Montag, 14. April 2008

Cadmus Edition Special II: Heather Folsom, Romance of Romance

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

its rear.

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,

and strong.

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.

Doth ye?”

“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.”

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