Part 33 - Lakeview

Rayya showed Clark the workbenches that had been delivered to the site. There was a chest of materials, including ingots of iron and corundum, and an anvil where he could make building materials. "You start making some locks, and nails and things. I'll go see if there's a pickaxe over there by the stone quarry."

Apparently there was, as he soon heard her picking away at the rock. She came back and dumped a load into the chest and returned to dig some more.

Clark read the plans, which didn't have many options to start with. It appeared that he'd have to put up a small house, but he'd get the chance to convert it to be the entryway to a larger one later. That needed some of the stone for a foundation, and more for the floor. He was glad Rayya had started with that. Perhaps she knew in advance?

He worked on laying the stone, as Rayya cut it. Before long, he was able to put a smooth course on top as a floor for the house.

Clark consulted the plans again. The next step was wall framing, which needed logs. Rayya pointed to a pile of them, over by the clay deposits. He noticed a chopping block there, too. He could turn any cut-off pieces into firewood.

With Rayya's help, he put up the roof framing next, before filling in the walls with wattle-and daub panels. There was enough clay in the chest to do that without digging up any more, but he wasn't sure if he needed any for the roof.

No, no clay for the roof, just timber. And nails. Clark had to make more of those first. He'd used the first batch up doing the walls. Now the only thing to add was the front door. He needed to make hinges and fittings for that, and they used up the last of the iron ingots in the chest.

Some of the left-over wood assembled a workbench inside for making furniture. Raaya had apparently put together a chest, too, but the rest of the room was bare. Clark checked the plans, to see what furniture he could make. "We'll want a bed as soon as possible," Rayya reminded him. She was much more subtle about it than Lydia, Iona or Jordis, but he knew what she meant.

"We don't have the materials for that. Did you need to use the last of the timber for the chest?"

Rayya pointed out that they didn't have any straw, and a bed needed that, too. He wouldn't have been able to make one anyway.

"Where do I get straw? And is there anything else we need to buy?"

"Read the plans. There should be a list of materials there somewhere."

There were a couple of items that he'd only be able to get at a general store. Straw was one, and glass was another. Goat horns, for making lamps, could be obtained from dead goats, but it looked like he'd need more than he'd find easily. He'd better buy some of those, too.

Clark looked outside. The sun was on its way down, but they could just get to Riverwood before the stores there closed.

Clark sent Rayya to buy iron and corundum ingots from the smithy, while he picked up the other materials from the Riverwood Trader. "And if you're done before I am, head for Gerdur's mill and order some more logs."

"Of course, my Thane."

It was getting dark when they arrived back at the Lakeview site. Clark made some more nails, and put a bed together. Then some iron fittings, so they could have lights inside and out, using some of the goat horns he'd bought.

"I won't put a fireplace in yet." he told Rayya. "If I'm reading the plans right, it looks like it would have to be removed if we make the house bigger. The bed can be moved, but a firepit can't."

"What I will do, is put up a smelter. We've got iron and corundum veins right here, and we might as well use our own materials. And we have enough of them to make an armorer's workbench and a grindstone."

Rayya looked over the plans. "If you add the Animal pen, that includes a tanning rack. You used the last of your leather strips making the bed. We'll probably need more later on."

She went inside while he did that, to put a bear pelt over the bed. It would keep the straw from poking through, and making them itch. Somewhere in the plans were instructions on upgrading the bed, but for some reason that might not be possible until they'd added on the main hall. Perhaps there was some piece of equipment he had to construct first. He needed to read it all through a few times, and figure out what he needed, and in what order.

The animal pen was simple enough to put together, and Clark made some more leather strips, and stowed them in the chest for future use. He decided to test out the smelter, too, so he mined some iron ore and made a few ingots. He stowed those away, and went inside.

Rayya had changed out of her steel armour into something more comfortable. A pair of baggy trousers, made of sheer silk that he could easily see through. She'd swapped her grey headscarf for a more colourful one, but the only other thing she was wearing was a sash around her waist.

Her breasts were small, high, and absolutely beautiful. They suited her slender, willowy figure perfectly, and they jiggled enticingly when she laughed.

She kept her headscarf on, even in bed. "An Alik'r woman doesn't show her hair to strangers. It's considered immodest."

"But you showed me everything else."

"I didn't say our traditions made sense, I just told you what they are. And now we've got to know each other, I can take it off."

Her hair was jet-black, and Clark guessed that it had never been cut. It reached down her back all the way to her buttocks, and might have gone further if it had been straight, instead of being curled into ringlets.

Although the hair on her head might never have been cut, she had none anywhere else. She explained that it was all part of not showing it to strangers. She couldn't just cover it up, or he'd never get to know her properly.

Clark now had three Nord housecarls that all fought the same way: with sword and shield. Rayya hadn't been carrying a shield, and her sword looked different, too.

"Yes, I use two scimitars. I prefer the faster attack to the greater defense of a shield. They taught us all the same way, so I know heavy armour, and have the smithing skill to make it. And block, even though I don't do that. Archery, of course, and enough restoration to heal both of us."

"You can make different armour on the anvil outside, if you'd prefer something lighter. Heavy and fast dont really go together."

"I might do that, once I have the skill. I quite like the look of the armour the Thalmor soldiers wear, except that I wouldn't want anyone to think I was one of them."

"You mentioned having other housecarls," she continued. "Where else are you Thane?"

"Riften, Solitude, and Whiterun. I also have property in Markarth, but it's a brothel, not a home. I'm basically a businessman, and that's just one of the businesses. I trade with the merchants and the shipping companies, and have some factories in various places."

"Making what?"

"These, for example. I can't live at all my houses all the time, so these are invaluable."

"Ivory, isn't it? I think I've seen this style before, too. They make them like this in Hammerfell."

"Yes, that's where that one was made, in one of the coastal cities. I've had to move my factories several times because of wars and pirate raids, so I can't remember where exactly that one came from."

"Does this mean you'll be leaving soon?"

"Not yet, but it does let me try a few things with you that I couldn't do without help."

"How many iron ingots do we have?" he asked.

Rayya looked up from the chest, where she'd been taking stock. "I think we have just enough to put up the main hall, and then we need to decide whether to mine and smelt, or buy more."

"We can add the cellar as well," Clark stated. "That just needs stone and logs. I want to install the Alchemy and Enchanting stations in the main hall, even if we build the towers later. You'll be able to use them to practise while I'm away, and if we put the target dummies in the basement, you can use those too."

"Are you going to have time to make all the furniture? I thought you needed to go to Markarth fairly soon."

"No, but if I appoint you steward, you'll have the authority to hire someone to do it for us. If you make the materials, here on the anvil, it will improve your smithing, too. When I get back, we'll decide about the wings. I'm thinking kitchen first, then bedrooms, and the tower at the back, for the view."

"Why the extra bedrooms? We'll have three beds already in the main hall, and you and I only need one of them."

"Because I may bring other people here. If it was just the housecarls, I'm sure we'd all be in the same bed, but ..."

"I get the point. I was just worried you were thinking family already."

"You may be sworn to carry my burdens, but I expect you to avoid carrying that one."

Rayya laughed. "Of course, my Thane."