23 thoughts on “Ishta’s Companion: Progress Report One

  1. The first chapter is intriguing enough; Garander and Ishta are likeable characters. The thing Ishta found does look more like sorcery than wizardry, but I reckon we’ll need to see more of how it behaves to be sure.

  2. I found myself googling “league” to remember out how many leagues in a mile so I’d understand the distances they’re talking about. Which actually makes me wonder what the point of putting the distance in leagues rather than miles is, since they’re both presumably “translations” of whatever units they use in Ethshar. I guess “leagues” feel more fantasy-like?

    Which by the way, if the closest armed authority is fifteen miles away and they belong to Sardiron, I sort of see Grondar’s point.

    I like the dynamic being established where Garander clearly doesn’t like his father and he’s our viewpoint character so we don’t long Grondar either, but Grondar isn’t actually being unreasonable.

  3. I used “leagues” because that’s what the characters would use, as it’s a less-exact measure used for long distances no one’s paced out exactly.

    An Ethsharitic mile is about 7% longer than ours, close enough I didn’t bother coming up with another name for it. A league is three of those miles.

    (For the curious, this is set in what’s eventually going to be the Barony of Aldagmor — it does indeed wind up part of Sardiron, rather than Ethshar.)

    Garander is a teenager, so of course he thinks his father’s a tyrant. Grondar isn’t really that bad, but he’s maybe a bit stricter than he needs to be.

  4. Hmm, the Earth mile is from the latin for 1,000 and is roughly 1,000 full paces (two steps each). Roman surveyers did in fact pace out distances.

    From your use of “paced out” I assume the Ethsharic mile has a similar origin, so how many steps to get roughly 5,650′? Is it still 2,000 and they just have a slightly longer pace due to better childhood nutrition or something?

  5. Could be that that’s your pace. If I recall correctly you’re taller than I am and I’m taller than most Romans were.

  6. I seem to recall that the Celts (or someone) thought the Romans were short.

    A Scottish mile was apparently 5920 feet, pretty close.

  7. I just received my copy of Sorcerer’s Widow yesterday, I cant wait to reread it and see how it varies from the first online draft. I am looking forward to the new story and reading each chapter as they come and hopefully seeing the completed novel.

  8. An Ethsharitic league is between three and four miles. That’s been true through all the previous stories, and no one’s made a fuss.

    Nobody complains about Verne using leagues. Sheesh.

  9. Ah, but many people are CONFUSED by Verne using leagues. I’ve encountered people who thought the 20,000 leagues under the sea was the DEPTH the nautilus could reach, not the total distance they traveled, and consequently assumed a league was a fairly short distance.

    I’m mildly curious about differing units, and am perfectly willing to convert furlongs per fortnight to feet per second. (Roughly 0.000545635 ft/sec in one furlong/fortnight for anyone who cares.) Thus I’m curious about Ethsharitic units, which sometimes seem deliberately odd and sometimes not.

    For example IIRC the Ethshartic week is 5 days, but they still have a 14 day fortnight, which confuses even them. I keep wondering if the units tie in with the origin of the world, it’s fairly obviously a construct, but who made it and how and why are all still obscure and I look at units as possible hints.

  10. What? The Ethsharitic equivalent of a week is a sixnight, and the equivalent of a fortnight is a twelvenight — there’s nothing remotely inconsistent there. All months are thirty days, or five sixnights; the days of a sixnight don’t have names, just numbers, and the numbers reset every year during Festival, so the first day of a month is ALWAYS the first day of the sixnight.

    Absolutely consistent and simple.

    (The month was originally set by the larger moon’s cycle, but that’s actually a little under thirty days, and Festival messed it up further, so the months don’t always start on the new moon the way they were meant to. The smaller moon’s cycle is something like fifteen hours, which gets so complicated in relation to the days that no one in Ethshar bothers to keep track of it.)

    Anyway, a league is three miles, same as it used to be in England. (Continental leagues varied all over.) It’s just a slightly longer mile.

  11. So he is going to walk about 15 +/- 3 miles … so that should take at least 4 hours or so.

    How long are the days?

    This is set 20 years after the great war? 5025 YS?

  12. More like five hours than four, as I recall; he doesn’t need to press that hard.

    Days are close enough to twenty-four hours that I ignore any difference.

    Twenty years after the war, yes, which makes it 5018, not 5025.

  13. Donated! Super thrilled to be able to support both Vika’s Avenger AND a new Ethshar serial this year. Hurray.

    Plus got Sorcerer’s Widow in the mail today.

  14. Doug Lampert: I think you might be thinking of Steven Brust’s Dragaera. The Dragaerans have a week of five days, if I recall correctly, and the immigrant Easterners have adopted the five-day “week” but still use a fourteen-day fortnight, a vestigial trace of the seven-day week they used in the old country.

    I got my copy of _The Sorcerer’s Widow_ in the mail a couple of days ago; it looks good.

  15. Lawrence,
    Maybe you need to think about doing your next book as a scientific journal on the conversion of Ethshaic Weights and Measures to American and Metric. You could probably streach that out to about 50 chapters….@ $125/chapter… that could be quire profitable. And clearly it’s an item of great need…to some…

  16. Sheesh. Most of the units are deliberately so similar to ours as to be not worth distinguishing. Yeah, the mile’s longer, and a lot of people don’t know what a league is beyond “a long way,” but really…

  17. I know this is an older post. My translations of how long a league is, it is the distance one can leisurly walk in an about an hour. So if someone asked for directions on horseback and you tell them 7 leagues to the west would be like saying a 7 hour walk to the west. The person on horseback could probably get there in 2 if he was in a hurry.

  18. A league as an hour’s walk makes sense to me, but it hasn’t been consistent everywhere historically. Rabelais made a joke about that, talking about how in France, leagues got longer the farther you were from Paris.

    His explanation was that the king had once sent out messengers along all the highways to set markers, with instructions to take their girlfriends along, and every time they stopped to… um… do what one does with one’s girlfriend , that was a league, and a marker should be set.

    Being vigorous young men, the leagues near Paris were very short, but as they got further from the city they got tired and less vigorous, so the leagues got longer.

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