It took me another week to gather enough large trees and the weather started turning colder. I noticed it and was able to ignore it, for the most part. I didn't have to start wearing my sweater yet and kept working. I didn't need the wood planks to be thick, since I was going to do something like what I did with making the stone blocks, only I was going to build them in place and then fill them with number ten potion.
The first thing I did was build a fat letter 'A' on the ground, using the actual size of the wall as a guide and sticks to show me the right length to make everything. I used thicker planks to make the bottom that would rest on the top of the wall, then made the long sides to join at the point, making sure they were the same length as the bottom. I added a brace across the very center, just like the picture in the book showed me. It was flipping huge and I almost laughed at the size of the thing.
I used a long pole as a brace and then a rope to help me stand it up straight, then used the pole to help lift it into place. The planks were wide, so I didn't have to worry about balancing it or anything. It sat right on the top of the ten foot wall and I smiled. I applied some number ten potion on the edges to meld it into the stone and let it sit. I had made the planks for the roof as long as possible, twenty feet, so I needed three more large and fat letter As to cover the roof.
I quickly did them and put them in place, using the number ten potion to secure them, then began the arduous task of filling in all the spaces on the roof. Even with the planks already cut and stacked up, it took a long time to get them in place and melded together. I put a six inch piece of wood all along the bottom edge and sides, then added another layer of planks on top of that until I reached the peak of the roof. I left a one foot wide space there open.
Then I got to brewing more number ten potion. I had used up nearly my entire stock by making the walls and had to fill in the roof. It took me another week and I managed to fill the roof up to the peak. I was really glad that it was so easy to make and took up almost no significant ingredients, except for marsh water and my own gland excretions.
I had to put on my sweater and socks when I went out to fill in the front of the house under the pointed roof, while leaving thin spaces at the top between the planks for heat and smoke to escape. The weather was really getting cold and the water in the waterways slowed down to a crawl. Once it was all enclosed, I let out a sigh of relief.
My home was finally done.
The large and thick wooden door I had made, just like the one in the book, made a nice solid thunk sound when I closed it with the handles I had bought from the blacksmith. Now the difficult work would begin. I needed to make the internal walls and cabinets and things to hold everything that I wanted to take out of the hut and move it to the right rooms.
I had plenty of wood planks, so I did the walls first and left doorways into each space, both from the middle rooms and into each other room. Each corner room had two doors and the other rooms had three doors, except for the very middle room and the front room with the door to outside, and they had four doors. Then I got to work on making shelves, cabinets, tables, and chairs.
When I was done with all the prep work, that seemed to take longer than building the walls did, I started with moving out all of the crates filled with empty vials and stored them in the front room on the right side of the front door. I could spread them out and not worry about banging them or knocking them over. Of course, the room was twenty feet by twenty feet, so there was a lot of room to put them in there and I didn't have to worry about space.
I moved all of the remaining potion ingredients into the next room, to the right of the middle room. That reminded me that I hadn't even tried to gather the ingredients for the potions that the village would need in the spring. Which meant that I needed to get moving on gathering them and hoped that I could find more ingredients, even this late in the year. I had waited a bit too long to start and that wasn't going to be good, either for me or for the village.
The spring order was huge and I had a lot of work to... my mind stopped at that thought. I remembered the last time I had been there and the mayor's declaration that I was to be held until the army came to the village. I knew it wasn't going to be until the spring, since no one would come to these parts with winter approaching, and that made me wonder where she would have kept me until then.
Would she have fed me or let me starve like the Hag? Would she have killed me? I asked myself.
I decided that I didn't have to work as hard this time, even though there wasn't really anything to do during the winter months except prepare ingredients and brew potions. I wasn't going to endanger myself for the villagers anymore. I did feel kind of bad about Diane, and that other girl, Hope... so, I resolved to work and gather what I could when I was done moving everything.
I kept working and moved everything out of the hut and into their own rooms. The smoking room at the very back corner was huge and the normal apparatus I had set up was tiny in the twenty foot by twenty foot room. I decided to make a lot more of the proper things and set everything up to smoke tons of meat to preserve them. It was going to be great, because I could smoke a lot of meat now and didn't have to worry about storage.
