Language Card Games Matthew Boyle

The Cardlanger Chronicles 2

The Cardlanger Chronicles


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Students of The Cardlanger Academy acquire magical powers by studying languages with cards. Together, they hope to protect all languages from certain destruction by The Extinctors. Hellbent on making theirs the world’s only language, The Extinctors have but one aim: total domination…

Want to help shape the twists and turns of this story? Post your favorite vocabulary word in the comments section and I’ll include it in one of the next chapters! I post a new chapter every day!


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01 – The Scrap Of Paper


Two shadowy forms raced across a moonlit rooftop, one chasing the other. The young boy in the lead made a game of evading capture. He jumped and wove like a cat amid the jungle of electrical boxes and scaffolding, testing parkour tricks. But I’d be lying if I told you he didn’t look scared at all.

The goon in tow suddenly lunged out, cutting his hand on a rusty bracket as the boy slid away down a drainpipe.

At that moment, the goon hesitated because not only was he a goon, he was a heavy goon, and when normal-sized goons try to do this kind of thing it usually doesn’t end too well. Anyway, he tried, and looked pretty good, too… for the first couple floors.

Despite dragging a broken leg, he was able to catch up. The boy had done his part and turned down a dead end street. Just as the goon was reaching out his chubby, grubby, blood-caked hands -shp!- the boy disappeared!

Now, I write that exclamation mark only for your benefit because the goon wasn’t surprised at all. He knew it was a possibility all along. The boy was a cardlanger.

Ah, anger is oh so becoming of a goon, isn’t it? He yelled and screamed such that his crumbly teeth almost blew out. He dropped to his knees and pounded the ground with his fists.

That’s when he saw the scrap of paper.

Picking it up, his crumbly teeth turned into a crumbly grin. Maybe, just maybe, his punishment would be a little bit lighter.


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02 – What Is A Cardlanger?


By this time, you’re probably puzzling over several things. How did the boy disappear exactly? What is a cardlanger? And what’s on the scrap of paper? Well, I’d be willing to explain all these things to you and more, if you just agree to one thing: promise me you’ll only ever share these secrets with fellow cardlangers and not The Extinctors or any of their hired goons for that matter, okay?

A cardlanger is someone who uses cards to focus their language learning abilities; telecarding, is just one of their special powers. Here’s how he did it:


Instructions For Telecarding


[] Place a card on the ground that has the name or picture of the place you want to go.

[] Step on the card with one foot, so that the card is completely covered and hidden from sight.

[] Imagine the place you want to go, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and most importantly, the language. Hear the people who speak it, their tone, inflection, and cadence. Murmur a few words yourself if you can, but not too loudly unless you want people to know where you’re going!


Follow these instructions to the letter and presto! you should be there. Don’t worry, your card will go with you and no one will be able to follow you easily. You can pick up your card from under your foot after you arrive.

Cardlangers usually carry a deck of cards with them. They are well-prepared to travel to any of their favorite places at a moment’s notice. The most adept among them can cast a card to the ground, step on it, speak, and be gone in a flash. For others, it takes a much longer time speaking and much greater concentration. Thankfully for my new student, the young boy, he’s pretty good at it, but a few seconds more and even he might’ve been helpless in the clutches of a goon. It pays to practice.


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03 – Marion Erie


And practice Marion does. That’s the boy’s name, by the way, Marion Erie. Yesss, he practices with ardor and zest and gusto. To tell you the truth, he probably would never say he practices anything because he’s too absorbed in doing the things to bother! It could be parkour, videogames, card games, longboarding, drones or something else entirely. You’d be hardpressed to name something he hasn’t at least tried. And after trying something, if it turns out he really likes it, he goes all out.

Take languages for an example. It’s a great understatement to say Marion is obsessed with them. The only problem is he’s a bit scatterbrained and careless sometimes. Yes, it’s true! If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times to – and that’s exactly why he dropped that blasted receipt, you know? Now, look what’s happened! My whiskers are getting ruffled. Can I take a break from being the narrator?


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04 – A Somewhat Lighter Punishment


“What happened?!”

“I fell off the side of a building and broke my leg!”

“No, no, I mean, where’s the kid?!”

“He- he got away.”


“Yes, master, but no need for all caps, I found this.”

The goon produced the dingy, crumpled receipt, looking quite pleased with himself.

“Hmmm.” The master rapaciously devoured the information.

“Sooo might I receive a lighter punishment than the one you usually give?”

At that, the master’s bony claw closed around the receipt, incinerating it. He brushed the ashes off his robe. A light shone darkly in his eyes when he finally looked up. “What a glorious idea. A lighter punishment, yes, indeed. I’d wager you shall never receive a lighter punishment than the one I’m about to give you.”

