First discovered by explorers in the Eirbrivian Sectors of the Azura Mines, Banter Scarves have quickly become the latest absurd fad among the upper-class society of Iganefta and the surrounding area. The scarves, also known as Polyhue scarves, change color based on the quality of the wearer’s repartee. When not involved in verbal exchange, the scarves appear as purest white. As soon as conversation is joined, they change to a deep reddish hue, which will slowly work its way up through the spectrum to violet if the converser’s retorts and witticisms are consistently clever enough. At the end of the bantering, the colors of the scarves of those involved is compared, and the owner of the purplest scarf is declared the winner. In some cases, if a scarf-wearer’s dialogue is pathetic enough – a single use of “I know you are, but what am I?” is usually enough to provoke this – the scarf will turn pitch black in indignation, and the offender is considered “out” of the discussion.
The greatest possible comeback rated by a Banter Scarf was supposedly made by Kebonston Lefkrane, who reputedly made his own scarf turn such a brilliant ultraviolet that he had a tan line on his neck for weeks. The fact that the actual remark has been completely forgotten, despite its incredible potency, casts doubt on the factuality of the claim, as does the fact that Kebonston lived way back in –1648EC and Banter Scarves were only just discovered in –6EC. Theoalchemists studying these scarves have determined that the originally discovered scarves are, in fact, able to produce this effect, but at the time this article is being written, no reliable record of a witticism strong enough to turn a scarf ultraviolet exists.
Although Banter Scarves are quite definitely artificial in nature, it is unclear exactly how, why, when or by whom the discovered examples were made. Some people suggest that the Alezanians were involved, which would extend their territory far beyond the original theorized area. These people have yet to produce a single shred of evidence that would implicate the Alezanians in any way, but the possibility remains.
In any case, the exact process remains unknown, and while progress has been made in duplicating the artifacts, no attempt to perfectly reproduce the originals has proven successful. Some feeble imitations have been created, which have been known to reach color levels as high as greenish-blue, but have a nasty tendency to spontaneously combust after their maximum level of color has been reached. A local Banter Scarf Reproducer had this to say on the current progress of the effort: "We're still trying."
In the mean time, members of high society have had to make do with the limited supply, although more scarves are being discovered as the Eirbrivian Sectors are explored to greater depth.
An average Banter Scarf is 1 nanit wide and 7 or 8 nanits long, although length can vary from as long as 20 nanits to the clearly unwearable half-nanit long scarf. Contrary to popular belief, they have nothing to do with the Housewives And Nannies' Debatory Banter Association of Ghyll, and no matter what Aliens Everywhere magazine may claim, no proof has been uncovered that they are a brilliant form of mind control developed by said association.
--Dfaran L'Eniarc 18:52, 24 May 2005 (EDT)