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Barislav Armoring Journal (1 Viewer)

Vadokim

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First Entry - 26/11/52 - Obitus Sterk
Study Of Chainmaille



This entry describes Vadim's first delve into smithing armor. It includes a diagram and discussion of chainmaille variations.

“There is a forge in the barracks-” my Landgraf said to me, “-and its resources are at your disposal.”

I thanked him rightly and made my departure. Great men should not have their time wasted by pleasantries and trifles. In the quiet workshop at the barracks, I set out the pieces of my armor. Hardened steel- nothing special. But it had served me since Vikerne, since boyhood, and I couldn't... stand to see it like that. The slime monster that attacked the highlands devoured an entire leg. The cuirass and vambraces were rusted, and the helm wasn't much better. It had gotten so bad that the visor fell off. Pitiful.


When I worked for the Zheng, I didn't have the coin or facility to maintain it. But here, in the Reiklands, things were different. I didn't want that glorified jewelry worn by the Syrien. I didn't want the flashy, mythic plates worn by the Seraphs or the Sorcerers. I wanted to see the armor that my father wore, and his father wore. The armor of an Avaltan brute proud to serve his Baron. The steel armor of a Sentinel. A Hauskarl. A Man.

On this day, I take things into my own hands. Not for my glory, or the glory of gods. But in reverence to the bloodline.

“Familie ūber alles," I said, looking upon the shattered armor of Vikerne. On this day, I honor my oath.
Chainmaille comes in many variations, I have learned. Its origins are unknown to me, but I have seen it from Heilig heartland to Hanese steppe, from Avaltan tundra to Verseivan forest. It consists of metal rings, linked together in a pattern. It is more flexible than armor-plates, and a shirt of maille is valuable in most combat scenarios. Accompanied by an arming cotte and plates, it is infallible.

In the workshop, I used an anvil, hammer, pliers, and coils of steel wire to make my first attempt. I wrapped it around a rod, as instructed in an old armoring manual, and annealed the metal over a hot flame. When I freed it of the rod, I used heavy sheers to cut. One by one... it was tedious. But not as tedious as the challenges to come.

Hours and hours I worked, collecting more rings than I could count. I was drenched in sweat by the time I was done, with an ache in my hands that I've never known before. But my efforts bore fruit: bowls and bowls of unjoined metal rings, softened in their annealed state. Easier to work with. But before I progressed, I had to consult the manuals. Do my research.

Swindlers will sell gullible mercenaries and inexperienced soldaten a cheap form of maille, where the rings have been forced together with pliers. Fast and easy to make it- we call the mūll butted maille, and it's useless. I made a whole sheet of it, linking the rings four to one. It was good practice, but when I pinned it to a target and shot it with my bow, the arrow ripped right through.

This is why you don't buy armor from swindlers.

Good maille would take more time to make. I did my research, and the consensus was clear. Four rings--riveted shut--had to be joined by a solid, welded ring. Four-to-one, the pattern is called. These were the basis of chainmaille, whether a coif for the head, an aventail for the throat, a haubergeon for the body, mitts for the hand, or chausses for the leg. Gods, how many terms do they need! Might as well call them shirt and gloves. But I digress.

To rivet a ring shut, it has to be flattened. That was easy enough for me: hammer to anvil. Tink, tink, tink. And then, with a fine point chisel, I got the holes started. Keeping the two ends of the ring in line... es war schwar. But I had some help from the local armorsmiths, and they showed me a special anvil with holes bored into it, different sizes for different rings, with a little pillar in the center. By chance, one was about the side of my rod, so my thousands of rings fit perfectly. The work went quicker, then, but it still took days. A smith doesn't learn overnight.

To drive the tiny, wedge-shaped rivets through my holes, an armorer and I cobbled together a special pair of crimps. There were gaps to catch the rivet and deform it. This was annealed steel we were using- softer and pliable compared to a hard temper. It bent and flexed without heat. Never seen anything like it.

