Blogisode 7: The Orisgothian Blacksmiths

This is part of a series of posts.  To read from the beginning please click here

The sun shone brightly over the crowded streets of Ositia.  The air was still heavy with moisture from the night’s dew.  Clay roofs each glistened rusty red with their damp coating, for a brief moment this part of town shimmered with a splendor of blistrar marble.  Beauty comes to the eye of the beholder, however, and to a travelers eye it all looked like wet brick and clay.  Almost a depressing, damp feel to the morning.  The early morning air was quickly beginning to fill with the shuffle of feet and metallic clinks and clangs of various mining gear.  People were leaving their small homes to go serve those beyond the second wall; servants, sweeps, stokers and least – but most numerous – miners.  Farmers were also heading out to their fields, pulling carts behind them loaded with hoes, shovels and other tools of their trade.  Often several children rode in or helped push these carts along depending on the cart’s size or weight.  The tight streets soon became a sea of people, each pushing their way towards their destination.  It was chaos, but chaos in which each person knew their part and their actions to fit together as like a giant puzzle.

As the sun burning off the morning dew many small merchants and traders began to open up shop.  Others arrived from outside the third wall and parked themselves along the road into the wall.  Those with the required papers found gaps in alleys and small parkettes along the busy street to sell their goods.  Soon the quiet shuffle was replaced with the boisterous din of merchants peddling their wears and buyers haggling.  The freshest of fruits and produce were made available to those who cared for their homes.  Most of the wives of miners weren’t permitted to work; aside from jobs as maids to the noble folk.  They took the opportunity to barter and purchase the food their families would be able to use.  Truly fresh food was rare and expensive to common folk in Ositia.  The farms produced ample well grown food but most was reserved for trade with other kingdoms.  Landowners and the King all benefited greatly from food trade but also from the best of the harvest.  The highest of quality was reserved for their personal storehouses and tables.  Products from the edge of the fields or fallen from the trees was collected and sold to the citizens of Ositia.  Food that did not pass inspection was also thrown in baskets and sold in this manner.  Thankfully, because the farms were so close, it was rare to find rotted produce in the Ositia markets even at this low of quality.  Insects, under or over ripe and bitter taste were commonplace.

Nestled near the second wall is a small block of homes packed tightly along the south road.  They were sooted and dirty.  Scraps of metal were rusting in neat piles along the water trench.  Wisps of black smoke rose lazily from several chimneys in this complex on days with no wind such as these.  These homes were the residences of the King’s blacksmiths.  They were given these homes in exchange for their services.  Orisgothian blacksmiths are keepers of the recipe for a blistrar infused sword.  The iron alloy that they fabricated was a trade secret passed from generation to generation by work and in written text.  As valuable as the work of these blacksmiths was to the King and his armies they were considered no more than special common folk.  Because the homes were provided to these men and their families the King felt little obligation to provide a working salary.  The families fed themselves using money made from creating tools and equipment used by the various other trades.  The mine needed pick axes and farmers needed horseshoes, hoes and other equipment.  Unfortunately this mean little time was had by the blacksmiths.  Often time their children, male or female, took up the craft to make simple needs like hammers, shovel blades and horseshoes.

It is out of this necessity that drives the efficiency of Orisgothian blacksmiths.  Not only have they honed the craft to levels of mastery they have created specialized tools unseen in all of the land.  Into their anvils were etched the shape of the Orisgothian blade and tip.  Great clay blocks contained moulds that they could pour liquid blistrar alloy into making the basic shapes of the swords.  Common tool requests also had corresponding clay block moulds.  These thick moulds contained two pieces that were lashed together with iron lashing.  This lashing was riveted right into the large clay blocks.  When the two halves were lashed together they formed a large complete block with a hole about the size of a fist in the top center.  The moulds varied in overall size depending on the product being manufactured.  Orisgothian blacksmiths had borrowed the technology from the blistrar mines.  The very same giant clay furnaces used to melt the raw stone was used by these skilled craftsmen.  This meant, however, that the blacksmith’s houses were often very, very hot.  The building adjacent to the blacksmith’s shop contained a giant clay furnace.  It was in this furnace that the iron and clay ingots were combined and melted.  While the sheer size of the furnaces was daunting, they consumed the entire interior of the adjacent building, they only produced smaller buckets of liquid metal.

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