Ironworks

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As expected, Mark and David arrived at the blacksmith shop before he had finished his morning routine. They saw him walking between buildings and he instructed the two friends to take their ox, if that was truly what it was, to the stable where there was hay for it. He said he would be with them when he was finished with everything else and promptly disappeared inside the house.

The stalls had horseshoes hung everywhere above them. This surprised David, who didn't think he had seen enough beasts of burden in the area to warrant the vast number.

After they had done as they were told, David and Mark simply waited. It was expected that most of the day would pass slowly, which was a welcome change for them. At some point David would have to go talk to Auk'a about Sañi, but it was far too early to worry about that. The sun was just beginning to show on the horizon which meant that they couldn't expect the man to be up yet.

Mark had been right about the weather. Clouds were working their way across the sky in an effort to make their stage appearance for the day.

Conversation drifted to the people back home and they laughed even though there was a twinge of sadness that was caused by current circumstances. After a while the blacksmith came up and interrupted their conversation. Mark introduced him to David as Mayta.

Before starting, Mayta asked them about the language they were speaking in and where it was from. Mark started to explain but David cut him off. He said it was from a land a long ways away. The warning of Huksonjo's father-in-law still bothered him.

They decided to get the worst over with first, which in this case, meant testing the burn of the charcoal. There were still warm coals in the furnace from the night before. Mayta tossed in about half of what they had made as well as one end of an iron rod that was nearby.

Attached to the side of the furnace was a device with a hand crank. It seemed to blow air into the chamber that fanned the charcoal to life. He kept cranking.

After a few moments Mayta pulled the rod out and took a hammer to it. "That burns well enough. Could you make the pieces a little larger?"

Mark looked at David then back at Mayta. "Yeah, it's not a problem."

"What can we do for you today then? You said wagon wheels, right?"

"Yeah, we can start with them."

"Want to bring the stuff in? I need to go see where my lazy apprentice is at. You can lay it right over in that corner."

The two friends unloaded the rest of the wagon, including the charcoal and brought it inside.

Mark mused, "We probably should have covered that wood we have drying."

"It's going to be hard to sell wagons if it is raining. I hope this doesn't last long."

"I don't think it will."

"Do you think it is still too early for me to go talk to Auk'a? They probably don't need both of us here watching them work. I'm sure they have a bunch of small things they'll be trying to weave into the middle of it anyway."

"Give Auk'a at least a couple more hours -- unless you just want to give Sañi a reason to take a long break. Auk'a should excuse her for talking to you."

"I think I'm going to do that. It will also keep me out of the rain when it starts."

"You know how to find your way there and back?"

"I think so."

The blacksmith shop was near the edge of the expanding city limits. It had probably belonged to Mayta's father when Puquykilla still rested snugly inside the walls built for it. David was confident it would not be difficult to find again.

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