The master raised both his hands in the air. Sickly green rays crackled around the goon like lightning, lifting him off the floor. He rose slowly at first, then more and more quickly, screaming like a little girl the whole time. As he drifted out of the hall, the master’s words echoed from deep within, “Say hello to the angels for me. They never call anymore.”


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05 – Archidemus Is An OG


Dust swirled in the corner of the room.

Then, it swirled some more. Swirl. Swirl. Swirl. Swiiirl -whp!- Marion appeared out of thin air. “Haha!” He beamed, “That’s too much fun!”

“Your having too much could sink us all!” coughed Archidemus while picking up papers from the floor. “You dropped a receipt before you blinked.”


“A receipt for longboard wheels.”

“Holy smokes, you’re the real deal, sir.”

“Marion, when you telecard you must know every single thing you carry, right down to the lint in your pocket. The best telecarders are also-“

“-the most aware. I know, I know.”

“Ah, you know so much!” gaped Archidemus with exaggerated eyes, “Good. I don’t need to tell you they’re coming here.”

“Are you kidding?! How?!” Marion almost peed in his pants.

Archidemus jabbed his thumb towards the window without looking up from packing, “Why don’t you ask him?”

Marion ran to the sill, climbed up, and looked out. There, something ugly hovered in the moonlight, waving, kicking, and screaming like a little girl the whole time.


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06 – Prey


Archidemus finished packing quickly. He’d done this many times before. All his most important spellbooks and papers floated to their places in various satchels. You would think it funny to see how his long beard got all caught under the straps when he threw them over his head.

“Where are we going to go?” worried Marion aloud.

“Didn’t you tell me there was a music store you’ve been wanting to go to? On, ah, Rockers and-“

“Yeah! I’ve got their card! But sir it’s after midnight. They’ll be closed.”

“Give it to me,” said Archidemus, “I have a friend near there.”

Archidemus cast the card down onto the floor, stepped on it, and took Marion by the hand. “Tell me about the music store.”

“Well, it’s got lots of vinyl records and instruments. Bands practice there. Ray said he learned some words: backbeat, riff, hook, bridge, tremolo, nocturne, shoegazing, -shp!-

The two companions vanished.


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07 – Predators


“Where are we going to go?”

“Didn’t you tell me there was a music store you’ve been wanting to go to? On, ah, Rockers and-“

“Yeah! I’ve got their card! But sir it’s after midnight. They’ll be closed.”

“Give it to me. I have a friend near there.”

A slender, eyeless figure felt the worry in Marion’s leftwords with delight. Another crouched to trace the imprint the card made in the dust.

“Tell me about the music store.”

“Well, it’s got lots of vinyl records and instruments. Bands practice there. Ray said he learned some words: backbeat, riff, hook, bridge, tremolo, nocturne, shoegazing-“

The two figures communicated something for only a moment, then left with haste down the staircase, out the door, and into the night.


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08 – Archidemus’ Hideout



“Wooooooow! This isn’t the music shop.”

“How observant you are.”

“But it’s so cool! Where are we?”

“This is a place I sometimes come to get away from it all. It’s a good hideout.”

Marion spent a few minutes in utter fascination. Archidemus unpacked.

Several inventions around the room bewildered Marion; some moved, whirred, and released smoke in different colors. Captivating titles stuffed the bookshelves to the breaking point, including The Telecarder’s Way by Raelgroth. Happening upon that, Marion’s spinning mind returned to a question.



“Before we blinked out, I described the music shop.”


“But we ended up here.”

“Ah, but Marion don’t forget, the card was under my foot. I had much greater sway in determining where we would go.”

“The music shop card?”

“Ah, no, no, I switched it.”

“I really thought you wanted to go to the music shop. I described it and imagined it with all my might!”

“Just as I hoped! Marion, your description helped us more than you know. But it’s late now and we’d better get some shuteye.”


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09 – A Knock On The Door


The next morning, Archidemus and Marion awoke to the sound of a knock at the door. They sat up straight in their beds. Then, the knock became a pound. Boomboomboomboomboom!

Who could it be?

Finally, a familiar voice registered in the sleepy pairs’ ears. “Anybody home? Archidemus, are you there?”

It was Ray.

The pairs’ relief turned to annoyance.

“Confound it, Ray! Yes, I’m here. Knocking like that, why I…” Archidemus’ muttering trailed off as he shuffled to open the door.

Ray’s face lit up when he saw Marion. “Mari! What are you doing here? It’s been a minute.”

