Ready for the fires of hell

[Co-Rank]

POSTED: Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:32 pm

She had gotten back the leather from Myrika and it was ready to go. While she was not the best, she had very painstakingly created herself a working bellows. The leather was supple and allowed for a large quantity of air to billow in and out, and that was the best she could ask for. It was a little rough looking, splintered where it didn't count. She had the sense to wrap leather scraps around the handle so that she would not scratch her hands pumping the bellows. It could even be operated by foot power if needed, but it pumped air into the forge at a good rate. It had been attached to the little brick tunnel she made that went up into the coal bed of her furnace, and then sealed with a ring of river clay. The entire little tunnel was coated in the stuff to prevent air leaking.

The top half of the forge was still incomplete. And she had finally figured out how she wanted it to look and how it was going to function. She had spent her time away from Inferni gathering as much wire fencing as she possibly could and spent twice longer sawing through the thin metal to make a few sets of wire of similar lengths. She had set them aside so that she could gather her river mud, clay, and dried grass ahead of time. Now she stood before her little budding forge, happy with the bellows and happy to see that it might just be finished finally.

The mortar that was sitting in its huge tub, shiny and fresh. Her most recent haul of old stones and bricks also lay in a haphazard pile near the forge. She began to take the wire she had pilfered from abandoned fences, ignoring that a vast majority of it was technically still connected and very lopsided if separated. She had been forced to weave a few apart, since most fences were rather broken down. Then, she placed these layers of fence in full lengths over the rounded middle. They lay flat, and then Annabeth began to carefully layer the bricks she had gotten from one location.

She began to slop the clay, mud, and straw mixture onto the bricks, making sure to press it between the cracks. The bricks were shimmied to allow some to press through. The tell-tail sound of dripping onto the bricks below it was the sign that cement was making its way between the cracks. The cement was shining but soon would harden. Anna left a gap about two fingers wide at the front of the flat surface, so that any ash could fall through into a container or something in the future.

Anna began to lay the next ring around this layer of stone, or rather on it since it came in from the edges. With this first layer atop the coal pan set, she moved to her knees and began to press thick handfuls of clay wherever there were gaps in the circle, if only for uniformity and stability. She wanted to make sure it looked as functional as it would hopefully be. She leveled it with her hands, fingers smoothing out the mud. It looked like a hot mess, but it would be a nice mess. Then, she realized she had to ensure the air column could make it into the gap and set about to fixing a hole in the first layer she had already set in. She stood two bricks on their side and a third atop it to ensure that she could build the brick column and attach it to the one she had made for the bellows.

Then the young female crouched, carefully setting the 'pipe' for the air, building a space up surrounded by brick and then layering on thick, thick amounts of the mud, straw, and clay. She patted it down, and then eyed down the tunnel she made. But then, she realized she could have flooded the tunnel with the cement mixture and quickly grabbed some dry straw. She put these atop the little column, still unconnected to the hole in the forge's wall. She moved to the bellows and gave a few pumps, watching for the air to move the dried grass. It puffed up, moving a few of the pieces off the bricks. Good enough. If it didn't do its job, she could take it apart and try again later.

With another few bricks and more mud, the air tunnel was well and truly fixed to the side of the forge, a rather odd rectangular shape with the bellows attached. Anna was content with this and could see that her forge was almost completed. She took the rest of her bricks, well aware she was running low yet again. But, the now waist high creation was finished with a few layers to go. She took the uneven stones she had found and layered them around the edge, especially the rounded parts. She figured rods of metal could rest against these softer edges without leaving marks.

Anna stepped back from her project, hands and knees very dirty. The structure was rounded, several brick lengths wide, with the coal bed completely surrounded with the several bricks high rim. It was also two bricks thick as the base had been. The bellows seemed to work, but she did not want to mess much more, in case the air would be pumping holes in the layer of clay around it. There were only a handful of bricks and stones left, but she just let those alone. She smudged her dirty hands against her belly, ignoring the annoying feeling of sticky river clay. It would wash out with a good, thorough soaking. But she needed to consult her book.

It was not like any of the forges the book explained, but it was very similar to several. Anna had taken the things she liked about each and put them into her forge, but she had no idea if it would work properly. For now, she wanted to give the clay a good couple of days to dry properly, and then she would light a fire in the base underneath, if only to try to bake the clay on the lower part first, and then perhaps the top. It would have to do, especially if she wanted to work with it soon. But that made her realize something else; she had no other tools of the trade. There were no hammers, no anvil, no barrel of water (though that was probably the easiest of things she could get). There were no tongs, files, none of the things the book suggested.

The Mercatura's heart sank. Where was she supposed to find these things? Perhaps a blacksmith somewhere nearby would still have these precious tools, safe from scavengers. Hopefully. She would have to go looking for them, especially the anvil; that was the most important part besides the forge. How was she supposed to pound metal into shapes, especially circles? The horn on the anvil was made just for that purpose. And she had no idea how to shape her own. That was another thing she would have to discover somehow. Or maybe she would have to get creative.

Still, the woman now had her own forge, and she beamed with absolute pride at it. She ran her hands over the rim, then pulled it away when she remembered that it wasn't set and the stones might shift and wobble. There was plenty to clean up, but she was in no rush. Maybe she would even go and partake of some alcohol in celebration of the event. Maybe she would ask the Aquila for some help, maybe. Or someone who was great at scavenging.

1307
For Blacksmith!

Annabeth de Fonte


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