Heroic & Dark Fantasy and Science Fiction Character created by Kevin L. O'Brien
ne of Kevin L. O'Brien's goals is to have graphic portraits made of all of his characters, but in particular Medb hErenn. To that end, he has and will continue to commission portraits of her, as well as start commissioning portraits of her companions, friends, associates, and enemies.
We encourage any artist who would like to be considered for a commission to contact us. Send us a URL to a gallery of your work. If you do not have an online gallery, request an email address you can use to send us samples of your work as attachments.
However, you do not have to wait for a commission to create a portrait. Just follow the guidelines below and then contact us for an email address. If we like your piece, we will add it to the graphic portrait page along with a citation, a link to your gallery site if any any, and a description of you and your work.
What we want to see is your interpretation of the character you choose to portray. Descriptions of most characters can be found on the pages that describe Medb's companions, friends, associates, and enemies. However, the works that will have the best chance of appearing on the site will be those that adhere closely to the descriptions. In other words, given the descriptions on the site, we want to see what the characters looks like to you, rather than how you would envision the characters had you created them.
The same is true of portraits of Medb hErenn, however, in her case there are a number of details that must be exact, since her identity as a unique character depends upon them. These details are given below.
Medb is described in the stories as a massive woman. She stands 200 centimeters (cm) tall, give or take a few millimeters; that translates into a little more than six and a half feet (six feet six and three-quarters inches). In contrast, the average Anglo-American woman stands about 165 cm tall, or five and two-fifths feet (five feet five inches). Additionally, her body is some 15% larger than the average. The size comparison chart below shows how Medb would look compared to an average woman. Note that this is not meant to show how Medb actually looks; rather, it shows how much larger Medb's body is than the that of the average woman. Use this for size comparison, not as a basis for your portrait.
Weight is a bit problematic. For one thing, it isn't necessary to state an exact value for Medb's weight in the stories. A description of her body shape is sufficient to convey the impression of her mass. For another, there is no simple way to calculate a weight using height and body shape. The closest formula we have is for the Body Mass Index (BMI). Though technically the formula is meant to calculate the BMI for an individual knowing the weight and height, like any equation it can be rearranged to calculate either height or weight knowing one and using a particular BMI. For example, if a woman 165 cm tall has a BMI of 20, her weight would be 54.5 kilograms (kg), or 120 pounds, while a woman with the same BMI who is 200 cm tall would weigh 80 kg or 176 pounds.
Unfortunately, 80 kg doesn't seem nearly large enough to constitute a massive woman, yet the only option is to increase the BMI value into that of the overweight or obese range, which would contradict her description as being muscular. However, medical professionals have acknowledged that the BMI has limitations. The most important for our purposes is that it does not take into account body build. Three people of identical heights can nonetheless have different weights if one has an average build, one has a slender build, and one a heavier build. Theoretically, all three people would be part of the "normal" weight category, yet the BMI could class the slender person as underweight and the heavier person as overweight. A case in point would be that of Terry Gene Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan. During his wrestling career, he was billed as being 200 cm tall and weighing 137 kg (302 pounds). Using the standard BMI formula, that would give him a value of 34, which would classify him as obese, yet it would be difficult to justify the claim that he really is medically obese.
The reason for this discrepancy is that the BMI was developed to determine a person's ideal weight for a given height, not build. Using classical models of weight-to-height relationships, weight increases as the cube of the height, yet the BMI formula uses the square of the height. If we were to cube the height as would seem natural, Hulk Hogan's BMI would be reduced to 17, which would make him underweight! In reality, most tall people, even Hogan, are not simply scaled-up versions of shorter people. They tend to have narrower builds in proportion to their heights. Some researchers have suggested that a more realistic exponent would be 2.6 rather than 2 or 3. Using this, Hogan's BMI would now be 22, right in the middle of the normal range.
Using this, we can calculate a weight for Medb: for a BMI of 22, her weight would be 133 kg; 293 pounds. However, unlike Hogan, Medb is a scaled-up version of an average woman; in fact, she is somewhat bigger. Hence, an exponent of 3 would be appropriate in this case. That would give her a weight of 176 kg, or 388 pounds. We would even be justified in increasing the size of the exponent, since Medb is larger than a scaled-up person. While exponents do not scale like integers, as a first approximation we could increase 3 by 15%, which would be 3.53. This would give a weight of 254 kg, or 560 pounds. These calculation then give us an upper and lower limit to Medb's weight, between 300 and 500 pounds. Since her actual weight would most likely fall within the lower half of this range, a guesstimate of 375 to 400 pounds does not seem unreasonable.
