Thank you, but...
Although that bit about an equal insult to spending a year as a washerwoman- definitely not out loud. Larric is not without perceptions of his own, and what he can see of the bit behind the mask indicates her personality has worry lines, probably scars on it, that suggest the truth is at least as bad or worse.
You conflated a few things.
What Larric finds insulting is one, being called a mouse, and two, the implicit slight to his
vocation: the studying of matter and the inventing of interesting methods and gadgets and so on. He's actually a good fit for the Ikhrani and one direction I seriously considered taking the character was into their clergy.
The sentence featuring the word "washerwoman" was about how the things Larric is actually doing at this point in his life bear little real resemblance to the things he enjoys doing, or would like to be doing if he had the choice. Indeed, the main reason he's doing them at all is because he'd like to get back to work with some assurance he won't get his shop burned down around his ears again. And, hopefully, that his neighbors can say the same. A sort of generalized self-defense.
It's not that he finds 'heroing' degrading or especially unpleasant except for the bit about the dead bodies. It's that it is, from his point of view, a complete waste of time
as far as the soul and center of his life is concerned. Except insofar as it gets matters sorted out so that he can go back to using his time properly, it's not achieving any of his lifelong ambitions.
"Washerwoman" has implications I didn't mean to put in there- because it's about one half step up from "prostitute," if that. I could just as well have said "baker" or "seamstress" (in the non-Pratchettian sense) or even "housewife" or any other conceivable way for a woman in this society to make a living, so long as it has nothing whatsoever
to do with war, high politics, the dance of appearances, and all the other things this woman builds her life around.
If for some reason this woman found it necessary to spend a year baking bread instead of pursuing politics in steel lingerie, I'm sure she could do it, and it wouldn't necessarily leave any new scars on her head. But I have no doubt she'd be bored out of her skull, and would consider the whole thing a waste of time and life compared to what she ought
to be doing, to what her goddess plainly wants her to be doing as well.
That's almost the position Larric's in these days, although it's not quite as bad for him as baking would be for the Krylanyan. At least he gets to try exciting new ways to blow things up, and what alchemist doesn't have an occasional secret fondness for explosions? So he's not especially bitter about it- he just doesn't feel much like encouraging anyone who thinks he'd rather be heroing, if the times permitted him to do otherwise.
Especially someone who mistakes his interest in inventing the dynamo for mousiness.
For him, "politics-meddling hero" is just a new trade he may be led by circumstances to learn even if he doesn't especially enjoy it, right up there with "amateur battlemage" and "bookbinder."
Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
What is this 'favourite character' you speak of? I have walls lined with bookshelves, having a single favourite character would be like having a favourite brick.
-Story of my literary tastes.