The Fourth Wise Man
The Fourth Wise Man
Book No.
Short Story 5
Publication Date
Main Character
Talian Setting
Preceded By
Followed By
N/A [1]

The Fourth Wise Man is the corresponding short story to City of Ships.[2] The short story is about Baldassare, a mosaic maker.


Baldassare, a mosaic maker in Classe, is chosen to decorate the aspe of the newly completed church dedicated to the Nativity of the Lord. He creates a scene depicting the Nativity, with the Holy Family, the shepherds, and the three wisemen, and an archangel. Because of how gloriously the images must be depicted, Baldassare must account for an extraordinary quantity of silver tesserae.

The mosaic takes five years to carry out, with the three wisemen being left for last. When Baldassare hears that the Reman Emperor will come to Classe to dedicate the church and see Baldassare's work for himself, Baldassare runs into a stroke of bad luck. He runs out of silver tesserae before completing the mosaic and his latest shipment has been stolen by pirates. The Mosaic Master desperately searches for more silver tesserae to complete his mosaic, especially since the one of the three kings has been designed in the image of the Reman Emperor wearing the Talian Imperial Crown.

Baldassare manages to acquire enough silver tiles to complete everything but the diamond in the Imperial Crown just as the Emperor's chamberlain arrives in the city a week before the Emperor's visit. Sympathetic to Baldassare's plight, the chamberlain promises to come up with a solution before the Emperor sees the mosaic. When the chamberlain returns the day before the Emperor arrives, Baldassare is stunned to see the chamberlain has brought a copy of the Imperial Crown for Baldassare to use in the mosaic.

During the imperial visit, the Emperor praises Baldassare's mosaic and everyone marvels at the diamond in the king's crown, which soon becomes famous in far and wide. Baldassare eventually obtains the silver tesserae needed to complete the mosaic and returns the fake crown to the chamberlain, but even hundreds of years later people continue to remark upon the realism of the "diamond" in the crown even though it looks no different from the rest of the mosaic.


  • Baldassare, known in history as the "Mosaic Master," whose origins became obscure over time, but reknown for his talent and the beautiful mosaics he created.
  • The Chamberlain of the Reman Emperor, who helps Baldassare in his most desperate hour of need.
  • The Reman Emperor, whom Baldassare uses as a model for one of the three wisemen in the mosaic. He is described as a compassionate man, though Baldassare's incomplete mosaic is unlikely to go unnoticed.

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  1. The Fourth Wise Man is only online, it has never been published, so it does not have an ISBN

The Series
City of Masks · City of Stars · City of Flowers · City of Secrets · City of Ships · City of Swords
Short Stories
A Talian Tale · A Sting in the Tail · An Impossible Task · Sugar Fox · The Fourth Wise Man · Under the Walls