- "All stories are true. But this one really happened, if that's what you mean."
- ―Skarpi to Kvothe
Skarpi is a thus far minor character in the text, though his role is implied to be of importance in the future of the main character, Kvothe.
Skarpi is described as a thin and weathered man with thick white hair on his arms, face, and head. He has a deep, dark tan and is very old when compared to the fifteen-year-old Kvothe. He is said to have "eyes like diamonds and the body of a driftwood scarecrow." Kote, in the frame story, considers him a rumor monger.
In The Chronicle
Skarpi enters Kvothe's narrative in Tarbean, as an eccentric old man who tells stories and has a long running bet that no one can think of a story to request he hasn't heard or knows. Kvothe finds him in Dockside and asks for the story of Lanre. After hearing the story, Kvothe speaks with Skarpi who asks him to come hear stories again on another night. Kvothe makes his way to Dockside again and enters during the story of the Ruach, Tehlu's ascendance, and the formation of the Order Amyr. Skarpi is then arrested for heresy by a Tehlin Justice named Erlus. Skarpi does not seem much put out by his own arrest, and addresses Erlus as though he knows him well. As he is taken away, he tells Kvothe not to worry about him, but to run away. Curiously, Skarpi addresses Kvothe by name, despite Kvothe never having given it.
Though Skarpi has not made a second appearance in the chronicle yet, his character has offered the most information on the fringe folkloric groups Kvothe seeks to investigate throughout the narration. However, whether these stories are historically accurate accounts has yet to be proven. Some dispute to these events were suggested at during a song that was commissioned by Master Ash and written by Denna.
Sometime between the events of The Wise Man's Fear and Kvothe establishing himself as Kote at the Waystone Inn, Skarpi and Chronicler seem to have become acquainted. He was apparently instrumental in discovering the rumor of Kvothe, and subsequently sending Chronicler to speak with Kote in the frame story.
Skarpi is also mentioned at the beginning of The Name of the Wind when Chronicler is robbed. Chronicler plans to meet up with Skarpi after taking down Kvothe's story.
Many fans also believe that when Skarpi called Kvothe's name during their final meeting, he really called Kvothe's true name.
Some also suspect that Skarpi is Selitos, one of the original Amyr, and ruler of Myr Tariniel. Fans of this theory cite Skarpi's language while telling the story of Lanre and speaking of the other original Amyr as support.
Some suspect that Skarpi is the Cthaeh supported by the thread of logic that he talks to Kvothe and by sending him on a path away from Tarbean he is responsible for everything that followed.
Some even suspect that Skarpi is Tarbolin, seeing as he addresses everyone by their names as he knows their past and knows them truly, suggesting he knows all the names much like Tarbolin is described to do. His old age would add to this.