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The Black Anvil Hymn [ Hub ]

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Intro - The Black Anvil Hymn is a weapon and armor shop ( no horseshoes, nails, wagon wheels, ploughs, etc to be found here ) owned and operated by Stello Lavis. Coming from a wealthy family, he was able to afford to set up in the downtown metropolitan area of Hell’s Gate, a move that would have seemed otherwise strange if it weren’t for the country’s fixation on combat, which has resulted from a variety of different cultural aspects of Terrenus. One such example is the practice of holo-projected combat tournaments that were popular once upon a time. However, it can be said that the true culprits are the several stories of brave adventurers setting out to truly make a difference in the world, good or bad.

The working types who will never find the need to wear armor and wield a weapon go into his shop to hold a sword and perhaps feel like one of the adventurers to bring an end to the Eternal Night, as distant from the real thing as it may be. A surprising number of people seem to find that to be as novel an idea as visiting a teddy bear or candy shop, both of which would be considered to be more conventional sources of “fun.”

In the end, the true purpose of this shop is for Stello to engage in a hobby that he thoroughly enjoys, so much so that he doesn’t concern himself with sales. Being filthy rich, he can afford not to make a profit or even close down for a few months and come back when it suits him. He doesn’t sell to those with criminal records ( consent for background checks must be provided ) and has also refused to sell his wares to foolhardy ignorant types before, believing it to be shameful for an idiot to be running around swinging one of his weapons or wearing some of his armor.

Weapons and armor purchased from the Black Anvil Hymn can be identified by a small blackened anvil imprint somewhere on them.

Description - Due to its location, the shop was built to be attractive and is two stories tall. Its outer layers of smooth cement plaster are accentuated by dark gray ferrous plates with fine vertical grains throughout. The fore is presented through large clear windows that are bisected by metallic cross bars, through which many of his wares can be seen. There are longswords, arming swords, axes, warhammers, spears, etc ( all medieval European, no Japanese, Chinese or other for now ).

The door that leads into the shop is constructed of steel that has had the temper colors in it brought out and preserved. To the left, the material is an almost “white gray” tone. A third of a way the metal starts to develop a light straw sheen and towards the center, those brownish hues turn darker. Past that, the metal starts to become purple blue, then a pure deep and dark blue, and finally a more natural gray that that is no longer bright enough to appear white in certain light.

Above the entrance, there is a large metal plate with a blackened imprint in the shape of an anvil. The name of the shop, Black Anvil Hymn, rests just above it in elegant lettering. Each time someone moves through the doors, the rich ping of a hammer striking a well made anvil echoes through the establishment.

The first floor is the shop itself and it starts with a starkly decorated lobby with comfortable cushioned seats, a magi tech vending machine and a holo-screen on the wall showing the daily news available to customers. There are more items suspended along the walls, including business flyers pertaining to the Hymn and partner companies that can be seen once inside and the area is separated from the smithy itself by one thick division made of red brick, which gives the impression of an olden forge tucked away within a modern building. A rectangular aperture in that brick wall serves as the reception counter, bearing stacks of Hymn and Hymn affiliate business cards on its surface. Other than that, the shop welcomes customers with a display of Stello’s favorite designs hanging above it in airtight chambers attached to brass rimmed ovular slabs of mahogany wood.

One is a Bec de Corbin design dubbed Earth, another a bastard sword design he calls Water, a kite shield he calls Shade and a longsword design named Fire.

Across the counter, the smithy itself is visible. Front and center is an anvil of steel dark enough to appear black sitting on an altar of resplendent lazurite crystal pillars and surrounded by various power tools like a power hammer, grinding and sanding belts, various tongs hanging from a rack and additional equipment that is used for powder forging. A metal scanner, powered by magi-tech like most of his equipment, sits on one of the far corners and the whole smithy is ventilated by two powerful fans built into the walls that filter out the workspace when necessary.

The scent of burning coal, as is common in traditional forges, is decidedly absent because Stello relies on a propane powered forge instead ( Hell’s Gate city regulations strive to maintain cleanliness in commercial areas ). Since he does keep decent amounts of lumber around, the most prominent scent there can be is that of processed wood, at least whenever he’s not using acid of any kind to bring out a the beauty in a metal. When the shop is open, this is where he is usually found, seen operating his equipment and bashing metal into shapes while wearing ear protection.

On the far wall, there is a staircase leading up to the second floor, which is restricted to clients. Upstairs is actually his place of residence, complete with a well stocked kitchen and a living room with a huge holo-screen and powerful sound system. In every facet, the whole establishment is basically a man cave.

Finally, there is a receiving section at the rearmost section of the first floor with a large steel gate. This is basically the Hymn’s warehouse, where the metals, lumbers, quenching oils, acids, sanding paper and all manner of other equipment and resources are stored.

Personnel 

Stello Lavis - Foul mouthed, modern-centric owner and smith of the Black Anvil Hymn. Being rich, he hardly concerns himself with the financial state of his establishment. Crafting weapons and armor is a hobby for him and he's privileged to be able to dabble in it without having to make a profit to sustain it. The shop is more a self-satisfying endeavor, allowing him to do what he loves and teach simple city folk about what he's learned throughout the years. 

Lexicus Thoren - Another smith, albeit with a more traditional approach to his profession ( and demeanor overall ) in comparison to the owner of the establishment. He arrived after the destruction of his own shop on an ox driven cart, bearing what remained of his work as he searched for a new forge to operate out of. He ascertains that the piece of his past that burned down his previous work place is no longer an issue but the old world smith has other underlying motivations that he is not so keen on sharing with others. 

Affiliates 

[ tba ] 

Business Flyers

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Credit to KittyvonCupcake

Business Cards

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Credit to KittyvonCupcake

Rules - Send me a private message if you’re interested in visiting the Hymn. Once everything is good to go, you can either use this hub thread or you can start a separate thread in the same board ( Cities of Terrenus ) that you can use for future visits. 

Noteworthy Designs

Water

Spoiler

Intro - Water is a bastard sword or, more appropriately, a hand and a half sword and is basically half a step down from a longsword. The reason why it is called such is because it is designed to be wielded with one or two hands whereas longswords are usually ( not always ) built for two handed use. In the case of this design, Stello got a pretty long blade onto a compact design that enabled full practicality one handed and two handed. Like water, this weapon can assume different shapes, and this versatility is why it was so named.

Length - Water has a total length of 44 inches. The blade comprises 36 inches of the total length, which readily approaches the tywpical length on most longswords surprisingly. The rest of its length is made up of Water’s grip and pommel, the latter of which was designed in such a way as to serve as an extension for the grip.

Edge - Not razor sharp because a highly sharpened blade dulls much quicker than one that is more modestly sharpened. It’s sharp enough to cut unarmored human targets apart. Beasts with thicker hides can be hurt as well but at reduced effectiveness. As always, a sword’s sharpness depends on the user. With proper maintenance it will always perform as intended and if ever the need arises, it can be sharpened to razor like degrees. When any type of sword is sharpened to the finest point possible, it drastically increases its cutting capacity. Riveted mail breaks more easily and gambeson can be cut through quite well but after a cut or two, the blade will always begin to show signs of damage ( like chipping ) wherever the cut was made.

Blade Width - The width at the base of the blade is 2 inches and thins evenly all the way up to the tip. This is called a distal taper and is intended to increase a weapon’s thrusting capacity.

Blade Thickness - At its thickest section close to the guard, Water is 7 millimeters thick. This thins out the closer it gets to the tip.

Blade Shape - The original shape of the blade is lenticular, which, when granted a fuller, shifts the blade as a whole towards a more flexible design. As in all swords with a fuller or two, Water’s fuller served as both a way to add flexibility to the weapon and lighten it at the same time. By grinding away material and leaving the groove along a third of the sword’s length on both sides ( beginning from the guard ), 15 percent of its original weight was removed, which was essential for achieving one handed practicality at this length.

Point of Balance - Water’s point of balance is two inches away from the guard, which means most of its weight rests quite closely to the hand that wields it, enabling greater control whereas a higher point of balance would make it more of a heftier swinger that’s harder to guide. With Water’s point of balance being close to the hand, it effectively makes it a limber sword, one that can change directions efficiently during an engagement and allows quicker swing recovery times at the cost of cutting power. This trait also makes Water a serviceable “fencing sword,” aiding in single handed thrust coordination. This doesn’t mean Water is a useless cutting weapon, only that there are better cutting swords out there.

Guard - Stello dislikes the traditional crossguard design found in European swords and instead chose to go with a “tsuba,” the circular type of crossguard found on Japanese designs. It has a three inch diameter, which is enough to protect the hand from cuts that travel down along Water’s blade to target the hands. This design also allows the user to bring the blade closer to the body with the edge facing outward, whereas with long crossguards, the quillon will inhibit the proximity the user can bring the sword into.

The tsuba on the blade is also made up of thin bars in wide criss cross patterns that allow the user to slip the thumb through, which enables the “thumb grip” style of European swordsmanship. Furthermore, the longer quillons on traditional European swords can come into contact with the wrists or forearms during attacks that come from acutely angled twisting hand motions, which is not the case with the tsuba in place. Lastly, this type of guard generally weighs less than most traditional crossguard designs due to the difference in mass.

The drawback here is the long quillons on the cross guards were sometimes used to bludgeon an enemy via reverse half swording ( holding the sword by the blade while attempting to strike armored opponents with the quillons or with the pommel ). That’s not a viable tactic with Water in hand.

