Legends of the Free Peoples: Eärendil the Mariner

Of adamant his helmet tall

The Free Peoples of Men, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits keep many tales and songs and legends of the glorious deeds of their longfathers. In the Elder Days, the deeds of heroes were of a mythological stature and beyond the power of those in younger days to achieve. When the names of Eärendil the Mariner, great among both Elves and Men, and Durin the Deathless, Father of the Longbeard Dwarves, are invoked by the minstrels, the listener is filled with wonder, for their deeds are are mighty indeed. But the Hobbits belong to the younger days, not the Elder, and thus the deeds of their most legendary figures are less awe-inspiring in nature, yet no less important to the halflings; for Marcho and Blanco were the founders of their beloved Shire.

Eárendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arvernien;
he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in;
[…]
In panoply of ancient kings,
in chainéd rings he armoured him;
his shining shield was scored with runes
to ward all wounds and harm from him;

— “The Song of Eärendil”, The Lord of the Rings 2:I

Eärendil the Mariner was of the Half-elven, descended from all three Houses of the Edain, the Fathers of Men, through his father, Tuor, called Eladar that is Starfather; and from the House of Fingolfin through his mother, Idril, called Celebrindal that is Silverfoot, daughter of Turgon the Elvenking of Gondolin. Eärendil was born in Gondolin and was but a child of seven years when the city fell to the flames of the dragons of Morgoth the Enemy. He was carried from the wrack of the city by his mother’s servant and brought to safety in Arvernien at the Mouths of Sirion. There, Eärendil grew to manhood and wed Elwing, also of the Half-elven, for she was the daughter of Nimloth and of Dior, son of Beren and of Lúthien, daughter of Thingol and Melian the Maia who came from the West That is Forgotten. Therefore, the lineage of the of the twin sons of Eärendil and Elwing was lofty indeed, and they were named Elrond and Elros.

His shining shield was scored with runes

With the aid of Cirdan the Shipwright, Eärendil built a mighty vessel, Vingilótë the Foam-flower, and he set sail on a voyage of many years, seeking in vain the shores of Valinor where he hoped to beg, on behalf of Elves and Men, the aid of the Powers of the West against Morgoth in Middle-earth. While he was away, the haven of Arvernien was attacked by the sons of Fëanor, for word had reached them that Elwing held in her possession a Silmaril, one of the three Great Jewels wrought by their father. Rather than be taken, though, Elwing grasping the Silmaril flung herself into the sea. But she was not killed. She was borne up out of the waves by Ulmo, the Power governing the Seas, who clothed her in the form of a great white sea-bird; and the Silmaril shone upon her breast. “A pale flame on wings of storm”, she flew to Eärendil’s ship, and there regained her own shape. She bound the Silmaril upon her husband’s brow and it blazed with light, helping them to steer the ship through the shadowy Seas of Evernight and come at last to the shores of Valinor.

The Flammifer of Westernesse

Eärendil went forth into the land and came to the city of Tirion upon the hill of Túna, but he found it empty, for unbeknownst to him it was a day of festival. He was about to return in defeat to Vingilótë when he was hailed by Eönwë, herald of Manwë the Elder-king, thus:

“Hail Eärendil, of mariners most renowned, the looked for that cometh at unawares, the longed for that cometh beyond hope! Hail Eärendil, bearer of the light before the Sun and Moon! Splendour of the Children of Earth, star in the darkness, jewel in the sunset, radiant in the morning!”

