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.)
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!
What is truth, and what is magical thinking? In Episode 12 (Part 1): “Spray and Pray,” our heroes start to explore this theme, and the answer is subtler than you might think.
Most fantasy universes have a system of superpowers or the supernatural, and “Milhamah: Fighting Words” is no exception.
Blessed truth, cursed deception
At the end of Episode 11, Deli speaks an Akkadian shoresh root (based on birth) to repair the hole in his face. And now he uses another root to fire water cannons.
In “Milhamah,” the Bavel Empire (or “macrostructure”) corrupts and twists languages in order to replace them with nonsense. Their motive is to assert control and manipulate reality for selfish, destructive ends.
Deli calls this “magic,” but Tiqwah calls it lies and manipulation. In terms of worldbuilding, she’s right. Bavel seeks to impose its will to power through its quest to destroy the Holy Tongue.On the other hand, the Holy Tongue is associated with candor, accuracy, and “telling it like it is.” In this episode, Etgar sets his alfon to use the dalet-bet-resh (דבר) root. He sends out a roaring speech bubble to destroy Deli’s magic.Under the Holy Tongue’s authority, our heroes use speech as a prophetic rebuke, speaking truth to power.
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
One more thing: Etgar mentions the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. This provides the scientific explanation for why the “Milhamah” can use the shoresh roots to enhance their alphabet abilities.As the link explains:
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory that an individual’s thoughts and actions are determined by the language or languages that individual speaks. The strong version of the hypothesis states that all human thoughts and actions are bound by the restraints of language, and is generally less accepted than the weaker version, which says that language only somewhat shapes our thinking and behavior.
Read more on the topic here. But basically, the “Milhamah” characters’ thoughts, words and outlook determine their reality and destiny. Those who prize truth and goodness turn their Holy Tongue alphabet powers into blessings. Likewise, characters who use language to enslave others perform magical curses.
And in that context, think of the curses that lurk in the background of our own real lives. What hells are often unleashed by the quick fix, the empty “something for nothing” promise, the slick corporate marketing pitch, or the focus group-tested political sound bite!
All of this only scratches the surface to how language shapes the “Milhamah” world. Now that we touched on truth, we’ll see how faith shapes the Holy Tongue Society in the next episode. Hope you’ll join us and keep reading!
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
Please take a moment to vote for Milhamah: Fighting Words” on the Top Webcomics site! The more votes we get, the more visible this comic becomes.
Also, if you haven’t signed up on our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook pages, please take a moment to do so!
This new episode’s first part isn’t exactly a slaughter, but good and evil go at it for another round. The last time “Milhamah: Fighting Words” had this much fighting between Shem and Deli, Shem took a walloping. Check and see what happens here…
Action scenes always take more time to design than talking head panels, but the end result is often satisfying. This time I tried to make things more dynamic by breaking the panel’s perspective with Shem’s “osteoblast” bone shard missiles.
I also added more sound effects and used the negative space outside the panels to contribute to the storytelling. I’ll probably do that more, especially in my remastered print edition. The goal is to begin selling copies in April with a couple of comic cons on the horizon!
Storywise, while Shem’s limited attack moves are a punchline here, I look forward to giving him more to work with in the scenes to come. Plus we need to see what Etgar and Tiqwah are doing in Episode 11 Part 2!
In other news…
Just a reminder: You can also see “Milhamah” comics on Tapas and Webtoon. I’m trying to grow those subscriber bases, so if you use those sites, you can get automatic notifications when new episodes come along.
Also, you can vote for “Milhamah” on the Top Webcomics page site, which draws a lot of webcomic fans. I’ll be promoting this more in the near future. Help this series climb the ranks!
It might be a close call, but Tiqwah and Etgar manage to daze Deli and reunite with Shem. Then Tiqwah starts scolding her teammate for leaving his alfon training device behind. But will alfons be enough to stop Deli from drowning them underground?
This episode is a transitional one to a pivotal action scene, which I look forward to seeing play out. But first let me give a little background on the alfon.An alfon is a communication device and weapon that acts like a phone, radio, hologram viewer and sonic weapon. It listens to the atmosphere for conversations, even scrambled ones like Bavel uses to corrupt the communications for all other languages. Then, with the help of its user, the alfon can convert what it hears into weaponized commands.
I’ll have more news to come in the upcoming days about “Milhamah” happenings. See you then!
After learning about Semitic languages in November, our journey through the Joüon and Muraoka book continues. This time we’re going specifically through the history of ancient Hebrew.
Biblical Hebrew is fairly consistent throughout the centuries. The Bible’s writers, from earliest to latest, differ most in vocabulary. Some of the syntax also evolves, though it’s not that significant. Morphology, or word formation, changed the least due to stable consonants.
However, Joüon and Muraoka point out that the following Mishnaic Hebrew era strays farther from the biblical style conventions. However, they speculate that some Mishnaic-era writers still wanted to write in the Bible’s older style and format.
And they say Mishnaic Hebrew started to form after most of the Tanakh (Old Testament) was finished. The Mishnaic era also covers the period of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jesus.
Joüon and Muraoka divide the biblical language into two eras: a “golden age” before the Babylonian exile and an era afterward. The authors acknowledge that some scholars think the entire Bible was basically written after the exile. But Joüon and Muraoka point out linguistic differences, such as the Bible’s later books spelling “Jerusalem” and “David” in a way earlier biblical books didn’t.
Hebrew’s relationship to ‘Milhamah’
The “Milhamah” webcomic doesn’t glean too much from this history. However, the character of ‘Aravah ‘Ivrit, whom I unveiled last week for Hebrew Language Day, embodies the language. Some of the details are in that post.
My art drew quite a few people from Facebook to this website. I even earned a Facebook like from the Academy of the Hebrew Language, which chiefly promotes the holiday in honor of Hebrew revivalist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. Their resources are a great help to my comic research, and I let them know that.
All in all, it’s not a bad way to end the year!
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.