Despite this high weight, the assumed BMI of 22 would indicate that she should look fairly normal for her height, if somewhat on the beefy side, as the size comparison chart indicates. She has the standard hourglass figure, with wide shoulders, bust, and hips, but a narrow waist. Her extra mass makes her voluptuous, with large, firm, well-rounded breasts and buttocks; both are held erect because the of the strong underlying muscles. She also has thick arms and thighs, a hard flat stomach, and muscular shoulders and back. As a final note, we will not attempt to estimate her bra cup size. Her breasts are large, but not humongous. They are globular rather than conical, they sit high on her chest, and they are firm enough not to need the support of a brassiere. As with all her physical features, they are proportional to her height and build, but somewhat larger.
The human face is basically egg-shaped, with the forehead being the broad rounded end and the chin the narrower pointed end. This shape can accommodate a wide degree of variation, from round to block-shaped to oval. Medb's face is somewhat oval and is longer than average; it is also longer than it is wide. This makes her features angular and sharp, which in turn makes her more handsome than beautiful. Her cheekbones are the widest part of her face, but the overall length and narrowness of her face makes them pointed. This also produces a triangular jaw with a pointed chin. The corners of her eyes are pointed and her eyebrows are sharp and straight. Her nose is slim and triangular, straight, long, and pointed, not heavy and hooked like a Roman or hawk nose.
Her hair is full-bodied, but straight. It isn't wavy, it doesn't billow, and it lays fairly flat. A good role model would be Cher during her early career. From the back, it can resemble a veil or wimple. Generally, her hair style is very simple. She wears it long, down to her waist. She wears it loose, except for two braids that hang from either side of her head off the temples. The braids hang down the front of her body to her waist. In front, it falls over her forehead in two layers. The over layer is divided in half, with each half gathered off to the side to help form the braids. The under layer is a set of bangs that hang down to just above her eyebrows.
This is her preferred style, however, she has adopted other hair styles when cultural or environmental conditions demand it. For example, in a weightless or low gravity environment, she can wear it shoulder length or in a pageboy, often done up in multiple braids or cornrows. In a hot and extremely humid environment, she can reduce it to a crew cut or even shave her head entirely. Alternatively, she has worn her hair in elaborate or unusual styles to better interact with indigenous persons. In essence, like makeup, clothing, and weapons, she has a preferred hair style, but she will change it as she needs to to make life more comfortable for her.
Medb's skin is the color of adobe mud, with a smooth flawless complexion. Her eyes are emerald green and are described as hard and cold. Her hair is the color of bronze, with gold tingeing and highlights. She wears little makeup, however, she paints her eyebrows jet black, her lips scarlet, and her fingernails crimson. As with her hair style, however, she has worn other forms of makeup under special cultural or environmental conditions. For example, she will apply grease to her face and exposed skin to protect it from extremely cold weather. As well, in societies that use body paint or tattoos to establish identity, she has decorated her body with local designs, knowing that her body will breakdown and absorb inks and dyes in a few years.
Medb wears only four different types of decorative items. She almost never wears rings or necklaces or such except under very special circumstances.
Her primary item is a torc, a neckring that is open at the throat. It is thick and heavy, made of solid yellow gold rods twisted around themselves. The ends are capped with large, raw, uncut rubies. She almost never takes it off, not even to sleep, bathe, or have sex. The torc was the symbol of Fir Bholg aristocracy, but was also adopted by the Hibernians and the Gaels. It is one of the two foci she uses to channel magical energy to power her sorcery.
Next she has a solid metal headband, similar to a diadem or a thin circlet, except that it is plain and undecorated. She wears it over her hair, to help hold it in place. Though primarily made of findruine (silvered-bronze), she also has headbands made of copper and silver. Though she is never without one, she will remove it when bathing, especially when she washes her hair, and when having sex. The headband was the symbol of Tuathe Dé Danann aristocracy. This is the second foci she uses for sorcery.