As a second test, I made another sheet. Each ring was riveted, regardless of its place in the pattern. Lots of tedious work that my clumsy hands weren't used to. More aching. Am I already too old for this scheiss? When I tested it alongside the butted maille, there was greater resistance. Wasn't what I wanted, though. Not yet.

I spent half a week refining a different technique--forge-welding--to make solid rings. At the center of a five-ring unit, they had to be strong. And so, I practiced. And practiced. Delicate work with iron rods and tiny hammers. I hit the horn of the anvil so many times it should have broken right off. But I learned the intricacies of heating the steel, of joining the steel. When I finally welded an acceptable ring, I looped four others through and riveted them closed. I did it again. And again, and again. Row after row, hour after hour. And then, with an entire pot full of them, I used more rings to connect them and riveted those too. You can't imagine how confusing and repetitive it gets, joining thousands and thousands of tiny rings all for one lousy shirt.

I didn't even have the patience to make a shirt, at first. So I stopped short, settled on something less ambitious. An aventail: protection for the throat, chest, and back. Looks like a mantle, really. Laying out on the workbench, it reminded me of a pastry with the middle cut out. Under the watch of a local armorer, I heat-treated the metal. We fed those flames and burnt that steel till it was red and crispy. With the rings all a-glowing, we dropped it in the vat. My first quench. The hissing sound satisfied me.

For looks, I added some tanned leather to the finished product. Made some straps and joined them to the opening for the head. Put fasteners on them, to attach my helm and coif. Some padding around the neck, for warmth, when I was out in the cold. It's hard- seeing weeks of study and work culminate in something so insignificant. It didn't look perfect. Some of the rings were scraped. Some weren't perfectly round. And yet, when that old man and I struck it with a sword, the blade didn't bite through like it was meant to. The welded rings and rivets held. That was good enough for me. My first craft as a smith.


The entry ends.

 

Vadokim

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Second Entry - 1/12/52 - Obitus Sterk
Study Of Articulated Spaulders



This entry describes a bascinet that Vadim commissioned from a Syrien, but it quickly transitions into a discussion of spaulders.

“It's a good piece- reminds me of my old helmet before it fell apart,” I said, looking on the Syrien's work with approval.

She claimed the piece was her first foray into armorsmithing. That she usually makes jewelry. I would've expected it to be much lower quality than the product she delivered, so you could say I'm pleased. It's a full helm, round and comfortable enough. The visor is fixed on with rivets, and it can open or close. Good on her.


You could say the helm was part of my inspiration for studying armor in the first place. Nothing sets us apart from the Zheng savages more than our mastery of metalwork, as a people. I plan to move on from maille, at least for a time, to learn about plate. I think most people in the Mittelreik focus too much on the whole. They see a suit of armor, rather than the sum of all its pieces. The pieces are what's important- because if they aren't made right, the knight on his horse and the soldat in the field are both ****ed.
One of the armorers working for the Reiksheer was surprised by my motivation to learn and continue my work. He wondered why I didn't fall to my knees before one of the masters working in the Reiklands. I told him it was because they lost sight of what armor is, and how's it made, in pursuit of special materials and prestige. Heating Cindium in your special furnace is not analagous with skill. Neither is hammering it into shape and strapping it on someone however you wish. Focus on the fit. The movement and necessities of a warrior in battle. Focus on his comfort and survival.

Before I could repair Franz's armor, issued to me in Vikerne so many decades ago, I had to learn each and every. Slowly and deliberately.

The old armorer and I began with spaulders. I studied examples from the armory, examining how they moved, how they were made. A spaulder is less heavy than a pauldron, but they are built in similar ways and fulfill similar purposes. A strap just above the elbow attaches it to the arm. A lace atop the shoulder attaches it to the arming cotte. In the absence of an arming cotte, the armorer said we could fix a harness that looked around the chest and back. Since a Heilig soldier dons his arming cotte, doublet or gambeson proudly, I wanted my first piece to fit on top of one.

