Fellowship of the Ring: Meriadoc, Esquire of Rohan

For love of Théoden King

The Fellowship of the Ring was the company chosen by Elrond Halfelven to protect and guide the Ring-bearer on his quest to destroy the One Ring in the fire of Mount Doom. The company was composed of nine, and all of the Free Peoples were represented: Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin for the Hobbits; Legolas for the Elves; Gimli for the Dwarves; Aragorn and Boromir for Men; and Gandalf.

The tale of  the company was reduced to eight when Gandalf fell in Moria. Then the company’s Fellowship was broken upon the shores of Nen Hithoel when Boromir attempted to take the Ring from Frodo by force. At the same time, the company was attacked by Uruk-hai. Boromir was slain, Merry and Pippin were captured, and Frodo and Sam escaped by boat to the far shore of the lake. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli resolved to let the Ringbearer go and instead to pursue the Uruks. Thus the company was scattered.

The horn of Rohan

Merry wielded his Barrow-blade fiercely against the Uruks before they managed to capture him, and he “cut off several of their arms and hands”. Nevertheless, he and Pippin were captured and borne many miles over the fields of Rohan. They managed to escape when the Uruks were attacked by a troop of Horselords, and to flee into the depths of Fangorn Forest. There they met Treebeard the Ent and were reunited with Gandalf. Later, in Rohan, Merry laid his sword across the lap of Théoden King, pledging his fealty. “You shall be like a father to me,” said Merry, but Théoden replied, “For a while.” Merry was given a shaggy grey pony, Stybba, and at the request of Aragorn was armed for war with a small helm, a jerkin of leather, and a round shield bearing the device of a white horse. Although Merry wished to join the muster of the Rohirrim and ride to the aid of Gondor, he was forbidden by Théoden, who said that great though Merry’s heart may be, he could not ride a horse, and Stybba could not keep up with the great steeds of the Horselords. Nevertheless, Merry was carried to the battle in secret by the warrior Dernhelm, and took part in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields before the gate of Minas Tirith. Here he did his greatest deed of valour when the warrior Dernhelm faced the Captain of the Ringwraiths and was revealed to be the Lady Éowyn in disguise. To aid her, Merry stabbed his Barrow-blade into the wraith’s leg from behind, and the sword, wound with spells by the Men of Westernesse for the bane of Mordor, unraveled the ties binding the wraith’s spirit to Middle-earth. In that hour, Théoden King passed from the circles of the world, and Merry sat with him in his final moments, and he wept, for now never in happier times would they speak together of the herb-lore of the Shire, as they had planned.

Stybba the pony

For his heroism and great service to the kingdom of Rohan, Merry was named Holdwine, “Loyal Friend”, by Éomer King and given a war-horn from the hoard of the dragon Scatha. Upon returning home to the Shire, Merry winded the horn during the Battle of Bywater, rousing the local hobbitry against the ruffians that had occupied the country. That battle, of course, was won, and the Shire was scoured of villainy. Every year thereafter, the Horn of the Mark was blown on the second day of November, on the anniversary of the battle. Merry was called Meriadoc the Magnificent, and he became the Master of Buckland and wed Estella Bolger. He was made a Councillor of the North-kingdom, and wrote books on the herb-lore and nomenclature of the Shire. Many years later, after the death of King Elessar, their old friend Strider, he and Pippin travelled to Gondor and lived there for a time. At last Merry’s time in Middle-earth drew to an end, and his body was laid to rest for ever alongside that of King Elessar.

He too wished to ride to war

Quite some time ago, I completed my collection based on the Fellowship of the Ring with a composite portrait of the entire company and hinted that I had further plans for the collection. The present portrait of Merry in the later stages of the story is the extremely belated beginning of the those plans! Here also is the first portrait of Merry, a look at the character upon leaving the Shire for the first journey to Rivendell. Merry is a great heroic character, the most intelligent and resourceful of Frodo’s three hobbit-companions, and this is underlined by his deeds of valour after the scattering of the Company. Indeed, the description of his defense against the Uruks before being captured by them is very reminiscent of the last stand of Húrin, said to be the greatest warrior of Men in the First Age. Húrin stood alone during the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, surrounded by Morgoth’s trolls, and hewed off their arms with his axe, crying with each stroke, “Aurë entuluva! Day shall come again!”. Seventy times did his cry ring out, but like Merry, he too was captured in the end.