She secures her cloak with brooches. She has a large number representing a wide variety of designs and decorative styles, made out of bronze, copper, silver, and red gold. She wears one only when she is wearing a cloak.
Finally, she weaves a handful of small yellow gold balls into the tip of each braid.
She has, however, worn jewelry mandated by local cultural norms. Examples include medals and other military honors, tiaras worn by the nobility, rings worn by religious officials, and armlets signifying wealth and status.
We have provided a Color Palette that shows all the colors of Medb's body, makeup, and decorations. To download, simply click on the link, then right click on the image and select Save Image As. You can then save it as an image file on your computer. You can then open it in Photoshop or some other paint or image manipulation program and use the eyedropper tool to sample the colors. If, however, you are unable to download the file, the table below gives the codes for the different colors.
|Skin||#e58863||17 57 90||229 136 99||7 56 64 0||66 34 36|
|Hair (Base)||#b36b24||30 80 70||179 107 36||24 62 100 10||53 26 50|
|Hair (Highlights)||#ffe033||51 80 100||255 224 51||2 8 90 0||90 -1 80|
|Eyes||#3cba66||140 68 73||60 186 102||72 0 82 0||67 -50 32|
|Eyebrows||#262626||0 0 15||38 38 38||71 65 64 69||15 0 0|
|Lips||#ff2400||8 100 100||255 36 0||0 95 100 0||56 77 70|
|Nails||#dc143c||348 91 86||220 20 60||7 100 78 1||48 71 35|
|Gold (Yellow)||#ffd700||51 100 100||255 215 0||1 13 100 0||87 3 87|
|Gold (Red)||#ff7300||27 100 100||255 115 0||0 68 100 0||65 51 74|
|Silver||#c0c0c0||0 0 75||192 192 192||25 20 20 0||78 0 0|
|Findruine||#e5dacf||30 10 90||229 218 207||9 12 16 0||88 3 7|
|Bronze||#cd7f32||30 76 80||205 127 50||17 56 95 3||61 27 53|
|Copper||#d9572b||15 80 85||217 87 43||10 80 97 1||54 50 51|
|Ruby||#e0115f||337 92 88||224 17 95||6 10 45 0||49 74 16|
Unlike hairstyle, makeup, and decoration, Medb is somewhat more flexible with regard to clothing. She still has a preferred fashion, but it has changed through time. However, it should be noted that she is not at all reluctant to be naked. In fact, there are times when she is more comfortable, physically, psychologically, and emotionally, being naked. She prefers to fight in the nude, whether armed or unarmed, and when climatic and social circumstances permit, she prefers nudity for simplicity and ease. Modesty is never a part of her calculation whether to go nude, except when there are social restrictions or taboos in place. Because of this, though, when she goes nude, she is totally naked, with only her torc and headband, and less often a belt and/or shoes. She wouldn't wear the equivalent of a bikini or monokini; what would be the point? If she cannot go completely nude, should rather wear tight-fitting garments or a loose, flowing dress, that do not restrict her movements. As such, portraits of Medb should depict her fully naked or fully clothed, no partial nudity for the sake of fantasy eroticism or to render the image "safe for work". However, this does not apply to portraits showing torn clothing (it happens).
During her early years and her reign as queen, she wore a loose single piece gown with long sleeves and an ankle-length straight flowing skirt. Essentially, it was a tube with attacked sleeves. She would slip it on over her head and tie the shoulders closed with cloth or leather lacings. She would then tie a belt around her waist. When she wanted to take it off, she would just remove the belt, untie the lacings, and let the dress drop to her feet. The color, decoration, and style of the gown was usually understated, but it could vary from very plain and simple to extremely elaborate. The material was generally wool, but could be cotton, linen, silk, or in modern times synthetic polymers. The belt tended to be woven from strips of leather dyed black with a simple bronze buckle for simpler dresses, but could be made of any materials needed to match the more elaborate dresses. Her shoes were loafers, hard-soled for traveling, soft-soled for lounging. As with the belt, their material and style would match that of her gown. She virtually never wore underwear with this dress, not even panties. Overall she would wear a cloak. This virtually never changed throughout her life; in fact, it was as ubiquitous as her torc and headband, in that she would wear one without regard for whether it clashed with her other clothes. However, she did not always wear one. When she did, it would consist of a plain, square piece of cloth that she would drape over her head, then close over one shoulder using a brooch. It was invariably made of wool and dyed charcoal gray with black plaid stripes.
