One of the oldest writing system in existence are the Ogham runes from Ireland.
It’s quite stunning. We have only a few rune stones with this writing. Some hypothesize that the writing itself had no sound to it. It only was used to communicate ideas instead of representing a sound like today’s writing system.
In my book, Aaric has tattoos that depict Ogham runes and the older documents from the 3rd century Eire Land (Ireland) is written using this system. The spoken language was another complication I had to weed through. I had to pull from the Proto-Germanic languages that predate Old Norse, but with the Irish language…the language changed so drastically from the 1st century to the 9th due to wars and change in monarchs, that I had to be very careful which terms I settled on for my books.
For instance, Druid, Bard, Fili, Poet are all words that mean the same thing, but only existed during their own time period. Drui is the Ancient Irish word for “Druid.”
So really the books are called “Tales of the Druids.” Fili, I think…have to double check this, was used in the 5th century. While Bard was used in the 9th century. Accuracy is what I pride myself on. Yes, the average reader won’t know or care, but I will know the difference. Plus, I love love love doing this kind of research.
Here’s the excerpt I wrote that caused me to go research this morning.
Bergen: Bane – Chapter 2
The occasional torch lit Bergen’s path, there where the air was unusually dry for being underground. He ran his hand along the ancient stone that formed the narrow stairwell. This part of the building had to be several centuries old. The stone work was beyond anything he had seen before as it twisted and wound itself like a labyrinth.
No one was on the stairwell or on the platform below. The cellars were strangely quiet. One door greeted him at the base of the steps, only one direction that guided him to the adjoining room where orange light spilled from the lanterns and mingled with the black and shadow.
Bergen looked up the steps from where he had descended. He was certain no one had followed. He was equally sure no one was in the room before him. Regardless, he slipped into the room and ducked behind the first wall he came to, a shelf that housed scrolls and tomes and blank vellum from the floor to the high ceiling above.
He peered around the shelf’s end. The same orange glow and darkness spilled over the vast room. Worn writing desks and aged chests with tarnished clasps shoved against the walls. More shelves that formed a maze stretched to the back of the room. Fat barrels that once held ale and wines now held rolled up manuscripts and were tucked into every corner and crevice.
Permitting himself to relax slightly, Bergen emerged from his hiding place and roamed the room. Bored, he pulled scrolls from the shelves, inspected them quickly then returned them carefully. He pulled maps and documents from the barrels, but saw nothing of interest. He peered over the flattened pages on the desks and studied the partially completed manuscripts written in runes he couldn’t place. Lines and dashes he had never seen before piqued his curiosity only slightly.
Take my hand and descend into the bowels of darkness! Join me and follow so that you may lay upon your death bed and say that you have tasted the sweet nectar that flows from the earth! Adventure so that you can say you have lived… and receive a monthly newsletter from me.
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