Fae Fire Steel
Physical & Chemical Properties
Fae Fire Steel is known for its strange iridescent luster. The steel is silverish in tone but appears to contain an aurora's worth of colors shifting and shimmering within it. It rarely loses this luster. While there is some legend that it is lighter and stronger than normal steel, this is a myth - and the steel is roughly equivalent to its more mundane counterpart. However, Fae Fire Steel has two unique properties. The first is the cosmetic - the iridescence. This is more than just a simple appearance though, but rather marks a weakness between worlds. When properly polished, the mirror effect of the steel reflects back the fae realm counterpart. While it is very rare that steel mirrors are made with the substance due to its rarity, those few made can be haunting. It is said that the small tear in the realms created by the metal is also capable of letting sounds through, and sometimes one can hear the giggling of fae beyond the veil. The most unique property of the Steel is its tendency to violently repel mundane metals. While this is relatively controllable in most cases, with a slight push against the mundane metal to push it away from the Fae Fire Steel, it is with so-called "Cold Iron" that causes the greatest reaction. "Cold Iron" is a misnomer, generally meaning old or used iron - simple iron used in materials such as horseshoes, nails, or the like which has tarnished a bit with age. When these two come into contact, there is a flash and a small explosion of arcane energy.
Origin & Source
Fae Fire Steel is an Aelvyn a high-carbon steel alloy, primarily consisting of iron with some small amounts of nickel occurring in most varieties. It is unique in that the alloy is forged using Fae Fire, rather than traditional smelting methods. Fae Fire is unique in that it exists between the mortal world and the world of the Fae, and as such gives off no heat but still burns, and can only be created in perfect conditions near weakened veils between worlds. These areas are generally very rare and often dangerous, and paired with the strange qualities of the heat source - forging this steel is dangerous.
History & Usage
Fae Fire Steel seems to have been the form of Steel that Elves they originally discovered in the realms of the Fae, and it was early in their history here that they discovered how to make the steel again using small rifts. They have kept the exact creation of the steel a closely held secret.
Generally, Fae Fire Steel is only used in ceremonial weapons and armor - with one exception; Elven Firearms. The steel here is used as part of the firing mechanism, but in such small quantities that even a single ingot of Fae Fire Steel would be able to make many firing mechanisms. Therefore, a lot of these firearms were transported out into the world - and eventually, other species came up with their own varieties that did not use Fae Fire Steel. Still, the most common way to find the material is through small quantities in old elven rifles.
Cultural Significance and Usage
The Aelvyn consider this part of their cultural heritage and do not particularly like sharing it with others. They believe that the metal should not be used by non-Fae blooded creatures and that it would be perhaps better if they returned the metal to the world of the fae.
Law & Regulation
The Elves are incredibly protective of this metal. While most nations do not respect their law, the Elven nations all consider owning this metal as a non-elf a violation of law. They will seek to recover it even beyond their borders from time to time.