were very confusing:
 Golboren English
 Present Active Ahonek Howls
 Present Passive Ahoneko is Howling
 Pres. Perfect Ahonesa has Howled
 Past Ahonok Howled
 Past Perfect Ahonosa had Howled
 Future Ahodo    will Howl
 Future Perfect Ahodosa will have Howled
 Misc. Ahoda 
 a/the Howl
They all looked a bit like one another, but too much so.  Here is an updated list of the tenses:

 Golboren English
 Present Active Ahonek Howls
 Past Ahonok Howled
 Future Ahonar    will Howl
 Misc. Ahoda 
 a/the Howl
The Misc. section contains more possibilities than that depending on which verb is being profiled. Like the verb 'Dulga' which means 'Climb' may have -adai in its misc. section, which makes 'Dulgadai', 'Climbable.'

As of right now, I'm going back through all of the verbs I had on my Learn Golboren webpage and updating them to this new system. When I have more tone words developed, I will drop some examples of the perfectless system and how they specify things that we would use the perfect tenses for.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Taking Attendance - A Roster of Empires, Sub-nations, City-States and Other Regions

Empire: Malidine

Primary God: Varied
Appointed Capital: ???
Independent City-States: Amorto*, Burcumsy*, Buordo*, Ardency*, Fulwei, "Springhold"*
Settlements: Duellen - Ardency*.

* Pending Rename

Empire: Erihan

Primary God: Jeohan
Appointed Capital: Alfeight
Independent City-States: Alfeight, Biknar, Lura, Nairog, Ybis*

*Pending Rename

Empire: Taharine

Primary God: Kurdah
Appointed Capital: ???
Independent City-States: ???

Empire: Khandri

Primary God: Probihan
Appointed Capital: Krutlo
Independent City-States: Krutlo, Naske, Ardoske*
Settlements: Kruske

Empire: Jhordona

Primary God: Jhordone
Appointed Capital: Jurisos
Independent City-States: Jurisos, Olisos, Veltimakos

Empire: Akrana

Primary God: Akran
Appointed Capital: ???
Independent City-States: ???

Empire: Torlyn

Primary God: Sound*
Appointed Capital: ???
Independent City-States: ???

Empire: Histami

Primary God: ???
Appointed Capital: ???
Independent City-States: ???

Empire: Wasakha

Primary God: Motion*
Appointed Capital: Wamper Tan
Independent City-States: Wamper Tan

Empire: Midel

Primary God: Ividnon
Appointed Capital: Midel
Independent City-States: Midel, Kuwar

Empire: Morodaldi

Primary God: Arkvunda
Appointed Capital: ???
Independent City-States: ???

Empire: At'mavi*

Primary God: Balki, Unmaker of Life
Appointed Capital: Balkiama
Independent City-States: Balkiama, Dazumas, Heskegi, Straidas

Empire: Koldrogan

Primary God: Thrum, Kolach, N/A
Appointed Capital: ???
Independent City-States: N/A
Tribes: Koldroskar, a.o.

Empire: Hedolai

Primary God: Balance
Appointed Capital: ???
Independent City-States: ???

Unaffiliated/Protected Zones

World Senate
Considered the center of the world, all representatives meet here to discuss global matters involving regimes, religions, wars, etc.

Belgor's Island
A city-state governed by itself with no ties to any Empire. Globally protected by the world senate. Belgor's Island, (chief deity - Belgor, lord of Time,) is home to the Temple of the Clam, where every century, a carefully curated clam is opened, the pearl within revealing the fortune of the coming hundred years.

Ungoverned/Tribal Zones

Mahali, Jenwendas, Lirinthi, with tribal sub-zones within each empire as well.

2nd Era Ruins

Novan Gan, Dega, Calidima

Monday, August 10, 2015

VoL003: A Mirrored Earth pt. 2, Xenophilia

Spoilers: None
Risk of Change: Mostly no, some wee details yes.
Topic: Races, Cultures/Civilizations

I have a strong fascination with human ancestry and the migration of bloodlines. Not crossing the Atlantic to colonize America or anything like that, but much before that. I’m talking the human migration across the globe out of Africa. The seven daughters of eve. That sort of thing. The broad spectrum of cultures and ethnicities that formed as we dominated the globe are therefore a primary source of inspiration for me–peoples’ architecture, language, art, philosophy, religion, regime, and technology.

I realized years ago that I was thinking much too small with my world. It was once a Pangaea with a few islands, but my brain comprehended the scale of the land as more like a continent. I added a second continent, and then a third and a fourth, and since, their shapes has shifted and the country and culture layout has changed dramatically as I struggled to grasp the scale that I was truly dealing with. It was a planet, not a collection of rpg maps, after all.

I also realized years ago that, for being another planet entirely, it was strange that humans were present. So were various other animals from Earth. “Maybe Noah’s arc was a spaceship and this is where they or a portion of their cargo unloaded to colonize.” …Myriad cliche sci-fi related answers crossed my mind, but eventually, I decided to manage it as typical fantasy realms do and leave that unanswered. However, it wasn’t good enough. I wanted a realistic Earth-like appeal.

