A History of Great Smiths
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A History of Great Smiths by Reed of the Red Wing
Foreword by the Author We live in an exciting and productive time, and many great smiths and artisans still walk among us. The names of Andrus, Timaeus, Aleniur, Pintley and Azell are all familiar, at least in the proper circles, and new great works emerge with relative frequency. But even now, we as men are inclined to look at the past with reverence, to gaze upon those remote and departed days and desire that they should return. It is a good and enlightening thing to know about those who have come before us, for the common man and skilled artisan alike. It is the goal of this work that the names of those who have preceded us in our calling should not be forgotten or erased. Even now, many are remembered only in name, those few syllables preserved in song like insects in amber, their work and significance forgotten. Ollus, Kerab'Kug, Trevur, Avo, Nazrus, Maru: All mere syllables scratched in ancient writings or sung in the earthy baritone of the dwarves, nothing more.
I have spent the past years studying every relevant manuscript that I could find and speaking with as many of the older races as would tolerate my questions. Though the dwarves are often cold or even hostile to outsiders, many have such a passion for the subject that even they would spare a few details for my record. Perhaps there will be more volumes in the future, if more works come to light or if some of these fabled smiths return, which may be possible as you will read. Whatever the future holds, I hope you will enjoy this record of the ancient masters, with reverence and respect. Your ever faithful and humble author, Reed of the Red Wing.
Volume 1: Celis Celis is one of the Dwarvish smiths best known to Human history. This is largely due to the fact that he was the earliest to regularly take humans and elves as students in addition to other dwarves. Some speculate that he was disaffected from dwarvish society, though most of the earlier histories record that he was well respected and that his apprentices included young dwarves from families of some standing. His overall political status and favor within Dwarfish courts is not well known, for the dwarves, then as now, were generally not open to discussing such matters with outsiders. The style of work that grew from the forges of Celis and those who studied under him is known as Celician. It is characterized by intricate interlocking plates of light and durable metal, which are thought to be in imitation of ancient armors fashioned from dragon scales. The earliest pieces, by Celis himself or his more accomplished students, are of much higher quality than later ones, though generally they are all similar in appearance. Most date to around the early days of Empo Sar, between the years 200 and 300. The style fell out of favor as general quality diminished, and eventually the techniques for making them were lost entirely. As such, the most well-made examples can be quite rare and expensive, though the poorer ones are of only moderate value.
Volume 3: Muntus The name Muntus is referenced in several of the oldest histories. He was apparently a smith of some standing, and his name is mentioned universally with respect. Some accounts imply he may have been a dwarf, but most agree that he was a man. No detailed life history or confirmed works have yet surfaced as far as I could discover, and none of the dwarves I could get to speak with me would admit to any direct knowledge of him. His emblem is told to be an "M" rendered in gold, though further details vary between accounts. I have encountered very few forgeries of this mark in my travels, perhaps because of his relative obscurity. There is little description of his style in the accounts; apparently he focused mostly on large, solid pieces less focused on intricate detail. The major feature mentioned is not artistry, but sheer strength. His works were strong and practical, and apparently most in demand with true warriors as opposed to wealthy aristocrats. Should any examples of his work come to light in the future, it is more likely that they would end up on the battlefield than in a royal treasury.
