Sometimes you’re in a relationship with someone. Sometimes that someone decides to give you a note written in cryptic dragon runes from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. If that happens you should probably get to translating that note as soon as possible.
Over the weekend, a person who goes by byeblee posted such a note on the Skyrim subreddit hoping people there might be able to help him do just that. “Ex-girlfriend left me this before we broke up, I don’t play Skyrim,” the post said. “But I think you guys can help can anyone translate it for me? Probably to see what she wants to say before leaving. There’s a second page if anyone’s interested.”
Skyrim has a made-up language used by its dragons called (surprise) the Dragonish. There are 34 symbols in it, 25 of which map directly onto the English alphabet (dragons have no use for the letter “c” it turns out). The extra symbols in the dragon alphabet represent pairs of letters like “ey” or “ur.” In theory then, translating something from Dragonish should be pretty straightforward.
Byeblee’s note from 2015 had an extra wrinkle to it, however. The original text was written in Filipino and then translated into Dragonish. Plus, according to the people in the thread who attempted the translation, it probably wasn’t even native Filipino, but most likely English that was turned into Filipino using Google Translate and then into Dragonish.
One commenter offered up the translated excerpts like the following:
“At this moment, I’m doing research, then I checked the phone. I looked at my inbox and there was nothing good and you’d ignored most of my texts 7:25 pm is when I’m writing this and as such I know that your class is over but I don’t know what you’re doing anymore you no longer tell me anymore perhaps you’d like to tell me”
This prompted byeblee to explain that he was under a lot of stress with family issues at the time which put strain on the relationship. “Honestly, I don’t want to translate more of this letter,” another commenter concluded after that. “It’s not a sweet ode to Skyrim. It’s just detailing a train wreck relationship...”
In an email byeblee said he didn’t know his girlfriend at the time to be much of a Skyrim fan and didn’t think much of it:
“I asked her what it was or what’s written there but she didn’t tell me, all she told me was it was for me to figure out. But back then I was dealing with a lot of problems as well so I never really had the time to.
The letter got shelved, rather placed in a clear book that I keep. And that clear book got shelved for a very long while. I was just cleaning my room yesterday when I scoured through it. And decided to ask Reddit for help.”
The moral of this story? Don’t sleep on getting those weird Dragonish notes from loved ones translated (and also maybe try to talk openly about your feelings rather than coding them in the made-up language of a video game). “Probably this was an early warning sign for a breakup that I could’ve fixed if I understood what she was trying to convey,” byeblee said. “However I didn’t so we broke up anyway.”