Crafting Motif 118: House Mornard Style

Author: Bertrand Merik

By Bertrand Merik, Master Blacksmith of the House Mornard Smithy

Yasmine, you're coming of age now and I promised your mother I'd pass along the hammer and tongs when you was old enough. I'm no teacher, not like she was bless her heart, but be patient with your old codger of a father and I'll be sure to pass along our family's smithing knowledge as best I can.

AXES
Axes are like a mangy dog. Your instinct may be to fear them, but you've got to approach them with patience. Keep a firm hand, and take your time. One wrong hammer blow and your axe will leap up to bite you in the face.

BELTS
Your mother always liked gifting folks homemade belts. Said that a good belt not only kept your pants up but kept folks from stealing your weapon or coin purse. Your mother may have always looked for the best in folks, but that didn't keep her from preparing for the worst.

BOOTS
A good boot should be flexible enough to dance in, but strong enough that it doesn't crumple under a mace a blow. And I'm serious about being able to dance in them. I always shut all the forge windows before I test out our boots. Don't need prying eyes seeing me make a right fool of myself.

BOWS
You'll want to include a little notch in the handle's leather work. Nothing too obvious, just a little dip that cues a young archer as to where to hold his arrow. Your mother taught me that, on account of your uncles being poor shots.

CHESTS
Your mother used to make knights sing during their breastplate fittings. She wanted to be sure they weren't cinched so tight that they couldn't get a deep enough breath to hold a tune. Should've seen how rosy they'd get with embarrassment. Every now and again I recognize one of their voices singing in the tavern. Nice to know her work kept them safe.

DAGGERS
Your mother used to say that everyone should either have a sharp dagger or a sharp wit. Having one will keep you out of a decent bit of trouble. Mind you, dear heart, she told me this for the first time after gifting me with the sharpest dagger I'd ever owned.

GLOVES
Using any old hot forge tool I like to lightly singe the leather, leave marks along the palms of our gloves like the lines on your own hands. Helps keep your grip tight around a weapons hilt. Last thing you want is a sword flying out your hand or your glove slipping before you can even unsheathe it.

HELMETS
Right after I showed you how to cinch the helmet so it wouldn't fall off your head, you decided to test it by throwing yourself down the side of a hill. Still remember the way you giggled while you tumbled all the way down. Your mother called it a stress test, but the only thing you were stressing out was my heart.

LEG GREAVES
Never be cheap when it comes to leather. Might seem like the place to save a bit of coin, but we get ours specially treated. A secret mix of herbs and oils keep it from cracking from the salty sea air or getting torn up from a scrape with the thorny end of a spriggan. I've got the recipe written down around here somewhere.

MACES
When I asked for your mother's hand in marriage, your grandfather asked me to help forge a mace. Wanted me to see how hard it was to balance the mace's weight with the forge's fire. You may not understand until you're betrothed. But that lesson, learning how to balance passion with duty, is not one I'll soon forget.

SHIELDS
Now, some folks might not see much sense in having a pretty shield, but I'll let you in on a little secret. All this fancy metalwork is meant to divert a blade away from you. Every groove and curve keeps an impact's force moving along the shield's surface. You do this right and an enemy's blade will glide right off you like boots on wet tile.

SHOULDERS
You'll want to pay close attention to how tightly a pauldron grips your shoulder. Shouldn't be so tight that you can't life your arm, or so loose that a horse's gallop would undo it. The way I think of it is like a tight grip from a kind hand. Supportive without being oppressive.

STAVES
The magically inclined do love their pretty staves, so be patient with the filigree. Too heavy handed and you'll throw off its balance. Too light and it's liable to ware away in a fortnight. You get it just right, well, nothing prettier than magic glinting off your handiwork.

SWORDS
Growing up you wanted to be a swordmaster. Came barging into the forge one day asking for a sword to practice with. Your mother got a good laugh out of it. I said you couldn't swing them yet, but you could watch them be made. To see how lightweight they were and how you attached the hilt. You may not remember that, but it might've been your first lesson."

Scroll to Top