Volume 6: Drachus of Teq Strangely enough, even less is known about the mysterious land of Teq than the great smith Drachus who so famously hails from it. Some of the older dwarvish writings from the southern edge of the continent tell of occasional delegations sent to Teq to trade for some of the more exotic gemstones and metals, though its location has long since been lost to us. Apparently it was the custom of the dwarves to bring gifts for the king of that land, great works of craftsmanship meant perhaps as much to impress as honor. In return, they were often given the exotic products of Drachus's forge, armors wrought in materials and style quite unlike that of any known craftsmen, then or since (with the exception of those who hove occasionally attempted to imitate his work, poorly alas). These suits of armor were wrought in fantastic shapes, formed from thin layers of different alloys and enamelled with bright colors which must have perplexed the more stoic sensibilities of the dwarves. One of the largest fragments relating to the land of Teq is a song said to have been written by a bard who went with a delegation and spoke with Drachus. What remains of it tells of his humble birth and slow rise to prominence in the court of the king, though its ending is lost. It also claims that he spent years as a jeweller, and was thus familiar with some of the more exotic materials and metalworking techniques said to come
from that fantastic land. Whatever the truth of that is, he must have been a truly prolific worker with a full shop of apprentices to produce enough armors to give as many as were given to the dwarves. Indeed, it is said that at least fifty full or partial suits of his armor are still scattered through the various treasuries of noble dwarves. I was even able to briefly examine one myself; while I made a promise not to reveal any specific details, I can say that it was easily as strange and exceptional as myth would have us believe. Some have speculated that he may have been entirely fictional, invented in Teq to further impress their visitors or even that the entire land is a falsehood created to disguise some other master smiths' experimentation. Whether true or not, there is no doubt in my mind that it was a master's mind who conceived, and a master's hand who wrought, the work that I saw with my own eyes.
Volume 6: Loryn Loryn Is perhaps the archetypical dwarvish smith, a consummate master of his craft. Despite still being an active smith as of the writing of this history, he has already established for himself a name that will perhaps never be forgotten. He is currently the most esteemed smith in the dwarvish courts. Noble dwarves and men alike vie for his handiwork, and even some of the elves, who rarely appreciate such things. There are even rumors of a minor heresy among the dwarves that a work of his was brought into the Emperor's sacred Inner Treasury, though the dwarves I spoke to refused to even discuss the subject. Such an act would be a great blasphemy against the dwarves' only true object of reverence. In any case, it is clearly not true, if only because the full contents of the inner chamber are known only to the emperor. I have, however, been able to confirm that a number of his works reside in the Outer Treasury, though no further details were forthcoming. Loryn is said to be of noble upbringing, like many dwarvish smiths. Also like many great smiths, his whereabouts are completely unknown and carefully protected. Even now, there is the constant fear that one who can produce weapons and armor as fine as his would be seen as a valuable asset, either by one of the other races or the various minions of the Shadow. He is likely a Greatbeard or Whitebeard, though no precise date of birth was available. Though none of my
sources would admit to knowing or even having seen him, I got the impression that he was well known in these circles and made frequent visits. Regardless, despite his age we can be pleased to know that the art is still alive and well, and there may be centuries more of excellent creations to come from his forge. There have even apparently been some minor stirrings of cultic feeling towards him, similar to the nigh-worship offered to Oinec. Despite the Emperor's tacit stance against this, it is likely that he will be promoted to semi-godhood upon his death. Whether this reverence will last as it has with other dwarvieh figures, only time will tell.
Volume 7: Izael Izael is something of an enigma in the history of weapon- and armor-smiths. While accounts vary, he is universally described as being at least thirteen feet tall, with glowing eyes and thick, bark-like skin. Furthermore, there are reliable references to him made across a span of almost two dozen centuries, beginning in some of our oldest histories. Some also speculate that he might be identified with other characters in myth, though these claims have been disputed. Reliable accounts of meetings with Izael end approximately six hundred years before the present date, but there have as of yet not been any substantiated record of his death. This has led the to widely-held conviction that he is immortal, the last descendant of a forgotten people or even a unique being created at the very beginning. Other, even more fantastic theories have been put forth, but they are largely credulous and there is no room to repeat them. It is possible that some of the eldest dwarves alive may have met him or know more about him, but unfortunately they were unwilling to discuss this with me. Izael's work is of universally high quality. Usually they are of worked steel with gilt ornament, but he has been known to work in more unusual materials. The stamp of his forge is a spreading oak tree, though this mark is not conclusive in identification because it has been widely imitated, sometimes out of respect but
more often from malicious intent. Currently, almost all of Izael's works are in royal treasuries or the private collections of powerful individuals. Very few true examples come to light, and when they do their value is very high.
