An Apprentice's Due

10th of Cylus 721

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Praetorum
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Posts: 1425
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:08 am
Race: Ithecal
Profession: Mercenary
Renown: 1020
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An Apprentice's Due


10th of Cylus, Arc 721

Antonia was, unsurprisingly, completely delighted that Prae would be staying in the general vicinity of Rharne a little while longer. "Fates forbid you lose your portable forge." Prae teased. He was more use to Antonia as a defier than as an apprentice smith, though she was always happy to teach him, when she wasn't distracted by something else entirely. Which was really quite frequently.


Antonia just grinned. "But you're so useful, how could I give that up?" She gestured to the fire. "Shovel some coal in there while I get my billets. Err, while I find them, I mean." 


Prae rolled his eyes at her, but did as she said, turning to feed the forge with coal while Antonia scurried about hunting for the things she needed. Before long, the fire was roaring, and Antonia was back, using cloth to bundle a stack of metal to a small shovel with a long handle. "Can I get some water?" She asked, gesturing at a nearby bucket. 


Nodding, Prae stepped up to the bucket of dried clay, and conjured water to pour into it, directing it to swirl and mix with the clay until it was nice and soft. Welding smaller pieces of metal into a single brick, it turned out, was quite difficult without bundling it all together with cloth. The clay, he had learned, would then be used to coat the cloth bundle so it didn't simply set on fire, and send the metal inside spilling into the forge. 


Once the bundle was covered, Antonia nodded at the fire. "Just on the edge of yellow," she said. That, Prae knew by now, meant to keep the fire steady at a temperature where its color was just fading from orange into yellow. Leaning close, he called silently to the flames, encouraging them to grow bigger, hotter, until the color was just right, in his eyes. 


His eyes, though, were still rather inexperienced. "A little lower." Antonia said. 


The flames liked being dampened a little less than they liked being encouraged, but for Prae, they did so, settling on the perfect temperature. As Antonia thrust the clay covered bundle into the coals, Prae kept the temperature steady, keeping the fire at the perfect temperature for the master smith. 


When Prae had done this before, he'd used attunement to gauge the heat of the fire precisely. But Antonia had advised him to learn to read the temperature of a flame without magic. Actually, what she'd said was that it seemed like cheating. When Prae had pointed out that arguably, she was cheating by having a defier manage her forge flame for her, she'd ignored him completely. Still, she had a point—he shouldn't rely too heavily on magic. So he was slowly learning to observe the flames, to understand what their size and color said about their temperature. And if he occasionally used attunement to check that he was correct, well, that was just part of the learning process. 


After some time, Antonia pulled the bundle out of the fire, and Prae allowed the flames to return to their natural temperature with a silent thanks. Turning, he picked up a hammer, and took up his position by the anvil expectantly. Antonia then laid the bundle on the anvil, and Prae began to hammer. 


This method of smithing, where Prae hammered ceaselessly while Antonia controlled the positioning of the billet, allowed Prae to use much more of his strength than when he was smithing along. When he needed to use tongs to hold his billet in place, Prae's hand wasn't steady enough that he could use his full strength without losing control of the metal and hammering in places where he hadn't intended. But with someone much more experienced handling all of that, Prae was free to simply focus on the actual hammering itself. 


He did his best to keep his strokes even, and the hammer head level. His own projects were frequently covered in hammer marks from where he'd driven the hammer in at a slight angle, leading to an uneven surface. It was something that wasn't impossible to fix after the fact, but it still bothered him, and took up valuable time and energy.

Here, though, the goal was simply to get the pieces of metal to melt together, so marks wouldn't be a concern. As he brought the hammer down on the billet over and over again, each strike knocking off flakes of dried and baked clay, Prae focused on keeping up a rhythm, steady and even enough that Antonia could anticipate them, moving the billet in between strikes with ease.
word count: 788
Let's play 'What's Weird About Prae'

Head

  • A fiery rune shines under his right eye
  • A firey glow in the back of his mouth

Arms

  • A ring of blue runes floats over each of Prae's wrists
  • A silver shield marks the back of his right hand
  • A ring of light around his left forearm

Misc

  • His tail is about eight feet long, usually knotted around his waist
  • His body temperature is uncomfortably high

Surroundings

  • Wind gusts with every step he takes
  • The area around him is slightly more static-y than normal
User avatar
Praetorum
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Posts: 1425
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:08 am
Race: Ithecal
Profession: Mercenary
Renown: 1020
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Wealth Tier: Tier 5

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Re: An Apprentice's Due


"Right, enough." Antonia called after some time, and tossed Prae a pair of tongs. Using the tongs and the hammer, Prae quickly knocked off the rest of the clay, and unwrapped the cloth. Inside, what had been disparate pieces of metal had all merged into a crude metal block, which Antonia picked up with her tongs, and thrust back into the fire. 