— Chapter 24, The Silmarillion

He was brought before Manwë who, because Eärendil had not sought the Undying Lands for his own sake but rather for the Two Kindreds of Elves and Men, forwent the lawful punishment for setting foot upon those shores, which was death. And because Eärendil and Elwing were descended from both Elves and Men, Manwë granted them, and their sons, the choice of which kindred to belong. Eärendil would have chosen to be counted among Men, but for the sake of Elwing, who chose to be counted among her mother’s people, he chose to numbered among the Elves. But Manwë decreed that neither should return to dwell again in Middle-earth. Then, having heard Eärendil’s plea, Manwë commanded that the Powers of West arise, and they went with great hosts to Middle-earth, and they assaulted Morgoth’s fortress of Thangorodrim and the tumult of battle was terrible. Eärendil accompanied them, for Vingilótë was given wings of light that she may sail the skies instead of the seas, and he did battle with and threw down the greatest of Morgoth’s dragons, Ancalagon the Black. After the battle, Eärendil was set to sail the skies for ever in his ship of light, with the Silmaril blazing on his brow, coming before the Sun and Moon, the Evening Star beloved by those in Middle-earth. Elwing dwelt in a tower on the shore of Eldamar, and there befriended the seabirds and learned their tongue. In time, she learned to array herself in their shape, and would on a time fly on rose-stained white wings up to meet with her husband on his eternal voyage, for he now was become the most beloved of the stars to the Elves, and to Men, he was called the Flammifer of Westernesse.

Unheralded he homeward sped

Eärendil’s story and the song associated with him are among my favourites. The song has an especially tangled history, beginning with Tolkien’s poem “Errantry” which is also very delightful. The wonderful meter devised by Tolkien is particularly complicated, relying on internal trisyllabic assonances. If you have the opportunity, listen to the Tolkien Ensemble’s rendition of the Song of Eärendil. They do a great job of it (as they do with all Tokien’s songs and poems). The character of Eärendil was partly inspired by a name from Germanic mythology meaning “luminous wanderer”. In Old Norse mythology, the name belongs to Aurvandil, whom Thor bore out of the frozen north in a basket on his back. But one of Aurvandil’s toes had stuck out of the basket and become frozen; Thor broke it off and cast it into the heavens, where it became a star. In the Old English poem Crist I, ēarendel refers to the morning star heralding the coming of Christ. The poem contains the line, ēala ēarendel engla beorhtast “hail Earendel brightest of angels”, very similar to Tolkien’s “Aiya Eärendil, elenion ancalima!“, Quenya for “Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!” As for Elwing, her story is strongly reminiscent of that of Alcyone from Greek mythology. Alcyone married Ceyx, who was the son of Eosphorus the Morning Star. Alcyone and Ceyx liked to privately refer to one another as Hera and Zeus, and this of course angered the real Zeus, who hurled a thunderbolt at Ceyx’s ship while he was on a voyage. When Alcyone found out her husband’s fate, she hurled herself into the sea, but the gods took pity on them and turned them both into kingfishers — halcyon birds. The path of Elwing as a sea bird rising up to visit Eärendil as the evenstar seems similar to the planet Mercury’s trajectory, rising to meet the more brilliant “star” of Venus and then falling back toward the horizon. For more on this interesting theory, see Larsen, “Sea Birds and Morning Stars” in Tolkien and the Study of His Sources, edited by Jason Fisher.

One final note related to Eärendil’s choice of kindred to which he would belong: it’s a personal pet-peeve that Eärendil’s descendant Arwen is sometimes depicted in discussion or fan-fiction as having the same explicit choice of kindred as Eärendil, Elwing, and their sons, Elros and Elrond. The children of Elros and Elrond were not given a choice, but must abide by the decisions of their fathers. Thus the children of Elros were mortal, albeit with very long lives. Although Elrond had chosen to be counted among the Elves he had not returned to Valinor, and his children were born in Middle-earth. Therefore Arwen (and her brothers Elladan and Elrohir) had the life of Eldar only so long as they lived in Middle-earth with their father. When he departed to sail into the Undying Lands, they could, if they chose, accompany him and retain the life of the Eldar for ever, or remain in Middle-earth and live as mortals. Ultimately, that is the choice all three made: to remain after their father’s departure, and eventually taste the bittersweet gift of mortality.

