Crafting Motif 114: Systres Guardian Style


Author (in-game): Zoellene Ruqueville

By Zoellene Ruqueville, Scholar and Former Guard

In my youth, I patrolled Gonfalon Bay, ensuring that all remained safe. During that time, I grew to appreciate the quality and utility of the gear provided by the watch, designed by old man Canis. Cussed, hungry, and mean … but my fellow street soldiers were never left wanting.

As he always said. “”Looking impressive is a secondary concern, beef-wit. But it can be useful.””

AXES
These double-hafted wonders have edges sharp enough to slice a hair in half length-wise—I’ve won a few bets doing this. They also make use of supple ornaug hide for their grip. Just don’t ask Canis what he used to soften it. You don’t want to know.

BELTS
If you like nondescript belts, these aren’t for you. Barrack tales claim the emblem represents the coin-barons that bought High Isle long ago. That’s why we called our captain “”Seahawk.”” I think the barracks folk still do.

BOOTS
When you’re walking your rounds, you want comfortable boots. When you’re dealing with ruffians, you want boots that kick arse. These do both thanks to the ornaug hunters, who supplied the leather, and of course old Canis.

An ex-guard’s tip for you. Pangrit spit makes cloth proof against water. You’re welcome.

BOWS
Guards often patrol alone, which makes the design of our quivers useful as well as striking. The metal embellishment serves as added armor—a lifesaver when you’re set upon by multiple foes. Our broadhead arrows are crafted with crow-feather fletching provided by the local druids.

I once heard they literally talk the birds into giving over their feathers, but that’s got to be rubbish.

CHESTS
A mix of fitted ornaug hide and High Isle steel means each guard must have custom work done on their chestpiece to ensure the best fit.

I particularly loved the diagonal strap, which I used to hold my tankard when off duty. Captain Seahawk wasn’t always happy with this, but off duty is off duty.

DAGGERS
If you’re the type to get sweaty hands in bare-handed combat, this dagger is for you. I don’t know what wondrous technique Canis used to make the ornaug leather handle wick away moisture, but it worked. Once I had to fish my dagger out of a big stein of ale (don’t ask), only to find it dry as I held it up to defend myself.

That said, wear all your armor because bare hands are an invitation for scars when you’re a guard.

GLOVES
We’ve all worn armor meant to protect our hands, only to have it get in the way. Our gauntlets and gloves never did that. The straps stay snug, and the supple leather allows for a light touch and the metal guards serve well to deflect blows from a weapon. I can personally attest you can do alleyway surgery wearing a set, if you need any further recommendation.

HELMETS
As someone who has taken more than a few bad bangs to the head, let me tell you about these helmets. Even the lighter versions protect your forehead from blows, and the inner lining helps you avoid long-lasting effects from a real wallop.

Yes, they make for a warmer summer day than you might like, but tuck your hair up in there and it stays dry.

LEG GREAVES
Do you prefer flowing robes or weather-proofed leggings? Both are available, and both feature some damned concoction from Canis that protects against toss-up, rain, piss, saltwater, dung-stains, and your normal everyday wind off the bay.

The number of times I had to dive in and yank some oaf from the brine. Let’s just say I know the docks as well as some of the native-born sailors.

MACES
When confronting a belligerent drunkard, the pommel of these maces comes in handier than the flanges. “”Keep your reaction equivalent to the action—don’t escalate.”” That’s what Seahawk told us each night in the barracks. And I wholeheartedly agree. If you’re more of a two-handed weapons fighter, brandish the seahawk emblem if you need to remind folks of your authority.

SHIELDS
You can’t miss the seahawk on a Systres guardian’s shield—unless you’re trying to tag that guard with an arrow. In that case, the shield serves its purpose well by deflecting not only arrows, but also other martial attacks—when used properly.

Flip it over and it acts as a decent dicing receptacle, too. Not that we ever did such a thing.

SHOULDERS
Sometimes you need to bust open doors. And Gonfalon Bay doors are resistant to kicking, so you have to put your shoulder into it. Thankfully, these armor styles absorb some impact from the ornaug leather under the metal.

Just don’t do that sort of thing for fun—and go have a hot water soak when you get off duty.

STAVES
The double pointed design on our regulation staves was an in-joke from Canis. I guess an old friend of his used to be a mage … but not a very good one. So the old man whipped this up as a way to deter thugs from sticking a shank in his pal.

Think about it: Do you really want someone to poke this into your shoulder, then twist? For the more mystically inclined, lightning or fire or whatever crackling through the staff makes those double points even more alarming.

SWORDS
If someone missed the fact that they’re facing down a Systres guardian, the seahawk on the crossguard helped clear that up quick. The hilt’s grip sits just right in the hand, and I always thought its rain guard has a stylish flair not normally seen on everyday swords.

Just don’t go swinging it without a care in the world, eh? That crest means something to those of us who patrolled the bay.

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