I made the room at the back into a huge kitchen and I made half of it into a potion making room, since having all of the heating and cooking things in the same room made sense. I would need more large brewing pots, though. If I had thought about it, I should have bought them at the blacksmiths or ordered them for the spring. I shook my head at that thought, because he would have been the same as Michelle and her reaction to the boat I wanted her to make.
I didn't sigh this time. I knew that people were mean to me because of who I was and what I looked like. It didn't matter if I was the Hag's actual apprentice or not. I reached up and touched my scarred face and then my ear. I had no way to fix the damage and my stupidity would always be shown to the world.
I transferred all of my supplies into the cabinets and onto the shelves in the new kitchen. They didn't take up a lot of room and made it look like I didn't have a lot of food, when there was twice as much as I actually needed. That was the downside of all the space and I accepted it and moved on.
I made the back corner room into my bedroom, since it was the furthest from the front door. I thought about not using the Hag's old bed, then sighed. I couldn't go all winter without a proper bed, so I moved the bed and everything from that part of the hut into my new bed room. I would need to buy replacements in the spring for everything that the Hag used to own, assuming I wasn't assaulted as soon as I came near the dock.
I would need to be ready for that.
You have a choice to make.
A) Gather ingredients. B) Brew potions. C) Read. D) Do your other idea. E) Relax.
Considering I need to do my other idea before going out to get ingredients, I better to that first. I choose D.
Having to prepare for an attack took my mind back to the idea that I had at the blacksmiths. I grabbed the bag with the remaining things in it and picked up the four foot long stone block I had made as a test. I took them into an empty room and put the stone down in the center. I took out the pitchfork and laid it down on the stone and took out the large metal hammer.
I held the pitchfork down on the stone block with the curved prongs pointed down and started to hammer them. They didn't quite want to bend, until I moved the pitchfork back and only hammered on the end. I moved it forward and straightened out all four prongs.
With that done, I took out the four knives and looked at the wooden handles. I didn't need them, so I smashed them with the hammer. They broke fairly easily, which was a surprise to me. Not only that, the round piece on the hilt and the square piece by the blade slipped right off. What was left was the blade of the knife and a flat piece of metal that used to be inside the handle.
I looked at them and shrugged. It gave me a bit more metal to work with, so I used a few drops of number ten potion to meld the now straight prongs to the tops of the knives. For some reason, it took a lot longer to melt metal together. I didn't know why, though. When I had all four of them attached, I grabbed several plank scraps and turned them sideways, melded them together to make it a nice solid block of wood that was a bit wider than the prongs of the pitchfork.
I laid the knife-melded pitchfork over it and used the hammer to tap the knives in slightly to mark where to make the cuts I wanted and then flipped it over and tapped the top side into the wood to show me where the prongs were. Once I had the outline, I retrieved my wood carving tools and cut out the proper shape for it, so that the knife-melded pitchfork could settle down into the top of it and remain flush.
Once I had it settled into the solid wood block, I measured the depth of the knives and then used my magic knife to cut a single slice out of the wood, exactly that deep, for the length of the prongs. I then used the wood carving tools to make the space a little thicker to help reinforce it. I added fortifying potion to make the wood strong and then added the waterproofing potion.
Once it was set, I placed the knife-melded pitchfork into the mold and poured number ten potion over it and into the carved spaces underneath it. Since it was going to take a long time to set and for the potion to take on the properties of the metal, I left it there and went to go get something to eat. I just hoped it worked. I hadn't done anything with joining metal before, so trying to make the knife blades the length of the prongs on the pitchfork might not work.
I shrugged and sat down and enjoyed another bowl of meat filled stew. As long as the reinforcement on the prongs to hold the knives worked, I was fine with that. My magic knife might have made the cuts in the wood too thin for potion to get down into the point and that was fine, too. If it worked, great. If it only half worked, great. If it failed... well, I would cut it up with my knife and try again.
I chuckled at the thought and went to my bedroom. I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes. It seemed like I had worked non-stop for a very long time and drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face.
Tomorrow, I was going to tear up the hut.
- Creator of L.I.F.E. Begins and Bookworld
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I have a new one called Bookworld Online: Marsh Man! New chapters will be posted daily.