Lady knights of The Order of Belfry, by MJ Barros and Barbara Perez
“An unwavering resolve can speak for someone before they utter a single word.”
—Vera Provost, Grand Mistress of the Order of Belfry
So I’m back! My moving-induced hiatus is officially over (I hope). Thanks for bearing with me these past few months, folks! And huge thanks and eHugs to the amazing MJ Barros for her wonderful commissions for my novel, providing badly needed filler. Out of thanks, I’ve decided to step off of my sabbatical with an analysis and signal boost for MJ and Barbara’s lovely lady-knights comic, The Order of Belfry.
‘Twas MJ’s lady-knight artwork that first drew me to her comic and characters several months ago. I don’t discuss it much on this blog, but over the past several years I’ve found I really enjoy well-written female/ female romances in any genre of storytelling. While I’ve occasionally (though not often enough) seen art or stories of lady knights who romance princesses, tavern girls, noblewomen, farmers’ daughters, and similar character types normally romanced by male knights, MJ is the first I’ve seen depict lady knights who romance other lady knights. Combine lady-love with Medieval action/ adventure fantasy and a secret order of women knights and it’s not a story I can resist.
And rather than sexualize their lovely, lesbian knights, MJ and Barbara gave all of them smart, practical chain-mail and partial-plate armor. All of the Belfry ladies wear excellent medium- or heavy-armor equally fitting for infantry or cavalry fighting. As much as I’d love to discuss all seven awesome ladies and their awesome armors, I felt it best to focus on the protagonist Idina Rotvel and her mentor Adelaide Leclair.
The lovely Princess Idina sports an excellent layered ensemble, effective for traveling or medium infantry- or cavalry-action. Our heroine’s primary protection is a shirt of basic chain mail, highly resilient against most weapons and effective for pretty much any role on the battlefield or in an adventuring party. Currently discarded, her helmet keeps her pretty head protected in the thick of combat. Though perhaps a bit cumbersome for combat, her highness’s cloak is large and thick for traveling in any kind of weather. Her initiate’s surcoat serves a similar purpose of protecting Idina’s armor and person from rain and weather.
Idina’s leather gloves are light and flexible for unhindered swordplay. She wears simple hose and light leather shoes for riding or running. Lastly she carries a longsword for light or heavy combat. On the battlefield, our golden-haired heroine is well equipped for light- and medium-combat roles, such as skirmishing or flanking, whether on foot or horseback. While the lack of leg protection keeps her light on her feet, Idina would be at a disadvantage in a line-holding or line-breaking role.
A full knight of the Order, Adelaide wears heavier armor than Idina, and is thus better suited for heavier combat roles in the field. Chain armor absorbs most blows to our knight’s torso, while plated spaulders protect her shoulders from high hits and disabling attacks. Like her apprentice, Adelaide bears a heavy traveling cloak that she’ll probably want to discard when the heavy fighting starts. Her surcoat designates her as a knight of Belfry and keeps her armor safe from rain, wind, and sun.
Adelaide’s gauntlets protect her hands during heavy swordplay—or when punching enemy infantry or decking impertinent tavern goers. Similarly, she wears plated boots to keep her legs safe when riding or holding the line. Adel also carries a longer sword for heavier combat. I feel like our knight is set up for a heavier combat role than her companion, more suited for the mainline infantry combat or for heavy-cavalry charges. The leg protection in particular should help Adelaide maintain a solid fighting stance when holding the line or throwing her weight around in a formation-breaking charge.
To be honest, I’m not sure what the Order’s overall mission profile is at this point in the story. They may function like infiltrators or commandos, causing trouble behind enemy lines. Or they may operate as bodyguards, escorting high-profile personnel through contested territory. Or they may fight as auxiliary infantry or cavalry in their allies’ armies. Or all of the above. Their armor types certainly function for any of these roles.
Anyway, it feels good to be back at this. Huge thanks to MJ and Barbara for the use of their lady knights. Feel free to check out more of MJ’s comic and character art in her portfolio as well as comic updates on Barbara and MJ’s Tumblr. As always, huge thanks for reading folks, and for bearing with me during my move. Take care and stay awesome!