All races evolved as they did on earth. Humans evolved in the same way as real humans did, from the same (or similar) line of species. Genetically, the realm’s genetic journey took a very similar route to Earth’s overall, but with room for a plethora of species customization.

Like trolls, for example. They came from a species in the human evolutionary line that branched off and evolved separately. The species that spawned both trolls and humans got divided by plate tectonics and the changing climates eventually lead to one going the human route and the other taking a more super-mammal arctic approach, which lead to ogres. Over time, the ogres would evolve back down in size and become trolls and lesser trolls. (The lesser trolls are the race that would migrate and found civilizations like humans would.)

Both trolls and humans have a migration path, taking them across land bridges, shallow gulfs and bays, and many, many biomes. This lead to a plethora of ethnicities and the birth of many different societies with methods of survival based on their environment. Many human ethnicities do mirror those of Earth, but there are also variants customized by me.

One of my points of inspiration is the villain in the first Conan movie (with Arnold as Conan.) The person in charge of designing his character said that he intended the character to look ‘like he is the last of a race of people that are now gone’ and described how he had a facial structure of african genetic resemblance, his black hair however was straight and of a fine unkinky nature. His skin was paler and his eyes were a blue–he embodied ethnic building blocks put together in a way we are unfamiliar, and it shows.

There are still ethnicities being developed with that sort of method in mind, the looks explained by cross breeding over time, environmental factors, or selective breeding based on what is culturally considered beautiful.

Troll and Nokanese ethnicities are one big toy box for me to play with. There are lesser trolls, trolls, and ogres based off Finnish/Swedish/Danish/Norwegian/etc mythologies, some based off of popular troll tropes in fantasy in general, and the rest are mine, all mine, to design.

I’m doing the same thing with entire cultures, swapping around the building blocks. I’m not taking any real life cultures and employing them as carbon copies in my world, however, like common ‘this is fantasy, this is a race of white people, they must live in castles and medieval hamlets’ tropes. I’m taking extensive pains to make every detail of their societies/cultures unique, while maintaining enough features that they are received as relatable.

I’ll do a culture series for ones that I’ve put the most effort into in the vaults of lore project later.

Have to quit writing and get ready for work soon, so I’ll stop here and leave you with a shoddy scan of a migratory map of the southern contenints that I flash drew awhile back. It’s just an example and all I’ll say is that the big red dot is where trolls migrated out from as a racial origin point (like our Africa) and the purple dot is the human origin. Every time the color of the line changes, it shows where a different ethnicity was born. If the line ends in an X, the genetic line is extinct.

Monday, August 3, 2015

VoL002: A Mirrored Earth Pt. 1, The Calendar System

Part 1: The Calendar System

Spoiler Level: None
Risk of Change: Extremely Low
Topic: Time
Quick ref: Years are called Cycles. 1000 years, or a millennium, is called a Great Cycle. The correct syntax for saying it is the year 4628 in this realm would be 628 4gc. The time in which my stories will take place (to begin with) is in the first half of 6gc, meaning early 6000s. Years have the same number of days as on Earth, and days have the same number of hours.

Years are made up of twelve months, just as the Gregorian calendar is, although which of our days these months start and end on are entirely different than ours. I know that is probably a boggling notion, so I will break it down.

The Gregorian calendar, the calendar that reads January through December, is based on precise mathematics and astronomy. The world in the realm of Drumlore is based on the planetary parameters of Earth as much as possible so that it is, unquestionably, a functioning planet. That being said, I imagine the math behind the year and seasonal system would be about the same as that of Earth’s, so as the cultures of the realm advanced enough to start keeping track of the stars and refining their timekeeping methods, they would end up with a pretty similar calendar pattern to ours.

The differences between the Gregorian calendar and the Novan-Gan calendar (as called by the Nokanese people only and is used here as a placeholder) are where the months begin and end and where the year itself begins and ends. Gregorian year begins with January 1st and ends with December 31st, which falls in middle of winter as far as the season goes. The Novan-Gan calender’s beginning and end point falls where we understand March 20th and 21st to be, in the spring.

Why? What significance does March 21st hold and why would the year begin there?

The months are based on our “pseudo science” astrology*, or the zodiac. Based on the pattern of the zodiac (at the time I designed this calendar, anyway), March 21st is the first day of the Aries zone, and Aries is the first in the twelve-step zodiac cycle. This would begin the month of Harskaelun in the realm, as the holy archon Harskael is the equivalent to our Aries. The year is based along this pattern, so that the months begin and end when each zodiac does. In the dominant religion of Drumlore, in its various cultural iterations, a child is born belonging to the archon that dominates that month, making it a driving variable to keep track of.

*It is presently undecided whether the twelve archons will have anything to do with star constellations, though. I’d rather them not, as these archons are manifested entities with their own symbolism and mythos.

