Warfare. Metamor Keep is a place at war with an implacible enemy. Many of the Metamor Keep stories feature fighting and warfare.
Here we'll put some basic information on warfare and the weapons, armor and strategies used.
The typical army in the Midlands is feudal with a small core of professionals (who are huscarle or royal bodygaurds). This army is usually bolstered by varying numbers of mercenaries.
The feudal element (usually 60% to 70% of the army) is made up of various nobles whose owed duty is usually anywhere from 30 to 90 days of military service. Usually 30 or 45 days. That duty consists of the nobleman coming to the kings aid with a specified number of knights and soldiers.
To raise an army the monarch would announce the place and date everyone was to assemble. All the nobles are required to be at that place with the promised number of knights and soldiers. The army would then go where the king orders them and their own expense. BUT only for the promised number of days. When their time of service was done most nobles would simply go home often regardless of what the king wanted. A ruler could raise a large army very quickly but it would only stay in the field for a short period of time.
The campaign season is usually from spring (after the crops had been planted) till fall (when the crops have to be harvested). During that time the peasants and freemen who made up most such armies weren't all needed for agriculture.
A growing phenomena is scutage. In leiu of military service many rulers are willing to accept a payment of money. That money is then used to pay for mercenaries or professional soldiers who will not go home after a mere 30 days. This is the first step in the forming of a prefessional, full time army. Although most countries will not form such an army for several centuries. One country that is well on the road to this is marigund.
Whether called a Crusade or (insert cool Lightbringer phrase for it here) these holy wars are a sad fact of life in the Midlands. Crusades
These are organizations of knights and others of noble rank. These groups range from loosely knit social orders to those organzed like an army. These orders are usually filled by the second and third sons of nobles who have no inheritance and need to 'make their own way' in the feudal world. Joining such an order lets them garner honor, glory and wealth. Such orders can be loyal to a government, a ruler or a religion.
The better organized orders often have the best trained and most experienced knights in them. More then one battle has been won by such knights. One problem often encountered is nobles (with little skill or knowledge and universally no common sense) overruling a knight of lower social standing and leading an army to defeat by ordering something stupid.
One example of a very well organized Order is Order of the Protectors.
Supply & logistics
Fairly primitive in most cases. The usual method for supplying an army was foraging or "living off the land". As medieval campaigns were often directed at well-populated settled areas, a traveling army would forcibly commandeer all available resources from the lands they passed through. Taking everything from food to raw materials to equipment and livestock (like cattle and horses). Needless to say this made all such armies very unpopular with the local population whose food and cattle were basically being stolen.
Ammunition for bows (arrows) and crossbows (bolts) is always needed in massive numbers. The English had a well laid out resupply system just for that. There are records of the Tower of London armory receiving a delivery of 500,000 arrows! And one shipment was for an astounding 850,000! It's estimated that for the Agincourt campaign the English took along 1 MILLION or more arrows. They needed it. A good archer could shoot 8 arrows a minute at full speed. A little math tells us that if there were 7,500 archers at Agincourt they could shoot an astounding 60,000 arrows a minute! At that speed they would use up all 1 million arrows in just 16 minutes. A good leader would keep that fact in mind and use his archers sparingly. Arrows and bolts were shipped in cloth bags in barrels.
An important part of every army is a baggage train. Literally a caravan (or train) of wagons, usually pulled by oxen or horses. In a baggage train would be carried peoples excess clothing and equipment (like tents). Also more importantly so would extra ammunition (Like arrows. An English army with it's many archers might carry as many as half a million arrows!), weapons, armor and most importantly food. Often meat was 'on the hoof' in the form of a large herd of cattle trailing behind the army.
A common sight in warfare was mercenaries. There were full time soldiers who worked for pay. All the sides in a war hired them to supplement their armies. Unlike Feudal troops who would only serve their allotted 30 days and go home. Mercenaries would stay as long as they were paid. This had good and bad points. This meant you could keep an army in the field more then a month. But if the money ran out they would desert. Or worse they would serve the highest bidder. They would remain (Sort of) loyal so long as they were paid but if the money stopped things would get ugly. The mercenaries would simply quit and go elsewhere. Or even switch sides. The Teutonic knights fortress of Marienburg (now in Malbork Poland) had a garrison of mercenaries. When the Grandmaster couldn't pay them they SOLD the castle to the besieging Polish army.
Groups of Mercenaries often have grandiose names like the White company. They range in size from a handful of people to several hundred (or even a thousand) strong. Some remained loyal to one country and others fought for whomever paid them. The worst were just bandits looting, stealing, raping and killing at will.
Good people to have helping you in a fight but never forget that their true loyalty is to one thing - money. Nothing else matters.
One publisher I really love is Osprey publishing at http://www.ospreypublishing.com/ . They publish a vast selection of books on all sorts of military matters. They are lavishly illustrated and relatively cheap. But they are rarely more then 70 pages long and are meant for models. So there go into details about what people wore and used but rarely into depth about the people themselves. But if you want to know what Whisby armor looked like, what a real Knight wore and how battles in the Medieval and ancient world was really fought - this is the series for you. I can't tell you how much inspiration I've gotten from their books.