Over the course of history, a wide array of weapons and armour found its way into the arsenals of the Selkie. This article should give an overview of the individual weapons used by Selkie during the Dark Ages , beyond and up to this day by the Younger Militia and the Marcach, as well as traditionally by the Selkie.
This section follows the definitions of weapons as issued by the Armory of the Marcach-Guild.
Of ranged weapons, Selkie prefer to this day composite bows, known as the bogha in Selkie. They are usually held together by birdlime, which is waterproof, but Selkie-Archers always preferred to play it safe with their bows and keep them in leather cases, usually carried at the hip. Arrows are usually colour-coordinated for convinience, with the fletching's colouring being the identifier:
- Red and black for Bodkin Arrows.
- Blue for barbed broadheads, designed to rip deep and bleeding wounds.
- Brown for Rope-Cutters.
- Scarlet for flaming arrows.
- Yellow for sounding arrows.
- Pink for boom-arrows.
Also in use, especially with the City Militias, are crossbows, known as crosbhogha.
Worth mentioning is the tabhall, a type of sling, which is to this day especially far spread amongst herdsmen in the more rainy areas, where the use of composite bows is impossible due to the weather. Mounted and unmounted slingers amongst the herdsmen use these to defend against predators and thieves, as well as to herd, but also used them in war (and sometimes do to this day). Enough time to train is there as well.
Another important weapon was the crossbow, crosbhogha in Selkie, which was brought to the Selkie by the Crusaders of the late 13th century. Reverse-Engineering that potent weapon became a top priority of many cities and towns, . Although there are enough evidence of the presence of ballista-like weapons and scorpions reaching as far back as the 1st century, miniaturizing these weapons apparently never came to anyones mind.
FirearmsWith the arrival of gunpowder in the Lands of the Selkie over the course of the 14th century (1310, Siege of Caisleán, is the first recorded use), the face of ranged warfare changed. The Selkie called these weapons toirneach, which means something along the lines of thunder.
From the late 16th to the early 17th centuries, the Selkie developed and produced their own muskets, the most famous being the Muscaedi deGabha from 1639. Over the next centuries, until 1853, they were produced in several generations, quickly becoming the go-to tool of work for Selkie-Mercenaries for well over two centuries, until the introduction of breech-loading and percussion cap firearms.
Only few units of the Younger Militias use firearms these days, mostly for ceremonial purposes.
Swords and Daggers
Daggers are defines by the Marcach Guild as bladed weapons up to 0.5 metres in total length, usually used for stabbing. It is tradition for a child hitting a certain mark in its development, or with the approval of the parents, or at a certain time, to receive a dagger as a sign of growing up, and getting lessons in using them. Usually, this is in the fourth Spring. Every Selkie carries at least two daggers on the person all the time, unless manners do not permit to, for example when announcing to be unarmed or in a temple or sacred grove, but the most important lesson is when to draw the dagger and when not to.
Short Swords are defined by the Marcach Guild as between 0.5 and 0.9 metres in length, usually with a crossguard, the blade being three quarters of the length minimum with the blade being sharpened on both sides.Long Swords are usually used for stabbing and cutting, 0.9 to 1.4 metres in total length, usually with a crossguard and sharpened on both sides. The minimum for the blade is three quarters of the total length. One under-category of them is the Claíleath, the broadsword.
Two-Handed Swords are uncommon, but usually used for cutting, but also capable at stabbing, with a minimum length of 1.4 metres. Usually equipped with a crossguard, the blade's minimum is three quarters of its total length and has to be sharpened on both sides.
Piercing Swords are usually made for thrusting, 0.5 to 1 metre in length and usually have either a crossguard or a bell guard. Their blades are narrow for armour piercing.
Sabres, the result of Selkie-Mercenaries meeting them in Kyrenaia, usually follow the same typing as Kyrenaian Sabres, except for the Type 5 or Dagger Sabres, which are categorized as daggers.
Usually used for cutting, one edge, sometimes wide, no length-limitations.
Short Pikes or Partisans
The bileog is a weapon mostly used nowadays by the Children of the Younger Militia, basically a militerized billhook from the farm.
Inflicting blunt-force traumas
Axes were rather uncommon as weapons of war since the 10th century, after the Bodmin-Battleaxe fell out of favour. The Children of the Great Woods made great use of them and so did the Tribe of Tralee. The Axemaidens of Gavida, to this day, swear by the axe, though.
An area, where axes could be found quite often, was as a weapon of sailors, Cadets of the Naval School carrying short axes to this day with their parade uniforms.
The Classical Selkie-Armour
Selkie Warriors wore a variety of armour during history, with a long development process preceeding the armour, which is nowadays worn by Marcach and Selkie-Horsemen. Advances in metallurgy and tactics, as well as what would nowadays be termed operational procedures, and the Fall of the High Kings, led from the Selkie Scale Armour of the Dark Ages to, with a few steps inbetween, the Classical Selkie-Armour.
The Horseman's Armour - CathéideThe Selkie Horseman was always protected by an armour adapted to and from his situation and standing.
