Fan language Language in Known World of the Spellster Universe | World Anvil
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Fan language

The fan language has long been one associated with the Udynean Crystal Court, but the truth is that Udyneans didn't even have fans until their invasion of the north-eastern lands over two thousand years ago. Learnt from the Domian noblewomen they married, it became one openly understood by all genders. It is here that the discreet intentions it once held morphed into being more about keeping a veneer of civility whilst mingling with other nobles.   Amongst the Crystal Court, it started as a way to alert personal slaves to their wishes without having to speak to them in public functions, but it quickly became a more accepted method for gossip or signalling a suitor. A few daring souls even used it to signal assassination attempts. It is so prevalent that, even if a noble has no plans to use the language themselves, they must still learn for fear of being used by it. For many, it is so ingrained that they use the movements without noticing.  

Fan Structure

The fans themselves are just as important as the language they're used for. Colour, design and materials can speak any number of things. Uncarved wood, for instance, is considered the cheapest base, regardless of the wood's actual rarity, and signals a lower class of nobility. Likewise, bare metal is seen as a show of aggression, whilst the same material that's engraved is looked upon with respect. A good baseline is to remember that, the more intricate the sticks were, the higher in regard a person was to appear.   The nature of the fabric used is also one to be aware of. Lace is a favourite as it was typically flaunted by noblewomen in ancient times and traditionally suggests the owner is likewise delicate and not prone to gossip, although nowadays, it's best not to use anything with too much of a silvery sheen lest the intention is to invoke purity. Feathers are more modern and typically displayed by mid-ranking noblewomen.
Spoken by
Common Phrases
There are hundreds of phrases within the language, the common ones are largely intuitive, whilst some are more nuanced than others.   Fanning quickly
I am annoyed, but you rank above me and thus I must be respectful.   Fanning slowly
I am very much interested, continue.   Fanning with an affected casual air
I consider myself above you, but will entertain your presence so long as it pleases me.   Fluttering fan during a greeting, especially when genuflecting
I am no threat to you.   Pressing the tip of the fan to lips
I'm uncertain you'd like the truth.   Pressing the fan to another's lips
Be careful what you consume, the food is compromised.   Snapping fan shut
I am annoyed, desist your current actions.   Laying closed fan upon chest
You wound me. This can be genuine or sarcastic.   Fluttering half-open fan close to chin
I've heard some interesting gossip, care to share?   Using fan to cover the lower half of the face
I have gossip or I've just heard something gossip-worthy.   Using open fan to cover another's mouth
Speak your next words carefully.   Using fan to cover the whole face
I have uncomfortable news or I don't wish to embarrass you.   Swatting at someone with a closed fan
Affectionate teasing.   Peeking around fan
I am giving you privacy.   Tapping a person's shoulder with their fan
Be mindful of who hears you.   Gesturing to another (whether outside of conversation or in) with a snapping close of the fan
This is considered a threat as it has been used to signal assassins.


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