Topic: [Brygun] Journal of Novrus  (Read 34639 times)


Brygun

« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2018, 03:15:22 AM »
Norvus had eventually regained his senses from the mushroom taking him into the spirit realm. He dreamed that night of escaping the metal clad red foe by the forest spirit turning him into an elk. He ran and leapt in the dream on four legs as his memory said he had done on two legs. Branches and spruce waved aside by his spear and arms like an elk using antlers and shoulders.

He awoke pleased to be close to the forest. Chores awaited. The harvest was coming in. He still had to figure out how to stock at least some iron ore before the ground and lakes froze.

Day 4 of the 4th week before winter. On patrol of the four land-bridge trap fences Norvus smiles at a reindeer stuck in a pit. Finally he had a large kill with a smoker ready for use! Skinning and quartering the animal he took it to the stead. The sky spirit seemed to be with him as it only started to rain when he was walking in the stead door.

With a fresh smoky fire the under roof of his tall stead filled with smoke. Four bundles of sliced reindeer where hung next to the already present lynx. Each reindeer bundle was more than twice that of the smoking lynx meat. Other portions he roasted to eat for the next week.

Teeth tore happily into the roast venison. There was no need to portion meats tonight. Tomorrow he could spread the meat by cutting with turnips. Maybe. Tonight was all about the meat! Norvus cheered and laughed gnashing onto another cut of reindeer.

With a full belly, good health and gleeful spirits Norvus wrapped himself in the bear fur while the chimney rocks radiated with heat. He slept deep and full.

The next day saw the first of the hemp ready for harvest. Most needed a bit more time. Almost all the other fields had been collected. A few peas and ryes were not quite ripe. There was already a good stock of those in the cellar.

Now he had to work hard yet again. Before the ice came he would need to gather ore. He would try now for lake ore and that meant having a watercraft. Norvus chose to attempt a birch bark watercraft.

From a felled birch he peeled off all of its birch. To set it to shape he put long lengths of wood to hold it open wide. Carved wooden stakes became horizontal braces. Branches he shaped into many pegs. Then he weighted all that with heavy stones. This would force it to stay open. Once it was stable ribs would be inserted, boards placed for a seat, smaller boards at each end to hold the shape and lashings to keep it together. Sap and pitch would then be worked on the seams to improve the waterproofing.

As well as ore he would clay for some tasks. Fortunately the stead was just up from a small lake. It was a simple though tiring task to start a clay pit and extract the first useable lumps. For now he would store those outside the house.

Stones would be needed for other parts of a smith’s shop. Quite a few remained from building the fireplace. If need be more could be gathered in the winter.

To search the lake a prod, like sesta, was needed. Easily shaped with his axes. A dip net was needed. The recent reindeer hide was used for the scoop. He fashioned it best he could though it seemed unbalanced when he wa done.

Day 7 of the 4th week before winter Norvus awoke to snow fall. Winter was coming. The ore and clay needed to be stockpiled quickly! The hemp was still ripening in the fields. By late morning the snow had stopped. It was clearly a warning sign. Into the afternoon the canoe was finished.

He tested the canoe in shallow water. It held up well.

Into the evening with canoe, sesta prod, dipping net and fishing rod Norvus had a few ores and a pike-perch caught onto in the deep of the lake he could never have reached from shore.

Norvus settled to sleep when he shot up right. He hadn’t given iron to the spirits! Choosing the red foe’s knife as the sacrifice he went out to a bog. Striding through the dark with snow filtering onto his now worn fur overcoat he came to a familiar bog. A mix of pine and spruce was burned to make bright and smoky fire.

“Life begets life. Iron begets iron,” chanted Norvus.

“Life begets life. Iron begets iron.”

“Life begets life. Iron begets iron.”

Then the knife was tossed into bog water. The waters swirled as if a hand was pulling the knife down below. He felt confident for his future iron searches.

Day 2 of the 3rd week before winter. With his canoe overhead Norvus hiked toward the main lake that linked to the great river. It was pleasing to boating out on it. His goal remained to stockpile ores.

Checking cellar supplies the Naodi magic mushrooms were starting to go off. Grinning he ate one anyway. Its partner was taken out in the canoe to be offered to the water spirits. They were now tied to his source of iron. It was quite an experience with the waves dancing, twirling, singing and laughing with him.

A happy routine settled in. Gathering hemp as it ripened, ores from the lakes, clay from the shore and a few fishes as well. Meats were smoking in preservation that would give him a month’s reserve. Hundreds of pounds of crops in the cellar awaiting threshing. The piles of ore and clay were of a fair size. Sure enough to be productive during winter storms. Felled trees lay ready for starting the next building or to be sacrificed for fire wood. Water from the lake was endless. A pair of fire and axe hollowed blocks let him store water in the stead. This was a good time for Norvus.

Various small furs and leathers were in stock. A birch bark backpack was on him when he traveled while a box and two baskets awaiting threshing. Three bags from when he bought seeds awaited their refill. Fur of the bear caught on the field was untouched by knife. It was a wonderful layer on top of the sleeping bunk. The fur coat and other furs covered him in a fun jumble of material that shifted as if the house spirit was playing a gentle game.

<Norvus happy in fall 1>

Brygun

« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2018, 07:54:23 PM »
(Note: Name fix. Character name is Novrus for November Russ I had typed it a lot with the v and r swapped for Norvus. In the game the name is indeed Novrus. Fixing it in the master journal file was an easy find and replace. Fixing it in the many forum thread posts isn’t so practical. Forum readers please connect that Novrus and Norvus are the same person.)

The chores in the next few days were simple and happy ones. Collecting stones and berries. Paddling in the canoe was to be enjoyed before the ice came. Here and there a bird was in a trap. Half the hemp was stored. The rest of hemp seemed to be weathering the cooling fall nicely. A few stalks of rye had withered. A trivial concern considering how much was safely in the cellar. 

One matter came to his concern. That being how slim his stock of herbal medicines were. Very few were in season when he traveled northward in the spring. He had little time to search in summer laying the fields. Herbs would be withered in the snows so perhaps he should take a few days to gather. That might go better if he paddled south toward warmer places. It would risk being caught by ice.
Locally in the mires he could find berries easily. Helpful when in need but they weren’t medicine.
Poisonous bearpaw mushrooms were around. He had to be careful not to take those. They could be eaten if boiled but he felt they were far to risky to have. Around one of the trap pits Novrus had even burned out a few bearpaw’s lest they taint the meat of a catch. One time Novrus in dim morning light reached for a building stone only to realize he had grabbed a bearpaw. He washed his hands thoroughly right away!

Taking the canoe on a paddle he explored one of the three small islands on the large lake to the north. Crossing over to the mires in search of herbs he found only berries and unfamiliar mushrooms. Across the mire a group of seven short traders was seen.

Novrus met with them. Even though he had left his trade furs in the cabin it was good to have human conversation. It would also do him good to stock some salt. Brooches on their cloak bore the mark of a place Novrus heard his grandfather mention in stories, “High Hold.” Novrus explained his need for salt. Their leader broke out in song:

“We have axes,
We have swords,
We have clothing of mail
We even have a silver ring,
But we have no salt today.

Oh we have no salt today.

Today. Today.

Oh we have no salt today”

Curling his eyebrows at their odd behavior Novrus continued on his way.

Behind him the seven short traders began to sing in unison.

“High Hold. High Hold.

Its off to trade we go.

With goods of steel and cloth of mail,

Its off to trade we go.”

His landings around the lake and at another island produced no herbs. Berries Novrus grabbed a few more pounds. Stones were much easier to bring back in the canoe. Novrus figured the stockpiles now had enough to build both a forge in a smithy and a fireplace in the next house.

There was time yet until the lynx cuts would be the first to finish smoking. Debating the opportunities Novrus set about putting on gutters on the building. These would guide rain water and melting snow into a barrel. The barrel was the toughest part to build. A rain catcher goes a long way to providing water. With the lake nearby this was a luxury. If he didn’t have to wait for the smoking lynx meat Novrus might not have bothered with it. Still, it would be handy in deep winter storms to only have to walk to the corner of the building to chip out ice and scoop up water. He could fill the hollowed out blocks every few days with only brief times outdoors.

