One of the signs of a good craftsman was how they treated their tools.
As he gently ran a rag against his hammer to remove some of the blemishes that had gathered on it over the course of the day, the Craftsman let his thoughts wander. His work in Scawick was coming to a close. The blacksmiths that he had educated and trained and adopted the title 'The Hammers of the Dragon' as a tribute to their new deity Droka had been wonderful students... but they had reached the point where there wasn't much more left for him to teach.
Well, that was a lie. He could teach them a great deal more if he wanted to, but he didn't. Iron would be a major upgrade in the Westfold region, but it was far from the peak of the metalworking craft. After all, if you just gave them everything on a silver platter they wouldn't learn or grow on their own and the stagnation would grow boring rather quickly.
Closing his eyes as he considered where he would travel next once he packed up in a day or so, the Craftsman couldn't help but notice a change in the world around him as it seemed to shift ever so slightly. Opening his eyes, he was not seated in the small, once empty longhouse in Scawick that he had borrowed to stay in during his time in the village, but instead an impressive looking study, lined with shelves covered in books, parchment and stone slabs of all shapes and sizes...
Looking around carefully, he quickly noticed the comfortably roaring fire nearby... but what truly drew his attention was the appearance of Droka himself, seated comfortable across from him in all his radiant glory, towering over him in the form of a dragon. For his part, Droka gazed back down at his Avatar... and smiled gently as he greeted "Aw, good to see you. Sorry for the random invitation, but you didn't seem busy and I felt the need to bounce some ideas off of you. How are you going by the way?"
For the Craftsman's part, he merely shrugged as he relaxed into his seat. "Can't complain. I admit I don't really see why you were so interested in Scawick, but it's not a bad place nor are they bad people. But wouldn't you know that already?"
It was an interesting thing, listening and seeing a dragon chuckle. The scales seemed to glide along their body, glistening in the firelight as Droka's wings seemed to ruffle like a leathery sail in the wind. "I admit, it would be rather trivial for me to figure such things out, but I did rather want to practice this all conversation thing a little before I attempted to speak with my fellow deities and risk making a fool of myself. Besides, I don't believe either of us is in any particular rush so there isn't any harm in taking our time to be civil. Might I offer you something to eat or drink?"
The Craftsman politely shook his head. "Thank you for the offer, but I'm good right now." When all Droka did was make a gesture that suggested 'suit yourself', the Craftsman continued as he asked "So what ideas did you want to discuss?"
"Getting right down to business then?" Droka joked gently... before conceding the point and turning so that he could grab something that had been behind him. "Kind of a minor thing really to start with but... what do you think of this?"
At first, the Craftsman looked at the potted plant that his master had planted in front of him with confusion. The first impression he got was that his Master had taken a living plant and coated it in bronze and capturing the details perfectly, but a closer inspection reveled the truth; The 'Plant' was in truth made out of what appeared to be dozens of strands of bronze, rolled into fine, long sticks of the metal that had been twisted together and shaped. The trunk of the plant, the branches coming off of it, even the leaves were all apart of the combined strands of bronze. "It is beautiful. Is it alive?"
Droka shook his head at the question. "I considered it. Maybe have them grow naturally at metal veins in order to revel where they are located but... I decided against it. Didn't seem right, you know? Besides, considering how deep some metals go it seems like a bit of a tease. But... it does seem too good just to completely abandon as an idea, you know?"
The Craftsman slowly nodded his head in agreement, his eyes remaining on the metal 'plant' carefully as he suggested "Maybe... have them grow naturally only in areas you've decided to offer your personal blessing?"
There was a small moment of silence before Droka made a 'Hmm' noise, clearly contemplating the idea. "Wouldn't be a trouble thing... I'll have to give it a bit more thought first through." Shaking his head softly as he reminded himself of something, the craftsdragon flapped his wings as he moved on "At any rate, this was a minor thing. What I really wanted your opinion on-" Shifting his massive bulk with surprising flexibility and care so that he could pick up a series of parchments and offer them to his smaller Avatar. "-are these. They're still somewhat in the development stage but... feedback is highly welcomed."
The Craftsman did as asked and looked over the designs that he had been given. His eyes widened in surprise.
Droka decides to have a small chat with his Avatar the Craftsman within his Grand Library. The conversation is civil and Droka revels a plant crafted out of metal. Originally intending to have them grow around metal veins, Droka decided the idea was a bit foolish, but at the advice of the Craftsman is willing to entertain having such plants grow in blessed ground in the future. Droka also revels a mystery project to his Avatar.
Uneven wooden creaking seemed to fill the air as the cart rolled along the uneven, wild ground.
The cart itself was mostly wooden, the wheels rimmed with a metal that simply had been seen or taken advantage of in this part of the world. The cart itself appeared to be relatively new and well made, but the journey over the Westfold's hilly, unpaved terrain had clearly taken a minor toll. The back of the cart was covered and tied down securely, while the stag pulling the cart did so without much in the way of complaining about the conditions.
