"Wherever did you find one of those?" asked the student. The professor smiled. "I was able to contract a Northern Chadi trader to find one. It cost quite a fair price, but it is genuine blackglass from the crafters. The village is no longer, from what I understand, so these specimens are priceless." "May I try it?" queried the curious student. "I'm afraid not. I'm not sure I trust myself with it. They are so fragile."
Mechanics & Inner Workings
The blackglass quill was normally part of a pen and pot set. The ink pots are much easier to find, as they were larger, thicker, and, therefore, much sturdier. Unless they have been mishandled or dropped, which can cause breakage or chipping, they are usually found intact. The quills, however, are a much different story. Many were designed to look like feathers and were designed with a thin channel or tube hollowed out of the writing end. This tube would meet with a small hole drilled about one inch up the shaft. Filling the pen required the user to dip the point into the pot just below the small hole, then cover the hole with a finger and withdraw the pen from the pot. This would allow the drawing of ink into the quill and then writing. The tube connected to a thin groove at the tip etched into the blackglass, where the ink would travel to the point.
The mined blackglass is chosen for shapes, and smaller samples and will suit forming into a quill. Once the specimen is selected, the artisan begins by chipping, or flint-napping, the rock to an approximate shape and size. At this time, they begin using more delicate tools to continue to remove material until the piece is close to the final shape and size. Then the artisan begins work on the ink tube. A small foot-powered drill is used to hollow out the tip and create the small hole that is used in the filling process. The same tool can be used with different tips to carve delicate and intricate detail into the shaft of the quill or the decoration on the top. Once the main carving and shaping are done, successively more fine sanding cloths smooth all the surface and bring the quill to its finished condition.
All Images created BY Kahuna the Elder, with source materials from Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, Artbreeder and public domain sources.
These implements were readily available at one time until an unknown event decimated the village of Kerran, and it vanished. Kerran was the home of the finest blackglass artisans globally, and the loss of the village meant a loss of blackglass items. Nowadays, blackglass items are in short supply, and the quills, being fragile, are very difficult to find intact.
Vary from 3 inches to 8 inches in length.
Raw materials & Components
Made entirely of blackglass, there are no moving parts of additional pieces to these quills. Each was crafted from a single specimen of blackglass, gently caved and worked by the artisan creating it, then polished to a high-gloss finish and glass-like smoothness. This is considered high art, as blackglass is very brittle, and if chipped, creates edges sharper than most knives.
The shafts are generally 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch in diameter for a comfortable writing tool. There are some specimens (one on exhibit in the Lawcrane Royal Compound) that are larger. These were often created for individuals who had a tougher time with fine motor skills.