Of silver was his habergeon, his scabbard of chalcedony

We haven’t had a “collection” for a long time here at The Starry Mantle, so I’m pleased to introduce this new one, based on the legendary figures of the Free Peoples. Eärendil here is representing a hero of both Elves and Men. This collection is based on a colour scheme of purple, rose, gold, and white, created by using components from the epic Annúminas armour sets and mixing them with other pieces. Since the colour-scheme is so flashy, I thought that the context of the collection had to be something grand and mythological. The opportunity to use the really lovely Annúminas heavy shield is probably the ultimate inspiration for the whole collection. If you saw my little teaser on Twitter yesterday, you can see that that set of screenshots didn’t make it into the final post. I originally wanted to take my pictures of this outfit in Ost Elendil, because the colours there coordinate nicely with this outfit. Ultimately, though, it was too dark in there and I had to scrap the idea. Instead, I took my Eärendil out to the corsair ships south of Dol Amroth to give him a nice shipboard backdrop.

His sword of steel was valiant

  • Head: Helm of the West-tower, level 65 (bartered — skirmish camp classic vendor/Heavy Annúminas Armour), default
  • Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Indomitable Protector (bartered — Galtrev Adventurer’s Quartermaster/Guardian), purple
  • Back: Festive Azure Cloak (looted — Anniversary Celebration/4-year Giftbox), purple
  • Chest: Officer’s Armour (crafted — metalsmith T5), indigo
  • Hands: Battle-leader’s Gauntlets, level 65 (bartered — skirmish camp classic vendor/Barad Guldur – level 65 heavy/Captain), washed
  • Legs: Battle-leader’s Leggings, level 65 (bartered — skirmish camp classic vendor/Barad Guldur – level 65 heavy/Captain), violet
  • Feet: Boots of the West-tower, level 65 (bartered — skirmish camp classic vendor/Heavy Annúminas Armour), default
  • Shield: Shield of the West-tower, level 65 (bartered — skirmish camp classic vendor/Heavy Annúminas Armour)
  • Weapon: Reforged Guardian’s Sword of the Second Age, level 85

Tips: The shoulders in this outfit have the same appearance as the captain and champion shoulders available from the same Adventurer’s Quartermaster in Galtrev. The cloak is also available at the time of writing from Lalia’s Market. As an alternative the shoulders in this outfit, you could use the Berserker’s Shoulders (bartered — Ost Galadh Champion trainer), dyed violet, or the Shoulders of the Lady’s Power (bartered — Caras Galadhon Champion trainer), which have the same appearance. Likewise, helm skin from those two sets look great with this outfit as well. A nice alternative cloak is the Cloak of the Boar-clan Warrior (quest reward — Dunland [71] Lost Miner — Siam), dyed purple. A cloak with the same skin is also available at Lalia’s Market at the time of this post’s writing.

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Posted in Collections, Legends of the Free Peoples, Outfits, Portraits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Elfhelm, Marshal of the Mark

Marshall of the Mark 1

In the realm of Rohan the highest military rank was Marshal of the Riddermark, of which there were three. Each marshal was responsible for leading the muster of a particular region. The First Marshal, the highest, was responsible for the muster of Edoras and the King’s Lands; the Second, for the muster of Helm’s Deep; and the Third, for the muster of Aldburg the old capital. The three Marshals were key to the defense of the Mark and therefore the men holding these positions were the chief obstacles to the plans of Saruman the White. In the days of his youth, Théoden King himself had led the muster of Edoras so that there was no need for a First Marshal, and when the king fell under the influence of Saruman, his wicked counselor Gríma ensured that the position remained vacant. The king’s son, Théodred, was the Second Marshal, but he was slain by Saruman’s orcs at the Fords of Isen. The Third Marshal was Éomer, the king’s sister-son, who was arrested and imprisoned by Gríma for disobeying the king’s laws.

Marshall of the Mark 2

When the Fords of Isen came under attack by Saruman’s orcs, the situation there was dire. Holding the fords, Théodred and his men were in sore need of reinforcement, but there was no Marshal in Edoras to call upon. Yet help was still to be found. Although officially there was no First Marshal of the Riddermark, the duties of the position were overseen by Elfhelm of the Muster of Edoras. At the urgent summons of Théodred, Elfhelm rode forth in haste from Edoras with four éoreds, or companies of riders, coming to the Fords of Isen in time to prevent the defeat of the Rohirrim, but not, alas, in time to prevent the death of the Prince Théodred.