Leading the elk on foot was a man, hooded and cloaked. From a distance not much could be discerned of his appearance under the cloak, but it was easy to see the beard that was dangling for all the world to see. The edges of it had gone grey, but near the flesh was still a strong, rich black. For a time, there was nothing but the hills but soon he spied the signs of civilization. A relatively small town, but for the region still a solid one. One that his master had taken a keen interest in shortly after he had gazed upon the world for the first time.
It wasn't his place to judge where his Master deemed suitable to send him on a mission like this, but he had to admit that there were worse places for a deity to focus their efforts on reshaping the way the world worked. They didn't even have dirt roads between settlements yet. A little bit of forging would do them the world of good.
As his cart finally arrived at the broader of the settlement, he was greeted by a large, burly looking man wearing some kind of multi-coloured dress and a beard you could nest a family of birds in with a rather gruff "Alright, ya Dûnan wanker. I don't care if you're here to trade, you can turn that bloody cart right around and shove ya wears straight up ya ars-" that was about as far as the man got before the Craftsman had calmly brought his elk to a stop, walked calmly up to the vulgar gentleman that was in the process of insulting him several times and proceeded to deliver an uppercut to the chin that lifted the somewhat taller man off his feet, into air and into the land of dreams before he landed on his back upon the ground.
While the act of a smaller, clearly older gentleman knocking out a young, bash man in his prime had clearly caught the attention of those nearby, after the Craftsman made sure the man was still alive and breathing he calmly returned to his horse and started to lead it again, looking at the nearest human (a woman this time) and asked "Is this Scawick?"
The look of shock gave way to confusion as she seemed to shudder back to a start. "Wha-"
"Is this Scawick?" The Craftsman asked again, keeping the same calm, collected tone he had used before. "I'm fairly certain I was heading the right way, but after a while the hills start to look the same and it would have damned annoying if I had gotten turned around at some point." He admitted with a small sigh.
The woman, clearly on edge at the civil but very clearly dangerous man that likely could cause her a great deal of trouble before help arrived if she started screaming, gulped as she nervously nodded her head. "Y-Yeah. This is Scawick. I-Is he going to be-"
"He'll be fine. He's just knocked out. Likely have a headache when he wakes up, but he's young. He'll recover... and hopefully with a rather important lesson about bad mouthing one’s elders." The Craftsman answered before she could finish the question. "Now, could you be a good lass and point me in the direction of... I'm not sure what the local word would be... the ones who work metal here?"
A rather timid "W-Why do you want to see the gabhas?" escaped her lips as the young man on the ground started to return to the waking world with a groan... and promptly got a swift kick to the ribs for his troubles as the hooded old man lowered his cloak... and offered her a smile like a kindly grandfather.
"Because my dear, I'm going to make it so that the fools in Ha-Dûna are forced to acknowledge your people as equals, if not be forced to look up to you as their betters and I need the assistance of the gabhas to do that. Would you kindly lead the way? And if you knew a good place I can water my elk that would be lovely."
“Don’t you move one inch, you fiend!” came a yell, and the groan of at least ten bowstrings. Seventeen men and women had lined up with whatever arms they had, pointing them threateningly at the stranger. A pair of young girls hurried over to the passed-out man on the ground, shouting, “Uncle! Uncle!”
The Craftsman blinked slightly as he turned to look at the sudden wall of bowstrings pointed directly at him and his elk. Honestly, considering that despite the fact that he had just laid out a taller, younger man he still appeared somewhat elderly, the show of force would honestly seem comedical to an outside observer.
Clearly not afraid of the promise of injury and death before him, he still remained still as he answered “Is this how Scawick greets visitors these days? Insults and threats towards those who happen to have a few gray hairs? Where I’m from if you’re going to insult a man to his face, you shouldn’t be surprised when they take offense. I mean really… assuming I’m from Ha-Dûna.” He actually spat on the ground at the utterance of that sentence, as if the assumption was more insulting than the rest of his vulgar behavior.
The militia exchanged baffled looks. “Visitor?! You just beat down a respected man in the street! Lerda is none other than Burud’s brother, he is!” Bowstrings whined deeper with tension. “You have until the count of three to turn away and never come back, outsider, or you’ll be finding yourself pushing up Jennesis’ daisies within the hour!”
For a moment, the Craftsman seemed to ponder the situation… before closing his eyes and muttering something softly to himself for only himself to hear. After a moment, a grunt escaped him as he let go of the rope of his elk and took several strides to the side so that he was clear of his cart, before opening his arms wide. “Go ahead. For reasons I am struggling to entertain, my master Droka seems to have taken a shine to your people and if a small demonstration of one of the gifts he wishes to offer you is what it takes to get you to take both of us seriously, then by all means, open fire.”
