The Founding of the Clan
In ancient days gone past, Nial of Nahzdek was exiled from his clan, and being a blacksmith, he chose to wander the world, to gather as many of the secrets of the hammer and anvil as any man ever had before. In time, he grew lucky, and discovered the smithy of the Forge Lord, and from him, he learned all the secrets of steel and silver, of bronze and gold, and many more. And upon the Smith-God’s daughter, he sired a son, and he named him Adan. And he was exiled from the Forge-Lord’s smithy, and he and Adan set out into the world once more, to find their place within it.
And in time, they came upon a vast, rolling valley, empty of others, nestled deep within the mountains of Aruga, and within that valley they found a vein of that which was most valuable to them, a vein of iron ore. And in those peaceful days, Nial and Adan began to build, choosing the mouth of the valley for what would eventually become their stronghold. It began a simple encampment, where they baked the clay of the river-beds and the straw of the tall valley grasses to make bricks to build their home and forge, and hunted in the mountains for food. To the nearest town, the young man Adan was sent, and upon his shoulders when he returned he carried two great anvils, and their work began in earnest.
Wondrous were the artifacts that father and son then forged, and as they sold their blades and armor to knights and noblemen, their reputation and price grew and grew. And soon it was that they no longer had need of gold, for great was their treasury, greater than they could spend simply. Being shrewd, Nial began to charge not in gold and silver, but in iron and charcoal, and in labor, and in promises of defense. Seeking mighty weapons and perfect armor of their own, adventurers were asked to work along side the smith for their reward, tilling his soil, cooking his meals, excavating his mines, and building his stronghold.
And in the fifty-fourth year of Nial’s life, and the twenty-first of Adan’s, Nial demanded of a king who sought a crown worthy of the emperor of the world neither resources nor labor, but instead, he demanded that the king send the Royal bastards to him. And when it was done, he took them as his own, two boys and three girls, and he named them Oresoul, and the natural son of his loins, he named Adan Ironspirit. And as things progress, Adan took one of the girls named Oresoul to wife, and in the twenty-fourth year of his life, he sired the first of his children upon her. Thusly, the line would be assured.
And so it continues today beneath the head of the family. Thousands and more are the obligations owed to Ironspirit, and they remain the premier source of metal goods in the world, taking many more obligations and favors than gold, and though the continued ‘adoption’ of illegitimate children, they have kept their blood fresh and strong… and can claim relationship with nearly every Royal Line in the known world.
The land of Ironspirit is much the same as it was in ancient days, though the mine beneath the rolling valley is exhausted, and gives no more. The valley itself is farmland, now, still worked by those who would indenture themselves for perfection in steel, while vast storehouses at the head of the valley contain the rich ‘treasury’ of Ironspirit: raw metals, ores, and charcoal, gathered from a thousand contracts. The Master’s smithy is closest to these storehouses, though the Apprentices’s smithy is near as well.
At the mouth of the valley lies the ancestral home of Ironspirit, an enormous, though plainly built building of stone and steel. Flanking that home are the plain stone dormitories of the indentured workers, while access is controlled by a single gate, the width of eight men, set in a wall of granite covered with polished sheeting of alloy.
The smithies themselves are twofold. The older, and smaller of is named the Master’s Forge, and inside, has places for seven men and women to work, arrayed in a circle around a central furnace. Here is where the current Masters and Grandmaster of the Clan do their work, as well as Adan when he awakens. Here, the tools and anvils are marked with runes of holy script, and here is where the Widowmaker is stored, Nial’s own hammer. All Masters are expected to be able to wield Widowmaker, well over two hundred pounds of heavy metal alloy.
The larger of the two is named the Apprentices Forge, and has work stations of masterwork tools for thirty men and women to work. Here, often in shifts, the journeymen and apprentices of Ironspirit and Oresoul labor to produce the quality goods that the Enclave is known for.
Attached to the Apprentice’s Forge is the place known as the Alchemist’s Forge, and it is here where the alchemists of Ironspirit and Oresoul create the special alloy components that allow Ironspirit steel to be so far above in effectiveness beyond ‘normal’ steel. They are often assisted in their efforts by indentured magi and sages, who labor in tedium and obscurity in exchange for the perfect virgin vessel with which to imbue their magics.
