At 15 years of age and 4ft 11in tall Nenigin Oakwood features amongst the youngest and shortest interviewees we’ve had on the island. Being shockingly blue with small antennae and huge wings it doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out that Nenigin is an insectoid anthropomorph. Perhaps less instantly obvious when meeting him is that he is of the damselfly variety. Not only that but he is younger brother to the luridly red Naiad, though why the two are vastly different eye-popping colours isn’t exactly clear. Sadly, as he informs us from the outset, they are the last survivors of Oakwood lineage and whilst they once worked together, he hasn’t seen his sister in many years.
Perhaps the most interesting point that isn’t visually apparent is that the Oakwood’s have Welkin ancestry, which makes Nenigin and Nai two of the rare few anthropomorphs who are also part-Fae.
Being part-Welkin undoubtedly has its advantages, particularly for one born as an insect anthropomorph. Needless for us to tell you that all Fae are born with a natural instinct for levitation, and thus can ‘fly’ from an early age and never have to learn the skill unlike the rest of us. However due to the two species opposing expected life spans, Nenigin is a fully-fledged adult in damselfly terms but merely an infant amongst the Fae.
So which is he? We ask in spurious excitement and intrigue because like yourselves we find discussing ancestry and genealogy with a fifteen year old about as fascinating as dishwater.
His grinning inconclusive response is, ‘well, I just have to wait and see.’ Obviously the possibility that he might drop dead in a couple of years either hasn’t occurred to or doesn’t bother Nenigin in the slightest, or maybe it just adds to the flavour of thrills he seeks on a daily basis.
We’d like to say it saddens us to know that in a few short years his face might shrivel like a dried-up blueberry but having a perverse sense of humour we actually find it rather amusing. This might also be because regardless of the fact he is an adult amongst the damselfly we deem him as an irritating teenager, a boy full of naïve idealisms, endless energy and all those grandiose half-baked ideas about life that we swear we never possessed.
That said Nenigin is, in fairness, a gentle soul at heart, an easy-going lad who takes things in his stride and each day as it comes. He is thoughtful, considerate and has quite a measured personality for one so young. He is also the highly active type and tells us he likes extreme sports, magic and challenges but dislikes puzzles, ‘hatred’ and is strongly against war.
Being part-Fae means he found it relatively easy to learn magic and has progressed quickly in his chosen discipline. An intrepid thrill-seeker Nenigin tells us he chose to specialise in elemental magic with his focus being on fire in order to accumulate an array of impressive tricks such as fire breathing and juggling. Although we assume he doesn’t literally mean ‘being on fire’ because to our knowledge insects aren’t particularly resilient to flames let alone flamethrowers.
Less of a surprise then that to learn that the Oakwood family have long been circus performers touring the globe with a troupe of amazing oddities called ‘Rynjik.’ This name translates quite literally as ‘mind force,’ which we hasten to add sounds mightily less impressive in translation but still succeeds in having a half-hearted jab at making a pun out of the word ‘force.’ The Rynjik troupe specialises in performers who possess unusual talents for their species, a weird and wonderful collective of potentially powerful individuals ready to ‘contort, contrive, disturb and surprise,’ all whilst dangling over pointy objects from perilous heights or submerged in the ‘agrusanc,’ which considering it means, ‘terror water,’ doesn’t actually sound or look all that terrifying. Prepare to be, ‘disturbed and amazed,’ the flyer tells us, however the only thing we find truly amazing is that the troupe has been at large for over a century.
Nenigin joyfully expresses how all of Rynjik’s employees are considered family even those who are not directly related and sings praise on how most of them have travelled together their entire lives. He tells us he was lucky enough to have been born into the troupe and that their way of life is simply ‘vaitsche.’
Which brings us nicely to our main point of contention because the most grating thing about Nenigin it that he seems to know only four adjectives; one is the Ordic word ‘trepid,’ whilst the other three stem from the Aftlands second major language of Mythic and Neni uses precisely none of them in the correct context.
Now we here at Black Wednesday’s aren’t renowned for being too strict when it comes to correct word usage but the Aftlands only have two spoken languages for good reason and bastardising the lesser-known of the two is even less endearing than corrupting the first.
Call it teenage colloquialism if you will but it becomes increasingly infuriating to hear him describe literally everything be it good or bad, as ‘trepid,’ (fearful) ‘vaitsche,’ (harsh), ‘vasche,’ (nasty) and ‘mhiern,’ (set). He explains that he means ‘nasty’ in a good way, like calling a challenge ‘brutal’ or ‘excellent’ and that he thinks, ‘harsh’ is a good substitute for ‘awesome.’ The word ‘set’ he simply litters in between everything else apparently to emphasise how ‘great’ or ‘cool,’ things are, or whenever he is lacking a descriptor. He also seems to use ‘trepid’ in place of the word ‘difficult’ which sounds to us like a deliberate waste of his brainpower and a good way to confuse people.
Or maybe we here at the studio are just old and aren’t ‘mhiern’ enough, or maybe calling us too ‘mhiern’ would be more appropriate, as in, ‘set in our ways.’ Nenigin doesn’t find our turnaround or teasing of his slang amusing. He defends the misappropriation as something everyone in the troupe does because they all, ‘have quirks,’ and they are, yeah you guessed it, ‘really mhiern, you know?’ No Neni we don’t know, but we guess by that he means that they are good, solid and reliable people.
Still if there’s one thing Nenigin feverishly describes as ‘vasche’ it’s putting on a show with Rynjik. He tells us he is happiest when pulling off a new stunt or particularly difficult trick for the audience, or in his words, ‘it’s vasche when I pull off a new one, I mean really vaitsche like and we’re all down there and it just happens, really trepid, like mhiern, really vasche to be in that moment you know?’
No, we don’t, stop asking. And for the love of Luk learn to speak.
Thankfully Nenigin’s role in the circus is a silent one because rest assured, if any of us even so much as hear the words ‘vaitsche,’ ‘vash,’ or ‘mhiern,’ misused near us in the next week, we shall set about doing something harsh and nasty to whoever dares utter them.