Last time, because Brill was found to be spying on the farm (and because Garion was having pantsfeels about Zubrette, who he only had those feelings about because she’s the only girl near his age on this farm, inexplicably), with his pouch of red Angarak gold, Polgara and Belgarath decided its time to move Garion elsewhere. Durnik the smith invited himself along as Polgara’s escort, because he couldn’t let an old man, a woman, and a child go off on a dangerous journey without a man to protect them. And, although the narrative hasn’t confirmed this obviously for us, because he has pantsfeels for Polgara, and in Sendaria, on Faldor’s farm, men with pantsfeels express their desires by assuming authority and control over the women they’re being horny about.
Pawn of Prophecy, Chapters Six and Seven: Content Notes: racism, sexism, sexual stereotypes
We start chapter six with the realization from Garion that traveling at night is terrible, and he really just wants to sleep. When Belgarath says it’s time to leave the main road, Durnik questions the wisdom of it, citing robbers and thieves in these parts and the lack of moon as reasons not to do it. He’s overruled, of course, with Belgarath saying they don’t need to worry about robbers, the lack of moon is good to ditch pursuers and travel unseen, since “Murgo gold can buy most secrets.” Which seems like an assertion without proof. So far, we’ve had Belgarath swap a coin, and Brill clearly seems to have been bribed. Also, I presume that Faldor’s smoked his were paid for in Angarak gold, as well, as it seems unlikely that the Murgo who bought them would go to the trouble of currency exchange. So that would also potentially be an issue, but there’s no explicitly stated reason or proof to Belgarath’s assertion. This would be an excellent time for someone to say “You know, you talk an awful lot of shit about the Angaraks, Mister Wolf. Do you have any proof, or is this all just racism?” But that won’t happen, because it’s an established fact of this world that Angaraks are evil, because their god is evil.
The unexpected appearance of a huge man in their way is too much for Garion to handle rationally, running on fumes that he is, and he bolts into the woods. After knocking himself silly on a low hanging branch, another person brings him back to the camp where the others are sitting around a fire. Polgara scolds Garion for running off, Belgarath suggests it was a good instinct, and then dismisses Garion’s concern that these people are robbers before there are introductions all around. Nobody, of course, is treating Garion’s entirely valid concerns about this. He hasn’t been given any useful information about what the future holds, and who they’re going to meet, and what the plan is. He’s also had to leave the only place he’s called home, and he’s exhausted from all the walking. Most kids I know would not be in rational thought mode in those situations. Plus, as introductions happen, it becomes clear to Garion that the two newcomers know Wolf and Pol by other names.
The fact that Aunt Pol might not be whom he had always thought she was was very disturbing. One of the foundation stones of his life had just disappeared.
Just like Faldor’s farm, so that’s two pillars of Garion’s life that have just disappeared, and the world outside is looking particularly scary at this point. But all he gets is a scolding because he didn’t listen to Polgara while in an altered state of mind and their friends had to go retrieve him. Let’s get these introductions over with.
“My large friend there is Barak,” Wolf went on. “He’s useful to have around when there’s trouble. As you can see, he’s not a Sendar, but a Cherek from Val Alorn.”
Garion had never seen a Cherek before, and the fearful tales of their prowess in battle became suddenly quite believable in the presence of the towering Barak.
“And I,” the small man said with one hand on his chest, “am called Silk—not much of a name, I’ll admit, but it suits me—and I’m from Boktor in Drasnia. I’m a juggler and an acrobat.”
“And also a thief and a spy,” Barak rumbled good-naturedly.
“We all have our faults,” Silk admitted blandly, scratching at his scraggly whiskers.
Silk’s face is repeatedly described as rat-like or weasel-like or otherwise unpleasant, sometimes in just by characters, but usually by the narrative, and Silk also does a lot of the subterfuge and less upright parts of their mission, so Barak’s description of him is apt.
Also, since everyone seems to be so distinctly different as to make it obvious where they come from, that seems like something that would be taught to a young child, such that Garion could look at Barak and tell the reader why he thinks they are what they are. Because Arends are also large, so there must be some other thing that distinguishes them from each other. But we don’t get that information, even though it is apparently obvious. At least our party seems to be more balanced now, as we have a fighter (Durnik), a barbarian (Barak), two wizards (Belgarath and Polgara), and a rogue (Silk). Garion might qualify as a sorcerer at this point. What they’re really missing is a healer.