The Smiths of Ironspirit
First among the Smiths of Ironspirit, e’er since the passing of Nial, has been the demigod Adan Ironspirit, son of Nial and the goddess Hariena, patron of the Arts. Truely immortal, Adan nevertheless spends the majority of his time in a torpor, pre-occupied with the realm of the Divine. In times of great crisis, he will awaken and assume command of the Clan, directing their influence to his own ends. From his divine heritage, he has gained the power to ‘speak’ with crafted items, able to understand the emotion and purpose that has soaked into them with use.
Beneath Adan sits the Grandmaster of the Clan, chosen from the most able of the Masters at the time of the previous Master’s death. It is the Grandmaster who directs the normal activities of the Clan, in addition to the normal duties of a Master.
Beneath the Grandmaster are the six Masters of the Clan. All of them have the right to the surname Ironspirit, and bear some traces of the blood of Adan. They have been chosen from the Journeymen, and taught the secrets of the Divine Forge, the arts Nial won from the God so long ago. They are responsible for creating the most intricate and exceptional of the artifacts asked of Ironspirit, and they are responsible for creating the contracts of influence, resources, and indenturement for those artifacts. Other times are spent in teaching the Journeymen and Apprentices of Ironspirit and Oresoul, as well as refinement of their personal skills and research. The quest for perfection, even those with knowledge of the divine secrets, goes on.
Under the Grandmaster are the Journeymen of Ironspirit, or those bear the blood of Adan, and of Oresoul, those who have been indentured for life or voluntarily joined the Clan of their own will. Theirs is a life of labor and training, refining their skills in hopes of becoming masters, either here or elsewhere. It is they who perform the bulk of the labor, producing the swords and spears that kings request for their elite soldiers, and the jewelery that nobles bedeck themselves with. The average journeyman of Ironspirit has enough skill that he would be considered a Master Smith in most places.
At the bottom, of course, are the apprentices. Laboring in training, they produce many of the goods that the Clan itself requires, and simple things that are traded for silver and copper and food.
Family and Tradition
Of the Clan Ironspirit itself, only those who bear the divine blood of Adan Ironspirit may be carry the family name. Shaped and driven by the will of that blood, there are a number of strong constants within the family. They are physically strong and broad of shoulder, and it is with comparative ease that they learn to bear the labors of the forge. Their minds are keen and inquisitive, and once they grasp hold of the hunt for skill and knowledge, they are unshakeable. Only age and wisdom can temper their stubborness and will.
Of the children of Oresoul, few such distinctions can be drawn. Of every race of man, of every tone of skin and shape of body, only duty to clan Ironspirit holds them together. Drawn in as seekers of the secrets of iron, or even as bastard children sold as barter, few are willing to swear allegiance to another, for they have been welcomed with open arms and a purpose.
It is rare for those of the Ironspirit name to exceed thirty to fourty in number, even with multiple generations stacked upon each other. Normally, the family of Ironspirit will take to spouse the children of Oresoul, though rarely, incest may occur within the family - This taboo is far weaker within the clan than it is in the world outside.
With servitors and Oresoul, it is rare for the clan’s total numbers to exceed a hundred.
It is customary for the men of Ironspirit, upon reaching the stage in their education where they are referred to as journeymen, to literally journey through the country side, to meet other smiths and learn from them. This is referred to as the ‘Journey of Annealment’, and during this time, they are expected to expand their art to include things they would not have used before.
From time to time, one of Ironspirit will choose to become an adventurer, or a warrior. These men and women will forge for themselves a mighty suit of plate and scale, and they take up the ancient fighting art of the juggernaut, a peculiar and difficult form of armored hand to hand combat, known only to Ironspirit, and to the half-civilized clans of the distant Northlands.
Largely, Clan Ironspirit seeks to be neutral amoung the affairs of countries, only rarely tipping the scales with its superior equipments. As it has effectively no military, or even a police force past three to four of the juggernauts, it must rely on the good will of a half a dozen different patrons in order to defend itself - and somehow, someone always seems to find the current neutrality of the Clan to their benefit.
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