The Dirge of Caragore
Ole’ Benjen Black-Hands
Oft referred to as the Black-Hands by the smallfolk, Ole’ Benjen is a large, burly man. No one has ever accused the smith of being a humorous man. Once he sets his mind to something, he pursues it with single-minded determination. He considers his lack of humor to be strength that allows him to perform his duties without distraction, and he expects the same level of concentration from those who work in his forges. It’s hard to argue with the results. Because of Master Benjen, the arms and armor used by House Caragore are as good as, or better than, any other House in the Westerlands.
The smith keeps his gray hair cropped close to his scalp and inspects the steel that leaves his forges with keen brown eyes. On the rare occasion that he can’t be found in the forges, working, Benjen can be found drinking with Cregan and Gerold. He believes that he can unlock the secrets underlying the forging of the Valyrian steel, if only he can procure a sample. The fact that no other smith since the fall of Valyria has been able to reproduce whatever techniques were used to create weapons that even the noblest of men would be tempted to steal, makes no difference. Benjen sees it as the final challenge of his skill.