Grip - As in with Stello’s signature longsword design, Water has a cylindrical grip that tapers as it gets closer to the pommel ( 115 mm circumference - 110 mm circumference ). This increases the amount of leverage that the hands can render into a swing but only during two handed use, which serves as a way to somewhat relieve, although to a highly miniscule degree, the fact that Water’s chosen point of balance isn’t the best for cutting techniques. It’s arguable that the benefit from the tapered grip is so negligible that he could have chosen not to bother with it.

The grip length, as with all of Stello’s signature sword designs, is made up of the hilt and its pommel totaling a serviceable eight inches long. Most normal sized people will have the benefit of about a one inch gap between both hands when holding Water two handed, which provides better leverage on slashes than if both hands had no space between them at all.

Its final touch is that Stello ran two thick threadlines underneath and over the helix of string that spirals down around the wooden tang shell situated along the blade edges. When someone holds this sword, the string lines denote edge alignment and can be felt through the leather layer on top of them. This helps the user remain aware of edge alignment at all times, whether during a swing or as the user changes up their grip.

Pommel - In most European designs, swords tend to have large pommels that don’t quite allow an ordinary hand to clasp on it as fully as it might the hilt itself. They can also be cumbersome in the sense that when the user angles the sword forward, they can press up against the wrist ( in the case of thick and large pommels ), so Stello implemented some changes.

He decided to use something thinner, in this case a rounded rhombus that provides a much less pronounced pommel shape than on most common European swords. This shape still provides a sufficient anchor to prevent the hilt from slipping out of the hand while becoming a part of the grip itself, effectively lengthening it and adding leverage at the cost of a lot less effectiveness in reverse half swording since the pommel can’t be used as an effective bludgeon anymore.

With the pommel serving as part of the weapon’s grip, the sword overall can be made shorter, which decreases its weight as one of several ways to promote one handed use without sacrificing any reach when compared to a sword of the same length and an additional two inches to comprise a traditional pommel.

Composition - Although there were several instances of weight related compromises to make Water possible and viable, the chosen composition may have nevertheless played the largest role. Both the sword’s pommel and its circular guard are made of titanium alloy, which is as strong as steel but just over 40% lighter. Since titanium doesn’t keep an edge so well, the blade and tang are made of high carbon steel that can be put in a vice and bent into a half circle along the flats without suffering a permanent bend. Doing this can nevertheless damage the blade. Water loses some of its rigidity and will begin to vibrate more than it already does. The point is that it’s tough and will continue to serve even at a limp. Fortunately, this level of added vibration can be amended by reheating, quenching and tempering again.

Another trait of note regarding Water’s composition and spring temper is that in conjunction with its flexibility oriented blade shape, this sword is quite demanding during cuts. Because it uses flexibility to achieve high durability, it can vibrate during strikes on stiffer or thicker targets and bounce off if the edge angle isn’t right.

As with all of Stello’s sword designs, the tang shell used for the hilt is made out of corkwood, a type of wood with a cooperative strength-to-weight ratio.

Weight - All things said, Water weighs in at an efficient 2.5 pounds, less than traditional one handed swords despite being of similar size thanks to materials used and other culture smashing implementations. Its low weight enables seamless one handed use.

Thrust - Its two advantages here are that it has a low point of balance ( low meaning close to the guard ) and its distal taper. The first trait endows the user with good thrust coordination. When a sword has the point of balance higher up, gravity pushes down on that point and forces the wielding hand or hands to work harder to keep it level during thrusts. Additionally, with its point of balance where it is, it ensures that all of the forward momentum being thrust into the target is coming directly from the grip and on a straight perfectly aligned path.

The second advantage has more to do with how much flesh and bone the blade has to push apart on a thrust. With an acute tip, Water can puncture flesh easily but thanks to its even taper that lacks any sudden increases in width, it can continue deeper with less resistance than swords that have uneven tapers.

Disadvantages for Water during the thrust come from its flexible cross section. Because it isn’t as stiff as other swords with diamond or hollow ground cross sections, some of its thrust momentum is lost through vibration on contact, and this is particularly true when used on armor. When used on riveted mail for example, Water has the ability to pierce through on a good thrust but only at about a depth of two to three inches. Considering mail is often worn over gambeson, that’s a negligible injury. Most soldiers wearing mail and gambeson who were injured in battle surprisingly suffered blunt force injuries like broken bones, some of which could result from piercing attempts. .

Because some of its forward momentum is dispersed through vibration, however, Water doesn’t stand as good a chance as some of the more rigid thrusting weapons out there of transferring enough force through the armor to break a wearer’s bone. A hard bruise maybe, but little else. When dealing with plate armor, these disadvantages are even more pronounced and can even cause damage to the blade if not used as intended. Water offers little in the way of armored combat but excels in unarmored combat, which is actually the case with most swords made from ordinary materials and which are not enchanted.

Slash - Its advantage in the slash comes from its point of balance as well. Because Water is balanced for greater control, it can be directed and redirected with one or two hands extremely well during or after cutting techniques. Its momentum can be stopped at a moment’s notice and it can be moved left and right with great freedom.

In exchange, Water misses out on exceptional cutting power. If it had its point of balance higher up along the blade, it could build momentum much quicker. This doesn’t stop Water from cutting through a man’s femur or from cutting the cap off a man’s skull but it does present a disadvantage against armor. The same way Water can’t transfer blunt force trauma well through solid objects like mail, being unable to build momentum with great efficiency means it isn’t likely to inflict debilitating blunt force injuries through armor from a cut.

Another disadvantage for Water is that it’s demanding during the cut. Because of its flexibility, it can bounce and vibrate away from hard targets if the edge alignment is off by a few degrees. A badly aligned cut on flesh and bone will usually still bite into the body but with a well aligned cut, Water can hack limbs off with spectacular ease.

Appearance - Last but not least, Water’s appearance. Aesthetically, it’s most intriguing trait comes from what its billet was formed out of combined with a type of pattern welding ( Damascus ). What resulted was a blade in which the center inch is marked by what closely resembles a mosaic pattern in the metal while the remainder of its width, closest to the edges, remained otherwise plainly textured before reaching the sharpened edges.

Once the fullers on both flats were carved out deeply enough, grinding away the snakeskin pattern in the center, a plain slab of high carbon steel inside the blade that was welded in as it was being shaped was revealed, leaving the appearance of these patterns hugging the plain and well polished fuller. Blacksmiths who have visited his shop and saw this design have asked how it was done and doubted that it lacked any internal imperfections like air pockets or trapped flux. Being a perfectionist, Stello invested in a magi-tech scanner that scans metal for internal deficiencies and, of course, there are none. When he refuses to tell them how he did it, most just assume he used magic to get the aesthetic.

The titanium alloy circular guard is polished to a bright silver sheen just like the blade and is composed of a web of cross sections. The tang was sleeved in corkwood which was then coated with an adhesive and wrapped evenly with thin threads spiraling down along its length. It was then wrapped in ocean blue leather with a subtle ocean wave texture across its surface. Like the guard, the pommel beneath it is simply polished to a bright luster.

Another noticeable trait is its distal taper, which means its width gradually thins into an uninterrupted and tall stretched triangular shape, where some blades extend evenly at the same width before suddenly angling inward to form a more abrupt tipped shape. Finally, the blackened anvil imprint that marks it a blade constructed at the Hymn is placed 1/4th of an inch above the guard on only one side.

Fire

Spoiler

Intro - Fire is designed to be a longsword of overwhelming and unforgiving implementations, like the element of its namesake. Although it was tweaked to be somewhat larger than most longswords, it wasn’t pushed anywhere near the threshold of greatsword standards. Greatswords are typically so large ( between 60 - 68 inches overall length ), they must be wielded like polearms, using massive and quick revolving swings because stopping their momentum after every stroke is highly impractical. Fire is a flame that roams wild as it wishes.

Length - Overall, Fire is 52 inches long with a 41 inch blade, well above average in size in comparison with other longswords. At this length, Fire is adept at keeping enemies at a distance but in the cases that it is outmatched in terms of length by an enemy’s weapon, the fact that it’s weighted for good blade control makes it efficient at repeatedly swatting longer weapons away to create openings.

Edge - Not razor sharp because a highly sharpened blade dulls much quicker than one that is more modestly sharpened. It’s sharp enough to cut unarmored human targets apart. Beasts with thicker hides can be hurt as well but at reduced effectiveness. As always, a sword’s sharpness depends on the user. With proper maintenance it will always perform as intended and if ever the need arises, it can be sharpened to razor like degrees. When any type of sword is sharpened to the finest edge possible, it drastically increases its cutting capacity. Riveted mail breaks more easily and gambeson can be cut through quite well but after one or two of those cuts, the blade will always begin to show signs of damage ( like chipping and dulling ) wherever the cut was made.

Blade Width - Beginning at the base, Fire has a 2” width that flows evenly throughout most of its length without thinning out at any point in time the way a profile taper would. In fact, it does the exact opposite. Three inches beneath the tip of the blade, the width actually thickens outward to a spade shape possessing a width of 3 inches with a slight point at its apex.

Naturally, this decreases Fire’s piercing capability, being that the tip is much wider than normal and has a larger surface area in comparison to more traditionally tipped swords. Nevertheless, this design makes Fire a powerful thrusting implement ( more on that in thrust section ).

Blade Thickness - The base of the blade starts off with a thickness of 5.5mm and it tapers very, very subtly towards the end to a thickness of 4 mm, further ascertaining that this weapon is not intended to be used for piercing purposes or one handed wielding because without thinning, it doesn’t shed much weight. Combined with Fire’s spaded tip this creates a point on the blade that is both thick and wide, which makes it sturdier than the thinner points found on traditional blades. In essence, Fire has a tip that functions more like a chisel than a stabbing point.

