Versulan Language in Enthion | World Anvil
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Versulan is a language so old that no one is entirely sure who spoke it first or which version of it is the oldest. Many claim it, primarily those among the elves and the q'tari, and the language's origins and evolution are a matter of some dispute.

Versulan is a runic language, at least for the most part. It is not at all uniform, which leads some to say it's an ancient language comprised of even older, lost languages. But this may not be the case, as the language may date all the way back to The Dreaming, the name given to the mythical era of prehistory when the world was made. The Dreaming is characterized by its amorphous fluidity, a blending of all things that eventually take more reliable forms. If creatures of the era might have looked like a cross between an elf, a q'tari, and a naga, why not a language that looks like a dream blend as well? This would also explain inconsistencies in the language and the vast number of regional dialects it represents.

Though numerous ancient languages have been recorded, prehistory is generally categorized as a time before writing, yet various interpretations of Versulan runes seem to reference cosmogeny and the gods, mythic heroes, the founding of the first cities, and creatures of legend. At the least, the language references prehistory, but until the language can be pinned down more confidently, the earliest forms of Versulan (simply called Old Versulan, a somewhat understated name when Versulan itself is already ancient) are, themselves, relegated to prehistory as well. As scholar Adani Loress put it, "There is nothing historical about a bear god shaping a city with its paws and people made of sand rising from the oceans to settle there."

Loress' reference is specific to The Regeriad, a book of myths of unknown authorship penned in Old Versulan. It is, at the least, a fairly cohesive set of stories, many of which can be linked to elven myths, prompting elves to claim the language. But The Tenerya is also written in Old Versulan, though the language differs slightly, and The Tenerya is a book of q'tari myths, many of which center on Janfir, a central figure of q'tari culture, much beloved to this day. This has given rise to q'tari claims on the language. Scholars among the elves and the q'tari each say the other's myths are written in a form closer to Middle Versulan, though such claims are unverifiable and come tainted with the potential for confirmation bias. Impartial, objective scholars have made no determination either way.

If an explorer in a dusty tomb finds a passage written in Versulan, it is more likely to bring a look of awe than, perhaps, any other. After all, if the language predates known history, it might be found near powerful treasures just as old, or the passage alone might lift some of the fog of the past, catapulting those who discover it to fame and fortune. Some fear the old runes, however, viewing them as the language of curses passed down to sapient life from the gods themselves. Like everything else related to Versulan, the truth is shrouded in mystery.

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Cover image: Castle by jameschg


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