Marion jumped out of bed.

Ray was a couple years older than Marion, and taller, but hardly any wiser. Since Ray’s parents divorced, Ray started struggling in the Cardlanger Academy and Archidemus singled him out as a good candidate for part-time instruction. And that’s why Ray had come looking for Archidemus this morning. It was time for their lesson, but Archidemus was not at his usual spot in the library.

Archidemus liked Ray because Ray wouldn’t hurt a fly, despite the fact that life had certainly given him plenty of reasons to do so. At times, he could be clumsy, or a tad impolite due to his ignorance of manners, but nonetheless, everyone regarded him as quite a lovable type.

“What are we going to learn today, Archidemus?” asked Ray.

“Yeah! What are we going to learn today, Archidemus?” mimicked Marion.

Archidemus looked at the two young lads and just shook his head.


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10 – A Warning


“I want to know how to telecard two people, like you!” Marion blurted out.

“Whoa.” nodded Ray in agreement. “That would be sweet.”

“Ah, honestly, I don’t think you two boys are ready for that. You can barely telecard yourselves properly.”

“But what if me or Ray needs to save somebody?”

“That could happen,” offered Ray supportively. “These are dangerous times.”

Archidemus rolled his eyes. “Alright, alright. Maybe we can get into that, but first we need to polish your individual telecarding -.”

“YEAH!” shouted the two boys, jumping off the creaky floorboards.

After they landed, there followed a second, much deeper thud, which gave everyone pause.

The boys ran to locate the source.

An evil chill rippled through Archidemus’ body like the aftershock of an earthquake. He clutched his heart and groped for the bedside to sit. He was just regaining his senses when Marion came skipping back to him with a book. “What’s this about, sir? It fell off the shelf.”

“Put it down! Now!”


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11 – The Possessed Book


Startled, Marion dropped the book and stepped back. It began quivering on its own. It trembled, as if scared that something inside itself would crawl out. The three watched on in horror, not daring to move, until it suddenly stopped a few moments later.

Marion looked like Halsman’s portrait of Salvador Dalí.

Ray looked like Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

Archidemus looked like Rodin’s The Thinker. First, he thought about how many more centuries until retirement. Next, he thought about preparing some morning tea. And finally, he thought about changing the topic of the lesson.

Calmly, he rose with a sigh, pushed the freaky book back into the shelf, and reached for his Earlybird teapot and some Earl Grey. “I usually prefer black tea in the morning, not black magic. It’s bad for the ‘ole ticker. Ah, how ‘bout you boys?”

Marion looked like Halsman’s portrait of Salvador Dalí.

Ray looked like Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

Archidemus looked content.


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12 – The Finders


It was a while before the boys spoke. Archidemus savored the silence with several cups of tea. He was just about to strike up a conversation when Marion’s voice trembled, “I’ve n-n-never seen a b-b-book do t-t-that.”

“Me neither,” added Ray.

“It was The Finders’ doing,” interjected Archidemus.

“The who?!” inquired the boys.

“Or, as I like to call them, sniffers, heh-heh,” the old teacher chortled to himself.

The boys timidly stepped closer, “What are you talking about?”

“Hunting dogs for The Exctinctors. They’re mad at me for the trick I pulled. They’re as mad about the whole thing as you are confused, Marion.”

“Oh, right! Why did you trick me last night?” Marion’s spinning mind return to the question.

“It was necessary to throw them off our trail. Ah, I can see I’m going to need to back up a few steps. You boys know nothing about leftwords yet, do you?”

They shook their heads. 


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13 – On Leftwords


A handsome and dignified graduate student stood at the podium; before him, several school board members and fifty or so classmates.

“At the Academy, our teachers often remind us, and rightly so: be judicious with your use of words. They give us many reasons for this, but rarely is it mentioned that our surroundings inevitably record any words we speak. I don’t mean by microphones installed by humans, which is obvious and known. No, simply speaking our words aloud and alone in the woods is enough to record them, too.

Subtle or not so subtle, the recording of everything anybody, living or dead, has ever said is still with us now, swirling in the atmosphere. That is why I call them leftwords.

It is my belief, and the belief of some of my colleagues, that learning to sense leftwords directly is possible. With training, we believe one can read the invisible impressions of leftwords in, say, a room, as easily as one can read words on a page.

Today, we respectfully request a grant from this honorable board in order to pursue our research to the fullest extent allowable. I will now provide further details about the intended goals of our first project.”


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14 – Red


“What is this?” asked Marion still holding the paper.

Archidemus woke from his memories. “My friend Red wrote that,” he answered. “He wanted more money from the Academy so he could study leftwords.


