Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Jaraswat and the wixio (36/170)

Lliashatheny taught Jaraswat the art of hooking the end of it in a small person’s soul, and spinning it, and thereby drawing for the linguistic competence of the small person. When the competence was shaken off the wixio, it took the shape of a sweater. Jaraswat immediately flew forth and acquired a dozen of them from a dozen graulfs. The tongue-garment was more or less elegant depending on the elegance of the victim’s speech, and more or less colorful depending on the depth of his vocabulary, and had one neck-hole for each language he spoke.

Jaraswat immediately presented this, dressed up in a scholarly form, to the Royal Graulfnir Society of Sciences and Magics. He was eloquent — he had not used the wixio on himself! — and his investigations were of a new sort. The discipline of linguistics was moribund before Jaraswat. Linguists of the old school were simply dragons who had learned a hundred tongues by the exertion of their brains, and, in essence, performed tricks of translation and of comparing the fine shades of meanings between them. That discipline was never considered very important compared to physics, travel magic, mathematics, history, healing. And then came the invention of language-spells, so that any dragon who wished could learn any language at no more effort than finding a single speaker of it, and the old-school linguists were rendered useless and humiliated, having spent gross-years doing what any dragonet could now do in seconds.

So linguistics died, and stayed dead until Jaraswat and the wixio reincarnated it. Jaraswat’s methods showed the fine structure of a tongue, as details in the weaves of cloth. It allowed comparing two languages: Barabondo is a bluer and thus more honorable language than reddish Timilcan, and, as its fibers are thinner, is capable of more subtlety and subject to more linguistic distortion by misunderstandings or loan words.

Reviving a whole discipline and making it into a deep and precise science was one of the greatest triumphs in the Society in recent gross-years. Jaraswat quickly scooped up awards and honors as a looting drake scoops up tapestries and food-beasts, and in mere duodecades he became one of the great lights of the Society. The dragonesses who had spurned him in his mating flight were ashamed to meet his gaze in the great courts of Graulfnir, and he considered himself in all ways revenged on them.

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