untitled drabble #72

Title: untitled drabble #72
Rating: PG
Pairing: Ancient!John
Warnings: between "Iudex" and "Exsul" in the Ancient!John 'Verse
Summary: In which we finally learn the meaning of "Licinus"
Notes: I've promised and promised, and here it finally is.


An Ancient!John Drabble

“Names have power.”

― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

In the old Alteran legends, in the days when their people were still confined to one planet and still worshiped nonexistent gods, it was said names had power. That to know someone's true name was to give one power over that person - or even a god. Such is the stuff of all the greatest Pre-Migration literature: power-mad kings seeking the names of the gods so as to bend them to his will; nefarious wizards using the true name of otherwise good-natured knights to force them to do terrible deeds; virtuous paupers accidentally learning the names of the divine and choosing not to use this power, only to be rewarded handsomely by the god in question.

Of course, the Altera haven't believed that sort of thing for millennia now. Names have no more power than the idols they'd once expended so much effort to learn the names of - which is to say, none at all.

The tradition lingers, however, in the 'cognomen' they give each other.

Iohannes gets his first 'cognomen' before he's even ten minutes old, the story being that, after Mother had been dragged away from her work long enough to birth him, her one comment before surrendering him to 'Matertera' Catalina for care had been that she did not think children could be born with quite so much hair on their heads. Thereafter he was known almost exclusively as 'Licinus', which meant 'hairy' in one of the older Loegrian tongues.

Needless to say, Iohannes never cared for the name. Which is probably why he doesn't argue so much when Danelia and her crew start calling him 'Icarus'.

Icarus, after the brother of the one who started the 'Schisma', who tried so hard to bring his brother back to the right path but ended up becoming the most fearsome 'Haeretici' of them all. Icarus was worst traitor in the billion-year history of the Altera. His apostasy cost the lives of dozens of 'urbes-naves' and eventually forced their people from their home galaxy.

It should make him burn to be compared to that deceiver. It should make him want to throw the fit that Danelia had surely intended when she'd come up with the 'cognomen.' But it doesn't. Partly it's because 'Iohannes Ianideus Icarus Imperator' has a certain ring to it, (one which annoys Danelia and her crew a lot more than it bothers him), but mostly it's because the Terrans have repurposed the name into their own myths, as they often do. Icarus isn't a villain to them, he's just a guy who made an honest mistake, which maybe the original Icarus was too.

additional notes:

For those curious, "Iohannes Ianideus Icarus Imperator" would be pronounced like: "eye-oh-HAN-ays eye-ann-EEED-us eye-CARE-us im-PEER-eh-tour". His former 'congomen,' "Licinus" would be pronounced like "lye-SIN-us".

Also, "Trebal" is his mother's 'cognomen,' and I've found a word in Latin that might be a good retcon for it: 'tribulus,' meaning 'star thistle', which, if you take a look at it, is rather thorny, like I rather imagine her being. But I couldn't find a way to work it into here, so....

I love that "Licinius" means hairy. That makes me grin so hard, I am just so amused. I also love that Danelia tried to give John a name he'd hate, only for it to backfire. And I really love that John doesn't hate the name because of the Terran re-purposing of the name.
John loves the Terrans. And you gotta admit, it sounds cool. Cooler than Licinus anyway.

I'm glad the story made you grin. It makes me grin too.