Marshall of the Mark 3

After the Battle of the Hornburg, Elfhelm was given command of the first éored of the Muster of the East-mark. During the Ride of the Rohirrim to the aid of Minas Tirith, Elfhelm turned a blind eye to the presence of Meriadoc Brandybuck, though the king had forbidden the hobbit to accompany the Riders. It was a wise judgement that would have far-reaching and fortuitous consequences. During the charge of the Rohirrim onto the besieged field of Pelennor, Elfhelm was given command of the king’s right flank, and there, under the shadow of the great wall of Minas Tirith, Elfhelm and his riders destroyed the orcs operating the Enemy’s siege engines.

Marshall of the Mark 4

Later, after the Ring went into the fire and the Enemy was cast down for ever, Elfhelm was a witness at the coronation of King Elessar of Gondor. After the Rohirrim returned to the Riddermark, he was assigned to the newly-created position of Marshall of the East-mark and given command of all the forces of eastern Rohan.

Marshall of the Mark 5

The word “marshal” has an interesting etymology. It came into English via Anglo-Norman, Old French, and Latin, but ultimately it’s a Germanic word, from either Frankish marhskalk or Old High German marah-scalc, both meaning “horse-servant, horse-knight”. The Old English form would have been mearh-scealc and if it had remained in usage it would have the form “mareshalk” in modern English. As for the outfit, the seed of this one was the shield. I don’t believe that any other shield in-game has this same skin (but please let me know if you know of one). I always think it looks like someone took down the door from one of the meadhalls of Rohan and strapped it to their arm. The new summer festival cloak didn’t really grab me when I fist saw it, and I had no intention of using it with this outfit, but on a whim I tried it out and I loved it! In fact I was really pleased with this outfit in general (I actually think that unfortunately the screenshots I took don’t do it full justice — mounted combat screenshots are a bit tricky). I hope you enjoy it too.

Marshall of the Mark 6

Elfhelm

  • Head: Burnished Helmet of the Dunland Warlord (quest reward — [71] An Honourable Exchange), umber
  • Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Stoic Stag (quest reward — [66] Stealing and Squealing), turquoise
  • Back: Cloak of Nárië (bartered — Summer Rewards vendor/Cosmetic Rewards Part 1), turquoise
  • Chest: Westemnet Battle Armour (crafted — Metalsmith T9), white
  • Hands: Gloves of the Hammerhand (pre-order — Helm’s Deep), default
  • Feet: Eastemnet Battle Boots (crafted — Metalsmith T8), olive
  • Shield: Laerdan’s Defender (quest reward — [50] Volume 1, Book 12, Chapter 6: Laerdan’s Escape/heavy shield)
  • Weapon: Carved Yew Spear (crafted — Woodworker T3/spear)

Steed

  • Body: Caparison of West Rohan (looted — West Rohan warband lootboxes), turquoise
  • Head: Burglar’s Halter (purchased — LOTRO Store), white
  • Saddle: Burglar’s Saddle (purchased — LOTRO Store)
  • Legs: Leggings of Thorin’s Hall (purchased — LOTRO Store), turquoise
  • Hide: Solid Warsteed (auto-granted), white
  • Tail: Simple Tail (auto-granted), white

Tips: The helm and shoulders in this outfit share their appearance with other Dunland armour rewards. The steed’s caparison drops from warbands in West Rohan; I find the least frustrating way to reliably get this piece (and its matching halter and saddle) is to wait until you are level 91 or higher, and then defeat the warband of Snapfang north of Aldburg. He drops all three cosmetics, and has very few other items on his loot list, so they tend to drop fairly reliably. If you’re not too bothered about adhering to the Rohirin theme of this outfit, or want to repurpose it with an elven theme, adding the the Accessory of Rivendell looks superb!

