Part 36 - Lakeview becomes a Manor

Rayya had furnished the main hall at Lakeview by the time Clark returned. "I put in the Alchemy and Enchanting stations, like you said. And everything else, in here and the entrance hall, except for the animal trophies. I'm not a hunter, so they're not my style, and I wanted to ask you before I did that."

"Leave them out," Clark concurred. "I always find it a bit creepy to have something dead watching me, especially in the bedroom."

"That reminds me," she responded. "Did you decide on what wings to add? You were thinking of bedrooms, kitchen and a tower, if I recall."

"Yes, that's the plan, and it's why I'm back here now. I want to get the structures up, so you can furnish while I'm away in Solstheim."

"Can do. I assume the same plan applies, everything but the mounted trophies?"

"And we won't need a second alchemy lab. The storage in the tower will still be useful, though. And weapon racks and armour mannequins everywhere but the basement."

"Yes, what about the cellar?" Rayya asked. "I haven't done anything with that. I wasn't sure if you wanted a forge, or if the anvil outside was enough. And you already built the smelter, grindstone and workbench out there. All that's downstairs right now is an archery target, and I can easily move that."

"Just put the lights down there for now," Clark decided. "I'm not sure if I'll use it for storage, or as a place to throw parties. A big open space can be useful."

"Maybe the mead barrels, then. They'd be useful to have, whichever way you decide."

"Good point. The little one up here won't hold enough for a proper party."

Clark noticed that Rayya wasn't wearing her armour. In fact, her outfit was much the same as she'd changed into on their first night here. She'd added a couple of pieces to cover any embarassment if she went outside and met strangers, and she was wearing her scimitars, too.

He asked her about it. She replied that she was in and out of the house all time, so this was the comfortable compromise. "I don't need the steel armour much anyway. I can fight off wolves or bandits without it, just with a fast attack. I never did decide on a light armour that I like, and I notice you don't use any either."

"That's because I can cast a spell for defense," Clark replied. "Do you think you'd want to learn one?"

"I'm still not sure," she replied. "If I did that, wouldn't I need more Magicka?"

"Not if you're only using it for the one spell. You'll have it all back before you need to cast again, and it will need less as you get more experience. I've never needed more."

"You've just about convinced me. It's at least worth learning the spell, so I can try it."

"I may have a spell tome for Oakflesh on the wagon," Clark told her. "Let me check."

"Here you go. You'll find that after you've used this for a while, it will take less magicka to cast it. By the time you need a stronger spell, you should be able to cast that for about the same amount of magicka this one takes now. Just don't go chasing giants, until you've learned ebonyflesh!"

"If we get any giants round here, I'll be up to the top of the tower with my bow!"

"Not until we've built it," Clark reminded her. "We'd better get to work."

"Let me use the anvil this time," Rayya asked. "I could use the experience with my smithing. I've been making all the nails, hinges, locks and fittings for the furniture, and I'm getting close to where I can improve enchanted gear!"

"Have you got anything that needs it?" Clark wanted to know.

"Not yet. I've been holding off on enchanting my Scimitars until I could do that. Otherwise, I'd have to do it the other way round, and temper them before enchanting, and then I'd have to find new ones before I could do it again. Nobody makes these in Skyrim, so that would be a real problem."

Clark had seen a few other Alik'r carrying Scimitars, but nobody else. And you certainly didn't find them in any smith's inventory.

"What did you want to enchant them with, anyway?"

"I'd hoped to persuade you to put fiery soul trap on one of them, but I'm not sure what would go with it on the other."

"I'll look out for ideas," Clark replied. "Master Neloth on Solstheim may know enchantments I've not heard of."

Rayya was disappointed that Clark was leaving again. They hadn't had time to try all the beds, and she had a new recipe for vegetable soup he hadn't tasted. "It's spicier than your other housecarls would make. You've been to Hammerfell, so you know how different the cuisine is there."

"If you think Hammerfell food is spicy, then you haven't tasted food from Elsweyr," he replied. "The hotter the country, the hotter the food, and the deserts there are hot even at night."

Rayya hadn't actually been to the Alik'r desert herself. Her parents had come from there before she was born and she'd been brought up in Elinhir, just over the border. But she had heard that it could be as cold at night as it was in Skyrim. Dry sand didn't hold the heat the way water did, even when it was ice. She knew that Clark had been there, as he'd told her that some of his merchandise came from the area.

"Have you been to Elsweyr, or just had food from the caravan people?" she asked. "I think they make their food extra-hot as a joke on anyone who's not a Khajiit."

"Yes, I've been there. Before the Mane was assassinated, and the tribes went back to fighting each other, you could travel freely around the whole province."

"But that was nearly two hundred years ago!" Rayya protested.

Clark hadn't told her about his immortality. He'd been too busy house-building, and it had slipped his mind that she'd need to know. It was a long story. Maybe he could stay one more night.