The Scawicks did as told, loosening a volley of arrows upon the stranger. Some of the arrows missed the target completely, either going slightly wide or above where the craftsman was standing. Some clearly gazed, but it was also clear that that clothing he wore was a little loose on his frame and thus didn’t actually do anything beyond slightly ruining his attire. Most however stuck true… and either bounced off completely, had the stone heads of the arrows shattered or even had the full arrow itself snap from the impact without doing any damage at all. Without a word, the old man reached up and calmly removed his ruined tunic, casting it aside and leaving himself wearing his trousers… and what appeared to be a coat that covered his chest t, all the way down to his upper legs, appearing like overlapping scales on some kind of reptile or fish that were crafted from a gray metal of which had never been seen worked in the Westfold before. “People of Scawick. My master, Droka the craftsdragon of the gods, bid me to come and enlighten your people of the gift of his knowledge of working metal, but also to teach you the secrets of how to work iron… the first settlement in Westfold and beyond to be gifted such knowledge. It is your decision if you decide to accept it or not.”
Immediately, the mood shifted. Shocked by the ineffectiveness of their arrows and moved by the gospel of the stranger, the villagers descended to their knees and lifted their hands to the heavens. “Have our prayers finally been answered?!” came a cheer. “Have the gods finally seen our suffering?!” came another. “Praise be to the Craftsdragon! Scawick shall rise again!” .....................................................................
With the incident at the gate squared away ratherly cleanly (If Lerda felt that the matter hadn’t been settled properly, it had been made rather clear to him that if he wanted to try fighting him again, the Craftsman would be more then willing to whoop his arse in round two), the figure that had introduced himself simply as Hamarr (Since mortals were so strange about the whole ‘name’ thing) had quickly arranged for a gathering of the gabhas of Scawick… which was honestly not that large a gathering.
Even with the insistence that apprentices should also be present the numbers were still rather low… so Hamarr had also allowed several of Scawick’s youngest adults who hadn’t quite found their calling in life to be present as well.
Somewhat happy with the numbers now, Hamarr was finally content to speak with the inhabitants of the longhouse selected for this meeting. “I will start by saying that I am aware that many of you have responsibilities and duties that you have to attend to outside of the lessons I intend to teach. Droka is a working god and is well aware that for a settlement the size of Scawick, every man, woman and child is required to pull their weight.”
To that end, before this meeting is over I will be dividing you all into groups. Not only will it allow me to be able to focus on educating and training you all better as individuals, but it also means that while I’m working with one group, I am not depriving Scawick of people from fulfilling their obligations. I trust that will be acceptable for all of you?”
Giving a moment to allow the crowd to raise any objections, Hamarr continued easily. “With that out of the way, I believe we can get started. I’m sure you’re all interested in learning what iron actually is and why you haven’t heard of it before my arrival. The sad truth is that the reason iron is unheard of is quite simply because the world is currently focused on bronze.” “That isn’t to say that the focus on bronze is unwarranted. Has anyone here ever had the pleasure of seeing a bronze weapon before? But alas, bronze is difficult to produce. In order to produce bronze, one requires copper as a key ingredient, but also tin or arsenic to mix with it… neither of which is present in the Westfold in any meaningful way. Truth is, Tin is rather rare and while arsenic is much more common, it is also incredibly dangerous to the health of the gabhas using it. Even if you do everything correctly, it will slowly kill you over time.”
His small warning given, Hamarr moved on to the point with his hands behind his back. “So while distant civilisations fight over control of tin and copper deposits, iron has been ignored. It is generally somewhat deeper in the ground then the former two, but I will teach you how to locate it from the surface… but the real reason that iron is ignored when compared to copper and bronze is that by comparison, iron is much more difficult to work with.”
“The flames hot enough to melt copper and bronze are nowhere near enough to melt iron. One of the secrets that Droka wishes for me to impart on all of you is how to create a furnace that can produce enough heat to melt iron into a workable form. Now, are there any questions before I split you all into groups and get your training started?”
One of the workers raised a hand. “Now forgive me for asking this, but we can hardly get kilns that melt copper in this land - how will we make anything hot enough to melt something even harder than that?”
Hamarr actually offered a small grin at the question. “That is a very good question. The answer is surprisingly simple once you know it, but if you were starting from scratch with trial and error it would likely take generations of hard work, refinement and mixed degrees of success and failure to figure it out. However, we’re going to get around all of that because Droka decided to let us in on that little secret… as well as teach you a little something that’s… well, a little magical.”
For a moment he seemed rather eager to offer a demonstration of what he meant but… Hamarr paused to think for a moment as he glanced around at where they were. Reeling himself back in, he sighed as he admitted “As much as I would like to offer a physical example at this moment, I confess that would be a poor idea. It would be better to have already taught and produced the new furnace beforehand first. That said, I guess there is no harm in telling you what you’ll be learning.”