Day 2 of the 2nd week before winter. The house’s rain catching barrel is finished. A few minutes before it was done the sky spirit turned from snow to rain. Novrus smiled and waved to the sky. The sky spirit was giving him rain to fill the barrel right away! How wonderful!

The next day a thin layer of snow was finally staying on the ground. This is the last few days he could risk taking the canoe south to find herbs.

He heard a noise to the south. 200 yards south was a Nerjpez. They Norvus and the red foe were both only a few hundred yards from the stead!

<Novrus Nerj in fall snow>

(The picture attached shows the expanded world view map around the stead. The stead is the red X near the center.

Owl tribe is to the north and Flower Wild to the east.

Kuamo are to the south.

Nerjpez are just visible in the far south east. I had to shift the map slightly to fit them in.)

« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 08:02:19 PM by Brygun »

Brygun

« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2018, 08:44:51 PM »
Novrus watched briefly then assessed his equipment. He carried various tools weighing him down and he had left his furs to layer for armor in the stead. He shuffled home.

Warily he checked the traps outside the door. Still in place. He put away the tools, gathered the smoked lynx, lowered the amount of other foods carried and dressed in all the fur layers he had. These were worn for fighting. It was far from cold enough to need them all.

Having learned from experience it was the Flower Wild’s laminated northern bow that was in his hand. An arrow on the string waiting for its pull to power. Today he is hunting a red foe.

Before leaving he made a sacrifice to the spirits.

“Guard the home. Watch over me. Keep our lands safe. Dispel any red foe magic. What you can do today is the day to do it.”

Moving to where the red foe had been seen in the distance Novrus began looking for tracks. Having been at a distance it wasn’t sure to know exactly where.

“I’ll find you,” said Novrus, “You are too close to my home to be ignored.”

Novrus slid about the peninsula. His fur clad form with bow ready and other weapons in reserve. He searched around broadly finding no trail.

“I’ll not leave so easily. Both my home and Wild Flower village are in danger.”

Novrus moved south to begin a detailed slow search north. Fur bearing like an animal his steps were curled toward silence.

Red foe walked about from trees.

Novrus froze.

Red foe had not seen him.

Twelve strides away. The red foe passing across Novrus’s stealthy path.

Red foe wore a fur overcoat so had prepared fir winter. A mail cowl was on his head. That seemed to be his only metal armor. Red foe bore a shield and scimitar. A hand axe in his belt. No sign of a bow nor quiver.

Twelve strides away Novrus leaned his torso onto spruce branches to clear his view. Left hand pushing forward on the Flower Wild’s mighty bow. Right hand pulling back on the menacing arrow.

Those spruce branches release droppings of snow softly thumping on the ground.

Red Foe turns to look at the nonthreatening noise.

Twelve strides away the arrow flew.

True to flight, perfect in balance, the arrow lunged.

Red foe’s face took the arrow deeply plunged.

Red foe fell.

No mist of breath left red foe’s lips.

Novrus let out his breath. Deeply in he drew in the air. His long breath out making a curling wisp of frosty air before his living mouth.

Novrus stared at the man’s death for a few moments.

He wondered of his courage. Sometimes he ran when he was at a disadvantage from bear or red foe. Sometimes he became a cold minded slayer.

Novrus breathed again.

It was when there was a reason to fight. To have elk meat to survive, to protect a village, to protect his home. Then the risk of tears, bleeding, infection and death were worth it.

Satisfied the spirit was gone Novrus approached the one shotted red foe.

<Novrus to the face>

(v2 on the pic refers to having to change the quality to fit in the allowed upload size)

Brygun

« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2018, 10:55:50 PM »
Novrus knelt by the red foe. The clothing and fur worn all had many tears and repairs. The weapons were in decent shape. Red foe had just two cuts of meat on him. One Novrus gave to the spirits.

“You’ve been out a long time,” said Novrus to the corpse.

“May your journey home be swift.”

Novrus felled two trees. One pushed to each side of the warrior. He gathered fresh spruce to add smoke to the fire. Lighting it Novrus wished the warrior a swift journey to his home place.

Returning to the stead Novrus shifted through the belongings.

The delays from stalking, stripping and pyre for red foe were added to by butchering another grouse in the camp traps. Perhaps the spirits had sent it to say thank you to Novrus for slaying the red foe. Days were shorter now. It was too late to start a canoe trip. Novrus harvested a few more stalks of hemp than sang songs to the house spirit.

Next day he began the canoe trip. It seemed as if he could travel by canoe three, four or five times faster than he had been stumbling about on the ground in various depths of snow. He landed by the cliff he had once thought to get iron near but found no herbs. In the afternoon now on an unfamiliar river running south he spotted a cluster of hills and a mountain. There he had some luck in finding flowering plants still alive. Though of course he didn’t really know what they were. Still he gathered them to study and ask about.

He found a mountain surrounded by heathland. With no mire near it wouldn’t have the right flows to form bog iron. Still he climbed the mountain to search for herbs. If there had been any they had not survived the first snows. Novrus offered the mountain spirit a turnip and rock for future friendship.

A small island comprised of a cliff and small mire. Again not a place to really find bog ore. Novrus landed and found other grassy flowers. Also not sure what they were he gathered them. He tasted a leaf. Still he wasn’t sure. Leaves were rarely poisonous. It was mushrooms one shouldn’t taste test.

In the evening he recognized the area of one of the Kuamo villages, “Kalmokoski” the “Death rapids”. It was across a short portage. He took the canoe with him in hopes that tomorrow he might find a water link up. Amid the trees near them he found more of the uncertain grasses and one he did know, sorrel. The sorrel was amid a pasture while clayweed was still showing up in their fields. Unwanted as a crop the harvest and gatherings would be a boon to lone survivor like Novrus.

Entering the village Novrus was greeted by Aaro a sage. He had indeed been here before. Searching their goods Novrus was surprised to see a battered long mail hauberk. Apparently someone had been fighting Nerjpez around here too! It was far to valuable for what he had to trade this time. Novrus was able to trade a red foe hand axe for woolen tunic. It felt much nicer against his skin. Over that was a fur shirt and fur overcoat.

“You are a hulking mass of warmth!” Aaro laughed.

Novrus spent the night in one of their homes. He told the stories of his cabin and his two quick kills on Nerjpez. Aaro spoked about the herbs without ever completely answering Novrus. In the morning Novrus, still portaging his canoe, looked for more herbs near Death Rapids. That’s when he realized the plants where heather.

That’s what Aaro had been going on about.

“The flower when you quake and shake,” Aaro had said, “When howling winds become a babbling brook.”

“Why can’t you just tell me when I show you a sample?” said Novrus.

No one was around. Sages where their own sort of people. Perhaps it gave them assurance of their duties if only the sage-like understood all the stories and plants. Heather was for when you had fevers, shakes or troubles in the lungs.

It was late afternoon when Novrus took to the water. He had alot of sorrel and heather. There was also clayweed and other plants he wasn’t sure of. Sorrel was a good spice for cooking. Others had or might have medical properties. He felt he had made a good gathering trip. The wool tunic was pleasant to wear. In a short paddle he confirmed the river he had followed linked to the one that went by “Death rapids.” That would be useful on later trading trips. Now he much desired to paddle upstream before the ice came.

He had departed too late to much progress. In the evening he rowed ashore. He simple slept inside the canoe on top of all the harvested plants. That plan ended when the raining started.

In the midnight of fall Novrus could hardly see a thing! He was in an unfamiliar pine forest. Scouting nearby didnt reveal any spruces within the very limited range of eyes in near complete darkness. Since he couldn’t make a shelter to escape the rain he decided to slowly paddle northward close to the shore. It would a slow speed in case rocks or shallows should be bumped into.

When the rain stopped a while he took out his fishing kit. Nothing was caught before the rain started again. Using his leather cap he bailed out the canoe before continuing.

