Etgar shows the repaired speech balloon.Tiqwah connects the dalet to the alfon to make new letters appear on the aural grid.A mysterious seal appears and brings the Deli urn with it.The revived Deli greets Tiqwah. [wpedon id=”9536″]

The urn returns in Episode 11 (Pt. 2)

While the battle continues, the evil urn Deli startles our heroes from behind. The villain seems to be reformed … but not in a good way! Will Tiqwah and Etgar find what they’re looking for in the aural grid before it’s too late? This is Part 2 to “Slaughter in the Water,” and you can see the earlier part here. Things get technical behind the scenes in this episode, as it starts to explain how the “Milhamah” characters weaponize their alfons to make blessing attacks outside of their own natural ability. Gradually readers will learn about these things over the next few episodes, but I’ll give a preview here. Basically, Tiqwah and Etgar connected the speech balloon and the foundation glyph to their alfons to make new letters appear in the aural grid. The aural grid shows sound frequencies, and Tiqwah and Etgar are looking for ‘Ivrit ones to do new attacks. The evil Bavel Empire try to scramble these ‘Ivrit frequencies to make it harder for the heroes to do this. (Though in Bavel’s perspective, they believe they’re actually unscrambling their own language!) Anyway, it’ll be up to our heroes to find the correct sequence of letters needed — a shoresh root — to code in an alfon attack, or a blessing. Will they do this next episode? Maybe…

Meanwhile, what is Deli doing?

Etgar shot the urn in Episode 9, but now the fiendish jar is back. Well, it used an Akkadian curse called walа̄du. Deli’s natural shoresh root is dalet-lamed-yod (דלי). He’s using a permuted power caused by switching the letters around, (ילד). This undergoes a consonantal shift, as in Akkadian the same Semitic root is spelled waw-lamed-dalet (ולד). The pink seal beneath Deli contains real Semitic letters and words. The Akkadian for walа̄du in the center. The Paleo-Hebrew and Ugaritic letters for (ילד) are in the middle orbit, plus the six different root permutations in Aramaic-style Hebrew script. The outer ring has the alef-bet. So as the comic says, Deli permuted or switched his powers around to heal himself through a rebirth. Of course, since he’s from Bavel, he does this through the power of trickery and evil. Next episode you’ll learn the difference between the Holy Tongue’s Society’s truth-guided blessings and Bavel’s manipulative curses, and why it matters.

A side note

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Grammar Part 2: Semitic languages

As we continue last week’s examination of Joüon and Muraoka’s book “A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew,” the authors remind us that Hebrew is a Semitic language that is similar to neighboring tongues. For instance, Semitic languages’ shared traits include:
  1. Gutturals like ḥet (ח) and ‘ayin (ע)
  2. emphatics like  ṭet (ט), tzadi (צ) and qof (ק)
  3. Root sequences usually composed of three consonants that suggest specific motifs that are conjugated by adding vowels
According to the book, the oldest Semitic languages were born in the northeast, such as Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian) and Eblaite. Next the book says the South Semitic languages generally arose, such as Hadrami, Minaic, Qatabanic  and Sabean. The Southern family also includes Ge’ez, which South Arabian emigrants to Ethiopia spoke, according to the book. Finally the Central (or Northwestern) Semitic languages came to be, such as Canaanite, Aramaic and Arabic. While Hebrew was home to the land of Canaan, the book says proto-Hebrew and ancient Canaanite differed in some ways, like how they conjugated the qal passive verb. Hebrew is very similar to Moabite and also related to Phoenician. Ugaritic, spoken to the north of Canaan, is a separate language with a cuneiform alphabet. The Bible refers to Hebrew (‘Ivrit) as Yehudit. Besides the Bible, we know about ancient Hebrew through Babylonian and Akkadian documents. Ostraca and archaeological finds like the Gezer Calendar and the Siloam inscription offer more evidence. Other languages like ancient Egyptian and Berber have some things in common with Semitic languages, but not enough to part of the family.

Where the languages fit in ‘Milhamah’

As “Milhamah: Fighting Words” begins its first year, expect to see Hebrew explained in depth, along with a smattering of Akkadian. In our fictional world, several other languages have their own insurgencies and resistance movements against Bavel too. While virtually all of these movements are (at least temporary) allies of the Holy Tongue Society, their activities happen off-camera. “Milhamah” will only deal with Semitic languages, and specifically ones that I study in great detail. Why Semitic languages? They have features that inspire artistic creativity and make good gameplay mechanics. For example, look at the trilateral shoresh roots, in which three consonants combine to make words with similar meanings. This concept will make more sense in the weeks to come. The comic’s Episode 9 will be released Tuesday, and I hope to begin showing very early development screenshots or videos of the roguelike game in December. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!