The lunar cycle will run the same course as it does on Earth, and for simplicity’s sake, be recorded on the same corresponding days. For example, if the moon was full on the 21st of March for a year, it would be a full moon the 1st of Harskaelun in the realm. Same actual day, recorded as a different name/number. The same can be said for seasons.

The months are as followed, named after their corresponding holy Archon:

  •  Harskaelun (March 21st through April 19th)
  •  Urwalun (April 20th through May 20th)
  •  Bismodun (May 21st through June 21st)
  •  Sharmillun (June 22nd through July 22nd)
  •  Adinathun (July 23rd through August 22nd)
  •  Grothun (August 23rd through September 22nd)
  •  Erilun (September 23rd through October 23rd)
  •  Rubalkun (October 24th through November 21st)
  •  Jarnikun (November 22nd through December 21st)
  •  Cernikun (December 22nd through January 19th)
  •  Parkarun (January 20th through February 18th)
  •  Eudikun (February 19th through March 20th)

Monday, July 27, 2015

VoL001: The Floaters and the Midsummer Walkers

Vaults of Lore Issue 1: The Floaters and the Midsummer Walkers

Spoiler Level: None
Topic: Mysteries, People

In the lands in the east of Sas-Akrana and Torlynn, where the lowland piney forests become a steady ascent to the high crests of mountains, there flows a river of staggering length. Much like the Nile or Amazon of Earth, this river, unnamed at present, is one of the longest in the realm, hugging the length of the mountain range that separates the two previously mentioned countries from the inland seas to the east and the countries of Nimb and Morodaldi. It then breaks away from the low point in the mountain range to spread west into the plains of Jhordona, branching into many smaller rivers, including the winding Tengali of the Mahali Wetwoods.

For hundreds of years, the residents of towns built on the leg of the river near the mountains of Sas-Akrana and Torlynn have whispered of strange people drifting northward on the waters. These solitary floaters pilot medium sized rafts stocked with woven urn-shaped baskets and clay pottery. They are never spotted with company, and when called to from shore, the response is never more than a gesture. They clad themselves in humble garb, usually robes of rough fabric and shawls or capes of fur for warmth. The people themselves, however, come from many different backgrounds, and of what race, gender, or age they will be next cannot be predicted.

Documentation in the realm will exist dating to the mid 4th great cycle (4gc), written by various road scholars travelling along the river, although the most well preserved and well recorded account comes from a scholar in 5gc, which I will write about at a later date.

Another point of interest is that, more rarely and only occurring in the warm seasons, similar mysterious people can be found following the roads of this area northward. They carry large pack animals with them, as well as live vipers whose species cannot be traced to a known point of origin. They were dubbed the midsummer walkers by locals. Their appearance follows the same formula as the floaters on the river, of unpredictable race, and they are equally quiet. Merchants encountering them on the road have reported getting a word out of them here and there, but it is always in the region’s trade language, and always a polite decline to trade and good wishes as they disengage from conversation.

These people are never spotted farther than where the river breaks away from the mountains and ventures into Jhordona, and the same people are never seen returning southward.


The snakes are a breed of viper specifically bred to empower their venom, making them slightly less fatal, but increasing the potency of its side effects. The venom triggers a state of shock and dementia , causing paralysis and hallucinations on a critical scale with the intended purpose of giving the bitten an out of body experience. The cult tending the snakes promise the answers to a thousand personal secrets, but warn that most do not survive the journey.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DSD. 2: The Starsworn

|ॐ| The region of the plantation catches a lot of rain and snow. [It was originally based out of Torlynn and this carried over to the mainland.]

