I would like to say that when I heard what Garamie was planning, I knew it wasn’t going to end well. Unfortunately I must confess that at the time I thought he had come up with an excellent strategy given his obvious limitations. Garamie wanted to be a savant. He wanted to be looked up to and respected for his knowledge. Unfortunately he didn’t want to dedicate a lifetime to study, so he could reap the benefits of his status as a well-respected scholar in his old age. He wanted the benefits now. I could see the source of his confusion. Garamie was quite well off. He’d been through the University here in Port Naain, but like many students he appeared to have left more muddled and less accomplished than when he arrived. What university had taught him was that the road to proper scholarship is hard.
Have you heard the comment, “The easiest way to be recognised as a savant is to ensure your field of expertise is so tedious that nobody will ever question you about it?” Garamie took this one stage further. He decided that he would make his field of expertise so terrible that nobody would ever raise the subject. Thus, after brief thought, he proclaimed himself a necromancer.
Traditionally necromancers shun people, daylight, and soap. Garamie was the exception to the rule, in that he merely wanted the fame, or perhaps more properly, the notoriety. He had no interest in truly studying necromancy. So where most necromancers have no social life, Garamie became the socially acceptable face of necromancy and was invited to all sorts of parties and social events.
When out and about, he could dissemble adequately when it came to discussing his dark art. If somebody asked him anything, Garamie would bluff. He could mix into his conversation mumbled phrases from long dead languages, most of which he made up on the spot. He found it harder to convince people he was a genuine necromancer when they visited him at home and discovered that he had none of the impedimenta of the trade. It seems that to be accepted as a necromancer, or as any sort of mage, you need a workroom. You need the paraphernalia. Young ladies, fascinated by him, expected to see the tools of his trade when they visited his abode. Obviously they weren’t looking for cadavers in the bedroom, (although one or two of his rather more ‘specialist’ lady-friends gave the impression that this was the sort of thing they rather anticipated.)
As I said, he had money. This was a positive disadvantage. If he’d had no money he could have done wonders for very little. After all, if I want the skull of a hanged man, I merely ask Mutt and he’ll return later demanding twenty-five dregs for a perfectly reasonable skull. Indeed it may even come from a man who was hanged. (In Port Naain the chances are at least reasonable.) I certainly would not seek out one of the Exulted Purveyors of the Imperishable Wisdom. Admittedly they would guarantee that the skull came from a hanged man, even if they had to bring forward the hanging for your convenience. But on the other hand they’d expect me to pay an alar for it.
It’s the same with cadavers really. I remember the time Lancet and I found a chap who’d passed out with drink. Lancet painted the fellow’s face so he looked like a corpse, and we sold his clothes to pay for a cheap shroud. To be fair, that is common enough, the dead man doesn’t need his clothes any more, and the money left over after buying the shroud traditionally goes to paying for a round of drinks for his friends. We then carried the corpse along Ropewalk on an improvised stretcher. I might have mentioned that it costs one silver vintenar to book your place on the corpse boat. When the boat is full they sail out to the west and drop the weighted bodies overboard for their last rest. It’s considered a charitable gesture to give a vintenar so that a poor man can make that last journey, and as Lancet and I tearfully solicited money for the poor deceased we were carrying, we did quite well.
We’re on tour again, and today we’re with Ritu at “But I smile anyway…..” So to read the rest of the story click on the link below