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Baelin Holt

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

A Gadgeteer Walked Into A Smithy

Postby Artigan Crowley on June 14th, 2017, 4:00 am

70th of summer, 517 a.v.

Artigan was getting better at this.

Oh, his task was still beyond odd, and he doubted it would be easy to explain to an armorer why exactly they needed to make an armored barrel, but he was feeling more confident. Trigol was an experimenter at heart, and that meant he had very odd requests on a regular basis. At the very least, it wouldn’t be the first time the Defiled Blade had fulfilled a request.

Artigan himself didn’t know exactly what his employer was making (Trigol had simply given him a mysterious grin and whispered “Fish, boy’) but didn’t want to spend the time to figure it out. Trigol’s creations were far more advanced, far more delicate and far more odd than Artigan had the skill to decode. Yet.

Someday, Artigan hoped he could look at an apprentice of his own, hand off an order for hardware and then grin and whisper, “Chicken.” Just so he could see the expression on someone’s face as they tried to figure out what he meant.

But for now, he would be the apprentice.

The ravosala slid up to the Merchant’s Ring roundabout noon, and Artigan could hear hammering before they were even in sight of their destination. Constant, drilling noise filled the air while distant chimneys spat black smoke into the air, which was soon swept away and cleared by the magic protecting the city.

“Can you guess where the Blade is?” the ravosalaman joked.

“Don’t know. I don’t think the lakeshore can hear them quite yet.”

“Just wait ‘til the guards make their annual repair orders. Then they’ll hear ‘em all the way to the Outpost.”

“I’ll take your word for it. Thank you for the ride.” The young gadgeteer tossed a coin to the man.

“Thank you kindly. Don’t go deaf while you’re in there.”

“I’ll do my best.”

Artigan stepped off the boat and made his way up the narrow path, following the sound of metal on metal until he came to his destination. He didn’t even need the sign to tell him what it was; the purpose of the building was apparent in the sound and the smell, and the glint of light off sweating bodies as they rushed to fill their orders.

Doing his best to block out the noise, Artigan entered the Defiled Blade and attempted to stay out of the way.

“Hello?” he called to whoever was close enough to hear. “I’m looking for blades and armor?”
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A Gadgeteer Walked Into A Smithy

Postby Baelin Holt on June 19th, 2017, 4:55 am

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The pitted handle of a vise-grip chaffed against Baelin’s left palm when he rotated it, portending a new callous. He ignored it easily enough and continued to rotate the vise-grip as he wrapped wire around the mail’s mandrel. The mandrel, in this case, was a long, cylindrical rod. Holding the wire steady, Baelin twisted the rod again. Another bit of wire was pulled around the rod, forming another link on the tight coil. It was quick enough work: spinning the rod and nudging the wire into a kink-free link right next to its neighbor. Over and over, he spun the vise-grip and wound the wire until he reached the end of his mandrel. Baelin unclamped the vise-grip, set it down on the worktable he had sequestered, and then tugged the coiled wire off of its mandrel before setting the rod carefully down. Shifting the spring-like coil to his left hand, Baelin snatched up a pair of wire cutters with his right and positioned himself over a shallow bowl.

Baelin had lost enough of these rings over the years to know better than to just cut them free from their coil over the table itself. The blasted things seemed to have a life of their own, practically flinging themselves from the tabletop to be lost who knows where. And so Baelin hunched over the bowl and did his best to ignore the way his back ached in protest. While the Defiled Blade was no doubt an excellent smithy, most worktables and the like were set at heights best suited to the half-Isur brothers. Not for a half-Dhani of Constrictor blood. One of these days Baelin was going to get his own damn shop with his own damn anvils and his own damn worktables, all positioned for a man of his height. It was a sweet, beautiful dream.

But for now, stooping over a painfully short table would have to do. He brought the wire cutter’s jaw in position over the first coil and snipped it clean off. It fell into the bowl with a light ping, settling safely in the bottom of its basin. Wasting no time, Baelin pushed the wire clippers forward and snipped the next coil, hearing the clink of ring hitting bowl announce its safe landing before pushing forward and cutting off the next. And the next. And the next. Soon he had clipped his way down the entire coil and was left with a bowl of small, steel rings.