Holdwine

Meriadoc, Esquire of Rohan

  • Head: Plate Helm of Trum Dreng (quest reward — [66] Finding an Old Friend), crimson
  • Shoulders: Dwarf Leather Shoulder Guards of Might (looted — world drop/general), olive
  • Back: Shield of the Hammerhand (pre-order — Helm’s Deep), default
  • Chest: Cuirass of Manipulation (quest reward — epic [86] Volume III, Book 11, Chapter 5: Chamber of the Worm), burgundy
  • Hands: Westernesse Protector’s Gloves (crafted — Tailor T5), olive
  • Legs: Ceremonial Town-saver’s Leggings (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Rift cosmetic clothing – medium), burgundy
  • Feet: Westemnet Campaign Shoes (crafted — Tailor T9), olive

Stybba

  • Body: Burglar’s Caparison (purchased — LOTRO Store), olive
  • Saddle: Rune-keeper’s Saddle (purchased — LOTRO Store), default
  • Legs: Minstrel’s Leggings (purchased — LOTRO Store), olive
  • Hide: Shaggy Roan Steed (purchased — LOTRO Store), steel grey
  • Tail: Simple Tail (auto-granted), steel grey

Tips: The helm used in this outfit shares an appearance with several other Dunland quest rewards. If you can’t find the shoulders used, you can craft a similar pair, Dwarf-make Outrider’s Shoulder Guards (crafted — tailor T3); they dye the same, but have a slightly different shape. The chest piece shares an appearance with other Helm’s Deep light armour quest rewards.

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Mount-matching: Scaled Skirmisher

Riding far afield at the behest of Elrond the Halfelven

Scaled Skirmisher was an outfit for a warrior-scout sent forth from Rivendell by Elrond while Frodo and his companions were resting there in preparation for their quest. The scouts roamed far into the north, east, and, like this scout, south into the wilds of Eregion. How better to cover these great distances swiftly than on a prized steed from the stables of Elrond himself?

Prized steed of Rivendell

Grooming at day's end

The grace of the Elves extended to their skill on horseback

Steed: Prized Rivendell Steed (purchased — Elves of Rivendell reputation vendor)

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Shield of the Stiffbeards

His helm was crested with an eagle of the mountain peaks

The Dwarves of Middle-earth were divided into seven lineages, each descended from one of the original Dwarves given physical shape by the smith-Vala Aulë, and given life by Eru Ilúvatar. These seven Fathers of the Dwarves were set to slumber in separate locations around Middle-earth until the Elves should awaken, for Eru would not suffer his adopted children to come before his intended Firstborn. When it came time for the Race of Dwarves to enter the history of Arda, each of the seven Fathers awoke in their respective places deep beneath the earth, and awakening alongside each dwarf-sire was a dwarf-dam; except for the eldest, Durin, who woke alone. Durin founded the line of the Longbeards, and two other lines arose in the Blue Mountains, the Broadbeams and the Firebeards. The other four lines arose far to the east of the known lands of Middle-earth and do not come into the tales recounted in the Red Book of Westmarch.

Signal-flashing

This dwarf is one of the eastern Dwarves, of the house of the Stiffbeards. Dwelling in the mountains of Rhûn, his folk remain enigmatic to the peoples of the West. He is clad in a coat of lames, polished to a gleaming white finish and cinched around the waist with a silken sash. His helm is crested with the form of an eagle of the mountains, and his beard is braided into two stark forks, the hallmark of the Stiffbeards. His most important possession, however, is his great shield, forged in the shape of a sunburst. Not only does it serve him well in battle, for the Dwarves of all the houses have ever had their share of foes, but by holding it aloft so that its burnished surface catches the rays of the sun, it can also be used to signal his kinfolk from across mountain valleys or chasms.

