Writing: how to deal with cold iron

06 Nov
Writing: how to deal with cold iron

As myths of elves go, they are vulnerable to cold iron.  They can be trapped by it, their magic nullified by it.  Which itself became a problem for having two elves wield pistols.  Technically, pistols are made with cold iron.  So it would be difficult to have Shani and Pania use pistols.  There had to be a way around this.

Enter elven steel and mithril.

On Shani and Pania’s home world, I determined that elven steel and mithril could be as common as copper on Earth.  And it would make sense that those who had weapons or armour that required such metals, would carry a brick or two of each on their person in order to make repairs.  Considering that the elves live a long time, a brick might last them close to one hundred years.  That’s even taking into account how durable elven steel and mithril is.

So, Shani will have a pair of custom made Colt 45 long barrels crafted using elven steel and mithril.  In this original world of Terra-Kal, elven steel and mithril are two different metals.  So, in order for Shani and Pania to get such pistols, they have to go to a gunsmith to order them.  Such a part of the story has been written.

Artemis Thackery Gunsmith, Repair and Ammunition. The shop was in the middle of town and was the tallest building in town, next to the clock tower in the town square. The proprietor, one Artemis Thackery, was an older gentleman who had an affinity for fine pistols. He made a decent living with his trade, as many around the area took up his services. But what he was about to encounter would be a first even for him. Never during his forty years of crafting pistols had anyone ever made such a request. So when the small woman with the shoulder lizard walked into his shop along with Clayton Johnson, he was rather taken aback by her request.

“Miss,” he said slowly. “You understand the only other metals that I use in crafting a pistol are silver. And that only for the handle, to give it a rather dignified look. That is only about aesthetics  not the actual functionality of the pistol itself.” Artemis spoke in a soft tone, which betrayed his origins. He was most likely born in New York and moved to Arkansas in the last ten years or so.

“I am way ‘head o’ ya, sir,” Shani said as she lifted her ruck sack and took out a brick of mithril and a brick of elven steel. “This here is mithril, an’ this one is… light steel.” She pause and gave the metal a more commonly associated name, because the fewer questions the better.

“Metals ‘re light,” Clayton explained. “Which’d give Shan here a better grip.”

“Light metals aren’t good for crafting a pistol,” Artemis argued. “The pistol could destroy itself the first time it was fired.”

Shani held up a hand to draw Artemis attention to her. She reached into her coat and took out one of her short swords, twirled it as she was often known to do, and held it out for Artemis to examine. “The blade is made with light steel. Strong an’ sturdy,” she said tapping on the blade. “An’ real light. This could cut through steel, if need be. An’ the handle is made from mithril, with a leather bindin’ for a good grip.” She held the blade out for Artemis to examine closer. He held the blade carefully in his hands, marvelling at the craftmanship.

“It’s so light,” he said as he tilted his glasses down on his nose. “And I can tell it’s very strong. Something like this would make a fine pistol.” He looked up to Shani with a hint of dejection as he went on. “But one must have the proper foreknowledge of such metals. I just can’t use this and expect it to act the same as steel. What about melting temperatures? The malleability of the steel itself…”

Again, Shani held up a hand and reached into her ruck sack. She produced a small book, her own writings that she had transcribed the previous night at Clayton’s cabin. The pair had obviously prepared for everything. Shani knew the proper temperatures and how much flame to use in crafting the weapon she needed. “This here will explain alla thet,” she said as she handed him the book.

Artemis flipped through the pages and skimmed each passage, nodding as he began to understand the science that was being described. “It will take me a couple of days to have them ready,” he said as he put the book down and looked to Shani. “It won’t be cheap, however.”

“How much we talkin’?” Shani asked as she leaned over the counter.

“Well, something this complex will take care and time,” he said. “Most usually want their pistols the next day, but something like this will need attention. I can craft something which will be akin to a Colt 45 long barrel for you. Which usually run about one hundred and fifty dollars. Using this odd metal… have to add in fifty dollars. And some of your rather… intriquate designes you’ve drawn for the pistol grips,” he said as he motioned to Shani’s hand drawn designs. “That will cost an additional fifty. Double that price for two pistols.”

Shani was busily counting her cash behind the counter, then looked up to Artemis. “What if I were ta add two more bricks o’ light steel fer yer own purposes?”

Artemis looked to Shani for a brief moment, then turned his attention to the brick of elven steel that lay on his counter. It felt like steel, and looked like the brick would have heft to it, but when he picked it up, it felt as light as a feather. “You have two more bricks of this?” he asked. Shani replied with a firm nod. “Payment in advance?”

“Deal,” Shani said with another firm nod.

“You come by the day after tomorrow, Miss,” Artemis said as Shani handed him the cash and two extra bricks of elven steel. “And you shall have two of the finest Colt 45 long barrels ever crafted.”

1 Comment

Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing


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