Unlike solid state smelting, the wootz smelting turn whole thing to liquid mixture. With slow cooling, liq. slag and liq. metal separated into two distintive phases like water and oil. Most of impurities partitioned into slag phase and floated up to the surface. I don't know about air bubble. Any bubble in the ingot indicates that smelting temperature 's too low and such a low smelting temp could trap some slag either.
Cracks are not "as baked" flaw. They happened when forging stress goes beyond the material elasticity (either forging temp 's too low or hammering 's too hard). Dear Jens, forging would make the blade more homogeneous as slag inclusions were forged out. But flaws like crack (or bubble) could not be closed unless you reach forge welding temperature (~1400 C). Unfortunately, wootz pattern melt down at 900-1000 C and forge welding of cracks or two ingots 's unlikely (possible but very difficult to bring the pattern black
Any flaw appear during forging stage can be easily work around by either trimming out or shortening the piece. IMO,As a smith, the worst flaw 's quench crack