Taking a breath, the older man had a fire in his eyes as he explained with a clap of his hands as he suddenly brought them around to his front “You see, Droka had a look at Westfold before he sent me here. Normally, he would have taken a more natural approach like teaching you how to turn wood into charcoal or locate an alternative resource to fuel the furnaces to burn hot enough but even if Westfold had enough resources to sustain such a thing, Scawick at this time simply doesn’t have the numbers or strength to safely secure such things. So instead he’s going to teach you how to enchant stone to burn hot enough for our purposes.”
“Any other questions?”
The crafters looked at one another. “What… What if someone takes this knowledge from us? What if the Dûnans get their hands on this and use it to enslave us?”
“What, are you going to tell them?” another accused.
“Of course not, but what if someone does?! Or what if they put a spy among us? Fìrinn sees all, as we know - they could be watching us right now, and their druids could be listening in!”
The look of amusement on Hamarr’s face would have been priceless if they had truly known of his true nature, rather than just as the priest of Droka. “Oh, I have heard of the druids. They would not be able to replicate the trick I am going to teach you for a rather simple reason. The method that druids use to gain access to their magical abilities means that they can’t really access forms of magic outside of the abilities they gain access to. I could literally have a druid here and explain in great detail how to do what I’m going to teach you all to them… and they wouldn’t be able to do it.”
A sigh… did escape him as he conceded “The furnace itself… Truthfully, figuring out how it is made would not be difficult. How to use it effectively, even more so without understanding how to fuel its flame properly… that’s a whole different matter. The reason I talked about turning wood into charcoal first is because wood by itself wouldn’t burn hot enough. It needs to be altered into another state to be able to create flames hot enough… and fun fact, turning wood into charcoal is incredibly wood intensive. Ha-Dûna doesn’t have access to enough wood to be able to sustain iron production on a scale large enough to properly arm itself.”
The crafter didn’t seem convinced, shaking his head and pointing to the west. “I’m not afraid they’ll figure out how to do it - that’d be the best outcome, ‘cause they’d leave us alone if that was the case. We know these people - if we have something that could give them an edge, even if it’s just a rumour, they will come for us - and unless we can give them the knowledge, they will take us alive and make us wish we were dead by forcing us to make these stones for them!” He looked around at his colleagues and received supportive hums and nods. “How can we avoid that?”
Hamarr went to open his mouth to respond… before he stop himself. Instead of answering right away, he reached up a hand to stroke his chin through his beard as a look of contemplation arose on his features. After a few moments, he finally decided to answer “Would you mind if I discuss the matter with Droka before I give you all an answer?”
“Do what you wish, of course.”
Nodding his head, he decided to press on. “Now then, I guess we can organize groups now. Let’s do this by experience shall we? Fully trained gabhas in one group, apprentices in another and those who are just starting to learn in a third.”
In the days and weeks to follow, Hamarr proved that what he may have lacked in public speaking skills, he made up for by being a masterful teacher. Splitting his students into smaller groups of around the same skill level allowed him to tailor his lessons for each in order to better get his points across.
For the gabhas’ themselves, he respected their experience at the craft, treating them more like peers that he was merely showing new tricks and ideas to rather than as a straight up teacher. For the apprentices he treated them as a stern but fair instructor, making sure that his instructions were clear, the reasons behind them explained cleaning and expecting them to be able to do great things.
The third group was the most interesting. Since they lacked the basics that the other two groups had, Hamarr was able to set the foundation that these young adults could be building their life’s work up from.
The first step for all three groups was the new design for the furnaces. Stones were used to produce a chimney looking structure that on completion would be just shy of most shoulders of the men of Scawick, with earth being used to provide a shallow layer of covering in order to better contain and focus the heat within. Near the bottom, small pipes made of clay (through Hamarr did suggest that pipes could also be made of metal) were present through the side walls to allow air to flow into the furnace.
Hamarr taught two different versions of the furnace, with one having an opening at the bottom that would allow the gabha to remove the metal within and a version that could be made with clay that could be tipped over so that the metal could be removed from the top. When asked why, the Craftsman easily explained that both options were valid since they did the same thing and it was more a matter of personal taste and what resources were at hand which design was used.
The second step was the creation of the forge-stones. It was a simple name, but it suited their needs for the short term (and Hamarr did make it clear that if they wanted to change the name at any point they were more then welcome to, naming things wasn’t his strong point). The idea behind the forge-stone was, as the Craftsman had explained, an enchantment… and a rather basic one at that.
It consisted of three runes that had to be carved into the stone that you wanted to turn into a forge stone; The first was a simple ‘heat’ rune that, once mana started to run through it, would start to heat up the thing it was connected to. The second was a rune that naturally drew mana towards it to infuse into the object much like the first did.
