THE MACANTI (FAKE-MAGE)

DESCRIPTION  - MYTH/LORE

"Macanti" (the plural form being identical with the singular) is a common Tharian derogatory term refering to people, who try to make others believe that they are endowed with magical powers, either natural ones or acquired, without offical acknowledgement. Mostly in fact there actually don't exist any magical powers at such people, which hold a closer investigation, although there are some exceptions. "Magical powers" can be seen here in the vague sense of the words, ranging from direct medical help through body contact, to selling (fake) healing potions until playing tricks in general in front of an audience. Mostly Macanti are not much more than swindlers, trying to gain profit. Other terms to describe the Macanti are charlatan, mountebanks or quacksalver. The term "Macanti" either derives directly from the Tharian "mage", or from a fake healer known as Maccân, who lived sometime in the third century a.S.

Description. As "Macanti" is a derogative term, it fails to discern the two groups of quasi-mages - those, who actually aren't magically talented at all and those who are: the money-makers and swinlders and those with dilettantish magical skills, the so-called Gifted.

You may find both varieties of Macanti on a crowded marketplace, doing disappearing tricks, make hands glow or start little fireworks. You might also see them selling potions, ballyhooing "enchanted" amulets and prophecying the future. Or you might pick up strange stories about people with some sort of unexplainable "gift" at the next inn you're visiting - some of these things you can hear there could be exaggerated, others not. It is often very difficult to decide what kind of person a Macanti actually is if you come across one in your travels, so it is definitely advised to be cautious when associating with any of these persons. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. It isn't known for sure where the Tharian term "Macanti" originates from. Some scholars, versed in Tharian etymology, prefer the version that "Macanti" is a twisted word for "Mage" or "Magician". They claim that people of the first centuries after Santhros may have refered to pseudo-mages often as "Magacans" or "Magkacks" (note the very rough, originally dwarven word "kack" for "extrements" contained here). In the course of time the usage of these words could have led to the development of a new, shorter term like "Macak" and finally "Macant", being more a diminuitve term than a swear word eventually. It is also plausible that the scholarly renaissance in the early 9th century, which had an effect in some modifications of the Tharian tongue, could have added the more intellectual sounding plural "i", thus completing the word to the current version, "Macanti". However, this plural form should from now on also be used in the singular for some reason, probably because the public had problems with this new plural which the more intellectual people perfered. However, this is just a theory of course.

Another possibility, which is more broadly accepted, is the linking of the word "Macanti" to Maccân of Klinsor, a dubious Manthrian healer to say the least. Though the researcher, the Nethorian cleric Quaniung, who wrote the most detailed analysis on Maccân, is seen himself as a quite questionable figure today, he was at least a contemporary of Maccân, the self-assigned "healer-mage". Quaniung's admittedly very subjective statements should suffice though for our purposes to illustrate the typical Macanti. Here's what Quaniung wrote about Maccân:

"By the Twelve and the Horned One! This weirdling indeed brings the sick first, who aren't sick at all, to make them healthy again, and then he makes the healthy poor! I can't believe it, if I hadn't seen it myself! - Well, to understand my anger, picture this:

First I see this wench dancing at the 'Red Herrings' tavern in Dasai. Well, she was nice to look at, no doubt, that's why I remembered her. A Black Rover lass for sure, can't say I'd like these folks. They will do anything for a silverbard or two, as I soon should be confirmed.

Travelling back to Antiragon a week later, I found that this guy, "Maccân the Healer" as he used to insult himself, had brought this wench with him, the same lousy wench I've seen back then in Dasai. Well, folks told me that he said that he had picked her up somewhere on his way from Marcogg and that she was nearly dying and hadn't long to live anymore. Yeah, and my name is King Santhros!

Well, and I see him there, talking like an elf, doing stuff he calls meditating (ridiculous, really!), then touching the wench on head, arms and breasts (ah well, he probably thought, if I pay her already, some fondling needs to be in as well), and miraculously miss Black Rover is cured instantly... Heh... And these dumb farmers don't see that the great Maccân just lured them in their trap! Instead they shout "Ahhhh!" and "Ohhhh!" and wholeheartedly agree that their wife's breasts are the next ones to be touched! For healing purposes, for sure! And *cling* another bard goes into his pocket! - Grabber! Lier! Swindler! Charlatan!

Believe me, I could tell them what I wanted, them dumb Antiragons, but they obviously all had too much money. The next day he was gone, along with his wench. And again, believe it or not - while some would have liked to slit the guy's throat, others claimed to feel better, 'healed' by the great mage! Kuatuskulls all, I say!"

-- "Healing Practices here and there, but not necessarily everywhere" Observations by Quaniung, published in the Yearbook 289 of the Nehtorian Community, p. 77 f.
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Well, it is reported that Quaniung warned people everywhere from this Maccân of Klinsor and finally tried to hunt him down himself when the Manthrian administration failed to get hold of him. If he succeeded is not known, at least the above - not very scholarly written - text remained the last productive contribution of Quaniung for the Nehtorian Community in Marcogg. Rumour has it, that Quaniung either was dispatched by his adversary or that he even teamed up with Maccân and left Manthria to make a fortune with such practises somewhere else (that's what very mean thinking people say).

What has remained of Quaniung, however, is this fervent article he wrote. It was not only published in the Nehtorian Community Yearbook of 289, but found its way also to the streets and taverns to serve as a warning of the practices stated therein. And from there it is supposed, that the term "Macanti" eventually originated.
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