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Posted in Outfits, Portraits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Flet-runner

Flet-runner head

The Elves of the Golden Wood kept vigil upon the borders of their forest-realm from wooden flets or platforms built high in the branches of mallorn trees. The flets were built with openings around the great boles of the trees, and were furnished with movable screens that could be positioned to provide shade or shelter from the wind. They were reached by long white ladders of hithlain, the wondrous rope of Lórien, which could be drawn up to the surface of the flet to ensure that trespassers could not climb up.

Flet-runner action1

Flets were also used as residences by the Elves of Lothlórien, but this was not universal. Most flets used as dwellings were found in Caras Galadhon, the fortress-like city of trees which was the heart of the Golden Wood. The idea of living upon flets was introduced by Amroth, once the king of Lórien, who built one high in the mallorn tree crowning the hill that bore his name. He chose to dwell upon a flet because of his love for Nimrodel, who may have been the first to build a home in this style in the branches overhanging her beloved river Silverlode.

Flet-runner action2

This maiden of the Galadhrim is a flet-runner, one of the march-wardens who keep watch from high perches on the borders of Lórien. She knows by heart the location of each flet around the Golden Wood’s perimeter and may spend months at a time stationed at a particular flet before moving to another. She is armed with one of the renowned bows of her people, for the lofty flets offer an excellent position to fire upon intruders. She also wields two curved knives in the event that she must descend to the forest floor in defence of the borders. Her attire is light and loose, a combination of soft, muted greys, greens, and deep blues, perfect camouflage among the silvan shadows, especially at night. Ever vigilant, her keen eyes peer out from under the shadow of her elven hood.

Flet-runner back

Flet is an archaic English word originally meaning, “the floor, the ground”. It later gained the sense of “a dwelling, a habitation”. The flets of Lothlórien embody both senses exactly. In Sindarin, they were called telain (singular talan). I was inspired to make this outfit by the in-game title “Flet-runner”, which can be earned by completing the Flet-funner Challenges deed. The deed begins with the quest “At Home Among the Trees” (level 60) bestowed by Celechest in Caras Galadhon. As many readers are no doubt aware, the long-standing bug which prevents weapons from being displayed when you execute skills outside of combat can make taking outfit screenshots difficult if you want to show off your weapons. It was even harder trying to figure out a way to get them to display on the Lórien flets, since there are no mobs up there to enter combat with. At first I tried to enter combat with an animal on the ground and climb up the ladder into a flet. But this immediately took me out of combat and my weapons were sheathed. Finally I figured out a cunning solution! A few of the flets have sentinel elves patrolling around their bases. I went to Talan Brethil, which has a sentinel, and lured a boar over to the sentinel, who immediately attacked it. I was then able to climb up to the flet, remaining in combat until the sentinel had dispatched the boar.

Flet-runner front

  • Head: Hat of the Hopeful Melody (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Barad Guldur – level 65 light), steel blue
  • Shoulders: Shoulders of the Hopeful Melody (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Barad Guldur – level 65 light), white
  • Back: Elegant Elven Quiver (purchased — LOTRO Store), olive
  • Chest: Long-sleeved Lórien Tunic and Pants (bartered — Cerin Amroth barterer/Galahdrim reputation), grey
  • Main hand: Anghigil (quest reward — [50] Volume 1, Book 8, Chapter 6: A Watchful Eye)
  • Off-hand: Boar-tooth Dagger (quest reward — [35] Boar-tooth Dagger)
  • Bow: Flightsong (looted — Urugarth/Akrûr)

Tips: The hood in this outfit is great to use with cosmetic tunics because it has a piece which covers the throat and upper chest (where tunics leave your character’s skin exposed). The quiver may also be available from the Cosmetic Loot Boxes available during LOTRO’s anniversary event. Another tip for getting weapons to stay in your hands for screenshot purposes is to execute a self-targeted skill just as you are sheathing your weapons after combat. I find that wound-removal skills are especially good for this (I’ve tested successfully on guardians and champions so far). You will find that your weapon(s) remain in your hands and will stay there until you hit a loading screen or until you use an emote or enter stealth.