It should be noted that this is the one dress style that she is likely to wear at any time of her life.
During her exile from Ireland, she wore the gown ensemble only during the first few years, or at rare intervals when she encountered a civilization that could make it for her. Otherwise, she tended to wear native dress. She would choose loose-fitting, comfortable styles, or would modify an existing style to suit her needs. She sometimes mixed-and-matched styles, particularly as she transitioned from one style to another, and she sometimes wore styles that were foreign to the culture she was living with, particularly to emphasize her own alienness.
During the time when her mind traveled to other worlds, she wore whatever was available on those worlds. Where she could, she wore the gown ensemble for the sake of simplicity, but that was generally not possible. As during her exile, her main concerns were comfort and freedom of movement, so that she tended to choose either loose, flowing dresses, or tight-fitting suits that were like an extra layer of skin (or as much as the local technology would permit).
During her sojourn in the Dreamlands, she wore her gown ensemble almost exclusively, the only exceptions being clothing given as gifts, or the rare cases when she needed a disguise and could not rely on her magical abilities.
Upon her return to Earth, she alternated between her gown ensemble and the styles of the time and place in which she dwelt. She also alternated between male and female costume, again whatever was the most comfortable and afforded the best freedom of movement, though occasionally she let her vanity dictate her choice.
In the modern world (roughly 1920 to 2100), she began to phase out the gown ensemble, though she still wears it in some fashion on occasion. Instead, she started wearing pantsuits of one design or another, then later various designs of jumpsuits, ski suits, catsuits, unitards, and zentai (without the head cover). Sometimes she would wear a jacket over the one-piece garment, or more usually a cloak. She does, however, wear more elaborate garments on special occasions. For example, her favorite mode of formal evening dress is to wear a man's full evening dress from the waist up — including black tailcoat, white stiff-fronted shirt, white stiff-winged collar, white bow tie, and white low-cut waistcoat — with a black slitted skirt and black calf-high boots with high heels.
In the future, she virtually abandons all other forms of dress for a nanotech bodysuit barely one millimeter thick. It covers her entire body from the base of her jaw to her feet, including her hands where it forms gloves. On her feet, it forms hard-soled, square-toed boots. It adheres to her body so tightly that it forms an extra layer of skin. It has a built-in belt, but no other accessories, not even pockets. It can produce any color, including that of her own skin, thereby giving her the appearance of nudity without her actually being naked. It can process bodily waste and it can act as an emergency spacesuit, producing a transparent helmet to cover her head.
Weapons lie somewhere in between clothing and hairstyle/makeup/decorations with regard to preference, in that she has very specific favorite categories, but within those groups she has been rather eclectic. It is mostly in the area of dislikes where she is adamant. She has never learned to use the bow and arrow, and she has no interest in doing so. She considers firearms to be barbaric, and has virtually never used them, the only exception being pistols under the most extreme circumstances. It should be noted, however, that while on other modern or futuristic worlds, she has used what could be called firearms, such as laser or plasma rifles, blasters, and particle-beam projectors. She does not use weapons designed to enhance the lethality of hand-to-hand combat, such as brass knuckles or tekagi-shuko; if her bare hands are insufficient she prefers to use a knife. However, weapons such as the bagh nakh are borderline. She has used them in gladiatorial-style combat, but not for war or self-defense. She also doesn't use hidden weapons, such as swordsticks, which she considers dishonorable. If she carries weapons, she will bear them out in the open where everyone can see them, rather than hide or disguise them.
Medb carries and uses three general types of weapons: projectile weapons, polearms, and close-quarter weapons. She prefers weapons with reach and killing power, and she especially likes weapons that can act as more than one type.
These would probably be better referred to as throwing weapons, since this category does not include firearms or archery weapons, but it does include other type of weapons that shoot projectiles, and it does not include smaller throwing weapons such as spikes or darts, throwing knives or clubs, or polearms meant to be thrown. It includes any weapon that allows Medb to kill or incapacitate an opponent at long distance.
