For weeks, Morgan had claimed a particular room in the cottage, the domicile being used far less often being quite helpful in this secret endeavor. He never spent more than a few hours at a time in there, and always had some excuse as to what he was doing. Cleaning. Organizing. Decorating. Studying maps and charts. Sometimes he came out with a furrowed brow, sucking at a bleeding fingertip. And, if anyone ventured to listen, might have once or twice heard a tirade of cursing that could peel the paint off the wall of a navy gunship.
He said nothing to anyone about what he did in that room. He said not a word to anyone he knew, nor even to the serpentine familiar that he never allowed to follow when it decided to slither around freely. And yet, there were signs, for those who paid enough attention. Only one might, and he simply hoped that Mart didn't notice at all when an extra gear disappeared. Morgan was known to straighten his things for him, and it was possible those things simply got put in a little bin of unused or unusable parts. Plucked from the workshop's scraps, a collection grew in secret.
Morgan learned how to solder, using a bit of trial and error to supplement what he'd seen watching the Moon Elf at work as he curled in a chair nearby, pretending to doze off contentedly. Well. Not always pretending. Sometimes he did fall asleep, draped over an arm and legs dangling. What he'd learned in these quiet moments, he used in the sequestered room. This piece to that one, a scrap to cover this mistake… no, pull these apart, it's too long. Too wide. Add more here, and less there. How did one curve metal just right?
After so much work, and so many attempts, he thought that he'd finally done it. It wasn't perfect. It did not move, or have a personality like the little golems Mart made and brought to some form of magical life. It was stiff, lifeless, and not nearly so shiny. There was only one little gem right in the forehead of the strange creature; a perfectly oval little sapphire that wasn't cut in angles, but smooth and rounded. Eyes were made of various gears of gold, and the body was differing tones of silvery and white metals, attesting to hard use in a previous life, or a patina of oxidation. There was a tail, too… a curving thing from the base that swayed in movement that was more suggested than actual, of course… he did not know how to lend flexibility to his creation.
To his eyes, he'd made a sitting cat, proud and inquisitive, and the head tilted slightly to one side. That part had been an accident, but he thought it made the creature look as if it were trying to figure something out, or had heard an interesting noise, so he'd let it be. It was a serendipitous accident, in his own opinion. He was rather proud of his hard work, of having kept it under wraps for so long… even he knew he had trouble keeping these sorts of things to himself.
He woke in the middle of the night, as he always did, and slipped out of bed to wander. Mostly. His nightly ritual of roaming about was common knowledge to those that knew him well enough, and this night he took advantage of it, stealing away to get his little project and sneak into Mart's own workshop room to set it lovingly on his desk. The Captain sat and penned, in his best script, a little note that he folded up and set in front of the metal creature. He sat back and stared at it a moment, tilting his head the same way, and gave a pleased little hum. It wasn't as beautiful as the things Mart made. It wasn't as lively, nor was it even perfectly a cat. To the untrained eye, one might say it looked like a very sick hairless squirrel with forelegs that were… far too long to be comfortable to look at.
At least he hadn't baked anything in secret again. He was starting to get the feeling that maybe he wasn't quite as good at that as he thought. He'd done his best, and when he went to bed, it was with that knowledge and the anticipation of the moment it was discovered. He sidled up as closely as he dared to his warm and still bedmate, and tugged covers over himself completely before eventually drifting off to sleep.