30ShortsIn30Days: Joan and the Armourer

Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write and post a new short story everyday.

  Joan looked at herself in the mirror, admiring the new armour that she had commissioned for the upcoming battle with the English.

  “It looks stunning,” the blacksmith commented.

  “It does indeed,” Joan replied. “There’s just a couple of things wrong with it though.”

  “Wrong with it? This is the height of fashion, the pinnacle of armour technology. What’s wrong with it?”

  “Only two things really, the top and the bottom,” Joan replied.

  “But that’s all there is!” The blacksmith exclaimed.

  “And that’s the point. Look, there’s no sabatons. All someone would have to do in close combat is to stamp on my foot. My leather shoes aren’t going to stand up to that. And the greaves and cuisse are missing too, any arrows coming towards my legs are going to go straight in and pin me to my horse. Having absolutely no armour on my legs isn’t very practical is it?” Joan explained patiently.

  “That’s as may be, but this way everyone gets to see your legs,” the blacksmith replied, making a gesture to Joan’s bare legs.

  “They wouldn’t see them for long if they get chopped to pieces. No, sorry, it won’t do. I need the legs covered properly.”

  “Fine, fine. You’re the customer. I’ll make you some legs,” the blacksmith replied petulantly.

  “Next, well, I understand the importance of a tasset. Really I do. I may not have parts down there that can be chopped of like you blokes do, but neither do I was to get hit there with a sword or even a swift knee.”

  “Absolutely, a tasset is a very important piece of armour.”

  “My one small issue with this one though, is it’s not so much a tasset as a couple of small triangles of chainmail, one front and one back.”

  “You’re point being?” The blacksmith asked.

  “My point being that they offer no protection whatsoever.”

  “I beg to differ!” The blacksmith exclaimed. “Those two pieces of chainmail will stop any cursory glance from seeing your, well, your parts.”

  “A cursory glance?” Joan asked. “I’m going into battle, not to a fashion show. And besides, this chafes something terrible. There’s no wool or even leather undergarment here, all I’ve got between me and the horse is a cheese grater. That is not a pleasant thought.”

  “So you want a full male tasset then?” The blacksmith asked.

  “Minus the codpiece. I think I can manage without that.”

  “Okay, a full male tasset minus the codpiece,” the blacksmith noted down. “Anything else wrong with your suit of armour?”

  “Well, I’m not so sure about the breast plate.”

  “What’s wrong with it? I put a lot of time and effort into that.”

  “Oh yes, I can tell,” Joan replied. “It’s just that, well, it’s not so much a breastplate as a metal bra. Two very decorative and elaborately styled cups of metal with a bit of leather thong to hold them in place.”

  “And they look stunning.”

  “That’s as maybe, but I don’t really think I’m a ‘thong’ girl. More a ‘don’t want to get a chest full of arrows or a sword in the back’ girl,” Joan explained.

  “So you don’t like the workmanship?”

  “Oh, the workmanship is fine. You’ve definitely put a lot of time and effort into it, especially around the nipples I see. But, well, I need it to cover a bit more of me. And perhaps not be quite so pointy. Oh, and, maybe some padding inside? As nice as the metal is, the edging is really starting to cut in already, and I’m not even jumping up and down as I would in battle yet.”

  The blacksmith’s eyes glazed over for a moment.

  “Right, so basically you want the full body armour then?”

  “Yes,” Joan replied. “Full breast plate, full back plate. And, well, I don’t like to be a pain, but can I also get some besagues?”

  “Some besagues?”

  “Yes please, and some rerebrace, vambrace and gauntlets too please/” Joan asked.

  “The whole arm then?”

  “Yes, you see, it’s quite difficult to lift a sword if your arms have been chopped off,” Joan explained.

  “Right, okay. So, full leg armour, full body armour and full arm armour?”

  “Yes please. And while we’re at it, perhaps you could see your way to providing a gorget and a helm?”

  “You want to cover your neck and head?” The blacksmith looked astonished. “But, then no-one will be able to see who you are.”

  “That’s a very good point, but I do tend to like my head attached to my shoulders, and I’m sure you could do some of this lovely decorative work so that people know it’s me in there. Perhaps some horse hair coming out of the back in a ponytail?”

  “Basically, what you’re saying is that you want a full set of plate armour?” The blacksmith asked.

  “Yes, yes I think that would be best. I mean, these two little pieces of chainmail and these two metal cups are all well and good, but leading an army into battle against the English, a few thousand burly blokes in full plate, I’d rather it was just the blood lust in their eyes, not any other sort of lust.”

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