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Chapter 3: MELNOR

That evening, the larger grazing animals would come out of the tree line to feed on the sweeter grasses on the edge of the forest. This was their quiet time and an excellent time for taking the game, not usually the case for Melnor. He hunted for rare herbs used in treating his neighbors. The sun at the height of the day shadowed the hiding places of these rare plants that hid in the full shade of the canopy. Early mornings were the best times to find some mushrooms and herbs. Evening showed other locations because the sun came in at a different angle. Since his studies took up most of his mornings, this left only his evenings free.

The ship left and half a season later returned. Patch remained behind and organized the boys of the area. He had them clearing the area, making paths from the dockside and helping build a storehouse by dockside. Repairs were made to the dock, and he held court on fights and arguments that were inevitable when men and boys worked hard on unfamiliar jobs. In short, Patch became the town authority by his own appointment.

Curiously, nobody complained. People began bringing their problems to him; he turned out to be a competent troubleshooter. Sean, the brick worker began to lay the foundation of the tower. Melnor wasn’t too happy that it was a bit smaller than he wanted, but he had to accept it. The man said that the rocks of the area wouldn’t support a larger diameter building.

“Sean, it looks like a tall field wall, more than a building wall. I don’t know what it is, but it doesn’t look like I expected.”

Sean shrugged his shoulders and replied, “I am a long way from finished. A lot will change between now and then.” The brick worker took his time, enjoyed his time off and appeared to be working steadily if slowly towards a goal.

Spring came and the first trade ship came in with five workers and two families that swiftly made their way out of town to start a farm. One family was made of one man and two sisters. He was married to one and the older sister helped keep the house and worked on trying to find the wealthiest man in town. Melnor wanted nothing to do with her. She was too superficial. After the first ship were two more ships. On the first, came a few extra stone workers, on the third, a Blacksmith. Cappy also returned.

That spring brought major improvements in the tower. Sean worked the two stone workers like apprentices. He had them laying stone under his direction. Although they might have more experience, Sean had the first position and was therefore in charge.

A few weeks passed and the light spring developed into an early summer. Crops were proceeding well on schedule. Melnor found himself having an early breakfast with Cappy.

“So, you say that you sent the brick layers and arranged for all three trading ships?”

Cappy simply nodded. When prodded further, he finally asked, “What else would bring three trading ships in fine weather here? You now have two fine stone workers with excellent reputations; a trading arrangement with a major port and a blacksmith to take care of any work that the farmers might need done. Of course, I arranged it. Just ask any of them.”

Melnor looked a bit doubtful but assured him that he would check it out. “Is there anything else? What do I owe you, in your estimation?”

Cappy smiled and replied, “As I told you before, you need not pay me anything. I may ask you for a favor but the favor will have little or nothing to do with my efforts to help you. You do have a problem though.”

“What kind of problem?”

“Both of the stoneworkers tell me that the foundation set by Sean is substandard and the building will fall if you build it over two man-heights. They suggest that you use some wood to make it stronger.”

“Stone is stronger than wood. Adding wood will make it a firetrap and that is the last thing a magician needs. I cannot have wood in my tower.”

“They also tell me that there is something wrong with the design, that there is a flaw in the back of the tower and that they don’t know what the flaw is for.”

“Sean has my confidence. He seems to take his time and that is just probably because he is trying his best to work with what he has available.”

“Suit yourself. You have been warned.”

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