Friday, 27 April 2007

The Marble Baths

Altdorf is a grimy city, filled with waste and filth. But even so many of its inhabitants take great care to stay clean and bathe once every week. The manner in which they do so varies with social stature and income, but there is a sizeable portion that go to the public bathing houses that exist in the various Bezirks of our capital. Of course som baths are more splendid than others. Most common folk, the poor and the workers, simply use a barrel to scope cold water from, apply soap to strategic bodily locations, wash it off and rub themselves with rough towels to get dry. Not something you do every day, mind you.

For the upper class or for those of means, there are bath-houses where you get heated water in tubs or in pools. Some have rooms filled with heated rocks which you throw water on, creating steam to clean your body. Some rooms have cold pools of water so that you can alternate between hot and cool baths. There are also lounges where you can rest, eat a sausage or pie and drink a glass of wine or a flagon of cold beer.

For clients who can afford it, herbs or oils produced locally or imported from Estalia, Tilea or even Araby are added to the water to release a pleasing fragrance and promote good health and cleansing of the skin and lungs. Among the herbs commonly used are camomile, lavender, lemon balm, mint, rosemary and thyme. Oils are often scented with sap from birch or pine, or from the skins or peels from oranges, lemons, apples and pears.

Of all the bathing houses in the Empire, The Marble Baths in the Reikhoch Bezirk is probably the most well-known. The interiors are constructed from exquisite marble in Arabyan style, with beautiful mosaics depicting flowers, planets and stars. There are two sections, one for the men and one for the women. The bathers dress in simple linen trunks or dresses for the women. Curiosly both sexes often dress in something known as an Altdorf Wig, a kind of bathing hat of varying lavishness. Female bath-house keepers, often devout Shallyans in sleeveless dresses serve the bathers with buckets of hot or cold water and scrubs or lashes in the case of the more devout attendees.

Adolphus Altdorfer

Backertag, Sigmarzeit 24, 2522 IC

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