Prologue II – Notes on Language
This book is written in the argot of H-town. For those
unfamiliar with its particular grammatical constructions,
a few comments follow.
The “habit of the plural.” Even when referring to one
person you would say they or them, and we and us for
first person. Verbs usually match plural subjects.
Someone, anyone, everyone, and no one, are plural.
Most collective nouns are plural, such as group, crowd,
and so forth. Body, heart, and mind are plural.
Several nouns and pronouns are singular or plural
depending on context. Examples include, soul, life, it, that,
and various emotions.
It should be added that different speakers have their
own subtle variants of the argot.
The short passage below illustrates these principles:
Vus were feeling light-hearted. They sang as they
walked. They came upon the clerk Los.
The clerk were frequently glancing over their shoulder.
“It're terrible. We have never been so frightened. Our
mind are troubled and our body are beginning to break
down. Someone are following us but no one believe us
and a crowd are laughing behind our back.”
Prologue IV Resumption
Let us return then, to Syns, lying in bed on August
first, day of the High Summer Tournament, miserable
and without passion. Time passed while we presented
the background--dawn had arrived and then collapsed
under the weight of gray, allowing a light drizzle to seep
through like perspiration. The cathedral bells rang out
ten a.m. They were late.
They got up and put on their costume. Every citizen
of M-town had a part to play at the tournaments. Syns'
job as a serf was to mingle in the crowd, sit in the cheap-
est seats at the joust, and act in a loutish manner. The
role suited them well but they had wearied of it years be-
fore. Were it not for the new ale, they would, as usual,
have skipped the event entirely.
They headed out from their cottage on a narrow path.
It was deserted but the oppressive sounds of festival day
crowded the air: jabbering tourists, strident hawkers, trum-
pet blast and peacock shriek.
The path joined the high street--winding and cobbled,
with shops leaning out over it--which led up to the tour-
nament field and the castle beyond. It was brutally packed.
Syns crammed into the throng. A tourist trod on their
foot and said nothing.
Eventually the banners of the ale tent came into
view, flopping disconsolately in the wet breeze like dying
fish. The ale tent was one of the largest, positioned near
the entry to the field. A long line had formed, Syns joined
Livs and Lucs jumped toward them, personal pewter
tankards in hand, in their duo-jester outfit. The duo-jester
were meant to be a satiric depiction of the H. One gro-
tesque and garish outfit covered two persons, allowing
two heads to pop out of the top and an arm and leg apiece.
The last was accomplished by having each participant's
legs held together in a padded stocking. To move about
they had to take turns jumping. The two heads squab-
bled over everything. In real life Livs and Lucs were shy
librarians at Research.
“What took ye so long?” Livs called out.
“By the way, we don't care,” interjected Lucs.
“Nothing,” said Syns.
“'Tis well worth the effort, a highly drinkable brew,”
Livs said loudly.
“Zounds and curses, we have to agree with ye on this
one point. But no other,” Lucs declaimed.
Already a significant number of people were in line
behind Syns. The duo-jester cut in as usual. “Don't cut
ye in line!” said Livs. Then to the crowd, “Pardon us, en-
tirely their fault, but what can we do?”
The line inched forward while the drizzle ceased and
shadows began crawling over the damp ground. The duo
ingratiated themselves with the crowd while Syns stared
ahead. Waiting in line were filled with anxiety. The closer
you got the more likely your chances of getting a pint
before they ran out. But the likelihood also increased
that the barrels would sputter just when it was your turn.
At last they were in the diffused light of the white can-
vas tent. The dirt floor was littered with plastic cups, gray
and embossed to resemble tankards. The smell of brew
was sickeningly strong.
An archer were directly in front of them. The barrel
dribbled out a few drops and died.
“Jimes, Anches, anything left in your barrels?”
No and nay.
“Sorry. Worse luck.”
The poor archer quivered, loosed a volley of curses,
and crept away.
“That's it, then,” sighed Livs.
“You each got pints already,” muttered Syns.
“Two apiece actually,” said Lucs with a smile.
“No wonder they ran out.”
“What doth ye want to do? Shall we go watch the
joust?” asked Livs.
Anything but the joust, thought Syns. There was noth-
ing like repeatedly writing about something, to remove
any shred of appeal.
Behind them the line dissipated into nothingness as
the sad word was passed along. Livs and Lucs were jump-
ing toward the opening of the tent. Syns stood rooted in
“Hells, how did this one get by us?” Jimes were roll-
ing a barrel forward. They looked up at Syns. “This must
be your lucky day.”
They poured a frothing cup and handed it to Syns.
The writer-serf took a desperate sip. Ahhh. Heavy, cold,
The duo whip-turned and bounded over, extending
their tankards. The tappers were imbibing as they packed
When Syns and the duo finished their pints, Jimes
called out, “Another?”
The three sat on a hay bale inside the tent for the next
round. For the next they sprawled on the ground, their
heads against the bale like wanton harvesters. Someone
came over to pour the fourth, saying the barrel was drained
and it was time to take down the tent.
Syns looked over at Livs, whose eyes were nearly
closed. Lucs' were slightly more open. With mutual assis-
tance they all managed to stand. Leaning on each other
they jumped and staggered into the painful brightness
Livs dropped their tankard and slithered to the
ground, where they remained. Lucs, pulled along, fell too.
Syns looked around. It was the oddest intoxication
they had ever experienced: every object was rimmed in
“We loveth ale. We really loveth it. Doth ye loveth
it?” Lucs called up.
“We love it, yes,” said Syns.
“We loveth it more than anything. More than love.
“Love it more than love?” Syns considered. It was
easy for Lucs to say. They had never even experienced the
emotion. But as for themselves, did they love ale more
than the love of lovers? “Yes we do. We have had enough
love, enough sex, good sex, and great sex, for one life-
time.” Or had we? Perhaps we had been a failure at all of them.
“And ye the great expert on romance.” The comment
was followed by a sputtering snore as Lucs joined their
conjoined twin in sleep.
Syns grimaced. The love in our novels are utterly false.
Based on ever-more-distant and dimming memories.
They looked up.
And that was the moment. That was the pivot, a mat-
ter of pure coincidence, or fate, or folly, upon which life
Equinophilia (Chapter 41)
Whooshes stood sleeping, their dark coat awash with
“Noble being,” whispered Syns. They ran their hand
along the mane, feeling the coarseness and vibrancy of
the cascading hair.
“So beautiful So wise.”
Our knight were flooded with love. They gazed upon
the great eyelids fimbriated with long lashes. They reached
out to caress the face. They placed their head against the
neck, armor against warmth, breathing against nickering,
in deep communion.
They pushed up their visor, brushed lips across muzzle.
“Ah, you are so much more than we deserve.” They
lay down nearby, carried rapidly away in currents of sleep.
“And so much better than a rock.”