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Topic of the Month: To Call an Alphatian by His/Her Name or How to Avoid Feeblemind When Addressing an Alphatian
Officially, their two-part empire is named Alphatian Empire and New Alphatian Confederate Empire, and the people of both are called Alphatians. But how are they REALLY called?
In the Hollow World, things are quite easy actually. The floating continent rests alone in the sky, and its inhabitants maintain the old traditions they were used to since coming to Mystara-and before. It is therefore generally simply referred to as "Alphatia" by both its inhabitants and the other peoples, though it is not uncommon to call the land "Floating Alphatia" or "Floating Continent of Alphatia," too. The expression "Floating Alphatia" is particularly liked by the "Floating" Arians, who have lost their own floating epithet in the sinking, though many commoners fail to catch the irony. At the imperial court and at the council, all those terms are commonly used in addition to the standard "Alphatian Empire," though opponents to Empress Eriadna's policy of cooperation with the other nations of the Hollow World have been known to stress on the word "empire" indeed.
The inhabitants of the floating continent are universally known as "Alphatians," and proudly announce themselves as such to anyone. Among themselves, however, the Alphatians tend to rather specify their place of origin, either a kingdom, or a city, or even a small town or estate. Aristocrats especially are known to add their family or personal estate to their name, in the same manner as the famous Haldemar of Haaken, while commoners, except for the rare very rich landowner, prefer a city or town name. Slaves of course do not use such pompous and artificial titles, and will introduce themselves as servitors of someone, if asked. A few sages of Alphatia claim that their empire should not be called "Alphatia," but "Deltia," and its inhabitants "Deltians," as this is the fourth incarnation of the empire (pure Alphatians, Alphatians/Cypri, Mystaran Alphatians, Hollow World Alphatians); this theory is popular among some pure Alphatian aristocrats, who call themselves "Alphatians of Deltia" ("First Ones of the Fourth Empire").
In the outer world, the situation is considerably more complex. The empire has lost its main continent, and with it a part of its soul. At any rate, those who remained continued to be called by outsiders "Alphatians"-except for Thothians-, and they like the word even more so now because it has taken a new dimension. As if they were the perpetuators of an ancient, evolved civilisation that disappeared millennia ago, yet it was only years. Within the NACE, however, they generally refer to their nation or city of origin instead-but never to continents. The fashion of adding family or personal estate to one's name, like in Alphatia, is also in good use among the aristocracy, especially in the oldest noble families of spellcasters who can trace their ancestry to the continent of Alphatia. Some aristocrats of Floating Ar, who learned about "Deltia," proudly call themselves the last "Gammians."
A new name also recently has made its apparition: "NACErs." Actually, this is the spelling used by the military, who first introduced the acronym to refer indistinctly to any inhabitant of the confederate empire. However, Alphatian commoners, especially in Ionace, have turned this into something more to their taste, "Nacers." This word, while not widely accepted, has spread throughout the Old World with yet another spelling, "Naycers," thanks to Minrothaddan merchants who added this modified version to their patois.
Even more numerous are the ways to call the NACE itself. Non-Alphatians generally either call it "Alphatia" or "the Alphatian Empire;" people who are more knowledgeable about recent events in the region since the sinking may use either of these or "Alphatian Confederacy," or "NACE," including its spelling as "Nayce." Only official documents, council members and a few rare individuals go with the long name, "New Alphatian Confederate Empire," however grand it may sound. Military officers and some bureaucrats use "NACE," with some commoners, especially in Ionace, going with the spelling "Nace." Within the aristocracy, and even at the council, there are two main streams, one going with "Alphatian Confederacy" to highlight the political changes in the outer world Alphatia, while others stick with the old name of "Alphatian Empire," maybe out of nostalgia. The Floating Arians are especially virulent in their defence of the empire, as are many nations of Bellissaria and the Isle of Dawn, while other nations who traditionally-Norwold-or recently-Esterhold-have had secessionist desires favour the notion of a confederacy. Never will an outer world Alphatian call the NACE "Alphatia," though, as this is reserved for both the floating continent in the Hollow World and the sunken continent, and anyone misusing the word will be frowned upon-and possibly fried.
So now, how will YOU call them?