Dawn’s small hours started to scatter light. He rowed up the river. Somewhere in the night he had taken a wrong turn. He figured he could portage east a ways and get back on his desired river. His landing was at a soggy cold pine mire. Carrying all the plants and the canoe twice a boot got stuck in the mud. He freed it with help from his spear each time. Much did he desire the comfort of his stead. At least with all his ‘fighting layers’ of furs he remained warm even the cold mire under the rain.


Paddling along in the afternoon he saw a Nerjpez out on the water.

<Novrus nerjpez on water>


Brygun

« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2018, 01:59:10 AM »
Novrus himself was fairly fatigued by paddling. He watched to recover his strength.

The red foe was moving, slowly, across the water.

Novrus was taking his time to recover lest he go into battle exhausted.

Red foe moved toward the shore. Novrus paddled faster and cut him off. Red foe swam back into the middle of wide river-lake. Novrus watched controlling his breathing.

There was an island nearby. Was red foe trying to get to it? Red foe didn’t seem to be making any progress though.

Finally Novrus, though still recovering, decided to close up. That is when he lost sight of the red foe. Novrus paddled around the area. Of course being water there was no tracks. He didn’t the red foe on the lake.

Had he drowned?

Perhaps the red foe had been clinging to wood or a log trying to cross the wide river when it had gotten away from him.

Being close the stead and hungry Novrus decided to get the burden of southern herbs into the cellar.

Novrus resumed his chores. Before it was to cold he decided to make a half stead forge. This would have one wide wall and perhaps a short side to better block the wind. It would be mostly open. The roofing would cover the forge with the workspace.

Day 2 of the last week to winter. Fatigued from moving logs towards the forge location Novrus went to go out in the canoe. A thin hide of white spread out from the shore to where waters still lapped. The ice had begun.

“Well, I got back in good time,” said Novrus.

He was glad not to have left on his herb trip a few days later than he did. A few days gathering in the south could have also meant fighting the canoe back through the ice. He was right now well stocked on many things for the winter. The smoker had finished coating the reindeer cuts which now laid in the cellar.

Putting his hands on his hips Novrus looked out over the ice, water and slush.

“Fall slush season has begun,” said Novrus, “One of the hard times of year to travel. Soon there will be snow upon which to glide on skis. To easily track game trails that shuffle the white. For now traveling is slim. No boating and no easy hikes.

Well canoe. Where shall we put you? Under a spruce tree with a layer of spruce twigs to shelter you from snow? A wonderful place for a few animals to sleep in.”

Novrus laughed.

“My stead is tall. My ceiling. I shall put you up in the rafters. There no ice will sting your seams.”

Novrus portaged the canoe to the stead. Inside he gathered two leather ropes he had made from bird hides. Turning the canoe over he tied the leather ropes together then threw one end over a rafter. He pulled the one end up into the air. He tied the rope’s low end to a peg. Suspended tilted   the canoe was easier to manage while Novrus fitted a staff thick tree trunk to bear the weight of that end. He repeated the rope then brace on the other end of the canoe. Once level he added a third slender trunk as a safety brace. For now he left the leather ropes on the canoe.
Now the upside canoe seemed like a snuggled guest in the stead. It hung on the sleeping and sauna side of the first homestead. Novrus hung the paddle across wall pegs.

Day 4 of the last week before winter. Novrus stopped preparations on the forge to start threshing. Today he threshed the pea harvest. He considered the harvest marginal. It seemed he had only harvested about as much as he put into the soil. He put the peas into a container, ate a good serving then put the rest of the peas in the cellar for the next spring. He would also debate whether to bother at all with them.

The rye yield was much better. In the spring he had at most one bag of rye grains. Novrus filled two bags, a birch-bark box and a birch-bark basket with rye grains! That was a good yield!

The next morning he ground a few pounds of rye grains to flour. Then he baked rye flat breads with sorrel leaves for flavoring. The warm spiced breads sat well in the belly.

Day 5 of the last week before winter. After the rye threshing and first grinds Novrus started this day checking the trap fences and the field traps. No game there this time. He traveled to the nearby hill but saw no game. Also no red foe was in sight. Coming back to the homestead he spotted an elk in the mires to the south east. The hunt is on!

<Novrus fall 1 elk 2>


Brygun

« Reply #35 on: November 29, 2018, 04:56:30 AM »

Novrus loved his spear as a walking staff. Now was the time for the Flower Wild laminated bow. He moved in along the forest trails around his homestead he had come to know. He could see the elk a few times as he closed in. At last they met.

The elk seemed to be pushing apart trees back and forth. Thinking it trapped Novrus moved for a very close shot.

Then it broke free and dashed away. Novrus was close behind. Soon he had a shot, loosed but missed. The arrow tangled on spruce was quickly recovered. Following the obvious fresh trail led to a mire. There Novrus could see the elk was traveling with calf.

Novrus tried a shot across the mire. Powerful is the Flower Wild bow. Where that arrow went nobody knows.

Novrus pursued. He tried to split calf from mother knowing the two would shorten the distance by coming back. He was still trying for position when of all things the elks run through the seven High Hold traders. Novrus shouted a greeting as he went past.

Blasted birch!

All the trader milling around had stirred the mire mud. Where was the elk trail?

Novrus guessed at likely paths stopping again and again to look for tracks.

Once again he came across the High Hold traders singing their trading song.

“High Hold. High Hold.
Its off to trade we go.
With goods of steel and cloth of mail,
Its off to trade we go.”

Once again their seven criss crossing foot trails obliterated any hope of finding elk trails.

Novrus went back to find the “hub”. The place he was last sure of the game. This time he went east. He was losing hope when he turned south.

There it is! Perhaps forty strides down the mire. Once again Novrus is tailing the elk.

Once again the elk tracks went amid the stampings of the short folk from High Hold.

Diligence rewarded Novrus as doing a wide wheel around the hub he found fresh elk tracks going south east. Meanwhile the singing of the High Holders was fading to the north west. The elk trails led east in among dense spruce. Now if there was a sighting they would be at short bow range.

Continuing the trailing Novrus found himself once again the mire. The elk trail went out, turned perpendicular, traveled turned to be reversing the original course. Soon the elk were traveling over their own tracks confounding the tracking.

Hours of seeking tracks in wider and wider wheels took their toll on his energy. Come evening Novrus had yielded from the hunt. Between the clever mother guiding them back and forth their own tracks and the mess from the traders Novrus couldn’t keep on the elk. Novrus returned from the hunt. He ate and slept well in the homestead.

The next morning with the increasing cold he decided to make himself a pair of leather paws. That is semi-fingered leather hand covers. They needed leather cords to make the seams. He had good stocks of bird leathers. They came out decently. He could wear these inside his large fur mittens. Hands are very important in winter tasks. Now he had double layer coverage for them, when he needed it.

Trying them both on Novrus felt the glutton fur mittens he had made long ago weren’t holding up well. Seams were splitting and there was a tear in the hide. In those places wind and wet could get through. Novrus decided to leave the glutton mittens here and replace them. For material he chose the worst off of the red foe fur overcoats. The new mittens were soon done. He had left more allowance for wearing the leather paws underneath. His skills had improved too. These new mittens were without those gaps.

Novrus studied the canoe on the three bars overhead. It occurred to him that if one of the wood bars gave way it was unlikely the center of the canoe’s weight would stay balanced. Novrus fetched another slender trunk. He put it at a third a way along the canoe and moved the mid-point par to the second third. This seemed much safer to have overhead.

For chores Norvus went out to get birch bark to make containers for seeds. He went farther out and even up the hill to check for sign of the elks or other game. He managed a pair of baskets before going to sleep.

In the morning he started to thresh the heather. To his dismay it really had withered to much to be of any use. All that mass of heather in the cellar was just stalks.

Novrus sighed.

The sorrel however processed better. He got seeds from it. This means next spring having a sorrel patch to flavor the cooking. The seeds were tiny. They barely touched on the capacity of the small birch-bark box Novrus had made. The seeds and most of the flavor bearing leaves went back into the cellar.

