Emerson Berengar rose early to build up the fire and prepare coffee for the day. The Man with the Shepherd’s Crook was waiting for him. They spoke and sipped coffee.
“Emerson, war is coming. You need to prepare your people. Sacrifices and commitments are going to have to be made. You are going to need armour. I will be with the sheep if you need anything today.”
The man with the Shepherd’s Crook had said similar things before and was right. Emerson wondered at how a shepherd had such insight.
Emerson recalled the time where he had given instructions to eliminate all the brigands in the area. It was the best advice he had taken so far.
Following the Shepherd’s direction would require resource acquisition,organization, buy in, and a lot of labor.
There was no smith in Northwich. He had purchased spear heads from La Longi. There were files and such to maintain tools, but iron was expensive and out of reach financially.
Shields could be manufactured with the resources available. Butting pine wood together and securing it with cross pieces could be accomplished with little skill and training.
Saws were available, and wood was in abundant supply.
Stretching a wet hide over the work would pull it tight when it dried.
Arming doublets were not practical with the small supply of wool. Buff coats could be manufactured. The thickest local leather was the pequin.
Wood splinted greaves and bracers, and a belt with leather strips to protect the thigh would be important.
A helmet would need to be stitched with a bowl for the crown and a nose guard. A chin strap to secure it to the head would likely be a good idea.
John the sawbones, true to his military training was there before anyone else. Nicholas arrived soon after. Jeptha showed as well. He carried a kitten given to him by John for his birthday.
Emerson recounted the Shepherd’s words to them. They both looked at Emerson cynically but agreed that it would be a good idea to make the town war ready.
The men of Northwich were assembled. Emerson took charge.
” Men, line up!”
“Today, we are going on a pequin hunt. We will be manufacturing armour with the hides to include a bowl cap, an upper buff coat, a leather belt with leather straps affixed, greaves and bracers.”
“We will also assemble pine shields. We will make these uniform in construction, so the parts are replaceable.”
One of the 16 raised their hand.
” Brother, will we paint the shields?”
“great question. I have been tasked with creating a coat of arms. There are no set rules in La Longi for heraldry. Each household will paint their shield. If called upon to fight by the king, we will march under the banner of Northwich.”
Baldwin Mailer, the scribe, forever a jokester, raised his hand. Brother sighed. ” yes, Baldwin?”
“You are lord of this town right?”
” then you are Thane Berengar, or Emerson, Lord of Northwich?”
“Then we can correctly call you
Lord Northwich, Witch of the North, Right?”
Emerson shook his head. The men laughed, giving sidelong glances at Emerson to ensure the joke was funny to him.
“You silly redhead”, Brother replied. ” you know what you have to look forward to?”
Baldwin Mailer was wary. “No sir.”
“Getting old and grey!”
There was some grumbling about the work, but it was obvious that in general, and armed town would be beneficial, and a group pequin hunt would be an adventure.
Niles the cobbler had a question. ” Emerson, how do you find a pequin?”
Emerson replied. ” we use one of our livestock, like a sheep as bait in a wooden cage. Pequin feed off of fear. Sheep do not like to be alone and get stressed from it. I guarantee you, if we wait, there will be so many pequin trying to get in the enclosure we will have more than enough to hunt.
Jeptha was furious, which amused a few because he was holding a kitten.
” BEAST DOES NOT LIKE SCARED SHEEP, BROTHER! NO!”
Emerson was startled. “why Jeptha, how else do you hunt pequin?”
“I WILL SMELL THEM FOR YOU AND LEAD THE WAY. NO SCARED ANIMALS!”