Today’s BSF page (page 176) introduces a second written language, the first being the one that initially appeared in Chapter 2. That one is a simple 1-to-1 cypher with English. This one is a little more arbitrary; it still directly correlates to English but there are characters for two letter sounds along with the ones for single letters. It is kind of arbitrary and not really meant to be easy to read; it’s the sort of language you need to sit down and learn. That’s because it’s a programming language. It’s how magic spells work in BSF.
Most magic users can’t actually write this code; they are adept at using the ‘programs’ (spells) but don’t necessarily understand how they work. The actual amount of spellcrafters is dwarfed by the sheer number of spellcasters, as you might expect. If you think about it, actually mastering what amounts to a literal Physics API is probably not something a lot of people can do.
This isn’t even code; it’s just the informational output. In case you were wondering, the Earth Core on today’s page says ‘EARTH SEAL READY. STRIKE HERE TO BEGIN.’
The code is more complex, and is recorded and stored elsewhere. Grrg’s golems run on the same sort of programming, of course, and that might be even more complex than it seems at the face of things.
Whoever wrote the Earth Seal spell was definitely talented!
So, let’s talk about these guys.
These four imps are the acolytes of the Earth Plant. Their job is to take care of the core of the Plant, which is a giant green gem that under normal circumstances would be sitting in the central chamber of the plant, turning a mysterious power we don’t know much about yet into useful energy— in this case, magic that makes the soil more fertile in the entire kingdom. They’re also responsible for the general upkeep of the Earth Plant, which is, as you may have guessed, a literal plant as well as a building.
Anyway, that’s their job. Aside from that we know that they got captured before Seb and his friends met them, and are currently helping to liberate the core and building they’re responsible for.
It’s probably very obvious that each one of the imps is based on a woodland animal. But did you know that they also represent one of the four seasons, and that their names reflect this? This, I feel, was less obvious. So I thought I would do a little Imp Roll Call and sum up what went into their designs and names.
From left to right:
Vern - The sort of chubby darker green imp who always hesitates and precedes most sentences with “Ah…” - Vern represents Spring; his name comes from ‘vernal equinox’. He’s based on a rabbit.
Nate - The blue one who is fat and laid back to the point of being lazy, but surprisingly resourceful. - Nate represents Winter; his name comes from the word ‘hibernate’. He’s based on a bear.
Wilt - The tall, skinny brown one who always looks anxious. He’s constantly wringing his hands. - Wilt represents Autumn; his name is literally the thing flowers and plants do when it starts to get cold. He’s based on a squirrel.
Nats - The tallest imp who is a bright yellowish green. He doesn’t do a whole lot but he’s generally out in the middle of things regardless. - Nats represents Summer; his name comes from the Japanese word for the season, ‘Natsu’. He’s based on a raccoon.