Cross Section - Fire’s cross section has a hollow ground shape, which means it has an elevated spine. What this creates is a rigid sword design that is more resistant to vibration and bending but more easily damaged than a more flexible blade. This doesn’t mean that Fire is a sword that is easily broken, only that in disastrous scenarios when it must be used in a manner that was not intended, it stands a higher likelihood of suffering a permanent bend or even breaking.

Point of Balance - Fire has its point of balance at the four inch mark ( above the guard ). This is a good in between as far as the whole finesse vs brute force dispute goes in terms of swords. When Fire is used properly ( with two hands ), it’s surprisingly easy to maneuver. In addition, this point of balance also enables the sword to build momentum decently quickly.

Guard - Circular guard with thin bars and wide gaps ( 3” diameter ). As with his other signature sword, the gaps inside the guard are open enough to allow the “thumb grip” style of swordsmanship and can weigh less than most traditional crossguards.

Grip - As in with Stello’s signature longsword design, Fire has a cylindrical grip that tapers as it gets closer to the pommel ( 115 mm circumference - 110 mm circumference ). This increases the amount of leverage that the hands can render into a swing but only during two handed use, which serves as a way to somewhat relieve, although to a highly miniscule degree, the fact that Fire’s chosen point of balance isn’t the best for cutting techniques. It’s arguable that the benefit from the tapered grip is so negligible that he could have chosen not to bother with it.

Together with the pommel, the grip is an impressive eleven inches long. When two normal sized hands wield this blade, there can be about three inches of length between the grips, providing great leverage on swings that increase slashing momentum.

Its final touch is that Stello ran two thick threadlines underneath and over the helix of string that spirals down around the wooden tang shell situated along the blade edges. When someone holds this sword, the string lines denote edge alignment and can be felt through the leather layer on top of them. This helps the user remain aware of edge alignment at all times, whether during a swing or as the user shifts the grip.

Pommel - In most European designs, swords tend to have large pommels that don’t quite allow an ordinary hand to clasp on it as fully as it might the hilt itself. They can also be cumbersome in the sense that when the user angles the sword forward, they can press up against the wrist ( in the case of thick and large pommels ), so Stello implemented some changes.

He decided to use something thinner, in this case a rounded rhombus that provides a much less pronounced pommel shape than on most common European swords. This shape still provides a sufficient anchor to prevent the hilt from slipping out of the hand while becoming a part of the grip itself, effectively lengthening it and adding leverage at the cost of a lot less effectiveness in reverse half swording since the pommel can’t be used as an effective bludgeon anymore.

With the pommel serving as part of the weapon’s grip, the sword overall can be made shorter, which decreases its weight as one of several ways to promote one handed use without sacrificing any reach when compared to a sword of the same length and an additional two inches to comprise a traditional pommel.  

Composition - As with the rest of Stello’s weapon and shield designs, better materials were used to increase practicality. The blade and tang are made of high carbon steel but its guard and pommel are both made of titanium alloy, which decreases weight significantly and makes some very interesting modifications a possibility.

Although this weapon follows the exact same heating, quenching and tempering process as Stello’s bastard sword design, the high carbon steel for this blade doesn’t achieve the same flexibility. That is because of its more rigid cross section, not because its composition is different in any way. It is spring tempered all the same. Because of this, Fire cannot be bent into a half circle like its sister blade but does still bend to a much smaller degree. This endows it with sufficient durability but not as much. As with all swords, they should never break as long as they are used as intended.

The wooden sleeve attached to the tang is made of corkwood, which has a serviceable strength to weight ratio.

Weight - In total, Fire weighs 3.5 pounds. For ordinary human beings, it is not practical to wield this blade one handed. Its length also makes it unwieldy in one hand but in two, it maneuvers surprisingly well.  

Thrust - On the thrust, Fire has several advantages. Although its point of balance takes the weight further away from the grip, it isn’t to such an intense degree that it creates a severe drag, especially since the blade is overall designed to be used with two hands. This means that thrusts delivered using Fire are quite articulate and don’t come out of a highly misaligned plane ( hands don’t have to work too hard to level it before the thrust ).

Its hollow ground cross section, which increases the rigidity of the blade, also helps. Because it vibrates less than its sister blade, that means more force is transferred into the target. In the case that an unarmored combatant is engaged, Fire’s tip is thin and sharp enough to penetrate just right, even if it takes more effort to do so. A difference of note is that while swords with thinner tips may penetrate more deeply with less effort, Fire’s thrusts tend to leave wider gashes on the surface, wider than what most normal swords will inflict even when targets are completely run through ( running someone through completely is infinitely worse though ).

When used on armor, it retains some of its effectiveness because, as stated before, its rigidity enables it to transfer most of its force into the target while the chisel tip ensures that Fire does not become stuck the armor the opponent is wearing ( which sometimes happens with riveted mail ). The most common injuries among lightly armored combatants ( mail and gambeson ) were bludgeoning injuries, many of which came from attempted thrusts. Fire is adept in that regard, capable of pushing force through flexible armor like mail and gambeson with serviceable ease. It can even batter combatants in plate but not necessarily enough to eliminate them standalone.

As in the case with Water, its straight design ensures that force transferred into a target travels in a straight conduit whereas on a curved sword, that changes. This isn’t to say that curved swords can’t be used to stab, only that a straight blade design is better fit for it.

Slash - Fire also has some notable advantages during the slash. With its point of balance a serviceable distance away from the guard, it generates swinging momentum with satisfying efficiency. That means that when slashing against unarmored and armored targets, a greater amount of momentum is delivered to the target than swords that have a lower point of balance. For Fire specifically, this provides an advantage against enemies with armor like mail and gambeson. It delivers hefty momentum into a strike that can travel through and into the flesh, which makes it capable of breaking bones ( shattered ribs on a swing to the flank, for example ).

Furthermore, its rigidity ensures that not much force is dissipated through vibration on contact. When striking a hard target, Fire will vibrate but not to the same degree as its sister sword, which means impact is flush and thorough, endowing it with the ability to serviceably harm a wider variety of targets. No sword is directly designed to go up against plate armor but Fire can be serviceable in that regard if no other option is available ( like a poleaxe or mace ). This decrease in level of vibration also makes Fire a blade that is “forgiving in the cut.” It has less of a tendency to bounce and vibrate away from hard cuts delivered with imprecise edge alignment.

A disadvantage that it has on the slash comes from its pronounced spine. Because the spine of the blade is fairly tall on both sides in comparison to a flat blade with a fuller down the center, Fire has to push aside more material as it dives into a cut. Flesh and bone are severed easily enough nevertheless, even if the contact can feel less smooth than when swords without an elevated spine are used.

Appearance - Directly opposing its sister blade, Fire has an elevated spine that is immediately noticeable on first glance. The ovular fullers that endow it with its hollow ground cross section are uniform and subtle enough in a sense that people unfamiliar with swords don’t immediately recognize them as a different type of fuller.

What stands out the most about Fire is its spaded tip. It’s a curious design that Stello hasn’t seen anywhere else and is also very proud of. That aspect of the weapon is just as attention grabbing for those who are familiar with sword design and those who are not, as it’s quite pronounced and exotic. The sword buffs who have expressed incredulity towards Fire’s tip have curiously refused to put on armor and let Stello test it on them.

The guard and the pommel are also made of anodized titanium alloy, in this case endowing them with uniformly golden hues. The finish on the grip was made using red leather. Together with the golden guard and pommel, the leather evokes colors that are closely associated with the glow of the sun.

Stello’s black anvil imprint is located on one of the flats 1/4th of an inch above the guard.

 

Earth

Spoiler

Intro - Earth is a lengthened warhammer. Opposite the hammer side of the weapon there is a curved spike that is oftentimes responsible for this sort of weapon being called a Bec De Corbin, or crow’s beak in foreign language. Earth lacks the long spike normally situated on the roof of the hammer implement, which would have granted it the function of a spear as well. However, it is also graced with thick plates a good length below its business end that serve as a mace. Earth is designed to be obstinate and rough, capable of harming its targets no matter what sort of armor they are wearing, if any.

Length - At sixty eight inches long, Earth is undeniably a war implement of beastly proportions that can keep most enemies at a distance. When fighting polearm wielders, the strategy is often to get in close to turn the reach advantage into an encumbrance in a close quarters engagement. When this thing takes flight, however, like a giant mass of rock swinging around a planet’s pull of gravity, smart enemies will think twice.

Hammer - The length of the hammer from smashing surface to pole is three inches and has a squared shape. Closest to the smashing surface, each of the four surfaces of the square start off at a width of 3 inches before thinning softly to 2.5 inches as it connects to the polearm. That the hammer is short and stout makes it durable. Furthermore, the flat of the hammer’s smashing surface is milled and at its square edges, these mills are like very tiny flanges, both of which increase the hammer’s “grip.” This basically makes Earth more forgiving during impacts that fail to land flush. Even on glancing hits, the milled surface enables it to transfer a serviceable amount of kinetic energy into a strike instead of fully glancing off.

Wedge - The hammer and beak section is wedged onto the wooden shaft. The outward force generated by the corkwood against the slot keeps it in place, but Stello also tig welded a titanium alloy cap over it to fortify it further.

