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Fantasy Guide to Carriages, Coaches and Vehicles

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Your nobles are ready for the ball and your adventurers are ready to go off in their quest. But how to get there in style rather than run off on horseback? You may need to hitch a ride in these bitchin’ vehicles.

Cart/Wain/Wagon

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The cart is an open, flat wheeled vehicle that usually transports people and goods. The cart would be used by the commons, escpecially those travelling with goods such as wares to sell in markets. The cart would also be used by nobility and royalty as well to carry their trunks and chests. The cart would be horse-drawn or even people-driven.

Carriage

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The carriage is a private vehicle that is horse-drawn. Commoners could hire them like public transport to get to long distance locations but these were often shared. Carriage were not always comfortable as they were set on leather straps or strings which can sometimes jostle the occupier. Queen Elizabeth II complained that her carriage for her coronation made for a bumpy ride because of this.

Coach

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A coach is a closed-in four-wheeled carriage drawn by horses. The coach was usually driven by a coachman accompanied by footmen to open and close the doors. Coaches could be hired within cities but grand ones were a status symbol. The more horses that took to pull it, the richer you were because the greater the expense of keeping them. Mistresses in the Baroque period often showed off to each other by driving their coaches up and down before the houses of rivals. (of course when one did to Nell Gwyn, she responded by driving a mile cart up and down the rival mistress’s house yelling ‘whores to the market!’

Tanga

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The tanga is an Indian horse drawn carriage set on two large wheels. The passengers would sit in the rear while the driver sits up front. A canopy would be draped over the passengers to shield them from the sun.

Troika

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The troika is a Russian sleigh pulled by three horses harnessed abreast. The three horses each have a different gait: the middle horse trots while the side horses canter. The troika became a status symbol during the later years of the Imperial years of the Russian Empire. The troika was often hung with bells to warn people of its coming.

Barouche

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The barouche is an open carriage drawn by two horses and set on four wheels. Four passengers could be seated with within it two facing the horses and two face the rear. A roof could be drawn up over the passengers to protect them from vad weather.

Buggy

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A buggy is a horse-drawn carriage able to bear two passengers and set on two wheels. The buggy had a folded roof and was often driven by one of the passengers. It was used as an informal vehicle for the rich for going about the country and the poorer just it for travelling long distances.

Berline

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The Berline is probably the first thing one thinks of when thinking of a carriage. It was a covered four-wheeled vehicle usually drawn by two of more horses. The driver would be seated outside while the passangers sat with.

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What is in my heart, if not the desire for home? Undoubtedly, I pray for a fixed place in the world like the stars in the sky and the stones within the earth. His question rings in my ears, tolling like the groan of the bronze bells of the island fastness where once I been loved. What do you do now?
The challenge in his eyes is clear cut as diamonds on jeweller’s cloth, the edge to his words almost rattling like a coin upon a table. What are you willing to do? How far are you willing to go to?

-Extract from Val 7, BOOK 9 of The Thirteen Kingdoms series

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I would definitely recommend it but only to some extent because you don’t want to overcrowd your plot with soo many subplots which will make things much more difficult, complicated and sometimes confusing. Like, you should give your side characters a bit of a story of course on how and why they became friends with your main, or why does your character have that personality now. Maybe even how did they help the main grow but also, how did the main character help the side character grow in a sense? Make them bounce off of each other and don’t make your side character be there just for the sake of being there. Give them a bit more depth. Never make them static, because then the reader would just look at that character and go “why are they even here.” So yeah, you can give them an arc and a story but make sure you tie it well to the main plot and that it doesn’t necessarily derail things. Like make sure it goes with the flow of the story. Ahah I hope this made sense

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Fantasy Guide to the Medieval Household (The noble family)

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*I may have sang that in the Addams family theme*

I often get asked what goes down in the noble household of a lord, an Earl or a Duke & how the family unit usually worked. So I have decided to compile everything one needs to know in this guide. If you are looking for the description of the actual house of the family or the jobs of their servants, check these links.

The Lord/Title Holder

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So the Lord (or insert any noble title & insert other genders, its really that simple) is the head of the estate as well as the household & family unit. They were in charge of hearing the troubles of the tenants either local or from afar depending on the severity of the case being heard and the size of the lands ruled by the lord. They would adjudicate criminal and civil matters. They would also meet with the alderman and other servants of both the household and estate such as their Marshall and steward to oversee the accounts and protection matters of the land. Their main role within the family unit is a decision maker and  a driving force. Nothing gets said nor done without their permission or at least their knowledge of it.

The Lady/Consort

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Again, insert other titles & genders. The lady or Consort was usually involved in the running of the household. They would have their finger on the pulse of the house, and expected to be on top of all the goings on within the household, such as knowing the expenses, the stock of supplies and the welfare of the servants. The Consort basically works as the manager of the actual home, with the servants communicating with them or the steward. They will also be heavily involved with the poor of the region, heading charities. The Consort would also act as an ambassador of mercy, preaching mercy and forgiveness on behalf of criminals to their spouse who would be judging their case.

Children

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The children of the household lead relatively similar lives in their early years. Before puberty, children would grow up in the nursery. Babies would be given around the clock care, cared by wet nurses, rockers and a governess. Older children when about five, will begin their lessons with their tutors. When about ten or so, they to emerge in the household, trained by the Consort in how to run a household, the Lord on how lands should be ruled, how to fight from the master at arms and how to comport themselves in a mannerly way by their dancing master. They would also share their lessons with foster children known as wards (noble children taken in to be schooled by the Lord) & sometimes are sent to other nobility to be fostered. Thus tightened relations between nobles as well as provided the child with education. Teenagers would usually begin to be used as pawns in the marriage game about now but were rarely married young as some fantasy works suggest, most nobles would be married by the time they were 20. During their teen years their parents would begin to look for a spouse for them, they will usually begin to enter the society at this point, going to court and entering royal service.

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