Next Novrus processed the broad bean harvest. The yield was sixty six pounds. Three if not four fold of what he had planted. Both the baskets he had made last night were used and they only took half of the harvest. The next morning Novrus made use of the cut up red foe overcoat to make bags, with their tying cords. One was needed to finish properly storing the broad beans. That was also with a hollowed block in the homestead holding beans as a ready to eat supply. He ate a meal of only broad beans to clean up the storage.

<Novrus fall 1 thresh 1>

Brygun

« Reply #36 on: November 29, 2018, 08:37:27 PM »
Day 4 of week 13 before midwinter. Novrus set up a charcoal burn. A large stack of firewood, covered in earth, with an inner chimney. The goal is to burn the wood down to charcoal. That is drive out the moisture and impurities so you have only heating wood left in the charcoal. This was an awkward time of year to do this. You had to control the air going in. When winds change so to does the airflow. Charcoaling was best done in other seasons. In winter the winds shifted more often. Novrus hoped to finish this burn and maybe a second to stockpile for the winter iron smithing.

He worked late into the night putting fire to the mound. He adjusted opens here and there. The ground was frosty, which meant more moisture, and added its own problem to the burn.

The weather seemed obliging so Novrus decided to make a third burn. He had to stay nearby during this time. Professional charcoalers sat on one legged stools so they would fall over if they fell asleep. Novrus couldn’t manage that. He’d have to take chances here and there to sleep or do nearby chores. He had figured if he was going to be stuck he might as well as several going. Once the winter howls picked up the shifting winds would make proper charcoaling impracticable. Once again now was his best chance to do a major task.

Nearby the trees assembled for making the smithy half shelter still awaited tending. Ideally those walls should go up before the ground froze. While soft the ground would more naturally adapt to the weight. The icy ground would soften in spring time and some tilt would happen. Undesirable but unlikely to be critical. That is unlikely it would fall over.

Novrus went back to splitting trees down into firewood for the third burn. He could do all this work because of the foods stockpiled from the fields and the meats preserved by the smoke house.

“A stead’s first year is its hardest year,” said Novrus.

Those were words grandfather had also told him. How right he was. So many things to do within certain times. Next year with so many things built there would be greater flexibility. Hoisting his woodsman’s axe up swung it down once again and a hundred times more.

On the next days Novrus resumed preparing felled trees into the logs for the smithy half shelter. He was working where he could easily look over to the charcoal mounds. When needed he went over to cover up places with flame to return it to the days of slow smoldering.

Some times he was out at midnight in a snowfall making those adjustments. The temperature was bouncing above and below freezing. It snowed light, snowed hard and at times even came down as cold drizzling rain. Layers of fur kept him warm. Each time he slept in the stead the furs dried.

A few days of work with the shifting winds and weather. Novrus was managing though there were times flames flared out of the burns. It had been several days since he last checked the trap fences. Patting the burns with a few shovels full of dirt he allowed himself to make the short hikes.

In the fourth one from the stead, that is the trap fence west north west and farther out, there was an elk. One foreleg seemed broken and its head swayed oddly on its neck. The elk must have gone headfirst down the pit at a good run.

Normally Novrus would be excited with joy. Today he faced the necessity of skinning and butchering the beast while yet somehow keeping the charcoal burns safe. There was a start of ice again on the waters so fetching the beast in the canoe was out of the options. Novrus took a breath then stepped up to the pit.

“Thank you for coming and joining me in the circle of life,” said Novrus to the elk, “You challenge me to. So much must I do at once. Yet this is a good challenge. For that I again thank you.”

Then Novrus began bashing the elk about the head with the back of his two handed woodsman’s axe. Three blows later it was unconscious. Knife edge drawn across neck started a great bleed. A second cut was needed though. Novrus began to skin the animal and gut it to release the heat. He soon became exhausted. He would risk sleeping with the elk to guard it. He had to take his chances with the charcoal burns.
He slept only a few hours before awakening. Finishing the skinning he cut the first meats off. A piece was given to the spirits. Then Novrus hurried back to the stead to attend the burns.

By early morning Novrus was ready to return to the elk. The first charcoal burn was complete. The other two stable again.

When he got back to the elk there was no signs of animal’s finding it. With the hide off and guts exposed the falling snow had helped cool the meat. Lower legs were removed. Shoulders with their meat sectioned off. Novrus’s eyes began to falter calling for sleep. It not being safe to use a knife like that he took a large load of meat back to the stead. He had most of it set up for smoking before he finally slumped over in the corner.

When he awoke it late evening. That was how bad his sleep was off. Earth was adjusted on the second and third charcoal burns. Then he made back to the elk. The remaining elk carcass was now light enough Novrus carried it back to the stead.

Novrus removed the backstrap tendons carefully. The long sinews have their own use. Possibly a bow string though he couldn’t hope to complete with the Flower Wild’s laminated northern bow.

Day 4 of the 12th week before midwinter. The elk was processed now. A few portions roasted. A large amount hanging in the smoke room. Thanks to building in a depression the extra height meant the meat could be high in smoke with less smoke at kneeling height. In the cellar a collection of smoked reindeer still awaited consumption. With the meats, vegetables and berries Novrus’s stead had one or maybe two person months of food on hand.

Heat from the smoking melted snow on the roof and it was still raining at times. The rain barrel was full with on hand water. The lake just a short walk away. Checking on the remaining charcoal burns Novrus went back to smoothing logs for the smithy.

Later afternoon Novrus took the few steps to the charcoal burn. The second burn was now complete. The third might be done in a day or two. He padded more earth on the last burn.

Freshly roasted elk made his diet for a few days. His limbs felt much better for it.

The next day was a warmer day melting off the thin snow that had landed overnight. Novrus decided this was the best weather and ground he could hope for to start the smithy half-shelter. He would lay the parts for the stabilizing corner and then extended the wing from there on later days.

To rest Novrus sat amid the trees on the south side of the cabin. He had brought over tree trunks to use as benches. Leaning over to the other log he put out an offering to the spirits to come and visit. Straightening back on his own log bench he stretched his legs out before him.

Thud went a stead trap. Later another. Searching the traps Novrus found two live birds to dispatch for meat and one rotted raven carcass. To apologize for missing the raven he burnt it in the ceremonial clearing with spruce giving smoke to lift the spirit.

The elk’s hide come out very well. The fine quality increased even more by being a thick winter fur. This would be of use if the High Holders came this way again. The elk’s backstrap ligaments had been worked apart then braided into strings. He set those aside for a later quality project.

Day 7 of the 12th week to mid winter. The third and final charcoal burn completed successfully. There was above freezing “warm” days still. Novrus put a layer of his furs in the stead along with the fine winter elk hide. These were good days to continue work on the smithy walls.

The next day there was several trapped birds and an ermine in its winter fur wiggling in a trap. It seemed like he spent the day processing their hides.

He awoke again the day after to a comfortable breeze of the house spirit’s kiss on his cheek. It seemed they understood each other now. Perhaps the forest had been angry when he had logged so many trees. They had been for a purpose and not to waste. They were in use now and that seemed to please the forest.

When fatigued from working Novrus couldn’t go fishing with the ice risk. Instead he took to casual strolls gathering berries and checking on the trap fences. Part of him hoped not to find any large animal in the pits. That would mean taking time to process them. Time that would be taken away from making the smithy.

Day 5 of the 11th week before midwinter. The smithy now has a forge braced in a corner of log walls. All this done before the snow was staying on the ground. Novrus was confident there would be little problem with frost heaving or spring melts. Novrus still desired to extend one wall to make a work area and shelter a bloomery. With its hefty weight setting the forge had been an important task. Novrus burned a gift of meat to call forth a forge spirit to aide in the work ahead. Symbolic lumps of charcoal, a board for lasting heat and branches for kindling made the ceremonial fire.

<Norvus forge built>

Brygun

« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2018, 08:41:07 PM »
Note:

Before I forget to mention yet again...

