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’ll never forget the first time I saw the unmistakable hallmarks of Dwemer craftsmanship. Too small to even see the traveling merchant’s wares atop his table, my father lifted me up so I could admire the strange angles, geometric engravings, and the unusual luster of a mace and shield on display. I was captivated. Though it’s likely those first pieces I laid eyes on were reproductions, they were enough to stoke my curiosity for a lifetime.
I apprenticed under my father, a well-regarded smith, and tried again and again as my skills improved to replicate the Dwemer designs that so fascinated me. One of the major difficulties, of course, was not having much in the way of example or instruction—all I had to go on for ages were my memories. My father forbade me from searching for ruins on my own, though he did humor my passion by bringing me any book he could afford on the topic of the vanished race and their creations.
It wasn’t until I was old enough to strike out alone that I made any substantial progress. I soon discovered how right it was of my father to keep me away from Dwemer ruins in my youth. They are treacherous places even for experienced adventurers, which I was certainly not the first time I charged headfirst into one. I was a bit too confident, I’ll admit, and I never expected the spider construct that burst out of an opening in the wall as I walked by. I had no idea the ruins were still active!
I was inexperienced and untried in combat, and without my skill as a smith, I doubt I would be here to tell my story today. My armor protected me from several blows I could not deflect in time with my shield as two more spiders clanked out from the darkness, and my well-balanced mace seemed to swing itself right into them, sending tiny gears and showers of sparks flying. It was over before I knew it, and I realized that I stood among piles of still-hissing metal treasure.
Cramming everything that would fit into my pack—part of the carapace, a couple engraved legs, and an assortment of gears and springs—I carefully made my way back to the surface. The Eight smiled on me that day, because it wasn’t long before I was blinking in the sunlight, little worse for the wear than a few scratches and minor burns.
Back at the forge with my prizes, I worked day and night on a new mace. I fashioned it after one in an ancient text my father had found, using my hard-won scrap to augment the smithing process. It became apparent quickly that this was what I’d been missing the whole time! The product of that sleepless week has never been recognized as a reproduction by any scholar, smith, or relic-dealer.
Forging in the Dwemer style, as you can see, is not for the dabbler. Only a committed craftsman will have what it takes to seek out rare, ancient texts and obtain their own materials from the deadly constructs that lurk to this day in the ruins of that lost civilization. If you think you’re up to the task, I hope my story has inspired you—and if you’re not, then stay well away from those ruins!