Beak - From point to polearm, the beak is four inches long and has a slight downward curve, making it somewhat like a claw. This type of beak is said to be a piercing implement, enabling users to puncture armor. Although it can certainly be used that way, Stello believes that using puncturing techniques on plate armor is never smart. Earth’s beak, if used to puncture plate, will not only fail to bite deeply enough into it to cause severe damage ( although the blunt force from it will ) it will also become stuck. The reason Stello even kept the beak design on this weapon was for hooking purposes, notably against shields as a way of disarming opponents who use them. If the beak was used on a swing that caught the edge of an enemy’s shield, there would be so much weight and momentum behind it that it would almost assuredly rip it out of their hands or, in the case that the shield is braced to the arm, severely unbalance the wearer and most likely cause some sort of spraining of the arm if the leather braces manage to hold.

Mace - Seven inches below the hammer and beak mount, there are thickened and weighted plates screwed into the pole that resemble the shape of a flanged mace with wide spikes that aren’t intended to pierce ( across six inches of the length on the pole ). This section of the polearm serves as another way of making it forgiving on impacts. If the wielder misses with the hammer or beak section of the polearm, the mace implement further down might make up for it. Considering that there is also weight and density in this section of the polearm, it is also fully capable of delivering severe injuries upon heavily armored opponents. The best thing about it, however, is that this section of the weapon excels in damaging swords, capable of putting nasty bends in them, chipping edges or offsetting the rigidity of the blades it comes in contact with ( sword wielders usually have no chance in hell of stopping this thing once it takes flight and if they do, the blade should normally suffer severe damage from the feat ). Although the mace section is flanged, as said before, the flanges are wide and not intended for piercing so this section can still be held by the user if necessary.

Pole - The pole is constructed of squared corkwood ( favorite wood ) with each of its four surfaces being 1 inch wide. The reason why a squared shape was chosen is because an edged foundation provides more stability to the implements attached to it. Due to better materials being available, it was also made possible for it to be laminated entirely with a thin layer of titanium alloy ( 1 mm ) that is very subtly milled throughout the sections the user might hold on to. This provides greater grip throughout, although it can be hell on bare uncalloused hands. The milled pattern is subtle so as to enable sliding the grip.

Point of Balance - Earth has two points of balance that work together to generate devastating momentum during swings. The first is obviously the head, where the hammer and beak rest. The second is actually the mace implement located seven inches below the hammer mount. Considering the hammer, beak and mace sections of the blade are all made of titanium alloy, which is more lightweight than steel, adding the mace section to help the lightweight hammer generate striking power ended up providing more than one benefit. Without the mace, Earth would actually be a much poorer bludgeoning implement. It should go without saying that because its points of balance are closer to the hammerhead, Earth is not the type of weapon that changes direction often in flight. When swings miss, and they often do because smart opponents will usually maintain distance and take some time to figure out a way to strike, they should be repurposed into the next one. Stopping Earth’s momentum after every stroke is highly impractical.

Composition - Corkwood and titanium alloy. Because Earth doesn’t have a blade of any kind, Stello was able to get away with using titanium alloy for every portion where metal was necessary. Without titanium alloy, Stello wouldn’t have been able to add the mace section without making it unwieldy in the hands of ordinary human beings. Furthermore, laminating the whole pole with a protective metallic shell also wouldn’t have been possible.

Weight - Earth weighs a satisfying eight pounds. It’s heavy enough that it isn’t as easy to build momentum with it as it would be for some lighter weapons but not so heavy that the first stroke is at a disadvantage when first put to use. It should also go without saying that Earth is intended for two handed use.

Appearance - Earth has quite a threatening but nevertheless elegant appearance. The entire pole is laminated with lustrous titanium alloy but its business sections, which are its head and the section of mace beneath it, are both anodized to bronze hues that resemble polished rock. Because the hammer face is milled and the titanium alloy laminate also has some very subtle milling throughout, Stello decided against any form of pattern welding because it already has some very ornate patterns throughout.

Stello’s signature black anvil imprint is on the center portion of Earth’s hammer and beak mount.

 

Shade

Spoiler

Intro - Shade is a kite shield laminated with titanium alloy ( if the blacksmiths of medieval times could work titanium alloy, so many things would have been made of it ). This class of shield was more commonly used before the rise of plate armor. Once plate armor became a mainstay, knights were comfortable with carrying smaller shields like the heater shield because their armor protected them quite well. Stello prefers the kite design for both its wide protective berth and because of how well it can obscure the user’s motions. This shield also has a layer of high temperature wool between the titanium alloy laminate and its wooden frame, making it extremely resistant to heat. It is called shade because it can shelter the user from the sun and cast them in darkness.

Grip - Kite shields came with all types of grips. It always depended on what the wielder preferred. They had horizontal grips, vertical grips, leather arm straps and even diagonal grips. In Shade’s case, the grip is vertical and 4.5 inches long, enough for one handed use and a short amount of slack remaining. Stello also installed the grip 1’8” below the topmost edge and centered it as well. It feels close enough to the middle of the shield ( where the shield is heaviest ) where he can apply counter resistance along the entirety of it to a serviceable degree. If it were higher up, it’d be harder to direct the bottom tip of the shield and if it was much lower, it would be difficult to generate swinging momentums with its lower section. The grip is made of the same stuff the shield frame is made up of, which is corkwood.

Height - At 4’10”, Shade only needs to be moved very short distances to protect any section of a wielder’s body.

Length Across - The top section is the widest ( 25” ) and tapers down evenly to a thinner section of 15”. The tip at the very bottom is only half an inch wide and can be used as an anchor implement in soft ground.

Face - The fore is nearly entirely smooth with a very subtle curvature going across that increases its ability to efficiently deflect incoming strikes. Another noticeable detail on Shade’s fore is a prominent forward ridge on the opposite side of the grip, which provides enough of a pronounced point through which blunt force can be efficiently transferred into a target. The ridge is subtle enough to flow slightly with the rest of the shield face. In comparison to a shield boss, it provides an opponent with a lesser section of leverage that could be used to entrap the shield or hamper it in any way.

Weight - Weight is very important to Stello. One thing that should have been made clear throughout inspection of his other signature pieces is that the weights of his implement are spot on exactly where he needs them to be. His labor is highly articulate due to innate abilities. As for Shade, she weighs exactly ten pounds, which is enough weight and mass to absorb strikes from the heaviest of weapons ( maces, warhammers, etc ).

Composition - The frame of the shield is made of corkwood, or what he calls the titanium alloy of the wood universe, one third of an inch thick throughout. After the wood, there is a polycrystalline high temperature wool also a third of an inch thick that is designed to withstand temperatures up to 1300 degrees celsius. The titanium alloy laminate ( 3 mms thick ) could literally glow cherry red and this thing would still be swinging around. Together, all three of these layers form a shield that is highly resistant to damage of all kinds, be it thrusting, slashing and bludgeoning.

Appearance - Shade has a lustrous bright gray sheen throughout it at first glance. The titanium alloy laminate is beautifully polished and plain except for a few scratches from testing. The laminate around the edges, however, are quite attention grabbing, as that whole portion of the laminate is pattern welded with dark shapes that resemble the gases that compose nebulae.

On the front side ( the side facing the wielder ) there is no titanium alloy laminate, so the corkwood frame is visible there. The forward ridge opposite Shade’s grip endows it with an elegant shape, possessing a difficult to produce subtle curvature together with that nearly triangular ridge on the other side and its bright nearly reflective face.

Stello’s distinguishing black anvil imprint is front and center and quite large, positioned on the other side of the grip beneath the triangular ridge on the face of the shield.

Edited by LastLight

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The Leper entered the Anvil just an hour or more before closing. The bandaged man honestly did not realize how dangerous Hells Gate was, especially at night, since he hailed from the fragmented continent of Tellus Mater. He did not realize, that the the social attitude at present was less than satisfactory in the Terranus city at present, due to a huge shift towards technology taking over the jobs of most common folk. Since most of the Lightning Rail was down at most Major Cities in the Gaia majority nation, he had taken an alternative mode of transportation, something he was not going to go into detail about. Not that the confused bandaged man would be able to explain anyway. He was but a simple wanderer, with no place to be, except to search for freelancer work as an amateur soldier, mechanic, medic, or bodyguard. The quiet man was willing to do anything for the coin pretty much, and was always in search of work or training to hone his skills. He carried nothing but his adventurers backpack and a knife with him, always selling his weapon of choice at the end of each of adventure he had fore-taken. He looked around the shop, not really paying any attention Stello at the register, and admired the various works of European style swords he had forged. 

His bandaged hands ran over the swords and he sighed. The kite shield and swords were far too large for Leper to carry on his person, for he was a weak person. The biggest piece was over 60 foot in length and the smallest with a blade of about three feet. He was capable of only short swords and the sort for the most basic of soldiers. Perhaps a pike or short spear would suit him well. He brought his right hand to his brimmed hat, adjusting it slightly in thought as he analyzed the shortest bastard sword, Water.  Perhaps if the sword was cheap enough he could sell the resell the sword at a very high, inflated price elsewhere. It was a beauty after all, he was sure someone would take it off him eventually, should he acquire it. Not very moral, but the money would be well worth it. It was a piece of work and quite the beauty. He turned away from the display and walked over to the register where hopefully Stello was. If Stello was there, he would simply point towards Water, displaying his interest in purchasing the bastard sword...

@LastLight

Edited by B2BBear

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The tip he received was good it seemed, a start up business dealing in arms and armor. This was a good place to stop in for a moment, or at least the merchant hoped. After the run of 'bad luck' with the workshop being set ablaze by Blu, the thought of trying to rebuild was a poor option. No, Lexicus needed a profit somewhere today. Being in Terrenus was strange, technology was heightened here to an alarming degree of what he had seen anywhere else. This was good as well as bad. Good in the sense of the door being open to tinkering which he had tampered with before yet bad since he was a smith of what would be called 'old world fashion'. The option to check out the upstart business would pan out a bit better for his demeanor. 

