Forgewhisperer

A fusion of Metal and Magic

 
The timeless art of metalworking combined with the graceful art of Whispering produces a quality of metalwork not seen anywhere else.


 

Overview

 

A Magical Whisper

Metalworking is a profession that's used all across Tikor , from Vinyata to Garuda to Ramnos. While each region has its own flavor of blacksmith adapted to the terrains unique needs, Vinyata has a type that sits handly above the rest. It's key though, is an ancient and nearly forgotten form of practice, Whispering. As the name implies, Whispering is a quiet and almost subtle style of magic. This style was mostly used for healing and treatment before the discovery of stronger salves and magical techniques, and largely thought to be obsolete by most. At around 5 D.A., during the formation of the The Republic of Vinyata, metalworkers started experimenting with new ways to build and weld in preparation for construction of the Nodes. A young blacksmith by the name of Asami Nok had begun experimenting with using magic to enhance Metallurgy, something long been attempted but always failing. The intense environment made it hard to do spells, and with both hands occupied, signs would not help either.

 

Fine Tuning Metal

The breakthrough that Nok had was simple, low powered magic that didn't require steady concentration over a longer period of time. In some ways, it's more reminiscent of etching, just hard enough to leave a mark but nothing more. Pioneers before him had been obsessed with huge leaps in the process, all of which failed, some more spectacularly than others. The fresh youthful eyes of Asami Nok, however, didn't take for granted the art that is blacksmithing. As he began to focus on small injections of magic, the success was almost instantaneous. He was able to create nails that were unbendable no matter how thin. By whispering into the iron ore at critical moments of smelting or forging, he was able to realign certain trace metals in particular ways. He could cause the trace amounts of carbon in steel to becoming perfectly aligned at a molecular level increasing the materials ability to be strong and flexible, yet unbreakable. The key, after all, wasn't to recreate nature but to refine what humans had failed to notice. After a famous demonstration of his unbendable nail to his skeptical colleagues in 16 D.A., whispering made a fierce rise back to the fore center of Vinyata life.


 
We have done our jobs right when, and only when, our creations have outlived their owners. All that time, sweat and effort are for not if you witness its death with your very own eyes.
— Dimasqa Asami Nok
Excerpt from his memoirs "Spirits in the Forge"
 

Magical Artisans

While Asami Nok is credited with the discovery of the method, metalworking and forging is still far more art than science. The successful combo of forging and whispering only further proved that despite the depth of knowledge, the application was everything. A true sign as to art in motion. The effectiveness of whispering in forging was so drastic that in many ways it "killed" standard blacksmithing across Vinyata as a whole. There was no scenario in which whispering, in one way or another, wasn't useful to the process and in other cases instrumental. A gentle whisper could raise the temperature of the material while tempering, keeping the block of molten ore from splitting. Just as magik often has multiple uses in normal life, so did whispering on forging. Eventually around 23 D.A., the term Forgewhispering had become synonymous with metalworking, all but replacing the term itself. Now, metalworking is what early apprentices learn as part of the basics.

 

Building a Web

The first true test for the rising style of metallurgy was one of monumental proportions. Project Spiderweb was underway, and the Republic was all hands on deck with the life-changing project. This was the moment for Forgewhisperers to truly leave their mark. Asami Nok, now a leading authority in Forgewhispering, along with several other notable blacksmiths banded together to form their own guild, Nyama's Crucible. Within it, they had traded information as professionals across the nation as they all began to experiment with forgewhispering. Primed with information and an alliance of craftsmen, the guild felt that, not only could they contribute to the project to build The Web, but make it more magnificent than ever realized. Just as Nok had shown to his fellow blacksmiths, the Crucible, to the disbelief of all, showed the heads of the project. The strength and durability of Forgewhispered metal were beyond anything anyone had heard of. It made the project not only feasible but potentially on a scale only dreamed of before.