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Osgiliath-defender

On his helm a host of stars

Osgiliath was of old the chief city of Gondor and the residence of its kings. Athwart the mighty Anduin, the city controlled the river crossing from Ithilien in the east to the town-lands of the Pelennor and Minas Tirith in the west. Because of its strategic location, the city’s history was fraught with strife. The hosts of Mordor took Osgiliath during the Second Age, and the city was only reclaimed when Sauron was defeated by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Later, during the Third Age, the forces of Castamir the Usurper laid siege to the city during Gondor’s civil war, the Kin-strife. The Usurper’s forces sacked and burned the city, forcing King Eldacar to flee to his kin in Rhovanion. The city was again reclaimed in the name of the right king when Eldacar returned and the rebellion was put down, but its population was later decimated by the Great Plague of III 1636. The city began to fall into ruin, and the king relocated to Minas Tirith, making it the chief city of Gondor. When Minas Ithil was captured by Mordor in III 2002, Osgiliath became extremely vulnerably to attack, and many of its people fled west to safer parts of the realm. In III 2475, the forces of Mordor took the city again and the city was finally deserted of all its inhabitants. Nevertheless, the Steward of Gondor would not suffer it to be held by the Enemy, and his forces wrested back control from the occupying Uruk-hai. Osgiliath then became a disputed ruin, the western shore defended by Gondor’s forces and the eastern repeatedly attacked by Mordor’s. Finally, in the summer of III 3018, in the opening offensive of the War of the Ring, Sauron’s forces, led by the Ringwraiths, came forth and took the city. The last bridge across Anduin was thrown down. The Rangers of Ithilien continued to defend the city’s western shore from the Causeway Forts, but the eastern shore was now firmly under the control of Sauron’s forces.

Defying the Shadow in the East

This man is a warrior of Gondor under the command of the Lord Faramir, son of the Steward Denethor. He is arrayed in strong mail and proudly bears the winged helm and shield of Gondor. They have served him well already, for the fighting has been fierce, as evidenced by his tattered cloak. He has come here to Osgiliath’s western shore with his company for, as the seige of Gondor draws near, the Steward has commanded his son to take what forces he may and make the Enemy pay dearly when at last he comes to cross the river. When this defense fails, as it must, Faramir’s forces will fall back to Causeway Forts, there to try against all hope to hold out. But the skies are now permanently darkened by the fumes of Mordor and the shrieks of the Ringwraiths can be heard among the crumbling buildings and shattered monuments of the east shore. Have the Men of Gondor any hope against the Shadow that rises in the East?

Torn and tattered gear of war

I always keep an eye out for cosmetics with a wing motif to use in Gondor-themed outfits, so when I came across the shield recently I was excited to put it to use. Even more so because of the upcoming addition of cosmetic weapons and shields to the game. I’m looking forward to setting up my shield-using characters with coordinating pieces. Are there are shields you’re especially looking forward to equipping cosmetically?

Last defense of the causeway

  • Head: Westernesse Winged Helm of Vigour (looted — world drop), black
  • Shoulders: The Huntsman’s Shoulder Guards (bartered — Ox-clan Merchant Camp Hunter Trainer), default
  • Back: Recovered Cloak of the Nobleman (quest reward — [100] Ashes and Stars, Chapter 7), steel blue
  • Chest: Chainmail Chestpiece of Fate (looted — world drop), black
  • Hands: Lesser Secret of the West Gauntlets (bartered — Harndirion Novice’s Quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Burglar armour), steel blue
  • Legs: Lesser Ward of the West Leggings (bartered — Harndirion Novice’s Quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Guardian armour), steel blue
  • Feet: Boots of the Hammerhand (pre-order — Helm’s Deep), default
  • Shield: Shield of Endurance (looted — world drop/heavy shield)
  • Weapon: Polished Gondorian Sword (crafted — weaponsmith T3/one-handed sword)

