For the second volume of my new fantasy series, I am planning to include an intense and brutal duel between two characters. I will be drawing inspiration from a Scandinavian custom known as “holmgang”. Holmgang was the Viking equivalent of trial by combat and was the most common way to settle disputes.
Remember the Emperor’s Royal Guard from Star Wars? I will be featuring soldiers in my fantasy books that are similar to the Royal Guard. My characters will have the same red robes and cloaks, but they will have armor and weapons that are medieval in nature and aesthetic. One example will be the usage of a polearm known as a bisento. Another example will be a type of helmet known as a barbute, which is a 16th century Italian helmet.
The halberd originated from Switzerland before becoming refined and further weaponized in Germany. It was the weapon of choice for the Pope’s Swiss Guard. There was one instance where the halberd was used by 189 Swiss Guards against 20,000 mercenaries that invaded the Vatican. The halberd was a multi-purpose weapon. It could be used as a quarterstaff, it has an ax blade, a spike that can be used as a spear, a hook in the back that can disarm enemies or pull cavalrymen off their horses, and the metal butt at the end of the halberd can be used to jab at enemies. The halberd will be commonly used weapon in my new fantasy book series.
The dirk dagger is an evolution of the 16th century rondel dagger. It was commonly used by the Scottish Highlanders during the 18th century before becoming a ceremonial weapon in the 19th century. I have seen the dirk forged and tested in the History Channel show known as Forged in Fire. I have decided to include the dirk in my new fantasy series because I am of Scottish descent and I want to reconnect with my roots.
The arming sword was the standard issue weapon of medieval knights. It was also the weapon of choice for Joan of Arc. I am including this type of sword in my new fantasy series in order to be faithful to medieval aesthetic. Throughout this new book series, this sword is going to be seeing a lot of action.
As I write the first volume of my next fantasy series, I depict the formation of a standing Imperial Army. Unlike most medieval armies, which only enlist men, this Imperial Army will enlist both men and women to their ranks. Like any army, each soldier will be given standard issue equipment. Their armor will consist of a padded gambeson under a chainmail hauberk under leather brigandine under a tunic that bears the imperial crest. In addition, these soldiers will be equipped with greaves, chainmail gauntlets, and barbute helmets.
In addition to armor, the soldiers of this Imperial Army will have standard issue weapons as well. These weapons will consist of arming swords, dirk daggers, halberds, circular shields, and composite bows that come with bodkin arrows.
Even when deprived of their weapons, these Imperial soldiers will still be formidable fighters. In addition to the weapons they have at their disposal, they will also be trained in the usage of hand-to-hand combat when the situation requires it.
Overall, I will be depicting an Imperial Army that is unlike anything that has been featured in my fantasy world so far. Part of the story will be told from the point of view of six freshly recruited soldiers. It is going to be a fun project to tinker with.
Falconry was a popular sport amongst medieval nobility. In fact, it became so popular that members of royalty would spend a fortune on their birds to the point of having perches for their favorite birds in their bed chambers. A number of words and phrases that we use today originated from falconry. While the nobles were engaging in falconry, spare birds would be carried on what was called a cadge and the guy who carried the cadge was called a cadger. It is from this word that we got the word “caddy” when it comes to golf and it serves the same purpose. When a bird has eaten and it not interested in flying or hunting, it is said to be “fed up”, which is where we got that expression. Falcons would have leashes on their feet. Normally, you would secure the leash by pressing your thumb against your hand and you would have the falcon “under your thumb.” For extra security, you could wrap the rest of the falcon’s leash around your pinky and you would have the bird “wrapped around your little finger.” It is interesting how the words and phrases we use today originate from the most unexpected places.
Throughout medieval history, noble marriages were normally consummated by what was called a bedding ceremony. This ritual involves priests blessing the union while friends and family witnessed the consummation. Back in medieval times, a marriage was not legitimate unless it was consummated. I am planning to depict a similar ceremony in my third fantasy book. While there will be priests to bless the union, the only witnesses to the consummation would be the newlyweds themselves. However, something awkward happens when the newlyweds are left alone, which will add a sense of romantic comedy to the mix.
For some time, I have been searching for authentic inspiration for an elite personal guard for the Imperial Dynasty in my third fantasy book. At first, I thought of basing it on the Roman Praetorian Guard, but I think I will turn my attention to the Swiss Guard, the Pope’s personal guards. Last night, I watched a documentary that talked about how 189 members of the Swiss Guard defended the Pope from an invasion force of 20,000 mercenaries. Also, their armor and weapons would be more on the same level of my fantasy world than those of the Praetorian Guard. I think I will base my guards’ armor and weapons on the Swiss Guard, but with a number of modifications to make them stand out more. Just as the Swiss Guard are fanatically loyal to the Pope, my imperial guards will be fanatically loyal to the Imperial Dynasty in my fantasy series.
Scullery maids were common servants in a noble’s household. They were often of low birth and became scullery maids to learn etiquette. In my third fantasy book, I will be introducing a scullery maid as one of the main characters. She will begin her duties under the supervision and guidance of the emperor’s valet. She will be about the same age as the emperor. At first, she and the emperor start an informal master-servant relationship, but it gradually blossoms into a passionate romantic relationship.