“Did the school give it to him?” asked Ray

“They gave it to him, alright… a rejection letter. He almost lost his mind. Actually, he did lose his mind. He did. That was the last straw for him. Ah, he often butted heads with the school leaders, thinking they were wrong about so many things. We called him Red because he always edited the mistakes he found in teachers’ papers like they did in ours, with red ink.” Archidemus’ chuckle couldn’t quite hide the pain in his eyes. “Anyway, boys, you see now about this leftword stuff? It’s important. You gotta be careful. Red wasn’t right about everything, but he was right about this.”

The boys’ expressions electrified. They desired to learn everything there was to learn about leftwords in mere seconds!


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15 – Page 73


“We can talk about this more later. I have to skedaddle. Will you two make some memtea and read more of Red’s speech?”

“No problem!” said Marion. And it really wasn’t. The boys had never been more excited to read something.

“And no joking around in the apartment! We don’t want anymore mishaps with books flying off the shelves and such.”

The boys made memtea and read on for a bit, but Marion’s mind apprehensively connected dots in the silence. He waited for the right moment. When Ray looked up and said, “Whew. This is kind of heavy stuff, innit?” That was it.

“Yeah. And Ray, I think the writing style is similar to that crazy book that jumped shelf.”

Ray’s knew Marion’s thoughts exactly, “Awww, no. Nope, nope, nope. Archidemus warned us.”

“But I remember the page number it fell open to!


“Yeah! Because it was Archidemus’ age: 73.” Ray’s eyes popped open. Marion continued, “I really think it was a warning or threat, like Archidemus was starting to say.”

“Marion, I really think we oughta stick to this essay or else get out of this haunted house Right. Now.”

“But what if Archidemus is in trouble? He just raced off to get help probably. He wouldn’t tell us if he needed it. We better investigate.”

“Marion. C’mon. The essay.”

“We’ll just take a peek at page 73 for a moment and if anything freakish starts to happen will put it back and bounce. It’s only a book. What worse things could it do than some dancing? Archidemus wasn’t even half as scared as we were about it.”

Marion started to get off his stool and Ray realized there wasn’t a thing he could do to hold his friend back.


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16 – Curiosity Kills The Scaredy Cats


Marion crept slowly towards the book.

“Alright, Marion,” said Ray following a couple steps behind, “but if anything crazy happens, I’m outta here.”

“You’re ridonculous.” whispered Marion.

But Marion was scared, too. In his fear, it seemed like the book was controlling the ever-increasing speed of his heartbeat. Gently removing the book from the shelf, he and Ray took in the title for the first time: Find Words, Find Yourself by Kevinos Redding.

“Kevinos Redding! Could that be Red?” Ray asked.

“Yeah, probably!” Marion tried to located page 73 without seeing even one letter of any other page. When he found it, he slooowly cracked open the book, wincing all the while, and right when the book was fully opened –

nothing bad happened at all.

There was something frightening on the page, though. It was a dark, scratchy, sketch of four slender, eyeless figures coercing a fifth, more-normal looking person towards a horrifying apparatus. Underneath, the caption read: The five will be one.

A wave of fear rushed into Marion and Ray’s souls. The fifth man resembled a younger Archidemus!

Without warning, the door to the flat opened wide. The boys screamed in terror.


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17 – The Spy


“What are you two doing?”

“Aw, jeez. What are you doing? You scared us half to death.”

“Archidemus asked me to make sure you two weren’t looking at Find Words, Find Yourself by Kevinos Redding. Is that what that is?”

Marion reviewed the cover innocently.

“You know what, this morning it fell on the floor really hard after we jumped, so we just wanted to make sure we didn’t damage it and clean it off a little. We really take great care with all of Archid-“

“I’ve heard enough. Hey, why don’t we all go eat before Archidemus comes back here and ends your lives prematurely?”

“Yeah, we should. You know, we’re worried about what might happen to Archidemus.” Ray chimed in.

“If he gets charged for murder?”

“You shouldn’t joke about this! You don’t even know what we found out.”

“Okay, okay. You can tell me at lunch. Let’s bounce!”


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18 – The Promise


The three friends dug into Spice Me bowls at Curry Favor.

“So what’s all the trouble?”

“Do you know where Archidemus was going?” The boys asked anxiously.

“No, but he was going fast.”

“We think he’s in trouble.”

“I think he can probably take care of himself.”

“Just listen for a minute. Have you ever heard of The Finders?”


“Well, have we got a story for you,” said Ray.

“Yeah, we gotta a lot to tell you,” said Marion.

