Language Play: Dancers’ call and response

Within serpent society, the dancers’ nest is almost an entire culture of its own. While every serpent can dance, not every one of them is a dancer. The years of study and dedication are well praised and rewarded, and in turn, the dancers bless the people with their learning and skill. At least, that’s how they see it.  So it’s not surprising that in such a symbolic language, ritualistic greetings arouse to encapsulate these feelings in a few simple words. One is the Goddess’s blessing, a dancer’s way of sharing his favorite status with a non-dancing group. Dancer to dancer, the call and response changes to this:

“ra’prine’ra, ce’ceres.”

Etren l’ramn.”

Let’s break it down. ra you might recognize from ramn, which is pri’mn’s basic, go-to, doing word. ra is to go, ra is action, ra is how you turn nouns into verbs. prine, related to the pri you see in pri’mn, is a compound word meaning “all the way” or “beginning to end”. So ra’prine’ra is literally “go’start to finish’go”. ce’ceres references cycles, simply reinforces the idea of starting over once you’ve reach the end. So the call becomes “Beginning to end, without end”.

The answering “Etren, l’ramn” is much simpler. Literally “Forever, we dance”. It does get a little more complicated, if you want to really tear it apart like a scholar, because “l’ramn” is just the plural of dance. It would have to be “le’ramn” to be “we dance”, but I’ve always suspected that’s sort of the point. Removing any self from the concept of eternal dances seems just like the sort of thing a serpent dance nest would teach. But you get the idea.

Nica’s family always held tight to old traditions, even in a world where such practices were becoming dangerous. Marking oneself as a keeper of the old ways painted a target on their backs, but they held fast to what they believed it meant to be serpent. Nica was raised with such tenacity, indeed, it can be said to be the foundation of her need to create Asylum. Naj, of course, grew up with such traditions are the norm, so her greeting isn’t strange to him in the least.


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