Men of Metal

"Look up at the stars, child! Do you see the rainbow river running across the sky? It binds the Nine Realms together; the shining arms of Yggdrasil we call Bifröst. The rainbow rivers are the steam escaping the Cosmic Forge, the Forge of Souls. A million-million crucibles simmer with red glowing souls up in the sky. You see their lights shining far and wide: The stars that litter the black abyss of Almennótt.   Beyond the veil of the night, great vats of stone hold the hot souls of our ancestors, and when our children are forged in the womb of mothers, they pour life into the new being as it forms. For as long as we live, that life courses through us. The blood coursing through our very veins are the cooling souls of the Cosmic Forge. Though not shining as bright as they do in the sky, the soul force within us is still red and hot, and it tastes of metal.   Above all things, we fear that it freezes up in us, which is why many seek the heat of battle, or the heat of companion at night. As long as the blood beats red and hot in our veins, our souls remain immortal, for when it is spilled, its power returns to the Soul Forge to be heated and light up the sky once more. This is why we bleed the dead. And choose those you enter the covenant of the blood with wisely, child, for to bond each other's souls, that means to become brothers and sisters beyond the veil of life and death. The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb..."
— An Albin mother to her daughter in the First Age Kaltani saga "Men of Metal and Magic"
 

The Soul Forge

The Soul Forge was the Albenmannen conceptualization of the Great Clockwork throughout most of the Old World. In their view, shared by the other people of the Nine Realms, the great power behind the endless cycle or reincarnation and magic, had the shape of a great cosmic forge with crucibles made from black stone older than the universe, within which stars are molten down into primal soul stuff.  

The Power of Blood

Those who believe in the Men of Metal worldview, think that children are planted by the seed of a man in the womb of a woman, where they grow into a holhjǫrr, a "hollow blade". As the child ripens, it becomes a vessel for soul stuff which is poured into it from the Soul Forge. It is believed that babies that kick a lot are filled with powerful and hot burning souls, a good sign. As the new child nears maturity and becomes ready to be born, the soul within it cools and the glowing soul turns into a dark shade of red.   Because of this belief, people who ascribe to the Men of Metal worldview believe that the soul is a form of metal that runs through the bodies of man and fills them with might. Blood is sacred to them and used as a totem for magic.

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