The third rune was what made the forge-stones actually worth having through, due to the fact that it was brand new and not just a shape ‘borrowed’ after Droka took a quick glance towards the pre-existing shapes he could spot when he looked at the mana of the world. The third rune was designed to, once the forge-stone was activated by the addition of the other two runes, to collect just a small ember of Droka’s divine power to empower the other two to better serve the servants of the Craftsdragon. This was what would allow the stones to produce enough heat to ‘soften’ iron enough to be easily forgeable without actually melting it into a liquid.
It also had a somewhat… strange side effect in that the third rune would only activate when the forge-stone was within a furnace. While this did, in theory, mean that if something went wrong with an active furnace that the forge-stone could be removed in order to deactivate it, in practice some very special tools were going to have to be designed and made to be able to safely do such a thing.
The only ‘flaw’ that could be considered about the forge-stone’s design was that it would melt. The sheer heat produced by the runes would, over time, cause the stone they were carved into to melt and turn molten until the runes themselves stopped working and it could cool back down into warped rock with a metallic sheen to it. The stones still tended to last a fairly long time (long enough at least that a decent amount of iron ore could be worked before a decent quality stone was used up) and as long as the furnace was made of materials that wouldn’t catch fire it wasn’t an issue. Plus it meant that the stones could be traded independently.
Once the tools were in place, step three could begin. Actually working with iron ore itself. Hamarr’s cart had been full of the stuff, alongside a bit of copper so that the newer students of the forge would have a chance to broaden their education a bit. By the time the furnaces and forge-stones were ready, Hamarr had spent enough time around his groups of students that he understood how to explain the methods of working the new ore with them so that they understood.
Progress was slow at first all the same, because while the Craftsman was willing to teach and guide his students, experience was something you gained after you needed it. This was a new type furnace, with a new method of working metal with a brand new ore. Mistakes and errors happened, through thankfully nothing that threatened life or limb. But within a month of Hamarr’s arrival, tools made of iron were available for use by the people of Scawick. Not in great numbers and the original ones were somewhat crude, but enough to demonstrate the difference between the old stone tools and the new iron ones… and each day the gabhas’ got that little bit more experienced and the things they were making got a bit more refined.
While the slow and steady increase of iron goods was easily a boon, there were concerns that it would be a short lived one. After all, the only source of iron ore that was currently known was Hamarr’s cart. With no new supply to be seen for the foreseeable future, there were fears that Droka’s blessing was little more than a show.
That was… until the ground started to shake one day around noon.
The ground rumbled, clearly moving enough to let the residents of Scawick know it was moving and freak out the animals, but not to the extreme that it endangered buildings or people. A loud crack of stone being split and torn asunder rang through the village like a roar of thunder, echoing from somewhere just outside of the edge of town.
In what had been an outcropping of large stones, one of them had clearly been shattered by something that had burst out of the ground underneath it with a great deal of force. There was some confusion at first… until one of Hamarr’s students got a good look at it. It was a massive slab of iron ore that had just burst out of the ground. Some light excavation around the base of the mass proved that the part that had broken the surface was merely the tip of the vein. It ran deeper into the ground.
As the Craftsman himself would say when he finally joined the crowd to look over the new development. “A gift from Droka.” It seemed only fair that if he was going to teach his people how to work with iron, they should have enough of it to start with to actually benefit that knowledge.
Making use of the name 'Hamarr', The Craftsman arrives at the village of Scawick. After a... somewhat rocky introduction which gets him shot at by arrows that do nothing due to a suit of scale armor (and the fact that he's the Avatar of a god), Hamarr preaches the name of his master Droka and informs the towns people that the Craftsdragon Droka has deemed them worthy of being the first people in Westfold (and the world) of the knowledge of how to work iron.
Gathering the local blacksmiths, Apprentices and young adults who haven't committed to a craft yet, Hamarr organizes them into groups to be taught and answers some basic questions.
Over the course of several weeks, this new holy order of Craftsman are taught many tricks, trades and secrets of blacksmithing, as well as a small amount of enchantment with a minor divine twist. When concerns started to rise that Hamarr's cart was running out of iron ore and that soon the town wouldn't have anymore, in the middle of the day, within easy walking distance of the town of Scawick, an iron ore vein partially burst out of the ground.
The Hammers of the Dragon
A holy order of craftsman originally developed and trained by the Avatar 'The Legendary Craftsman' in the village of Scawick in the Westfold area. While primarily a union of Blacksmiths that share a number of tricks of their of their trade, it also doubles as a following for the god Droka since some of the order's secrets (namely the creation of a Forge-stone) requires the active worship of Droka to happen.
Master Blacksmiths III (1 DP, 2 Free) Having been taught and instructed by the Avatar of the god of blacksmiths himself, the Hammers of the Dragon has access to some of the greatest mortal metal workers that the world has to offer.
Blooming Furnace I (1 MP) One of the secrets that the Craftsman reveled to the Hammers is how to develop a Blooming furnace. These furnaces are important in that they allow for the working of iron.
