“Good evening,” says the barkeep, grinning broadly. She places a small dish of complimentary peanuts in front of you. “What can I do for you?”

 

“This is probably going to sound strange,” you say, somehow still aware none of this is real, “but I was trying to reach this website and…”

 

“Web site? Ah, so you’re hunting giant spiders,” she says with a knowing look. “We’re in need of brave adventurers to embark on such quests of heroics.”

 

A part of you is tempted by the prospect of going on an epic fantasy adventure - even if the giant spider thing sounds more like a side quest - but that’s not what you came here for. “No, you misunderstand me,” you say, “like a web page, on the internet. W-W-W-dot-”

 

“You talk some mighty strange words, friend,” she says, averting your gaze. “Do you know the ways of the sorcerer? You speak with a tongue uncommon in these parts, perhaps these are Wizard Words?”

 

For a moment, you’re not sure how to answer. Sure, there is a certain magic to the internet - having access to the collective wealth of all human knowledge at your fingertips, using web addresses as incantations to access these arcane, intangible libraries - but how do you even begin to explain the internet to the people of this medieval fantasy world without them accusing you of being an evil sorcerer?

 

“Excuse me,” a voice says from behind you, “did you mention the Wyrding Wizard Words?”

 

You turn to face this other person. He stands a couple of paces behind you, his hands in the pockets of his long overcoat, and a wide-brimmed hat perched at an angle on his head. Something about the style of his dress is different, incongruous, compared to the rest of the people in this tavern. Almost too modern-looking.

 

“You know, the WWW,” he says with a wink. “Have some mead, and join me by the fireside.”