5b (Argentum’s Song)

They walked on in silence for a couple more blocks and made it to the main road, which they turned down together. A large crowd was gathered around a young man in a purple hat and colourful, patched, cloak with many pockets. He wore a half-mask with brass rings surrounding crimson tinted glass disks before his eyes. It made him look inhuman, like one of the golem constructs or watchers of legend.

“And now, for the grand finale, a piece of tek so fascinating that it rivals the powers of the gods themselves. I present to you the crown of my portfolio that earned my title of tinker fifth class. Today, you will join the ranks of the Alchemist and Council of Seven in witnessing the miraculous. I present to you – life!”

With this he swept the tail of his cloak and backed away from a slowly dissipating puff of smoke. When the smoke cleared it revealed a wooden duck. The duck had been carved with great skill, it’s wings, legs, neck, beak and tail carved separately and hinged into place. It was a remarkable piece of art, but Martha had seen toys of even better workmanship in the homes of some of her friends in years past. Franklin clearly wasn’t too impressed either.

“That’s not alive, it’s just a festering piece of wood.”

The performer turned toward Martha and Franklin.

“What? Can you not hear the ticking of it’s heart? It seems that you are unconvinced, a scoffer of the tinker’s craft. I don’t suppose you would be willing to place a wager on your claim?”

Franklin grinned, tugged the purse of Ladin’s coins from Martha’s belt and pulled out a silver penny which he threw to the performer before Martha could stop him.

“I don’t know what you have planned but it had better be good if you want to keep that coin.”

The tinker nodded, pulled off his hat and then lay it, with Ladin’s silver inside, beside the duck on the street.

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