 
Forgewhisperer midbanner
by Swordsfall

 

World Tour

While Forgewhispering began in the vast arid region of Vinyata, the breakthrough itself wasn't isolated to its sandy shores alone. News of the invention spread across Tikor, with many others trying to fruitlessly to replicate the success of Nok. However, almost all imitators failed spectacularly. The art of whispering, though out of practice, was used in the southern regions far more. Giving them a cultural leg up when it came to the art. After the first Node was completed, blacksmiths from other regions began to visit the southern region, hoping to see the impossible structure. With each visit, the membership to the guild would grow as visitors from out of town would fall in love with the structures and desire to learn its arts. The Republic of Vinyata was not happy with the thought of sharing what had almost become a sign of national pride.  

  Nyama's Crucible, however, fought hard against the isolationist mentality of the ruling body. Forgewhispering was in itself more art than science, and teaching the core principles to other craftsmen would not hurt the country. In time, the Crucible would be correct, while Forgewhispering did spread across the world, the best smiths to this day still exist mainly in Vinyata. Scholars point to the climate differences between the various territories across the world, the nature of metalwork changed based on the area, and so must Forgewhispering.

 

Azurean Fusion

The next evolution of Forgewhispering would come with the invention of the Latimer Drive , hundreds of years after Nok's discovery. The Latimer family was one of the few great Forgewhispering families that lived outside of Vinyata. Garuda natives, the family was known for there blacksmithing. So when they heard of Forgewhispering, they worked relentlessly for decades to perfect it in the styles of The Karu. When young Lyano Latimer, the heir to the families blacksmithing empire, was found to have the Cobalt Mutation , he almost wrote off. However, Lyano invented techniques to meld forgewhispering with azureweaving, a new fusion of arts. He would create the groundbreaking device, the Latimer Drive, from his studies in both fields. Latimer's breakthrough showed that there was still more ways to apply forgewhispering.

 
"It's something that's been brought up before as a crazy "What if?" but, we've never had a 'smith show the signs yet. So honestly, I'm not sure it's even possible. However, if it was, man....that would be REAL power."
— Dimasqa Asami Nok
On the possibility of fusing whispering and Azurean

 

Rise of Forge Families

The need for Forgewhisperers was forever etched into the annals of history, with nowhere more apparent than The Web and its technical marvel. The craftsman trade had, by its very nature, always been one of secret and disjointedness. However, the value that had come with Nok's discovery couldn't be overstated. As the trade changed as more smiths would embrace it, so to did the balance of power. The older craftsmen who refused to adapt were eventually all but ignored and forgotten. With the rise of the forgewhisperer's guild, Nyama's Crucible, the balance of power would further shift until it would be dominated by a few "Smithies". Given the nature of the trade, it was not only common but encouraged for techniques to be taught through family lines. Either by blood or marriage. The Smithy of Nok, would naturally be one of the first to rise and become a common name. In the north, the Smithy of Latimer would become known.

 

Spirits Within

In the wake of the birth of Grim Arms, there has been a question, one ever so on the tip of the tongue. Did Forgewhisperers create the god-killing weapons? There are numerous stories around Tikor of weapons becoming cursed, some say because they were whispered. Magesmiths and Nyama's Crucible as a whole deny its possibility. While the feats they do are often akin to full-blown conjuring, in practicality it's quite different. As the current head of the Nok family, Mansa Nok explains when asked about this question, "The level of magik injected into a whispered blade versus those of a Grim Arm would be the same as a lit match to the sun itself."


Perception

Social Status

While not household names, some Forgewhisperers have gained widespread attention as they continue to craft. One of the biggest impacts this has had has been on their ability to sell their services. In the early days of blacksmithing, the craftsmen would hone their craft and wait for the business to come to them. Money would exchange hands and either the customer would buy something from the available stock or wait for a custom order.

However, in recent times that has changed quite a bit. As the world grew more accustomed to whispered metal, so too did the metalsmiths popularity and notoriety. Having a master Forgewhisperer personally come to the unveiling of a building or project often eases the public. Some crafters have adjusted to and even taken to the increased spotlight. The rest typically don't care for the extra sunlight and exposure.

Demographics

Forgewhispering, while vital, makes up a fairly small amount of the craftsman pool. Additionally, the community is fairly small, with most smiths knowing of one another for a variety of reasons. This extends to their personal lives as well, craftsmen overwhelmingly pair with partners from the same craft.

