I'm crying on the inside

In the second part of a regular series, Karen takes on Fantasy Life in a variety of 'lives' and documents her adventures. In addition to this series you can check out our review of the game.

*Last week I got my start in Castele and surrounding kingdoms as a hunter, which was nice for exploring the environments and improving ranged combat skills; yet after all of the fresh air and greens and browns of the forest (and a little bit of red, which I take full responsibility for), I found myself admiring the rich fabrics and varied hues of the city dwellers’ wardrobes with envy, and decided to put these trained and dextrous hands to work as a tailor.

On getting my tailor licence at the Guild Office I am presented with a hideously dull dress with a grey-green skirt, white bodice and matching grey-green piece of neck fabric which is meant to be some sort of tie to match. I realise that tailors are not supposed to upstage the clothes they make, but in this outfit I can foresee myself crying into my bolts of dandelion cotton on rainy days.

The tailoring trainer, Madam Purl, is the nicest and most well-adjusted teacher I’ve met so far in Castele and a veteran style professional. Modestly attiring herself in a green-grey dress and white apron, Madam Purl’s look is obviously coordinated to naturally draw attention to her undeniably large puff of pink hair. Really, it’s huge — I think she caught a few falling stars or stray polka dots in it. Her Plushling assistant, Spoolie, is similarly good-natured, helpful, and a lot more weird.

My fellow pupil Taylor is kind, hardworking, and has sufficient good taste to keep her abandonment issues mostly to herself; the proprietor of the Castele fashion boutique, Zippy, is always willing to help out a fellow pupil of Madam Purl’s. There’s another tailoring student in Port Puerto who may or may not like Zippy, but I’m trying to stay out of that drama against Taylor’s advice. After heroically barely assembling a ribbon-trimmed blouse for Zippy, Madam Purl turns me loose on the fashion scene to choose my path; be it creating cloth bolts, designing high fashion, or weaving carpets and stitching drapes.

In my travels around the West Grassy Plains last week I ran across the cottage of the retired hairdresser Florina, who offered her services when I became happy enough to be a client (which made me sad and a little angry to tell the truth). After evidencing enough of that certain unknowable and immeasurable quality (which is called ‘Bliss’ and awarded as points) she agreed to take me on as a client. With my new Life as a tailor in full swing a change in my appearance is certainly in order, so I prepare to risk travelling over land without a high-powered bow at my side. Armed only with a trainee’s sewing needle, my weapon has an effective range of maybe two centimetres and base damage that can be measured in annoyance. Fortunately, my trusty horse Thyme is fleet of hoof and I prove adept at instinctively running away from anything that moves. Arriving at Florina’s with nary a scratch and no longer locked in to my spiky tomboy ‘do, I say ‘sod it all’ and take a style cue from Madam Purl by getting myself some seriously big hair in a rich auburn colour, as befits a future master tailor like myself. When in Rome, expect to stitch up a few togas.

Absolutely drabulous

I call my new style ‘drabulous’ and set about running around Castele doing errands, buying materials, and improving my skills at the tailor’s workbench. Unfortunately, my attempt to create the next great trend in Castelean fashion appears to be failing, but the good news is that I’ve already used up all of my dandelion cotton bolts and crying into woven straw fabric seems more painful than it would be worth.

As I proceed in my training creating leisure and day wear in the Castelean style Madam Purl decides to expand my horizons by challenging me with some Port Puerto fashions for the seafarers and the nobles. In my training I’m still mostly ignoring the carpets and drapes because I plan on introducing a home fashion collection after I’ve peaked creatively. On the way to Port Puerto for some inspiration and kingdom-specific supplies I stop again at the nice hairdresser lady’s to talk to that odd flower thing on her table, which has kindly offered to eat some flowers and my clothing and spit the clothing back up in a different colour. Yes, I had an omelette this morning, why do you ask?

After getting the grey-green skirt dyed red I feel slightly less drabulous, but in Port Puerto I outfit myself in a nice suit of noble’s clothing in case some nearsighted baron needs some company for those long walks on the beach and doesn’t mind my accent. Wise to my scheme, Madam Purl dispatches me to the neighbouring desert kingdom of Al Maajik to get acquainted with having sand in places where sand had never been before while stitching a few things up for the locals. Al Maajik fashion is mostly light and breezy desert wear and imposing and mysterious mage’s robes, which is fine because I rather like purple. With the day nearly done I make myself a ball gown worthy of a princess and matching heels before retuning to Castele.

I feel pretty... and less confident

I may not be ready to début an elaborately staged collection at Castele Tailoring Week, but some of these new armour sets I can make will help me start out in other Lives. While staying mostly in the city was a nice way to recover from all the fresh air and sunshine, it left me wanting for travel, and I think I’ve found a good compromise. As a miner, I can travel and avoid direct sunlight by hanging out in damp caves.

Rank achieved: Expert
Useful for: Getting in on all the best gossip, making yourself some decent looking clothes.
Quality of Life: Fierce
Additional comments: Oh, my gosh, Taylor! I think Zippy, like, might actually like Chic but not know it yet, y’know? I love when that happens!