On Pronunciations (Or Not)

I’m not great at naming things, and I’m not married to any particular pronunciations of the names I made up (character names from Kavera, parts of Nessiny, scattered names from all over that were made up early in development, and the gods’ names). In those cases, use whatever sounds good in your head. We don’t have an audio version, so I’m not worried about canon.

In cases when names are derived from real-world words or names, I’m not a great authority, and acknowledge that the phonemes I borrowed are used in a garbled manner in many cases. But loosely speaking:

All surnames/family names and city names are made up.

Most Nessinian first names (Agna, Nicoletta, Marco, etc.) are derived from Italian. To be honest, Agna’s name was made up before I decided that, so that’s a bit of a retcon. Some Nessinian names (Naire, Esirel) are made-up.

Most Yanweian personal names are garbled bits of Mandarin names, and Yanwei itself is named after two ancient Chinese kingdoms. Some of the names pre-date this decision, particularly Keifon and his immediate family, and Kazi.

Kavera’s name was inspired by the Kaveri river in India; I just happened to stumble across it on Wikipedia and liked the name. So following that pronunciation makes sense. Kaveran character names are made-up and follow the “use what sounds good” rule.

Later names from Furon (most of which haven’t entered the story at this point) are derived from Swahili. Rone pre-dates this; it’s pronounced with two syllables, and few non-native speakers can nail the pronunciation in-universe.

So if you have a better pronunciation than the ones in my head, that’s awesome.

Overall Notes on Lore and Locations

1. There are no evil empires here.

Any culture I create is intended to be inhabited and run by humans: to me, that means that they are flawed, and capable of a dizzying array of variety. History, religion, and cultural pressures form what “normal” means in each place and time. Each person in that place and time — whether they came from there or traveled in from elsewhere — might find it agreeable or not, depending on their own personality and goals.

Relatedly, there might be an overzealous or misguided adherent of a faith, or a sympathetic character of a faith — but the religions are not intended to be “all bad” or “all good”. They’re also inhabited by humans.

2. Not everything depicted in this story is meant to be good.

This setting is generally fairly light, as “fantasy” goes, but it isn’t utopian. There are a number of elements that I personally find deeply alarming, but that the story just hasn’t dealt with yet. (Widespread child labor, the conscription practiced by the Daranites…) Don’t take appearance in the story as a personal recommendation.

3. Except the acceptance of queerness. That’s good.

There is no downside. Deal with it.