Operations

Tools

The Bloomery is the main tool for any Forgewhisperer. The size and power of the Bloomery will determine the amount of whispering needed to end up with the desired end result. The taller the stack on the bloomery, the hotter the temperatures can reach. In the industrial node to the west.   In Vinyata where the trade truly began, water is a commodity you don't waste. While many other cultures quench metal to make it stronger, in the desert they use other means.

Additional tools include an anvil, pliers, hammers, saw and more.

Forgewhisperer Portrait
Volk Soulsmith by sstarkm

A master whispers the flames forth

Qualifications: All Forgewhispers start off as blacksmiths learning the art of Metalsmithing or the science of Metallurgy. Either way, the craft requires a deep understanding of how to work metal and when the time is right to Whisper. The rest of the tricks to being a Forgewhisperer comes from training on the job.
Legality : Most nations have no sorts of laws on the book that ban the art. Though in Vinyata there are often talks of limiting the number of foreigners come in to learn from the some of the oldest Forgewhisperers. The level of craftsmanship of forged items is taken with extreme seriousness, alieving most needs for Fair Trade laws or Standards.
Payment: Most Forgewhisperers are paid in local currency or goods. Metalworking can be a strenuous and hardworking trade, and many smiths have forgone money in exchange for items or herbs that assist in healing and aid. Some of the most prestigious crafters will only open their forges for those with the coin to make it worth their while.


Cover image: Magical Forge by Hongqi Zhang

Comments

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9 Sep, 2018 15:15

Nice job creating a well-crafted work about a group of craftsmen! I really liked this article (I have high standards for a like). However, one question: forge-whispering is literally going to make even the simplest of buildings last centuries. Wouldn't this make the smiths go out of business when they can output insanely strong materials much faster than the world demands them? And also, wouldn't this sort of method be applied to other things? Carpentry comes to mind, but I doubt whispering would be confined to forging.

10 Sep, 2018 01:58

The thing I remind people the most, and I might add this to the intro, is to not think of it like Earth. The evolution on Tikor is different from the getgo. They have a bond with the planet, gods and inhabitants far more than people here.   For one, the way we think of work and capitalism doesn't exist. Why would you not build the absolute best product possible? As a smith, wouldn't you want your product to stand the test of time? For your name to be remembered along with what you created?   In a world where there are other levels of power, the community takes care of itself because theres no reason not to. There is no way for a smith to go out of business because skills are always needed. The concept of money for the sake of money is one thats looked down on. The world can take the possessions you gathered as easy as life. It's the actions you do that are remembered. Especially in Vinyata. The smiths create what is needed as its needed. Not in abudance to create an artificial market.   Additionally, the world is not one that simply stands by. Weather plays a large role in life, and a second sun adds extra stress that causes Forgewhispering to be essential to day to day life.   Magic is talked about very casually in this article because in Swordsfall, magic is everywhere. Its not a secret horded by the brilliant, ambitious or greedy. Its as simple as air. Yet, much like air, it doesn't lend itself to be easily manipulated despite its abundance. So the advancement is in how you use the gifts around you.   Lol, sorry for the bible, its just something that will written it just hasn't happened yet.

9 Sep, 2018 15:59

Hey there, this is a fantastic article! I really like the layout of this article over all easy to read and follow with the eyes. I am a bit curious about the Forge Families. Do they act as a sort of 'nobility' for this artisan group? They kind of read that way. If so do these families specialize in specific gear such as armor or weapons? There was character in Skyrim that was a smiths apprentice (I believe this was from a mod) and if you talk to her you learn that her family is a very important smithing family for the empire. They often craft ceremonial pieces and weapons to be used as badges of power but the girl herself wanted to craft usable weapons for heroes to live and die by. The Forge Family idea really reminded me of that and I think its a great take on smithing.

10 Sep, 2018 02:11

Thanks, I'm glad you liked the layout! My goal was to make it easy and enjoyable to read!

