Thomas winced at the pain in his side. The damage done by the sniper’s rifle was healing, but not as quickly as it should. The salt contaminating the wound had delayed the Living Iron’s healing powers substantially.
A chime sounded from the other side of the garage, notifying Thomas that the blast furnace had reached full temperature. He set down the book he had been studying and made his way over to it. The furnace was crude, assembled mostly from salvaged materials, but fully functional. Like most of his possessions, Thomas had built it himself.
Carefully, Thomas began feeding iron stock into the furnace. Before long the molten metal glowed red hot, ready to be poured. Thomas quickly re-checked the molds he had already prepared; they were all in place and ready to begin. Taking great care to avoid burning down his home, Thomas quickly filled each of the molds with the rapidly cooling iron.
His work done for the moment, Thomas returned to his book; a thick volume on “archaic” metalworking techniques. Many of the techniques within were still in common use when he was a boy, but he was used to that by now. Thomas had found, so far at least, that older methods were generally more reliable in his line of work anyway.
After a few more hours studying the book (or, to be more honest, impatiently staring at the walls) the molds had cooled enough to open them. Thomas gingerly undid the clamps, knowing full well that caution made no difference at this point. The wooden bracing fell away and the sand within collapsed revealing a heavy iron plate, slightly curved.
One by one, Thomas opened the molds and placed their contents on the workbench. With each added piece, his new armor began taking shape. He hadn’t had enough space to do the entire set in one go; he would be preparing molds and casting iron for a few more days. Still, he was very happy with his progress so far.
Thomas had designed the armor himself, based partially on the steel plate armor worn by european knights. The plates were iron, however, and much thicker. The finished armor would be much too heavy for any normal person to wear in battle, but Thomas wasn’t worried. Between his unnatural strength and affinity for the metal he was sure it wouldn’t slow him down.
He spent a while longer admiring his work and brushing away the last bits of sand with an old paintbrush. Then he stretched, glanced at the clock, and decided he had better sleep soon. He was still injured and his next job could come at any time. He climbed the ladder up to the loft where his bed was tucked away from the workspace below.
As he lay dozing, Thomas could feel the dreams beginning. Ever since he had bonded with the Living Iron, he had the same type of dream every night; surreal visions of war in the never-never, fae warriors slain by the hundreds, and a terrible laughter that seemed to be his own.