First off, Happy St. Martin’s day to those who celebrate it. To others, Happy Hallowmas Eve, or Happy (Old) Halloween!

Since I was a young boy, I had interest in forging. I saw it as one of the most basic of skills a society needs, yet one with massive variance in skillsets. Skillsets can span from useful through skilled and onto artisan, with each smith providing their own societal value. Nails and bands held the world together and enabled mass agriculture, strong blades supplied leather and clothing makers as well as armies. Like any useful skill, so too could smithing be used nefariously, such as the shackles Alba found herself in during her awakening. But I digress….

One of the first survival skills I learned was to sharpen knives. And, when one gets good, one also learns quite quickly how the quality of steel affects not only sharpening, the resultant edge, and long that edge–and blade–lasts. As I could, I collected high-quality blades–utility type, not swords and weapons–finding it harder and harder over time to find quality steel. As production moved to Japan–a land not known for quality of steel–, to Taiwan, and eventually to China, quality dropped significantly. My workshop blades are still ones that I inherited from my grandfather, with no more modern blades in my workshop (except my Tanto, which I absolutely have no use for).

Anyway, it’s this interest that lead Titus to become a smith, as writers will pull from many different sources to round out their characters into believable creatures. Smithing is still a valid skill for the ages, it’s just morphed and specialized into metallurgy (physical, extractive, and mineral), ironmongery, craft-forging, property restoration… just to name a few.

And, if you too are interested in blacksmithing, do what I did: Go to your university library and read a few metallurgy books from their reference section. Or check out one of the many hobby/semi-pro forgers on youtube, like

Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

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