- Sling — This is her first-favorite projectile weapon. Her preternatural strength makes it possible for her to hurl stones up to three times farther than an arrow shot from a bow, and with greater accuracy and a faster rate of fire. She uses many different types of stones, of different shapes and materials, and yet the whole weapon ensemble is far more compact and lighter than a bow and arrow ensemble. This is the one projectile weapon she is likely to use even in futuristic settings.
- Crossbow — This is her second-favorite projectile weapon. Though she distains archery in general, she came to appreciate the power and simplicity of the crossbow. Despite the slower rate of fire, she found that it could achieve greater range and killing power, and she liked the ability to leave it cocked for hours on end until she needed to fire it. And with her preternatural strength and speed, she could cock it faster and easier than others could, often as fast as an archer could reload and fire a bow. She tended to use this weapon well into the modern era.
- Shuriken — She used these mostly while in Asia, but she has occasionally used hira-shuriken or shaken in more modern times. However, her skill at throwing bo-shuriken allows her to use almost anything of roughly the same shape as a weapon, including forks, pencils, and letter openers.
- Chakram / Chakkar — She only used these on the Indian subcontinent.
- Blowgun — She used these only in areas where the local cultures made use of them.
Though the term polearm specifically refers to long-shafted weapons such as halberds and glaives, in this context it refers to any long-shafted weapon. While any polearm can be thrown, they were not designed for it. However, shaft weapons that were designed to be thrown could be used as a polearm as well. This category includes any weapon that allows Medb to kill or incapacitate opponents in close combat while holding them back away from her.
- Spear — This is Medb's first-favorite pole weapon. She was trained to use three different types:
- A four-foot javelin with a six-inch pointed spike. It was thrown from a charging chariot or mass of men, though it could be used like a quarterstaff.
- A six-foot dual-purpose spear with a twelve-inch blade. It could be used like a lance from a chariot, used as a close-quarter unit fighting spear, or thrown like a javelin.
- An eight-foot fighting spear with an eighteen-inch blade and a six-inch butt-spike. The blades could come in any shape — single-edge, double-edge, blade-shape, leak-shape, etc. — and were often serrated. This was used in close-quarter single combat on foot, and almost never thrown. This is the one polearm, indeed the one weapon, she is most likely to use even in futuristic settings or times. With the advance of technology, she has even designed a weapon that has an eighteen-inch, double-edged, leaf-shaped blade with one serrated edge, and a foot-long handle with a large pummel. The handle can telescope out front and back to form an eight-foot shaft, making the weapon a spear, or it can remain compact, making it a sword. Though extremely strong, the material is light enough that even at full extension she can throw the weapon like a javelin.
- Naginata — This is Medb's second-favorite polearm, though she used it only while in Asia. The naginata was the preferred weapon of Japanese women, and Medb's training in this weapon introduced her to the samurai class and led directly to her becoming samurai. Even then, she preferred to use this weapon over the katana, and often rushed ahead of the mounted archers to engage the enemy before her samurai comrades. Similar weapons she has used include the podao, war-scythe, and nagamaki.
- Ox Tongue — She pretty much used this weapon only during the Middle Ages, and even then only against heavily-armored opponents. Similar weapons she has also used include the guandao, bill, and glaive.
- Monk's Spade — On Earth, Medb used this in Asia exclusively. However, this became hands-down her favorite zombie-killing weapon on other worlds, with the ox tongue and naginata a close second and third. All these weapons, but the monk's spade in particular, were superior to even the katana, being sturdier and therefore able to stand up to more punishment, and having a longer reach so that she could kill zombies before they got close enough to touch her.
This category includes any weapon that Medb could use to kill or incapacitate an opponent in close, personal combat, while he or she was close enough to strike her with his or her own weapon. These weapons fall into two sub-types: edged weapons, such as swords and knives, and non-edged weapons, such as clubs and staves.
- Edged Weapons — This group includes swords, knives,and axes, as well as certain specialty weapon like sickles. These served as Medb's secondary weapons if her main weapon (usually a polearm) became disabled. In one form or another, she continued to use an edged weapon well into the future as well as on futuristic worlds.
