The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Iruaric (pronounced "EE-roo-rick") is the language of an I.C.E. Age race called the Lords of Essaence. These were a highly technologically advanced group of humanoids, with powers on the scale of demi-gods. They were a privileged augmented faction of the original humanoid race of Shadow World, with profound telepathic powers over great distances and possibly time as well. They were almost entirely destroyed in the civil war between the Empress Kadaena and her cousin Utha at the end of the First Era. Iruaric was the language used for spellcraft with the Arcane sphere of power, and when properly spoken (by the few races capable of it) had psionic properties. However, it was the ancestor of most Shadow World languages, and was often preserved in its descendants such as the dragon language or the Elven tongues of Iylari and Erlini.

According to the archaic GemStone III specific lore, ancient Iruaric was a hieroglyphic language that often fails to translate exactly, even into more modern forms of the same language. The Dark Shrine is such an intra-language translation. There will often be a multiplicity of meanings in the same symbols, representing "many aspects of the same idea or word." More modern forms of Iruaric, such as the Second or Third Era, are phonetic but vary widely with culture. The "hieroglyphic" nature of the ancient form of the language is specially relevant due to the many subtle Nyarlathotep references, and the Egyptian death symbolism in The Graveyard which is the precursor story.

Idiosyncracies of Language Lore

There are significant discrepancies between the Iruaric glossary that was released as background for The Broken Lands and the standard dictionary in the Master Atlas. These are important for interpreting the works of Uthex Kathiasas, the meaning of the Dark Shrine inscription, and subtle implications regarding the situation. Among the differences are the idea that early Iruaric was hieroglyphic, reversal of historical order for apostrophe forms of the language, some verb tense rules, the inexactness of intra-language transliteration, the idea that there will be missing letters from glottalization, that there are multiplicities of meaning in the same glyphs, and that the language syntax is not implied by the word-part ordering (e.g. "lyxatis kort" may mean "Master of Cruelty" rather than our "Cruel Master", and "dyar K'mur" may mean "Dark Lady" or "Lady of Darkness").

(A) Background Discrepancy

The italicized parts are the recycled material, while the bolded parts were specific to GemStone III. One particularly odd discrepancy is the explanation for Iylari, where "Iyla" is the Iruaric for "beauty" and the "ri" suffix is a racial pluralization. In the GemStone version the "y" is dropped as a missing, presumably glottalized vowel. In fact, the position of the "y" is swapped with the "l", rendered as "Ilyari" rather than "Iylari." This may imply the "at" in the word "lyxatis" from the Dark Shrine actually means "ta" or "tai". The relational use of "ta" was used to explain the name Man'ta Pn'Tairken. However, there is also a typo of one letter off on the QWERTY keyboard, which if intentional might mean "t" should be "r".

(1) Shadow World Master Atlas, 2nd Edition (1992)

The wording is identical in this part to the glossary in 1st Edition Master Atlas Addendum (1990).

"Following is a brief glossary of word-parts in the ancient language of the Lords of Essaence. As with nearly all languages, it is not always consistent and is at times contradictory.

Some forms utilize the apostrophetic syllable breaks, while later forms smoothed the words for human tongues.

Some leeway is necessary to interpret the Iruaric to common references. For instance, the names of the Elvish races are actually simplistic references to their stereotypical aptitudes or appearance. The High Elves are known as Iylari or literally 'beauties', because of their looks. Sometimes an 'r' is added before the pluralizing 'i'; this is believed to be an indication of increase; instead of more than one, it indicates many more - often applied to a race of beings."
(2) GemStone III (1993)

There is missing text in the last paragraph regarding the most ancient forms of Iruaric. It is unclear if this was the case in the original document. Glottal stops serving as a replacement for the consonant "t", for example, would sound like "wa'er" for water and "bu'er" for butter. This is saying the inclusion of an apostrophe is indicative of later forms of the language, where presumably water would be transcribed as "waer" and butter as "buer". In the Shadow World version of Iruaric it is the later forms that are smoothed together and the early forms that use apostrophes. There is some ambiguity in the wording that allows this to not be a contradiction, as the source material does not posit an even earlier glyphical form and merely asserts apostrophes precede smoothed graphemes. The hieroglyphs are used in the GemStone version for Lovecraftian effect.

A Glossary of Iruaric Terms

The following is a brief glossary of words and word-parts in the ancient language of the Lords of Essaence. As with nearly all languages, Iruaric is not entirely consistent and is at times contradictory.

