25th Cylus, 721
Kirei knew that she was pressed for time on this trip, so she had planned out what she was going to do before she even began her trip into Scalvoris Town. The letter that Kura had sent to her said that raw materials, such as cloth, iron, canvas or leather would be welcome, as would be food or medical supplies. Kirei wanted to get some of everything.
With that in mind, her first stop was to Little Korlasir. She had had dealings with the owner of that shop in the past, and it was her hope that he would be able to help her now. She knew that he sold weapons, and armor, of course. What she wasn't certain of was whether he would be willing to sell her some raw iron. Still, even if it wasn't something he could sell her, he was likely to know of someone who could.
Once inside the shop, Kirei sighed in relief as the warmer temperatures of the shop enveloped her.
"How may I help...oh, it's you! Welcome back, Kirei! Can I interest you in some more jewelry totrial?"
Kirei shook her head with a smile, as she remembered the last time she had visited Hurk's shop. It had been last Vhalar, and she had asked him to make a series of custom rings for her family.
"Not this time, I'm afraid. But I am hoping that you can help me all the same. I'm looking to buy some raw iron. Do you sell raw metals like that?" she asked hopefully.
Hurk eyed her carefully.
"May I ask what you need raw iron for? You don't seem like the type to know how to make anything from metal ingots..."
Kirei made a note of the word ingots. That sounded like what she was hoping to buy, at least.
"It isn't for me, Hurk. It's for the Elements. I am making a donation of goods for the war effort, and raw iron was one of the things that was suggested as something that would be useful. Is that something you can help me with?"
Hurk nodded soberly.
"Your request makes a lot more sense now. Yes, I can help you. But let me ask you this. Are you only looking for iron? Or are you looking to buy a variety of metal ingots to donate?"
The man chuckled at Kirei's bewildered expression.
"I...don't know...?" she said at last.
Hurk chuckled again.
"Well...let me see if I can try to explain it to you a bit better. There are many different kinds of metal. And of those kind, there are some that are far better than others at different things. Iron is good for making inexpensive but durable items like armor and weapons. It can also be used to make a number of furniture pieces, or in construction, or to make accessory pieces, and many other things. It is likely the one type of metal that is used the most. As far as metals go, it's cheap, but it gets the job done. On the other end of the scale, you have metals such as Sorelian Steel, and Adamantite."
"What are they? From what you've said, they sound like they are...what...a better quality metal than iron is?" Kirei asked as she tried to understand.
"Very much so. Adamantite is a very special type of metal. It has special properties that allow it to slice through even the sharpest, strongest of materials. Now, this effect is dependent on the level of craftsmanship and skill the smith that is using it has, of course. Depending on that, this metal can yield either strong, sharp blades or dull, breakable ones. Given its special properties, adamantite is mainly used for weapons, though it is malleable and can be used for making armor as well. Then you have sorelian steel. Sorelian steel is a type of metal that is much stronger than iron, steel, cobalt, or even embersteel. Sorelian steel's special durability is attributed to its ability to suffuse the impact of blows. What that means is that strikes that would severely damage other types of metal merely leave dents, scrapes, or small punctures in armor made of sorelian steel. Because of these same properties, sorelian steel is not a good metal for making weapons."
Kirei listened intently to what Hurk was saying. It sounded to her that sorelian steel and adamantite were of a much higher quality than iron was. But it also seemed likely that they would be a lot more expensive as well.
"Sorelian steel and adamantite sound expensive." Kirei commented.
"They certainly aren't cheap, no. But they are most definitely worth it."
Kirei considered Hurk's words. She didn't know enough to be anywhere near certain of this, but it seemed to her that sorelian steel, and adamantite were the kinds of metals that a highly ranked member of the Elements might have weapons and armor made out of. Kirei knew how much she wanted to spend on her donation, and she wanted to spread every nel out as far as it would go in order to help as many people as she could.
"I don't think that I am interested in buying any of either of those. I know how much I can afford to donate, and I'd rather help as many people as I can with my donation than help one or two people by donating extremely high quality things. Having said that, I don't want to donate anything that is poor quality either. Would iron be considered to be a poor quality metal?" she asked.
Hurk shook his head.
"Not at all. If you are interested in something that is better than iron, but not on the same level as sorelian steel and adamantite, I can recommend steel and cobalt." he suggested.
Kirei had heard of steel, or course. Just as she had heard of iron. But aside from them being different types of metal, Kirei wasn't at all certain about what the differences between them were. And she had never heard of cobalt before.
"What are they? How are they different than iron?" she asked.
"Steel is a better quality metal than iron. It has a higher durability than iron does, but it runs the risk of rusting and tarnishing, especially on long journeys. Cobalt is also a better form of metal when compared to iron. It is preferred by armor and weapon smiths because it is easy to work into shape, and pleasant in its appearance. Cobalt metal is well known for both its price and its durability."
Once again, Kirei considered what she had been told. It seemed to her that getting a variety of metal ingots might be useful, and cobalt and steel sounded like reasonable options.
"I'd like to buy a number of iron, steel, and cobalt ingots." she said at last.
With Hurk's help, she decided how many ingots of each type of metal she wanted to buy, and on what a fair price for her purchase would be. When they were done, Kirei paid the man and asked if he could hold her purchase until she was ready to collect it after her shopping trip was over so that she wouldn't have to carry the heavy metal ingots all over town. Hurk was happy to oblige. He wished her luck in buying the rest of the supplies she planned to donate to the Elements, and Kirei left the shop, her mind already shifting to her next task.