I’ve been fretting about this one a bit, because I know I’m a leg short. This is Pie level and Pi is complicated… It is the first step between 3&4. It is where geometry starts to become trigonometry and where Triangels become pyramids, Oh well, onwards and upwards, tinker foil it is then…
‘A tinkers debt is always paid,
Once for any simple trade,
Twice for freely given aid,
Thrice for any insult made.
There are two tinkers of major note encountered so far, Trebon tinker and Eld tinker. Ignore all the others for now, these two are the important ones we need to focus on today.
The Trebon tinker is best considered using hindsight. First up, Kvothe was not looking to buy anything but would soon need to get rid of his horse, just as the tinker really needed to acquire one. This is a trade where the tinker admits that he the is in need of aid most which puts him on the back foot in negotiations. Fortunately for him he just happened to have a small, rare and valuable means of payment, that would fit in your pocket better than a horse would. It did also came in sort of useful later for finding draccus scales and was later perfect for paying off devi since the University is the place to be for the best prices on this prized rarity. It may come back into play later in the books as this stuff is clearly important… I wonder if she still has it? The original loan was 20 talents, the horse and tack cost 15 and this sky-iron was sold back to exactly wipe out the loan… plus 1 talent making 21 (or three times seven) Lucky Kvothe is actually 4 talents to the good now although he is also sixty miles from home without an expensive horse to worry about
Then we get down to the real tinkering. Already ahead on the horse deal, Kvothe bargains sharply with what was thrown in for free, the saddle and tack (nothing new or fancy). This should really come in as a bonus trade and thererfore a second deal which falls under the tinkers debt of freely given aid, I suppose. But deal two it is regardless, and after some bargaining Kvothe asks for a new shirt, not something the tinker offers him in trade, our tinker eventually offered a blanket (good), brand (good), strawberry wine (?) and rope (?). Kvothe didn’t actually need anything except a new shirt, the tinker was the one offering bonus items and his advice is legendarily renowned as always the correct thing to do, everyone knows that. Kvothe should have taken what was offered but instead holds out for his new shirt,a blanket, a bottle of brand and 3 jots. Money is always nice but he didn’t have it long as he soon unexpectedly had to pay Denna’s bill which cost him 5 jots and so his profit dissapeared like so much faerie gold. The brandy he thought might help clean his wound later, although Devi had already sorted that out for him properly, but it did come in very useful to help wheedle important information he needed to know of the weird old swineherd, Schiemmelpfenneg (nice bit of old norse mythology in that name! qv) but nobody could have possibly forseen that turn of events coming…
The blanket also came in useful for keeping both him and an unknown Denna warm on a cold night spent atop the greystone, far from the nights fire but safe from the unknown Draccus.The tinker had always offered these two things in all his bargaining and a tinkers good advice is legendary, but it would be impossible to predict a scenario exactly why either should become necessary so far in advance when Denna and Draccus wasn’t even part the equation yet. Nobody could have predicted that she would be waiting for him, or the arrival of a draccus, yet listening to the tinker would have also given him another bottle, a bottle of Denna’s favourite strawberry wine which is as direct a link as possible in these books. It is almost as if the tinker knew that she was waiting in Trebon and that it would be a nice bonus for Kvothe to enjoy with her later, and that would make our tinker a prophet. The tinker did twice offer the useful rope which clever Kvothe twice rejected and he twice regrets not having as it’s lack tore his new shirt (very Jax) and confounded his plans to properly off the Draccus! (never travel far without a rope: Samwise Gamgee) but again, who could possibly have forseen the need for such exact things?? It is unfair to expect Kvothe to predict that in the near future he will 1) meet the most perfect strawberry wine link again in Denna and 2) need a twice useful rope link for dealing with an unknown Draccus threat.
However it is also true to say with hindsight that the tinker’s offer would have clearly been more useful to accept than having another three jots in his purse and a new shirt which would tear later that night anyway and hurt himself into the bargain. At the end of the day, he did ook but could have done better. He really should have listened to the offers of help from the Trebon Tinker as if he had a big sign around his neck stating that Here was someone that can accurately predict the unfolding of unknown events well in advance and prepare for them accordingly.
Everybody knows that tinkers always know best.
Tinker Tangle Too
On the other side of the world, we meet our second tinker. This one is described as traditionally dressed and is thus like the one depicted in the corner of our maps to represent a classic image of a worldly traveller who nobody would ever dream of insulting. Even our four corners outsider Tempi knows that it is bad luck to insult a tinker.
‘Proper travelling tinkers are a rare breed of people, and I am always glad to see one. My mother told me they were lucky, and my father valued them for their news, The fact that I was in desperate need made this meeting three times welcome.’
This meeting was fortunate for Kvothe who had not prepared himself properly for this step into the unknown, which gives the tinker the upper hand in any trading. Kvothe wants salt (and a box to keep it in) which was the first thing on his mind (although I cannot fathom a decent reason why???) A good knife (and a sheath to put it in) followed and the tinderbox was ready and waiting before he finished asking. These last two are technically iron and fire which are the main way we know of dealing with demons… that salt bothers me though, it must mean something. Hmmmm…
With the essentials done with the tinker makes his own suggestion of pen, paper and ink which Kvothe umms and arrs about until the tinkers clever packass mule brays and the lethani becomes obvious. Yes the paper was good for easing his fears about Denna (although ultimately useless) but more importantly it was needed for later writing a letter to Maer, in the correct style and manner, informing him where Kvothe and his gold have gone, I suppose that it made it through the fae too nice and dry wrapped in a weatherproof case. Then we have the bargaining which includes some quite nice mathematics in calculation and exchange rates that nods it’s head in the traditional way of classic tinkers. All found Kvothe gains a great deal for his new cloaks for old trade and come the end of the adventure he will of course have a better one anyway, but he didn’t know this at the time… I mean who would? Then comes the waxing part, The tinker offers four tallow candles which are nothing to do with either bees or bay but pretty funny if you know see the joke, and are also perfect for keeping a tight rein on his new charges. Kvothe accepts the tinkers wise offer once again, but he balks at the final hurdle, a waterproof wax for his boots, which he later regrets to his detriment because he wasn’t paying attention to the weather forecast words of wisdom that the tinker sang as they met. furthermore, All the tinkers items were individually protected from the heavily predicted rain showing once again that each and every tinkers suggestion should have been heeded too as they were all designed for his own individual benefit.