The classical armour, however, worn to this day, prevailed through most of the Dark Ages, a testament to the Selkies' preference of reliability, versatility and speed over heavy armour. While the graphic to the right shows and explains the important bits and pieces, they are only the end result of a long, ardous development process, a race between armourmakers and blacksmiths.
As to the Selkie an infantryman was a horseman without a horse, they wore very similar armour and protection, while some cities and towns preferred mail at different points in time for their Younger Militia, soon coming around.
The higher ranking the warrior, the less often he was found wearing a helmet - quite illogical for foreigners, but for Selkie, it made more then just sense, mainly due to honour and dignity: A helmet meant concealing the own identity and was thus less honourable, not directly dishonourable, then fighting showing the own face. It also had an impact on the soldier's morale.
Researchers have, based on the data and specimens available, classified the helmets used by the Selkie in the following categories:
- Ceannródaí, or Pioneer Style: Characterized by the conical form with the shape of the head, following it into a point, the Pioneer Style Helmet was worn mostly in the Early Dark Ages and later not by mainline combat troops but as an inheritance by smaller militias or pioneers, hence the name, these cheap helmets were made more effective by a pair of cheek flaps, usually of leather, that protected the cheeks.
- Gaosáin, or Nasal Style: Following a similar method of construction then the earlier Pioneer Style Helmets, were conical helmets as well, raised from a single sheet of metal to produce a skull, which was added to by a Nasal, a piece of metal protecting the face and making the wearer unrecognizeable. A leather hood was usually worn under it in an attempt to make wearing these helmets more comfortable.
- Citeal, or Kettle Style: Spread over the Free Lands, mostly on the heads of infantry including the Militia's Pikemen, the Citeal basicall resembles a kettle with a wide brim, which protected against blows from above and from sunlight. The first steel helmets adopted by the SDF resembled these helmets.
- Bairéad, or Cap Style: Worn during the entirety of the Dark Ages, the Cap Style Helmet was exactly that: A cap, usually of iron or leather, worn by the lowest social classes and bandits, hence their other name, namely bandit cap.
- Cuircín, or Comb Style: Characterized by a steel skull with a fixed peak and the namesake, integral comb running from front to rear, this helmet came into fashion in the late Dark Ages, around the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th. Attached to the skull are fixed cheekpieces, which do not meet. A flange protects the back of the neck and sometimes the sides as well. To this day, the Cuircín is one of the most favoured helmets of the Marcach.
- Gliomach, or Lobster Style: Brought back by Mercenaries in Kyrenaian Services, these helmets with a rounded skull-piece were characteristic for Selkie Horsemen in the 16th and 17th centuries. Depending on the skills of the manufacturer, they were either two halves joined together by a comb or one singular piece. Characteristic for these helmets are the cheek-pieces, usually hanging by leather straps and rarely hinged, a fixed forward-projecting peak and a sliding nasal bar retained by a large screw - namesake, however, are the laminated defense protecting the back of the head and the neck, resembling the tail of a lobster. The Giomach is the successor of the Cuircín.
To this day, Selkie prefer their half-cuirasses over a gambeson, rarely adding anything more then pauldrons to it.
The term half-cuirass refers to the armour only protecting the thorax and not the abdomen, which was responsibility of the gambeson and which allowed for a wide range of movement for the horseman, as well as saving weight and increasing wearing comfort.
Sculpted armour, especially with pronounced chests of both genders, was rarely worn into battle, being parade pieces and both designed and employed as such.
Selkie did not produce much in the ways of chainmail and those found in warrior graves usually stem from the Crusade, loot grabbed off of dead enemy soldiers.
Full Selkie-Plate ArmourPlate Armour was not something the Selkie preferred, mostly due to the Plate being heavy, expensive and perceived as cumbersome, but after the Crusade, it became apparent for the Captain of the Lancemaidens, that Rhiannon's Beasts were nice and dandy, but that they could have a bit more shock value.
The first plate armours smithed by the Selkie actually go back into mythical times, mythical heroes and Gods sometimes being described as "dressed in Plates of Iron and Bronze". For example Carman Fea is described as such multiple times. The first archaeological evidence is from the Grave of the King of Reilig, dated to the 6th century BCE, the plate armour of iron being mostly interpreted as a showpiece. Gwen Beapa of Monaghan's Descent was known to wear something approaching Full Plate.
The development trudged along, with the return of smaller plates worn over padded armour and similar armours by the 10th century. Lamellar Armour was also in widespread use, especially with mercenaries working in Kyrenaia.
By the 18th century, the Full-Plate was mostly relegated to ceremonial duties. One example would be the Cosantóirí Theampall an Chorn. With the increasing prevalence of gunpowder, the Full Selkie-Plate fell out of favour,
Horse Armour/BardingHorse Armour, or Barding, was not uncommon amongst the Selkie, especially in the later Dark Ages, but required both a special breed of horse to wear it and a lot of money, much like the plate armour.
- Military History of the Selkie in the Age of the High Kings.
- Equipment of the SDF, for the equipment of the modern armed forces, the SDF.
- Selkie-Castles for the fortified positions of the Dark Ages.