The (somewhat infamous) Hermes alphabet is a rather cryptic shorthand developed by the crew of the fastboat Hermes and used to mark cargo, fill out maintenance reports and so on. It has led to confusion for port authorities on more than one occasion and the GEO Marshal Service is rumoured to have started an investigation into the Hermes operating as a courier for the Gorchoff family or possibly Zero Nation.
Nothing is associated with movement, vitality and the simple ability to be wherever it matters most as much as Hermes name is. A lot of concepts were embodied by him but the in the minds of the humans he stayed alive as the Traveler and the messenger of gods.
The Hermes-Alphabet follows this idea. A little school of mostly European Focused Practitioners has turned toward this strange symbols. There are those who claim that this Practitioners have invented the Alphabet themselves but the school of this Hodeimancers (derived from ὁδεία (ancient-greek), to travel) insist that Hermes himself revealed the symbols and their meaning to them. Nobody can prove them wrong of course, as there is none who has gone so deep into the NeverNever to ask the old Gods themsevlges. The belief on the other hand is supported by the fact that at least for a few of these symbols Rituals existis which even those without any real power can follow.
Wherever they came from, the effect of the Alphabet is indisputable. Every single one of the countless symbols represents a place, sometimes on our world sometimes on the other site, which plays a big role in some part of the Greek mythology. The symbols are very complex and difficult to learn, but whoever writes them, perceives a single view of the place in question as an image in his mind as it is now. Few are those who are additionally able to speak the symbol out loud. Only those chosen few, who are leading the Hodeimancer, are able to use these words to get to the place in question in an instant. They are faster than every way in the NeverNever and a thousand times more safer.
Still once they get there, they have no special way back provided they don’t know another of these words which leads them there. Many a person were stranded forever as they didn’t find a way back.
Theoretically everyone with a knack for magic could learn these symbols, but the Hodeimancers aren’t easy to give their holy secret to anyone. At least not for a good reason.
1942: The old world drowns in a sea of fire, blood and the iron first of German ideology, while up in the sky an old acquaintance streaks past, almost unnoticed: Hermes, an asteroid which had already caused a stir back in 1937.
As on the 22nd of November the cauldron of Stalingrad closes around the 6th army, the first incidents are recorded in a small town in occupied France. Collaborators and Resistance alike rise up against the German soldiers. Later reports will talk about the insurgents flinging themselves at the soldiers’ firing lines like mindless animals while talking to one another in an unknown language. Shortly thereafter, bilingual members of the Wehrmacht start to exhibit symptoms similar to those of the insurgents and there are further armed clashes.
Two weeks later the German army prepares to retreat towards Germany, as it becomes increasingly impossible to maintain order in the occupation zone and Vichy France as well. Mixed amongst the trains packed with soldiers are several railcars loaded with so called “Infected”. German scientists believe those to be victims of a new type of disease, which can be transmitted via certain sound waves. As the cars cross the Rhine, “Operation: Gesalzene Erde” (“Operation: Salted Earth”) starts: The network of public loudspeakers originally installed by the propaganda apparatus in many French cities are used to broadcast sentences in the new language that is believed to be the vector of the disease. The goal is to decimate the remaining population.
The previously annexed Saarland and Alsace-Lorraine are also abandoned to completely ensure that the German “racial corpus” stays free of infection.
The Infected are transported to a special concentration camp, where they are to be evaluated for further military use. In February 1943 a breakthrough seems to have been achieved, as Dr. Ferdinand Waiger submits his theory to the German leadership. Waiger proposes that the infection is not a disease at all, but rather an extraterrestrial parasite which reproduces via speech. He further suspects the asteroid Hermes to be the origin of this alien life form. Spurred on by the unshakeable conviction that the Germanic languages, due to their natural superiority, must be immune to its effects, the German leadership orders a weaponized version of this “Hermes-Alphabet” to be produced by summer of the same year. It is to be used in the upcoming “Operation: Enoch” – the plan to disseminate the alphabet across all Allied nations…
1944: Nearly all communication channels of all major families of languages have been infected with the “Hermes-Alphabet”. The gears of war have nearly ground to a halt everywhere but in the East. Hordes of zombies hold sway over large tracts of Europe and Russia and attack all “living” – no matter what uniform they wear. The Eastern seaboard of the US has collapsed into chaos, Great Britain has been nearly completely overrun. Strict “communication laws” are enforced to try and contain the further spread of the epidemic. The US starts massive education programs, after Navajo and other Native American language are proven to be highly resistant to the “Hermes-Alphabet”…
According to legend, Hermes, as the guide of souls to the underworld, gave his Hermes alphabet to humans as a gift. His alphabet consists of magical runes, which will ensure that the soul of a dead man will be safely lead to the underworld and isn’t held back by circumstance. Slips of paper with the runes on them are buried with the dead or cremated together with them.
The art of inscribing the magical Hermes alphabet on the papers is costly, though, and only the rich can afford such true and effective slips. There are some forgers who offer cheap slips, but those have no effect.
It is rumoured that one man created another rune, which binds the soul to the corpse instead.
It was Hermes who first travelled to the elven peoples and started to study their culture. He learned their language, but because it contains so many sounds not used in the speech of men, Hermes created an alphabet to be able to bind the elves’ wisdom in written form.
Maybe the Hermes Alphabet is also…
… a secret tongue used by the Charioteers.
(Fading Suns, blut_und_glas)
…a set of mystical symbols and alghorithms and often used as programming language (and therefore focus) for members of House Thig. It is said that it was constructed by an Hermetical Angel bound in a Hard Drive of one of the House’s higher members, but the theory could never be proven, as the member was cleansed by field agents of the Technocracy and the Hard Drive is lost since.
(Mage the Ascension, Dr. Gonzo)
…another word for smugglers‘ marks or thieves‘ codes.
… a Special Unit of House Marik, which employs exclusivly Hermes II BattleMechs. Two companies and two additional commando machines, thus consisting of 26 Mechs.