There was no sense in doing a batch so small; he would need to do more before treating them with heat. Every ring would have to sit in the forge red hot for a bell. And there would be many rings. Hundreds would be needed for the mail shirt they would soon become. Best to do many rings at once and save himself the extra bells. Setting the wire clippers aside, Baelin retried the cylindrical mandrel and once again began wrapping wire around it.

He had made it halfway down the mandrel when a voice called out, “Hello? I’m looking for blades and armor?”

Typically, guests to the smithy were greeted by one of the younger apprentices. But, looking around, the teen seemed to be nowhere near. And the visitor remained hovering near the entrance, seeming to be quite out of place.

Unless the blasted rings could figure out a way to climb out of bowls, his work could afford to wait. Baelin set down the steel rod, still half ensnared in coiled wire, and rose to meet the stranger. “What are you looking for?” he asked, loud enough to be heard over the din of the smithy.
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A Gadgeteer Walked Into A Smithy

Postby Baelin Holt on June 12th, 2019, 5:18 pm

After sending the visitor off to talk with someone better able to help him, Baelin returned to his abandoned mandrel. Clamping the vise-grip back down, he resumed spinning wire into coils. Spin, nudge. Spin, nudge. Spin, nudge. Over and over until he reached the end and snipped off the excess. Then back to the bowl to cut each coil free, dropping them one by one among the other rings.

He did one more round on the mandrel―snipping each coil free into the bowl―before he decided he had enough to take to the forge. Setting aside the mandrel and vise-grip, Baelin fetched a length of wire. He threaded each ring onto the wire as quickly as he dared, not willing to rush to such an extent that he dropped rings. Once he had them all dangling from the length of wire, Baelin hooked the ends so nothing would slide off.

While the Ironworks had housed a veritable horde of hearths, the Defiled Blade was more reasonable in scope. Alleck and another apprentice were busy on the largest hearth, but the smallest hearth was completely open. For Baelin’s collection of rings, the smallest hearth would be perfect.

Grabbing a pair of small-jawed tongs, Baelin clasped the loop of rings in the tongs’ jaw and nestled them in the hearth’s coals. He didn’t actually know whether the coals were still hot or not, but he’d been burned enough times to not risk using his bare hands. After a bit more prodding of both rings and coals with the tongs, Baelin figured he had them situated decently enough to begin heating.

Baelin worked the bellows himself, gripping the wooden handle and pulling it up. The chambers filled with air as he lifted, and then the air whooshed into the hearth as he pushed back down. A tendril of smoke rose from the coals and he pulled up again, then pushed down to see more smoke belch forth. Baelin continued to gently pump the bellows, raking fuel as he saw fit until a flame rose from the coals. He kept going, pushing and pulling the handle until the fire was burning well. Once he was satisfied that the smoke was burning off, Baelin raked fuel over the flame to create something of a heated core for the metal rings to rest in. He took another moment to add dampened coal on the outside, then settled into a slow and gentle pump of the bellows.

The steel rings would need about a bell in the hearth to get just right. Gauging time was weird without having a watchtower anywhere nearby to help recalibrate, but Baelin supposed he’d get used to it eventually. He hoped so, at least. It didn’t bode well for his ability to heat treat if he couldn’t adapt.

Every now and then, Baelin would rake fresh fuel over the center and add damp coal around the edge, continuing to work the bellows so the hearth burned fresh. He kept this up until it felt like an hour had passed―checking the loop of rings periodically to ensure that they were lit up red―and then finally eased up on the bellows. If it had indeed been a bell, then the heat treatment should be done and he’d be good to go on with the rest of mail making.
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A Gadgeteer Walked Into A Smithy

Postby Baelin Holt on June 12th, 2019, 5:26 pm

Grabbing a small-jawed pair of tongs, Baelin fished out the wire with its many threaded rings looped around it. Maneuvering back to the workbench, he hovered over the metal bowl. Carefully, Baelin rotated the tongs until the wire holding the rings was vertical enough that the rings slid down up against the hooked end. With another slight rotation, he had them falling off and into the bowl with sharp rings of Ping! Ping! Ping!

Baelin slid the bowl over to the small anvil resting on the workbench. Fishing one of the rings out of the bowl, he positioned it on its side and gently hammered down. When the cut ends of the loop started to overlap each other, he flipped it over to lay flat and rained heavier hammerfalls down. The two ends pressed into each other, flattening under Baelin’s attention. He flipped it over again and flattened the other side, working to maintain uniformity. Then, picking it up again and pinching the ring tightly between his fingers, Baelin tapped at the bulge of metal forming where the cut ends molded together.