We assembled the tools and materials we'd need. It was a long list. Hammers, tongs, pliars, and steel sheers would serve. Steel Ingots, flattened into sheets of standard thickness, would form the plates, with tanned leather and rivets to attach them. We even scavenged two old buckles and some lace off of a neglected suit of Reiksheer armor. Reuse and restore, he liked to tell me. The furnace, anvil, and quenching vats were where we did the majority of our work. We trimmed and punched the leather at the workbench. For shaping the plates themselves and installing the rivets, we needed some special stations: first, a metal block with a bowl-like indentation; second, a large block of pewter.

I traced the outlines of the plates onto our steel sheet. Getting it into that state was enough of a challenge, but I don't think future readers care to hear how a sweaty Avaltan man heated steel ingots and flattened them under a giant press for hours... and hours... and... Akdun, it gives me conniptions. We heated the steel in a wide-mouthed furnace. With a thick pair of mittens and my sheers, I cut them free. There were twelve individual plates, six per-arm, that would end just above the elbow. He said was best if they overlap. I've seen battle. I believed him.

We used moderate heat and the bowl-block to get them round. Started with the shoulders, hammers and rounding. He was patient with me, even though I was clumsy. He told me not to mind my hammer marks- that we could smooth those out later with the grindstones. Give it a nice finish. We worked our way down each arm slowly, making sure that each successive plate fit the profile of the last. After a while it began to go faster- I found myself beginning to understand. When they were beginning to resemble the final product, we smoothed and shaped them with a fast-turning grindstone. Rougher grit, for now.

With each spaulder shaped and aligned, we clamped the plates together. Then, with a cold punch, we made small marks where all the rivets would be. More rivets that I would have thought, holding it all together. The old man had to correct some of my stray marks, make new measurements. He was less patient than before, but what can I say. I'm not a master.

When the rivets were marked, we heated the steel and punched through it with the same punch. A few hits with the hammer and the spike pierced right through. Around twenty four holes in each. Just to see what the pauldrons would be like, I slid a rivet through one of them, joining two pieces together. The armorer struck my head so hard I thought my skull was cracked.

“Fool,” he snapped, “You want to fight inside a tin bucket? The rivets attach to leather straps, under the armor. That's what gives the piece articulation."


Articulation was a new word to me. I didn't understand what he meant until he sent me to the workbench to cut out leather straps and finish them with stain. I'd never noticed it before, but properly-made armor had straps you couldn't see, attached to each subsequent plate from the bottom up. We spaced out holes in the leather according to the distances between our would-be rivets, and punched them out with an awl. While I waited for the leather stain to dry, the armorer put me to work at the furnace, heating the fires. We scalded those plates until they were glowing, then quenched them in the smith's solution.

“Better to do this now than later,” he reminded me.

We took the hardened plates out and oiled them up. When the coat was try, we took them to the grindstones. Fine grit, we would need, for a nice, smooth finish. I could finally cover up my hammer marks and make it look like serviceable armor. Wasn't a master's craft, but I took my time. The last step was joining the tempered, oiled, polished plates together, and fixing on the buckles. We did this with rivets of different sizes. A square-shaped nut was slid onto each rivet from the inside, and the long point was hammered flat. Thanks to the lead block we were using as an anvil, the outside head of the rivet didn't get scuffed up or damaged. They looked shiny and round, just like the plates.

My understanding is that the hidden straps allow the plates to move with the wearers arm and adjust themselves. Articulated, we call it. The strap and buckle fixed above the elbow keeps it secure on the wearer's arm. The holes near the top of the pauldron lace onto the arming cotte, or the hauberk. And that's that- a properly-made spaulder.

The armorsmith was gaining confidence in me, andd he began giving me odd jobs around the forge. Fixing dents in armor. Replaced rotten straps. Polishing old cuirasses. And, during all those days of grunt work, I kept those spaulders on a table nearby. My second craft, reminding me why I was here. Reminding me of my oaths.