The Starsworn

By: Matthew D. Hammond
Date: 5th of Rubalkun, 351 6gc
Warnings: N/A

The grounds of the plantation felt eerily empty in the stillness of the twilight. Dugalan walked along the northern thoroughfare, following the line of trees to the left of the road. The soft blanket of pine needles resting in the ditch beneath his feet masked his footprints and sent him reminiscing of a time in the dawn of his life, before his aging slowed and before he had murdered his first man. The dead foliage and the cold dew of the morning were beacons in the fog of his mind, and he could almost grasp what it was like to be a child again, wending through the trees on an aimless journey of discovery and imagination.  
Thunder churned in the western sky, forcing his attention back to the present. He turned and cast his gaze over his shoulder briefly; the dark grey pillars of rain could be seen plummeting down from an ominous cloud bank in the distance. They disappeared behind the dark treeline, almost twinkling in the thin light of the eastern sun. It must have been a trick of the eyes, he wagered; the sun would still need some time to crawl above the horizon.
Looking across the road to the south, he saw the silhouettes of the Basai’van family’s mansion, lodging houses, barracks, and the stable of the livery yard. No lanterns were lit; no torches broke the pall of somber darkness. It was as if the quake of the coming storm had lulled the landowners and their hired hands into a deeper slumber. He smiled knowingly; if the storm was heavy and long, work would be suspended until it cleared. There would be repairs to tend to when the weather lessened, but it was a small price to pay for even half of a day of precious recuperation.
He ducked into the woods near a brittle grey snag and navigated a maze of bushes and brambles, employing his best effort to avoid stamping any of the plants into the dirt. He could not risk disturbing the natural undergrowth much; given how often he sequestered to the dock, a trail might begin to form that could eventually draw the attention of the guards. Soon, the remnants of an overgrown gravel path began to emerge. Two tall, thorny evergreen bushes stood framing the old trail as a gateway, cold beads of dew resting on their waxy leaves. He ducked beneath them without so much as rattling a branch, his eyes resting comfortably on the trail unfolding beneath him.
Then, an odd feeling took him that made the tufts on the end of his ears bristle and the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Instinctively, his gaze snapped ahead of himself; there, at the end of the dock, sat a figure in velvety black. Jet hair tumbled down her back in loose, natural waves, barely discernible against her shawl and further hidden by the shade of her small umbrella. Dugalan felt a smile within, but could not bring himself to show it. After a glance about to secure the safety of his surroundings, he strode forth from the treeline.
As he approached the wharf, a patch of loose gravel crunched softly beneath the ball of his foot, breaking the silence of the little glade. Erdinai met him with a startled glance and a gasp--a surprise that melted away into a professional but cautious smile and the stiff posture of fine breeding. “You trolls, you are so quiet.”
His feet met the old boards, issuing a sad, world weary creak. “You won’t flatter me by complimenting my kin,” he said as he came to an early stop, his tone frank, but pleasant, “as most are not. I am silent because it was my job to be.”
Noticing a concern in his eyes that his reticence had not yet betrayed, she extended a hand to her left. “It is alright. Join me. I was waiting for you.”
With a proper bow, he found the end of the dock and sat with his feet over the edge and his tail in his lap. “Thank you, m’lady. I admit that I did not expect to see you after our first meeting.”
“I know that I must have given you the wrong impression, but forgive me. Business took me away to the city,” she explained. “I had truly intended to meet you the next day.”
“You still give me more respect than I am due,” he responded, “I am in no place to forgive--only accept.”
“Must you be that way?” she sighed.
“Indeed, I must.”
“By my order, then: stop that.”
A brief, heavy silence hung over them for a moment. After consideration, he acknowledged her request with a nod and scanned her apparel. “A storm is coming. It will reach us soon.”
She shrugged and looked to the dome of the sky above them, framed in a broken circle by the treetops. The soft light reflected in her dark brown eyes as delicate, pale orbs. “I’ll be alright. The rain will do well for my health, and I’ll have my family know that I was caught in the storm as I was arriving home, if they care to inquire.”
“I see. They are not aware of your arrival, then.”
“Clever, isn’t it?” she gushed. “The polite fellow manning the carriage had other business to see to, so I paid him early and opted to walk the rest of the way.”
“He was surely concerned about your well being.”
“Of course, but nothing I couldn’t downplay with a few reassurances. I told him that the house guards would have someone stationed to meet me at the old monolith by the entry. He had no reason to suspect otherwise.”
She was answered with a weary sigh from the troll. “I wish you weren’t so trusting, m’lady. You do not know me enough--you may never know me enough--to find yourself alone here, unaccounted for.”
“I can handle myself should I need to,” she said with unwavering, calm confidence. “You do not know me enough to underestimate me so. Besides, I came with the intention of remedying that lack of knowledge between us.”
“Farbeit from me to stand in your way, then,” Dugalan said, shrugging apathetically. “Carry on.”
Before she could speak, the sky let forth another vehement groan that shook the countryside. She paused until the noise spread thin. “You mentioned that part of your job was to be silent. What did you do before you were brought here, Sir Koldroskaro?”