The forge families are more like insanely respected masters. Think of it as if Einstein married Dorothy Vaughan and they taught their kids all their genius ways. Those kids than married other geniuses and keep building it. It's not so exclusive like nobility is, they aren't better than everyone in the way that nobles. It's more like they propagated their knowledge through there family. That has earned respect among the community.

The families don't specialize in that way, more like technique. It's a little bit more like martial art schools and less commercial. There's more than one way to smith an item, and different people believe in those methods. Maybe they have preferred styles of product they like to do but a good smith can make anything. Though as usual, there's always someone who just makes amazing versions of that one thing.

9 Sep, 2018 20:51

I have a weak spot for magic blacksmithery, so this hits the spot. Whispering sounds intriguing, and I'd love to see more about it.   "Metalworking is a profession that's used all across Tikor , from Vinyata to Garuda to Ramnos."

Extra space between Tikor and from makes the linebreak look odd.

"It's key though, is an ancient and nearly forgotten form of practice, Whispering." - 'It's key though' reads a bit strangely and it took me a couple of reads to digest the entire bit. Maybe something to "key to its something something" might flow better?   It's a really neat article with stellar layout (as always from Swordsfall :D ) but I'd love to know about Whispering, exactly what it is and what it can do. You mention it being used as healing magic, so I wonder what else it could do?   Maybe I missed it, but what is Project Spiderweb? I don't see any link or elaboration onto what it is or how that went. Judging by the Vinyata article, I assume it is the Wonder Web, but maybe calling it out and pointing to that could help? :)   Same thing with the Grim Arms. What are those? Maybe add a link to them in the article?   Also, what are the limits to Whispering? Since they made the Web, I assume they can build pretty big things.. So what about ships? Or cannons? Or walls? Or is there some sort of energy requirement, or is it more effortless?

10 Sep, 2018 02:27

Thanks for pointing those out!

Whispering is just an example of how sometimes small effects cause the biggest outcomes. In essence, it's literally just whispering magic commands. Like blowing out a tiny puff of air. It's something that's easy to do once you get the hang of it, however, it's not very powerful. So you won't be doing anything flashy or impactful by whispering.

Project Spiderweb is the codename for the overall construction of The Web. It's the first one of the Related Reading. I thought I mentioned The Web earlier in the article, but maybe I didn't. I'll fix that one.

Grim Arms aren't supposed to not make sense yes. It's a current event item in a situation where I'm writing from past to current. They are weapons capable of killing gods, one was involved in the Assassination of Mime.

There's always a cost. The level of effort will determine the level of cost. While its something has become more common, it's still not an easy thing to do. It's just so obviously useful and effective that its silly not to capitalise. Well, even those big things are made up of little things. Forgewhispering is really about adding magic to the metalsmithing process. The normal rules apply, the whispering just allows you to bend them on occasion.

10 Sep, 2018 08:05

Are there other types of Whispering stuffs?

9 Sep, 2018 21:56

Forgewhispering sounds very cool, but if it is so common, won't there be less and less call for it as buildings, weapons, and other metalworkings last so long that the need for them decreases? Can anyone Whisper or is it a calling?   Is Whispering always capitalized? You have a mix of capitalizations so I wasn't sure, as well as inconsistent spellings of magic.

10 Sep, 2018 02:37

In Swordsfall you have to think less like a capitalistic nation and more like a community. The smiths only create what's needed in the first place. They don't sit there and make millions of nails just because. They craft as they receive orders, and even then they only accept the orders they want to. There will always be a need for metalwork, horseshoes especially have a way of suffering from extreme wear and tear.

Whispering is a proper noun, however, its also used as an action verb. Though honestly, I've noticed if you capitalize every proper noun in a fantasy setting it starts to look really weird. The inconsistent use of magic is on purpose, and that will start to make sense more as you see how different cultures view it. Magic, magik and majik.

10 Sep, 2018 17:05

Take this with a dose of salt, but whether it looks weird or not, shouldn't it be consistent? The magik/magic/majik makes sense in the different cultures.   Are all metalworkings Whispered, or are ordinary things, like horseshoes, made without magic?

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