I set aside this section to post the story I was originally going to just edit. As you can see from the other posts, and to quote The Princess Bride, “Is too much….”
Instead I will be completely rewriting the story. There are a few items from my original “bible” I will keep. I still intend for my heroine to be a middle aged woman who has lost her family in a plague and so moves on to discover her hero’s quest. I still intend to have that hero’s quest include a rediscovery of a woman-centric spirituality that includes telepathic, telekinetic and teleporting abilities. I still intend for her travels to include other “outsiders” who are considered dangerous if for no other reason than they, too, have lost and thus must be “cursed.”
I am writing because, as Toni Morrison said,”If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
I have seen back in the day books and worlds similar to my own – Darkover and Dernyi come to mind – but nothing recent soothed my desire for a hero who was female – and my age. I grew up, so my heroine needs to as well. Let me know if there is something in particular you would not mind me including – if I can, I sure will.
Last week I mentioned that I discovered how difficult it is to use tanning as a craft for someone who travels from place to place. I began to research other male dominated crafts I could still my lassie into.
In the process, I remembered how smelly I implied tanning is. I suppose I could go a different direction. Instead of making her a part of a male dominated craft, I could just stay with a smelly one. The idea would be that she assists the guards and soldiers stations at various forts and garrisons with their laundry. After all, the only source of “bleach” in the middle ages was urine, and it took three weeks to reduce to ammonia. As Ruth Goodman would say, “It would honk to high heaven,” to have to keep a collection of it in her wagon while she moved from spot to spot.
Oh, how my imagination runs wild. I am not sure my own imaginary nose would forgive me that craft.
So, once again, being a city bred 21st century gal, my inexperience showed. See, i had set up one of the crafters as a tanner.
Here is a little snippet to set the stage:
“Kiera followed his gaze to her right and saw another small clearing pushing deeper into the forest. “Is that near the bath house?’
He laughed. “As a matter of fact, it is. The stream is over that way, so it is easier to keep the water running to and from it. But do check to be sure Kaitlin isn’t working before you bathe. Have you smelled tanning work? Whew!”
“That be enough of that. My tanning be keeping you in clover this fortnight and don’t you be forgetting it.” A petite blond who didn’t look strong enough for her chosen vocation stepped out from the crowd of gawkers.”
Then, during the Edwardian Farm, Peter Ginn goes to learn about tanning.
While the majority of it seems to fit my story, the big issue is how long it takes to cure. It’s gonna be right difficult to travel from place to place while curing hides that require a year to set!
I recall the many stories that used a horse as a companion or a character and had thought to do the same. In researching our equine friends, however, I realized there is some clang going on in my brain.
Let me try to explain.
Have you ever thought about how much a horse can carry comfortably? I wondered. After all, movies and novels imply there is no limit. Picture the poor beasts covered in mail carrying a full grow knight dressed in plate. Not counting the tack, that’s a lot of weight!
According to horsesciencenews.com, horses can experience damage if carrying more than 30% of its weight, and are probably better suited to carry 20%. That means a pony that weighs 800 pound can carry no more than 160, and a 1200 pound charger should be limited to 240 pounds.
Livescience.com tells me a full suit of plate armor weighs about 110 pounds. Other sites prefer an estimate of 45- 55 pounds. That leaves 130- 185 pounds for rider and tack.
Going a different direction, let’s say a character needs to travel four or five days to a new location. Using an average nag that most commoners may have been using as a farm horse, we can put the horse’s weight at 1000 pounds – between the size of a pony and a charger. It also makes the math easier since the horse can then carry 200 pounds.
Now remember, the tack weighs 25 pounds. Let’s say the rider weighs 145 pounds (mid range for someone 5’7″). That leaves 30 pounds before reaching ideal carry weight to pack food, clothes, cooking tackle and horse care items like a hoof pick and curry brush.