Vol. 1 | Chapter Two: Mount Bashur (iv)

By the time Arslan awoke the next morning from a deep, dreamless slumber, the autumnal sun was already high overhead…


Notes under the cut:

“Sir Narses”: Titles/terms of address are troublesome.  I’ve been freely abusing “lord” by slotting it in pretty much everywhere it fits, but here the knights address Narses as 卿 (kyou)… a term that originally designated a particular minister/official rank, but also serves as an honorific. In this context it’s the latter.

Maybe this is just my own impression, but compared to the more common -sama and -dono suffixes (which still find use in modern contexts), -kyou comes across as a more impersonal form of address. (-sama, which Elam uses for both Dariun and Narses, feels the most personal of the bunch; -dono is what Dariun uses for his fellow Marzbans — i.e. another oversimplified way to think of it is that -sama is from an inferior to a superior, whereas -dono is between equals.) Lord would probably be perfectly fine as a translation for kyou too, but I wanted to get that difference across somehow.

(I’d like to say -kyou is to -sama as -shi [“Mister” for newspaper/academic usage] is to -san [“Mister” for everyday usage], but I’m not sure that’s totally accurate. Still, that’s another possible point of reference for anyone who’s interested in the nuances here.)

Anyway, just wanted to clarify that the knights aren’t exactly trying to belittle Narses’s rank — it’s probably more accurate to say that they’re distancing themselves from him.  (In contrast, they use -sama for Qaran.) Later, when they think he’s on their side, they switch briefly to -dono… before promptly switching back when they realize otherwise. Still later, Arslan himself uses -kyou for Narses as a sign of respect (as the social superior, there’s no way he could have used either -sama or -dono, and in fact the royal characters usually dispense with honorifics altogether).

Coming up next: the end of Chapter 2, a relatively short update featuring lecture time from Narses. Again. (We love you anyway, Narses.)


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