The plan to evade pursuit and detection is to pose as a wagon party and head toward a nearby town to try and deal away their turnips, then collect a new cargo there to move to the next stop on their destination. Pol is unhappy about how slowly this plan moves, but Belgarath believes stealth is more important than speed at this point. To that end, he asks Barak to change from his armor into something that will blend better and not smell like armor. Barak grudgingly acquiesces and Silk take the opportunity to needle him about his hairy chest, suggesting that someone in his line dallied with a bear, in the same way that Barak razzed Silk that his face is what made Garion suspicious of both of them. They, too, seem to be a comedy duo, the strong serious one and the nimble quick dissembling one. The rest of the chapter is everyone clambering into the turnip wagons and setting off, with Garion sleeping until they pass through a village, which gives Garion the opportunity to overhear the plan of alternate locations to track if the first guess isn’t right. All still without mentioning what the thing is that’s been stolen.
The only redeeming feature to this chapter is that it’s short. Chapter Seven starts with more travelogue, or farmers that stop to watch them and villages where the children run with the wagons but the inhabitants are only interested if they’re stopping. “The ground was hard and cold, but the exciting sense of being on some great adventure helped Garion to endure the discomfort,” the narrative says. And then it rains, and “The adventure was growing less exciting.” While all of this boring travel is still boring, it does serve the purpose of pointing out that not all aspects of a story are going to be high action, and the disillusionment of the protagonist is kind of nice to see, as someone who recognizes the cycle of “new and exciting possibilities give way to a reality that is almost always both duller and crueler” in their own life.
The rain and slowness is really getting to Polgara, so she asks why this particular method and speed.
“Why wagoneers?” she demanded. “There are faster ways to travel—a wealthy family in a proper carriage, for instance, or Imperial messengers on good horses—either way would have put us in Darine by now.”
“And left a trail in the memories of all these simple people we’ve passed so wide that even a Thull could follow it,” Wolf explained patiently. “Brill has long since reported our departure to his employers. Every Murgo in Sendaria’s looking for us by now.”
“Why are we hiding from the Murgos, Mister Wolf?” Garion asked, hesitant to interrupt, but impelled by curiosity to try and penetrate the mystery behind their flight. “Aren’t they just merchants—like the Tolnedrans and the Drasnians?”
“The Murgos have no real interest in trade,” Wolf explained. “Nadraks are merchants, but the Murgos are warriors. The Murgos pose as merchants for the same reason we pose as wagoneers—so that they can move about more or less undetected. If you simply assumed that all Murgos are spies, you wouldn’t be too far from the truth.”
“Haven’t you anything better to do than ask all these questions?” Aunt Pol asked.
“Not really,” Garion said, and then instantly knew that he’d made a mistake.
“Good,” she said. “In the back of Barak’s wagon you’ll find the dirty dishes from this morning’s meal. You’ll also find a bucket. Fetch the bucket and run to that stream ahead for water, then return to Barak’s wagon and wash the dishes.”
“In cold water?” he objected.
“Now, Garion,” she said firmly.
Grumbling, he climbed down off the slowly moving wagon.
Cocowhat by depizan
Every. Single. Time. Garion asks questions, good questions, and Polgara sends him off to do chores of some sort. It’s like she doesn’t want Garion to have any information at all, even though he’s picked up somewhere that Tolnedrans and Drasnians are merchant races. Firedrake mentioned a relevant passage that says Garion’s ignorance is a deliberate decision by Polgara, but as genesistrine pointed out, “innocent” should not mean “can’t tie one’s own shoelaces.” At this point, it should be obvious that they are in some form of danger, and that means Garion should be equipped with the tools to be able to assess and react appropriately to the danger in front of him, whether that’s by lying, running, or fighting. Yet, Polgara continues to insist that he can’t learn any of these things or participate in conversations. She’s putting him in more danger. At this point, there has to be a reason why she’s doing this, and if it isn’t made clear by the time we get done with this series, there will be annoyance. There aren’t even any hints about why she would need to do this.
(I can read between the lines and suggest that Pol wants an innocent because Garion is the Rivan King’s son and needs to be pure and innocent so the Orb of Aldur will accept him and the preservation of the Orb can continue. With the Orb stolen, that complicates things, of course, but Pol seems assured she can keep Garion sufficiently innocent for when they recover it. The problem is that thing entire speculation relies on indirect statements from the text, remembering the relevant Prologue passages and making an assumption that if something could be played according to trope, it will be. The author could help us out a lot by providing some confirmation here.)
