Episode 6: Moor Work and the Boat
Rising early from the cave, I set about to tend the crops I had planted days earlier. I had been doing this all along and it appeared they were nearing the ripe stage. I also foraged some, but since I had left two casseroles in the forge, I had food for most of the day.
Returning to the boat and examining it, I checked what was needed to complete it and headed for the forest edge to gather more logs. My path to the forest was a route traced back towards the cave entrance. Glancing up at it on the hill side as I walked by, I was shocked to see a giant greenish spider sunning himself directly above the entrance! "Wow, I had just left that cave not 5 minutes ago," I said out loud to myself. He must have either been sleeping and didn't notice me or had just arrived at that sunning spot. In Wurm, you just never know when and from where critters will show up. I had lots of work to do on the boat and I had my meals and tools with me, so there was no need to deal with the spider directly. I continued on to the forest edge and felled another tree.
Hull planks are particularly large. One can only expect to get 3 out of a 24kg log, and maybe six or so logs from the felled tree. I had 18 hull planks to make. However, as I am prone to do, while working the tree to make logs, I scanned my horizon, and through the trees noticed a few hull planks left by someone with less tenacity than myself. They were made of cedar! I grabbed a few to cut down on my woodcutting chores and held one back. It would be the last wood item I would add to the boat so that the boat would become a cedarwood row boat rather than pine, thus decreasing the amount of decay it would suffer between repairs.
As I hauled logs rather slowly, I reached an embankment and froze to gaze upon a Wurmian that had slipped into my local unawares. He was mounted on an unnamed, white horse and wore Soldier on his name. He didn't move as I posted a nervous hello to local. He just sat there, wounded from recent battles staring at me as if I had violated his sacred hunting grounds. I didn't ask if he needed medical attention at the risk that I might need medical attention if I disturbed him, so I slowly turned and moved on while he watched me depart.
I returned to the shore and spend most of the day crafting hull planks and tenons and attaching them to the boat. I had the boat lock in my backpack, so as soon as I was finished, I promptly locked the boat! "Now the timer is ticking," I thought. I needed to start my rescue trip as soon as possible. Though not technically required, I really needed a mooring anchor so that I could anchor the boat in the water once I reached my destination. Mooring the boat would let me signal and sit and wait for a response. Also, a moored boat cannot be pushed by anyone. I turned my attention to the task of making an anchor.
I was relieved to see that the spider had left the area of the cave entrance and so I descended into the cave to light another forge near two lead deposits. I also went back to "my" forge and lit that one as well. They were both around 50 quality which meant that they would remain fueled for about an hour give or take. I wasn't sure if it was my mining skill (around 10) or the lead deposits, but I was getting 1.0 quality ore at a ration of about 7 to 1. This was not good! I need the ore quality to be as good as I could get as the quality of the lump determined the initial quality of the anchor.
I anticipated failures galore, so I popped about 50 ore from the lead deposits. Once they were smelted down to lumps, I switched to my forge and heated them to glowing to combine 20 of them into a single 20kg lump for my first attempt. Then, activating the lump, I right clicked on the large anvil sitting on the floor next to me. What! Where was the option to create the anchor? The sub-menu wasn't even in my list. I looked at my lump again to make sure it was lead. I looked at the weight to make sure it was at least 20kg. I looked at myself to make sure I was Surviverman. Was this Wurm Online? What was going on?!?
I hurriedly injected my problem into the kingdom chat and after receiving the usual "did you do this and that," along with a few reasonable explanations from others, I came to the conclusion that my skill wasn't high enough to have a six percent change of success and thus no option to create. Someone had reasoned that was the problem.
I stood there holding the 20kg of lead and wondering what I was going to do. Another suggestion came over the kingdom chat that I should try making a large anvil if I haven't ever made one before. It made sense in a Wurm-logic kind of way, so I took the time to mine some iron and amazingly created an unfinished large anvil from my smaller one on my first attempt. It just needed to be polished, so I opened my chest to remove a ridiculously low (I mean .75) quality dog pelt. What now? It's gone! "Don't tell me they took my miserable dog pelt! Who in the world would want a .75q pelt!" I said as I shoved the lump back into the burning forge.
My efforts were getting more and more difficult by the minute. No pelt meant no large anvil, unless I was willing to make them over and over until one came out finished. No pelt meant that I had to arm myself with that unsharpened pencil called a short sword as I would likely not be able to make a long sword for the same reasons as the anvil. No pelt basically meant no smithing!
Well, there was one thing I could do. I decided to use the iron to grind blacksmithing skill by making needles, finished and otherwise, to see if adding skill would add the option to make the anchor. After laboring for who knows how long, I tried one last time to make the anchor but with no change in my options. I couldn't wait any longer. I wasn't going to beg for an anchor, not because I was too manly to do so, but because toting it back would have really exposed me to possible attack. By that time I was getting a headache from all of the logistical hurdles in front of me and decided to just sleep on it. However, I wanted to secure some of my supplies in the boat before turning in for the night. The boat lock was much higher in quality than the storage containers of the cave and I reasoned that they would be more secure, even in an unmoored boat.
I made a few trips hauling supplies and on my last trip, I thought I heard something way back in the cave. I scanned the dark corridors and moused over a huge greenish spider! He must have rolled over on the rock and fell in the cave! All this time fiddling with that lead and not 50 feet away lurked a death sentence! The thought helped me cope with the day's failures. I felt really blessed. I resolved to leave him in the cave as I was preparing to depart anyway and I was not about to share the cave with Green Legs. "Tonight, I sleep in the boat," I shouted to him as I left the cave.
Laying myself down inside the boat, I admired my handiwork until the thought came to me that I was about to spend the night outside, unprotected, in a boat along a shore littered with the corpses of giant spiders, greenish bears, wolves, and the graves of a few brave soldiers - not the safest place in Wurm to be sure. I could not squeeze into the cargo hold so I just resolved myself to lay there listening to the frogs, the sounds of the rippling waves, and my conscience trying to figure out what to do about that anchor.