The entry ends.


Vadim's spaulders do not include the elbow strap or vambraces. However, the covered portion above the elbow could be considered a
rerebrace. Since they are permanently attached to the spaulders, he considers them a singular piece of armor.
 
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Vadokim

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Third Entry - 17/12/52 - Obitus Venti
Study Of Sabatons



Vadim wrote this entry after repairing a damaged sabaton for his kamerad Armistice Rosenberg. He went on to make a pair of sabatons himself.

Someone once told me, “Large men in black platemaille with red cloaks and plumes don't sneak worth a damn."

I replied, “Sneaking is less about the sneaker and more about the sentry. If they're distracted--or drunk--you could sneak an entire battalion right under their nose."

With that said, I don't recommend sabatons to anyone who wants to move quietly. They'll click and clank on the ground they walk and announce their entrance into any room. Then again, some people want that. A medic called Armistice came to me one evening with a damaged sabaton. One of the plates had cracked after being struck with a baselard. That isn't supposed to happen. I took a look for myself and guessed the steel had a fissure in it. Bad quenching job. It happens. By chance, her assailant's blow connected with the flaw, and the force was enough to crack the metal. Disastrous. Her foot looked awful.


I was getting confident in my work to offer my services. The logic behind the piece wasn't so different from my spaulders, and by now I was going more work with plates. I broke the old rivets out and removed the damaged plate. After an hour or two of work, I had the plate back in one piece, normalized and re-tempered, ready to be riveted again. The repair job itself wasn't so important as what came after it; fixing that metal shoe prompted me to study sabatons more closely. This entry in my journal, written on 17/12/52, is a testament to that.
The first step to designing good armor is asking yourself, "How does the body beneath it move?" More specifically, how does that part of the body move? A sabaton could be any number of things, as the term's evolved to mean 'foot protection.' You could strap a piece of rawhide to your shoe and call that a sabaton. You could rivet a metal plate to your boot. But a true sabaton is its own entity, with as many as nine separate pieces in some cases. Being the stubborn man I was, I didn't begin with anything simple. I wanted to challenge myself.

Using a heavy press in my new workshop, thanks to some generous 'donations' from clients, I shaped a few new sheets of steel from ingots. It wasn't much to talk about- just hours of repetitive crushing and shifting. When I had achieved the desired thickness and let the metal cool, I made marks for the eighteen plates I'd need. All various shapes and sizes. Although I saw no distinction for each plate in my manuals, I made my own. A sabaton can be broken into two sections, well, three if you count the middle piece. The hind of the sabaton, section one, starts with the heel plate, often including a strap of some kind and a clasp to connect the greaves. It is riveted securely to three more plates, with each overlapped by the former, until it reaches the middle. The interaction created by this pattern allows the sabaton to properly bend with the foot.

The fore, section two, starts atop the middle piece. Here, each consecutive plate overlaps the last, including the toe-guard. If the overlapping pattern was not inverted at the middle, the sabaton would be awkward to wear and difficult to articulate. In other words, next to useless. Plate armor is not impervious to damage or projectiles, and even when the warrior is wearing it, they must still be able to move. So I beg of you, if you call yourself an armor, to mind such a small and essential detail.

With tong and metal sheers, I cut out the plates that would eventually compose my sabatons. Sometimes I could not split the metal with the sheers alone, having to employ a hot chisel. It wasn't a problem. When the profiles for all eighteen plates had been cut, I heated them again. Although each plate was uniquely shaped from the others, the smithing had to be done in sequence. Each consecutive piece had to fit the last. The holes I punched for riveting had to be precisely-arranged.