Furthermore, that cocowhat is for me wondering why there are any Murgos allowed outside of Angarak at all. If what Wolf says is true, that they’re not really merchants, but spies, almost to a person, then the other kingdoms have less than zero incentive to allow any Murgo over their borders. Their goods could be traded at the border and then shipped further in using reliable and trustworthy persons, and that would prevent both the proliferation of Angarak coin (apparently not to be trusted) and Murgos (also apparently not to be trusted) in kingdoms that want neither of them. If all Murgos are spies, and it’s super easy to tell who they are because of their dark skin and scarred faces, then there should be no Murgos outside of Angarak. The people who should be the spies or the people we’re not sure about but who seem to have legitimate business on the regular so we can’t bar them so easily are the Nadraks. First you send merchants, then you send spies.
This entire sequence would work a whole lot better if we had an interjection from the chronicler here, or some event that reminded us that our narrator is unreliable or that Wolf is unreliable, to give us some necessary doubt about whether his pronouncements are the truth or whether he’s being a bigot and everything he says needs to be viewed with that lens in mind.
After this, the plot has them reach the city of Darine, and Garion gets excited again about the prospect of being in an actual city and the new experiences that will be inside. Once he’s inside, though,
From the hillside Darine had looked quite splendid, but Garion found it much less so as they clattered through the wet streets. The buildings all seemed the same with a kind of self-important aloofness about them, age the streets were littered and dirty. The salt tang of the sea was tainted here with the smell of dead fish, and the faces of the people hurrying along were grim and unfriendly. Garion’s first excitement began to fade.
Before we continue with Garion’s next question, we should back up a touch and show you the straight-up bribery that happens in front of Garion at the gates of the city without him making any comment on it. After Silk introduces himself as “Ambar of Kotu”, a “poor Drasnian merchant”,
“We’re obliged to inspect your wagons,” the watchman said. “It’ll take some time, I’m afraid.”
“And a wet time at that,” Silk said, squinting up into the rain. “It’d be much more pleasant to devote the time to wetting one’s inside in some friendly tavern.”
“That’s difficult when one doesn’t have much money,” the watchman suggested hopefully.
“I’d be more than pleased if you’d accept some small token of friendship from me to aid you in your wetting,” Silk offered.
“You’re most kind,” the watchman replied with a slight bow.
Some coins changed hands, and the wagons moved on into the city uninspected.
And then Garion has his paragraph about how up close, Darine and its people don’t seem quite as grand.
“Why are the people all so unhappy?” he asked Mister Wolf.
“They have a stern and demanding God,” Wolf replied.
“Which God is that?” Garion asked.
“Money,” Wolf said. “Money’s a worse God than Torak himself.”
“Don’t fill the boy’s head with nonsense,” Aunt Pol said. “The people aren’t really unhappy, Garion. They’re just all in a hurry. They have important affairs to attend to and they’re afraid they’ll be late. That’s all.”
“I don’t think I’d like to live here,” Garion said. “It seems like a bleak, unfriendly kind of place.” He sighed. “Sometimes I wish I were back at Faldor’s farm.”
“There are worse places than Faldor’s,” Wolf agreed.
They’re both right, Belgarath and Polgara. He’s right that money is a demanding god, although it’s being spoken in the context that the farm life has (or the itinerant one he had) is far superior to being in a city and chasing cash. Polgara is correct that most of the people are in a hurry, although there should be a little more cognizance that their hurry is probably “encouraged” by their employers, who are almost assuredly underpaying them for the purposes of their own profits and agendas. And they don’t really have any recourse to get better conditions, because these are monarchies or other systems of government that basically say “these people get to get rich, the rest of you get screwed instead.”
Silk leads them to the selected inn, and we continue to realize that Aunt Pol is always just like this, rather than being specifically the way she is toward Garion. At least she’s self-aware enough to recognize that she’s not any good at raising children. (Do we need to add “after all this time and opportunity” on the end of this?)
“It’s a suitable place,” Silk announced as he came back to the wagons after speaking at some length with the innkeeper. “The kitchen seems clean, and I didn’t see any bugs when I inspected the sleeping chambers.”
“I’ll inspect it,” Aunt Pol said, climbing down from the wagon.
“As you wish, great lady,” Silk said with a polite bow.
Aunt Pol’s inspection took much longer than Silk’s, and it was nearly dark when she returned to the courtyard. “Adequate,” she sniffed, “but only barely.”
“It’s not as if we planned to settle in for the winter, Pol,” Wold said. “At most, we’ll only be here a few days.”
