I bid farewell to my friends as they head out. "Take care, and make sure to send for me if there's something more than trees out there. Thomas, get a good feel for it and let me know if there's anything I can adjust on that breastplate."
That evening, in the smithy, I address Quantithalica in earnest, hoping to instill a sense of purpose in her time with me beyond that of a simple crush.
"Good evening, before we get started on the next project, I wanted to talk with you a bit on the nature of the profession I hope to teach. There's more to it than hammering on bits of metal."
"Ultimately, what I do is solve problems. My friends need protection in a dangerous world, so I make armor. I wish to use controlled lightning to perform tasks I could not otherwise, so I make plans to build a device that will generate that force. Half of the local population are working in the fields to feed the other half and have no time for other pursuits, so I hope to find ways to ease their burden."
"There are three things I would like you to take to heart: The first is to always look for alternates, a better way of doing things. There is nothing in this world that cannot be done more effectively, or more swiftly, or with less cost, or even just not done at all, as you have found a way to make it not necessary."
"The second principle, and the caveat to the first, is that everything anyone does has a consequence, a price, a compromise. A tool you designed to be lighter and easier to handle might be more likely to break under strain for instance. A wagon made to be particularly sturdy and vulnerable could get stuck in mud far more easily than most thanks to the weight. And that perfect item that does everything extremely well while being remarkably reliable? It probably costs more to make than anyone is willing to pay for. The key here is to find a balance that emphasizes the features you most want without sacrificing more than you have to."
"The final principle, is to take pride in your work. I don't mean in a boastful way, boasting is for merchants and politicians, people who need the validation of others in their lives. Always strive to do a job right over taking the easy or quick path. Build a bridge that lasts, year after year, taking punishment without complaint or breakage, and you have something to be extremely proud of, even if almost no one using the bridge knows who was responsible for it."
"Now then, I think that is enough lecturing for the moment. Tonight we'll start making another breastplate, all the way from the beginning this time. This one is for me, so we'll need to make a slightly larger blank than was used on Thomas'... "
I blink a bit, "Oh, I almost forgot, I meant to ask you, do you mind if I start calling you Alice? It is a little easier for me to say, and it is a reference to a story character that you remind me of."