His eyes sank to his feet as he pondered, finding the right words. “In layman’s terms, I was a scout, a warrior, and an assassin. The truth is more complicated, but I’m sure that won’t deter you from wanting to know: I was a member of an ancient society devoted to the protection of Koldrogan. In our tongue, we were the Kamunagi. In yours, I believe that would be,” he wrinkled his brow, struggling with uncertainty, “Those Sworn to the Stars.”
“Stars?” she said, her tone laced with the soft lilt of amusement, “are you sure?”
He acknowledged her with a swift nod. “Of that word I am most certain. Traditionally, we worked only in the night, tirelessly combing the forests and plains for any signs of enemy infiltration. Our purpose was to seek out and ambush any threats that crossed our border from At’mavi. It’s been over a thousand years since our origin, though, and we’ve evolved into a very versatile order, replete with skilled assassins, spies, and like agents that work under sun or moon.”
“Which were you, then? A spy, assassin, a scout?”
“Whatever I was needed to be,” he grunted indifferently, “they were an outlet for me to practice my darker talents, giving me more purpose than the army ever could. I accepted missions eagerly, regardless of their difficulty or immoral implications, and over the span of my service, they gave me a taste of every kind of dealing the Kamunagi got involved in, save one. However, that one side of the Kamunagi is something I am sworn to never speak of outside of the company of my brethren.”
“In a way, they seem similar to our Uramjen,” she said, directing her eyes to his own. For the first time, she saw him smile. It was a conceited smile, albeit small--one of both familiarity and superiority--the kind of arrogance that would be unattractive on any other face. Somehow, she thought, it suited him.
“Uramjen,” he reflected, “I know them well.”
“Oh? How do you know of them?” she asked, repositioning herself as to face him more directly. “They are so reclusive and secretive!”
“I’ve killed my share,” he chuffed proudly, “and we’ve accumulated several texts referring to them, although they are dated. We’ve been observing them since the beginning of our order, archiving what details we could parse from their movements and techniques in and out of battle.”
He paused, peeling up the sleeve of his tattered shorts and pointing to a pale scar on the otherwise fallow brown skin of his thigh. “One struck me here during a mess of a battle. I thought I might bleed out before the fight was over, but my comrades saw me through it.”
She smirked, impressed by the sudden spark of life in him. “We almost never hear of stories where the Uramjen have failed. Please, tell me more.”
He let loose the fabric and straightened it back out over his leg. “I’ve been present during my share of attempted murders. My cousin, the tribe-founder, and my master in the Kamunagi were both targets of Uramjen’s elite, and both lived to boast about it, thanks to my order. We’ve also intercepted several of their forces en route to other targets, and, needless to say, they did not make it to their objective.
I confess due admiration, to be fair; they are certainly well trained and they do a respectable job for humans,” he said, clearing his throat, “and not all of my encounters with them ended well.”
A wry grin played across her lips. “Sorry--for a human? Are we not capable of greatness like your people?”
“No, m’lady, let me clarify. I mean no ill will toward your people, but you age and expire quickly in our eyes,” he explained.
“I suppose I can let that slide, then,” she said, “but you’re in my debt, so if I say something foolish, you must correct me and let it go.”
At first, he nodded affirmatively, but before she could continue, he began to chuckle softly. Shaking his head, he said, “It has been a long time since I have been in debt.”
“Why is that funny, sir Koldroskaro?” she inquired lightheartedly.
“You’re funny,” he responded, bearing no explanation.
“Why ever for?” she inquired, folding her arms comfortable and low across her midsection.
“You know why, m’lady, you know why,” he snorted. A pattering sigh emerged faintly at an indeterminate distance in the woods to their left, almost drowned out by the churning current of the nearby river. Dugalan’s ear flicked upward as that of a horse or deer as he hearkened the coming rain. “The weather has almost reached us.”
She looked beyond him, toward the dark of the treeline, stilling her breath to better listen. “How ever did you hear that-- nevermind. Just one of the superior faculties of your people, I’m sure.”
“What you do is up to you, Lady Basai’van, but I must take my leave. I’ll not avoid getting wet, verily, but I must try to make it back without becoming too suspiciously drenched.”
Her eyes caught his profile and lingered for a brief spell as his words bore a frown upon her face. “We've only just begun, Sir Koldroskaro.”
He calmly rose, taking a deep breath and expelling it as he looked to the dim glaucous sky above. “If your duties permit, we will meet again in the coming days. For now, I bid you farewell.”
She gradually nodded and looked away into the waters of the pond as he walked the length of the wharf. When her eyes rose again, his figure was almost gone, cloaked in the brush of the undergrowth. The coming rain shrouded the sound of his footsteps as it neared, its lulling roar a portent of renewal.
She fidgeted with a tassel on her blouse, the elements of his story--as well as each question she’d readied to ask--echoing in her mind. Just as an idea caught her attention--to write down her questions once home for safekeeping--another sprung into being that quickly replaced the notion: she could document his stories to the best of her memory, creating an archive of knowledge about his culture and his people. It may not be well received by her countrymen, she figured, but if there was a single person she could inspire with the knowledge she could mine, it would be a worthy endeavor.
Bursting with a rush of excitement, she stood and patted down her dress before making her way cautiously across the withered boards of the dock and through the winding briars between the waterside rendezvous and the comfort of her home.

