The General World
The world of Lingua is vast, although not too large a planet, and humanity's* relationship with the creatures known as Paralogos complex. This Chapter focuses mainly on our relationship with these creatures... Though Lingua itself houses others [Whifflings] coming out of hiding.
The shining capital city of Sermos stands out amongst our vast world's locations, it being one of the wealthiest, and freest from our current lack of resources.
As our race began to rise above humble beginnings, we quickly ate up our planet's natural resources. We lack many organic and natural objects of old, such as real paper-- real wood, real trees...
Humanity managed to craft ways to make "copies" of these things. Copies of trees, copies of books, copies of things we dearly needed to survive-- all out of plastics and metals. The planet has been for the most part decimated naturally in order to gather some of these materials, further reducing the amount of "organics" left. Perhaps there are a few pockets of nature left, but they would be hidden from greedy eyes.
As such, it is rarer and rarer for the creatures known as Paralogos to approach humans. They need actual books, actual paper--
There's a divide amongst the rich and the poor for this reason. Many of the poorer residents of cities in Lingua reside in houses made of metallic trash, while the richest of Sermos have cleaner homes, sometimes even prized wooden furniture.
Paralogos have become something of a status symbol, as those who own libraries are able to afford real books. The book-related economic sector of Sermos, for this reason, trades its economic strength in ink. In this way, one poorer in normal funds may become of higher status if they can come to claim some of the book-related currency. It would be dangerous to go out into the secret areas of Lingua, alone, to seek out the materials to make ink, but some dare to do it.
The reason why books have come to be such a prize? Why would Paralogos be so desirable?
Well, simply put-- Paralogos can help their caretakers with a variety of tasks through their abilities and magics.
It depends on their word focus, but abilities can vary from being able to help grow organics (Tree-Paralogos) to being able to conjure items... or more. Another chapter shall have to suffice for description on these abilities.
They're intelligent beings-- speaking telepathically with their owners/caretakers, being able to read and write thanks to their dextrous hands. They can speak to others as well, but it is more uncommon. Paralogos talk amongst themselves more often than not.
They only make sing-song sounds in terms of audible noise, which sounds similar to the linked recording.
Paralogos need knowledge to survive, they do not eat, but they rely on humanity for their continued existence-- and so also humanity relies on them.
We, as beings of the world of Lingua, greatly overestimated our amount of natural resources. It seems the Paralogos are the only hope to gain access to some extinct, or simply depleted, objects and lifeforms. Humanity has no capacity for "magic" like the Paralogos do. The only magic humanity has is to call objects and concepts names and words-- which the Paralogos latch onto.
As such, library owners are important individuals. They are unique enough in the fact that they own a library, made of wooden shelves and actual paper-and-ink books. They may either serve their community positively, or some may seek to possess these creatures for negative reasons. There are certain Paralogos which have a distinctive negative "flavor", after all, and it seems that the befriending of such a Paralogos does reflect on the caretaker.
Some individuals also fear the abilities of Paralogos, and seek to eradicate the materials which attract the creatures to humans. They see the lack of natural resources as punishment for humanity's arrogance.
Within the gleaming city of Sermos, and within smaller cities of Lingua too, the faux trees** simply remind us all of what we lack.
While Lingua's political situation is very freeing***, and ruled by the people, there also seems to be little regulation on what goes on behind the closed doors of some libraries...
But surely, it is important to record the state of our world as we contemplate how the Paralogos fit into it. We must persevere in understanding them.
Linguans as a whole tend to prize natural items, and as such some alternative currencies have arisen– such as Ink. It is a necessity for one to house Paralogos safely if one doesn’t have the means through which to buy a pre-written book. Today, the main currency in Lingua is a digital currency. At times in the past coins and ‘gold standards’ were used.
Linguans adopted Ink as a currency in Paralogos dominated areas as Sermos grew in strength. There are more alternative currencies however, particularly in areas that aren’t as library supported or focused.
Ink and other “alternative” currencies did arise mainly as the environmental degradation of the planet became worse and as Paralogos started to appear on Lingua. Once it was discovered that Paralogos are attracted to naturally derived materials, Ink rose up as a trading device.
To give the earlier mentioned digital currency a name, it is called Decus. Essentially stored in something akin to NFC chips, physical items can store it (something akin to gift cards or video game figurines). An individual’s account can be accessed via a chip stored in the body or in an external device such as a smart watch or phone, there is a variety of ways in which the currency value could be accessed and passed amongst users.
In areas where this currency isn’t used, more physical tokens (coins and otherwise) may be exchanged, or bartering of physical goods (more akin to the Ink Economy) would happen. Food, plants (especially plants and plant seeds), and other organic materials are all popular choices. It is very region dependent in terms of what idea of money is seen and used. Whifflings even use Bottlecaps of course for trading!
**Faux trees would work in concept/look similar in nature to the linked article. In place of normal plants, Lingua needs artificial converters to gain enough oxygen.
***Lingua, as a planet, has a worldwide democratic politic. Think of the situation like an Athenian democracy, or something similar.