Ask the Wizard – Take it to the Bridge
Thunder rumbles behind the great mountain, and so Ulesorin ascends. Soon the world-storm will come. Soon the barriers between your world and mine shall narrow until some brave soul with the courage and the puissance might fling a message through, fully formed. But what message could be worth risking life and limb ascending these demon-haunted mountains? What words would be worth braving a storm so mighty that it can rend the very planar barriers apart?
These words, my friends. These very words that you read with your dim mortal eyes were worth that trouble, for I, Ulesorin the Green, am nothing if not a keeper of my oaths. I have sworn that when your burden becomes too heavy and you need the wisdom of an ancient wizard to aid you I will appear with the guidance that you need, and so I have. Month on month. Throughout kobold-fumbled dragon-divorces, I have been here. Through the annihilation of my living furniture in an inexplicable inferno, I have been here. Through court-mandated community service, which apparently doesn’t count if all of the benefits are seen on another plane and not the one where you were convicted of trying to subvert the course of justice, I have been here!
And what reward to do I seek? Nothing but your improvement. So onwards, to the questioning!
Bruised Nose asks:
Of all the painfully real questions I could be asking, perhaps Ulesorin has some advice on staying awake while reading? I don’t know what it is these days, but no matter how much I want to read the book in my hands, I find my eyes closing before too long. Obviously, getting more sleep is out of the question – are there any remedies the great wizard recommends? Does he have any experience with such things?
Is there any area of magical study in which I do not have experience? Do you mean to insult me with such questions, as though I did not once remain conscious for a full three hundred and sixty-five days to study for my divination exams which I then slept through, failed and had to re-sit the following year?!
There are several simple solutions to your problem, varying from the dangerous to the lethal, but we can all agree that the pursuit of knowledge is a worthwhile ideal that requires an element of risk, so I am sure that you shall not shirk in your duties.
The first option is my personal favourite: stimulant potions. I have discovered that the brewing of certain stimulant potions that I once used during my academic years to be too much of a ponderous exercise now that I am in my dotage, so more often than not I merely prepare the ingredients using some variation of a razor-wind spell, then simply inhale them through my nostril so that they might mix within my innards and provide their invigorating effects.
The next option, ever more perilous, is to make better use of your familiar. By placing a salamander on the seat betwixt my legs, beneath my robes, I am stirred from my reverie and back to reading by a shower of sparks every time the beast shifts position. Most invigorating and certain to bring you back to the moment. If you were truly daring, you might attempt something similar with a more dangerous familiar, such as a cat. Though rather than merely mauling you at random intervals I have found that those most evil creatures are more prone to sitting upon the tome which you are reading and make a nuisance of themselves in that way.
The final, and most risky option, and one that I would not recommend for any but the most hearty of adventurers, is to take your book and travel to strange locales where familiarity cannot lull you into a slumberous stupor. Perhaps the local dungeon entrance where you might be set upon by craven kobold lawyers intent on filling your head with absolutely worthless advice at any moment. Perhaps a local forest through the hours of daylight. A step halfway up your tower. Or even the perilous heights of a seat by your kitchen table, where you must suffer minor discomfort, but will not be communicating to the weak mortal shell you inhabit that it is now nap time.
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*Disclaimer: All answers are provided for entertainment purposes only. It may not be in your best interests to follow advice provided by a 1794-year-old man who lives alone in a tower with nothing but the distant memories of past glories for company.