With the way the graphics work it would have been easier game play if the first building was split east-west not north-south. The way the walls display objects, like cooking roasts, are hidden by the wall graphics which rise up... northward... to show their height.

Its not really practical to fix Novrus's house as I'd have to dismantle and rebuild several exterior walls to re-position the windows plus remake the three interior divider pieces (fireplace, wall, door).


Brygun

« Reply #38 on: November 29, 2018, 09:15:44 PM »

Day 1 of the 10th week to midwinter. Novrus finally puzzled out that one of the unknown leaves he had gathered were burdock. It was good for causing a sweat to purge toxins and poisons. A very good thing to have in your medicine pouch!

Novrus returned, widened the forge’s ceiling and floor then prepared to assemble a bloomery.

(Sorry for the short this time. I’m saving as Ive not used this part of Boudica’s mod before and I’m not 100% sure on how the bloomery is put on the map)

<Novrus to bloomery>

Brygun

« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2018, 04:49:28 AM »
With stones and clay Novrus put the bloomery into the smithy. Space was left between it and the forge for him to work. The clay needed to cool. Novrus gathered up unused clay, of which he had a lot, to make clay pots. These he shaped inside the house. They needed to cool before use. He needed more containers for the seeds and harvest still be threshed apart.

As the bloomery cooled to set the clay Novrus returned to a happy cycle of chores. Instincts, or spirits, nudged him to gather more berries. It was like a harvest he didn’t need to plant. Only the cloud berries in mires and lingon berries in other places were still in season. The berries in the stockpiles and these new ones would spread out the meat and block monotony.

Day 7 of the 10th day before midwinter.
Novrus managed to make a bellows for the smithy. It took almost every bit of bird leather and a red foe’s slashed leather boots to make. With all the stitching there was wheezing  in the seams here and there. It did blow a strong flow of air and that’s what mattered most. Finally Novrus lit the bloomery and begun to smelt ores he had already roasted.

Day 1 of the 9th day before midwinter.
For all the effort of building a smithy, paddling to find ore, staggering deprived of sleep for the charcoal and the wrestling to make bellows the first bloom was both a blessing and a sadness. It was so small. That is the way with iron. Novrus wondered if he would get enough to make his cooking pot.

Novrus took the bloom into the stead. He laid the shape down on a spare hunk of fur. He wrapped the fur over the bloom. He leaned low to the blanketed bloom. With the soft voice of a parent tucking a child in Novrus spoke.

“Iron you are like a newborn baby. Small. Helpless. Needing care. You shall be my child. As your parent I shall teach you a shape. Feed you fire. Make you strong. Make you useful. You will like what you become.

Now I must go and birth your brothers and sisters.”

Day 3 of the 9th day before midwinter.

Two more iron blooms joined the first born. The world was now white with a staying thin layer of snow. Novrus was a proud father birthing the iron blooms. Once he made the siblings that he could it would be time to craft skis and a ski pole.

If ever he was going to have yarn or hemp cloth it needed to be retted. Novrus wasn’t so sure how well it would do in the winter. There was the lake. He took a quarter of the hemp harvest, broke a hole the ice and weighed the plants down to soak to the loosened form called retted.

Day 5 of the 9th day before midwinter.

Novrus has finished all the bloom she had gathered ores for. It wasn’t very many after all. The fur of iron now had five siblings including the first born.

Day 1 of the 8th week before midwinter

Novrus awoke just past midnight. Various works like making pitch glue had been taking him to work and rest at different times. Today he wanted to continue prepping the forge. He made his way to the lichenous forests just below the nearby hill.

With limited light Novrus decided it was best to start with the smaller of the two stones. Finding the right sort of stone for a whetstone he used another to grind it into the flat shapes for sharpening.

Light was slowly rising.

A handful of strides away his eyes caught a shadow in the snow. Moving closer he realized they were elk tracks! Perhaps an hour or so old. The whetstone had taken at least two hours to make. Had the elk wandered this close in the black of night just outside his view?

Perhaps a quarter of an hour later he caught a glimpse of the elk’s shadowy form. There was barely enough light to see each at twenty strides. It to saw him and bolted. Quiet as he could he followed the tracks. After a curl here and there in trail Novrus realized the trail would cross up and down a hillock. It was just tall enough to hide a man or elk.

A cough. The cough of an elk.

Rather than advance Novrus stayed still. He aligned his bow and arrow with the direction of cough. No one can hold a bow at full draw for long so he only took up the tension. His mind went calm like it did in worthy battles. His breathing shallowed to a mere whisper.

A moment of silence.

Another moment of nothing.

The elk crested the rise coming toward him. Straighten his body bowstring was pulled to full. Eye aligning the path. The arrow loosed.

It grazed the elk’s hip before the arrow skidded to the ground.

Novrus moved up now. It wouldn’t run though the elk was. He needed to conserve his strength and keep his mind clear. He recovered the arrow and resumed his stalk. Snow’s thin carpet kept the trail visible. Morning’s shadows highlighted the disturbances of the elk for the rest was smooth blanket of a fresh snowfall.

Following the turns up the hill and down again the elk saw him first and bolted again. Novrus continued stalking.

<Novrus stalking elk 3>

Brygun

« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2018, 11:08:21 PM »
Pre-dawn sunlight dimly lit the pines of the heathland with its thin snuggle of snow. Novrus stood still taking a breath. Elk tracks he had been following continued on in twists and turns plus the swirls of feeding. Novrus asked himself how to do this hunt.

To stalk was to follow the trail in the snow as quietly as possible. Now and then he might get a chance to shoot. His first shot had just grazed the elk doing little to hinder to it. The second chance he never got a chance to fire as the elk saw him first. Stalking like this could go on for hours. Each hour a chance to lose the tracks or be confounded by the switching back.

A drive hunt was possible. That is when you drive the animal toward waiting hunters or prepared traps. From where they were now the fields with two spiked pit traps was to the south. To the south west there were three land bridges each with a trap fence guiding into an unspiked pit. Ice on the lakes was far to thin to risk a human so certainly not an elk. That would better guide the elk to the pits. If he was to drive he needed the right angle to drive the elk. Possibly he could run at it to speed the drive.

That made Novrus recall endurance hunting. That is the very long chase where you tire out the prey faster than the hunter. Once the animal was exhausted you could get close for wounding shots or strikes. Deep winter snow hinders most animals but elk could plow through all but the deepest. The elk might tire it out in deep snow if Novrus was on skis. Right now it there was neither deep snow nor skis.

With those traps nearby Novrus could simply abandon the stalk. Let the elk go to its own wanderings to perhaps strike a pit on its own. This as trapping not hunting in its purest form. If the ice on the lake was stronger the elk could easily cross on the lakes. The current thin ice would prevent that. Still it was a gambling the elk went toward the traps. It could still go in many different directions.

For now with such fresh tracks Novrus continued to stalk.

More steps and turns with the elk seen again. Twenty strides with nearly a half dozen trees in the way. The chance of a hit minimal. A little closer. The elk spots him and turn. Novrus takes the shot with a narrow miss at its legs. He had hoped a leg wound would slow it.

Again to stalking. The trail going east meaning away from the traps. It also meant going in among dense spruce again. A fresh chance for a close range shot from a stalking.

An hour later into the early morning Novrus heard the elk cough. He stood still bringing up and half drawing the arrow. A few moments later the elk could just be seen. It was strolling. Novrus held still seeing two or three spruce along the arrow’s would be flight path. Elk didn’t oblige. It turns around a tree to graze on the other side. Novrus advanced slowly.

Patience is a hunter’s virtue. Novrus stayed on the trail going east away from the stead. Sloping ground came to view. Ahead lay a sheet of lake ice. Elk’s trail turned north along the bank. At least the elk was now partially pinned. Again it was moving away from the traps.

With the limited sunshine of northern winter the sun had not yet appeared over the horizon.

A cough amid the spruce. Investigating the elk heard him and ran toward the lake again. Novrus followed best he could. The trails of the one elk now doubled over each other. Using hub and wheel Novrus did one then a second circle trying to figure out the tracks. Perhaps it was time to give up. One more pass when Novrus saw the elk walking behind a rise. Norvus slide up the rest. He crested and fired. The arrow missed as he forgot to adjust for the elk’s walking speed. At least the arrow was tangled in a nearby spruce for easy recovery.

