The Land of Two Moons: Initial Ideas & Inspirations

How did I first come up with this story? Aside from wanting to reuse the characters from The Gate at the End of the World, and Veitlen & Nymue…I don’t entirely remember. Then again, it takes quite a while for most of my stories develop. Most of this happens in my head, and I don’t start writing down notes until things are much more concrete.

I do, however, remember some of my initial ideas.

The very first idea: A boy (Veitlen, though he had a different name at first) discovered he was a witch, which was a very bad thing in his society. He fled into the forest to join some other witches. One of those other witches was definitely Morgaine, but I don’t remember anything about the others.

This Veitlen would have ended up a lot more similar to the Veitlen in The Gate at the End of the World. The story would have been a lot darker, too.

Eventually I settled on something resembling the characters & plot of The Land of Two Moons. Originally, I didn’t know what kind of setting I wanted the story to take place in. I seriously considered a high-tech cyberpunk city at some point. That would have made things very different, as it would have been more about investigating & opposing the Avatar & government.

I had two choices with the character’s ages: teens or adults, and I went with adults because teenagers with magic powers is a bit too large a genre. Also, I’ve lost interest in YA literature as I’ve gotten older.

At some point, there was flower symbolism along with the spirit weapons, which I dropped because that would have been too much going on.

I spent quite a while deliberating on what I wanted the spirit weapons to be made out of. Veitlen had a sword made out of glass, and that was something I really didn’t want to change. I hadn’t come up with a theme, and had no idea what I wanted anyone else’s spirit weapons to be made of.

Then I watched Land of the Lustrous and thought about gemstones. There are hundreds of them, and that also gave me the ability to use the Seven Treasures. Then I realized there could be seven Avatars instead of one, and have each Avatar correspond to one of the treasures.

This was a very last minute decision that ended up driving the whole story. And then there ended up being more Buddhist influences, because they ended up fitting the story really well. Sometimes that’s what happens.

Speaking of Buddhist influences, the demons in The Land of Two Moons are essentially hungry ghosts, and it took me until about halfway through writing the story for me to realize exactly what I’d reinvented.

The Land of Two Moons: Final Thoughts

I finished writing The Land of Two Moons in mid-February. It hasn’t occupied very much of my mind since then, so there are a lot of fine details about the story I don’t actually remember.

There are a lot of things that got left out of the story. Some of them got left out because they ended up not being relevant to the finished story – this is something that happens with every writing project. You can’t use every single idea you have. There are some things that got left out because The Land of Two Moons was originally envisioned as a comic (and was a comic for a prologue and six entire chapters), and I would not have been able to draw them. Since the entire script was written by the time I was finished drawing chapter 1, I didn’t put those things back in when I transitioned to prose, largely because I wasn’t thinking about them. And then there are things I thought about putting in, but then didn’t write them down and completely forgot about them.

I scripted out a bonus chapter where the readers would learn where the name “Tyvokala” came from. There were multiple pages removed from the end of chapter 1, where Nymue would already show suspicion toward the Avatar & the government, which were taken out because the chapter was already too long.

I don’t exactly feel disappointed with the finished product – I’m more content, if anything. The story is done and I’m happy it’s done. It took up enough years of my life. I’m not 100% satisfied with the way the story turned out, but I don’t think any writer is.

If I ever get the time – and I doubt I will, I’ve got tons of other stories to work on – I’d like to rewrite The Land of Two Moons as a proper novel. The prose version of the story was directly based on the comic script, and there is a lot that I did not describe in that script. A lot of stuff that was going to be shown in artwork that I didn’t bother describing because I was just going to make a couple of reference sheets when it came time to draw things.

I’d say what I produced was decent, but there is definitely room for improvement as well.

The Land of Two Moons: Languages & Cultures of Tsurennupaiva

I did quite a bit of worldbuilding when I first started developing the world of The Land of Two Moons. Most of my attention was focused on the Rennuryhpa (rennu “moon” + ryhpa “people”), who are the majority ethnic group of Tsurennupaiva. Originally, they were referred to as “Selenians” in English – just like Tsurennupaiva is called “The Land of Two Moons” – but after writing the entire story, I realized that I never actually used any of those words to refer to them.

When you do a lot of worldbuilding, not all of it makes it into the actual story. In this case, I’d say that most of it didn’t make it into the actual story.

Now on to the actual point of this post: the languages and cultures of Tsurennupaiva.

500-ish years ago, the moon Ellinen blew up and destroyed 90% of living species. This was later called the Cataclysm. The remnants of humanity spent ~250 years on Sairren, another moon, and returned back to the planet. Then they founded Tsurennupaiva.

During that time on the moon, most of humanity (who came from all over the planet, not just one country) developed a new culture and started calling themselves Selenians (in Rennukat: rennuryhpa). Their language, Rennukat (rennu “moon” + kat” language”), is not a creole or mixed language like you would assume, but a lesser-spoken language that was chosen to be the language of the new Selenian people and adopted en masse.

Selenian culture was, to a large extent, constructed in order to deliberately avoid the mistakes made by the Old Humans – the people who lived before the Cataclysm. The Cataclysm was and still is seen as a punishment from the gods for the behaviors and lifestyles of the Old Humans.

The Ciniáne and Miryani people are two of the largest minority ethnic groups in Tsurennupaiva. Brithan Thiosciare is Ciniáne, and Ren Fennel is Miryani. Both of those characters (and their cultures) came from the second version of The Gate at the End of the World.

Both the Ciniáne and Miryani people existed before the Cataclysm, and have largely managed to keep their cultures & languages intact despite everything that happened, including the pressures to adopt the Selenian culture and language.

