Tanya looked down at the battle wearily. It was always like this, men covered head to toe in armour swinging giant swords at each other. They would fight all day. Most of them would walk away alive, maybe injured, or captured and ransomed back to their liege lord. The ones who stayed away from the berserker at least. He was surrounded by layers of armour clad men, his naked flesh cut in hundreds of places. He would die, eventually, but hundreds would fall before his ax first. Well, she didn’t fancy dying in the battle, so she was staying away from that guy. She had a problem though. Her stomach was cold, not to mention her breasts. Sure, the armour plate that covered her nipples was tight, tight enough that they only popped out once or twice a battle, but still it was metal, and it was the only thing on her breasts. Still, that was better than the complete lack of anything covering her stomach, her thighs, most of her back, her shoulders, her long flowing blonde hair. Hell, she wasn’t even sure why the smith had bothered to complete the piece.
She’d said to him, “Make me a suit of full plate, I want it to cover me completely. I want a helm with a visor that can be raised, but provides full coverage. Top of my head to below my chin, with an eye slit. The chest pieces should continue up my neck, so that it goes above the bottom of the helm. Exactly like a male suit of armour in every way, except fitted to my body.”
When she’d returned she instantly knew it had gone wrong. Not like this was her first try, but this guy was supposed to be the best, an armourer who did custom pieces fitted for any frame. He was grinning at her like he’d solved hunger, like a happy puppy seeing the return of its master. “Come this way milady, I have your armour ready for you. I had to modify it a bit, but I’m sure you will agree that it’s the finest armour any warrior woman has ever worn.”
She knew exactly how far wrong it had gone before she even saw the armour. It shouldn’t have been able to fit in that box. Hell, the gauntlets shouldn’t have been able to fit in that box.
“Alright,” she said with a sigh, “show me what you made.”
He opened the box. What was inside really couldn’t be called armour, not by any reasonable standard. There was a steel demi-bra, fringes of chain mail hanging off of it, and another piece of metal designed to cover her pubic mound, it narrowed into a thin strip on the back, to slide between her butt cheeks. There was bit of sheer fabric that attached to that piece, giving her a tiny, tiny bit of visual coverage. She wasn’t sure whether it was more or less modest than actual nudity. Still, it did provide slightly more coverage than the chain mail bikini she had. At least you wouldn’t be able to see the colour of her pubic hair or the exact size of her nipples while wearing it. With a much, much larger sigh she said “You know that’s not what I asked for right? Not even slightly like what I asked for.”
“What do you mean?”
“I wanted armour that covered my body. This doesn’t cover my body at all. I might as well be naked wearing this.”
“No, it’s very modest. Your breasts are covered wearing this. Your… lady pieces are also covered.”
“I’m not paying for it. No way in hell.”
“I worked night and day on this,” the smith said, a touch of a whine sneaking into his voice, “it’s the finest metalwork in the land. The steel is a Dwarvish and Elven alloy that has the best properties of both metals. There is nothing like this in the entire land.”
“Okay, I understand, but you have to understand that I don’t really want to be stabbed in the stomach. My femoral artery is absolutely as essential to my survival as a mans, and I am often engaged in battle, swords trying to pierce me in different places, all that.”
“Well, I’m not remaking it, and if you don’t pay me for it I will have you arrested for breach of contract.”
“Dammit. Not paying full price at least. You gave me ten percent of a suit of armour, I’m only paying for ten percent of a suit of armour.”
So, she bought it. Turned out that it was so form fitting she couldn’t even get a thin layer of cloth under it, so no coverage there, and because of the mail fringe it didn’t work under anything. She could wear a cloak, but no real clothes… so once again she was wading into battle nearly naked.
People joked all the time about how her outfits must distract her opponents, but it hadn’t ever worked out like that when she actually went into battle.
A tall warrior wearing black leather armour with various weird studs and spikes, his shoulders draped with fur for some reason, closed on her. He had two large swords, and he was swinging them in intricate patters. Tanya thrust her single long blade between the whirling steel, catching the man in the sternum. His leather caused her blade to skip to one side slightly, but then it hit one of the weird studs, steadying it. She pushed harder, really getting her weight behind the blade. It pierced the leather, reluctantly, and then the man underneath the leather. He let out a gurgling sound, traces of frothy blood staining his lips, then he fell to the ground. Well, as stupid as his armour was, hers was worse. At least she had the good sense not to swing her sword around like some sort of spastic. Well, that and carrying a buckler. The shield might not be as large as she wanted, but it was better than a second sword for not getting stabbed.
A knight in full kit, on horeseback, was bearing down in her, lance pointed at her. She waited until the thundering hooves had brought the armoured behemoth almost to her, then she rolled on her shoulder, crossing her sword and buckler on the ground. The knight dipped his lance, hitting a small mound of earth, which ripped the lance from his grasp. As Tanya stood she thought, “Fuck. Guess I’ll put my nipples away after the battle. Damnit.”
Her breasts had popped out of the metal bra as she rolled. Well, it wasn’t like she hadn’t expected it.