Forge-Stones I (1 MP) Due to the lack of fuel to run the furnaces with, Droka and the Craftsman developed what has for the moment been titled as 'Forge-Stones'. While they are mostly the work of enchanting and taking advantage of local mana in the air to operate, one of the runes used to enchant the stone results in a small spark of Droka's power to enhance the stone to let off enough heat to actually soften up iron ore to be worked. The stones themselves only get this divine power boost if they are both A) Placed within a furnace and B) The person who crafted the stone is an active worshiper of Droka.
The heat generated does eventally cause the forge-stone to melt a bit, disrupting the runes and causing them to stop working, thus allowing the stone to cool down in a new, warped shape with a metallic sheen.
Gift of Iron (2 DP) Desiring to give his new chosen people a good leg up, Droka pulled a vein of iron ore up from the ground within walking distance of Scawick. While the amount breaching the surface is merely the tip of the vein, there is enough there to give them a good head start, as well as let them locate new sources of the ore before they have to worry about running out.
Some might have used the imagery of a candle being lit against the darkness; A symbiotic expression of awareness springing to existence from nothing. This would have been an easy story to tell to others... and like most such stories was nothing but a fantasy; A lie to try and explain a concept that minds unable to handle the truth could accept instead.
They had existed within the depths of possibility that was the lifeblood since the beginning. Mindless. Formless. But still possessed of a earning to be something more.
The concept of time was meaningless, but as one moment of now changed into the next, something else changed as well.
It started with the sensations of being runny and molten, but as another moment passed the edges of being started to freeze, the heat disappearing and taking with it mobility in exchange for a ridged form. Many of these shards fell back into the molten whole, most abandoning the cold rigidness of self to return completely while others clung to their new identities even as they were altered further by the warmth of being whole. Some shards of self did not return, instead existing separate from the whole but still very much apart of it.
These shards followed their nature, traveling away from the dark, warm depths and and moving upwards towards where things were cold but remained the same. Some even were so bold as to venture out of the very top of the darkness, finding itself exposed the things and sensations that didn't exist down in the depths. The definition of moments changed, instead turning to reflect how long a shard of the whole could withstand the elements above before it needed to be pulled back down to reforge itself anew. They existed, but even with the revolutionary concept of the passage of time they merely were and nothing more.
It was what happened next that truly altered things... but it happened so quickly and over so wide an area that pinpointing exactly when the spark of self awareness truly began and he started to take form within the lifeblood properly simply wasn't possible. Mortals started to mine out the shards near the surface, experimenting with changing it into various forms to serve a variety of uses from buildings, weapons and armor... even just to look pretty.
The wide range of conflicting ideals and theories took time in order to come together in a manner that made sense, but one fragmented memory stood out from this period above all the others. An mortal of some kind... human, somewhere in his middle age moving into his elder years, sitting down as he waited for some copper to heat up enough to melt down into a workable substance, telling a story to his tired, fussy grandson who was refusing to go to sleep. Compared to some of the stories he listened to or witnessed first hand later it was a small, silly tale about a warrior and a mighty dragon helping ordinary people with their problems... but it imprinted itself in his mind, filling him with a desire to hear more stories.
Opening his eyes in a void not unlike the darkness of the warm depths he had started in, Droka... just sat there in shock as the weight of everything suddenly hammered itself home on him harder then any mortal blacksmith hammer could ever hope to achieve. All the knowledge, all the information, all the stories he had stored in his head... and most important of all, the sheer weight of true existence. He was no longer the ponderously slow They of the past... he was now Droka.
For a time he sat there, occasionally flapping his leathery wings or inspecting his golden claws and body. He knew that if he wanted to, he could easily change color to something else but... Gold was a good, metallic color and something in his being was content with it. He glanced over at the portal nearby since... well, it kind of stood out against the backdrop of the void, but despite his curiosity he didn't desire to go through it just yet. This realm was his after all... and it would be rude to leave it without at least doing something interesting with it.
At first images of workshops and metal spires filled his mind... but those were quickly discarded. Sure, a workshop or two hidden away was a good idea but... Focusing his will, he lifted himself onto his hind legs and started to flap his wings as the void started to twist into colors and shapes. Before long, the endless darkened void had turned into a... well, rather cozy looking building covered in wooden shelves. There was even a fireplace and a large, cozy looking chair big enough for his dragon sized body to sit down and curl up on. The bookshelves themselves were far from full, even with all the stories that had been in Droka's head written down and displayed on them. In time that would have to be addressed, but at least satisfied with what he had done so far, Droka nodded his head before turning towards the portal and stepping through it.
Change was a natural part of him, so his form shifting as he crossed the threshold wasn't as big a deal for him as it might have been for others. Instead of the majestic dragon that he had been moments before a middle aged, elderly looking human man carrying a cane stepped into Antiquity.