With another hour of growing light Novrus could hear the elk running from him. There was no sighting. Novrus decides to leave the stalking. There was still enough daylight to make a search and smooth an anvil stone for the smithy. He places out an offering of berries.

“This hunt goes to you good elk.”

The hunting had been challenging. He had come here to smith. There was a lot of food for himself in the cellar. Who would have eaten the elk missed yesterday? Him? Perhaps trade it to the Owl.

Approaching the near hill Novrus entered a patch of licheneous pine. He hadn’t often gone to this northern side. There was good fortune in finding a large stone smoothed over most of it. It still needed grinding, shaping and freeing from the frosty ground to be of use. The sun rose at last. Its low arc past to be falling away before Novrus felt finished preparing the anvil stone. After a meal in the forest he made his way home.

Day 2 of the 8th week before mid winter.

Home again Novrus had placed the anvil stone in the smithy. With his diverse resources he forged an iron hammer as a step up from his stone one. The stone one was still of use. After all a well stocked smithy would have a wall of hammers.

He used the best of the blooms for the hammer head. He had figured the hammer quality would impact the quality of all things to come. Pardon the pun. It came out with a glistening infused face of steel. Its balance superb. The ring of it on the stone matching the sing of the best hammers from home. Truly a fine iron hammer.

The next day Novrus woke up the rest of his children. That is to say the four other iron blooms.

Day 5 of the 8th week before mid winter.

With the smithy equipped Novrus picked out the wrought iron he had shaped from the blooms yesterday. Today was finally the day to make the cooking pot of his dreams. His hand flowed in blows. The hammer sang. The bellows howled, and wheezed at the seams, the charcoals glowed and it seemed like spirits were watching over his shoulder.
Inspiration took hold as he welded the billets which began to sing to him of their shape. Hammer blows on the anvil stone became curves. Curves became bends. A protrusion on the anvil stone became where the swelling opening began. A dip in the anvil stone where the hammer blows expanded the shape. Novrus felt the trance of when he was worthy battle. Slamming hammer sung through the woods.

His breath calmed as hammer came to rest. Belting his hammer Novrus studied the pot. It was well balanced, even curved and small studs on the bottom would keep it balanced with coals packed around it. Very fine indeed.

A wide smile came across his face.

He hunched forward breathing in deep.

Arching backwards Novrus let out a roar of victory that filled the sky.

<Novrus fine cooking pot>
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 11:11:08 PM by Brygun »

Brygun

« Reply #41 on: December 01, 2018, 04:49:19 AM »
Tonights meal would be barley porridge cooked in the newly self-made cooking pot.

Next Novrus desired to make a carving axe. This would take almost all of the remaining iron billets. The carving axe’s thinner blade would be so much better for fine work. Such work included making the interfaces between the logs of the next building.

This night Novrus merged iron billets into a lump. Then he made the hammer sing to bend the lump to bulky on one side and a thin spread on the other. The bulk was parted to have a hole which would receive the axe head. The spread is where Novrus welded by heat and hammer the one steel billet he had made. This would be the axe’s cutting edge. This took into the dark of night.

Returning inside the house Novrus inhaled the smell of barley porridge. He consumed the entire pot full. The soothing texture of the porridge shuffled down his throat. It warmed his belly. A cut of meat and swig from a water skin finished his meal.

In the morning Novrus returned to working on the carving axe. The iron socket didn’t come out as straight as he had thought in the dark of night. It might throw off the swing of the axe. It was good fortune to have noticed it now. Novrus took care to adjust the shape of the handle to fit into socket. A wedge of wood on the top of the shaft pushed the mid-socket wood to tightly grip the axehead’s tilted socket. The carving axe came out decently though.  He swung it through the air to test the feel. Novrus was pleased.

A pair of the best boards were put to the test. With the young carving axe Novrus turned them into an excellent pair of fox boards. He even carved in the initial N in a circle to show he had made them. There were smooth and slippery all the more to force a fox to jump. The bait center had a saw tooth like ridge to better hold the bait. This too would force the fox to jump with the risk of its paws catching in the side notches. These two fine boards Novrus put out to replace those made in the warm days. Those then he set aside for future trade.

The next day Novrus set to making a small knife. One for fine work. He managed it though the blade didn’t come out of the quench with quite the right curve. Still it was good to have a spare. It would still be handier for eating then the broad skinning knife he had left home with in the spring.

Day 1 of the 7th week before midwinter

Novrus was now endeavoring to make broad head arrows. These are more likely to make an animal, like those elk, bleed. The blood loss weakens the animal and leaves its own trail to follow. The last of his iron children yielded five broad heads.
Novrus still had things to learn of his anvil stone’s spirit. Each such stone had its own shapes like each woman had its own curves. The broad heads he finished had wobbling in thing. That would affect their flight and cutting.
For arrow shafts he tried checking his stacks of branches like those from the birch he felled for the canoe and bark for containers. Those he found had their own inconsistencies or showed cracks from being in the drying piles.

Considering his options Novrus realized his new tools, carving axe and knife, could come to his aide. Novrus went to the stockpiles for his best boards, just like he had for the new fox traps. With the carving axe’s thin blade he split off sections. With the small knife he trimmed them to shape. Half of these arrow shafts had issues while the others had good lines. One pleased him with a shape that would make his grandfather proud.

He took a break. Walking to the lake side he checked on where the hemp was retting. He had put down between two specific trees. A hole was broken in the ice. Reaching a quickly chilled hand down he could feel the plants coming apart. They needed a bit more time yet. Bringing his hand up he rubbed it on outer furs before bringing it inside his fur shirt to warm.

Now came the selection of feathers for the arrows. He had many types in storage. Raven, grouses, mallard, capercaillie, swan, goshawk and eagle owl. Raven had been there playing games with him when catching that elk and bear in fields. Yet Raven might be risky for those games. Swan had come to sing. Swan was never caught in his traps. Swan had been like a new friend. Of all the feathers it was Swan he had the least of. Were these arrow heads good enough for Swan? The predator goshawk and eagle hand their energies of hunting. Owl’s have magic for the night. These arrows likely would be fired in the day. Novrus decided on goshawk feathers.

To secure the arrowheads and feathers Novrus gathered alder tree bark in the house’s stores. He separated the bark into thin fibers. Different trees providing different resources. These fibers needed to light to limited any disruption to the arrow’s flight. The best of the fibers were picked. Many more were put on a wall peg near the table.

He worked into the evening on the five broad head arrows. He worked in the smithy for better light while the sun was still up. The smithy L shaped walls broke up the wind. His furs kept in his heat. The shafts were given a thin notch for the broad head which was then tied in with fiber. The rest of the fire was used to keep the goshawk feathers in their seats. When finished he gave each a light hand toss to see how they flew. Three flew smoothly with the other two tilting slightly. For his first fletchings since leaving home three out of five wasn’t bad at all.

The arrows ended the iron smithy he could do. There was over a month to winter. Novrus was proud. He had done all the things in time to have made several useful things. The cooking pot to nourish him, the axe and knife to shape things and the arrows to catch things. He slept well that night.
 
The next day Novrus sorted his collection of furs between sleeping, trading and crafting. He used the lynx fur to make a mask where it seemed the lynx was looking at you. Hare furs where made into a neck cover, a niska.

Then he started on the skis that would soon be needed. Reindeer furs for the boots. His cuttings and carvings skipped at places leaving unwanted gouges. They wouldn’t glide perfectly but they should. He shaped a slender trunk for the ski stick. Bird skins were seamed together for the leather disk that would catch more snow and the loop for the wrist. He hadn’t picked the right trunk as it had cracks to clean out making it thinner and weaken than he was used to.