- Though the spear is Medb's preferred combat weapon, she has a great love for swords, and preferentially uses one whenever spears are impractical or hers have become disabled. Her favorite sword is the Celtic slashing sword, which consists of a three-foot long narrow double-edged blade, often with a rounded tip. However, her preferred design is a pointed leaf-shaped blade slightly wider at the tip than the hilt. This allows her to stab and chop as well as slash. Even so, she tends to adopt whatever sword is used in the local culture, at best modifying it to her personal taste. As well, she adopted new sword designs as they came into existence throughout time. Other types of swords she has used include the katana, xiphos, sabre (and its various alter egos including the scimitar and cutlass), dao, rapier (and later the small sword), falchion (and its descendent the machete), and yatagan. This list, however, barely scratches the surface.
- Medb has made use of many different types of knives and daggers throughout her life. Technically, a knife is a single-edged weapon used for cutting and slashing, whereas a dagger is a double-edged weapon used for stabbing. However, most such weapons can both stab and slash, and sometimes the distinction is blurred. Medb has no preference for either one. Her favorite design is a dirk with a heavy foot-long double-edged pointed blade, but she favors any kind of long, heavy-bladed knife or dagger over those with slimmer, shorter blades, such as the bowie knife, poignard, kukri, katar, and makhaira. She has used knives and daggars in a variety of roles, usually as a parrying dagger, but also as a commando weapon or a primary weapon where swords are banned. In the latter case, she prefers weapons that fall just short of qualifying as short swords.
- Medb has a love-hate relationship with axes. Part of it may be prejudice: just as the ancient Irish races did not use archery, they did not use axes either. Another part may be that she just doesn't get the point. She doesn't see a short-hafted axe being any better than a long-bladed knife or stick weapon, or a long-hafted axe having any advantage over a spear or staff. Yet, unlike archery, Medb has learned how to fight with axes. She likes throwing axes, such as the francisca for use against armored opponents, and the tomahawk for use against unarmored opponents. And she loves the Danish axe as much as the spear, sometimes even using it in preference to a polearm. Her weapon typically has an 8–10 pound head, with a haft 5½ feet long. The long haft not only gives her reach, it also allows her to use the weapon like a polearm, parrying and striking aside weapons and disorienting and incapacitating her opponent before delivering a chopping blow. She also uses the heavy head like a club.
- The specialty weapons she used only within whatever culture developed them. These included the kusarigama, karambit, kama, and macuahuitl, which could also double as a club.
- Non-Edged Weapons — This group includes staves, clubs, stick weapons, and so-called "soft" weapons. These often served as Medb's tertiary weapon, or as her primary weapon in circumstances where other forms of weapons were illegal or nonexistent.
- Medb is a master of bataireacht, the Irish martial art of stick fighting using the the Sail-Éille, or shillelagh. She particularly prizes this skill, because it allows her to be armed in societies where virtually any form of weapon is outlawed. Since the cane or walking stick is virtually ubiquitous and generally tolerated, she is always armed as long as she has one of those. This skill, augmented by stick-fighting martial arts from other cultures, allows her to effectively use just about any kind of stick weapon, including the jo, hanbo, tambo, and jutte.
- Clubs are largely thicker, heavier stick weapons, but they can be more elaborate. For the most part, her stick fighting training allows her to handle just about any blunt weapon, but she has had specialty training in some weapons, which in turn augments her general fighting skills. For the most part, however, specific weapons were only used within the cultures that developed them. These include the nunchaku, tonfa, baton, kanabo, and mace, even improvised weapons such as bats or crowbars
- Staves (Old English plural of staff) are largely longer stick weapons, and provide greater reach. Medb trained with a staff before she was trained in spear fighting, hence she tends to use a spear, or any polearm, like a staff. She also uses a staff as a substitute for a spear, usually in combination with a knife. Various staves she has used include the quarterstaff, gun, shareeravadi, taiaha, and bo. In the final analysis, however, all staves share the same basic design, and thus are very similar to one another.
- So-called "soft" weapons are those made from softer material, such as leather, rope, or even cloth, and/or are designed to be flexible rather than rigid. For the most part, however, Medb only used these weapons in the societies that developed them, or for limited periods of time in specific circumstances. The soft weapons she has learned to use include the bullwhip, lasso, bolas, flail, three-section staff, and kyoketsu shoge.
