Q. I really want to know if Beings can be based on sea animals and/or insects/arthropoda. We’ve only really seen land animals, so…

A. There are several Beings based on sea creatures. Their creators weren’t able to study oceangoing creatures very well, so the types are usually vaguer — Kaguya, the Sea Monster, can be anything from an octopus to an eel to a crocodile.

No bugs. Their creators wouldn’t have wanted to make their own plagues.

Q. Does the Beings’ disadvantage in reading make it harder for them to read road signs? Not having original opinions doesn’t prevent them from saying original sentences. Is that worse in writing?

A. Road signs are designed to be as clear as possible for people with a wide range of abilities. You don’t need to know the word STOP to get the meaning of a big red octagon. What would give a Being trouble is a cross-country journey where you have to track a lot of individual street/city names.

Writing has a special level of power that speech doesn’t. That’s why all the magic requires you to write out the sigils, why each Contract is physically written down, and why Beings can talk but not write.

Q. What’s the difference between big red octagon and letter S? Would it be easier for being to learn hieroglyphs? Or is the multiple-letters-form-a-word part which is hard for them? Or are the signs also harder than for humans, but being easier in general makes them still easy enough to get the meaning?

A. The wild thing is, those symbols are processed differently by the human brain, and we still don’t have a full understanding of how or why. (The reason we know it at all is mostly from people who have strokes, or other accidents that damage part of the brain, and lose the ability to interpret written words — even though they can see shapes perfectly fine.)

Beings could learn that “drawing of a bird” means “bird” pretty easily. Any less literal meanings, especially sounds or abstract concepts, would be harder for them to wrap their heads around.