Saronyi at the Silver Manatee


A Tale of Magery and Comeuppance
 

Saronyi found himself in a dockside tavern one dreary morning -- the one known as the Silver Manatee, in Old Sdao. And, as happens in such places, the magister had barely shaken the rain from his cloak and found a seat by the fire when he was accosted by a rowdy and his two flatterers.  These three, of course, mocked Saronyi for his Adept’s ways and claims to Wisdom, and threatened him if he could not teach them all of truth and untruth before the sun went down.

And having no wish to leave the newfound warmth of hearth and table or call down the notice of Sdao's corrupt city watch, Saronyi cajoled the hoodlums and attempted to turn their attentions aside. But he found them not easily distracted from their fun. And so he sighed so that all could see and acquiesced to their demands for wonders.

Reaching into the aether, he first plucked from nothingness what appeared to be a golden sovereign, which he dropped upon the table before him. Then, with all eyes upon him, Saronyi intoned three words that no one present could understand and twisted his hands in a flourish that no one could follow, and a second sovereign appeared on the table beside the first. Finally, without embellishment, the mage reached into his purse and pulled from it a third coin, which he carefully placed on the table so as to form a triangle with the other two.

Then Saronyi turned to his tormentors and asked them which of the coins was true and which was not. And the head rowdy pulled from his finger an iron nail shaped into a ring and touched it to each coin in turn. And the first and last were unaffected, but the second disappeared with a sound like cracking ice.  And Saronyi nodded and praised the thug for his perspicacity.  For the coin had been an illusion formed by fey magic, and could not abide the touch of iron.

And then the youngest of the flatterers stepped forward with a small and tarnished medallion of Zelor in his hand, and touched it each to the two remaining coins. And the audience that had gathered round nodded sagely as the last was unaffected, but the first disappeared in a flash of fire and brimstone.  And Saronyi sweetly commended for thug for his piety while he dispersed the sulfurous fumes with a wave of his hands.  For the coin had been a simulacrum conjured from the stuff of the pit, and hellish magics cannot abide the touch of blessed silver.     

Then, frowning fiercely, Saronyi turned his gaze full upon the leader of the three rowdies and asked “What of this last coin?  Is this one true or untrue?”  And the ringleader backed away from the magister's uncanny eye, but the older of the flatterers was undeterred. With a sneer on his lips, the graying hoodlum stepped up and took salt upon his palm and spat into it, and pricked his finger for three drops of blood.  Then, having mixed the blood and spittle while calling on the guardian spirits of his childhood, he rubbed the mess over the last remaining sovereign.

When the coin did not change or disappear, Saronyi pursed his lips into a smile and praised the thug for his astuteness and fine recall of the lesser charms of Der.  Then Saronyi called the bartender's wife to his table and ordered the first of many rounds of drinks for his perspicacious, pious and canny friends. 

And the hours passed, awash with revelry and replete with bountiful food and much strong drink. But finally, as mid-afternoon approached, Saronyi told the thugs that he must needs step away from their fine company to attend the call of nature,  And he left the coin upon the table while he left the inn to do so.

At first the rowdy and his flatters did not perceive this abandonment as Saronyi’s escape -- for they were far into their cups and convinced that he was a fine fellow despite his Adept’s ways. Besides, a gold sovereign was wealth enough to buy the inn in which they were drinking, and they did not believe that he would simply walk away from such a treasure. (And when he came back for it they could still beat and rob him, if it came to that.)

But twilight came and Saronyi had not returned. And the thugs’ first perplexity at his absence gave way to greed and rejoicing at the windfall he had left behind.  And so they conspired to split the coin into three rather than search for him.  But first they must shave off enough gold to pay the innkeeper, for the tab that they had run up in their long day's carousing was more than all three of them earned in a month, and there was no way a simple innkeeper could make change for a gold sovereign.

And that’s how they learned the coin was pewter plated with gilding brass.    

-- 11/05/2007, last revised 11/9/2007
 

Last Updated: 11/09/2007