Landscapes Exercise

Sulaiman's Forge:

Located deep underground in the steppes of the Shiaran Desert, there is a cavern carved by a river. The river flows through it and is flanked by tall grasses on either side, the tallest covering the entrance to the forge. From the outside, there is a lichenous smell often replaced by the scent of burning charcoal whenever Sulaiman is working. The cave entrance is quite large, imperfectly shaped due to the river's irregular flow, and has a shallow decline. A raised path leads down the right side before giving way to stepping stones and lit sconces. Sulaiman lights these himself, often with a flint-and-steel, though sometimes with his fiery breath if he feels lazy or is in a rush.

The main area of the cavern is a short walk from the entrance, a raised platform that acts as both a living area and a workspace. The main room has two smaller tunnels towards the back, the left leading to the living area and the right leading to the storage room. The main platform is bedecked with heavy equipment, a large waterwheel, and a workbench that Sulaiman built himself. The waterwheel powers the pneumatic power hammer, while tools like the lathe and grinders use foot pedals. The floor is immaculately clean, save for the occasional dust that is hastily swept away before it has a chance to pollute the river below. The workbench, however, is cluttered with small tools like engraving chisels, screwdrivers, and small hammers. The center of the platform is kept clear, with all of the equipment staged off to the sides. The most important pieces are close to the power hammer, which is controlled by the waterwheel. Both the charcoal and gas forges have fume hoods leading directly to the surface, allowing for as much fresh air as possible. Being a Half-Dragon confers many biological benefits, but resistance to carbon monoxide poisoning is not one of them. The steel anvil between the forges holds the main centerpiece of the forge. It is not a weapon, but a tool. Sulaiman's dog-head hammer was made many years after he began, the lopsided implement decorated with gold, silver, and copper inlaid within layers of wrought iron and high-carbon steel. The inlays are designed after the mountain range he grew up in, the tall spires clawing into the sky with a gentle plume of smoke emanating from the top of the centermost peak. The hammer is Sulaiman's pride and joy, his most favorite creation within the ever-growing hoard of weapons and tools.

Away from the workspace is a smaller cave, the storage area. It almost always pitch-black, as Sulaiman prefers to use his Seismic Sense when he needs to find something like a bag of charcoal or a piece of stock to begin a project. There, ingots of iron, steel, and precious metals are carefully indexed by size and content. The steels range from low- to high-carbon, along with various alloys containing nickel, chromium, tungsten, cobalt, vanadium, and molybdenum. Iron is arranged similarly, from pig iron all the way to refined wrought iron. The precious metals are different from the ones found within Sulaiman's hoard, most of them found in spools of wire or pucks the size of a thumbnail. In this room, there is a scent of rust as well as mildew, though rusted metal can still be refined at the cost of losing a fraction of the material. In fact, more metal is often lost due to scale from the gas forge rather than rust.

On the other side is Sulaiman's living space, humble and small. The wood-burning stove and heavy curtains keep it dry to stave off encroaching mildew from reaching his old, red pullout couch and dresser full of clothes. One of the downsides to being a Half-Dragon is that there isn't a brand or tailor who regularly accommodates wings and tails, so Sulaiman's mother had to create or repurpose clothes to fit her son, a skill she was adamant about passing down as soon as possible. There is a small box filled with sewing supplies tucked in a corner for this reason. Despite having water power, there is no way to preserve food for long periods of time, so the wooden pantry is often stocked with non-perishables or snacks. Sometimes, however, the need for a vegetable is too great, and so he returns home with a wicker basket to sample the rewards of his mother's gardening. 

On the walls of the workspace hang various weapons crafted and smithed by Sulaiman over the course of nearly 40 years of experience. Directly above the workbench are two specific weapons. Weighing over seven-hundred pounds and suspended with heavy chains, the Dragon Sledge was Sulaiman's most recent work. The head of this massive hammer is a two-by-two-by-three-foot chunk of obsidian-flaked basalt taken from the very depths of his mountain home. Replacing two-thirds of the handle is a wrought-iron, cylinder-loading cannon with a telescoping barrel and a scene of a lion fighting a wyvern engraved in gold and silver, all controlled by a two-stage trigger to prime and shoot three-pound slugs of lead or stone. The handle itself was wrapped in premium red leather and the pommel is a piece of bronze in the shape of a bisected gear. Beneath the Dragon Sledge is a dagger, warped and broken, resting on a small hanger. The edge wanders, the handle is bent slightly, and the handle wrap ends about halfway down out of frustration born of sticky fingers. This dagger is the first weapon that Sulaiman ever created, and it snapped in half the first time he swung into a block of wood. 

The rest of the weapons, all varying in shape, size, caliber, and utility are merely the ones he decides to display in his shop. He might rotate them out every few months or so, but his most recent work and his first are always front-and-center. Everything else is tucked away, further underground in the deepest part of the cavern. In two massive chambers lie Sulaiman everything else that he owns. Dragons always have two hoards, one of wealth and another of objects that fascinate them. In one pile lay the fruits of all of his work as a blacksmith, even old tools and hardware that broke or became outdated. On the other, stacks of gold and riches the likes of which many humans will never see in their lifetime. Sulaiman's father, Gawain, had a hoard of wealth much larger than his, but his personal hoard consisted only of stones worn smooth at the bottom of river beds. Personal hoards could be strange to some, and Sulaiman heard stories of his father's extended family rarely. One of the few stories he did hear was about some distant cousins who were famous for their hoards of stuffed animals and scented candles, two items among many that weren't mutually exclusive to either humans or dragons. No one ever asks about how such hoards are acquired, as a matter of decorum.