Shem is not amused by Qeriah's new hobby. Shem's anger makes him short-circuit. Shem reverts to his rawer form.
In Update #21, "Mother May I? Part 2", we learn that while Shem 'Etzem's holy form may easily defeat the Bavel Macrostructure’s minions, it’s no match for Em Qeriah’s lack of seriousness. Will Shem’s hair-trigger temper prevent him from becoming the Evaluator of Names? While this issue mostly continues the arguments and power struggles among the rising generation of Holy Tongue Society leadership and the old, it also shows how Shem can revert from his powerful, holy שום form back to his still-powerful, but baser עצם form. Adam comes up for a good reason at the end of this update. Get ready to learn more in the next update! (By the way, this webcomic will discontinue the numerical "Episode" system where some episodes last for multiple updates. While the next update would technically be Episode 16, this website's formatting plus ones like Webtoon and Tapas make the old system archaic. We'll just stick to numbering according to updates.) Other news Although it's not fully implemented, we updated the Wordpress theme to Toocheke Premium, which will allow us to use more Patreon and WooCommerce integration. If you've noticed that the site was slower recently, it's because we were trying to implement those features. I'm hoping to ask around to figure out a way to have the site run reasonably quickly plus have our own online store and bonus webpages for Patreon subscribers only. By the way, please sign up for my Patreon! Even a dollar a month adds up... Also, keep checking our wiki for updates. I've been adding beta sections to the Milhamah RPG storytelling game, plus there are all sorts of details about the comic there. Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope to bring more updates soon!
 

 

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‘Aravah ‘Ivrit appears on Hebrew Day

Just in time for Hebrew Language Day, “Milhamah” is previewing a new character for 2019. Meet ‘Aravah ‘Ivrit! ‘Aravah’s character is based on the shoresh root ‘ayin-bet-resh (עבר) and its permutations. While it may be awhile till she appears in the webcomic, here are six things to know about her character in “Milhamah: Fighting Words”: 1. ‘Aravah is the embodiment of the Hebrew language who is leading an independence movement against the Bavel Empire. Her goal is to break Bavel’s global dominance by “mixing up the tongues,” or scrambling its communications. 2. She works with the paramilitary Holy Tongue Society but isn’t part of it. She has ties to numerous other anti-Bavel associations, including an alliance with the guardians of the Arabic language. Hebrew and Arabic share similar shoresh roots: עבר and ערב. 3. She set up a headquarters in a western territory called ‘Ever that’s home to expanses of old Wild West desert-like wilderness. This explains why she is dressed as a cowgirl. 4. ‘Aravah is pregnant and way overdue for unknown reasons. As a result, she is often famished and rarely engages in combat. Her baby, however, is known to teleport out of the womb to fight the enemy. 5. Her personality switches between pleasant and hot-tempered. Her opponents underestimate her as a boorish fool — and learn to regret that. 6. ‘Aravah likes it hot. Her main weapon of choice is a flamethrower, and legend has it that she can summon holy fire from heaven. As we await 2019, look forward to seeing ‘Aravah ‘Ivrit in upcoming episodes of “Milhamah”!

Check out the new Redbubble store!

Need a quick gift idea? Several of my artistic designs are available for sale on the new Milhamah Redbubble store. The artwork can be applied to merchandise such as T-shirts, mugs, art prints, cellphone cases, greeting cards and much more. Many more designs will be posted in early 2019, so keep checking it out!

Meanwhile, “Milhamah: Fighting Words” Episode 10 is still on the way and will be here before Christmas—it just grew a little longer than expected. And then I have one more surprise in 2018… 

Welcome to Moledet

Welcome to the treacherous homeland of Moledet in this new concept design! On the other side of Bavel’s gate is the province that Deli governs. As a coastal city battered by the tides, Moledet’s economy exports water and manpower to its surrounding provinces. Moledet’s inspiration comes from Hebrew words derived from the shoresh root ילד, which deals with birth. (Deli uses a shoresh with the same letters swapped around.) This location is famous for its giant midwife toads, which are actually male frogs. These creatures are in charge of raising the city’s children and brainwashing them into the armies of tomorrow. The baby in this image is swaddled in an Akkadian robe and wields a classical blade on a Bavel flag. The Bavel Empire enjoys fanatical support from Moledet’s populace, which hates outsiders due to vague historical grievances. The citizenry also acts like a cultic family and invests much of its resources toward reproducing — naturally and artificially — for the government’s glory. It’s certainly hostile territory for the Holy Tongue Society! In the new year, look forward to seeing more of Moledet in future episodes of “Milhamah: Fighting Words.” The next webcomic, Episode 10, should be ready by next week. Later this week I’ll also publicize the new “Milhamah” RedBubble online store. While it was too late to make anything specific to Hanukkah, there is enough merchandise over there to make a great Christmas or holiday gift. And I’ll add new designs throughout 2019!

Episode 9: Taking Potshots

“Episode 9: Taking Potshots” has been released!
 With Shem in a daze, Deli prepares his final attack.
But suddenly, someone appears to be targeting Deli.
The potshot is a direct hit, straight through Deli's eye!
Tiqwah and Etgar come to the rescue, and gloat a little too.
Although Shem might be battered and broken, his Holy Tongue Society colleagues Tiqwah and Etgar come to the rescue. They team up to snipe at the enemy, but have they arrived too late?
I’ve been looking forward to Tiqwah and Etgar’s reappearance for a long time. Based on limited interactions with readers, it seems like Tiqwah is most people’s favorite character. And fans seem to like how Etgar looks, even though he hasn’t shown much personality yet. At least he brought a cool holographic device with him this time, as well as some daring goggles.
Of course, as the adjective and article, Etgar and Tiqwah make a good team.  Etgar’s eagle eye identifies targets based on their profiles and descriptions, and Tiqwah confirms them with target lock-on reticles.
It’ll also be fun to finally develop interactions among the three Ḥeleq members. Etgar lives in the present and is hungry for new horizons and experiences, while Tiqwah wants everything to be planned in place. A couple of surprises await Shem over the next few episodes, and they’ll flesh out him in the process too.
When I designed Deli, I almost immediately got the idea of having someone shoot that urn after drawing a few smug, ridiculous facial expressions on it. I mean, look at him. He deserves it, right?
Anyway, if you enjoyed this comic, leave a comment below, and please subscribe to my social media for more updates!

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!