The horse wheeled around, carrying its rider back to her. The knight has no more lances, so he drew his sword from his back. It got snagged. They always did… why in hell anyone carried them that way baffled Tanya. It never seemed to negatively affect the bearer, at least when they weren’t fighting her. Their opponents always gave them time to get the weapon ready. Tanya though, she was pretty sure she was an asshole, but an asshole with a pulse. She closed and slashed the saddle straps, leaving the knight slowly tilting off his horse as he wrestled with his sword. The knight fell to the ground at her feet, so she took her sword and slammed it up under the neck of his helmet, where he was protected by light mail, driving the blade into his brain. The horse looked at her for a moment then trotted off, looking for some grass to eat.
Off to Tanya‘s left she could see that the berserker had finally fallen. Well, that was good. She wasn’t even sure which side he’d been on. He seemed to have been killing anyone who got in range, regardless of affiliation. A great asset if he was the only one in your army, but questionable in a chaotic battlefield like this one.
At the end of the day Tanya had a dozen kills, and two prisoners. One of the prisoners was a squire, and he kept trying to sneak a peak at her. She was being especially careful not to have any more slips now that she was around the nobility. After all, they paid her salary, and she wanted them to take her seriously.
After the battle King Renauld summoned many of the warriors to his throne room. Those who had done something outstanding, the ones with great deeds of valour, the ones who would be sung of by the bards. Tanya was one of the summoned. Each warrior was summoned to approach the throne, and asked what boon the kind could grant them. Finally it was Tanya‘s turn. “Welcome, fair warrior maiden. I believe this is the first time I’ve had a woman in this position. What kind of boon can I offer you?”
“What I want, above all else in the world, is a proper suit of armour.”
“What do you mean? Any fool can see that you are wearing armour right now.”
“Well, part way through the battle my tits popped out of this bra thing. I’m pretty sure if I lift my leg above knee height anyone looking can see my snatch. Also, as you can see, I have a dozen or so cuts on my body, all of which would have been avoided with proper armour. So, yeah, I want armour. Armour that covers all of my body, not just my nipples and pubes.”
“Please, lady, watch the language. This is my court and I prefer people to keep a civil tongue. I’m afraid I can’t help you. Are you certain you wouldn’t like the princesses hand in marriage? I have a fifth daughter who doesn’t have a suitor. Of course you aren’t exactly what I had envisioned, but she’s a fifth daughter.”
“No, thank you. Not gay. Still a woman. If you can’t help with the armour directly, is there any chance you could point me in the right direction maybe?”
“I’ll consult with my advisers. It does seem a reasonable boon, so I will do what I can.”
Three days later King Renauld summoned Tanya back to the throne room. “We have been giving your request some thought, and Maester Jonas has some thoughts.”
An elderly man stepped forward. His skin was a map of wrinkles, his eyes were rheumy, pale, filled with cataracts. He trembled as he moved, wattles of flesh quivering on his neck. “I did hear a legend fair lady. The hermit at the top of Dagger Mount is said to be a mighty wizard, capable of great feats. He would be able to do whatever you need. He will grant a wish to any who bring him the head of a basilisk. Do that and you will surely get what you seek.”
“Okay, I don’t see why this is so fucking hard… excuse my language your majesty, but if that’s what I have to do that’s what I have to do. Any pointers on where I could find a bloody basilisk?”
The wise men supplied her with a map to a temple on a remote island, the temple of the basilisk. It was said that the primitives who lived on the island worshiped the basilisks as gods. Apparently they were extinct everywhere else.
As Tanya left the throne room she said, “Bloody ridiculous. Should take a good blacksmith two months at the outside to get this done. Half that if they modify someone else’s suit,” quietly under her breath. She wasn’t normally given to muttering, but it had been a trying meeting.
Chartering a ship was a challenge. Tanya found the captain of a likely vessel drinking at a dockside tavern, a tavern wench on each arm. “See, here’s the thing. Women on board ship are bad luck.”
“I have lots and lots of gold, I’m willing to pay, handsomely.”
“If it was just me, of course I would charter you a cabin. But I have the men to think of. Also, Basilisk Island is hardly on the trade routes. It’s a long way off course for us. We can’t do it.”
“Okay, fine. I’ll find someone who does want my money.”
The next captain was worse. “Look honey, I’d love to take you on… if you were willing to entertain my crew.”
“A girl like you. I could practically charge the men to come onboard if you were waiting for them below decks, you know what I mean,” he said with a wink.
She refrained from using violence on him. Mostly. She kicked the legs out from his chair and punched him in the face, but she completely avoided decapitating him. As she moved on to the next ship she congratulated herself on her restraint.
A dozen ships later and she found one that was heading near Basilisk Island, deep in the south seas, that was willing to take a female passenger for a fee that was merely exorbitant. Even better, she got a small cabin to herself. Tanya was new to sea travel, and quickly discovered a level of misery she had heretofore not imagined. Food was the enemy, even plain broth would not stay down.