If you think the world’s quarantine is dragging on, tell it to the oreg!
The oreg is a weaver bird who lives in the Holy Tongue Society’s Oger Reservoir. Many oregs perch themselves on an old lazaretto ship in the middle of the reservoir lake. They spin together webs around the ship in order to trap prisoners that the Society has quarantined — slanderous social lepers who are dangerous to the outside world!
To protect themselves from contagion, oregs wear plague doctor masks that the Society distributes. The birds are able to spin webs due to special feet that look and act like spiders. That said, the feet are neither sentient nor truly spiders.
Oregs are helpful to the Society, both as jailers and for their webs, which are good for netting and catching debris. However, people are wise to keep an arm’s distance. The birds can be very territorial over their webs.
When most people think of fantasy worlds, ogres tend to come up. The “Milhamah” universe has its own set of beasts and monsters that inhabit it, including the oger. But an oger is a bit different from the average porcine giant…
Ogers are basically large piggy bank hamsters, or coin-eating “hammy” banks. In the upcoming Milhamah Issue #3, Ogers appropriately live in the underground Oger Reservoir, a lake filled with treasures and scrap that the Holy Tongue Society has obtained in war.
Under Arigah’s authority, the oger hamsters help organize the war booty by either eating it or sticking it into their backs. When they are ready to deposit it, they spit out their contents. Piggish manners, but what can you do?
So why do ogers like to eat and store up money? Well, they are based on the shoresh root אגר, which deals with hoarding and wages. “Oger” literally means “hamster” in Hebrew, and the root also connects to “agorah,” which is 1/100 of a shekel. That is why an oger’s fur has a print that resembles the Israeli new shekel sign, similar to a dollar sign.
Ogers are typically friendly with people, and they aren’t the only creature to dwell among the Holy Tongue Society. Look forward to a bigger bestiary to come!
As concept work on “Milhamah” Issue #3 continues, here is another character who readers will meet: Arigah Egronai.
Arigah is a low-level glossarist and lexicologist who works in the Holy Tongue Society’s Department of Semantics. She does most of her work in the Society’s underground Oger Reservoir, where she does intelligence research based on Bavel’s destroyed equipment and scrap.
Her main interest is reverse-engineering Bavel’s censored letters and speech balloons into armor and equipment for the Society. In order to do this, she wields a giant weaving shuttle that spins material for her creations. It makes a good double-edged spear too!
At heart, Arigah is a hoarder with a billion different plans and projects, most of them incomplete and in need of more funding. Fortunately, she hired and trained an army of Oger hamsters to do the grunt work. (You’ll meet them soon!)
Her main shoresh root is ארג, which is tied to weaving. By permuting the shoresh letters, she also has אגר characteristics of collecting, letters and wages.
How will Arigah mesh with Shem and his friends? That’s just one of the mysteries that Issue #3 will unveil…
Arigah is part of the first batch of characters I have made with the latest version of Adobe Animate. The updated brush features should make a difference in rendering hair, fur and vegetation, though it’s performance-heavy on my current computer.
Lately, I did a series of Adobe Creative Suite tutorials to catch up with newer features and techniques. So hopefully I can keep a balance between getting work done and raising the bar on quality.
I also experimented with making Shem and Tiqwah black and white, manga-style, as a way to speed up story production. Not sure I’m satisfied with it, but I’ll keep playing with it.
On the side, I also have about 35 pages more done on the Milhamah RPG that I introduced in April. It will need revising to streamline the rules and make them both comprehensive and consistent. But I can’t wait to sell the final product — hopefully next year if the pandemic dies down by then!
Milhamah: Fighting Words
Feeling silenced by the world? Join the Holy Tongue Society’s linguistic warriors as they use ancient alphabet powers to fight speech stranglers, truth manglers and a rebuilt Tower of Babel. And get immersed in a story that prizes freedom, candor and fighting back against overwhelming odds.
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