Sunday, 13 January 2013

Travels around the Isles with Bobo Melf - Part 1

This adventure started with a question: what more can be written about our great and glorious Royal City?

It has already served as inspiration for countless writers, with its gleaming spires and dire hovels, its intoxicating aroma of expensive perfumes and raw excrement, and of course its people... oh, those fabulous people of every shape, size, colour and creed, all crammed in together and asked politely not to kill each other too often if they can possibly help it.

Yes, what more can be written about such a place that more gifted wordsmiths than I have not already put down on parchment?

My editor’s answer was quite unequivocal: nothing.

‘So go out into the world beyond the city walls,’ he said. ‘Tell our readers about the wondrous sights of our fair isles. Open their eyes to new cultures and traditions. Go where the common man cannot.’

‘But it’s dangerous out there!’ I replied. ‘There are orcs and goblins and dragons and manticores and giant spiders and harpies and vampires and troglodytes and trolls and sea monsters and lizardfolk and spectres and liches and werewolves and wraiths and--’

I went on like this for quite some time.

When I was done, my editor smiled brightly and said, ‘yes, which is why out there provides such rich and exciting subject matter for a self-motivated young writer with aspirations toward having a bag of silver coins dropped in his palm at the end of the month.’

‘But all those dangerous things I mentioned... they kill people. And I’m a people. Remember that article I did on the Church of Numerion, where they did their poking and their prodding and came up with all their horrible statistics to codify every aspect of my being? Do you remember how if you took my strength, stamina and constitution and added them all together the number you got barely counted as a number?’

‘Your point?’

‘What if I get killed out there?’ I may have uttered this retort in a voice several octaves above my usual register.

‘Don’t you worry about that. We’ll find a favoured cleric to resurrect you.’

‘And what then? I’ll be a twice cursed soul - living with the memories of a no doubt horrible and painful death and burdened with the knowledge that death probably won’t be any cheerier next time round.’

‘Would you rather we got a necromancer to bring you back as a zombie? You’d have none of this mental anguish to worry about and I doubt it’d make much difference to the quality of your copy.’

‘No, it’s okay. I’ll go with the twice cursed soul option.’

‘Great. You’re booked on a grain cart heading north out of Crosskey Square at six-thirty tomorrow morning.’

‘Couldn’t my expenses stretch to a horse?’

‘Favoured clerics don’t come cheap.’

So, dear reader, as my journey gets underway on this cold and misty morning aboard a cart fitted with what feels like square wheels, you can look forward to an illuminating account of all the Isles of Aebron have to offer in the weeks and months ahead, while I, it seems, can only look forward to hardship, terror and death. Possibly several deaths if I'm particularly unlucky.

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