Going outside Novrus fitted his feet into the ski boards. Taking the ski stick in hand he skidded along the now fist deep snow. Round and round he went in the clearing left by Heandarak’s chopping. Novrus skied to the soaing hemps judging them still unready. He pushed back to the house stopping well before arriving. He was panting. He really hadn’t done much skiing in his youth. This would take practice. Maybe when he knew more about skiing he could make more appropriate skis too.

Taking the skis off it was for now easier to just walk in the shallow snow. Novrus chuckled.

“Two weeks. That is how long the hemp has been soaking to break up in retting. I’m counting the passage of the days by major chores.”

Day 3 of the 7th week before midwinter

Novrus huffed on the mire. Skis slid on the shallow snow most of the time. Notches from crafting flaws would catch on roots or rock at unexpected moments. He had fallen twice this morning. It was good practice for him. Balancing on the long ski while pushing with the short wasn’t natural to him yet. His ski pole braced one hand while the butt of fighting spear balanced the other.

Grandfather had said, “You can’t shot a bow with one hand but you can throw a spear.”

Novrus could make distance on the snow. He hadn’t seen anyone for a long time. Thinking of Flower Wild he found his heart yearning to share and hear stories. He could tell them of his smithing and the drowned red foe. He could of here their songs. Novrus gathered a few of the trade goods, leaving the best furs in case foreign traders came close. As the sunlight starting to make its faint winter shimmer he skid east for Flower Wild.

The first one he skid up to was old man Duongi.

Doungi looked to Novrus raising his chin as if to command respect.

“There are mysteries to the forest young man. We have been waiting to see if you could survive into winter. If you are too stay in these northlands there are things to be learned. Can you handle learning?”

“Yes. I have been learning. Let me show you,” said Norvus.

“No. That is not what I meant,” said Duongi, “Come sit in our kota. Round the fire you will be schooled.”

Novrus went with him under the leather hides of their kota. Duongi began to explain the spirits of realms. He explained the use of precious silver on an ant hill at night to make welcome a grey man of the forest. Novrus knew many such places but had never had silver.

The other villagers came to visit Novrus amid their own chores. Eventualy Heandarak arrived. Novrus explained the house and the smithy. Heandarak had quality hare hides. These Novrus traded for by giving over his earlier two fox boards and a trio of squirrel hides. Novrus hoped traders mike like the hare furs.

At noon Novrus concluded his visit with the flower. Everyone was happier to have seen each other surviving the winter in good health. Novrus waved to Heandarak who waved back. The journey was calm through the winter wonderland.

Day 5 of the 7th week before midwinter

Finally the hemp had been retted. The ice was cleared away. Frigid fingers searched in the shallow water. Weighting stones were pushed aside. Novrus cursed as he had to plunge his hands in to get the plant matter. Putting them in his birch-bark backpack he eagerly made for the warmth of the house.

He stacked the soggy hemp inside the workroom. That is the smoker side of the house. There was no meat smoking right now. The dry winter air meant meat could be dried outside now. Water puddled on the floor. Using the shovel he pushed it out the smoker side door. He had that door to air the smoker. It was proving useful in general cleaning to. Remains of fur cuttings became a sponge to soak up the last drops. The floor wasn’t built like a ship so some water had simply dripped to the earth below.
Norvus guessed it would take a week for the soggy hemp to dry. Now among the chores was to make the various weaving tools grandmother and mother had used. Novrus put his hand behind his head. It would challenging to remember the shapes to carve as he hadn’t used them like his sister had. There were winter nights she had looped threads round and round his two held out hands.

His diet now had porridges mixed among the normal meat and turnip diet that had sustained him so long. He even made a berry porridge with flour to thicken it. The variety was certainly good to enjoy.

<Novrus hemp soaked>

Brygun

« Reply #42 on: December 02, 2018, 05:15:10 AM »
Day 7 of the 7th week before midwinter

Dabbling in different tasks Novrus made a set of bone headed arrows. These he intended to use for practice. For these he used common grouse feathers. Five came out well enough for sale or hunting. The other five had bends or his knife left a nick in the shaft making it prone to breaking.

The south side of the house had no windows nor doors. Instead it had a few trees sheltering the tree trunk benches used to relax. Progressing south Novrus felled a few trees for the stockpiles. This gave him a decently long shooting length. A rise in the ground was the limit he could work with. It came to almost thirty five strides. Firing five of the less balanced arrows they skidded in the air. He only managed to recover two of the five. The next day he found another off to the other side. He decided to make blunt arrows for future practicing.

Restocking trimmed logs had also begun. What had been stocked had been used in making the smithy with its two walls and a roof design. The next house would be the largest yet. Pacing the perimeter then multiplying he figured on over a hundred trees for the outer walls. That would be a lot of work.

Originally Novrus had wanted to use that natural slope for an entrance ramp. That would have put the door on the east toward the rising sun. Now he desired the door should face toward the other buildings. This would be west. The three buildings would then have a common courtyard between them.

There was still pit traps to patrol and reset. As he had expected with the lakes frozen the animals weren’t running into them now. Skiing around the homestead was slowly improving his skills. He had adjusted the foot bindings today. That should help too.

The rain barrel on the sauna-smoker house was useful. Each day he chipped the new formed ice off to refill his water skin. Each time he lit a fire a little snow on the roof melted. More water came from the sun’s race hitting the roof snow to also melt and refill the barrel.

Novrus looked over his stockpile. There was still a stash of clay. He had medicines now plus flavorful leaves. Certainly a thing to make would be a small pot for boiling one dosage of leaves, a kettle. Almost all the rest could go into making a large clay container with handles, an amphora. This would be used for the storage of crops from his field. One could pour the seeds into the cellar but seeds on the walls tended to absorb condensation and start to grow.

With the amphora filling with barley flour Novrus gave his mother’s recipe a try. Setting a flat stone on the edge of the fireplace it would become very hot. You can roast meat on it or you could try baking. Mixing a dough of fresh ground barley flour with water he laid them out as rectangles on the heating stone. He put a scoop of berries on an unused part of the stone. Then he crushed them into paste. Using the flour rectangle he scooped the paste up and wrapped the flour to hold the berries. He pressed them back into rectangular shape then back onto the stone they went. Each turn over was then broken open, in this case cut, to let steam from the berries out. Putting the stone closer to the center of the fire  he left them to bake.

They turned out wonderfully. By the time they were done they sloshing crushed berries had been rendered drier into a sticky paste. The flour had a hard crust over soft bread. Biting in there was a crunch to the crust, smooth soft bread then sticky berry jam inside. Delightful!

An anxiety to explore kept grabbing at him. Novrus spent one day skiing  to the northwest. He still hadn’t seen game in the distance. Was his stead close to a migration path? Was it too out of the way because of the rivers? Was the forest withholding from him? He couldn’t be sure. His range of travel was limited by his skiing ability. Both he and skis had room for improvement. Novrus recalled the image of grandfather in his old age gliding like a goshawk through the forests. Novrus focused his mind on the memory. He searched through the image for ways to improve his stride. One day he might get to be just as swift.

Day 6 of the 6th week before midwinter

Finally the retted hemp had dried to be workable. In the warmth of stead Novrus got to work in the smoker side. As before with no meat smoking it was quite pleasant to work here. The table and bench made the work more efficient. Winds didn’t penetrate the walls except when he desired the shutter open for light. Even without his fur overcoat nor a fire in the fireplace Novrus was sometimes sweating in his work. Outside the temperature dropped further leaving indoor Novrus merely warm without sweat. Stocks of food were plentiful with a host lingonberry turnovers and barley hardtack added to the meats, turnips and porridges.

Returning to the hemp he used a spindle and distaff to spin up the crushed, dried and before that soaked hemp into threads. Novrus thinks of the work yet to come. He would need a loom. By the next day the loom was sitting in the work area awaiting the sets of threads that would be crisscrossed over it. It took up a lot of space to use it. When idle the loom would be put up into the rafters of this tall house.

(Note: A minor hiccup recovered from as the ‘spindle and distaff’ counted as a wooden stake when I build a fence. Fortunately I realized it and it was nearby. When you dismantle the fence you get the parts back. The tool was safely in the house when the fence was rebuilt outdoors.)