Translation of ancient Iruaric to modern day languages is difficult at best. Even translations from ancient Iruaric to modern forms of that same language will, at time, fail to represent the original ideas accurately. This is due mainly to the glyphical, or hieroglyphical form that early written Iruaric took. Often, similar symbols would represent many aspects of the same idea or word, with only minor changes in the glyph that differentiated the meanings. Often, however, these similar written forms had widely varying pronunciations. The use of phonetic representations of Iruaric as a written form are a fairly recent development, historically, and again vary widely from one culture to the next.

The following list of terms is not meant to be a comprehensive dictionary of the Iruaric language. Indeed, such a work would fill many volumes of text. Instead, this list of terms represents many of the most commonly used Iruaric terms and word-parts that were employed in naming places, people and things. The representations of Iruaric terms are phonetic, and are not indicative of the language syntax.

The incorporation of "is," "er" or "aer" into a verb typically converts that verb to indicate "one who does" that action instead. For example, the verb sing is "lina," singer is formed by adding "aer" to the verb. The addition of these modifiers may be as a prefix or suffix, but in most cases they are added as a suffix.

Most plural forms are achieved by adding "i". In many cases, "ri" is added to make a term plural, but the form "ri" typically signifies a very large quantity or an increase, and most often signifies a total plurality such as when referring to a whole group of things. For example, the High Elves are known as "Ilyari," a pluralization of the term "Ilar." When referring to a particular chain of mountains, the term typically used would be "thosi," but when referring to all of the mountains of the world, or to mountains in general, the term typically used would be "thosri."

The term "ta" is used to indicate a relationship or correlation. For example, a place that is the home to a race of giants might be referred to as "man'ta hori," home of giants.

most ancient forms of the language, before the glottal stops employed in the early forms developed fully into vowels. In some later forms of the language, apostrophes are used to indicate two or more word-parts that have been incorporated into a single glyph.

(B) Vocabulary Discrepancy

The word for "maker" was changed to give "lug'shuk traglaakh" a double meaning. Likewise, while "trog" is the Iruaric word for cavern, the spelling "trag" can represent both an inconsistent phoneme and a subtle double meaning regarding Traag. The explication of the verb rule is important for translating "lyxatis" more closely as "one who does dread", where the "is" suffix also implies "place" or presence. It is worth considering that the odd "at" in the middle, with unknown syntax rules, may actually be a rendering of "ta" meaning "of": "lyxatis kort" reverses into the more meaningful "Master of Malice". The ambiguity of word part ordering with syntax also allows this reversal.

Another more subtle possibility is to regard the widely varied pronunciation, and missing vowels for ancient speakers of Iruaric, as allowing "atis" to be rooted in the same glyph symbol as "arulis" which means "seer." This would be relevant because the gogor lore has them darkening the skies with dread, acting as the eyes of Kadaena. In this case it literally means "master of the vruul", which in itself is suggestive, because the later term "vruul" might be a composite glyph of "vuul" and "arul" ("vuh-ruul") meaning something to the effect of "The Enchanter's Sight." There is also a subtle omniscience motif. The Dark Shrine has eye windows, there is room messaging saying you feel you are being watched, and the artifact implies trans-planar awareness. "Master of the Vruul" was Marlu's original post-I.C.E. Age title before the gods documentation was rewritten.

Master Atlas GemStone III
Common Iruaric Common Iruaric
(modifier 'to to'; er) is is, er, aer
(plural) i i
(of) ta ta
fire, flame shu fire, flame (*)
god Luar
growth lin
grower erlin grower erlin
lost laakh lost laakh
maker lavan maker laakh
pillar tai-
secret ahren secret shren
song lin
singer linaer singer linaer

It is might be interesting that the word "god" was missing entirely given the theme of The Broken Lands, and "Marlu" may have been made later as an anagram out of "Luar." (The glottalized "lu" could put "god" within the meaning of "lyxaris", which otherwise means "dread seers" for vruul.) It is worth noting that the Luor'ka'tai, containing "luor" and "tai" which are the only words that are completely missing between the glossaries, refers to the "Pillar of the Gods" which was formed early in the First Era of Shadow World. (This might not actually be an easter egg. Those two words were also missing from the Iruaric glossary in the Master Atlas Addendum from 1990.) Notice the syntax of the Iruaric is reversed from how it is rendered in Common. This has the added curiosity of being strikingly close to Kesh'ta'kai, the I.C.E. Age name of Fash'lo'nae, which would link him to Eorgina and the origins of Marlu as was done repeatedly in post-I.C.E. theology. The Temple of Darkness Poem suggestively describes him having "the power of form and shape", which is the nature of the dome, and emphasizes "Master of Glyphs" (spells of tracing luminous symbols in the air) and magic by speaking words.

