Tales From The Park-Side is a series of horrific short stories inspired by places and artifacts that can be found inside a certain little theme park in central Florida. These stories are written by members of the Orlando area entertainment and theme park industry and were curated by Audrey Brown-Willaims.
by Ryan Gigliotti
"It's a fake."
The driver slid the wooden crate the last fifteen feet to the hotel's delivery entrance; a noisy, scraping, splintering procedure that he didn't seem to notice. He talked to no one in particular. "I thought it was maybe interesting, a knight suit or something. The dealer said it was from Joan of Arc, and I was excited, 'cause I've seen that movie. But it's from a movie, so it's not really real or anything. Kinda disappointing."
The hotel's clerk said nothing, putting a check next to the Suit of Armor line on the collections list. It would be displayed in the front window, behind that accursed cat statue.
"It looks authentic, doesn't it?" Props wheeled the metal-plated mannequin into the costume department. "But it's not. An Englishman sold it to us, said his grandfather had it made for a costume party back in the day. It's not really medieval; less than a hundred years old. I thought we could put Joan in it, or one of the guys with her." Costuming shrugged. The armor cut an impressive figure, the steel fluted in the Gothic style, but not ostentatious. It was a flat grey color, like a galvanized nail. This was good, it wouldn't throw light around in a weird way once the cameras were rolling. But this was a complete suit, covering nearly every inch of a body in plate steel. Though the armor was well articulated, a glamorous Hollywood actress would not be able to move freely or quickly.
Props was a little disappointed when the armor ended up on an extra but was pleased to see it did get a lot of screen time, passing through backgrounds or framing plenty of shots. The extra was a strong young woman using the helmet to hide her features. The movie was about Joan of Arc and it didn't need Mary of Burbank stealing focus.
"Eglinton's armor is resplendent! This is... not." Sir Francis was disappointed. A theatrical prop. Nearly forty of Francis's peers had commissioned replica suits for the Eglinton Tournament of 1839 to serve them in the joust and melee. Eglinton was determined to reinvigorate an age of chivalry some 400 years past, or a least put on a show of it for fashionable society.
Sir Francis had been unable to afford a custom suit of replica armor, but he was promised an impressive harness his uncle stored in the attic. When the box was delivered, it was marked from an auction house in South London. Inside the box was the flat grey armor, and a single ancient sheet of paper with the words "offstage left Henry VI ~ Joan" in the script. He would have his valet spread rumors of the great cost of this particular suit custom made to look so antiqued.
"Take this ungreased pie tin from my sight. I'm the bloody king, not a stove."
Ned was making a scene as usual. He wasn't actually a king but would play Henry VI in this latest piece for the Admiral's Men. And in his own estimation, he was King.
The armor was dingy. Ned was correct, it was not flashy enough for a royal character. But it would make a fine set for Joan la Pucelle, perhaps up to the task of a solid blow or two in a dramatic fight scene.
Two solid blows hit simultaneously, both spears shattering without piercing the thick breastplate. The Maid of Orleans roared and struck back, ending one of her assailants. The other, now disarmed, grabbed her from behind, holding her just long enough for another soldier, then another, and another to pile on. She was driven to the ground, into the mud, before she could recover. She was captured and relieved of her armaments.
In the chaotic aftermath of the battle, her sword was given as a trophy to a commander who would be forgotten to history. Her pennant was kept and later tossed on her pyre. Her armor... no one kept track of.
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