On Iron

“Iron?” Palen asked. “What’s that?”

“An extremely rare metal,” Corvair said. “Well, rare in Seracet, anyway. As it happens, Mizenmir has uncovered a deposit of… considerable size.” The wizard set aside the time he had pulled from the shelf.

“And what does that have to do with anything?” Palen leaned back against a bookshelf, trying to look nonchalant. Acting was not his best skill.

“What wizards call magic is actually a very complex manipulation of energy flows. I could go into detail but…” Palen smirked and nodded. It would be beyond him, of course. Wizards. “In essence, iron in its pure form nullifies this flow. It pulls the energy to ground, like lightning to a tree. Magic cannot function in its presence.”

At that, Palen didn’t even try to show his surprise. “What? But that would mean… I’m not even sure what that would mean. We always assumed – we were always told – that their wizards were simply no match for ours. How in hell hasn’t Mizenmir taken over by now? Our borders would be defenseless.”

Corvair nodded and stroked his beard. “Therein lies an excellent question. From what I am told, they have enough iron to equip every member of their military with armor and weapon forged of it. As you say, our border defenses would crumble immediately.”

“Then – what about the attacks? The border raids?”

“It seems to me there is only one conclusion. I would think you have enough intelligence to gather that.”

“It’s not Mizenmir,” Palen said, pushing himself away from the wall. He paced to the other side of the room. “Then who?”

“That is a more difficult answer to find,” Corvair said. He looked away sadly. “And one you will not like.”