Mountains of the East

Tolkien never did explain why the Stiffbeards were so named, nor did he explain the names of any of the houses of the Dwarves. Another mystery is just how Durin founded the Longbeards when he alone of the Dwarf-fathers did not awaken with a spouse! In addition to the Stiffbeards, the other mysterious eastern houses were the Blacklocks, the Stonefoots, and the Ironfists. They are only obliquely mentioned in the histories of Middle-earth; warriors from all seven houses took part in the attempt to reclaim Khazad-dûm from the Orcs. I was inspired to put together an outfit for an eastern dwarf by the chest piece that I used in this outfit. Something about it, perhaps the lamellar design, seems vaguely eastern to me. The protruding rear neck-guard of the helm (a little difficult to see on a stout dwarf-model) gives a similar impression.

Coat of lames

  • Head: Himhar (quest reward — epic [4o] Volume 1, Book 4, Chapter 8: The Unmarked Trail), umber
  • Shoulders: Leather Shoulder Guards of Vigour (looted — world drop general; or purchased — Esteldín medium armour vendor), washed
  • Chest: Wildermore Armour (crafted — metalsmith T8/Survivors of Wildermore reputation), umber
  • Hands: Skirmish Gauntlets of the Westfold (crafted — tailor T9/Helmingas reputation), white
  • Feet: Skirmish Boots of the Westfold (crafted — tailor T9/Helmingas reputation), white
  • Shield: Noble’s Heavy Shield (crafted — metalsmith T6)

Tips: A ceremonial version of Himhar is available for purchase from the LOTRO Store.

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Green-elf of Ossiriand

Woodland passage

The Green-elves were counted among the Eldar during the First Age of Middle-earth. They originated from a clan of Teleri who came into Beleriand because their leader, Denethor, had heard of the might of the Sindar living there. The Sindarin king, Thingol, permitted Denethor and his followers to settle in Ossiriand, a green, forested realm watered by seven rivers. Denethor’s people were a peaceful and retiring folk, and when Morgoth the Enemy attacked Thingol and his allies, the elves of Ossiriand suffered heavy losses for they were not prepared for war. Denethor was slain in the First Battle of Beleriand and although the hosts of Morgoth were defeated, most of the surviving elves of Ossiriand removed to Thingol’s guarded realm. The few who remained clothed themselves in green and became secretive and reclusive. This hidden people thus became known to the Sindar as the Laegrim, the Green-elves of Ossiriand.

Warrior-scout of the Laegrim

This Green-elf scout is clad in leathers of green, grey, and brown — well-suited for concealment among the silvan shadows of Ossiriand. He has remained in the Land of Seven Rivers to defend it from stray Orcs hoping thus to keep the land unstained by evil even in his people’s absence. Although prior to the First Battle of Beleriand the Green-elves were not warriors, in his new role as a warden of the Land of Seven Rivers he has quickly become gained in the wielding of bow and blade.

Patrolling the Land of Seven Rivers

I put this outfit together because I was eager to use the helm; it’s a newer piece, and it’s a reskinned version of the crafted Malledhrim Helmet. I thought it looked quite sharp with the crafted T6 medium armour. I’m also incorporating the gloves into an outfit for the first time. I find that a lot of the newer pieces (since Riders of Rohan, perhaps) don’t speak to me as much cosmetically as older pieces do, so I’m always quite pleased when I find a way to work them into an outfit that I like.

Secretive and retiring, they dwelled deep in the woods

  • Head: Aranhar (looted — world drop from any mob), Rivendell green
  • Shoulders: Spear-hurler’s Shoulders (bartered — Twenty-first Hall Warden trainer), grey
  • Back: Sturdy Elven Quiver (crafted — tailor T2/spring festival Red Flower Gift Box), grey
  • Chest: Footman’s Armour (crafted — Tailor T6), Rivendell green
  • Hands: Westemnet Skirmish Gauntlets (crafted — Tailor/T9), sienna
  • Legs: Far-arrow’s Leggings (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Barad Guldur – level 85 medium), Rivendell green
  • Feet: Tawarwaith Shoes (crafted — tailor T6/Malledhrim reputation), Rivendell green

Tips: Aranhar is a heavy armour piece, a part of the Wall’s End set, that can drop from any mob in any region. Its stats will be scaled to your present level when it drops. You can also check the auction house for it, as I have often seen it for sale there. The shoulders used in this outfit are also available cosmetically from Lalia’s Market at the time of this post. The recipe for the quiver used to drop from Red Flower Gift Boxes rewarded from the spring festival flower-picking quest, but it’s now available as the Quiver of Caras Galadhon (bartered –Talan Fanuidhol barterer; or purchased — LOTRO Store). If you prefer a cloak to a quiver, consider the Cloak of the Autumn Wood (purchased — LOTRO Store) in Rivendell green as an alternative.