Setting the now flattened ring back on the small anvil, Baelin continued to hammer the cold metal until it was more or less uniform. Laying the ring down to the side, he fished another fresh ring from the bowl and repeated his task. Get the ends of the ring to overlap, hammer down until the ends were crushed into each other, and then keep going until the whole ring was roughly uniform in its level.

Each ring had to be reshaped in this way. Tap the ring so that its cut ends overlap, then flatten it and work it to an even surface. It took Baelin the better part of a bell to get every steel ring from the bowl flattened appropriately. Now ready for the next step, Baelin snatched up a piercing drift. He peered at the sharp edge of the drift, eyes squinting to make out the state of its tip. It looked good enough; the drift shouldn’t have a problem poking holes through the flattened rings.

This piercing drift was really just a trumped up pair of tongs. Tongs that you could use to poke holes in metal. It worked a bit like a punch, but instead of removing material it instead would “shift” the metal out of the way. On one jaw of the “tongs” was a sharp piercing shift, and on the other jaw was a small divot where the shift could push the pierced metal.

Pinching the first flattened ring between his thumb and index, Baelin positioned it so that the bulge of overlapped metal was facing away from his fingers. He rotated the modified tongs so that the jaws opened around the bulge, then clamped down. The piercing shift cut through the metal and, when Baelin squeezed the handles together with a little more force, popped through the other side to rest in the divot.

Baelin opened the shift’s handles back up and wiggled the pierced ring free. Holding it close, Baelin inspected the poked hole. It indeed went through the overlap, catching both ends of the ring. Baelin dropped it into another bowl and picked up the next flattened ring. Holding it still, he clamped the piercing shift back down and poked the same kind of hole.
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A Gadgeteer Walked Into A Smithy

Postby Baelin Holt on June 12th, 2019, 5:30 pm

Rivets would be placed in these holes, effectively keeping the rings from opening up when the mail shirt was struck. An ornamental mail shirt may use butted rings, where the ring of steel was left with its ends unattached. But for actual armor? You’d have to be suicidal to wear something like that. The ends of each ring had to be either riveted or welded shut if the mail was going to be of any use.

What Baelin was currently working on would be on the cheaper side of mail, sporting an entirely riveted design. Baelin picked up the next ring and poked a hole in it, then dropped it into the bowl along with the other pierced rings. He continued the repetitive task: pick up the intact ring, roll it around in his fingers until the overlap was facing out, position the shift, clamp down and pierce a slit for the rivet, then drop it into the bowl.

His cuts were fine for the first five rings. It was on the sixth ring―when he had started to slip into a comfortable rhythm―that he petched it up. Swearing under his breath, Baelin lifted the pierced ring up to inspect the off-center slit. It had broken through the edge, undermining the slit’s ability to hold a rivet secure.

Well that ring was shyke now. While he could technically still use it, it’d be no better than a butted ring. Better to trash it and move on to the next. Chucking the ring to the corner of the worktable, Baelin snatched up the next ring and moved on.

This step went by faster than flattening the rings had. He messed up another ring along the way, but only two failures for an apprentice wasn’t the worst. Wasn’t good, but… Ah well. Dropping the last pierced ring in the bowl, Baelin set down the piercing shift and shook his hand out. It ached with a slight cramp, joints protesting the repetitive motion. Nothing debilitating, but still annoying. Pressing his thumb into his right palm, Baelin rubbed gently against the ache. It didn’t really help much and Baelin couldn’t help but huff in irritation. He was getting older; his body wasn’t quite as resilient as it used to be.

No matter. Nothing to do but push onwards. Pulling over a fresh length of wire, Baelin adjusted it until it was more or less straight and then set it on top of the anvil. With a lighter hammer than he had used on the rings, Baelin struck the wire. Then again. And again. The wire flattened under his administrations, turning into a strip of metal. The width wasn’t very uniform, so Baelin slid the wire further down and tried again. He was a bit more on point this time, forming a thin strip of iron that would do for now.