The architecture was a bit different, a flair of utilitarian with, what he could only assume was some new world flair. This was lost on him, being a blond haired man in plate armor sitting on a cart drawn by an ox. Being in this city let him know he should possibly change up his attire if he was going to spend time around this area, as well as update his cart to something faster and more efficient. For now, Lexicus tossed a tarp over the back of the cart and locked it up after pulling the cart over to the curb of the street. For now Lexicus would simply see what was for sale and take notes, perhaps some banter back and forth over the craft and get an understanding of this new 'magi-tech' equipment. The though of calling in a favor he had passed his mind, the merchant did know a few tinkerers who spoke of magi-tech before but it would have been considered a fool's gambit back then. 

After taking some time, the blonde haired merchant slipped into the shop. The clanking of his heavy plate was almost as bad as wearing bells. Around the shop he spotted the wares and, the first thing he was thankful for, spotted the more European design of weaponry instead of the usual eastern style assortment he had seen many 'modern type' shops try and peddle off. He was not a fan of the eastern design, mostly being for their 'flashy' design and most smiths lacked the know-how to make strong tempered blades. The more European design was a welcomed sight as it was a nice standard for reliable weaponry that was, as he coined, 'good ol rustic metal' being that it was good for generations if taken care of. His eyes took in the shield work, not top notch but very good work none the less. A good staple of a start up smith. The real question was in the method behind the arms, a modern approach or the good ole hammer and flame. This was answered as he found the anvil sitting in the corner. 

"Hmm.." The sound of satisfaction that came with a grin from the merchant, this was a flair of the old world he knew in a more modern place. The crafts were definitely a kindness on his eyes, as opposed to many smiths he had seen around the area with idealistic dreams that end up being an unreliable hunk of metal. No, this was a nice change seeing modern though being implemented into old style weapons. This was a smith worth trading with and swapping a few tales and some trade stories, for now he would hold back, browsing the wares until he caught an opening to meet the smith or at the very least, the shop-keep.

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@B2BBear @KittyvonCupcake

Stello was beyond the lobby, past the brick wall that separated it from the work area and he was seated in front of a metal work bench. A pair of headphones, which he used to protect his ears from the sound of metal bashing metal, hung from around his neck since it wasn't in use. In similar fashion, a brown leather apron hung from a hook on a wall immediately to his left, leaving him in more casual clothing. The navy blue t shirt he wore was somewhat dirty with metallic residue and so were his black jeans. His hair was, as per usual, held down by an ornament of Hell's Gate more modernized culture, a snapback turned backwards so that the brim would have protected the nape of his neck from the sun more readily than his eyes if he were outside. 

When the bandaged fellow entered his shop, Stello was busy making riveted mail. It was a tedious process, having to put these small rings together and then using a riveting clamp to lock them together. It was a job he avoided like an itchy sexually transmitted disease but this time, motivation was on his side. A new armor design idea had popped into his mind and riveted mail was a part of it, so there was no frustration in his demeanor. After the entrance ping echoed throughout his shop, he dislodged his attention from the piece and took in the visitor's appearance. He gave momentary pause, wondering why he was covered head to toe in bandages. 

Stello's initial instincts towards the Leper were less than serene. It wasn't easy to take kindly to a hidden identity in his position and it invited him to show that he took his shop seriously. It turned out he was particularly good at giving off aggressive vibes. Rather than sitting on his ass like a lame duck, Stello aburptly raised from his seat, pushing the chair back and away with the back of his legs so that it slid about two feet away from him. If the visitor was a thief, he was more likely to be dissuaded from attempting anything if the shop keep showed that he was actuated and vigorous. 

Next, he approached his leather apron and before pulling it over his neck, dropped the riveting clamp in together with various other tools, which resulted in loud metallic clanks. It was easy to interpret the gesture as displeasure but if his appearance was taken in at the time, he looked casual. Once the leather apron was on and he had secured it around his back, he roamed near the reception desk, making himself available until finally, the fellow approached. 

By then, Stello was at the reception counter with both hands settled over the edges of the desk. He was waiting for words but instead was met with a gesture, but when his eyes followed the direction of the Leper's finger and spotted Water, a sly little smirk stretched across Stello's lips.

"Water, eh?"

He took a few steps back and walked towards the back of the shop, the soles of his large and heavy boots chafing with the ground on every step until he returned with a long object wrapped in blue silk, which he put down on the table and opened with great care. Inside was Water unsheathed, or at least an exact replica of it. He had several copies of his noteworthy designs in storage. The one on the wall was special. It was the first of its line and belonged only to its creator.

After placing his hand on the desk so that the Leper would feel the freedon to inspect it, he smirked again. Water was particularly a point of pride. It was his favorite blade. 
 


@Fennis Ursai

There was a certain type of customer that Stello saw here the most. They were usually people of simple living, working types who would never be forced to carry a weapon and wear armor. They usually came in and acted like tourists in a world they had never been to and would never go to. To them, it was considered fun for the shop keep to give them some safety protection and allow them to swing around a sword a few times, never knowing that these were items that many people over vast generations trusted to keep themselves and their families safe from savagery. 

The measure of intelligence was the ability to adapt to change, however, and although Stello was fully aware and conscious of the bloody past the items in his shop had fueled, he was also aware that life changed. Things were different now than then, more people had comfortable livings and were further from violence than they ever had been in times of antiquity. He'd have to have his head shoved fully up his own ass to be pompous in the presence of these every day folks. Which, of course, he didn't. 

In the end, that was why he had picked this area of Hell's Gate. The commerce here crawled with activity, working types with stable lives ( although recently threatened by the advent of mechanized labor ) walked the streets, visiting their favorite clothing stores and night clubs. So when Lexicus rolled in with his ox drawn carriage, it shouldn't have come as a surprise how a lot of the people there reacted with glee at seeing a beast of burden here in their modern metropolis. If he was shrewd at all, he might have even allowed a few of them to feed the beast and at least help keep it fed at no charge. 

Stello was in the process of tempering the blade on an arming sword with a magi tech blowtorch when Lexicus arrived, spreading the very same temper colors seen on his door across its length. His headphones were secured over his ears, playing music that more than likely would have sounded like nails on a chalkboard to a guy like the new visitor. The entrance ping, however, was programmed to be heard in his headphones as well so nevertheless, he turned to the door when he knew that someone had come through and noted the plate armor first, prompting him to pull a pair of goggles away from his eyes and up onto his forehead. 

Next, he dropped the headphones down to his neck and put the sword and torch down, approaching the reception counter. As per usual, he never went anywhere without his snapback, which he always wore backwards. His black t-shirt and magenta jeans were touched with liquid stains, and his large black boots were worn from heavy use. He was just about to say something when he saw something through the windows on the fore of his store. On the other side, there was a carriage and an ox. This guy must have been as old school as it got but the prospect of talking to someone with more of a cultural connection to armor and weaponry was exciting. 

"Welcome to the Hymn. I'm Stello. I own the place. Need any help with something?" 

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The fellow, Stello, who had approached him had an air to him that called to the old world. Lexicus tried not to but smirked a bit once he got a good look at the smith. "Ahh, so you are the owner." Lexicus held out an open hand to the man hoping the more modern folk still shook hands, "I am Lexicus, I figured I'd stop by to check out some shops around here. I've had a bit of smith's block lately and...after a run of bad luck with an accomplice of mine, I decided to check out this area." His eyes looked over at some of the products available for purchase, "And you seem to be the only one I've seen with a good flair for the products closer to what I've been producing. I stopped in because I got a tip from some of the local residents saying you were the man to talk to about some 'less idealistic' weaponry." 

The blonde craftsman was still trying to weigh this man out, there was a charm to him that much was evident. Perhaps it was that his shop appeared modest more of the working man's store. For now, Lex was just glad to be out of the shops that pounded ear screeching music or scents and lights that were a blight upon his senses. This place had a strange homely feeling, perhaps it was for the simplicity and the comfort of the lighting and the mood this place brought. It felt like a workshop not a crazy art display.

There came a bit of a chuckle from his lips, "I see I must have caught you mid project. If you have a care for it, I do have a bit of a stock in the cart. The ingots might be of interest if you're looking to obtain some more uncommon metals, although I doubt how well it will stand up to your's." Even if he hated to do it, Lexicus needed to push something out to make a profit today. Although it was his stock as well of metal for blade work Lexicus really needed the profit to get back afloat after Blu burned down his workshop and destroyed a good majority of his wares. Although he could be angry about it, something felt content with having to start over again. It was rightful punishment to start a new. 

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“I’m really not comfortable being back in this city so soon.”

“It’ll be okay. It’s just one store, and then we’ll leave.”

Harlow’s sights lifted from under the shadows of her hood, staring at the storefront with mild apprehension. 

“I think you mean I and not we,” she grumbled, “The Black Anvil Hymn, huh? Why this place?”

“It’s new and the owner’s loaded.”

She shrugged, “Fair enough.”

“You should get inside, you look weird standing in the rain talking to yourself.”

“You can see me from the ship?!” She threw a glance over her shoulder and she started for the front entrance. 

No, that was mostly a guess.”

As Harlow opened the front door, the engineer in her couldn’t help but appreciate the finish of the metal, using a finger to connect the rain droplets that studded its surface as she slinked through and into the shop. “Pretty.”

