When laying down the groundwork for the world for Not Gods But Monsters, I had to take into consideration a number of elements that we take for granted and how they came to exist. Before any element--even one seemingly ancillary like the calendar--could be fleshed out, I found I had to develop the ancient Byraelian alphabet on which many of these elements hinged. Once the rules of said language were established, it made it easier to nail down other elements. In fact, if I found myself in need of a name (like the Haedier’thiall), I could always just translate a word into the Byraelian equivalent.
I will admit that the formation of the ancient language served two purposes. Firstly, it created a believable depth in the world-building. That over hundreds of thousands of years, mankind's language changed from an original tongue that is technically no longer in use. Secondly, it allowed for a bit of obfuscation in what was presented to the reader - a way to hide information in plain sight. Still, those who want to understand what's being communicated can do so with the evidence provided within the book's pages.
In fact, I provided an entire passage to the reader in both Byraelian and Common for their comparison:
Creation Dogma in Byraelian
Ahd ief dier va nonthe vet Eedier aj va ofmell aan liith
Ief thesienthied Eusen Sinie ve vecam tah’graedsae
Oad thesienthied K’vaan Zighurati ve vecam tah’lan he colth sehbier min vecam tah’vasties nonrdeern
Thien poeeried ofierd Shum Delial prohbithe tah’sied oph lief of mahn
Sem va Sēmināre Aes ve raenied epon tah’lan gehbe mahn tah’geft oph povier
Lasdili caam Gnositrope ves geft gahb noveliedj
Creation Dogma in Common
At first there was nothing but Aether. All was formless and light.
First descended Eusen Sinie, who became the Great Sea.
Second descended K’vaan Zighurati, who became the land. His cold, severe mind became the Northern Wastes.
Then poured forth Shum Delial, providing the seed of life for man.
Fourth was Sēmināre Aes, who rained upon the land, giving man the gift of power.
Lastly came Gnositrope, whose gift gave knowledge.
As you might be able to tell upon examination, the translation of the ordinal numbers do not adhere to normal translation rules. When considering the numbering system, one must take into account that this is a society founded on the concept of a pantheon of five deities. Numbers one through five are considered important and as such should be treated as special. While all other numbers would be translated like normal words, ordinal numbers First through Fifth are actually unique words.
|Ordinal number||In Byraelian|
The Written Language
While it's never detailed in the book, the written language itself adds another layer of obscuration. There are additional rules for the ancient scripts that push the character count above the usual 26 in the Common alphabet.
Below is the name of the book as written in Byraelian. This is present on the cover as a watermark in the header/footer images.
As examples, I present the words 'Ief' and 'Oad' as written in Byraelian (see images on right). Please note that, for 'Ief,' the first character actually represents the pairing of two vowels (I and E) together. There are a number of times that vowel pairings create unique characters, including 'EE,' 'EI,' 'IE,' and 'II.' When two vowels, such as 'OO,' are present, they are also written as a unique character.
'Oad,' on the other hand, is a straight, character-for-character translation. As you will notice, the letter pairing of 'O' and 'A' does not share the same rules as 'I' and 'E' above.