Chapter 12 when the magæ travel to settle elsewhere, taking Thom along

"I can spontaneously create a living hut, like I created the boat. In this aura I can likely keep it for a moon. To create a tree built like a mystic tower is beyond me at the moment."

"I don't really see Betula agreeing with us doing some slash and burn farming with the surrounding forests and the more we clear up, the more evident will the covenant become to travelers. The river Uhr is barely a mile away to the north, a small village there could support us, with some fishermen and herders, and some hunters in the wood doubling up as shield grogs and scouts to keep problems away from the site."

(I have said most of this on discord, but to have it on record.)

The closest patch of open and dry land big enough for a cottage is the edge of the pool under Cauldron Falls, if you do not want to build litterally under the oak trees. Around the Oak Circle, there is just as much dry land as the roots need. If you really study this option, you will find that the aura flickers a little, so that such cottages would fall sometimes inside and sometimes outside the aura. The boundary of the aura is somewhere between the edge of dry land and the trunks of the trees.

The 50-pace wide marsh is marsh. There might be a dry bump of straw, but nothing to build on. In the forest, the only open land is also marsh, so you would either build in the treetops or cut trees.

Along the River Ure, the best land is already claimed for cottages and crops, and the second best for pasture. Claiming land there, even for just a cottage, would quickly get attention, even though it looks like there is land to spare. A similar distance in the opposite (-ish) direction, nobody appears to claim the land.