The Clothes Maketh the Elf

“What? What is it?” said Parnard, looking down at himself. Today, like most days, he wore a green linen tunic and breeches, and over all he would throw a long plain cloak of good cloth when it rained. 

“Turn for me,” instructed Estarfin.

“If you like,” Parnard said, willingly obliging, craning his neck as he looked over his shoulder. “Did I sit in something again?”

“For the armour,” he explained. 

“Oh, for the armour,” nodded Parnard. “What is it going to be made of? Metal?”

“Steel, mostly, although mixed with various other materials.” As if anticipating the Wood-Elf’s next question, Estarfin said, “I am making it thinner than I usually would, for I know you like to move swiftly.”

“That is good, very good indeed!” 

“It may not stop a heavy blow from an axe, but if you are able to move fast enough it would miss you anyway: a compromise.”

“Well, I would think nothing would stop a heavy blow from an axe, so it seems very fair. Oh -” Parnard quickly added, “I suppose there are shields,” and silently cursed himself for saying such a stupid thing.

Estarfin smiled. “It is coming together nicely. Soon it will be time to fit it to you.”

“How swift you are in the forging! But you are quite right to do it, we have little time left: by my reckoning, only a fortnight.”

“It is good to be working again on something other than railings and decorative pieces.”

“You must describe it to me. Is it black, and shiny, but not too?” asked Parnard, and began to speculate on how it looked, thinking back to his very first old rusty black ring-mail hauberk that was obtained second-hand from a Dwarf merchant for twenty silver pieces, after much hard bargaining.

“Do you wish to come and see it?”

Parnard replied that he would like nothing better in the world, so Estarfin led him to the smithy and took up a vambrace. “You see the leaves are a part of the steel, not hanging off like tassels as you supposed. Engravings, almost, but with a different metal worked into the steel.” He turned the piece over, revealing the leather fixed to the back of the plate. “This will allow you to move quietly without the metal scraping and banging against the other pieces.”

Parnard took the offered vambrace and sniffed it. “It smells a lot better than what was given to me to wear in the Greenwood,” he laughed, gingerly turning it over to peer at the finely chased surface embossed with delicate silver leaves and swirling vines. “It is a wondrous thing!” he cried out. “I have ne’er seen such armour before!” 

“See the thickness of the steel?” said Estarfin, picking up a spare vambrace from another set. “This is how thick and heavy it would usually be.”

“Yes, yes, it is light as a feather in comparison!” 

“I do not know what your people would wear, so I guessed at this.”

At that moment Danel strode up to them, and quickly surmising what the two elves were discussing, declared, “It is both beautiful and practical. They will be amazed.”

“They will be amazed,” agreed Parnard, “and, dare I say, covetous.” 

“They will not recognise you,” said Danel.

“Very good! Will the helmet be topped by a big plume?”

“You want a large plume? I thought it would be less…grand,” said Estarfin, a little surprised.

“Oh, I was only guessing at what it will look like,” laughed Parnard.

“I was thinking of something more like this,” Estarfin said, picking up an old helm topped with short feathers, once white, now lackluster and grimy with age. “Feathers do not endure as well as steel,” he said as he tried to ruffle the feathers into their once proud and fluffy state.

“I cannot say that I love helms, but as this is a serious matter in truth, I think you should wear a helm,” said Danel.

Parnard was taken aback by this remark but said it was sound advice, and then bowed as low as he could before Estarfin. “Again you do me great honour.” 

“Now you will have armour and weapon and horse fine enough to impress any,” said Danel.