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Armor at the Dragon


A lot of people think that I wear this stuff all the time. Not true. Just not true. I only wear it on Tuesday nights when I go out with the guys. I spend a lot of Tuesday afternoon getting into it, that's for sure. Bobby has to help out. I think the little guy actually likes it. Hoisting the breastplate up to my chest; polishing the tiny scuffs out of it; admiring his own image in the curve of the shoulder guard before he fastens it to the lower elbow piece.

All in, it weighs about 80 pounds. In the summer it's roasting hot inside. In the winter, it starts off freezing cold to the touch. But once I get moving around in there, it warms, and then it's nice and cozy. Maybe a little too sweaty even in the snow, but I don't mind so much.

So we go down to Dragon Lounge on Low Street and get ourselves some pints of ale. Maria, she's super sweet. She owns the place and is a big fan of the local Finder-hoe team, The Shields of Andor. Yeah. Maria. Pours a nice handle of ale from her tap. I think she gets it from a guy just outside the city walls. Brews with his seven sons.

The Dragon Lounge isn't really a showy place, and we all like that. Louie, well, he says that we should be going to this fancier, up-market place called the Perfumed Grape. And he typically expresses this loudly after gladly consuming about three or four handles. We give him a real hard time. Simon hits him with the butt end of his sword, tells him to "sit your arse down." Which gets us all laughing, even Maria.

I don't know how to say it other than that we wear the armor ironically. Or wait. Maybe not ironically. We just don't wear it for its intended purpose. None of us is into bloodsport. We admire art is all. And the Perfumed Grape is where all those super macho blood-lusty dudes from the Academy end up hanging. Even on Tuesdays when me and the guys are at the Dragon listening to Maria talk about 1382 Andor team (the dervish dozen!)

"What a team they were," she says, spitting into a copper cup. "Scored thirty in the first period against Blindenhall without even losing a man. Solid folks. Great at the game, that's it."

And we nod and wish that we'd of been there.

"Was you actually," Kelvin starts, but then his visor slams shuts and all we can hear is "mmm mmmmmm mmmm."

"You damn idiot," Winston moans. And starts unscrewing Kelvin's helmet from the neck plate. "We can't hear a thing. Get it off."

"You lads," Maria says. "You're welcome here any time. Any time." And she pours us little half serves of Hrutsnuff, which she gets from a norseman who comes to town once a year. We take those down and the fire fills us up.