So I was careful. I asked one of the old veteran armorers to watch my work and warn me when my marks were stray. She was a plain woman called Brunhilde and her guidance was appreciated, though I didn't take as kindly to her as the old man who was stern with me when I needed it. I alternated between each sabaton, less because I was a perfectionist and more because I wanted them to match each other. If I did one after the other, there was more room for me to **** it all up.

Before doing any actual riveting, we ran laces through the holes of each plate, checking for misalignments. When we were done, two prototypes had been assembled. All that was left after the grueling work with the hammer was heat-treatment and assembly. I went to bed for the night, but in the morning, I was ready to work.

No longer needing to focus on hammers and anvil horns and... that ear-splitting, repetitive sound... I was more fervent in my study of heat-treatments. I learned that quenching is what hardens a metal, and tempering what toughens it. Bit of simplification on my part, but I can explain in greater detail.

After a ferrite alloy has been heated innumerable times and hammered into shape, the metal is left in a state of disharmony. Even if it looks the way the smith wants it to, it needs to be heated all the way through, quenched at the same heat and cooled in air. It's about reobtaining that harmony in the material, a uniform structure that is cohesive as a unit of soldaten. Then, with this normalizing of regulating complete, the smith must use further techniques to achieve a quality of metal that suits his purposes.

Quenching increases the hardness of the steel but runs the risk of making it brittle. That does not mean one should skip the process. A sudden and rapid quench after heating the metal to great temperatures causes unseen changes that are beneficial- there's just a need for more refinement. While quenching is violent and sudden, freezing those units of soldaten in a state of discord, tempering is a gentle heating. I suggest making it even as possible, in the case of most armor plates. Allowing it to cool in the open air allows some of that tension to be resolved. The result is a material balanced between ice and fire. Far removed from being brittle rubbish or dull, soft scheisse.

With that said, I don't think normalizing is always necessary. But after seeing the damage that fissures and stresses in the metal can cause, I feel very cautious. Thus, the smith must remind the materials he works with that they are, in any shape, still one. A cohesive structure. Not a body of pandemonium.


There is a sudden and unprecedented pause in the writing. It's as if Vadim experienced a dark thought that required him to take a break.

I quenched and tempered all eighteen plates in my first pair of sabatons, and long after they'd cooled in open air, I gave them a nice polish with oil and my grindstones. Next, I connected them together. Two straps were hidden underneath the plates, atop the foot, and riveted on from the outside in. I like to call this an articulated strap, because it's just like the ones on the inside of spaulders. I'd cut them out from some leather I had on-hand while the metal was cooling, and punched holes with an awl. As always, I used my block of pewter to deform the rivets, maintaining their round heads and the metal finish I'd worked so hard to achieve.

Each consecutive plate was connected to the last, rather underlapping or overlapping, and when each sabaton was fully constructed, the last thing to do was add straps. Depending on how well the sabaton fits its wearer [If we're talking about most armor in Aversia, probably not well], straps aren't always necessary. I installed one just before the heel, wrapping around the foot, and right at the ankle, to provide some security. More leather. More rivets. Simple stuff.

The armorer and I gave the sabatons one last coat of oil. A dark finish, but still shiny. Then, proud of my work, I set the sabatons out on the table. I'm beginning to find more satisfaction in what I do. With every bit of grunt work I complete, and every personal project I log in this book, I am learning things I never even thought to think about. That is the power of books and labor, I suppose. But this journal is for me, more than anyone else.


The entry ends.

 
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Fourth Entry - 5/1/53 - Glacies Ombra
Study Of Gorgets, Cuirasses, And Tassets



After establishing his forge in Monsaraz and procuring a better assortment of tools, Vadim continued to challenge himself as an apprentice armorsmith.

I've always considered myself a practical man. I didn't get concerned over fine details. But with each new diagram I consume, and each manual I pour through, I find myself changing. A soldat in the Reiksheer--think his name was Gūthred--asked me to fix his 'chest-plate.' I asked him to specify. There are a thousand ways, at least, to armor the torso. There's more than one plate protecting it, too, in a suit of armor.