Setting aside the light hammer, Baelin picked up a chisel and a heavier hammer. He cut off the uneven section first and tossed it aside, then lined up one corner of the chisel with the strip’s edge. He angled the cutting edge so that it would separate a tiny triangle of metal from the rest of the strip. With a moderately heavy swing, Baelin brought the hammer down. A small wedge of iron popped off from the strip. Baelin pushed it aside and lined up the chisel to make another wedge. He continued down the flattened wire, moving the chisel in a zigzag as he made more wedge-shaped iron flecks.
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Baelin Holt
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A Gadgeteer Walked Into A Smithy

Postby Baelin Holt on June 12th, 2019, 5:36 pm

By the time he reached the end of the flattened section of wire, Baelin had a nice collection of wedge flecks. He fished one of the rings out of the bowl and laid it flat. Carefully picking up one of the wedges, Baelin inserted it into the ring’s pierced slit. Pushing with the pad of his thumb, the wedge worked its way a bit further into the ring until it was good and stuck.

Reaching over to the end of the worktable, Baelin grabbed a pair of setting tongs. Similar to the shift, the setting tongs were just a modified pair of pliers. A divot was gouged into one face of the pliers, giving the rivet a place to mold into.

Baelin positioned the pointy end of the wedge into the divot in the setting tongs, then clamped down on the tongs’ handles. Releasing his hold, he held the riveted ring up close to inspect it. The wide end of the wedge rivet was near flush with the flattened surface of the ring, and on the other side the wedge had been molded into a dome shape. Baelin tested the give of the ring, checking that the rivet held fast.

Satisfied with it, Baelin set the ring to the side and picked up another. Sinking into the repetitive motion, Baelin continued to push the wedge rivets into the rings’ slits, squeeze the setting tongs tight, and slide the riveted rings off to the side. He continued until he had gotten through about half of the bowl, then set down the setting tongs and gave his hand a little shake. A muscle running near his thumb twitched irregularly, throbbing in a way that was more irritating than painful.

Now for the weaving. Dragging over four of the riveted rings, Baelin laid them down on the worktable in a square. He nudged them close so that all four were touching each other, with the riveted side on the left and the domed part of the rivet facedown. With another nudge, Baelin pushed the two rings on the right until they were laying half on top of the rings on the left.

Picking up one of the rings from the bowl that had yet to be riveted, Baelin gently pried it open with pliers and then threaded it through the top two rings. Wiggling the open end of the ring underneath the bottom left ring, he pushed it up and through the bottom two. Now with all four of the riveted rings threaded onto the open ring, Baelin squeezed the open ring shut with pliers and then jammed a wedge into the ring’s slit. Switching to the setting tongs, Baelin pressed down on the wedge until the tip peened and the flat end was close to flush.

Baelin held the four-in-one section up and gave it a little wiggle, watching the closed rings rattle against each other. Dropping the section to the side, he pulled over four other riveted rings and aligned them in a square. He would continue to make these four-in-one sections for a while longer, then connect the sections into a ribbon. Once he had ribbons, he could connect those to each other and have a decent sized portion of mail. It was long, repetitive, and tedious work. And by the time he’d run out of rings he would only have a small portion of the mail shirt finished. But… Still. Baelin felt the comfortable tug of tedium pulling at his thoughts, allowing him to sink into a mindless calm. All that mattered was weaving iron rings and squeezing rivets into place. All was good.
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Baelin Holt
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A Gadgeteer Walked Into A Smithy

Postby Rohka on September 2nd, 2019, 4:30 am

GRADES
baelin holt

Experience
    Blacksmithing +5
    Armorer +2

Lores:
    Blacksmithing: Forging rings using a coiled wire and mandrel
    Blacksmithing: Working bellows
    Blacksmithing: Poking holes using a piercing drift
    Blacksmithing: Making rivets
    Armoring: Weaving together a mail shirt

Additional Notes:

Detailed and realistic as an apprentice who is slowly but surely working towards his dreams of having his own smithy! Thanks for the read, let me know if there's anything I missed as far as lores go (I learned quite a few new terms from your thread!) :)


artigan crowley

If you return from retirement, PM me once you've updated your ledger and I will send grades!


If you have any concerns over this grade, don't hesitate to send me a message on either Discord or Miz. Also, please be sure to EDIT any posts in the grading queue to 'Graded'. Enjoy!
-Rohka ❤
Most active on weekends.
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Rohka
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