Droka forms, develops the basics of his realm, then enters Antiquity.
For his part, Draco simply shrugged and answered "Sounds like a plan." because... sure, it would require some people he didn't really know to die, but honestly he had a bad feeling about them since the moment he had laid eyes on them so their removal as a factor wasn't any weight off his back.
However, something that Victor said struck him as something that... honestly he would have been better off not hearing. That the charge that he was so dedicated to getting to safety was a Saint. While he had nothing against whomever the Church decided to name a Saint for whatever reason, people could get weird about what sort of thing... weird and desperate. Looking towards the woman in question... he took a deep breath as he calmed himself before saying for both her benefit and Victor's "Okay... We're going to go through with this plan with only one addition. For the rest of the night, between heading for this shelter and hiding out there, no one here is going to mention the fact that we have a Saint in the group. Because all mentioning that will do is possibly put a target on your back and make life more complicated then it needs to be. Sound good?" He asked, a small degree of hope in his voice that his point was driven home.
Please have a look at Domain and Portfolio. I've got an imagine in mind, but I would welcome early feedback to make them work properly.
Primordial or Conceptual: Conceptual
The art of creation is not an uncommon trait among the divine. In another reality, Droka might have been content just to be the god of blacksmiths and build up his power and prestige from there but... a weird quirk of the lifeblood he was born from has given him a different obsession then that of the physical craft. However, despite his obsession with stories of all kinds, he is still at his core a god of crafting. His obsession has altered him in that rather then focusing on a single field and mastering it like say... metalworking, he instead branched out into dozens of different fields of crafting. While metalworking remains a stock standard, depending on his mood, circumstances and his somewhat fickle tastes when it comes to his obsessions he will actively be working at creating other crafts via vastly different methods then that of the blacksmith.
Considering the kind of personality and passions that Droka has, one could easily be mistaken into believing that he is some kind of god of wisdom or knowledge... but at his core, he is a god of metal. Shaping it, creating it, summoning it from the dark depths of dirt and ocean alike if required is as natural to him as breathing. Restoring metal to its pristine glory or causing it to rust and rot away. That is however just scratching the surface.
To work with metal requires a deep understanding of the materials you are working with. How to prepare it, what uses it has, what other materials you can mix with it to develop brand new metals and alloys and what they're good for. Understanding how much damage, pressure and strain each type of metal can take and how different forging methods can alter the answer to that question. Droka knows the secrets of metal... and he's painfully aware of how little the mortal races of the world truly understands of them. In time, that will change.
Their Realm: Droka's Grand Library
Droka's realm is deceptively simple. It's appearance is that of a rather homely, if somewhat larger then normal personal library. It's humble looking appearance is actually rather deceiving in that it is a lot larger then it's appearance would suggest. Within Droka's Library is every story the world has ever known, updated in real time. Stories that are in progress are actively writing themselves here.
The label of 'story' is also somewhat broader then people might believe. Myths, Legends, fictional tales, history, the personal life stories of those who walk the mortal realm... even some plants and animals that have lived interesting lives and more can be found within the Droka's Grand Library.
Hidden among the shelves of countless books, scrolls, stone slabs and clay tablets are a series of rooms kept separate from the main Library. These rooms play host to Droka's many workshops. Each workshop is dedicated to a different craft, through the working of metal and the creation of jewellery tends to be the favored arts practiced. More obscure workshops can be found by those able to seek them through and occasionally Droka feels like doing a bit of pottery or working leather and cloth. More workshops will likely be added and possibly lost over time.
Persona: Droka is something of an indifferent god as far as mortals are concerned. While he enjoys the stories that arise from mortals in general, he isn't inclined towards stepping in to fix their problems or ease their suffering because that would make for a boring story. While it is true that he might end up assisting the Mortals via the creation of an artifact or blessing a champion among them to rise to the occasion and combat their woes, he is just as inclined to offer the forces of darkness and suffering some artifacts and blessings of their own to make use of because the greater the opposition to the forces of good are, the grander the tale of its defeat.
This doesn't mean that Droka is uncaring through. Individuals that catch his attention will keep it for better or worse and in truth he can grow quite attached to them. In truth, how and why a Mortal earns Droka's attention in the first place can seem rather fickle and honestly Droka wouldn't deny that. He's not entirely sure himself why some deeds appeal to him while others just don't draw his gaze at a given moment and he is prone to introspection of his motivations at times because of this.
Droka adores working with other gods because the presence of divinity tends to make the stories about to be created have a flair that they normally wouldn't, but his insistence that they don't get to heavily involved with the situation at times can rub his fellow deities the wrong way.
Droka's base form is that of an elder looking male of whatever given mortal race he happens to be interacting with at the given time, though in mixed company he seems to favor a human form. While baring white hair, the wrinkles of age and often a walking stick, in truth there is a youthful energy to him the flies in the face of his apparent age. His apparent 'weakness' is cosmetic only.
