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Tetran Hammer Gifting

In the Tetran guilds, when an individual joins a guild, is promoted within the guild, or promoted to some government rank, it is traditional for the guild leadership to fund and present a commemorative smith's hammer to them.   The hammer varies greatly based on the occasion: a Joining Hammer says more about the guild and contains some biographical details of the individual, when and where they joined the guild, and is a common possession among the Tetra (particularly in Under-Cities, where guild membership is more popular). When being appointed to a position of city leadership, however, it is common for the hammer to be made of the metal associated with the rank of the holder. The hammers made to gift to guild leaders are often huge undertakings - representing the full power and might of a guild. In these cases it is common for the new leader to thank the smiths who made it by making one a Master earlier than the usual 30 years old (itself requiring a new gifting hammer).   In answer to the prompt: Describe a tradition of gift-giving in your world — #WorldEmberGift


The possession of hammers has always been of practical use to Tetra in the Under-Cities, and it is likely that they were gifted as far back as the Age of Heroes as a practical and thoughtful gift which would show concern for the recipient, their work, and their prosperity.    Accordingly, before the Exile, most sources indicate that the gift was prized for its utility and its strength - not as a decoration. Almost all hammers were iron, steel, or stone, and the gift-giver would consider the recipient's job, needs, and physical ability when deciding what form of hammer to give. Instead of traditional materials, there were traditional forms of hammer - a smith's hammer upon joining a guild, more technical hammers when advancing through ranks, and hammers designed specifically to manipulate silver, gold, bronzil, and other metals if the recipient was promoted to be in charge of those metals.   During the Exile, of course, Tetran crafting was carried on exclusively with tools saved from the onslaught and taken into exile. Though the tradition (and indeed, some guilds) survived, it was much changed. Hammer-gifting during exile was wholly ceremonial, often with the same set of hammers 'gifted' by each group of Tetra, and returned after the ceremony.   The Tetra took this wholly ceremonial approach to hammer gifting with them during the Reconquest, and since then it has been purely a ceremonial, rather than practical, gift. The prosperity after the Reconquest meant that hammers were now retained (as before), but also the wholly 'useless' hammers could be crafted out of silver, gold, and soft materials.


At its simplest, it is a personal exchange of hammers - the crowd and level of ceremony is dictated by the event being celebrated. However, despite their lack of formal role in guild or government affairs, the gift hammer has become seen as a 'symbol of office' - so the gift giving is sometimes performed as if at an investiture or coronation.   For the simple Guild Hammers (when one joins a guild), it might be presented in the presence of close family, friends, and your new colleagues only. The hammer itself is probably a standard design, but engraved with personalising details.   Hammer Gifts for promotions in the guild often happen at guild meetings, with all those of the new rank presenting the hammer to the recipient, watched by those of the old rank.   For the civic governance Hammer Gifts, these are often public events held in the Hammerhall at the same time as the legal process of swearing in and announcing the new office holder. The recipients guild will present the office holder to the congregation, then it will be the civic government (often via a Sanctor) who presents the Gift Hammer.
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Cover image: by MDent via Midjourney (v.4)


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