The Pillar of the Gods is a very tall spire of black crystal and metal that was formed in the interdimensional cataclysm when the Lords of Orhan (Liabo) first arrived in this universe causing magic to exist. The involved letters "l,u,a,k" all go missing elsewhere, such as the "k" on "Throk", allowing the whole phrase to be embedded within "lyxatis", with the metaphorical meaning of "the origin of the gods." The pillar radiates powerful essence disturbances which cause shifts in the fabric of space and time. The Broken Lands and Shadow Valley have spatial coexistences and temporal anomalies. In the modern history this has been revived as an apparent homage with Talon Isle and the Red Forest.

(* - Note: In another copy of the GemStone III glossary the word for "fire/flame" is not missing, or else someone filled in the gap. The "secret" typo and missing text is in both copies. There is no obvious meaning for "shren" instead of "ahren", but "s" and "a" are one letter apart on the keyboard, possibly a hint that "t" should be "r" in "lyxatis".)

Examples of Iruaric

While there is nothing corresponding to the Lords of Essaence in Elanthian history, the language was never completely removed from the game, and can still be found in isolated instances or in the form of "easter eggs" in the modern history. "Lornon" is a curious case because modern lore calls it a historically preserved word from the language of the Arkati. The original names for the oceans were in Iruaric, though according to the Master Atlas, most races only knew the translated meanings in their own languages.

"Kadaena Throk Farok": "Empress, Guardian of the Forbidden"
"Marlu lyxatis kort. Thro dyar K'mur.": "Marlu, Cruel Master. Guard the Dark Queen."
"Phoen": "The Traveler"
"Lornon": "The Lonely", possibly "the lonely dead"
"Fash'lo'nae": "Fash, Spirit of the Past"
"Kesh'ta'kai": I.C.E. Age name of Fash'lo'nae, possibly playing off "Luor'ka'tai" for "Pillar of the Gods", formed by the origin of magic in Shadow World. (*)
"Kai": If we allow Kesh'ta'kai to mean "Kesh of the Pillar (of Magic)", then Kai can be taken to mean "The Pillar (of Liabo)"
"Kuor": I.C.E. Age name of Koar, interpretable by our language rules as "K'luor" with a glottalized "l", meaning "Lord of the Gods".
"Fasthr K'Tafali": "Fasthr, Lord of the Half-Heads"
"Daephron Illian": "elder traveling secret high elf", Daephron discovered the Vvrael and traveled through time aging backwards from an old man to a baby
"Vruul": "The Enchanter's Sight" (composite of "vuul" and "arul", the Eyes of Kadaena: pronounced "vuh-ruul" with the "a" dropped as a glottalized vowel)
"lug'shuk traglaakh": "ugly fiery wet-emptying made from the loss of cave things" (glottalized "ul" composite of shu, shulu, hulk; trag as cave and cave dwellers, laakh as maker/lost)

(* - An obscure point regarding Kesh'ta'kai is that his "natural" form was extremely similar to the Xaastyl, a Rolemaster race of "other standard" extra-planar entities who had the most vast understanding of magical and extra-planar lore in all of known existence. The creatures of The Broken Lands were based on the entities of that category. An even more subtle thing that may or may not be coincidence is the letters that are allowed to go missing in the Iruaric writing are "k" and "ul" and "lu", which easily forms the accepted pronunciation of Cthulhu in a place overflowing with subtle Lovecraft allusions. The Xaastyl could be interpreted as a cross between the Yithians and the flying polyps.)

See Also

Behind the Scenes

The modified Iruaric glossary has some slightly misleading terminology. The idea that Egyptian hieroglyphics were not phonetic representations of the spoken language led to them being misunderstood for over a thousand years. The glossary is implying the ancient Iruaric hieroglyphs were only logograms or ideograms, rather than phonograms, where minor differences or contexts in the symbols would have different meanings or a multiplicity of meanings that cannot transfer to a single phonogram. Iruaric was a dead language for thousands of years, so the glossary is saying the glyphical form was uniform but it was only read, then pronunciation variations led to transliterations into alphabetic forms that were inconsistent. The important point is that the writing on the Dark Shrine was transliterated by an ancient speaker, who would be naturally inclined to drop vowels because these were merely glottal stops in their own pronunciation, into a contemporary alphabet that did not exist yet at the time it was written.