Matthew D. Hammond
~ 2014 ~

Author's Notes: I have not yet clearly addressed the differences between human and troll anatomy/biology, only made references here and there. I am not sure if I'll be directly addressing it in a story, but expect at SOME point a post to clarify both the anatomical differences and the psychological differences.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Addition to the Golboren Language

Alright, so I was shopping in Walmart, when, near the yogurt aisle, an epiphany hits me (because this is the kind of shit I think about when doing every day activities.) I was just sounding out random letter sounds and a lightbulb went off in my head. If languages/phonetics are not your thing, or this just gets boring, I have a one sentence summary at the end, so feel free to scroll down to the line that begins with "In short."

Phonetic/Grammar Summary

The Golboren language has two consonant grades: submissive and dominant. How this works is that each letter sound that is not a vowel is either weak or strong. Each weak letter has a stronger letter as its counterpart. When/why does this matter? The entire language works off of suffixes, and sometimes the suffix you have to plug into a certain word to mean what you need to mean creates a odd rhythm/sound or is just annoying to say.

Take Krig, for example:


This word means War in Golboren. K is the weak form of G (try saying these sounds out loud. You'll find K and G are pronounced with a very similar mouth formation.) Now, say you want to say something is war-born. Born of war. Or maybe you want to name your child Warborn. The -born suffix, predominantly used in names, is -uga, therefore:

Krig + -uga = Kriguga

But this sounds and looks strange. This is when strong and weak consonants come into play. Because -uga, with the g sound at its center, is considered a strong suffix, the base word will become weak. This results in the following word:

Krig + -uga = Krikuga

Now the base word is clearly distinguishable from its suffix. Now, see the comparison in the form of two example sentences, one with the correct word and one with the incorrect word.

Mut e mutal krikuga kuldut!
Mut e mutal kriguga kuldut!

Now, the full list of weak and strong couplings are as follows:  (strong on left, weak on right) (Also keep in mind that Goldboren do not use all of the letters/sounds we do.)

  • B and P
  • G and K
  • D and T
  • V and F
  • Kh and H (Kh not used in English, aside from a scoffing noise)
  • R and L
  • M and N
  • Z and S
  • Zh and Sh (Zh not used in English. A hard vibrating buzz)
  • Th and Th (Left: like in The, Right: Like in Thimble)

The Discovery

Near that yogurt wall, I'm mouthing sounds quietly to myself for ... well really, I don't have a reason. As I'm screwing with the sound of ch, like in church, a thought hits me like a slap in the face. If these others have a weak and strong form, then, what of Ch? "Oh my god," I thought, "It's J!"

Really. Say it aloud. For example, "Chew" and "Jew." J is the stronger form of Ch. What an overlooked little gem of phonetics!! So, because the ch is in use as a somewhat uncommon sound in conversational Golboren, I can begin to integrate J into the language! This opens the doors for so many intriguing possibilities!! I AM SO EXCITED!!

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

In short, I added the letter J to their alphabet.  I'm gonna make new words with that letter.

Thank you for viewing the blog and caring enough to check out my little discovery. Genuinely, thank you very much! Without someone to read my works or take interest in my little posts like this, what am I? Nothing! :)

You go on now and you have you a fantastic, amazing day/night!!
~ Matthew Damaru Hammond~