Volume 8: Gyphus Gyphus is one of the very few great Elvish smiths known to history. Though Elves produced a number of masterworks in days before the War against the Shadow., some of which still survive, their art was lost and the very names of their smiths were forgotten. Gyphus, unlike most of the Elvish smiths of myth, was a wood elf from a common family. The elves, having little interest in or record of great metalworkers, failed to recognize his talent. He rose to early prominence when his skill was finally discovered by a wandering dwarf, who despite his race trained him and introduced him to the dwarvish court. His talent was so undeniable that even the most stubborn of the dwarves accepted him, and he spent the rest of his long life living among them. He is said by some to have since died, but there is no record of his murder or death of grief, and an elf can die in no other way. As such, I cannot definitively state that he has perished, though none of the dwarves or elves I consulted with had seen him in over three centuries. Whether he is alive or dead, his work reinvigorated the art, introducing a new style and bringing about a new Elvish interest in metalworking which may yet bring another master to fruit. Because his work is more recent, more survives and in better condition than some other smiths. Despite the larger supply, authentic works of high quality are of a value equal with the finest of old dwarvish work. His
work is characterized by brilliant, shining surfaces and intricate, subtle detail. At least one piece is held In the treasury of the king of Empo Sar, and many more are said to be in the keeping of various dwarvish dignitaries.
Volume 13: Oinec Oinec is, if not the first, certainly the most revered of all the dwarvish smiths. Most of our knowledge of him comes from myth and legend, though references to his death can be found in some of the earliest histories. He is said to have been a mountain dwarf who from an early age was a prodigy in metalworking. The earlier poets attribute an almost mystical connection between him and the metal he worked as well as the stone, for he was a sculptor as well as a smith. Some of his finer creations are said to have taken on a life of their awn, though this is difficult to confirm. in some dwarfish circles he has taken on a heroic or even godlike status, and he is widely revered in statues and icons. His works can be easily identified by his forge's stamp, a rampant pig. Unlike the marks of other smiths, his has not been widely imitated dwarfish society takes such swift violent offense at this that surviving imitations are almost as rare as original works. It is difficult to find specific examples of his work because they are exceedingly powerful and thus carefully guarded. Most of them are also heavily and expertly enchanted, though whether by Oinec himself or some collaborating maga I have not been able to determine. One work that is widely attributed to him is a suit of armor made of a metal so fine that it shines blue, and so heavily enchanted that it can repel any blow, be it from mortal or immortal hands. This is
rumored to currently be in the hands of one of the great dwarven thanes, though nobody I spoke with could or would confirm this.
Volume 14: Dozsur Dozsur is one of the greatly revered Dwarvish smiths of older days. Though he did not attain the nigh-divine statue of Oinec in Dwarvish culture, his work is still highly regarded and praised in song and legend. Some accounts even suggest that he was a student of Oinec, though the most reliable histories put the entirety his life well after famed death of that master smith. Support for this is often taken from purported similarities between metals worked by Dozsur and the novel alloys produced by Oinec. Unfortunately, the works in question were not available for examination. Regardless, Dozsur's style is distinct from Oinec's, focusing more on large features than the fine, intricate work characteristic of Oinec's work. And yet, he never sacrificed beauty in his work, as some of the less-sung dwarves have been wont to do; what they lacked in decoration they made up for in perfection of form, every surface burnished to a mirror finish and wrought with consummate skill. The best of his work is said by some to be a match for the work of any dwarf, mortal or otherwise. It is said in many sources, and confirmed by a few witnesses, that a set of Dozsur's work is kept in a prominent place in the Emperor's outer treasury, alongside such fabled treasures as the Singing Glalve and the Rubies of Khûzdur, though details were withheld in honor of the oaths necessary to visit that sacred place.