Cuirass is the accepted word for torso protection. It includes the breastplate and backplate, fastened together in one way or another. As usual, I'm talking leather straps, buckles, and rivets. They go at the shoulders and under the arms. The shoulder-buckles aren't usually seen. Once they've been secured, a good knight covers them with his gorget or aventail. It's important for a cuirass to be shaped to the wearer and tight at the clasps. Not enough to suffocate them, but enough to distribute the weight of the metal. If the cuirass is loose, it'll hinder the wearer and strain their back.

The main plates of the cuirass connect to protection for the waist, sometimes called a fauld, but typically referred to as tassets. These consist of multiple plates, riveted to hidden straps, which articulate and move with the wearer. Very important, especially for soldaten on horseback. At this point, you're probably wondering why I've explained these three components in such detail. Well, that's because I decided to forge them myself, for a field-test. I could never do armoring for any militia or army if I couldn't master a simple, sturdy cuirass.
I began as always with a long and meditative session of hammering. More steel sheets to fuel my craft. With some of the new equipment I procured for my forge in Monsaraz, this wasn't so grueling as before. Time passed and I studied the profiles of each plate from my manuals. Then, with charcoal and blade, I marked them out on the steel. It was a simple design, measured to the proportions of an average man. I figured if I used myself as a model, it'd fit most human or elvish warriors with adjustments.

I cut the plates from the stock and ground off the jagged edges with my honing stones. When they looked smoothed out and polished, I brought the forge to scorching heat and let the metal cook. Six plates for the gorget. Two plates for the cuirass. Six plates for the fauld. Two for the tassets. Forging a suit of true plate armor is no simple task, as I'm sure you're beginning to see. I've been at it for months, now. Slowly assembling. Honing myself.

I handled the work in phases based on each piece, starting with the gorget. The plates encompassed the neck and collar, worn over aventail or arming coat. Had to make the opening large enough not only for my fat head but also for the armor underneath. At the opening, I had to fold the steel over and work it like a cold, hard pie crust. Good for looks, the lip was. The next pair of plates were simple, not needing that lip. Just had to be round and shaped to fit what came before them. The last two were much more of a challenge, in terms of shaping- but after a few hours, I got them to look the way I wanted. I punched holes for the rivets. At that point, all they needed was some heat-treatment and polishing. That took the better part of an afternoon. Another day spent, and a new piece of armor in my collection.

The breastplate and backplate of the cuirass were much simple work, and it went fast. A lot of rounding and shaping to get the right from. Heat it. Hammer. Heat it. Hammer. Hammer it without heat. Crush your pinky by mistake. It happens! But when you're a smith, you get used to it quickly. I folded the steel over at the openings for the arms and neck. Added a little symbol in the armpit, maker's mark. Once the holes for riveting were made, I normalized, quenched, and tempered the steel in that order. This is my method, you should understand, so if I ever leave out the details, you know what I did.

As gorget plates and cuirass plates amassed on my workbench, the last bit of forging to do was on the fauld and tassets. Eight more pieces. Joyous day! I cut the steel in the shapes I needed, got it glowing in the fires, and hammered away. I made that anvil sing and, within a day, had the plates looking the way they needed to. Each lamina in the fauld overlapped the last, going in order from highest to lowest. Made precise measurements to keep the rivet holes aligned. Once they were attached by straps underneath, they'd fit together and compress. Difficult to explain with words. I'm no poet, no scholar. A learned man from the city called the arrangement telescopic when I let him take a look for himself.

The last two plates, which would hang off the fauld and protect the thighs, were easily the simplest of the entire project. I had some liberty to shape them how I wanted- gave them nice ridges flaring out like the wings of a dragon or the marks on a seashell. On foot or in the saddle, then offered some protection over the skirts of the doublet or hauberk.

