Now we have all had those moments where we have gone to the closet and said “Good Lord, I’ve nothing to wear!” I have often found myself looking at a closet full of clothes, and nothing seems to appeal to me. Fortunately, since the most physically demanding battle of the day that I am likely to be involved in during the day is the fight for the last pancake at the breakfast table, it doesn’t really matter what I wear.
My characters on the other hand, often find themselves confronted by beasts with long teeth and sharp claws, or people brandishing sharp objects. For them, a little consideration as to their wardrobe is in order.
I love a good battle scene, in which the action follows as realistic a path as is possible, and still allows your story to move forward. If you are planning to use weapons, good armor is crucial – because against a sword or an axe an unarmored knight is a victim.
There are many styles and types of armor, and all of them have their benefits and their negative qualities. Researching armor is easy, as there is a lot of information out there on the internet.
Let’s start with Plate Armor: This is the sort of armor that we think of when we think of a Knight in Shining Armor. It is literally a suit made of steel, and oh by the way, it is rather heavy and somewhat difficult to walk in. But it is quite effective at protecting the knight, which is what we want. It has to be worn over thickly padded linen or woolen underwear, as you can imagine how uncomfortable plain steel would be against the skin. It is strapped on with leather straps and buckles. Also one still had to wear mail under it to protect areas such as armpits and the backs of the knees. Plate armor does not figure largely in my tales because it is cumbersome and hard to pack in a saddlebag
For my warriors in the World of Neveyah, I have a fondness for the old roman style of armor called ‘Lorica’. It is steel-clad leather, made with overlapping horizontal ribs on the breast-plate and back-plate and is fairly lightweight. It rolls up easily around the arm and leg guards and can be carried by the soldier in his pack. In ‘The Rose Tower’ the temple mages wear a version of Lorica.
When Edwin Farmer first finds himself in Neveyah, he is given a set of Temple Armor to wear for the trip to Aeoven. This armor is made to be worn over a long-sleeved leather vest, with many pockets inside the front of the vest. The pockets are not visible when the vest was being worn. Tight fitting leather trousers complete the basic temple leathers. There are brown-lacquered steel reinforcements on the outside of the vest’s sleeves in the area of the upper arm and shoulder. The breast-plate and back-plate are long, reaching to mid-thigh with the top half made from horizontal steel ribs attached to leather strips, overlapping each other like scales from shoulder to waist. Then at the waist it falls like a leather apron front and back, clad with two-inch squares of lacquered steel in rows. The steel-clad leather makes the armor light, but effective.
When Edwin arrives in Aeoven, he will receive a set of armor that has been especially made for him, and bespelled to protect him in the areas where he is most vulnerable as a mage.
Lady Mags, a character in the world in which Huw the Bard is set, wears my version of modified armor – an armored vest made of flat steel rings layered inside of a fitted silk and velvet waistcoat. She also wears a helm that is disguised as a ladies’ hat. In Waldeyn, fashion must never be allowed to fall victim to protection!
If you are willing to do a little research before you dress your warriors for battle, you will have a more seamless and believable tale, and that is after all, what we want our readers to see.