The underlying plotline here is that both tinkers have an uncanny knack for knowing the future better than anyone has a right to do. They turn up exactly when they are needed and always suggest exactly what will become useful in the unknown future. And on both occasions the next big thing looming on the horizon turned out to involve the chandrian. But looming behind the chandrian on the Mauthern pot and in the Eld both is another encounter that nobody could have seen coming. The Cthaeh.
‘In our plays, if the Cthaeh’s tree is shown in the distance in the backdrop you know the story is going to be the worst kind of tragedy. It’s put there so the audience knows what to expect. So they know that everything will go terribly wrong in the end.
So much knowledge crammed into one short encounter, so many riddlesome words, each one an arrow into the future. Each one poisonously sharp and each one undeniably true.
The Cthaeh can see all the future. Clearly. Perfectly . Everything that can possibly come to pass, branching out endlessly from the current moment. And it is purely, perfectly malicious.
It is also perfectly truthful, it chooses what to say, but it cannot lie.
‘the Cthaeh does not lie. it has the gift of seeing, but it only tells things to hurt men.’
It should be noted that she says men! Not fae, men such as Lanre who also spoke with the Cthaeh before Ergen fell.There is also the creation of the the Nameless. The Scaendyne…
Riddles in the Dark
Ok, future prediction. This is oracular stuff. The future is unwritten but I’m writing it write here and so this can be done.VALARITAS. Third leg of an Isosceles triangle. The Pi is in the oven.
Back in big brother I spoke about mind reading, ‘reading the hearts of men like heavy lettered books’ and all that. But this is even more remarkable. Predicting that Kvothe will need a tinderbox is no great thing to clever people, it’s along the lines of ‘what have I got in my pocket?’ the fact that the tinker had one ready in his hand before the question was out is a simple enough thing if you are a seer and can read the signposts.
Whilst other tinker inspired items did become future useful, predicting that they would be so was not something that you could ever pick out of someones head who didn’t know this yet themselves. Magwyn could read Kvothes long name, and it’s three parts conform to Puppets classic riddle…
‘Do you know what you have been, what you are not, and what you will be?’
and Kvothe’s future namepart here gives us the answer ‘The Broken Tree’ which is not much to go on, but it’s a start since the three big tree links in Kvothe’s tale are about to be encountered before he gets back with the Maers gold. Lightning. Cthaeh. Latantha. The future for Kvothe is written within his true name Maedre and the Cthaeh knows it full well when they speak. It knows all about his recent encounter with Cinder, and it’s own cryptopredictive message is the key thought that sends Kvothe off on his next big adventure with the Adem. But now he stands before the oracle itself. It knows your hearts desire and it knows how to turn it against you.
‘You are like a clear pool, I can see ten feet through you and you are barely three feet deep’
Adding another ingredient to the pie is a small passage from the dinner with Meluan when she asks if he is a turagior, which is not a word listed in my dictionary… but would appear in the appropriate Vintish books, Eld Vintic ones at that judging by the sound of it. It is described as Pure-blooded Vintish superstition which supposes that one can predict the future from your eyes, face and the shape of the head. Knowing what we know about mind reading skills and how names are read it would appear that this old Vintish custom is hovering around the truth of things in acknowledging that prophecy is indeed possible in Pats world, which it is because we know this is what The Cthaeh can do… You will laugh when you get the joke, I guarantee it.
If Cthaeh can do it, and it can, then this puts our two tinkers down as turagiors too, only mortal ones compared to the Faen tree dweller. However, Faerie tinkers do exist too, Bast acknowledges this to Kostrel in The Lightning Tree discussions and more famously we have Felurians line about the Fae.
‘Some go around your world enshaeden, glamoured as a pack mule laden’
which without going into too much explanation is clearly putting our trio of turagiors (and the mule) in the fae camp and also into three categories like three familiar sounding packs.
Pack one for simple trades like the Eld tinker with his knife ‘Once for any simple trade.’ Pack two for rarer items for the needy Trebon tinker with the lump of sky iron, ‘Twice for freely given aid.’ Which leaves the mysterious pack three, the contents of which cannot (should not) be discovered by young Jax alone simply because he insulted the tinker that owned all this power originally by stealing his hat. It contains hidden knowledge of deep and secret things which when they were eventually unleashed gave birth to events that had world shattering consequences….
How much more like the Cthaeh can you get? It is the Pandora’s box of packs. And it is more, it is Pi level Pax. The tinker who originally owned these three pax might may well have given young Jax some more of the tinkers legendary good advice, but instead he got
‘Something for you to choke on’ the tinker spat.
But for the taking of my hat, you could have had my help in catching her.’
Thrice for any insult made.
Well, that didn’t turn out tooo badly, my Pi is crimped and in the oven now and so I’ll wind up things for now with a line from the Cthaeh itself.
‘What?’ the Cthaeh asked. ‘Are you looking for a different why? Are you wondering why I tell you these things? What good comes of it? Maybe this Cinder did me a bad turn once…’