By the end of the conversation, Savannah Leitner worried, too. She was a longtime friend of Marion and was in his class. Archidemus was one of their teachers, not to mention Marion’s personal one. Savannah naturally joked a lot, but even she could realize a specter loomed.

The three made a promise that day that they would protect Archidemus and solve the mystery of The Finders. To do that, they would have to learn faster and better than ever before, inside of school and out.


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19 – The Leitner Legacy


Ah, what fire and ardor came over those three in those days! I mean, they really hit the books. Let me give you a typical example of their teamwork and diligence.

One of the first things students have to learn when they come to The Cardlanger Academy is Sebastian Leitner’s flashcard memorization system. Well, Marion and Ray really lucked out with this because one of Sebastian’s descendants was their best friend and classmate! Savannah helped the boys to make and use a Leitner Box more quickly than the rest. They passed that assignment with full marks.


Materials List For Leitner Box


[] flashcards

[] eight dividers slightly taller and wider than the flashcards

[] a footlong box with lid, slightly taller than the eight dividers, but the same width

[] a calendar


Ah, I laughed pretty hard that day. I remember Ray’s box was all ca-ca, but at least he understood how to use it well. Savannah made her third one, I think, her most beautiful one yet. She’s kind of OCD.


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20 – Keeping A Lid On It


Marion, Ray, and Savannah used their Leitner Boxes to remember vocabulary efficiently. They made one box for each language they chose to study. You see, in the first term, each new cardlanger must choose at least two languages.

Ah, Marion chose to study Chinese and Japanese. Ray chose American Sign Language and Spanish. Savannah chose Latin, French, and Arabic. As if that wasn’t enough, they would have to add another language in the second term!

The boxes were sealed with magic. To open them, Marion, Ray, and Savannah swiped their ID cards like a credit card, under the long side of the box lid. Only the correct cardlanger’s fingerprints and palm prints will activate an ID card.

All students receive an ID card on their first day. One side of the card has the students’ information, the other side displays The Cardlanger’s Code.


With creativity, we invent words.

With attentiveness, we understand them.

With responsibility, we share them.

With discipline, we become them.


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21 – Dual Telecarding


For my part, I taught the three of them how to telecard two people as I said I would. Of course, they already had their individual telecarding skills down pat.

I instructed them to how to stand, what to think, what to say, and so on. To telecard another person, you must be in physical contact with them. Holding hands works really well, because the astral fields of the two people can harmonize easily, but, if necessary, one person who is telecarding could simply grab hold of another anywhere. Don’t laugh! This is serious business!

Ah, it can be hard to telecard someone properly if they are speaking of a different place or even just thinking about another place (in the case of an advanced cardlanger). So it makes sense that if the second person can repeat the words of the first, or at the very least keep their mind and mouth silent, that will help.

When carried out correctly, dual telecarding permits two people to travel instantly to the same exact spot, the place the lead telecarder had in mind. However, if it doesn’t work, one person may be left behind or even sent to a different, unexpected place.

I repeat: master your individual telecarding skills before you ever attempt this!


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22 – Busy And Carefree


As you might imagine, the three were terribly busy! Thank heavens they loved what they were doing. They seemed to have a serious purpose behind them, driving them. Just take a look at their classes…








[] Chinese I

[] Japanese I

[] Conlangs I

[] Translation I

[] Flashcard Arts I

[] Languages Of The World


[] American Sign Language I

[] Spanish I

[] Hacking I

[] Cryptanalysis I

[] Flashcard Arts I

[] Languages Of The World

[] Latin I

[] Arabic I

[] French II

[] Flashcard Arts II

[] Language Revitalization

[] Folk Tales Of The World


Ah, on top of that, each of them was apprenticed to a master cardlanger and was tutored on occasion by still other masters. Thus, I was Marion’s master and Ray’s tutor.

There wasn’t much spare time for them or for most new cardlangers, but even so, the leaders of the school knew extra-curricular activities formed well-rounded students.

Marion did sports, longboarding, and parkour. Ray was into three-dimensional chess, computer games, video games, virtual reality, and that sort of thing. Savannah preferred yoga, DIY, cooking, and art.

Sometimes they seemed so carefree to me. I wasn’t sure when or how to reveal the true dangers of our world.


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Jumping Jehoshaphat! Look at the time! Ah, I suppose we’ll have to carry on with this later. Come back tomorrow for tea, won’t you? And I’ll continue the story. In the meantime, leave me your favcabulary word in the comments and I’ll include it in one of the next chapters of The Cardlanger Chronicles…



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2 thoughts on “The Cardlanger Chronicles

  • Jan Zac

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