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Chapter 27

A piercing wail split the morning air, causing a raven haired woman to bolt upright from her peaceful slumber. She sprang from her bed and was already half way down the stairs when the noise disappeared as suddenly as it began.

Her momentum carried her on down the stairs, and she had scarcely slowed as she made the turns that carried her through the door and into the kitchen. She slid to a halt at the end of her breakfast table looking at the wide eyed stunned silence on the faces of her husband and son. Each of them had a hand on the top of a large golden egg that had been placed in the center of the table. They looked from the egg to each other then began to laugh.

"W-what the hell was that?" asked Harry, still laughing.

"Damned if I know, Sport," replied Tannim. He glanced over to the woman that had stormed into the room dressed only in a camisole and panties, her hair disheveled and her eyes now leveled in anger at her husband. "Sorry, Sweetheart… We didn't mean to scare you… It was the egg." He pointed at the offending object. "Harry can you run upstairs and get mom her robe and her slippers? I'll get her some coffee."

Harry wasn't stupid, so he took the offered chance to get clear of the impending explosion of mount Shar. "Sure!" He ran past her out the door, offering a quiet, "Sorry mom," as he went.

"Explain!" she said.

Tannim went to the coffee pot and filled her favorite mug. "The egg from the tournament. We thought we'd look at it this morning." He walked over and handed her the coffee. "We could then think about what he needed to learn to help with the next task. It's enchanted… Nothing dangerous…" He tucked a stray hair up out of her eyes. "We figured out it was some form of recording." He stepped behind her and hugged her around her middle and sat his head on her shoulder. "We didn't think about the volume. Sorry." He kissed her neck as she took a sip of her coffee.

"Hmmmm…" was her only reply.

"Though why someone recorded an emergency siren, is beyond me," he said, and kissed her neck again. "What would you and the baby like this morning for breakfast?"

Shar settled back into his arms. 'Damn him,' she thought, 'not playing fair.' The warmth of his embrace felt wonderful. Her mind drifted to food… and a wave of nausea hit her. Her stomach roiled and she bolted away and down the hall.

Harry and Tannim walked into the Fairgrove building through the side door of the garage, pulling their mechanic's gloves on. The gloves weren't strictly necessary for them but they were for the Elves as iron was a poison to them, so it had become an informal rule when on the garage floor that they be worn by everyone.

Truth be told, most of the mechanics had built a tolerance to the death metal over the years of constant exposure and could even withstand direct contact for short periods, but there was no reason to take any chances. Hence the gloves and the extensive use of alloys that were pioneered and used by Fairgrove. Those parts had become some of their best selling products. Not just on the race track, they had also found great success off the track with hot rod builders and car enthusiasts of all types.

The car that Harry had used in the race sat in the first bay, the one nearest the doors. The sheet metal had been removed from the front end exposing the tubular frame and suspension. The engine had been removed as well and was sitting in a stand in front of the car. Parts of the broken engine were scattered on aluminum carts that had been wheeled nearby.

"So, what's the word?" asked Harry looking over the piles of parts that were once his engine.

Deek glanced up, then flicked his head toward the first cart. "Lifter… and I'm having Steve check the lot numbers to see if any of them are used elsewhere."

Harry nodded picking up one of the broken rod sections. When you look at a rod it doesn't look like much, just a round bit of steel about six or seven inches long, give or take, but they are one of the most important bits of the engine. Without them the valves don't move, a job that they do hundreds of times a minute, and that means no gas and air mix in the piston and/or no exhaust being pumped out… and most of the time it also meant filings and parts being bashed around inside the crank case.

"Way it goes, I guess," Harry said, though his voice held some disappointment.

"Nothing you could have done Harry," Deek replied. "What you all need? Thought Harry was get'n some work done to be ready for the tournament."

"Yeah, that's part of why we are up here," Tannim said. "Did you see a box come in with our name on it? Receiving called down to the house and said they had it delivered here…"

Deek thought a bit. "Yeah, someone said something about putting packages in the cage."

"Thanks Deek." Tannim clapped the elf on the shoulder. "We are going to be using building four, Harry's going to go up and tell reception to make an announcement, but I'd feel better if everyone got the word personally in here. So can you pass it along?"

Deek straightened. "Yeah, probably for the best. Never can hear those announcements real well. How long you going to be in there?"

"Got a couple of things to do, one won't take very long, be done tonight. The other will take a few days, be done…" Tannim thought a moment, "Friday? No make the announcement for the weekend as well, just in case."

"No problem," Deek said, pulling off his gloves. "I'd better do it now. Need help moving it?"

"Yeah, if you could. Probably a little much for just us."

Within the hour they had moved all of the boxes to the far side of the compound and into a large metal building. This was the furthest you could get away from the buildings, offices and homes and still be on Fairgrove property; in fact the plot of land it stood on was chosen and bought specifically for the purpose they had come for. The smelting and working of death metal, Iron.

After the contents of the boxes had been inspected, Tannim said, "Ok, it's all here", as he reached into the first box. "Your mother and I had originally planned to do this when you were a little older." He pulled out a large iron crowbar. "But with you in this tournament we figure now is the time…" He handed the crowbar to Harry.

It was just like Tannim's, a 24 inch, ¾ inch thick cold forged crowbar. Tannim had used the one he kept in his Mustang for years, both as a tool and his trademark weapon.

Tannim had been with Fairgrove for years as a driver, then later as a part of their research and development team, although that was not all his job entailed. To the enemies of Fairgrove far and wide he was known as the Iron Mage.

He had been a student to Chinthliss when he was still in high school, and ended up in the middle of several… incidents, that led to his employment at Fairgrove. He had faced unbelievable odds time and again wielding magic and iron.

Harry hefted the bar, testing its weight in his hand. He smiled at his father.

"Now!" said Tannim clapping his hands together. "We will work on that tonight and start your armor in the morning."

"Armor… Like yours?"

Tannim smiled and nodded. "Better! Chinthliss and I have thought of some improvements here and there."