She spun from the door and threw off her hood in one motion, shaking away the dew from the rain where she stood, taking care not to dirty any of the nice, nearby furniture. Her eyes caught sight of the many hand-crafted pieces mounted to the walls, and for a moment, she could swear her pockets were burning.

Ah... Abigail, I don’t know about this shop.” She whispered, biting a nail as she strolled, “I feel like it’s too fancy for me -- Damn, these are well made -- How do we even know this guy’s going to have something we could use?” She could hear movement elsewhere in the store, and removed her earpiece, “Gotta go bye -- I’ll be back on the ship soon. Don’t talk to strangers, lock the doors and all that.”

“You know, just because I’m short doesn’t mean that I’m not an adu--” Click.

Harlow looked about the store, “Right then. Time to make a deal." She approached the reception counter and leaned into the window, curiously scanning what laid beyond it in a somewhat shameless fashion, "Anyone here?"
 

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@Fennis Ursai

The smirk that Lexicus replied to him with was telling. It was indicative of the fact that there were lots of thoughts coursing through his mind and that they were both pleasant and eager. In response to the extended hand, Stello reached out and grasped firmly and confidently, shaking once and making eye contact at the same time before letting go and leaning up against the reception counter again. So he was also a smith. Excellent, he thought. 

The thought that the people who had visited his shop and saw fit to spread the word were inclined to say his weapons weren't outlandish was interesting. One of his signature sword designs, Fire, had a spaded tip that wasn't at all conventional. There had been some people who expressed some doubt towards its functionality but clearly, it wasn't so prevalent an opinion that it cast his shop and his wares in a negative light. 

Hearing mention of uncommon metals coaxed an expression of piqued interest from Stello in the form of a single raised eyebrow. He leaned off the counter and tilted his head back, both of his eyes forced to angle down to maintain a connection to his visitor. So far, he hadn't put forth any items crafted from magically sensitive metals of any kind and that was because it was difficult to get his hands on, especially steady supplies of it. By uncommon, that was what Stello assumed Lexicus meant. Being rich was useful but money doesn't solve everything. 

"I get pretty standard stuff here," he answered clearly and firmly. "I've got steels with varying carbon contents in storage and other stuff I alloy my titanium with. So if by uncommon metals you mean responsive to magic, it probably stands a good ****ing chance of blowing what I have out of the water." 

He turned a glance back through his window to the ox and the carriage it was pulling along, "So what are you dragging along on the bovine express?" he asked, placing one hand down on the counter and hopping over with a motion smooth as silk into the lobby, where Lexicus was. "And if it turns out I like it, what do you want for it?" 

He had a tendency of being direct. 


@~Harlow.

Most of the time, Stello listened to music while in his work area but today was good to let his headphones spend most of their time around his neck and not in use. He wasn't bashing anything with a hammer, either, so he was free to listen to the sounds of the rain outside. The metal casings of the large fans that filtered out the shop created most of the ambience today, the sounds of the showers pit pattering on their surfaces echoing without interruption well into his shop. If Hell's Gate anti-pollution laws had allowed him to use a traditional furnace, the rain would have created an even finer sound together with the crackling wood. 

Although Harlow's entrance was announced by a rich ping that could be heard through both the lobby and the shop as soon as she stepped in, Stello wasn't around to see the vibrant flourish with which she entered. He was out of sight until just moments after she leaned in over the counter and perused his equipment. A lot of it was self explanatory, like the belt grinder and power hammer but there were two that looked like square metal containers with gloved slots for the hands to enter through that had their internal mechanisms hidden.

Eventually, Stello entered the shop from the storage area to see her leaning over the counter. His brows knit close and he spoke, "If you faceplant I wont take kindly to forging you a new grill. Ever see a horse smile?" 

He was carrying a black, sleeveless leather gambeson as he arrived and he put it down on his work bench atop sheets of riveted mail. It looked like he intended to put them together eventually. After that, he moved towards the counter and stood across from her, "Stello Lavis, owner and shop keep." 

Usually, he could tell just from how a person dressed what kind of business they were here for. Harlow was no exception. The strange eye patch she had on gave some indication of a more exciting living than the standard Hell's Gate citizen. Then again, maybe that was just as a result of an illness. There were clues as to the contrary but as of this moment, his gut was telling him that she wasn't his the typical Hell's Gate citizen. 

"What can I do for you? Gearing up for work?” 

Spoiler

Note: I usually don't post so quick but weekends are pretty good for me. = D 

 

Edited by LastLight

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There was a shimmer in the merchant's eye, he could tell a good sale was coming his way. At the mention of his ingots, Lexicus flashed a smile. "I had a good supply, if I can get set up again I can get my supply back. The wagon is carrying what's left that I could scavenge from the ruins and the fire. I'm just hoping to have a base of operations again." Lexicus began to move towards the door, "It's best if I just show you Mr. Stello. I've a few blades and some armor as well as some ingots in the cart. There is also a few potions and some items miscellaneous items here and there." 

Lexicus opened the shop of the door and held it open for the shop-keep, "Mind the tarp..It's a rare sight.." This was true, an owl bear tarp was a very rare type of tarp to have covering his items. He had a few sword cases as well as some bigger boxes containing a few maces and axes as well as some armor sets and a box labeled "Alchemical". In total the small sword cases totaled 3 the larger sword cases totaled 4 and the other weapon cases totaled 17 in the back of the cart. There was also a few small barrels and small crates filled with miscellaneous trade items and supplies. On the left hand side of the cart there was a row of "drawers", inside each one was a sack of ingots ranging from iron on the side farthest from the ox to the compartment closest to the ox labeled in in old language of Primordial dialect which translated to 'Specialty'. 

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"If you faceplant --”

The sudden voice sent the back of Harlow’s head into the overhead frame of the reception window.

Ow. Sorry about that,” she rubbed her skull with an open palm, “Yow, I just can’t help it sometimes. I’m a tinkerer, and I appreciate all variety of tinkering.”

Harlow placed her backpack on the counter as gently as she could manage for its weight, taking her time with unstringing it as Stello introduced himself.

"What can I do for you? Gearing up for work?” 

“Sort of. More like a hunt.” She stilled the tip of a finger against her lips as she contemplated the level of depth she was willing to go in her explanation, “Admittedly, I’m no experienced hunter. Just an engineer who happens to know how to sling a crossbow and handle a dagger. I’m not really sure what to look for now that I’m here, but I do know I need something special, something effective.”

Her arm reached into the bag and extracted a rather heavy-looking drawstring purse from it, plopping it down onto the countertop. If it hadn't been clear from the rattling, within the purse was just about every scrap of money Harlow’d managed to save over the last year; her life savings, really, since before now, she had none.

“Honestly, Sir," she sighed,  "I just want the best for the job. I’m here because I need help, and I’m not really sure where to start.”
 

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AKg0F0qmsBcwSHlgJpFOhY-5E9AJEpXG5RaSFxCZLJAJ7keiBjIFY8uFtFqew4hhPn23U9RUzRvHefhHwVjYbeft6ZEOF_cp6_25aO86-hfAg_Z5Sn1YR94t1tuzYVRa7-2bGN1d

Vermillion Lies --- Circus Fish

  "...is that...?"

  "The Hymn, that's right, love. The best mankind has to offer on this side of Hell's Gate."

  Violet eyes, dilated to absorb the fleeting shreds of natural light the sun had left to offer before the automated streetlamps switched on for their nightly vigil, narrowed suspiciously. The Hymn, she had been told, was a temple dedicated to serving the finest brunch foods that could be constructed by mortal hands. Pancakes the size of one's head. Omelettes fluffier than a cumulus cloud. The Hymn before her, although architecturally pleasing, suspiciously did not look like the sort of building one would dine in, unless that individual had a desire to snack on broadswords. 

  The man standing before Ioreth began to shift beneath the sudden intensity of her normally hazy gaze. A slight flush crept to his naturally ruddy cheeks and his left brow rose like a quizzical dark caterpillar that was too polite to bluntly ask why this damn gypsy elf was staring at him in that manner. But she blinked, the moment passed, and a smile flickered to her darkly painted lips. "Have a nice day," she purred.

  Before he could interject that it was nearly the evening, she had already drifted down the sidewalk with silent bare feet and a stormy tangle of silver hair tumbling out from beneath the floppy brim of a black felt hat. The man, a local born and raised alchemistic draftsman, shook his shaggy head and heaved out a sigh. Tourism had suffered after the series of upheavals shut down rapid transit (perhaps this why there was a mime out on the street; to attract attention to the area), but one still saw these wanderers pop in from time to time. At least this one wasn't armed to the teeth or slinging about spells whilst declaring herself to be the daughter of a dimensionless demon lord. Whatever her purpose was, she could stick to hers and he would stick to his.

  And Ioreth's purpose? She had temporarily suspended her original plans to contemplate what was the best mankind had to offer, not just on this side of Hell's Gate, but in general. 

  Waffles, she had decided. The muddle of species floating about Terrenus and its neighboring continents made it difficult to pinpoint precisely which species invented what, but she was certain that it was a human being that first brought forth the waffle iron. Were mimes a human innovation as well? There was little point in asking it. She offered the striped creature a casual wave and the quirk of a half grin, and slipped through the ombre doors of the Black Anvil Hymn.

