Observations on a Reluctant Hero

First of all, I’ve got to tell you this. You know, in the stories, when the person goes “gosh, I’ve never seen that door / gate / path before!” and then they go down it and you—the viewer— are all like “Holy shit! Don’t do it! You know it won’t turn out well!”

Well… it’s all horseshit.

I was going from my gaming couch to the kitchen.

The kitchen’s technically in another room. It’s not like there’s a door to the kitchen but there is a door jam.

That technically, clinically, classically, makes it a threshold.

God-damned fucking threshold.

And I was busy thinking about what I wanted to snack on. Not where I was going.

So, again technically, that means I crossed a threshold too distracted to know where it led.

And that’s how I ended up in this shitty fantasy world.

I was just looking for flour. That’s how it started. But it turns out some unnameable horror had taken up position in the fields and I had to deal with that before anyone was willing to harvest anything. Lured it into a flour mill and blew it up. I ended up with the locals offering me an annual allotment of heritage wheat that they’d ship to me pretty much anywhere in the world, so there’s that.

But it wasn’t just flour that I needed, so I had to deal with the Rowan next, which is the fancy name for a bunch of herders and also the name of a tree, I guess. And for them, I had to take down these clawed, winged gaunt faceless humanoid things that kept popping up at night and grabbing their cow-analogue-beast-of-burden-herd-critters. Guess the nasties had never encountered nets before. Or a bolo. After that, though, the Rowan promised me an annual allotment of milk. Problem though — none of them knew how to make cheese. Not a single damned herder. Which, I had to grab Sneed for — he was the only Rowan who helped me out with the night gaunts — so I could teach him how to become a cheesemonger. We ended up using a dung fire, and that was a hell of an experience, the juice of some nasty lemon-analogue that was apparently some sort of weird-ass root vegetable? And the rennet from one of their animal’s stomach and holy hell that was an argument just getting him to try it. Salt and milk and a couple of batches later and I had the white cheese I wanted.

Left Sneed to practice his cheesy craft to go find the other stuff I needed and that’s how I ended up taking out the necro-wizard Karthanan so I could get access to his poison garden. Just a piece of advice, here: don’t leave the acid pit you use to dispose of failed experiments out in the open where anyone could use it. I mean… seriously, people, learn about a little thing called security. Anyways, afterward I raided his poison garden. True facts, people called it the poison garden but really most of it was herbs and other strong tasting items to hide the flavor of the two or three really poisonous plants that were in there. They thought I was nuts when I came out with what they called knyflok, devil’s apple, and the fruit of a tree that they simply called lampberry. Crazy or not, they promised to ship me an allotment of it annually to wherever I wanted it sent.

I had to free the forest from the Goblin Keen before I could get wild marjoram and the kind of mushrooms that didn’t make me hallucinate for a solid week. The little bastard was wily as all hell but didn’t really understand the concept of a spiked pit trap very well.

The Rowan were way too protective of their animals for the next step so I was forced to go to the port city of Helm’s Hollow and ended up attracting the attention of the Tyrant King and his horrid collection of mer-mercenaries that didn’t, in the end, take too kindly to liberal application of salt, which was one of the things I was searching for there. I had to teach them how to make lucanica—their term for it, not mine—having to show them how to use the intestines, fennel, and all. And ever after the step by step being clearly explained to them, they were highly suspect of the final product until I got sick of their bullshit and made them an omelet with what someone assured me was dragon eggs. That changed their minds quick enough that I taught them how to make soppressata too, using some nitrate from a local cave (they had no idea what that was or how useful it was), paprika, and a black pepper analogue which, I might add, was a pain to find until I realized they were using it as a low-grade insect repellent. Still, I knew the process of curing and aging soppressata would take time so I left them to find the last needed bit.

And I got it.

All of the pieces together to make the snack I wanted.

As a side note, I really don’t understand why all of these people keep calling me a hero.

All I really wanted was the same damn food I was going to get before I got hijacked to this lo-fi fantasy crap.

I suppose it doesn’t matter though, because they got me the flour, the cheese, the salt, the lampberry oil, the devil’s apples, the spices (knyflok, marjoram, pepper), soppresetta, mushrooms and lucanica as toppings.

I just needed to kill the dragon.

Which I did. Turns out the right combination of spices (like, oh, knyflok and certain peppers) and an unexpected ice bath are exactly what a dragon doesn’t want to encounter in rapid succession.

And with that, I used the last of it’s flame to heat the Evercoal, which is burning eternally at about 900 degrees.

Got the clay oven made. Got some good wood shoved in there.

My food should be ready in 10 minutes.

I’m so looking for to it.

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