While the Ciniáne language is a naming language with slightly more fleshed-out grammar than usual and I’ve thought about the culture, the Miryani language and culture are…nonexistent. This wasn’t going to be the case, especially when I was working on The Gate at the End of the World since Ren was actually a main character there. But in The Land of Two Moons, she’s a secondary character who’s primarily out of focus.

I definitely did not get a chance to explore everything about these things that I wanted to. A large part of the problem, I think, was the (necessary) switch from a comic to prose. There were a lot of things that I planned on showing through visuals that simply that did not make the transition to writing.

Ciniáne, the old language of the God-Republic of Ciniá

Introduction

Ciniáne or Ciniáthyssyn “Ciniá’s language” is the language of the Ciniáne people. Prior to the Cataclysm, it was the most-spoken and official language of Ciniáthyleruggeá, The God-Republic of Ciniá. In the present day, it is spoken by most of the Ciniáne, an ethnic minority group of Tsurennupaiva.

Ciniáne was created in December 2016 for the second version of The Gate at the End of the World. The God-Republic of Ciniá was the country that Brithan Thiosciáre was from. I imported the character, country, ethnic group, and language  into The Land of Two Moons.

Ciniáne’s phonology is influenced quite a bit by Greek & Italian. Ciniá itself was inspired by Mediterranean cultures, so the influences seemed appropriate.

Phonology

All consonants can be geminated, though in practice this does not happen. Certain consonants “palatalize” before front vowels:

  • /s/, /z/, /ts/, /dz/ → [ʃ], [ʒ], [tʃ], [dʒ]
  • /kk/, /gg/ → [ttʃ], [ddʒ]

 

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal

Nasal

m n

Stop

p b t d k g

Fricative

f v s z ʃ ʒ θ

h

Affricate ts dz tʃ dʒ

Approximant l j

Trill r

All vowels have long and short forms. Like with a lot of Romance languages (and perhaps other languages I am unfamiliar with), /i/ becomes /j/ before vowels.

 

Front Back

Close

i iː y yː u uː
Mid e eː

o oː

Open æ æː

ɑ ɑː

Why does this Italian-looking language have /y/, /æ/, and /ɑ/? Well, I’d just learned about Finnish vowels at the time, and I wanted a more symmetrical phonology. I also wanted to be able to use <y> in the alphabet.

Ciniáne also has a couple of dipthongs: /ɑi/, /æi/, /ei/, and /ou/.

Syllable structure is CVC, where C is any consonant (including geminated consonants) and V is any vowel (including diphthongs). I genuinely do not know why I did not flesh this out further.

Word stress is…inconsistent. Stress falls on the syllable with a long vowel, wherever that syllable might be. In words where there is no long vowel, stress falls on the penultimate syllable.

Pronouns

Pronouns are marked for case in the same way nouns are.

Person

Singular Plural

1st

zæn tsǽre
2nd lle

lletól

3rd cainé

muré

Ciniáne is pretty different than most of my other conlangs regarding pronouns…because the plural forms aren’t simply the singular with the plural suffix. That is genuinely what I do most of the time.

Nouns

Nouns have three cases: nominative (unmarked), genitive (-thy), and dative (-). The nominative is used in most places, the genitive is used to show possession and that a noun modifies another noun in some way, and the dative is used when the noun is any kind of object.

Nouns have two numbers: singular and plural. The plural marker is –tól.

  • béll “star” → bélltól “stars”
  • cithæ “person” → cithætól “people”
  • ssyn “language” → ssyntól “languages”

Adjectives

Adjectives precede nouns, and are not marked in any way.

  • eníane mǽlury “beautiful illumination”
  • gellæne lemúre “blue sky”
  • teleraí leccýne “exalted god”

To create adjectives from nouns and verbs, the suffix –ne is used. Most adjectives are created this way, even ones like that would like “blue” and “green” – there are Ciniáne nouns for “blue thing” and “green thing”, and they have –ne suffixed to created the adjectival versions of those words.

Ciniáne, by itself, means “of or pertaining to Ciniá”. Ciniáthyssyn is the specific word for the language, and Ciniáthycithætol is the word used to refer to the ethnic group.

Verbs

Verbs are marked for tense and aspect:

Infinitive

-i

Past

-éllæ

Past Habitual

-ttéa
Present

Present Habitual

-mmu

Future

-hy

I never created a large dictionary for Ciniáne. Here are some example sentences showing the different verb forms, using hyvælli “to speak”:

Zæn hyvæll Ciniánesú.

  • I speak Ciniáne.
  • 1SG.NOM speak.PRS Ciniáne.DAT

Tsǽre hyvællmmu Ciniánesú.

  • We (from time-to-time) speak Ciniáne.
  • 1PL.NOM speak.PRS.HAB Ciniáne.DAT

Lle hyvælléllæ Ciniánesú.

  • We spoke Ciniáne.
  • 2SG.NOM speak.PST Ciniáne.DAT

Cainé hyvællttéa Ciniánesú.

  • He/She/Ze used to speak Ciniáne.
  • 3SG.NOM speak.PST.HAB Ciniáne.DAT

Muré hyvællhy Ciniánesú.

  • They will speak Ciniáne.
  • 3SG.PL speak.FUT Ciniáne.DAT

Concluding Thoughts

Ciniáne is essentially a glorified naming language. When I created it in December 2016, it was so I had a conlang to participate in Lexember with. After I stopped working on The Gate at the End of the World, I had no real reason to work on the conlang anymore, so I abandoned it. Even after moving it over to The Land of Two Moons, it remained untouched.

I doubt I’ll come back to this conlang again. I still have no reason to touch it! However, Ciniáne is still phonologically & orthographically interesting to me, so I imagine I’ll recycle some parts of it into another conlang someday.