Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/index.php?page_id=328
The Armor of the Viamontian Invaders
Posted By on 10-Dec-2004
By Ealdor Tharim the Stronghand, Master Armorer of Aluvia
The military successes of the Viamontian armies have been impressive. They have won victories in a range of different settings and in different conditions. In their most recent invasion of Aluvia, which began twenty years ago, their warlords matched wits with our own western border lords in a chaotic campaign of raid and counter-raid. Through superior scouting and tactics that I must admit were brilliant, they isolated and crushed each of our lords' militias before they could join forces.
During their invasion of Roulea, they engaged the Roulean imperial legion on an open field, two enormous armies clashing on a scale not seen in hundreds of years. Not even the Gharu'ndim under Rakhil the Conqueror had dared to engage the Rouleans strength-for-strength. By meeting and defeating the entire host of the dying empire on an open field, the Viamontians, it seems to me, served notice to the other nations of the Ironsea. They seemed to signal to the rest of the world that none could stand before them.
While there is much to be said in praise of the strategic mastery of their battle commanders, or the fierceness and training of their soldiers, one key asset to that victory was the quality of that army's equipment.
Viamont is not a land blessed with many mines of gold or iron. However, centuries of military plunder, piracy on the seas, and dominance of trade have made them wealthy. Unlike the Rouleans, who delighted in building great cities and palaces, the Viamontians do not hesitate to channel most of their money into their army.
The Viamontians are clever in the way they plunder conquered lands. One might say that they have had centuries of practice. Their strongest garrisons in the half of Aluvia that they still hold are not maintained at cities or palaces, but at our mines. Much of the metal wealth of our land flows steadily west, into the massive stores of their king's own cousin, Count Etien di Forsa. The Royal Armor-Master owns a great armory complex, large as an Aluvian market village, just outside of the Viamontian royal city of Corcosa. Day and night, an army of laborers fires a hundred forges to stamp out suits of plate armor. This Diforsa Armor is not quite so heavy as the plate mail our own heavy cavalry wear, but strong nonetheless.
When the great Viamontian host sailed from Corcosa twenty years ago to finish off the Rouleans, every foot soldier in that army was outfitted with a full suit of Diforsa plate. When the legions clashed, the Roulean footmen in their suits of scale found themselves overmatched by the Viamontian infantry. Judging by numbers, the Viamontians did not have a numerical advantage over the Rouleans not in foot, cavalry, or archers. But each blue-skinned soldier was better outfitted for that battle than his southern counterpart, and the results of the battle made this plain.
However richly the Viamontians outfit their common soldiers, their lords and knights, of course, wear something better. Most of the Viamontian warlords take a certain amount of pride in running their own smithies and forging the armor for their own nobles. However, there is one family that has managed to make their armor the armor of choice among quite a few of the noble families. The Tenassa family, who are a part of the Renari clan, have shown an unusual aptitude for armor-smithing. It is said that the founder of the family, hundreds of years ago, studied with some of the great smiths of Celdon and learned their secrets. Whether the knowledge was earned or stolen, the Tenassas train a handful of children from each generation in the art of armorcraft and maintain several large smithies.
The Tenassa ironworks are not nearly on the scale of the huge complex of Etien di Forsa, but they are expanding. Count Renari recently wheedled an exclusive agreement out of King Varicci, and now his vassals, the Tenassas, supply all the armor of the Ferran Knights, the elite soldiers who held the center of the Viamontian army in their clash with Roulea. The Tenassas have also acquired armoring contracts from a significant number of noble families who can no longer be bothered to smith their own armor and are quite happy to pay for the exceptional suits provided by the same house that supplies the Ferrans.
The most extravagant armor of all, of course, is reserved for the royal house. One corner of the Di Forsa complex, more heavily guarded than any location in Viamont except for the royal hall, is given over to Etien Di Forsa's father-in-law, Count Alain di Alduressa. Count Alduressa is acknowledged even by the smiths of Celdon as one of the finest armorsmiths in all of Ispar. No one is sure where he came by his smithing skill, but it is known that, in his youth, he spent a decade traveling the world, even visiting the distant holdings of the Sho. While his armor is crafted in much the same style as other forms of Viamontian plate, he is able to imbue the armor with a unique strength that surpasses even the best work of the Tenassas.
Alduressa plate is coveted throughout Viamont and it is reserved for royal privilege. It is worn by the Viamontian king, his warrior children and cousins, and by his royal guards. Suits of the armor are given out as gifts of great royal esteem. It may be significant that the rebellious Duke of Bellenesse never received such a suit of armor from King Varicci, even after the Duke's great triumph in Roulea, where he slew the Emperor according to Varicci's wishes, with the king's own sword.
The kings of Viamont have always had cause to be wary of their ambitious lords. It may have been prudence that kept Varicci from giving a suit of royal armor to the bloodthirsty Duke.