She ignored that. “I’ve ordered hot water sent up to our chambers,” she announced. “I’ll take the boy up and wash him while you and the others see to the wagons and horses. Come along, Garion.” And she turned and went back into the inn.
Garion wished fervently that they would all stop referring to him as the boy. He did, after all, he reflected, have a name, and it was not that difficult a name to remember. He was gloomily convinced that even if he lived to have a long grey beard, they would still speak of him as the boy.
[…there is seeing to the animals, wagons, and dinner, which isn’t great but is better than the turnips they’ve been living off of on the road…]
After they had eaten, the men loitered over their ale pots, and Aunt Pol’s face registered her disapproval. “Garion and I are going up to bed now,” she said to them. “Try not to fall down too many times when you come up.”
Wolf, Barak, and Silk laughed at that, but Durnik, Garion thought, looked a bit shamefaced.
So Zubrette’s hat was to be a sexy temptress who lies as easily as she breathes and Polgara’s hat appears to be that she is openly contemptuous of just about everyone and everything because there is nothing in this world that can meet her standards and she generally disapproves of everything. So far all the named women are two-dimensional, which bodes ill for any other women that we are going to meet later.
Despite Polgara’s negativity about the men drinking, the narrative doesn’t mention anyone coming to bed drunk, and Wolf and Silk are off early in the morning to do business. Garion tries to get himself invited along, but nobody bites, and so he instead has a conversation with Durnik about how strange everything is. Durnik, being a simple man (who it is becoming much clearer is very much in love with Polgara, validating early Garion’s belief that Polgara and Durnik should marry), says “It’s probably better for simple folk such as you and I not to ask too many questions, but to keep our eyes and ears open.”, which, y’know, seems like good advice if what Garion wants is to avoid being given additional chores by Polgara every time he asks a question, but doesn’t actually do anything at all toward getting him in a position to understand everything that he’s going to be asked to do.
Garion, being a smart boy, realizes that he’s alone in the presence of another adult who might have a clue about his origins, and asks Durnik what he knows.
“Durnik,” Garion asked, “did you know my parents?”
“No,” Durnik said. “The first time I saw you, you were a baby in Mistress Pol’s arms.”
“What was she like then?”
“She seemed angry,” Durnik said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone quite so angry. She talked with Faldor for a while and then went to work in the kitchen—you know Faldor. He never turned anyone away in his whole life. At first she was just a helper, but that didn’t last too long. Our old cook was getting fat and lazy, and she finally went off to live with her youngest daughter. After that, Mistress Pol ran the kitchen.”
“She was a lot younger then, wasn’t she?”
“No,” Durnik said thoughtfully. “Mistress Pol never changes. She looks exactly the same now as she did that first day.”
I’m sur eit only seems that way,” Garion said. “Everybody gets older.”
“Not Mistress Pol,” Durnik said.
Which, of course, is a clue to the reader that Aunt Pol is not what she appears to be, and that she might be one of those time-untouched sorcerers. Again, it’s sufficiently obvious to a trope-informed reader that we’re really doing this for Garion’s sake, since he doesn’t have the benefit of knowing the prologue. But if we were really doing this for Garion’s sake, I feel like we should be trying harder to maintain the dramatic irony and only pull back to the wider narrative arc once Garion knows the information that irrefutably makes this more than a story about a farm boy.
Also, it goes unremarked-upon that Polgara was very angry when she came to the farm (a trait that she seems to have retained out of the resentment of having to raise Garion), but also there’s this “our cook was getting fat and lazy, so we were all happy when she retired to the countryside,” which, um, I know that running a kitchen is not actually a thing where you mostly give orders to everyone and enjoy seeing them all work underneath you, but what, exactly, qualifies as “lazy” cooking when you’re feeding an entire farm’s worth of people several meals a day, plus or minus trifles, bread, and other such things that might be needed throughout the day? And how does this get traced back to the head of the kitchen being lazy? Wouldn’t it be far more likely that some underling would be found to be at fault and not working hard enough to meet impossible standards, and they would be dismissed instead? It doesn’t ring true to me that any cook who could successfully pull off the feeding of Faldor’s farm on a daily basis would be anywhere near a definition of lazy. Plus, I would have thought that the idea of a fat cook is a benefit, not a detriment, because that means the cook is probably tasting, sampling, and otherwise making sure the food is correctly prepared. (Also, running a kitchen when 90% of the labor required has to be done by hand, and the other 10% has to be done by hand to get the fuel so the ovens can run would presumably mean that if there’s mass being added to the cook, it’s probably musculature.) All of this is to say, I can believe the cook getting old and a replacement being needed for her, because she’s slowing down too much to be able to keep up with the demands of the kitchen (which would be perfectly fine for her to then retire with her youngest daughter), and it’s possible that all of the time she’s spent building muscle is no longer being maintained as muscle because she’s slowed down to the point where she can’t keep up with the pace of the kitchen, but “fat” and “lazy” are both pejoratives that say something about the speaker rather than about the cook. Now, since we know Durnik has the hots for Polgara, is this an intentional author choice to show Durnik’s prejudice in favor of Polgara? Almost assuredly not, but it would be a good author that made those words as a deliberate choice to hint at the reader that Durnik’s perspective is not as neutral as he claims it to be or that Garion thinks it is.
