You know, yes you, YOU know that sometimes you wish for a fantasy life. To live in a beautiful, magical, wonderful, did I mention magical, pseudo-medieval-world, and attend a comfy mage school somewhere, and then go save the world – from behind a brave warrior with more hit points.
But you know what? You’re wrong.
You’re incredibly wrong, and I know. I have four words for you: leaves, rocks, straw, rags and soap. Four of which we have too much of, and one of which was have exactly the wrong sort of. I say ‘we’ because I speak from the perspective of someone living the dream you wish you were living, and by ink and quill, it’s not what you think it is.
Leaves: Leaves have far too many uses around here. Especially in the form of personal hygiene. You need a band-aide? You get a leaf. You need insect repellent? You get a leaf. You need air freshener? You get a leaf, or, for variety, a burning leaf. You need toilet paper? You get a leaf. You won’t like the leaf, either. It’s not a quilted northern leaf, let me tell you.
Rocks: Rocks are everywhere. Especially if you are on a campaign to save the world. Rocks mysteriously appear under you, whenever you attempt to plough a field, sit down and/or sleep. It’s rather amazing. Magi have studied it for years and are baffled at the spontaneous creation of matter which only seems to happen with rocks, enemy soldiers, and/or occasionally poison ivy.
Straw: Straw is not comfortable. Straw smells, itches, moulds, rots, sticks up pointy-bits in all the worst places you can imagine, and is generally the bedding material of choice, because it is better than rocks, see above.
Rags: Once a month, you, if you happen to be of the female persuasion, get a very personal and intimate relationship with rags. Let us not discuss this any further.
Soap: Anything rendered from lard and ashes is just plain nasty when rubbed on the body and in the hair.
You sit there thinking you wish you were me, but really, you wish you were me only about 1% of the time – the “potentially beating up the foule goblins at a safe distance by using magic” portion of the time. And that 1% of the time is certainly fun, but the 99% of the time spent wandering around without internet connectivity, smelling of muck and horse and sweat and really bad soap, with no coffee and rarely tea, and even the small beer is beyond consumption because no one ever thought of the idea of a water filter… Well, you can romanticize it and say I don’t know any better but, dear reader, I do know better, for I am staring through the mists of time rolling my eyes at you. I know I have been shafted by having a medieval romantic life that is foot-sore and travel-weary and does not include nearly enough cosseted-up-in-the-corner-of-a-warm-and-not-very-smelly-cozy-homely-secluded-and-did-I-mention-warm-again-hut-reading-a-spellbook time.
So think twice about what you yearn for, and next time you invent a wonderful fantasy world, be sure to dream up some really brilliant soap.