The Project Advances
Upstairs, Ellis collared Wyll. “Wyll, Katja mentioned you ordered the new Owner’s Table. Right?” Wyll nodded. “Could you get your carpenter to make some chairs, too? We’ll take as many as he can produce. And see if you can order us another four small tables.” Wyll looked at him questioningly, and he continued “It’s for the wedding party on the 18th. And then we’ve got another one here next month, if you recall,” He winked.
Wyll grinned, saying “All right, I’ll take care of it. With the way business around here is going, it might not just be parties you need the extra furniture for.”
Ellis nodded seriously. “Too bad there’s no room for any more beds. Next thing you know, she’ll have us building another wing.”
Meanwhile, Anders continued up the stairs to the master bedroom and changed into trousers and shirt with soft boots. No need to be going around fully armored. As he came down again, carrying his pack with the pipe sample and various other needed items, Wyll was concluding his discussion with Ellis. The two set off out the front doors of the Suite and down the road a quarter mile to Chillfurrow Farm.
This late in the afternoon, the crew had been on the job for hours and work was proceeding at a blazing pace. They spotted Argis, and went over to talk with him. The powerfully-built Nord smiled at them. “I’ve been wondering when you were going to turn up,” he said. “Did you find what you were looking for?”
“Sorine seems to think so,” Anders admitted. He’d been supposed to come up with their water systems by himself, but the task had been beyond him. At least he’d known who to turn to for help.
Argis led them on a tour of the construction site. The addition’s stone foundations, encompassing a full basement, had now been laid. A large gap on the downhill side was accessed by a stone staircase leading down from ground level. “The bottom landing is canted out slightly,” Argis pointed out. “And that opening there in the cut feeds to a drainpipe leading off down the hillside so rainwater coming down the steps will drain away instead of into the basement.”
As yet there were no doors, but the opening was a full six feet wide. Sturdy timber joists for the floor above had been laid, and thick boards on which the wall timbers would stand capped the stone all around the edges. When the addition had been enclosed and roofed, a hole would be cut through from the existing house giving on the long central hallway.
In the back yard, between the house and the walls of Whiterun, a lower stone foundation stood and a timber tower was rising on it. A trench ran from this to the house, where small gaps had been left in the new foundation. A single large pipe would deliver water from the cistern atop the tower to the house, where it would split into three smaller pipes feeding the kitchen, bathroom, and water privy.
After Argis had completed the rounds with them Anders asked, “Is Hegmar around? I have something I need to discuss with him.” “He’s actually up in town,” Argis told him. “You know where his house is?” Anders nodded. “He’s sort of made me project overseer, though obviously I don’t know as much about the construction details as the workers do,” Argis explained. “But I’m here to keep an eye on things and make sure that the work matches the specs. He’s even paying me!”
Wyll smiled at him. He had the feeling Argis might be needing a career that kept him close to home after the wedding, and was glad his friend was picking up some new skills. “We need to go into town anyhow,” he told him. “Anders, you want to look up Hegmar while I go talk to Arngeld, and then meet me back here later?”
“Sounds like a plan,” Anders replied. “We’ll see you later, Argis. Thanks for the tour.” The two continued up the road to the city.
They split up inside the gates, Wyll to visit Arngeld at his carpentry workshop while Anders sought out the builder at his home. Hegmar’s wife directed Anders to the Bannered Mare, where he found the little Nord enjoying a pint of ale in company with some visiting businessmen. “Hegmar,” Anders greeted him. “Can I have a word with you?” The builder smiled ingratiatingly. Anders was the biggest client he’d had in two years.
Hegmar excused himself and joined Anders at an empty table where he could pull out his Dwarven pipe example and the plans that Sorine had drawn up. Hulda came over to ask if Anders wanted anything, and he asked for an ale. Room temperature of course, here; but drinkable. “You’re having pipe fabricated for bringing the water into the house from the cistern, right?”
Hegmar, intrigued, nodded. “Aye. It’s due for delivery next week,” he said. “I expect we’ll have the walls up by then. I’m having the cistern made down in Riverwood, out of that wood they’ve got down there that doesn’t rot. And that’ll be coming in on a wagon. We’ll have to rig a temporary crane up on the platform to hoist it up.”
Anders took this information in with a certain amount of impatience. He was glad to learn that Hegmar had things well in hand; but he didn’t need an entire rundown of the project’s progress. “I need to get some pipe pieces made, but they need to be constructed from Dwarven metal. This piece of pipe is a sample of the construction technique, and the diagram shows the pieces we need. Can your fabricator produce these?”
Hegmar peered at the pipe section and drawings with an air of concentration. “Dwarven metal, eh?” He trailed off for a bit, then recaptured his train of thought. “Makes sense, mind, good for anything to do with water. Those pipes down t’ Dwemer ruins, run water through ’em for a thousand years, and they’re still fine. But costly. This’ll run you quite a bit above what I quoted.”
“That’s not a problem,” Anders told him, wincing internally as he wondered how much of a soaking he was letting himself in for. “We have quite a lot of Dwarven metal available, more than enough for these pipes if your fabricator doesn’t have his own supply.”
He half-expected Hegmar to recoil at the thought, eager to preserve the markup that his fabricator would add to the cost of the ingots, as well as that he would tack on for himself. Instead, the man’s ugly yet somehow appealing face lit, and he replied “Oh! That’s all right then. Looks like we might need around eleven ingots for this. If you can deliver it down t’ the site tomorrow, I’ll get the job ordered. There’ll still be some cost for my man, mind…”
Well I’ll be, Anders thought. Was it possible that he and Wyll, babes in the woods of house renovation, had managed to stumble onto a builder who was competent, swift, and (gasp) honest? It appeared so. Perhaps it was Kat’s famous Dragonborn luck rubbing off on them. He would have married Kat had he met her herding goats on the slopes of Throat of the World – it was she he loved, not her wealth or her status. But it certainly was nice, he thought, how her Dragonborn heritage seemed to make everything they wanted fall into place.
They discussed the additional specifications for the thin Dwarven metal screen Sorine had asked for, which should take no more than one additional ingot once hammered out. Anders thanked Hegmar and shook his hand, passing the drawings and pipe sample over to him and promising to deliver a dozen Dwarven ingots first thing in the morning. Then he made his way out of the Bannered Mare whistling a happy tune, and headed down the main street toward the gates and Chillfurrow Farm.