Speaking of the plot, it turns out that Darine has no trace of the thief, so they’ll have to go to Muros. Which means they have to dump the turnip wagons and haul something else so they don’t appear particularly memorable to any following Murgos. Garion asks to accompany Silk on his quest to dump the turnips, and Aunt Pol agrees, thinking it won’t do any harm and will allow her to get some errands done.
Whereupon Silk cheerfully explains to Garion the business of doing business. We find out that Garion may not have been taught his numbers all that well, nor currency exchange rates, as when Silk lays out that a hundredweight of turnips will sell for a Drasnian silver coin (which is apparently close enough to a Tolnedran silver coin, the imperial, for the exercise), but their merchant will try to buy it from them for only half of that at most, Garion has trouble computing that their thirty hundredweight will net them fifteen silver coins, which, at least if they’re Tolnedran, will result in three gold coins (gold crowns), setting the current exchange rate at five imperials to one crown. (Gold, of course, is preferable to silver, because fewer coins means less weight to carry around.)
Silk also tells Garion that they bought the turnips for five imperials, which makes Garion unhappy that the farmer gets five, the middle-person gets fifteen, and the merchant gets thirty. Silk shrugs and says that’s capitalism for you (although not in those words). Silk also mentions there’s going to be a lot of lying between himself and the merchant, and that it’s customary to do so, and that no matter what Silk says, nor what attention the merchant pays to him, Garion should not show surprise, because supposedly, flattering the child is supposed to help the merchant gain an advantage.
“You’re going to lie?” Garion was shocked.
“It’s expected,” Silk said. “He’ll lie too. The one of us who lies the best will get the better of the bargain.”
“It all seems terribly involved,” Garion said.
“It’s a game,” Silk said, his ferretlike face breaking into a grin. “A very exciting game that’s played all over the world. Good players get rich and bad players don’t.”
“Are you a good player?” Garion asked.
“One of the best,” Silk replied modestly. “Let’s go in.”
I’m not sure I can effectively articulate my contempt for Silk’s attitude here, but I also live in a society where treating all of this as a game has resulted in disparities of wealth of the kind that Silk might be able to imagine, and would probably approve of, even though the ugly underside of all of this is that the farmers get screwed while the merchants and nobles play this game.
I think this also touches a nerve because there’s so much evidence around in this time, almost thirty years after publication, that the people who are obscenely wealthy do treat money and the livelihoods of others as if it were a game, because after a certain point of wealth, it’s just numbers to keep score with, rather than any sort of material improvement of someone’s life, and those numbers could be used to make the lives of others materially better, if only there were the will to do so among those that have bought their way into government.
I have a feeling that soviet-style communism would be really popular among the farmers and creators of the products that the merchants then sell at profit all around the world. Yes, even though this is being written in a time before the Great Politics Mess-Up. Belgarath seems to be the person most opposed to this capitalist reality, but I suspect he would be able to exist outside of it if he wanted to.
They go into the merchant’s house, and the scenario plays out exactly as Silk described it beforehand, but Garion is smart enough to play his role and to notice when Silk and the merchant start waving their hands around as they talk, and then eventually, the business is concluded without there appearing to have been any deal struck verbally. Garion points this out, Silk says there was plenty of conversation going on if Garion was paying attention, and Garion mentions that he saw the hands moving, but didn’t know what to make of it.
“That’s how we spoke,” Silk explained. “It’s a separate language my countrymen devised thousands of years ago. It’s called the secret language, and it’s much faster than the spoken one. It also permits us to speak in the presence of strangers without being overheard. An adept can conduct business while discussing the weather, if he chooses.”
