As if travel weren’t dangerous enough with bloodthirsty Tartars and vicious wolves, griffins, and bears hiding behind every corner, the hazard of illness is just as real and menacing a threat on your travels as any aforesaid beast. I have seen many a man set out on his travels healthy and eager to see the world only to die in the matter of a fortnight from an infected scratch, dropsy, colic, or Tartars. By luck, I have managed to survive long enough to learn a trick or two that just might save your skin if ailments try to disrupt your trip.
Mercury + Sulfur = Fast Relief
The alchemists of ancient Egypt once hoped to discover vast wealth by mixing noxious chemicals together to create massive piles of gold. Their efforts proved fruitless and the job of the miner remains unthreatened to this very day. Occasionally, and for some unknown reason (possibly a ritual), the ancients drank their strange concoctions and, through a system of trial and error, figured out which were highly toxic and which were capable of curing headaches. By the grace of their primitive, forgotten gods, we have inherited their great knowledge. Take it from a man who drinks this mixture three times a day, it works. I haven’t suffered a headache since my youth.
A Delicious Cure for Fever
So many times I have seen patients diagnosed with fever written off for dead and heartlessly thrown from windows, left to die in the snow, or catapulted into besieged settlements. Had I known what I learned on a recent trip to Malta, many lives could have been preserved. One of the members of my party fell ill and, just when we were about to throw him into a well and let him drown to death, a half-clad wandering madman appeared suggesting an unlikely solution. We covered the sick man in mud and placed him in a cask of honey up to his neck. We then closed the lid, sealed it, and provided three small air holes. Two days later, we removed the man, who was now in perfect health. Despite his remarkable recovery, he remained in low spirits and flung himself off a cliff a short time later.
It’s Worth the Delirium
During one of my many visits to the deserts of Arabia, I came down with a terrible case of the chills upon drinking from the paw print of a hyena. My guides explained that such a malady was bound to occur after such a mystical indiscretion. The only well-known cure was for me to slay a gorgon. Luckily, they were cognizant of a lesser-known remedy. Using their deadly hunting falcons, they captured a handful of ravens, then had me eat them raw, after which I became delirious. The next day, I felt noticeably better. Later, we took refuge at an oasis and they caught more ravens for me, but this time they caused little to no delirium and possibly worsened my chills. My guides then recalled that, to be effective, the ravens must have fed on vipers, and that in the open desert, vipers were their only source of food. After I had eaten more desert ravens, my chills soon abated, but I had taken a liking to the practice, and, to this day, I continue to dine on the raw flesh of ravens several times a week.
Once, while visiting the empire of Trebizond, I was struck by a sudden bout of rheumatism. Had I been in any of the less enlightened portions of Europe, I would have been treated by having a rundlet of blood drained from my veins and burning coals held beneath my feet.
Instead, I was taken to a lovely young witch who knotted a pinch of salt into one corner of the turban she had me wear and whispered spells for half an hour. Then a collection of cunning old women entered and, in the flickering shadows of over a hundred burning candles, made cryptic hand signals over my afflicted back while chanting incantations and performing the ritual pouring of wine into a cat’s saucer.
The rheumatism subsided in a matter of weeks. Even if you should find yourself in Trebizond in perfect health, I highly recommend seeking out this treatment, for the sheer enjoyment of seeing a drunken cat stumbling about.
The hazards of travel are enough to deter even the most stalwart tourist. Fortunately, the threats of illness and disease no longer need concern you. I, for instance, just cured myself of a rotten case of dropsy with a bramble poultice, and the call of adventure is ringing in my ears. With enough sulfur and mercury to last me several months, the only thing I have to worry about is Tartars … well, griffins, too.