There are many weapons that Medb has used which do not conveniently fit any of the previous categories. Most would be considered exotic because of their design or mode of operation or both. The rest are simply unusual or unique. Some of these include the meteor hammer and its relatives, tessen and other forms of war fans, shobo, wind and fire wheels, boomerang, war hammer, iklwa (Zulu short thrusting spear), and flame-bladed sword (which she could wield one-handed).
Medb does not often use a shield, since she prefers more freedom of movement. However, she is trained in shield fighting and often uses one when faced with a powerful or heavily armed and armored opponent. Her prefered design is similar to that of the hoplon, except that it was flat instead of dished. It was made of wood, about a meter in diameter, and two to three centimeters thick. It was rimmed by a band of bronze or iron, with four flat spokes running along its face to the center, where they merged with a boss. Though at first she used a single handle, she later adopted the hoplon design of an offset handle and a leather sleeve. This allowed her to use more leverage when using the shield as a weapon. She also incorporated a frame attached to the backside that could hold from four to six javelins.
She has, however, used other forms of shields, particularly the buckler. She appreciates its small size and lightness, making it an effective parrying weapon as well as a secondary weapon to strike her opponent. She used bucklers even in modern and futuristic settings, taking advantage of whatever the advanced technology of the culture or time offered.
As stated earlier, Medb prefers to fight naked. However, this is not always possible, hence her preference for loose flowing or tight-fitting garments. With armor, however, her preference is more adamant: she does not willingly wear armor, not even against another heavily armored opponent. Part of the reason why is practical; armor restricts movement, and she prefers the protection of quickness and maneuverability. However, the other part is psychological; she considers armor to be dishonorable, and she holds anyone who wears armor in contempt. To her way of thinking, a warrior who hides behind protective coverings is not truly brave. She also recognizes and uses the psywar effect of facing an opponent nude or unarmored.
However, this preference is not absolute. Medb is a pragmatist, and she very rarely rejects whatever can give her an advantage in combat, just as long as it trumps other advantages. Her preternatural strength and speed, along with her sorcerous and illusionary powers, allow her to disdain armor in the vast majority of circumstances, but not all of them. Ignoring for the moment her use of shields, there have been a number of times when she has felt the need to wear some form of armor, usually to counteract some advantage in her opponent. What follows is a short list of examples; this is by no means a complete list, nor is it meant to be exhaustive. The take-home lesson should be that her use of armor is rare, that it is usually dictated by extraordinary circumstances, and that the design of the armor will be largely unique for each situation.
- During her stint as the superhero Macha, she wore three different costumes. The first was a catsuit made out of a thin, flexible carbon fiber reinforced polymer that was twice as strong as kevlar. Though it offered superior protection from projectile and edged weapons, it couldn't breathe and could cause hyperthermia. The second was woven from a polymer fiber five times stronger than kevlar. Though the suit was thicker, it could breathe, and it could resist cutting better, but it was more vulnerable to flechettes. The third was made from carbon nanotube fibers at least ten times stronger than kevlar. Though paper thin, the suit could stop just about anything from flechettes on up, was virtually uncutable, was practically immune to corrosive agents, and could even dissipate electrical and laser energy. However, it could offer no protection against radiation or chemical weapons, and was porous to any small molecule. All three suits could transfer kinetic energy to the body, but with her preternatural toughness, Medb could tolerate even massive blows.
- Her futuristic nanotechnology zentai suit has a protective value of space armor a full centimeter thick, even though it is only one-tenth that actual thickness. It can even provide temporary protection against laser, particle, and plasma weaponry.
- On a zombie-infested world, she invented a suit of armor based on a soft-leather unitard reinforced with hard-leather plates and boots. She developed the armor to protect her as she hunted them down and destroyed them, since her main weapons were a monk's spade and a pair of machetes. These weapons required she get close enough for the zombies to grabble and bite her, so that she needed special garments which would prevent them from being able to wound her.
- On a world infested by entities similar to the Xenomorph of the Alien franchise, Medb developed a unitard made from a zylon-carbon fiber mesh reinforced with ceramic and titanium plates. She created a similar suits on another world for use against super-fast, highly manueverable robots known as Rippers.
Back to Graphic Portraits of Medb hErenn.