“Will you teach it to me?” Garion asked, fascinated.
“It takes a long time to learn,” Silk told him.
“Isn’t the trip to Muros likely to take a long time?” Garion suggested.
Silk shrugged. “As you wish,” he said. “It won’t be easy, but it’ll help pass the time, I suppose.”
Silk is a better parent than Polgara is, although that’s not a high bar to clear, but when Polgara was suggesting that hanging out with him wouldn’t do any harm, I think that’s pretty much the opposite of what’s going to happen here, because not only is Garion going to learn a whole lot about the “game” of capitalism, he’s going to learn the secret language of the capitalists themselves. If there was anything that was going to wreck that perfect innocence of the farmboy and teach him all sorts of bad habits, I would say this would be the thing that would do it, much more than hanging out with Wolf in houses of vice. But, of course, I’m also someone who might have a critical perspective with regard to unchecked capitalism.
The remainder of the chapter involves Silk going to another merchant to try and get a contract to move goods with the wagons to the place where they’re trying to go. This is complicated by the presence of a Murgo at the merchants, but unlike the two previous Murgos, while this one is still scarred on the face, he’s actually got a name! (It’s Asharak of Rak Goska.) Less good for the protagonists, he also knows Ambar of Kotu on sight and has some indelicate questions for him, like why he’s still alive despite having a very large bounty for his head.
Silk laughed easily. “A minor understanding, Asharak,” he said. “I was merely investigating the extent of Tolnedran intelligence gathering activities in your kingdom. I took some chances I probably shouldn’t have, and the Tolnedrans found out what I was up to. The charges they leveled at me were fabrications.”
“How did you manage to escape?” Asharak asked. “The soldiers of King Taur Urgas nearly dismantled the kingdom searching for you.”
“I chanced to meet a Thullish lady of high station,” Silk said. “I managed to prevail upon her to smuggle me across the border into Mishrak ac Thull.”
“Ah,” Asharak said, smiling briefly. “Thullish ladies are notoriously easy to prevail upon.”
“But most demanding,” Silk said. “They expect full repayment for any favors. I found it more difficult to escape from her than I did from Cthol Murgos.”
“Do you still perform such services for your government?” Asharak asked casually.
“They won’t even talk to me,” Silk said with a gloomy expression. “Ambar the spice merchant is valuable to them, but Ambar the poor wagoneer is quite another thing.”
“Of course,” Asharak said, and his tone indicated that he obviously did not believe what he was told.
This is very bro talk, bro, let me tell you about my exploits, bro, and it is presumably just as much a game as the merchant talk is, because Asharak doesn’t believe a word of it and Silk has no inclination to tell him anything like the truth. Which makes it an interesting choice that the two of them apparently agree that Thull women are easy enough to seduce and have a voracious appetite for sex. And, if I recall correctly, the Thulls are also dark-skinned, so what we have here is a stereotype about sexually insatiable women of color, but who are also clingy and want to make sure any man they’ve caught stays with them. This book is doing its very best to make us all hate it.
Right after this exchange between Asharak and Silk, Asharak looks casually at Garion, and Garion knows without knowing why that Asharak is the cloaked man on the horse that he’s been seeing all his life (the one that doesn’t cast any shadow), which probably explains why this Murgo has a name and more than just a bit part in the story. It also allows the reader to partake in some dramatic irony, as Silk confidently says that he knows that Asharak is up to something, and Asharak knows he’s up to something, but unless their paths cross, they’ll stay out of each other’s way and not interfere, because they’re “professionals.” Now might be a good time for Garion to mention that he thinks the two of them might be crossing paths again sometime soon, but he doesn’t mention it at all.
Silk also complains that the merchant that gives him a contract to move hams from one place to another should have offered ten silver nobles, not seven, and when Garion asks about why he insisted on Tolnedran coins instead of Sendarian ones, Silk says they’re purer silver, so the coins are worth more, and the chapter ends with Silk starting his instruction in the secret language to Garion as they roll out of Darine. I’m sure someone somewhere has measured the relative purity of the silver in the coins and then published it. I would assume whichever country ranked lowest on that list has their own report that ranks someone else lowest, and so forth. Although, in this world, it seems like there would be an agreement among the non-Angaraks to always rank Angarak coin as being of the least purity and value, since they’re predisposed to hate all the people that might worship Torak.
Having spent a little time mostly so that Garion can have some new experiences and meet the Murgo who he believes is the one that’s been pursuing him all this time, we’ll go back on the road for next week.