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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
A master whispers the flames forth
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A series of twelve connected megadomes that makes up the heart of the The Republic of Vinyata
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.