Meanwhile he had cooked a batches of durable hard tack. A portion was wrapped away by the sleeping bunk as emergency food should he become greatly ill. Others were wrapped away in the cellar for the same reason and duplicity of location should an animal raid one stash or the other. This was something mother had taught them to do.

There was a night of worry. The howling of the wind sounded different. The shutters flapped and banged against their restraint. A fluff of snow even invaded the house. Curled into the corned of his sleeping bunk Norvus reached for an axe with one hand and that red foe’s shield with the other. Was he getting a visit from an angry spirit? He waited. The howling passed. The shutters banged no more.

In the morning he learned the reason for the anger. Two birds had died in the traps near the camp. They had been caught a day or two again. During the time Novrus was building the loom and spinning thread those birds had been suffering. They had died of thirst and pain. The forest had good reason to be angry. There were also live animals, one of them a small hare.

Novrus skinned them all. The hare was butchered first. As a living one it felt closest to the journey. Novrus went into the spiritual circle he used for rarely. A smokey fire of spruce was set. A cut from the hair set onto it. The smoke blackened as the hare’s spirit rose away guiding, he hoped, all the others with it.

Novrus made sure to patrol the pit traps today. Though they produced no large game. One had a squirrel near it. He cleaned them, rebalanced the cross bars and set new spruce on them. The bait, untouched and frozen, was put back on.

Day 4 of the 5th week to midwinter point

Novrus pulled the loom down from the rafters. He leaned against the wall. One by one hemp threads were connected. Novrus began the labor of working the shuttle back and forth to weave linen. Slamming the threads together was harder than he thought. Into the evening he worked. His hands were getting sore. How did grandmother, mother and sister do this all day? He finished his sheet. It was of acceptable quality. It lacked decoration of course. Checking his supply Novrus was puzzled that he didn’t have enough hemp threads to properly refit the loom for another sheet.

The next morning the first thing he decided to make was a set of undergarments. The ladies definitely new this craft better than he. Putting them on the seems seemed to rub his thighs. In time he hoped the roughness would wear down or his thighs toughen up. Still it was embarrassing to think just how many lone travelers go about their lives without undergarments. These covered him from neck to wrist to ankle. With the scraps left he put together hand wraps that would fit under the leather paws which in turn could go into over sized fur mittens.

Going out skiing to try them out the rough edges quickly wore in. A squirrel in a trap, still alive, made Novrus think the forest had forgiven him. Once again it seemed like a good life for him in this unreal world.

Skiing up to the hill was easier than a week ago. Up there he saw the cloaks of traders to the north. Novrus raced downhill and to the stead to get the trade furs. Thanks to the recent sorting it was quick to grab then. He even wrapped up the elk fur. His pride for the bear fur from his first one slain was too much to even think of bringing it. Besides sleeping on it these past months was part of what this home. Skiing back the challenge now became finding them. At times he could spot them in the distance while their tracks remained elusive. By noon he had to admit the chance was missed.

Felling trees and trimming them to logs was a chore still in demand. Many more would be needed for the second house. Choosing a tree Novrus worked until he was going to drop asleep. It was a time for a test. Moving a safe distance away, lest the partially cut tree blow over in the night, Novrus slept outside with no shelter. He wanted to see how well his undergarments, layers and furs did. It was snowing too.

When he woke the snow was gathered on top of him. That is a good sign. It means his heat is trapped inside rather than melting the snow. Getting up the furs did crinkle with ice. A little had melted and refrozen. All the while Novrus had felt warm. Pleased at his ability to face the winter he continued his chores and baking.

<Novrus tested sleep>

Brygun

« Reply #43 on: December 02, 2018, 06:57:07 PM »

The next days the sun was above less and less. In his chores Novrus would trim and fetch one or two logs for the new house per day. Food was good. He had managed to stumble through his mother’s long bread recipe. Roughly a pound of bread was made. It was nourishing, filling and easy to bake on top of hot rock like he had done with the small berry turnovers.

He tried searching the nearby wilds for large game or traders. A few times he saw traders in the distance but they seemed to move like ghosts. Large game remained unseen.

 Knowing his clothing layer had passed the test his confidence led him to lay down shelters a winter’s short day ski out. These he placed where for one reason or another one could see a large swath of countryside. These were like blinds for watching game. Following grandfather’s advise the shelters where in clumps of trees with limited approaches. Those approaches could be rigged with snares, traps or other noise makers to alert him danger.
He set trail markers so he, or those with similar upbringing, could find them. A tripod of three branches or spruce cuttings as the head of an arrow with a straight line of individual stands for the shaft. Move from shaft to head to find the marked destination.
A few stones or rocks where gathered though snow coverings prevented gathering enough for proper fire rings. If a tree had fallen down nearby Novrus moved it by the shelter to process it for a little firewood. He or another travel in cold or with frostbite would find those a boon.

Day 7 of the 4th week before midwinter point.

Rising in the morning Novrus figured this outer shelter was outside the lands used by the Flower Wild. It could prove awkward if he moved closer to them in the south east from here. Unsure of his inspiration Novrus skid eastward staying north of Flower Wild’s range. He pondered laying a far out camp this direction. It was just something calling him east.

He spied traders north along a mire! At last! He had indeed brought his trade furs with him on this exploration. He started skiing toward them.

That is when a red foe was seen. Novrus skid harder to get to the traders. He had to warn them they where heading west into an ambush!

Novrus closed up a group of unfamiliar High Hold folk. He warned them but with their numbers they didn’t seem afraid. Fulwin had a silver ring trade. The sort of thing the Grey Man would want. Try as he might the smaller furs weren’t enough. Novrus gave over the fine elk fur he had taken at the start of winter. Try as he might he couldn’t any of the other iron trade goods in exchange. Gerward accepted an arctic fox fur a round shield. A spare wasn’t bad to have as shields do get hacked in battle.

Novrus still felt wary about that red foe being close. The spirits had called him to get the silver. The red foe may well also be part of the test. An evil spirit trying to stop him. The red foe seen might be alone but it doesn’t mean he couldn’t signal a war party.

He prepared himself to give battle.

<Novrus got silver ring>

Brygun

« Reply #44 on: December 02, 2018, 07:21:10 PM »
By now the traders were dallying over a frozen lake. They roared with laughter when one or the other fell. They were having sliding competitions.

Novrus skid westward for the red foe. At a hundred yards the red foe started north our of the sparse mire for dense spruce. Novrus searched the wood for a trail or the red foe. Had red foe called on one of his own spirits to blow upon the snow trail?

Into the darkening evening he searched. Novrus also tried picking up the trail of the High Holders to no avail. A wolf at less then a dozen yards peered at him through the snow. Was this the red foe’s spirit? Or had the forest sent them to also battle the red foe.

Novrus followed the tracks. It seemed to be a lone wolf, not a pack. Surely the forest would have sent a pack against the red foe. This lone wolf could it be the red foe transformed? Or a servant of the red foe like we kept dogs?

Novrus kept a pursuit. At times the wolf seemed to double back on itself. He tried a spear throw. The range was long and the wolf alert. One time the wolf growled an angry warning at him. Only was it seen at the dim edges of sight.

Out on the open space of a frozen lake that is when Novrus saw two wolves at once. This then must be a pack hunting red foe. He hoped anyway. He stopped letting them set the nature of their interaction. The wolves moved off, came back, moved off then disappeared again. They seemed to be watching him. It might well be more than two wolves. Novrus slid off to the south. He even made a circle on the lake ice to see if any where following him. They weren’t.

It was time then to let the forest do its thing. It had called Novrus to silver. The red foe had hoped to stop him. Now the forest through the wolves was allowing Novrus to move off home. He left out a cut of smoked elk meat in thanks.

He tried to get back to the last made shelter. Night was too dark. Finding a narrow between two rows of trees he placed noise making snares to either side before sleeping in the middle.

The next day he made back for his camp. He skid up the hill to have a proud look over his lands. There was a red foe near the homestead!

<Novrus redfoe by home>

 

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