The first of two non-Darwin's World advanced classes.
Imagine the world after the apocalypse. Most cities are small settlements, all alone in the wilderness, besieged by murderers, mutants and disease. Traveling over the horizon is a heroâ€™s journey that few survivors ever make, and even fewer ever return from. The neighboring village, just a few miles down river, might as well be another country.
Medical care is non existent. You may die from an infected scratch, or succumb to a water moccasinâ€™s bite, or a slaverâ€™s knife, or bleed to death during childbirth. If your village is lucky, one or two of the villagers knows basic first aid, or has a small and dwindling supply of penicillin and oxy.
News and entertainment is a thing of the past. Most people in your village have no idea what lies over the next ridge, and rely on rumor and guesswork to piece together an image of the post-apocalyptic world. There are no satellites in the sky, no functioning cell phone towers, and the only thing on the radio is the lonely beep and click of an automatic beacon somewhere out West.
When a good storyteller arrives in town, or a puppet master, itâ€™s a national holiday all over again. When somebody comes with truthful and genuine news about whatâ€™s going on in the next town over, or the next state, itâ€™s like the Oscars. When the familiar old midwife or leech rolls into town, making his regular circuit, the village cheers, and lines up for hours waiting for a chance to have their hurts healed. Now imagine there is a man or a woman, somebody ordinary, somebody who looks just like you or me, and she can heal with a touch, or sing a lyric that knits broken bones together again. Imagine thereâ€™s a singer with a voice so sweet she can make you forget about the hunger gnawing at your belly, or even betterâ€¦. Remember the world before. The minstrelâ€™s song can let you see the face of friends who died years ago, remember a pleasant day before the world ended. How do you think your village would react to the rumor that a Memory Singer is walking her slow meandering walk towards your village and that she may stop in the village for a nightâ€™s rest?