  It was a startling contrast from the last blacksmith's shop the Path had guided her to. It had been in a nondescript village largely untouched by the major cities' push towards modernism, isolated as it was by the dense northern forests. Old tools, coated with rust, were tacked on the walls. Handles leaned propped in the cobwebbed corners, their heads and their tusks separated and left carelessly on a dusty workbench. Something deep within her blood recoiled at the dead scent of cold iron. The blacksmith, her knee now gnarled into a pale stump, preferred to sit in the garden with her wife. They had asked the night elf to grow flowers around them; sweet geraniums, innocently pink, flanked with the beaming golden heads of towering maenad tears. She planted berries in the dark. 

  Breathing came easier here than it did in that musty shed. Even with the iron, and a disappointing lack of pastries, the Hymn's master was skilled at displaying a subtle flourish of beauty. Ioreth pushed up the thick sleeves of her oversized sweater (labeled to be a Cloak of ShadowsTM, in actuality a woolly black cableknit), revealing tattooed arms and a tinkling assortment of silver bracelets, her attention skipping across the crystal pillars and the forge, to the displayed designs. It settled on the warhammer, Earth, perfectly suitable for a nomadic botantist meets magical scholar meets mercantile bookseller that struggles to open the lids of pasta sauce jars. Although she was a woman that wore many hats, a warrior she was not, and she could not help but snort at the idea of swinging such a thing. 

  Still, it was intriguing how aesthetically pleasing these instruments of war were. Some say that beauty is terror. Perhaps this is what they meant: when one's breath catches over a sword wrapped in silk. Fighting, she knew, had an art. And what of violence's tools? Did the touch of an artisan elevate them to something higher than just another way to dismember and maim? Brows knitted with curiosity, slender fingers tapping at the lines etched into her bottom lip, she lingered away from the receptionist's counter to give the bandaged man his space to examine his sword in peace. If Stello offered her a greeting, she would have inquired, with one hand gesturing at goods on display, "What made you decide to create these?"

Edited by KittyvonCupcake
sketch added

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@Fennis Ursai

Mention of a fire and ruins didn't come as much of a surprise. When Lexicus talked about a run of bad luck earlier, he guessed that it must have been something serious. Apparently someone had burned down his shop. Now Stello had never killed a man but if anything could make him snap, that might be it. If by some miracle it didn't drive him completely to insanity, the person responsible would at the very least never be walking well again. 

When Lexicus invited him to take a look to answer his question, it was clear Stello agreed. That was why he had jumped the counter and into the lobby earlier. So when he was led that way, he followed eagerly and stepped out. First, he beheld the ox. The people outside who were fawning over the creature weren't the only ones that this was a rare sight to. Stello had never been so close to one in his life, which reminded him of the difference in culture between him and the plate armored smith. Even the way Lexicus spoke was uncommon. 

"You'll have to talk to me about it. I have no clue what that is," he admitted.

Stello eyed the tarp with a quizzical expression and hung back as Lexicus handled it himself, comfortable with the decision to ensure he wouldn't damage another's valuables. When what was beneath it was revealed, however, that demeanor of uncertainty quickly disappeared and was replaced with deep, coherent focus. He even leaned in, supported himself on his hands and peered through the glass cases in which the weapons were stored, eyeing them very closely. 

They were everything he could have expected from a man like Lexicus. Their designs were thoroughly realistic without the sort of flair in some weapons that traded functionality for aesthetics. A smirk crossed his lips as he pushed off the carriage and stood straight again, both hands sliding into his pockets as he glanced at the rest of the material. 

"They pass the eye test but if you want me to think about letting you operate out of my shop, they'll have to pass the stress test, too. 'Specially since I'm aware someone's seen fit to burn down your previous workshop. This is a risk for me but I can use another smith around to help with the tedium." 

Stello wasn't going to say it but he needed the most assistance with mail. It wasn't that he lacked the skill to put the mesh together, it was that he sometimes lacked the patience and it turned out that mail was exactly what most of these tourists purchased. It sold like hot bread. He suspected most of them were fetishists. 

"I know a place a few blocks down where we can do some smashing and cutting tests. There's also a butcher that'll sell me some pig carcasses. Let's get going before he closes shop." 

He began jogging towards the door to his shop and stepped in. A minute later he returned sans the headphones, leather apron and boots, now wearing only street clothing that was clean and impeccable. It was just at about the same time that a pair of city guards began approaching them with an eye for the ox and the large carriage in tow. 

"Sir, sir," they called out, "You can't have that--" 

"We're movin', we're movin'," Stello interrupted with a sharp tone, approaching Lexicus as he shook his head. "Buncha ****heads with nothing better to do," he explained, motioning to them with his thumb. "They went to the academy and learned how to shove their heads up their asses." 

If Lexicus began leading the ox along the road, Stello wouldn't miss the opportunity to climb aboard and lean back comfortably. With a pair of shades and a little bit of magic Stello somehow someway managed a ritzy air of superiority as they rolled away on the outdated ox driven vehicle. 

"You must feel pretty far from home here in Hell's Gate. Don't worry, you'll get used to it. Seen plenty of people like you come through and get along just fine. Just give it some time. So, tell me about the tarp. What's so special about it?" 


@~Harlow.

The sight of Harlow smacking the back of her head against the frame above her was enough for Stello's steps in her direction to stop momentarily. He cringed at the thought of how much it hurt and then once he was at the counter, he began to hold three fingers up. Before he could ask how many there were, she began explaining her situation and also procured a large and heavy bag, which interrupted his gesture. The jingling sounds coming from it were familiar. 

After the bag set on the table and flattened out somewhat with the weight of the material inside, he reached out to it and nudged it open, angling his gaze deep into its contents as he held the aperture apart with two fingers. His only reason for doing so was to see that she wasn't dumping a bunch of copper coins attempting to pass them off as a fortune. When he saw that there was variety in those colors, he brought back his hand and placed his attention squarely upon her again. The serenity in his expression could be misleading depending on how it was interpreted but ultimately, it revealed nothing about whatever thoughts stewed in his mind, or how exactly he felt about all that money

"Most customers don't bother flattering me when they're throwing this much cash around," he quipped, motioning simultaneously at her money bag. "Hate to break it to you but I'm no hunter either so I don't see myself being the best. At least not in this case." 

After a brief pause and a shrug, he elaborated further. 

"I mean . . . I got some longbows here . . . and spears but I get the sense that those wont cut it for you. What do you need, exactly? What are you hunting?" 

Internally, he asked himself what an engineer who was trained in the use of a bow and could defend herself skillfully with a knife could possibly be on the hunt for. He had a feeling that it wasn't an animal but her initial request had been so vague and left no context at all for him to attempt to analyze.


@KittyvonCupcake @B2BBear @Off Topic

Spoiler

Gonna give b2bbear another two days to post before responding to what I have. Thought it'd be good to allow a little bit of time to let him catch up and to let off topic do the same without making kittyvon wait too too long. 


 

Edited by LastLight

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The Leper

 

The Leper was conscious of the Blacksmiths suspicions of him, since this commonplace wherever he traveled and thus was the reason why he always traveled in on a night owl schedule. Before he turned to head to the sales counter he had heard the variety of loud sounds from the Blacksmith. He heard the noise resulting from the friction of the sliding chair and the sudden metal clanging signifying he had dropped his tools. 

At the counter now, The Leper discovered that the man was much more warm than he expected as soon as he pointed to one of his wares, Water. The Leper had the most distinctive smell of cigarettes, booze, and a peculiarly enough, mint coming from him. His body language was non-threatening and he stood at less than six foot. He kept his hands in his coat pockets, tempted to copy the Blacksmiths body language and rest his own hands on the counter. He made metal notes of him before he went to retrieve Water for examination. The man was over 6'1", strong, and was young. He could be no older than 30. How did this young lad acquire such skill and the funds to open such a luxurious store at his age? He must've been a prodigy and picked up the trade quickly. Still that doesn't precisely explain how gained the Hymn. Perhaps his master was old and passed it down to him before leaving this world...

The Leper breathed in deeply, taking in the smell of Iron and other metals. Reminded him of something else, though he couldn't quite put his tongue on it. The Leper moved in a slow-like and relaxed fashion, and his eyes sluggishly trailed over the shop  as he waited for Stello to return. He knew this was a two story from the outside. The man had just been working on chain mail... Odd. He wondered if business was really doing well. What with technology and magitech providing such weapons like guns and magic weapons, he wondered if this was an obsolete art at this point. He could imagine many of these wares would not really be used by anyone since there were quite a few other options. They were pieces of art however... if The Leper had the money and place to call home he would definitely hang it on a wall somewhere for display. Perhaps if he did purchase water he could sell it in some rich district at some tavern where full-pocketed fellows congregate. He'd try to get them drunk of course to make the process much easier. 

Finally, the owner of the establishment returned with the sword, the sounds of his heavy boots and weight pushing past Leper back to the sale counter. The Leper pulled his hands from his pockets and trailed his bandaged digits over the unsheathed sword. The beautiful sound of the metal unsheathing is worth noting, even to an amateur fighter such as himself. "... May I?" The Leper spoke softly, at a near whisper in a low voice. He wanted to to test the weight and carry it in a safe distance away from the counter. At that moment a woman walked in and the Leper looked over his shoulder, now leaning his elbows, slightly bent over the counter. She was covered in runes and tribal tattoos, with her ears opened like a punk rocker. The style unique her he supposed, since he had never seen anyone like her. She was tall and wore loose clothing. She had a brimmed felt hat and large coat just like the Leper, which he found humorous. The Blacksmith might've gotten the wrong idea and thought they knew each other. The Leper looked at her thin figure and wondered if she could truly handle Earth the war-hammer, of which he noticed her eyes had settled on for a moment. As she greeted him and asked her question at the counter near him, the Leper would take off his hat, revealing his bandaged head. He rested it on the counter in the middle of the counter, indicating his trust in the establishment. He adjusted his goggles, curious to as what his reply would be to the Elf Woman...

