Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Songs of Scorjerak (84/170)

Questhraum’s Songs of Scorjerak took more than a week to compose, but less than two. It was published in the Grand Draconic as quickly as Hoven typesetting could manage that task.(ਲ) We found a dragon to translate the poems to various Hoven and Chiriact tongues — Ignissa, on the exceedingly unlikely chance that you remember her and care about her from Mating Flight. The work was frequently reviewed with some interest among small people as being rather appealing, and very unusual indeed as something that was “by a dragon but not about fighting and fucking.” It was not so well received by dragons outside of Hove, perhaps because it was not about fighting and fucking, but more likely because the author’s personal life was so notorious and urning that proper dragons did not want to be associated with it. Or perhaps because it was very dark and depressing, and that is not our general mood.

(ਲ) Typesetting a work in Grand Draconic was more than a little of an adventure. Hove is a world of greatly advanced technology, including fine systems of moveable type tuned to the various Hoven languages. In fact, the main Hoven languages lost many of their diacritical marks and exotic letter-forms due to moveable type. For example, some Trestean tongues used the letter for the sounds of b and t. [Symbols are translated quite laxly to Unicode — BB] was thus unnecessary, and got replaced by b or t as appropriate in type.

They don’t have moveable type for Grand Draconic.

This is generally a good thing, because it is illegal under draconic law to allow small people who know Grand Draconic to live. Not that you can learn much Grand Draconic from just the alphabet, but it’s not particularly healthy.

So we got five type-makers. (We wanted six, but could only get five.) We started by giving them each 1/5 of the alphabet to manufacture. The first draft of the type looked horrible, with five different styles none of which was very traditional, like this.

So we let each of them see 5/12 of the alphabet, their own work and some letters from two other designers. The result was rather distinctively Hoven (which is to say, it had some odd serifs and surprising decorations from a dragon’s point of view, and the many many diacriticals were sometimes a bit awkward), but it served well enough.

Then we had different hovens typeset the actual document. This was also risky, because by that time they could just go out and buy Ignissa’s Trestean translation, and, by comparing the two side by side, could probably figure out a fatal dose of Grand Draconic. The same would be a risk for any Hoven who got ahold of the Grand Draconic edition of the book, but that’s their problem. The typesetters were our servants, and it is rude to hire someone for a task and then kill them for doing it.

Yarenton’s history took several weeks longer to write. I suppose it was more accurate, being a history and based on everything we knew about Scorjerak. It was full of mistakes and inconsistencies, having been scribbled together in a mad hurry. When the other scholars learned new things about Scorjerak, Yarenton threw them into the book, often in places where they fit, and sometimes even remembering to remove previous theories. The book showed up as a companion to Songs of Scorjerak, and nobody liked it, not even Yarenton. He intended to write a proper second edition, taking all scholarly care about it, but of course he never did.

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