The next morning, after eating breakfast and packing my bag with books and provisions for our trip to the gypsy tribe, I took care of the few dirty dishes, put my stuff by the front door, and made my way upstairs to my room. I drew the curtains mostly closed, letting in only a faint beam of light, and then changed into an undershirt and tight breeches. Then I opened my closet and let the light spill onto my well-loved set of armour.
The plate and mail armour was the most expensive possession I owned. It was far from high-end or stylish, like the city guard liked to wear, and it looked a bit rag-tag and makeshift compared to their gleaming outfits. But it was still high-quality and excellent protection, and that was what made it so valuable. I’d spent most of my life earning this suit. Part of it had been raising the money with small labour jobs, and the other part of it had been finding something to fit me–and someone who would sell to me. Being short could have its disadvantages, but I had enough determination to make up for it.
My armour, shining faintly in the morning sunlight, was a comforting sight. It meant protection and defence, but also duty. As much as I liked to be reminded by its weight and pressure that I was safe from attack, I also liked to be reminded that I had responsibility–responsibility I had earned. I could wear it with pride, knowing that I’d earned this difficult but rewarding duty.
Although, I reflected as I approached the lengthy task of putting it on, the armour would probably be more rewarding if there were less buckles to fasten.
There was nothing for it but to start. First was the chainmail chausses, basically just a pair of jangly metal pants. They only came down to my knees, fastened with straps along the backs of my thighs and waist. They felt comforting, snug against my legs and with their own modest weight. I pulled on my leather knee-high boots below them, pulling tight the laces, and then strapped on segmented knee plates. I found the knee plates irritating as the straps sometimes pinched me, but they were needed to protect the gap between the chausses and boots. I’d had enough bruises on my knees to know that.
I pulled the cuirass on next. It was a plate in front and back for my torso, connected by leather straps at the shoulders and sides. The chest was covered by a solid plate, but the stomach was a series of segmented bands. This felt the best to put on. It wasn’t constricting, but it was secure and close to my body. Each breath I took pressed my chest against the cuirass’ sides and reminded me that I was safe. I took a few deep breaths, smiling with satisfaction, and then fastened the vambraces around my forearms. I had an extra plate that went on my right upper arm, for defence, and a pliant leather wrapping for my left upper arm. I put both on and then turned to the pauldrons.
The pauldrons were curved plates to cover my shoulders. The left was smaller and unadorned, fastening to the back of the cuirass with a clip and to the front with a strap. The right was larger, with a decorative metal band on it, and the strap that attached it to the front crossed over my chest to the side of the breastplate. Though the cuirass itself felt best to put on, the pauldrons were my favourite part. They made my shoulders look broader and made me feel stronger, like an ox. The rest of my armour made me look capable. The pauldrons made me look formidable.
There was just one piece left: my belt. This was what made me complete. It was what held my sword. I strapped the thick leather band around my waist, feeling the weight of the tassets–segmented metal plates–settle on my hips. The belt and tassets kept me grounded. They made me feel stable and sound, and I almost needed them as much for their solidity as I did for their defence.
I paused after buckling the last strap, enjoying for a moment the feeling of my duty. I then turned to a wall across the room. There hung my sword. The very last thing that made me who I was. I walked to it steadily, adjusting to the new weight of my armour, and gently took the blade from its spot on the wall. It was a longsword, almost too long for me to handle, but I was determined to grow into it as I became more capable with swordplay.
Decorated with dragons and bearing a circular addition to the crossguard adorned with a ruby, it wasn’t quite the most expensive possession I owned, but it was certainly the fanciest. The city guard would scorn such an ornamental weapon, but I loved it. It was fierce and unique–two things I strove to be.
I slipped the sword into its proper place in the scabbard on my right hip. Its added weight, though not too terribly significant, was confirmation of the fact that my attire was complete. Well, except perhaps for one thing. Neatly folded on a shelf in my closet, almost forgotten, was the cloth tabard I sometimes wore over my armour. Most times, I thought it was too showy to bother putting it on, and today was no exception. But I took it with me anyways. It was a part of my identity as a warrior, showy or not, and there was a chance I would put it on at some point.
Now that I was dressed, I went to the mirror to braid my hair. Dark, long, and straight, it looked nice falling free around my shoulders, but that was impractical if I had to fight. It was better to pull it back out of my eyes. I looked myself over from head to toe as I braided, admiring the tough look of my armour. I looked ready for battle, I thought. I looked like a warrior.
As I finished my hair, I straightened and threw back my shoulders, giving the mirror a stern, fighter-like stare. This is who I am, the warrior, I thought proudly. For years, I’d worked on my warrior image, training myself in strength and in bravery. I had always wanted to be a warrior. I had always wanted to be strong and brave, fearless and capable in battle and able to take care of myself. But I also wanted to be strong enough to protect the people and things I loved. Warriors were defenders and guardians. People relied on them, and I liked having the responsibility of supporting others. It gave me purpose.
Giving my reflection a small smile, I grabbed my tabard and went downstairs to wait for Nolan.
I’ve always admired warriors. They tend to be my favourite characters in books and movies, and part of the reason why I started gaming was so that I could become a warrior–it’s the class I play more than any other. I’ve always wanted to be strong, someone who can take care of herself and who is respected, but I also liked the idea of being strong and skilled enough to protect people I love. I’m not much of a leader, but I try to be a devoted friend. Part of that is standing up for my friends when they need it.
And though I’ve never worn armour, I can imagine how nice it would feel to have something so solid and secure pressing against your shoulders and chest. I take great comfort in the idea of close security (despite being mildly claustrophobic, go figure) and being enveloped in protection.
Anyways, I’m interested in what you guys have to say about Language of the Small Folk so far, and accept all comments and critiques. What do you want to know? Lemme know how I’m doing and what I can improve :)
What kind of armour would you wear?
May your attire speak measures about who you are and bring you a sense of security and comfort.