Savvy Saturday 4

Today I’m going to be answering another question I’ve been asked fairly frequently:

How did all the names and strange words in “The Quest of the Unaligned” come to be? Did you just make them all up?

Well, yes and no. Among my other interests, I love languages. I studied Spanish in high school, then took a year each of Biblical Greek and Biblical Hebrew in college. These language studies put me in good stead for writing fantasy.

At the time I was writing “The Quest of the Unaligned,” I was taking my second semester of Hebrew and loving it. The language has such a completely different feel from English, every time I went to class it was like I was being transported to a different world. (Being of Jewish ancestry no doubt helped my enthusiasm for the language, but it’s cool in its own right.)
During that class, then, I decided that Hebrew would make a perfect base language for the land of Cadaeren.

I began with the language of magic. Aesh, aretz, ruahk, shamai, orah, and hoshek – the six words that describe various types of mages in Cadaeren – are all taken directly from Hebrew (or just modified slightly).

In case you’re curious, here’s what the “real” words in Hebrew look like:

Aesh (fire): אֵשׁ

Eretz (earth): אֶרֶץ

Ruahk (wind): רוּחַ

Shamaim (waters): שָׁמַיִם

Or (light): אוֹר

Hashekah (dark): חֲשֵׁכָה

For Cadaerian mage names, I made up names that would incorporate the individual’s magical alignment. (e.g. Ruahkini, Laeshana, Naruahn, Deshamai).

“Tonzimmel” is a blend of the sociological theorists’ names of Tonnies and Simmel, as the city is based off of their theories.

“Alaric” was chosen for its meaning of “noble ruler” or “ruler of all.”

Other names in Cadaeren, including Peatter, Akmartin, Feyjus, Ikner, and others were shout-outs to friends or professors from my college (you know who you are! Or if you don’t, but you knew me at school, look carefully and you might find something that would surprise you. Muahaha.).

And the rest, yes, were simply made up. How’s that for a long answer to a short question? If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a Savvy Saturday post, please let me know via Facebook ( or Twitter (@phillipsauthor)! I’d love to hear from you!

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