She didn't pull the metal back out until it was red hot, and placed it back on the anvil still glowing. Prae began to hammer once more, calling the cold wind from outside to swirl into the smithy, cooling them off a little after almost a break in front of a roaring fire. Under Prae's hammering and Antonia's deft manipulation of the metal, the rectangular brick started to flatten out, lengthening and widening with every stroke. By the time Antonia told him to finish, it had become a thick sheet of metal, four times as long as it was wide.

Once again, the metal went into the fire until it was red hot. This time, as she was about to pull it out, she nodded towards a tool hanging from the far wall. At a whisper from Prae, the wind plucked up the metal tool, and brought it flying towards Prae. "Fates, that's useful." Antonia sighed. 


The tool was a simple thick strip of metal with a handle. This, Prae had no idea how to use. "Lay it along the middle of the billet," Antonia told him. "Along the edge, not the flat." Intrigued, Prae did so. The strip of metal, stood up on its side, neatly covered the billet from edge to edge. "Now, hold it steady, and hammer it into the metal. It's going to dent the billet along that line, enough that I can fold it along that seam. So try and make sure it's straight."


Oh. That... made a lot of sense. Squinting, Prae tried to level out the tool, keeping it at a right angle to the edge so it would fold properly. "Give it a bit of a tap first," Antonia advised. "That way you make a groove you can use as a marker as you keep hammering. Hurry up though, or it'll cool down too much."

That also made a lot of sense. Getting the tool in position, Prae gave it a sharp tap—then, when that did nothing, a significantly harder one. That left a mark, the faintest groove in the metal that fit the tool perfectly. It wasn't very deep, but it was enough that Prae could put less effort into keeping the tool in place, and more into actually hammering. 


Every hammer stroke drove the tool deeper and deeper into the metal, until the groove was so deep it nearly cut the billet in half. At that point, Antonia gestured for Prae to stop. Grabbing her own hammer, she picked up the billet, and used the hammer to start folding it over. "Hmm, it's not quite aligned properly." She noted when the metal was completely folded in half. Sure enough, it was bent at a narrow angle, the two halves slightly askew so the ends didn't quite overlap. "No worries. The great thing about metal is you can just hammer it back into place."

So Prae did exactly that, hammering the metal down as she laid it on its side, slowly forcing the metal to slide downwards. Once they had both halves neatly stacked atop each other, Antonia threw the billet back into the forge. "When you start hammering to weld them together," she told him, "you're going to start from the seam where they're already joined, and move out towards the ends. Otherwise, you might end up with a gap in the middle, which could ruin the whole billet. And hit firmly, but not so hard that the metal slips out of place, alright? I know you're strong, you don't need to show off. "

Prae nodded, rolling his shoulders to get them loosened up. Antonia grinned, and raised her tongs. "Alright, then. Lets work fast."  


Sparks few with ever hammer strike, the white hot metal seeming to glow brighter with each impact. Carefully, methodically, Prae began to forge weld the metal together, hammering from the seam outwards, as Antonia had instructed. "Make sure you seal the edges too, not just the center." Given that Antonia was the one controlling the placement of the billet, it was sort of a moot point, but he did his best all the same. The hot metal sealed surprisingly fast, and before too long, they had a single billet of metal again, this time thicker and shorter than before. Antonia had him continue hammering, this time to lengthen the metal back to its original dimensions. 


"Alright," she said finally when they were done. "Let's get a drink of water." She grinned fiercely at Prae, and he felt a shiver run down his spine that had nothing to do with the open window. "And then we'll do it all again about four or five times."
word count: 858
Let's play 'What's Weird About Prae'

Head

  • A fiery rune shines under his right eye
  • A firey glow in the back of his mouth

Arms

  • A ring of blue runes floats over each of Prae's wrists
  • A silver shield marks the back of his right hand
  • A ring of light around his left forearm

Misc

  • His tail is about eight feet long, usually knotted around his waist
  • His body temperature is uncomfortably high

Surroundings

  • Wind gusts with every step he takes
  • The area around him is slightly more static-y than normal
User avatar
Jackalope
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:34 pm
Race: Human
Renown: 0
Wealth Tier: Tier 1

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Re: An Apprentice's Due


Experience: +10 xp

Knowledge:
Skill

Smithing x 5
Strength x 1

Skillplay: Appropriate to level

Loot: None.

Injuries/Overstepping: None.

Renown: None.

Comments: I didn’t know what billets were until I read this thread!

This was a smoothly-written and clear description of Prae doing some metalworking. I didn’t have to do any digging in Prae’s CS or other things to understand what is going on. I’m not sure, having not read other threads with this NPC, who Antonia is or what her relationship with Prae is, but I am intrigued after having read this one. I would be curious to see what Antonia ends up making with all the folded metal. Katanas for Sean Connery? :p

I appreciate that Prae thinks about, and to some extent worries about, the question of how magic changes how one does things, and how over-reliance on magic can become a sort of moral hazard.

Let me know if either of you have any questions/feedback. Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 170
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