Sword Speech

some scattered ideas on the subject, as I find them in mails

I don't think this ever went on a character sheet, but I think the Humakt keyword includes Swordspeech. Which is a silent sign language, as used in the past - when about to attack those Hags, for instance, and for Dori to pass on the info that these Yelmalians aren't.

I'm not sure how secret it is. I seem to remember stating that Kristen doesn't know it.

General Swordspeech
Swordspeach is primarily a battle language. It is has two forms one is spoken and relates to battle orders and planning, its entire vocabulary is military (units, formations, armor, weapons, troop moral etc.) and allows the Humakti precice communication of military orders. The second form is a silent sign language predominantly composed of hand and arm signals (http://www.airsoftgent.be/dbase/hands.htm).

The spoken part of the language also has a written version for sending written battle orders for military campaigns or battles. The normal soldier does not need the skill so is rarely taught it. However senior officers, devotees (probably) and senior ten-thanes (possibly, especially if they are ambitious) are expected to start learning though their skill will always be low as writing is culturally of low importance. This is little used in 1600's Glorantha as there are relatively few complex campaigns.

Jalmari and Swordspeech
The Jalmari have maintained and extended swordspeech. They have added new words and symbols covering all aspects of their chaos vigilance. Additionally the Jalmari discovered the Illuminate Manuscript feat that enables them to magically code their writing as doodles on the side of innocent documents. The ability to keep their writing secret has encouraged the Jalmari to teach the skill to all initiates so that they can keep notes on the chaos they are monitoring. Still it is rare for them to raise this skill beyond keyword x 1/4, preferring to rely on magical methods of production.

Skill Levels
Initia thoughts are that spoken/silent swordspeech should be linked to the Humakt keyword level.

Written swordspeech should start at a much lower level, possibly 6, or even linked to the Humakti 100 thane keyword for the non-Jalmari.

Other Comunications
Baring blades
A general greeting between Humakti who are strangers and occassionally as a formal greeting, such as during worship ceremonies, blades are bared to reveal their deathlight. This identifies all parties as Humakti while non-Humakti are none the wiser.

Sign language examples
Quoting from chronicles: not all have descriptions, but at least we now know they're possible.

Dori raises an eyebrow in Hrolf's direction and splays three fingers. Three identical enemies? Her left hand curls in another silent signal: current location unknown, query scouts' report.

Hrolf looks at his companions and the Tenthane, and signals "Retreat."

Silently and with simple hand gestures he signals to his Ten. All initiates learn the silent code, each movement and its meaning. This was one of the first and all Humakti knew it by heart. Eyes on enemy. Permission to engage. Smiling with anticipation Aelfwyrd waits for his Ten to respond, a thumb drawn across the throat was universally understood reply.
Dori's hand signal is not the one Aelf was hoping for, though it's probably a good thing Kristen doesn't know this one, either. "Wait". Not "permission denied".

Using the hand-signals of Swordspeech is difficult with them bound, but she can try. She nudges the person next to her with her foot: oh, good, one of the Humakti. [Enemy. Light. Negative. Deception.]
She hopes that gets through. Once comprehension dawns, she adds: [Pass it on] - a single, simple, sign, and one that probably doesn't need telling.

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