Appendix III: Selected correspondence. Sanworth, Mbuku. Correl, Ilis. Trummel, Adelyn. Park, Drake (XII, b. 7273)
7312, first harvest
I cannot yet leave Silvanfall, and I hope you will understand why when you read this. Indeed, it is my hope that you will apply to your department chair directly for a sabbatical and join me here.
There is a small college near the coast that is, I believe, a sister-school to a university in Dehalm, but the name of the university escapes me. I got it in my head to chase after a mention made in one of Samwell’s letters to Evermyn about East Valyn, and I have been searching for references to that place and finding none, until yesterday. It seems that in 5510–forgive me, I am getting ahead of myself.
I have been searching for East Valyn under the impression that it was a remnant example of orthographic drift and that it was related to the root word of Vanhelm, which drifted with Alnor influence from Valen, but I was mistaken. I made a passing mention to the librarian at the college who corrected me and informed me that Valyn was a transliteration of Fahlyan far to the south of Vanhelm where the Alnor empire conquered the Ahrinos people and snuffed out their old alphabet. Hence, ‘East Valyn’ was actually the Alnor translation/transliteration of Fahlyan, from ‘Fa’ (east) and ‘Ahlya’ (oasis or lushland).
I confess that there are so many pre-commonwealth civilisations that the Alnor empire devoured that I have been unable to make a study of them all.
Fahlyan, then, was a border village on the eastern fringe of the Ahrinos land where the first skirmishes between the Ahrinos people met with Alnor invaders. Which brings me back to my previous mention–in 5510, Fahlyan was destroyed by a massive calamity that the librarian assured me was entirely unrelated to the Alnori. The librarian is a pre-commonwealth scholar who specialised in the preservation of historical documents from lands the Alnori conquered. Her knowledge is as wide as a continent and deeper than the seas. The record of Fahlyan’s destruction can be found in the works of Alnori historian Hafan (a sympathiser with those his people crushed). Hafan managed, remarkably, to distribute records of seventeen different peoples outside the reaches of the Alnor empire (which certainly would have had such records expunged had they discovered his work).
This is a very long way of saying that Samwell was referencing Fahlyan’s destruction, an event that took place some three hundred years prior to his life. The librarian (I ought to call her by her name, Professor Emeritus Unama Rycan, though she insists I call her Unama) has promised she will see what she can dig up about Fahlyan itself, as she knew the reference and etymology but not the specifics offhand.
Will you then join me here, Mbe? Your presence and added intellect would be desperately welcome.
7312, first storing.
Your letter took me somewhat by surprise, and I have spent the past two nights mulling over it. I am somewhat familiar with the Ahrinos myself, as the stories of my own ancestors (the Hacuma) mention them as on-and-off adversaries and allies. I had not considered that the reference to East Valyn could have been a translation from Fahlyan, but it does make sense in retrospect, as there is still a place a hundred leagues southwest of Vanhelm by the name of Alya.
What I cannot stop thinking on is the tone in Samwell’s letter to Evermyn about it. It felt personal, which is odd considering their three hundred year removal from any contemporary connections to ‘East Valyn’–it would not be the first time in history people have closely identified with events long before their time, and I am not usually one prone to fancy. That said, it is more than passing strange, Samwell’s words on the subject: ‘It reminds me of East Valyn years ago. I’m sorry to bring it up, as I know you hate the subject, but there is no other comparison.’
Strange thing to say, that.
I applied to my department chair for sabbatical and was granted it. I believe she is taken with this project’s progress almost as much as anyone else in our midst, and like your Dean Simmon, she was put out by Drake Park XII’s presumptuous letter. You can expect my arrival one week hence, after I prepare my assistant to take on the autumn lectures until my return. I have been granted one year, since I skipped my last sabbatical.
I am most encouraged.
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