3 hours ago
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The head of Thraug was a fixture along the narrow peninsula that bore his name, Thraug’s Neck. Popular superstition held that the head was good luck--certainly its original owner would have agreed it was better to have it than not. Unfortunately, for the eponymous merman (or merrow, some say), his luck ran out the day he quarrelled with Jarus Shanck, one-time assassin turned landowner.
Opinions differ as to what precipitated the violent encounter, but historians and folklore agree that Jarus Shanck never did require much excuse for murder. His preservation of his opponent's head in jar of alcohol is also viewed as in keeping with his macabre sense of whimsy.
Shanck gave the head to a henchman who made it the centerpiece of a tavern he opened. And so began Thraug’s vigil: watching unblinking through smoke-smudged glass as those around him pickled themselves from inside out. Some strange magic kept the merman’s head alive and he was said to speak prophecy--usually the ultimate fate of the person listening. He could be enticed to answer specific questions at times, though his answers were circumlocutious. Other times his utterances were merely pained observations on the fickleness of fate and the ephemeralness of this world, which listeners never failed to find insightful and moving.
More than one aged barkeep will tell you (with a nostalgic gleam in his eye) that a few words from ol’ Thraug were always good for another round.