Monday, August 18, 2014

DSD.1: A Private Sanctuary

DSD.1: A Private Sanctuary

By: Matthew D. Hammond

Date: 1st of Rubalkun, 351 6gc
Warnings: N/A

At'mavi had been cast into shades of brown and grey by the tide of the seasons. Trade had slowed between the Basai’van estate and the neighboring banners as the year cycled into its coldest months, and the weather became harsh weeks earlier than what had been anticipated. The slaves had been worked with cruel urgency to turn over the soil and replace the crop before the first deep freeze, and fatigue had set in hard over the workforce, but the task had found completion. Until the next harvest, the work would fall into a lax and steady routine.
All alone, at the end of a wharf, sat a solitary troll, holding his tail at a curve over his lap. White, misty vapor rose in calm puffs from his flared nostrils. His chest heaved as he sucked in deep breaths of the morning fog that rose in ghastly wisps from the still pond before him. His amber eyes followed fallen pine needles as they bobbed along gently on the water's surface beneath his feet. Locks of jet hair spiraled in natural messy waves from his mane, veiling his somber face. Callused fingers hugged a small stick that had fallen upon the dock, and with a sigh, he cast it into the water.
Ripples spread across the deep, stagnant waters, lapping against the mound of debris that kept the pond walled away from fresher waters. Once, there had been a creek connecting the small old dock to the river beyond the dense treeline. When a chain of severe weather washed uncountable fallen trees down stream and wedged them tightly in the mouth of the creek, the plantation owners dug a trench at a more favorable point for business, creating a channel to the river. The construction on the southern edge of the field rendered the little wharf obsolete. The churning current of the river could be heard babbling just out of sight.
Alone in the quiet of the morning, the troll pondered the similarities that he shared with the old wharf. He, too, had been busy and useful once: a fine young warrior and scout for his people. His name once carried weight; his actions brought pride to his clan. In one swift falter, he had lost everything. He was captured and stripped of his clothes and his name, forced into servitude some place far from his home woods. His bones, like his sense of self, had been broken by his keepers’ rods and fists over the course of some months―how many he had forgotten. The people that had once loved him now thought of him as long dead. His spirit was as withered as the old boards he sat upon.
Just enough of his heart still stirred within him to inspire small acts of defiance, such as sneaking away from the bedding lodge before dawn. The cramped wooden chamber was little more than a glorified stable with hay and shelves to sleep upon. He and the three other trolls belonging to the workforce were made to sleep on the cold ground by their fellow captives, and they were too vastly outnumbered to stand against the ragged gathering of convicted criminals. After all, this was an At’mavan plantation, and even the slaves had a hierarchy to go by: humans had more authority than trolls, and outlaws serving out their paltry sentences were of higher social standing than those enslaved for life.
At least against the wall, opposite of the bunks, he could sleep without being shoulder to shoulder with the otherswhen he could find sleep at all. Something in his thoughts or dreams always seemed to roust him from his slumber; he had not felt the benefits of a decent rest throughout most of his captivity. He would rise in the darkness, lost in the same eddy of emotions that haunted him every night, and he would creep out to walk the plantation grounds. If there was one thing he had a talent for, it was remaining unseen, and the night patrol remained none the wiser of his hobby. He could find some peace in exercising his old skills. The severe consequences should he be caught only made each excursion more enjoyable.
He had found the dock months ago, when part of him still sought to make an escape. The small trail leading to it had long ago become overgrown with briers and shrubs, shielding it from the main road. He would come to sit and study after scoping out the roads and the property, and gradually, as his desire to flee the plantation subsided, he found himself getting away from the lodge just to be alone. It was a secret that the guardians of the plantation were not wise enough to uncover, and in that fact, he found a trace of pride reminiscent of his former self.
An uncanny feeling swept the troll that brought his introspection to a halt. Every muscle in his body tensed and his ears flicked alert. A gentle fragrance kissed his senses as he inhaled. It was the smell of a sweet floral tea, faint and alluring, but too distinct to spring from any natural source. He hampered his breathing, turning his full attention to the sounds around him. His lips pursed grim at what he heard: the sweep of a fold of fabric kissing another, as sleeves against a body or folds in a moving dress.
He took a deep inhale and heavily released it, the hairy tuft at the end of his tail markedly churning about in his lap. “You may come to watch me from a more leisurely vantage, o onlooker.”
He waited. Everything around was unnaturally still, and the birds had silenced in the wake of his voice. As each second passed by, absent of response, his demeanor relaxed and his shoulders lost their tension. A guard would not have spied upon him, he thought, and anyone intending to run for the guards would be gone. Whatever the person was doing, his mind was too tired to unravel the mystery.
“You impress me with your silence in the brush, but your scent betrays you. If it is that you fear for your safety,I feel obligated to remind you that I am the lowest of the lowly here. I am of no authority, of less value than the soil in the fields. Verily, whoever you are, I am at your beck and call.” He turned to sit cross-legged with his back to the water, allowing his tail to drape over the edge of the dock and hang at rest. He scanned the trail head and wood line, the epitome of patience.
At last, the silence broke. There was a crackling of twigs on the carpet of the woods, and a sandaled foot slipped out of the cover of a dense, hardy bush. Carefully minding that no thread of fabric was caught on its thorny leaves, the figure emerged at a slow and docile pace, preserving what silence could be kept.
What appeared from the wood line was a sight he could have only dreamed. He looked on in vested curiosity as a woman in a long, silken dress stood shyly before him, dainty in posture and frame. Her garments were of rich, quality handiwork, from her shoes to the black, sleeveless cloak that fell loosely to her ankles. It was clasped where her hood came together beneath her neck with a large medallion bearing the crest of the Basai’van family smoothly chiseled in jade. The broach alone spoke volumes, and he no longer had reason to ask of her identity. It was the estate owner’s daughter.
She met his eyes in an expressionless manner, but her uncertainty bled through her professional facade. She hesitantly curtsied in the noble At’mavan way, uttering a small greeting as she stood. “Hello.”
The troll tilted his head and slowly nodded once in recognition. His calm presence colored her a deeper shade of puzzled as she studied him, and after a bout of thought and composure, she began a steady approach. “What manner of creature are you?”
