Light Speech

The Grand Prince can intercept as many of my letters as he wants, but until he deigns to learn the second most spoken language in the country, he shan't learn much.
— Raiser from Ibza Xüfonz
Light Speech is a name given to a type of secret language used in select parts of Thurásin. It exists solely in a written form, and is a combination of the human language of Vaitsärriishal and the elven language of Sheu Zarnag.


Light Speech relies on two facts - that Vaitsärrishal is written vertically and right to left, while Sheu Zarnag is written horizontally left to right. This allows for words from one language to be hidden in the other, in a way which is counterintuitive for native speakers.   In its most common form, Light Speech involves reading the first letters of a line, turning those into the other language's equivalent symbol, and reading the result in that second language. Some writers will get more complex, asking for the second letter of a line, or the last. What is most important is that the recipient knows your system


boga isma varrz aiyü
Vatisärrishal into Sheu Zarnag   aiyü varrz isma boga = Cold Light City Righteousness   biva = city
Sheu Zarnag into Vatisärrishal   gze logra ishlu nezhün = land hope serpent leader   glin = great
Source Languages Vaitsärriishal, Sheu Zarnag
Spoken by


For some, Light Speech is simply a fun game to play with bilingual speakers, as it can be very challenging to get the correct words to show without distorting the 'base' language. For others, it is a legitimate method of conveying information without attracting attention from the authorities.   It is most frequently used in the latter context in Ibza Xüfonz, a country with a significant population of Raisers who are not treated well by their monarch. Due to the lack of Sheu Zarnag knowledge among the authorities, sneaking in short messages is entirely possible.   Light Speech is most often used by the Xüfonzayo Raisers to organise for materials to be brought in by smugglers, as well as to get information from their kin abroad.
Open Book Flower
Old Open Book by congerdesign

Cover image: Old Books by Gellinger


Author's Notes

This article was written for the "Write about a secret code or cypher in your world: who uses it, and for what purpose?" prompt of Summer Camp 2020!

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Grandmaster Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
14 Jul, 2020 12:30

This is a really cool idea. I love that it can work both ways!

Emy x
14 Jul, 2020 17:22

I really like this idea! It would be an amazing medium for love letters. :3 x

Cait x