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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Hello Greg,

Thank you for taking questions again!
I have been waiting a while to continue this conversation about the Third Race. Honestly I have so many questions that I've been waiting to ask for the longest time, but I have generally held back so I wouldn't flood the queue.

A while ago, I asked you <<"Are Children of Oberon vulnerable to steel, since it contains iron?">>
You responded:
<<"I think pure iron is what they're MOST vulnerable, but who wants to take chances?">>

I think it makes sense that they're _most_ vulnerable to pure iron (wrought iron). However, it doesn't make sense to me that steel has no effect _at all_, yet this appears to be the case, judging from the ineffective-ness of Hudson's sword in The Gathering, and that spear in Mark of the Panther. Steel is stronger than wrought iron and holds a sharper edge, but chemically there is very little difference between steel and pure iron.

I did some research, and steel (including ancient steel and most modern steel) is 98%-99.5% elemental iron -- almost as pure as wrought iron. Cast iron is actually less pure than steel, it contains less elemental iron. Modern stainless steel is even less pure than cast iron.
It also turns out that all of what is marketed as "wrought iron" today is actually steel.

1. I have a question. Children of Oberon can be seriously harmed by being cut or stabbed with pure iron, but does it harm them just to touch it? Was Puck harmed (even just getting a rash or a minor burn) by having those chains on all night (in the Mirror)? They were touching his skin, but he didn't seem physically uncomfortable, just annoyed at Demona.

Greg responds...

I don't think it causes hives, but I suppose it varies from individual to individual.

Response recorded on March 24, 2009