Friday, May 31, 2013

May to Z: Y & Z

It's coming down to the wire. In the final hour of my self-imposed May to Z challenge I give you the last 2 letters.

Y had a lot more interesting names than I figured to find. I'll give you 4 of the 10 or so I drafted.

First up is Yldrum, derived from the Turkish word for "lightning". He is a devout worshiper of Thronndur, meaning he hardly ever leaves his forge and is happiest when the sparks fly from his hammer strikes. Some even believe he is a direct descendant of the forge god because he is one of the greatest living smithies in all dwarvendom. Since the collapse, aka the formation of the Quondam Kingdom, that buried all of the adamantite artisans, Yldrum could very well be the last in a great line of anvil pounders.

He is the father of Torr and grandfather of Torsun, whom the town of Torston is named after. It is so called because a large, unusual pillar of stone juts up from the nearby mountainside. For reasons unknown to man and dwarf alike, this natural obelisk is rich in iron, but not in a pure enough vein as to justify demolishing it for its ore. Yldrum called it Torr's Stone because on the night of his son's birth, just as the bawling babe was born into the world a tremendous crack of thunder peeled across the heavens and a blindingly bright bolt of lighting split the night, striking the pillar. Yldrum took this to be a blessing from Thronndur for the decades Yldrum had spent at his forge in worship. When a human village cropped up at the base of the mountain and trade began with the dwarf clan, the growing town came to be known as Torston.

Another dwarf of significance (because when are the stout, bearded folk ever insignificant?) is Yorgun of the northeastern clans. The name is Norse for George and means "earth worker." It is he who first introduced the iron plow to the humans of Highvale, who otherwise would have had a very hard time of growing enough crops to keep the kingdom fed. It is through his expertise of tilling the alpine soil that the kingdom knew the first great growth of population since the fall of the Atilaen sea culture. Some say that without Yorgun's magnificent invention, humanity would not have had the numbers needed to survive the subsequent fall of Highvale.

The last of the Ys are Yngvor and Yngvul, two battle-hardened dwarf brothers who take their names from the Norse god Freyr and a combination of "warrior" and "battle". These burly brothers are rarely separated and have a running competition for who can crush more enemy skulls or cleave foul spines. They fight best when back to back and outnumbered by almost uncountable odds. They have been surrounded by foes so many times that they have actually lost count. Yngvor claims to hold the high score of 4,382, while Yngvul argues that he is the current champion with 4,401.5 (the half point coming from a shattered shield). There has never been a set goal defined to actually judge which of the brothers is the final record holder. Other clan mates are growing weary of the boasting and bickering and think the final count should be the first to 5,000. However there are others in the unterholm that egg them on with the challenge of seeing if they can best 10,000 foes before they retire. What they have failed to establish is whether that is 10,000 combined or individually.

To bring the challenge to a close I leave you with the letter Z.

When I was digging for Y names, I came across Ylana, a Greek derivative possibly meaning "torch" or "the moon". And I also found that Yll is Albanian for "star". I decided to combine the two into Zyllana, the goddess of the night. While her realm is the darkness of the heavens, it is she who lit the night with the moon and stars. The desert-dwelling Grimalkin (a bipedal cat people) believe that the moon waxes and wanes because it is Zyllana's lantern that disappears and reappears as she travels the sky. They named her wandering "zudiya", meaning forever or endlessly repeating patterns. I made up this word from multiple parts, loosely borrowing from Lithuanian zydras meaning "blue", Zapotec zyanya meaning "forever", and Croatian zejah meaning "star". It is from zudiya that the Grimalkin develop their zodiac of rhythmic star patterns, the repetition of waves meeting the blowing dunes, and the ever intangible horizon of where the ocean never quite meets the sky.

They have also named the seasonal wind zfar - taken from Greek zephyr, meaning "west wind." Zfar is not just a general word for "wind", but rather very specific to the wet winds that blow in from the sea during the annual rainy season. Zfar in and of itself more appropriately means "a coming storm, building on the westward horizon." This refers to any eastbound troubles, be they rainstorms or some other foreboding.

And there you have it! May to Z challenge complete! 

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