494. Uytai!

Posted by Glenn Kempf on 17:57 9/8/02

In reply to: Uytai! posted by epdiv on 5:35 9/6/02

(not to mention a few previous postings as well...)


1. If you want to put a rift valley in Arcél, the long southwestern peninsula where Mnese is located might be a good place. In that case, Mnese and Xamshan are, in effect, gradually splitting away from the rest of Arcél, and the bay and forked peninsulas in the south mark where the spreading is taking place, and extending further north. That also implies rift-induced volcanic and earthquake activity in the mountains to the east of Uytai, as well as a possible chain of deep lakes and rivers running along the rift line to the sea, with the mountains on one side and other highlands on the other. (The rift could run to the east or west of the mountains. The shape of the bay in the world map might imply west; on the other hand, in the Historical Atlas, I note that there is indeed a large lake to the east, between Mnese and Xamshan.)

A rift valley in Mnese would run into the temperate zone; if, on the other hand, you want a more tropical rift valley (shades of Africa's Great Rift Valley on Earth?), the northwest extension of Belesao is a possibility (and perhaps the great bay of north-central Belesao, although I'm more doubtful about that one). In general, Arc&ceacute;l seems to be significantly more equatorial than the lands of eastern Erel´e that we've seen thus far.

The question of Almean plate tectonics in general intrigues me. I know (since you've mentioned it) that the continents of Almea fit together as pieces of a "Pangea"-style supercontinent, but I am uncertain about the nature and location of some of the plate boundaries. For instance, there is probably an Atlantic-style spreading center in the Zëi Mishicama between Ereláe and Lebiscuri (because it fits the map, and because the northern shores of Ereláe are largely gentle, as in the US East Coast, rather than rocky, mountainous, and volcanic, as in the West. In contrast, the long line of mountains across northern Arcél and Curym may represent a subduction zone like the American Cordillera (the Andes and Rocky Mountains). The Diqun Bormai may be the result of past subduction, or a continental collision like the one that created the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. On the other hand, I'm not sure whether the Zëi Kraitisë or the large strait between the Kereminth and Neinuoi might be spreading zones, subduction trenches, or part of the larger continental shelf. (They look an awful lot like the latter, although the ilii don't inhabit the whole thing, just the coastal areas--of course, it's likely that agriculture and effective aquaculture are only possible there.)

The island of Haibalai (Khaibalai) actually looks closer and more accessible from Neinuoi and the Kereminth than from Belesao and Uytai (although I recall that Uytai trades with it). Detailed coverage of Haibalai may have to wait until the Historical Atlas of Curym comes out... :-)

2. I, too, have been looking with interest at the first glimpses of Elcarin and its elements. I agree that it seems quite alien and "fittingly harsh" (of course, "dwarvish" languages have tended to have their own unique character at least since Tolkien ;-); it also seems like a language in which the elements are defined very precisely--you say exactly what you mean, or nothing at all. I do have one phonetic question: how is the final consonant cluster ("tw") in gnqêtw pronounced? I have difficult imagining that particular phoneme without a vowel following it. (I note that one of the Nahuatl examples in Nikolai's post a while back had a similar phoneme: notekw.

I presume that since the elcari and múrtani split away from each other so long ago, their languages have little in common any more--is this right? Or has there still been cross-influence back and forth? (Are elcari and múrtani communities spread more or less evenly around the globe, or are there some continents that have primarily one, but not the other? They're all the same color on the "Distribution of Non-Humans" map.)

In addition, I note that while Uytai and Belesao are far from the nearest ktuvok lands, there is a large elcari/mútani territory in the northeast of Arcél; I'm sure that it's had an influence on the development of those lands. (There are also large elcari and icëlani communities in primitive Lebiscuri in the north--especially in close proximity to each other. And lots of ilii up there too. And there's that region in southeastern Lebiscuri where all three races live close together. Hmmm....)

3. I too am eagerly awaiting more scraps of information about Almea, from the Count of Years to more about exotic Uytai. (Between the tea, the lacquerware, and the hints of large-scale government and irrigation, it sometimes reminds me of China--is this deliberate? I know more than to expect too close a resemblance, however.) At the same time, I am aware that these things take time (and spare time at that); my own world-building efforts have been going painfully slowly. Some of the issues are language-related; some tied to the effort to create original religions (as with CavemanBOK in posting 491(?)--I also want to avoid "generic" pantheons) , some involved with finding the spark of inspiration and "alienness" to avoid a straight ripoff of Earth. And sometime it's just time. Oh, well...

Mark responds:

Hi, Glenn. A bunch of interesting questions, as usual!

1. To work out Almean plate tectonics, I used the high-tech method of drawing the continents on a ball... I didn't work out all the plate boundaries (though that would be fun); I was mostly concerned with making the continents fit together. If you rotate Lebiscuri a bit counterclockwise, it fits into the northeast coast of Ereláe, while its eastern coast fits into the northwest coast of Arcél.

IIRC, Neinuoi is on a small plate that's levering away from Curym. The Zëi Kraitisë is probably continental shelf, though there might be room for a trench there. Your speculations in general are quite reasonable-- I know I thought of Luduyn as a continental merger, like India, one geologically recent enough to raise very high mountains.

2. The final -tw was intended to be labialized-- you round the lips while articulating the t-- but it's gone. :) I realized that I didn't have a w anywhere else in the language. The honorific is now -e.

Elcarin languages are exceedingly slow to change; all those of Ereláe, for instance, are mutually intelligible, and all elcarin languages worldwide seem to belong to a single family. The múrtani languages are demonstrably related, though they've changed faster.

Múrtani are found worldwide, not very predictably. There are usually fewer of them than the elcari, partly because if they live close to men, the latter are liable to get tired of their raids and hunt them down. (They can stand up to the elcari much more easily.)

3. Uytai does borrow from China; hopefully, by the time I get done with it, it'll look like a number of other things as well.

As a general update, the Count of Years is proceeding nicely: I've finished with the eight wars of the ilii and ktuvoks, and I'm busy chronicling the Cuzeian invasion of the Plain. This has to be told in a fair amount of detail, since after all it's the founding myth not only of Cuzei but of its noble families... everyone wants to find their ancestor there.

I should really research Bronze Age warfare some more. The Cuzeians have horses, but this was before warriors could fight from a horse; the basic strategy-- if a cavalry charge didn't budge the defenders-- was to use the superior movement to get where you want to go, then dismount and fight hand to hand.

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