Monday, April 21, 2008

Designing the Imperfect Dragon's Lair, Part II

Sorry for the delay, but Thursday was crazy! Now, to Vern's house:

Minot restaurant Supply gave me my basic template and feel, and showed me how things fit. There were some things I wanted different, however, so I played with graph paper until I got the look I want.

One hard part was trying to fit the lair with the stories I've already written. In the story before Grace showed up, Vern had a long, echoing walk to where he saw clients. After Grace, they had a crowded little office. With Grace also came a kitchen, bedroom on a second level and a magical workshop. That meant moving things around, building some walls, adding a few appliances... Grace also needed a shower. (Vern could bathe in a lake when the mood suited. Dragons don't get especially dirty.) I also wanted some hidden areas and piles and boxes of miscellaneous junk that Vern's never really gotten around to cataloging. ("It's as close to treasure as I've had in 800 years. Why wreck the illusion?")

So I added a second cold warehouse in the back with a double-door, and shrunk the side "cold warehouse" some. The effect is an "evil Tetris piece" the kind that will never fit no matter how you turn it. This gives me a corner spot in the far end where the main warehouse walls do not touch the cold warehouses--these form two walls of Grace's workshop. (I'm still deciding if I want stained glass windows or not.)
Inside the heated warehouse, the walls are lined with a handmade second level that runs 6 or 8 feet wide. It's broken in spots for the doors, toilets and workshop. Catty-corner to the workshop is her bedroom on the second floor--just big enough for a bed, wardrobe and chest, with a place outside the room itself for her harp, a chair and music stand. Below her is Vern's new sleeping spot.

The store area--a 21 x 10 foot area in front of the heated warehouse--is their public area. It's divided between an office and kitchen with a hallway in between.
Now the backstory for the set-up:

The building was originally a warehouse for making toilets. (Sorry, that's too good to pass up!) Over the years, it was sold to a plumbing supply store, a machine parts factory, and a lumberyard. Each left stuff behind, and it just got pushed into the corner. Finally, it was bought during the Los Lagos recession (pre-Gap, when even Wal-Mart wouldn't station itself there) by a single internet entrepreneur. He was an aging bachelor, running a fairly successful e-Bay business from it, but in his last years he developed Alzheimer's. He'd mis-catalog things, buy weird items without any plans for selling them, and generally let things get into disarray. Fortunately, he did not drive himself into debt, though he didn't have much profit. The building and everything in it was given to the Little Flowers parish (where Vern was staying) by the owner after he died of a heart attack. The parish agreed to sell the property and contents to Vern.

Vern doesn't really need much, so for a long time, the junk just got shoved aside, leaving him with a long empty stretch from door to his bed and desk. (He liked the effect.) Sometimes, the parish would hold a yard sale or they would need something and they'd delve into the inventory to see if Vern had it. But, frankly, the whole place was chaos and no one in the parish really wanted to devote much time to it.
When Grace came, that changed, however. She needed to be able to cook her meals, take a shower, sleep, and--of course--work magic.

Once again, things were shuffled and moved. Parts of the second level were torn down and the wood used to build a bedroom, shower and kitchen. Fortunately, one of the previous owners had set up a snack bar area with a fridge, sink and even a small oven. The inventory was read again and, by magic or miracles, things they needed kept popping up--dishes and elbow pipes, even an old door and modular furniture walls. Other stuff, they got at Goodwill. Some of Grace's sisters came across the Gap to help, as did some members of the parish and even a few people from the neighborhood who had befriended Vern. While the public area is more homey and the heated warehouse much clearer and cleaner, It's still chaos in the cold warehouses and along the walls. Every now and then, Grace takes a whack at restoring order, but Vern's not very cooperative. "Leave my junk alone!"

One day, I'm going to write a story about something they find in their warehouse.

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