In his domain, Droka abandons the human guise, instead favoring that of a large, regal looking gold dragon instead.
Avatar: The Legendary Craftsman.
This Avatar of Droka has many Mortal names and faces, but some things remain consistant. Regardless of whatever mortal race they happen to have taken to form of at the time, the Craftsman appears as an older member of that race, but having only just started to leave their physical prime. Still physically stout from a lifetime of pursuing their craft, their eyes bare the wisdom of experience.
The exact craft of the Legendary Craftsman changes as easily as their name or face, but whenever someone worthy of one of their works comes to call in order to seek help to obtain their destiny, the Craftsman will provide something that will be vital for the story to come. As an Avatar of Droka, the Legendary Craftsman calls out to those either with an air of destiny to them or who happen to be seeking a destiny to call their own like a beacon. Regardless of where the Craftsman sets themselves up, Mortals far and wide will spread rumors and stories of a Craftsman of legendary skill being there... even if the Craftsman hasn't interacted with Mortals at all.
After all, if it's easy to get to a craftsman of legendary skill, are they really a legendary craftsman?
I'm considering joining this Rp but... can you give me an idea of the current state of the world and how its formed so far? What gods and goddesses have already made their make and how far along its come so far?
Draco had the decency to look somewhat bashful at the manner in which he had been informed that the sniffing thing wasn't actually a sign of madness or darker things. "In my defense, I got this-" There was a quick gesture towards the scarring across his face where his nose used to be "- before I ever met a hunter and no one has ever felt the need to inform me that they have a certain scent." Much like with all things that 'everyone just knew', when you didn't know you were left somewhat out of the loop.
Still, despite his somewhat flustered frustrations, he did notice that one of the hunters seemed to be sympathetic to his request for help... even if Victor clearly didn't care and was focused on his mission. A mission that, as he turned to look at the woman that was Victor's charge, he realized he could use to his advantage. "You want to get her to safety? Well, I know where a shelter designed for civilians caught away from home with incense nearby is. I also know for a fact that there is a hunter with beast like claws actively hunting down other hunters in a mixture of bloodlust and sport. He's already killed one hunter from the church, he'll almost certainly try again."
Draco's hope was that Victor would connect the dots himself, but their were two conclusions that he was angling for. The first was that because Draco himself knew a safe location nearby that he could take his charge too, protecting Draco (and by extension, the Civilians with Draco) would assist with his primary mission. The second was that with the presence of a confirmed hunter killer on the prowl nearby who was actively targeting hunters, the danger posed to his charge if said mad hunter tried to ambush him would discourage Victor from trying to travel by himself.
Draco couldn't really fault those following him for following the 'Yharnamites' into the abandoned house rather then stay out in the open or follow him into a possibly dangerous situation. Even more so because he didn't exactly let his doubts about their new 'friends' be known, concerned that if he had alerted them to the fact that he didn't trust them or their intentions that the situation would have turned to violence then and there.
Despite being alone through, he pushed ahead despite his nerves being balanced on a sharpened steel edge while his heart pounded in his chest like a drum. Fear was an old companion that was always willing to walk with him when no one else would, but he had committed to his course and he would need to see it through.
Entering the clinic proper, the scene of carnage before him was difficult to witness. The scent of splattered blood easily dominated Draco's highly dulled ability to detect odors... and for the first time in his life he was honestly thankful of the fact that an insane woman swung a cleaver at his face because he was pretty damn close to throwing up and the smell likely would have pushed him over the edge.
Looking somewhat green but experienced enough to hold himself together in blood bath situations like this, Draco turned his gaze towards the hunter who had addressed him. He tried his best to take in as much detail on the room as possible and keep watch on all the players on the board at once, but he focused on the who talked to him to try and defuse the situation as quickly as possible. "My name is Draco. I'm a blacksmith and huntsman that was escorting a group of civilians alongside a hunter named Stefan towards a shelter for the night before an insane hunter ambushed and killed Stefan. Only reason he didn't slaughter the rest of us is because we're just human and there were some beasts and a church giant fighting each other nearby that he would rather have been fighting."
Who he was and why he was there answered, he nervously glanced around and swallowed the contents of his stomach down as he continued "Look, I know you hunters have bigger things to worry about then escorting a bunch of civilians to safety, but if you would at least be willing to start your hunt tonight along the path we need to go at least that would be great... even more so because as I said, there's an insane hunter hunting other hunters in that general area." There was a final gulp... before he finished "And I've got a group of civilians currently hiding in a building nearby with the four blooded guys that just ran out of here and at least one of them did what the insane hunter did and was able to tell I wasn't a hunter by scent, so I am afraid that the longer I'm here talking with you, the more likely whatever madness they are suffering from is going to result in a bunch of dead civilians."