When all was said and done, I still have some rivet holes to punch through the steel and more than enough quenching and tempering to make a man rip his hair out. But I was patient. I knew what my objective was, and I knew the satisfaction that hard work brought. One day I would be turning out suits of armor like the masters of old. One day.

The plates were all finished, eventually, with a nice polish and coat of oil. The last thing I had to put was put them all together, and thank Auftrag I remembered the layout. The rivets of the gorget were anchored to strips of leather on the inside, or to one another in some cases. I designed the buckles near each shoulder not only to hold the gorget together but offer a place to attach my spaulders. The cuirass needed similar buckles near the neck, particularly strong ones, and three under each arm, keeping the cuirass together. During my studies I noticed a diagram with the breast and backplate riveted together, and the upper portion of the back done up with multiple, articulated plates. I didn't understand the purpose, until I realized they could flex and adjust, allowing the wearer to get into something more solid. But, eh, at this point it was better to just keep moving. I could try it another day.

The fauld was permanently attached to the cuirass with rivets and straps along the lower lip, creating an unbroken layer of defense that protected the entire torso. When worn, each lamina in the fold descended further than the last, creating a skirt around the wearer's upper thigh. These were complemented by the two tassets, which hung off the fauld by two leather buckles. I stained the leather to show a touch of workmanship and polished it all one last time. There it was before me- the ferrite chest of a cavalier.


The entry ends.

 

Vadokim

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Fifth Entry - 2/10/172 - Obitus Morto
The Armorer's Trial



After honing his skills, Vadim prepares to prove himself as an armorsmith. With hammer in hand, he sets out to repair and improve his Freikorps Plate Armor.

Old friend- have you forgotten me? The garrison of Vikerne, or the long voyages to Miklagard? I delivered a table there on behalf of the Governess. And then I was moved to Amador's demesne- the golden south. Looping around, I served in Al'sel- the white north. It was there that they took my kamerad. They crushed my faith in our leaders. I was made to question the ones I served. But you were there, through it all.

In this world, I stored you away. I donned pieces of you on occasion, never wanting to rouse the wrath of the Zheng or the curiosity of the Mittelreik. And then, more recently, you were damaged. Again and again you sustained blows that should have done me in. You saw me through countless battles here just as you saw me through so much torpor and upheaval there.

You are my armor, and that shall never change.
"My old suit of armor was nothing exceptional. Average steel, minimally-treated. Not even a proper coat of mail to go with it. It was by no means the work of a master, but it served its purpose. I didn't want to strip it of that simple functionality- I just wanted to refine it."

In a battle with a monster of Foli, many of the plates on the left arm were damaged beyond repair. The right leg, similarly, was devoured by a slime. His first task in restoring the suit of armor was replacing these components. He studied the profiles of each missing piece from the opposite limb, then produced a mirror image. He used these mirror images to trace the new plates on sheets of steel. With heat and metal sheers, Vadim slowly and laboriously cut the plates free.

He rounded the edges of each on the grindstone. With a roaring fire, he annealed them. The metal was eased into a tougher, more malleable state. With hammers, his anvil, and his specially-shaped vices, he began to sculpt the metal into more desirable forms. From morning to evening his anvil sang. His hammer was a clangorous instrument- and he the conductor of a symphony. By the time the work was done, he was drenched in sweat.

Vadim folded the edges of certain plates back, creating strong lips. These 'lips' were especially pronounced on the set of pauldrons which would protect his upper arms and shoulders. Before heat treatment, all of the plates were punched with holes in preparation for rivets. Then, in sequence, the steel was normalized, oil-quenched, and tempered.

Once buckles and straps had been installed, the various plates on his arms and legs could be connected to one another. From the feet up, his lower half would be protected by articulated sabatons, full greaves, winged poleyns, half-cuisses, and a hidden codpiece. This was a leather garment braced with narrow strips of steel, riveted in place by a skillful hand.

