As I sit here looking out my third-story window in a cushy Jordheim office building, watching the bustle of the street below and listening to the vendors hawk their wares, I marvel at how far Midgard has come in such a short time. But at times like this, I ask myself, has it really come so far? And what have we lost in the process?
Why, it seems like only yesterday that I was growing up on a farm near the spot where Audliten now stands. Ah, that was the life. Getting up at 2 am to fend off the daily tomte raids; sharpening the pick-axe to crack through the hard, salty earth in hopes of coaxing a seed into a tiny sprout; walking fifteen miles to the muddy stream for water, and dodging the wandering undead on the way back; eating one meal a day of steamed grubs and stink root soup; then back to bed at midnight. I could barely sleep those two hours a night, in anticipation of the next day's toil.
Back then, we knew what we stood for! You didn't get married out of some silly notion of romance, you took a wife because that way you could kill twice as many of those damned tomtes before they ate all the tomatoes! You had to have 27 children just to carry on the family name, what with the plagues, starvation, drought, divine wrath, locusts, the clap, smallpox, bigpox, sheep pox, sheep attacks, exploding sheep, tomtes, lightning... and we wouldn't have had it any other way.
Civilization has taken all the fun out of life. Riding around on horses instead of ten-day hikes to see my cousin Brangdin? Clothing that fits and isn't full of moth holes and blood stains? A life expectancy beyond 23? Sometimes I don't even recognize the world I'm living in anymore.
My only consolation is knowing that, at any time, the gods may rain down fire and death, or the demons may issue forth from Darkness Falls and scourge the land, or perhaps a wave of crippling disease will descend from the north and strike down two-thirds of our people. At least I can take some comfort in that.