“Golboren, as are any other trolls in bondage to your family,” he answered frankly, watching as she came to a stop at the middle point in the wharf, just a few arm's lengths away.  
“No,” she replied, “you look as any other troll, but hardly in bondage. You sit alone here, not with the other workers, yet not on the run. Your words are calm and rife with poetry.”
He lowered his gaze in study, folding his palms over his knees to form a triangle with his arms over his lap. “What of you, mistress, coming in regal trappings from your manor to traipse through the woods alone on a plot of land teeming with men? Your vulnerability is surely no mystery to you.”
She pondered for a moment. In a tone that ever grew in intrigue and confidence, she responded, “Mine is a less vulnerable state than that of a delinquent slave, alone in the woods of the very property of the guards he has eluded, weaponless and taxed of energy. I believe yours is the bigger mystery.”
He lifted an eyebrow and raised a palm to the sky, shrugging submissively. “Admittedly, m’lady. You've more than earned my compliance. I’ll not challenge you further.”
“Let me rephrase my inquiry, then. Who are you, and what in the heavens are you doing out here that is worth risking your life over?”
The troll’s shoulders slumped as he pulled his knees up to his chest. He rose briefly to turn around and seat himself as he was prior to his disturbance. He folded his tail into his lap and met her dark brown eyes with a glance over his shoulder. “Should you prefer to sit, m’lady, feel comfortable to do so at my side. I implore you.”
There was enough room to his left, if she chose so, to sit out of his reach, but her feet wouldn't move. Predisposed fears and suspicions kept her on high alert. She breathed deeply and slowly, tossing the notion about in her mind. Once she had calmed herself, she walked to the end of the wharf and leaned on the old post at his far left. Her eyes fell upon him, and he could feel them beckoning him to proceed.
“Firstly, who I am is a slave in bondage to your family. My name was once important, but it has no meaning or purpose here,” he began, but she raised a finger to halt him.
“Humor me,” she said, “if nothing else.”
He nodded and tightened his lips for a moment, preparing to revisit the past. “My name was Dugalan Koldroskaro.”
She studied. “I do not know your language,” she confessed, “but I understand that Koldroskar must be your tribe?”
“It was,” he consented, “though my cousin was its founder, I was permitted to take it as my surname as well.”
“And Dugalan? I understand that your names mean specific things, while ours do not.”
“I cannot describe  it directly in your tongue,” he explained, “as the way our words form differs from yours. To define it would be akin to ‘born with the spirit of honor,’ if you would.”
“I see,” came her soft response. She leaned her cheek and chin into her hand as she maintained the conversation, seemingly mesmerized by the strange creature before her, but ever ready to take flight. “I've never heard of a Golboren able to speak our language with such grace and understanding. Your dialect is more sophisticated than most of our hired men. Some of your words come from the old tongue, and that died over a millennia ago.”
“I must inquire, m’lady, if you've heard another Golboren speak at all.”
She withdrew into thought and revealed a hint of a smile from the corner of her mouth. “I suppose not, if you must know. To be more concise, what I meant was that you've undone every predisposed expectation I've ever had towards the Golboren people. Tell me, honestly, are you all so educated and savvy with our language?”
Dugalan cast a deep stare into the heart of the pond. “No,” he grunted, “There are those such as I and then there are those such as Brenugan Kuto, who cannot read a word and whose ethics in war and governance are boorish and uncivil. There may be more ignorance abound than education in Koldrogan, but we have resources and many yet show promise.
“What you expected to meet, I suppose, was a feral soul, eager to shed At’mavan blood. That is the picture At’mavan texts from every age prefer to depict, regardless of their basis in embellishment. I direct no judgement towards you, m’lady. Your people have every right to hold disdain and contempt toward my people. The influence of politics in this war was boiled away long before our time. What we’re left with is nothing more than a hate war, your people and mine.”
She nodded respectfully. “Your logic is sound, Dugalan. I cannot disagree with you.“
He subtly raised his eyes to her. "May I ask your name, m'lady?"
"Erdinai. Erdinai Basai’van.”
“You’re an interesting person, Erdinai. I've never known an At’mavan to so openly agree with a troll of any sort.”
She smiled shyly, looking toward the forest across the pond. “I assume you know already that I am the estate owner's daughter."
"It was my suspicion, yes."
A spell of pensive silence fell between them that was cut short by a bugle that sounded thrice to the south of the treeline. Dugalan’s ears perked attentively and his expression lost its depth. It was replaced with a look of hollow resignation. “...Mistress, that is the waking call. I must return before the second horn sounds.”
She studied him and nodded knowingly. “Alright. Be safe.”
He passed her without acknowledgement, his tail nearly dragging the ground as he strode by. She looked on, a detached and studious air coming over her. “Sir Koldroskaro!”
He slowed and engaged her with a look over his shoulder, stopping completely as she voiced her quandary. “Are you willing to meet with me again?”
He wanted apathy to govern his response, but he couldn't force it. The situation stirred a latent curiosity within him, one that he had thought was dead, and he couldn't place why. They both knew the consequences of such a meeting. An accidental encounter in the woods would have been understandable. An arrangement by both parties would merit a more severe punishment. If they were found together, no matter the circumstances, he would be beaten within an inch of his life or killed entirely, and she would be punished in other ways of which he was uncertain. He had nothing to lose, but she had everything―including an astute rationality that he could read from the look in her eyes. She was willing to risk her well being to meet with him; he could not turn her down without knowing why.
With a heavy sigh, he gave a respectful bow. “I would verily receive you, mistress, should you desire to speak with me again. Be discretionary.”
She breathed a quiet “of course” as she leaned against the old corner post. She was quickly abandoned, left to solemn contemplation, as the troll disappeared into the undergrowth of the treeline. New feelings swelled inside of her that she could not put words to, but the message was undeniable: she needed to know his full story. She had to meet him again.

Matthew D. Hammond

~ 2014 ~

Author's Notes: This is the story of Dugalan, cousin and confidante of Antegga, the war lord of the east, and how an unlikely encounter slowly leads to his escape. I will be covering this side-plot as a series of installments, and in each one, Dugalan will confide in Erdinai a secret or a story. This plot will be linked into one of Antegga's books, happening parallel with it, and eventually tying into it, but not all of the stories featured in this series will make it to the book. I hope you will follow this journey as it advances forward, watching as this unlikely friendship unfolds and hearing some great stories in the process.