Writing Every Day in March: Day 19

She just thinks they’re neat.

Now, I’m being a little prosaic with my Latin here. Egeria is a real Roman name — attested as the name of both a nymph who was the wife of legendary King Numa Pompilius and a 4th-female pilgrim (probably a nun, but there’s some debate among historians) to the Holy Land and, incidentally, one of the best accounts of Late Antique Jerusalem post Constantine‘s building projects — most significantly, the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

However, the most common actual etymology of the name Egeria is that it’s a borrowing of the Greek for “black poplar”, or possibly a reference to the mythological Egeria’s function as a fertility goddess by dint of being derived from the Latin for “to bring out/forth”, i.e. she’s a childbirth goddess.

I, however, am sort of working under the assumption that it’s a plausible vowel-shifted form of a name derived from the Latin word “ager“, meaning “field”, and therefore a good name for a Country Mouse character.

“Now, Katherine,” Amara says, presenting the dark-haired Elf to Kat. “This is my cousin Egeria Valda. Though I would be remiss not to explain that she is a bit of a, well, Country Mouse.”

“I ain’t a mouse, Cousin Amy,” Egeria insists.

“And metaphor has never been one of her strengths, I’m afraid,” Amara mutters.

Egeria turns to Kat and curtsies cutely.

“Pleased to meet, y’all, Miss Katherine,” she says, smiling broadly. “Cousin Amy’s always writin’ me just goin’ on and on about y’all like it’s goin’ outta style.”

Kat stares blankly.

She would never have imagined that a Valda would ever utter the word ‘y’all.’ She idly wonders if the lower reaches of the Underworld are feeling particularly cold today.

Egeria quizzically cocks her head. “Somethin’ wrong, Miss Katherine?” she asks. “Y’all are lookin’ at me like a Freenbird tryin’ to do fractions.”

“I, uh,” Kat stammers. “I just didn’t think you’d be so different from Amara.”

“I can assure you that Egeria and I are quite definitely related, Katherine,” Amara says. “Our fathers are indeed brothers. We several patents of nobility and sworn affidavits attesting to that very fact.”

“And our cats is sisters!” Egeria interjects.

“That is also true,” Amara says. “Grandfather acquired them from the finest breeder of purebred Aurorean as gifts for our fathers a few Wintermorns ago.”

“But I wanna hear about y’all, Miss Katherine,” Egeria says. “All o’ Cousin Amy’s letters’ve pique my curiosity somethin’ fierce!”

“I, uh, I’m not really that interesting,” Kat stammers. “I’m a freelance adventurer, I guess. But I don’t know what Amara has said to you so excited.”

“Oh hush, Katherine,” Amara says. “You’re being far too modest.”

She leans in close to Egeria, as if Kat weren’t also standing right there.

“She’s just a little shy,” Amara says in a conspiratorial whisper — as if Kat weren’t also standing right there. “You can’t push too hard if you want her to open up.”

“And for a bit about myself,” Egeria says. “My hobbies include knittin’, growin’ taters, managin’ the finest jug band this side o’ the Midwood — oh, and workin’ on my multi-volume set on Ancient Natalian Philosophy. I hope to have it published by the end o’ the year.”

“P-Philosophy?” Kat repeats. “Multi-volume?”

“What?” Egeria asks. “Just ‘cause I’m a country girl don’t mean I can’t fancy some book learnin’. I’ll have you know I went to Oxfjord. Sure, it was cold as all get-out, and I don’t mean to toot my own horn or nothin’, but I did graduate at the top o’ my class.”

She smiles sheepishly.

“Mostly, though, I like taters.”

“Now, Egeria,” Amara offers. “Why don’t we head into the dining room? I do believe dinner is almost ready. You can talk more during dinner.”

“Will there be taters, Cousin Amy?” Egeria asks hopefully.

“Yes, Egeria,” Amara answers. “There will be, ahem… taters.”

“Will there be a lot of them?” Kat asks hopefully.

“Yes, Katherine,” Amara says. “There will be a lot of them. I do believe Isla has prepared an entire platter just for you.”

Now, I will fully admit that the case for using “y’all” as a singular pronoun is tenuous at best.

It may not be entirely accurate in real-world use, but I’m sort of going off the fact that some languages use plural pronouns to signify respect — using vous in French when talking to one person, for example.

Basically, Egeria may be a country mouse, but she’s still a Valda…

And that carries certain expectations, goldurn it.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I accidentally deleted by newsletter subscriber list in the process of adjusting to using a new service. So, if you’d consider (re)signing up, that would be great:

A preview of the Realmgard landing page.

And/or follow me on social media:

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You can ignore that request to sign up for my newsletter. Turns out I can’t delete it in that instance without deleting everywhere…

Computers, amirite?


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