Mellar was sitting in his usual spot when everyone filed in for the meeting, though he did not meet a single eye, and kept his gaze firmly on the stone tabletop. All attempts to catch his notice went unanswered, and his appearance was the cause of many whispered conversations amongst the other attendees as they each took their own assigned seats. If Mellar heard the stir he was causing, he didn't acknowledge it in any way.
His chin and jaw felt naked, bare, and exposed. His beard had been so badly burned that there was simply no saving it. He'd had to shave the remnants of it off, revealing a rather strong jawline, but he could take no joy in his newly shorn profile. One whole side of his face was splotchy with burns of varying intensities, though none appeared to have been bad enough to threaten his sight in any way, nor did there appear to be any real damage around his mouth, making it unlikely that his wounds would impair his eating or speaking ability in any way. Still, his appearance was markedly different than it had been the last time anyone had seen the dwarven smith.
The meeting started as it always did. Each crafter in turn brought up what they were working on, and any breakthroughs or stumbling blocks they had come across. If it was the former, then most of the other occupants made notes for their own use. If it was the latter, the occupants would offer suggestions, theories, or the benefit of their experience in similar matters. In no time the atmosphere had devolved to the informal tone that usually marked these meetings.
Except for Mellar.
Every eye seemed to be drawn to him as if his scarred, bare-faced form carried some form of internal gravity. Conversations would take place between two of the other dwarven crafters, but invariably both sets of eyes would flick over to Mellar, then away once more. Similarly, other dwarves were angling themselves to be able to study him a bit more carefully, but without being obvious about it.
Through it all, Mellar remained quiet, his gaze firmly affixed to the table in front of him.
Invariably, the progression of speakers made its way around to Mellar, and all other conversations stopped immediately as a hush fell over the room, every ear straining to see what the smith might have to share. Time passed, the seconds growing longer and longer, and still, Mellar did not stir. Someone cleared their throat noisily, and the perpetrator for a moment became the sudden focus of a room full of annoyed faces, cowing him instantly. Each eye then migrated back to Mellar, who heaved a great sigh and clasped his hands in front of him on the table. Without looking up, the smith began to speak in muffled tones.
"I made something," he began. "I... I was working on a new alloy. I wanted something that would withstand high temperatures, but... that made working it in my old forge a problem."
Some of the other faces around the table nodded sagely at Mellar's words. They were familiar with these sorts of quandaries.
"So... I had to make a new forge, right?" Mellar continued. "I needed something that could really pump out some heat, so I... well... I got a hot enough forge to do what I needed," he finished cagily.
"How'd you do that?" asked another of the crafters at the table curiously.
"Never you mind!" snapped Mellar. "What's important is I did, OK? And then I was able to work with the gornar and glaes that I'd been saving up-"
"Wait, you did what?" interjected another new face. "Neither of those is stable enough to mix readily."
"Which is why I needed the hotter forge," Mellar said slowly as if talking to someone particularly dim. "The forge I managed to rig up worked a treat, and I was able to... well..."
With nothing by the way of ceremony, Mellar withdrew a hunk of metal from his lap and dropped it on the table with a loud chunk.
The alloy was hideous, all could easily agree. It was covered in a crust that was barely recognizable as partially melted gornar. Through the cracks in this crust, a core of glaes could easily be seen, though it too was cloudy and misshapen.
"Not sure how you'd be able to sharpen it, but that's the next step. Once I get the forge rebuilt," Mellar said sullenly.
"What... what are you calling that?"
"Uhhhh... buh... skrool?" Mellar ventured, clearly not having thought about it for even an instant before now.
"Ob... skrool?" the dwarf responsible for the minutes clarified, writing carefully as he sounded out the words.
"Um... yeah," Mellar confirmed, wondering to himself how that would actually be spelled.
"And what do you mean that you need to rebuild your forge?" asked yet another new voice.
"Um... well, to make it hot enough to melt the gornar and glaes... it needed to be real hot. So I... um... managed to get ahold of a skayl heart. It... worked real good, but... also melted the forge a little bit. And... um... me," he finished with a mumble.
The other dwarves just stared for a long, long moment. Then with forced joviality, one of the other crafters piped up, "I've been working on a new bellows design!" Within moments, all the other residents of the table had leapt onto this new conversational life raft, and Mellar was forgotten. He did not speak again during the meeting, just idly rubbed his clean-shaven jaw with a frown on his burnt face.
- Metal created by GM Naiken, July 2023
- Lore written by GM Quilic, 2023
- See also Obskruul for mechanical information
- This is a mechanical metal and cannot be used for decorations