Sela Cole

Mistress of the Blacksmith Guild

Description:

Formerly known as Selma Colbjorsson. Chair of the Blacksmiths’ Guild in the Vendel League. Born in the forge with her father, she is only now coming to terms with her feminine side and appears hesitant in social environments.

Sela is a striking figure, not beautiful, but intelligent and very much in control of herself. She continues to work in the forge every day. Her pieces contain little ornamentation, but focus on broad curves and a smooth elegant finish. She spends a portion of each day in correspondence with members of her Guild to make sure that they remain a cohesive force to be reckoned with. She still wears rough clothing in the forge and to most meetings, but has taken to donning a dress for formal Guild occasions. Then her easy gait transforms into an uncertain shuffle, her voice alternates between shouts and whispers, and she seems lost.
This has not helped her Guild’s standing, although she is a competent leader in most other respects.

Bio:

Sela Cole was born in a forge and iron flows in her blood. Her father, a prominent blacksmith named Colbjor Ulfson, was determined to have a son to take over the family forge. He arranged a marriage and set about producing an heir. He even insisted that his wife Selma stay near him in the forge when the time came for her to give birth. The midwife objected, but her pleas fell upon deaf ears. When his wife died giving birth, he didn’t even care until he saw that his longed-for son was a girl. Enraged, he named her Selma after her mother, but insisted that she be named Colbjorsson rather than the traditional Colbjorsdottir.

Sela’s father knew nothing about raising a child, especially a girl. So he forged her as he would a piece of metal: high pressure and heat, repeated beatings, sudden immersion in cold scorn and disdain. She worked in the forge from the time she could walk and handled the hammer as soon as she could lift it. The woman who emerged was hard as steel and as strong as an ox. Her father had not neglected her mind either. She could calculate prices and powder charges, read contracts in a number of languages and deal with customers unwilling to pay their bill. However she had no graces or social skills. In fact, she was gruff, taciturn, and rude, and had never worn a dress or left Kirk.

This would change upon her twenty-first birthday. She confronted her father and informed him that her apprenticeship was over. She changed her name and vowed not to return until she had surpassed him. She travelled across much of Théah for the next five years, spending time with miners, metallurgists, scholars, and merchants. She learned the tricks of their trades and the different techniques used across the various nations. She blossomed into a woman with poise, confidence and an easy manner.
She spent most nights with local blacksmiths, paying for her room and board with a few hours of work or advice on difficult projects. Her hearty smile of triumph and information about other smiths and their methods welded the various smiths together. Her own style became cleaner as she travelled, focusing on the functionality of an item with a minimum of embellishments. And her name spread as a blacksmith of uncommon talent and skill.

Her father summoned her back to Vendel for a special commission. The Gaius of Ussura had decided to close off one of his ports to keep out raiding pirates. He needed a chain over a mile long and strong enough to bar all entry into the port by pirate vessels. Colbjor accepted the commission, but could not even begin the project because of his poor health. Sela had grown beyond the hard, bitter girl Colbjor had crafted and returned to the family forge to help him. Within a month, the chain was completed and installed. Sela watched with pride as a pirate galleon’s hull shattered upon her chain. The pirates soon fled for safer waters.

Sela returned to the forge and her dying father. His last words to her were that she was his finest creation. She gently closed his eyes and whispered, “I am my own creation, not yours.” With possession of the family forge and her contacts with miners and metallurgists, Sela Cole grew in importance. The finest quality coal and ore gave her opportunities to experiment beyond those of most smiths.
In particular, she discovered secrets of case hardening and tempering that baffled far more experienced smiths. Despite her abilities, she was stunned to learn that she had inherited the League Chair some four months ago, when her superior was killed at sea.

Since then, she has discovered what a political mess her guild has become. Infighting among senior members ran rampant, and many so-called “masters” worry more about their political standing than practising their craft. Sela had spent all of her energy on her work, and hadn’t realized how vicious the Guild’s subterfuge would be. This was precisely why her predecessor chose her for the job; without entangling political ties, she could potentially earn the support of the entire Guild and end its petty bickering. Sela has embraced her duties with the methodical craftsmanship she once applied to her wares; only time will tell how well she succeeds.

Sela Cole

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