Edited by B2BBear

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There was a light chuckle coming from the merchant as the sound of the guards, "Just trying to do something I suppose." He spoke over to Stello. A light jab to his side with an elbow and Lexicus motioned for him to hop in. He came up to the ox and grabbed the reigns, tossing them up to the cart seat. For now he would steer the cart by walking beside his beast of burden. The hulking ox that was able to carry the weight by himself. "So this butcher, he's just up the road yes? I would hate to miss him." 

So far Lexicus avoided some of the questions and comments Stello asked. He was focused on getting out to test out his weapons for the fellow smith and would answer the questions once they got out to where Stello knew. "The tarp, it's made from the pelt of some of the annoyances back home. We refer to them as owlbears. There's a myth about them being the failed attempts of a wizard to create large griffon like beasts out of owls, in hopes of them being intelligent beings as well as aids around the tower. However I don't think that's quite the case since the population of them back home is quite astonishing. That pelt of there's is quite hard to pierce, yet it can be done with the right method. I'm just glad I could acquire one in such prime condition. Normally they sport arrow and blade marks and require some touch up work, yet this one was unfortunate and died the slow death of poison by an associate of mine." Lexicus kept his eyes front, on the look out for the butcher. 

"As for the weapons in the back I can explain what they are made of and their quirks once we get to this location you know of. They aren't my finest handicrafts, however they aren't my worst either. Just some I was able to salvage luckily." His plate armor was clanking loudly as they walked the streets. His sabatons striking the pavement gave way to clanks of metal, along with the cart's wheels traveling along the road with a grind, the ox bore down as well with his hooves, all the old world around this city in one location yet to his ears, Lexicus could only take in new sights of streetlights and off the fashion of onlookers and pedestrians of this town. There were quite a few taking notice to the beast carrying the cart. "I must presume the sight of the cart is a touch foreign Mr. Stello?"

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@B2BBear @KittyvonCupcake @Off Topic

Those thoughts of the Leper's about how the shop had come to be were poetic but inaccurate. Clues as to the contrary floated about in Stello's shop. There wasn't a single artifact honoring a master or even a label claiming operation for any period longer than a year. The truth lied in money. Being born into wealth, Stello could set off on any path he wanted. Tomorrow, he could close down and pay someone to teach him magi tech engineering twenty hours a day and a while later open up again in rural Dougton where his wares would soak up lots of attention. 

But truly, this was where his heart was, as flawed and contradictory a home as it was. 

The first time that the bandaged patron spoke was worthy of note. Stello gave him a glance of acknowledgment when he realized that there could be a conversation between them before he let go of Water and let it rest on the counter there. He even nudged it forward with both hands until it sat at the very edge, inches before its would-be second hand salesman and free to be inspected. Stello watched the sword slip into the Leper's hands, zeroing in on the way it rested in the bandages before he glanced towards the Leper's face. The cloth there barred him from perusing any sort of expression. He'd have to wait until he saw fit to speak again. 

Once in hand, the Leper, who believed these weapons didn't belong in the hands of someone his size, would find that Water's design made it feel exceedingly more maneuverable than it appeared at first glance. It was intended to be a limber sword, after all. "Don't know how accustomed you are at swinging blades around," he began, eyeing the Leper's movements as he inspected it. He wasn't sure what to make of him going by his appearance but what he did know was that he had his vices. Stello wasn't fond of the stench of liquor and tobacco. 

"But if you're a beginner, you should probably start with a stiffer cross section. That messer over there," he motioned at one of the walls, where some of the more budget friendly designs were on display. "-is more forgiving when the user isn't skilled yet at maintaining good edge alignment. It also has a lower than normal point of balance than most cutting weapons have, so it's still pretty easy to control. It was an experiment, kind of, but functional if it's right for you." 

The messer wasn't by any means ugly and incomplete. Stello didn't put anything on the walls that he wouldn't be willing to use to defend himself. As he waited for the man to make up his mind, the door opened and a ping through the whole establishment announced the entrance of another person. As his eyes moved in her direction, he spotted something strange outside. It was a man in a striped shirt, wearing face paint and . . . smiling and waving at him through the window. Stello didn't wave in return but he did pop his forehead back in
acknowledgment. 

"What the hell's a clown doing outside?" he asked aloud, maintaining eye contact with the mime before he turned his attention to the newcomer. The tattoos she was covered with gave him the impression that there was a daring and confident personality lurking here but on a lengthier inspection, he noticed the pointed ears and the floral natures of the patterns. As he leveraged a focused gaze on her, the thought finally came to mind that she resembled the elven rangers that protected towns and cities from the wilds. A downward glance later, he caught a glimpse of her bare feet and thought for sure that she must have originally been a forest dweller. 

"Welcome to the Hymn," he eventually greeted. He wasn't particularly cheerful. "If you have any questions, let me know." 

Although he welcomed her inquisitive nature as soon as he greeted her, her question nevertheless did surprise him. He clearly chose not to answer immediately, stopping all other motions momentarily to process his thoughts on the matter thoroughly. His eyes even angled up at the ceiling as a furious river of thoughts failed to paint a clear picture of the answer. A long rant took root on his tongue and came within moments of bursting out. There was so much he could say. He could guide her on a long winding road that would give her insight on the different philosophies that composed his point of view. Didn't quite feel right, and besides, his reasons for running the shop were with exploration in mind and far less about money. 

When he was ready to respond, that deep rumination that he subjected himself to appeared to ease away. He leaned his hip against the counter and looked at her inquisitively himself. Then he answered, "Honing my craft so that one day I can produce the ultimate sword." He paired his words with a fond glance at Water. Not the one in the Leper's hands but the one suspended on the wall in a case. "Water is the closest I've ever gotten. " 

As he waited on an answer from her, he finally glanced at the Leper again, "By the way, I don't sell without conducting background checks. How does that work when you're bandaged head to toe?" 

Strange that he wouldn't sell items that are intended for use in killing to people with criminal records. Even stranger that he was interested in making the "ultimate sword." Ioreth would find that aside from being creatures of great culinary prowess, humans were also creatures of monumental contradictions. 


@Fennis Ursai

Stello couldn't help but smirk at the thought of missing the butcher's shop. Both hands raised, folding behind the back of his head as he relaxed aboard the cart and he responded with perfectly calm reassurance, "Yeah . . . it's not something we'll be able to shoot past without noticing." His gaze rested atop on the ox as he spoke, watching how the powerful beast slowly, though ably, pulled them down the road. The smirk endured for some time up until they arrived. 

"We're here. Let me go deal with this," he stated, rising from his seat and hopping off before jogging into the shop. As soon as he entered through the doors, a raucuous engagement of dialogue erupted followed by laughter and vulgar insults that sounded so sincere a fight should imminently break out. Eventually, Stello returned, rounding towards the road from behind the shop, dragging behind him a large drag tarp filled with what must have been several pig carcasses. Many of the patrons in the shop watched in confusion as Stello departed with the butcher's pigs, vaguely unsure of if whether they were actually fighting over the matter or not. 

After Stello tied it to the cart, he came back around and climbed aboard, smirking all the way to their destination. It was a large empty lot with grass and trees throughout, protected by gates that Stello had the keys for. After opening it to let the ox roll through with the cart behind it, he shut the gate behind them and spoke, "If it eats grass it can have at it. Guy who owns the lot would appreciate the environmental control anyway." 

Soon after arriving, it'd be clear that this wasn't the first time Stello used this place for weapons testing. There were poles planted deep into the earth and secured with cement lined across from one another. There were also hooks suspended from some of the sturdier branches that could be used to suspend the carcasses. That being said, the very first thing Stello did was open up the drag tarp and retrieve a severed pig head from it, carrying it so that if any of the congealed blood dripped off of it, none of it would land on his pristine clothing. 

Meanwhile, he listened to the explanation of the owlbear tarp and raised his brows. He had never ventured into the wilds so the monstrous beasts that roamed the lands were by and large unknown to him. The best he knew about it was that the best tool for dispensing with monstrous beasts like the owlbear was vakar metal. He had never worked with it personally but he had read extensively on it but never developed a specific interest in forging it. 

"Yeah, as you can see, we don't see carts pulled along by oxen around here very often. I also don't see guys in full plate armor wandering about, speaking the way you do. Nice change of pace to be honest. Where'd you come from anyway, if you don't mind me asking? Oh and do me a favor and bring out an axe or preferably a warhammer of any kind if you have one. Want you to test it on this bad boy." 

He reached one of the upright poles and secured the pig head on it. Then he took it a step further and procured what looked like a steel helmet that had been crafted specifically to be fitted onto a pig and fitted it onto the skull for added protection. 

There was a reason why he wanted to test a warhammer that Lexicus made before anything else. They were more complex than swords and relied on several parts to hold together with repeated use. To start, the wedge had to hold and the bolt, if any, pinning the hammerhead to the wood would also have to have been engineered with great care to resist breaking the wooden shaft on a strike. Passing that test would speak volumes. That kind of mechanical knowledge would be more telling than the damage done to the helmet and the pig. 

"All set. Bust his head open." 

It was doubtful the warhammer would get through the helmet unless it was made of supernatural material and Lexicus possessed superhuman strength but the transference of kinetic force was definitely going to cause some damage. The fact that pig skull was tough stuff would add another layer to the exam. Stello watched from about five feet away, waiting to see what would come of it. 

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