“Most people think of metal as a cold, dead thing; but we smiths know better. Metal is a being as lively and flighty as you or I and it takes careful negotiation, not mere force, to extract its secrets.”
Marcellus Don, ‘On the Fundaments of Metalwork’, c.30 MA.
Within the Milvian Kingdom, three materials prevail in providing the base for the vast majority of military equipment and general paraphernalia.
Rugged Iron is an ore-like state of unrefined metal, made simply by digging up iron ore and smelting it in a furnace. It is a heavy, dense material which is used more for its cheapness and wide availability rather than quality; its name being derived from the rough, mottled texture of its surface. Rugged iron is recognisable for its dark grey or even near-black colour, and is generally used in simple, durable items such as door nails, hinges and under special circumstances building struts. The Northern Tribes have been known to use it for weaponry or armour in certain circumstances, but it is rarely used for this purpose in the Kingdom simply because its weight makes it impractical. Each Milvian King wears a Black Crown, an ancestral item given to King Valerius Milvian by the Northern Tribes; the origins of the item often glossed over due to the uncomfortable political implications of a war against the Northern Tribes waged under a crown of their design and making.
Refined Iron, generally used without its epithet, is the result of removing the impurities from Rugged Iron. Not carrying the same imperfections, it is far lighter and more malleable than Rugged Iron; easier to dent but far less brittle and, most importantly of all, easier to work with in intricate detail rather than large slabs. The vast majority of military equipment is made from Iron, of varying quality and elegance depending on the methods and persons involved in its production.
Silversteel is a newer form of metal alloy which came about in around the 74th year of the Milvian Age. It is made by smelting together refined iron along with traces of silver and other metals. This reinforces the metal greatly and gives it a very clean, shiny appearance. It is becoming increasingly prevalent in the creation of arms and armour for the richest of society, as well as in making certain forms of jewellery; however due to the expenses incurred in manufacture it is unaffordable to use on any sort of ‘mass’ scale and instead is relegated to wealthy patrons willing to put forward the necessary gold to afford it. That said, Silversteel is excellent for military use due to it being both lighter and stronger than refined iron, and increasing numbers of nobles (including the seventh Milvian King, Flavius) are investing in it as a matter of personal protection and public status. To be clad in a full suit of silversteel armour is to be clad in pure prestige, or so the saying goes.