The Mountains of Morpheus
Languages in Drau-Mura
The people of Drau-Mura speak Mura, which they also call the Common language. This is, of course, the common tongue across the region, though it is scarcely used in other parts of the world. Dwarves and elves speak their own languages. In urban centers, many people speak Shao-Lat, one of the most common lingua francas in the world; a foreigner visiting Drau-Mura is likely to be fluent in Shao-Lat, and have a workmanlike grasp of Mura.
Draconic is not used in daily speech, but is preserved through ancient texts and formal documents, especially those produced in Kala Anar. It is also important to the study of arcane magic. Likewise, among the Eastern Tribes, Orcish is preserved among sages, scholars, and artists, as a poetic language, though very few pure-blooded orcs exist in Drau-Mura. A variant dialect of Orcish is spoken by the frost giants to the far north of Drau-Mura. The tongue of the giants itself, however, is carefully guarded by the giant races.
From the isolated dwarvish kingdoms, Dwarvish gradually makes linguistic inroads into Mura, such that the latter uses terms such as nuarothin (meaning a mutual, hateful enmity between two races), and unsief (fear of the unknown, particularly that which lies beneath the earth). Scholars generally agree that the languages of dwarves, orcs, giants, and to a lesser extent humans, can all be traced back to the Primordial language, which is spoken in otherworldly, elemental beings. Speaking in Primordial more than the most basic sentences is impossible with the body of a human, dwarf, or giant: a fleshly tongue and throat just cannot approximate the crackle of flame or the rhythmic, sucking kiss of tide on shore.
The halfling language is considered something of a linguistic bastard between Mura, Dwarvish, and Orcish, but has survived in most places where the halfling race dwells. Everywhere — like halflings themselves — it is considered the mark of a low-born, garish, impoverished and even obscene peasant mind. Nevertheless, many cooks must resort to it to describe the variety of smells and tastes of Drau-Mura’s cuisine.
Druidic is the elaborate language of the priesthood of the Old Faith. It is known to most druids, but also some monks, scholars, priests, and ordinary adherents of the religion. It is believed that the druidic language has mystical rhymes with Sylvan, and thus druidic incantations can, accidentally or not, summon cruel, capricious fey beings into the world. It is for this reason that some Ashoumite fanatics are willing to kill anyone who so much as openly speaks the language. Such a belief is surely a misguided superstition, but the Old Faith’s priests do acknowledge certain concordances between the two languages, and the more fanatical of them insist on carefully keeping away the uninitiated from the language. There are similar beliefs concerning Abyssal, Celestial, and Infernal.
Familiarity with otherworldly languages is uncommon, and suggests a peculiar education. It is especially time-consuming to learn Abyssal, Celestial, and Infernal, as these languages do not use conventional scripts or writing, and some words are altogether impossible to speak with the human body.