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Mount-matching: Honoured Yule-friend

Happy new year and welcome to another new feature here on The Starry Mantle! As announced before Christmas, I’m hoping for the blog to be more active in 2015 which is why I’ve added two new features. The first was “Wardrobe Updates”, and we have already had two installments. Today I’m introducing a feature called “Mount-matching”. In this series, I’ll be revisiting old outfits to show you matching steeds. In some cases, these will be outfitted war-steeds designed to coordinate with the original outfit, and in others, regular riding-steeds that are a good match. Many times these are the steeds that I use on my own characters who wear these outfits. I hope you’ll enjoy!

Onward, to Winterhome!

Honoured Yule-friend was a wintry outfit for a hobbit-lass who’s journeyed to Winterhome to partake in the festivities of the season. Naturally such a journey is tedious on foot, so she has chosen to ride; and she has clad her pony in the merriest tack she could find. One should always make a grand entrance at Yuletide!

Dashing through the snow

Spirits of both mount and rider were high

It looked like fine Yuletide weather

  • Body: Halter of Thorin’s Hall (purchased — LOTRO Store), violet
  • Head: Wintry Yule Caparison (bartered — Winter-home Yule festival horse trader/The More the Merrier – Tier 3), sea blue
  • Saddle: Saddle of Rivendell (purchased — LOTRO Store), default
  • Legs: Light Leggings of the Norcrofts (quest reward — [79] All That Remains), rose
  • Hide: Solid War-steed (auto-granted), sorrel
  • Tail: Braided Flower Tail (purchased — LOTRO Store), sorrel
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Wardrobe Update: Redeemer of the Exiles

The Original Outfit:Warden of the Exiles“, a red and grey cold-weather outfit. In the original post, the context of the outfit was the frigid journey across the Grinding Ice made by the exiled Noldor under Fingolfin. I wanted to showcase the design on the cloak by having it mirror the northern lights of Forochel. Here’s a Starry Mantle lore-fragment: In the original outfit, I edited the crescent moon out of the cloak design and ensured the moon did not show in any of the screenshots because at the time of the Flight of the Noldor the Sun and the Moon had not yet risen over Arda.

The Updated Outfit: I was given some constructive criticism on the original outfit that the bright red seemed out of place and was perhaps more thematically suitable for a follower of Fëanor (the Spirit of Fire) than of Fingolfin. I agree! Therefore, I reworked the outfit to eliminate the red, while still retaining the outfit’s centrepiece, which is the cloak. The Ajokoira Leggings are replaced with the Leijona Leggings, and Rochwen’s Boots are replaced by the Boots of the Galadhrim. The Rock-climber’s Armour is now dyed Grey. I think the new overall appearance fits the theme better, and there is more synergy between the boots and the chest.

What do you think? Has this warden been redeemed, or should her new outfit be exiled?

Her people dared the Helcaraxë

The Grinding Ice held many dangers

Go further than Oromë, endure longer than Tulkas

Follower of Fingolfin

  • Shoulders: Elven Steel Shoulder Guards (crafted — metalsmith T3; or purchased — Rivendell heavy armour vendor; or looted — world drop/general), sea blue
  • Back: Cloak of Winter Nights (purchased — LOTRO Store), sea blue
  • Chest: Rock-climber’s Armour (crafted — tailor T6), grey
  • Hands: Snow-dusted Travelling Gloves (bartered — Yule festival barter vendor/cosmetic clothing), yellow
  • Legs: Ceremonial Leijona Leggings (crafted — Tailor T5/Lossoth reputation),
  • Feet: Boots of the Galadhrim (crafted — metalsmith T6/Galadhrim reputation), grey
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Festive Selections

Festive Selections main

“The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories”

As you enjoy this year’s holiday season and the in-game Yule festival, here are some festive outfits to keep your characters looking merry and bright!

Magic Toy-maker         Red Elf of the North Pole         The Holly King

May your days in-game and out- be filled with joy!

Merry Christmas from The Starry Mantle

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