_Notes on Pronunciation_
Elturian distinguishes phonetically, but not phonemically, between voiced and unvoiced stops. Stops become voiced in consonant clusters and when aspirated.
bh (aspirated b)
p' (palatalized p)
ll (trilled l)
rr (trilled r)
lw (dark l as in milk)
ch -- as in cheer
ts -- as in nuts
j -- as in jack
Elturian distinguishes primarily between lax and tense vowels. In tense vowels but not lax ones, it distinguishes between front and back. It also has four vowels that are regarded as consonants in English. Nasals never appear as consonants in Elturian.
/î/ -- allophones are the vowels in pit (when stressed) and put (when unstressed)
/ê/ -- allophones are the vowels in check (when stressed) and chuck (when unstressed)
/â/ -- allophones are the vowels in cat (when stressed) and cot (when unstressed)
/o/ -- like in coat
/i/ -- like in cheat
/u/ -- like in tune
/e/ -- like in train
Elturian also has the diphthong /ae/, pronounced like in time.
Stress in Elturian is on the second syllable, except in proper names, which are stressed on the second-to-last syllable.
In the beginning there was nothing.
Then there was Kmverri, the Singer, and he-she contained within him-her saethizel, the Pattern of Everything. Kmverri sang the world into being, and when Creation felt the life in it, it replied to Kmverri with saethirrill kmverr, the laughter-song of everything.
As time passed, Kmverri saw that the life was leaking out of the world. Distressed, the Singer turned to his-her essence for answers, and from dreams rose the solution.
Kmverri cut his hair and clipped her nails. Then she bound these bits of himself together and let them fall to the earth, where they became a tree. He watered the tree with her blood, and it grew taller and taller until it bound the heavens to the earth and the earth to the darkness below. This is why cuckoos are sacrificed in spring, for they of all birds and beasts have a little of Kmverri's essence-blood in them, and their hearts will remind the tree to grow.
Finally, Kmverri crowned the tree with zelthu, the Little Pattern. Then the goddess Saethiel, the Essence of Everything, awoke within the tree, which was a part of her just as she was a part of it. When she saw the world, she laughed. Her laughter spilled to the ground, and from it rose the First People. When Kmverri saw this, the Singer also laughed. The laughter spilled to the clouds, and from it rose the twins. First came K'êlwtsovi, the Raven, who would be the divine messenger. His twin was fiery Vlesit'ori, the Firebringer to whom we owe so much, who would in time become Izeli, the Weaver. They visited the people born from their sister Saethiel's laughter, teaching them things.
K'êlwtsovi flew down and gave people the power of words. With it, they praised the gods, and this was good. Vlesit'ori showed them how to weave the words into songs and stories to fill their essence with joy, and this was good. K'êlwtsovi taught people how to raise animals and grow plants; Vlesit'ori showed them how to make use of the animals and plants. The First People were happy, and so were the gods.
As time passed, the First People realized how few of them there were, and they grew lonely. They sent First Man and First Woman to ask Saethiel if she would create more people. She told them that they could do it themselves, but when they asked her how, she told them to ask K'êlwtsovi. When they asked the Raven, though, he told them that they were not ready for the secret.
Instead of giving up then, First Man and First Woman went to Vlesit'ori. The Firebringer took pity on their plight. He took a little bit of fire and opened a hole in First Woman with it, then fashioned it into a penis for First Man. Overjoyed, they made love for the first time. When Kmverri saw this, he-she took the moon-blood of First Woman and sang to it. From it was born Saethm, the Mother of Everything. Then Kmverri took the seed of First Man and sang to it, and from it came Tîfipâchi, the Sky-Ruler, who took his sister Saethm as his wife.
People spread across the world. Nobody ever died, and everyone could hear Kmverri's song. It was a glorious time.
THE ORIGIN OF COLOR
Tîfipâchi loved his wife, Saethm, and Suzhâf, the Colors, grew in Saethm's womb. Because of this, Saethm is also known as Suzhithm, the Mother of Color.
While the life grew within Saethm, K'êlwtsovi came to her, saying that no one but her could be mother to his child. They made love, and another Color grew in Saethm's womb. Then Vlesit'ori came to Saethm, saying that no one but her could be mother to his child. They made love, and another Color grew in Saethm's womb. Finally, Saethiel came to Saethm. She breathed her sacred breath into Saethm's navel, and another Color grew in Saethm's womb.
In time, the Colors were born. First came Brêl, who was as golden as the sun, and Vriwh, green as leaves in summer. These were the son and daughter of Tîfipâchi, who is also known Saethighaets, Father of Everything. Next came Dhîv, the daughter of K'êlwtsovi. She was black as water at midnight. Her sister was Kell, Vlesit'ori's daughter, who shone red as blood. And the youngest of the Colors was Lwuf, Saethiel's son, who was as blue as the twilight that separates night from day.
The Colors warmed themselves by Vlesit'ori's fire, and they grew strong on the flowers of the saethiel tree.
THE ORIGIN OF DEATH
In time, Dhîv and Kell became goddesses nearly as beautiful as their mother. They looked to their fathers, and saw that no one but the Raven and the Firebringer would do for their husbands. The twins took their daughters as wives, and Dhîv ruled over the rivers and the fleeting fish, just as Kell ruled over blood and its shedding.
Saethiel took Lwuf to her heart and taught him her secret ways, and from then on he was also Prfeli, the End-Maker, who drew the lines between things. But Saethiel did not take him as her husband, for Saethiel will never marry.
All was well until Brêl fell in love with Saethm. He dared not tell this to his mother herself, so he confided in Kell, to whom he had always been close. He knew that Saethm would not take him as her husband if he asked, for she was loyal to Tîfipâchi. So Kell came up with a plan.
She took Brêl's heart and crushed it into a pulp, and from that she made the first wine. Then she gave it back to Brêl and told him to give it to Saethm. Brêl, overjoyed to be so close to his goal, rushed to his mother. While he was running, he spilled a drop of the heart-wine. It landed on a tree, which instantly realized what was going on. Horrified, it tried to overtake Brêl and warn Saethm, but he was too fast, and the tree was too slow. Instead, it ran to Saethiel, hoping that she could do something to stop Brêl.
Saethm was sleeping when Brêl came to her house, but she woke up as he came through the door. He gave her the wine, and she drank it, marveling over its wonderful taste. She said there had never been such a drink in the world before. Brêl agreed and said that there would never be such a drink in the world again.
That was when Saethiel came, and she saw she was too late. All she could do was tell Saethm what Brêl and Kell had done. With his heart lost, Brêl was no longer Gold, but Jlf, White. He could no longer stay in the world without his heart, and so K'êlwtsovi led him east, to the cold, lightless land below the sea. There Jlf became Zofikêsi, the Dead-Heart. His was the first death, and the world responded to it with saethiyâlw aeferr, the tear-song of everything.
Saethm wept, and her tears were the heart-blood of her son. When they fell on Saethiel, each one became the bright red fruit we call brêlizof, the kind that the saethiel tree bears today. Every brêlizof has a little bit of Jlf's heart in it. Vriwh protects each one before it ripens, and then Kell takes each ripe fruit and carves a heart from it. She puts a carved brêlizof in every man and woman when they are born, knowing that eventually, the bit of Jlf's heart within it will be drawn back to him in the land of death. This is why people die, and when all the people to ever live have died, Jlf will become Brêl again, and death will fade away.