Vadim polished the new plates and rivets with oil and a fine-grit stone. He worked them to a nice shine. In the case of older plates that were tarnished but serviceable, he hammered out old dents, performed his treatment process, and boiled away years of tarnish in a vat of special solution. The countless plates, rivets, and pieces of leather that composed the armor for his arms and legs were then finished, either with a sealing polish or weather-resistant stain.

With stone crucibles of melted bronze or gold, as well as a special etching tool, Vadim created designs along the edges of his armor plates. This finishing touch had no functional purpose. Like lace on the cuffs of a shirt or embroidery on the hood of a cloak, it imbued the craft with a sense of artistry. The trace amounts of copper and gold made the armor appear noble, taking on the form of roses and vines.

After the arms and legs were complete, he moved on to other matters. The cuirass, chainmail, and tabard were the next components to be put to the hammer. He slowly and meticulously restored the old cuirass with hammer and polish, but when he was done, he decided to add a bevor and short tassets to the ensemble. These components were well within his level of skill, as he'd made (and repaired) them many times before. Held together with rivets and straps, they were surprisingly comfortable. Even in spite of their weight.

The tassets could be divided into two bodies, one for each leg, that looped around and protected the rear. Due to their telescopic arrangement, permitted by the riveted straps within, they could accommodate movements of the wearer's legs quite well. This was important when climbing into the saddle and riding horses. Later on, they would be draped over the coat of mail worn beneath the cuirass.

The coat of mail was its own piece, worn over an arming doublet. The chainmail coif that accompanied it--part of Vadim's replacement bascinet--was worn over an arming coif. In both cases, the underclothes were simply padded cotton with trace amounts of linen. Gambeson, in the standard nomenclature. To forge the coat of mail, Vadim had to coil steel wires around long rods and cut the rings free individually. This was one of the most tedious and time-consuming portions of the entire project. For many days, he snipped out the rings, prepped them with special crimps, linked them together, and forced the rivets through. The ring that joined each group of four was usually forge-welded- a delicate technique which made the link solid. Due to the 4-to-1 pattern, this was only possible for the middle ring of each cluster.

The coat of mail, once completed, reached most of the way down Vadim's thighs and to his elbows. The padded collar of the hauberk could be laced to his aventail, which was an extension of the coif beneath his bascinet. Later on, gold and copper rings were incorporated at the opening of the skirt and sleeves. Being on the hauberk's fringes, they did not compromise its integrity in any way.

With the metal components of the set forged or restored, he took inventory.


Outer:

Bascinet: Tempered Steel
Pauldrons: Tempered Steel (W/ Gold/Copper Inlay)
Rerebraces/Couters: Tempered Steel
Vambraces: Tempered Steel
Gauntlets: Tempered Steel
Cuirass: Tempered Steel (W/ Gold/Copper Inlay)
Tassets: Tempered Steel (W/ Gold/Copper Inlay)
Greaves: Tempered Steel
Sabatons: Tempered Steel

Middle:

Coif: Steel Riveted Chainmail
Byrnie: Steel Riveted Chainmail

Inner:

Arming Coif: Padded Cotton / Linen
Arming Coat: Padded Cotton / Linen
Arming Chausses: Padded Cotton / Linen

To complete his suit of plate armor, celebrating his past in the Freikorps and the Totenkopf, Vadim a.k.a. Angevin a.k.a. Helgiat the Wayward Northerner created a special tabard. Made of finely-woven velvet and suede, black as the night sky, the tabard shielded the torso-region from the elements. It was constructed with the dimensions of the armor in mind, with strong seams and neat hemming.

Vadim embroidered a special coat of arms with gray and crimson thread. It depicted a wounded dragon, curled up and dying under the lance of a cavalier. If one looked closely, they'd notice the cavalier sporting a beard and winged helm. This was a distinctly East-Avaltan take on the Kolchrave mythos. At the openings for the arms and legs, the tabard had intricate embroidery that resembled rose vines, creeping along the soft fabrics.


The entry ends.

 
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