Tips: The shield that I used in this outfit has an equip level of 59 if you trying to find a place to keep an eye out for it to drop. Lothlórien or Mirkwood might be good places to grind mobs looking for it. As mentioned by my fine fellow outfitter Gloredh, below in the comments, there is another shield with the same skin: the Light Shield of the Golden Host (crafted — metalsmith T6/Malledhrim reputation/light shield). You can get the recipe for this shield by bartering 25 Malledrim Bronze Feathers with the Friend of the Malledhrim Crafting Vendor in Ost Galadh, Southern Mirkwood.

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Posted in Outfits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Shielded Selections

Countless stars of heaven's field mirrored on his silver shield

His sword was long, his lance was keen.
His shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven’s field
were mirrored in his silver shield.

— “The Fall of Gil-galad”, The Lord of the Rings 1:XI

This Thursday past it was confirmed that cosmetic weapons and shields are finally being implemented in LOTRO! The system is now being previewed with Update 16.2 on the Bullroarer test server. Gloredh of Wandering Around Arda has also done a really nice preview showing how the new cosmetic slots work. This is something that I’m sure many other cosmetics enthusiasts have been hoping for for a very long time now, and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised to hear about it! In fact, I’d given up hope that it would ever be added. I’m pleased to be proved wrong. I’m sure there will be some kinks and bugs to work out, but hopefully going forward this will be a great addition to LOTRO’s cosmetic system.

In honour of this new addition to the game, here is a selection of outfits featuring coordinating shields to give you some inspiration before Update 16.2 goes live.

Scaled skirmisher       Durin IV       Fram

The littlest shieldmaiden       Stalwart of Sarn Ford       Shield of the Stiffbeards

Posted in Selections | 4 Comments

Mount-matching: The Fabulous Belladonna Took

The Fabulous Belladonna Took was a brightly-coloured hobbit-outfit inspired by Bilbo’s famous and unusually adventurous mother. When off on her journeys with Gandalf she will need a suitably spirited steed, arrayed in flamboyant tack, if she hopes to keep up with him!

A lovely day for a ride

Simply the best way to see the country

A spirited steed

If her in-laws could just see her now

  • Body: Light Caparison of the Entwash (quest reward — [80] Patching Friendships), purple
  • Head: Light Halter of the Wold (quest reward — [77] Floodwend Besieged), purple
  • Saddle: Champion’s Saddle (purchased — LOTRO Store)
  • Legs: Wintry Yule Leggings (bartered — Yule Festival Horse Trader/The More the Merrier – Tier 3), purple
  • Accessory: Accessory Bins (purchased — LOTRO Store)
  • Hide: Spotted War-steed (purchased — LOTRO Store), bay
  • Tail: Simple Tail (auto-granted), flaxen chestnut
Posted in Mount-matching, Outfits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tawarwaith Pathfinder

Hers 1

His 1

A reclusive, woodcrafty folk, the Silvan Elves dwelt in the great forests of Mirkwood and Lothlórien. In the Sindarin tongue, they were called Tawarwaith, the Forest-people. The Tawarwaith were descended from a group of Teleri who in the Elder Days had lingered in the Vales of Anduin rather than complete the journey to Aman. They were later joined by some of the westernmost clans of the Avari, the Dark-elves who refused the summons of the Valar, and these became absorbed into the Tawarwaith bringing with them their own culture and customs. The Silvan Elves of both Mirkwood and of Lothlórien had no princes of their own, but came to be ruled in later days by greater Elves fleeing the wreck of Beleriand: Oropher became king of the Mirkwood and Amdír became king of the wood that would later come to be known as Lothlórien. Both were Sindar of Doriath. The ways of their new subjects, the Tawarwaith, were rustic compared to those of the Sindar, and in time, the Grey-elven rulers had adopted many of the Silvan customs, but the Grey-elven tongue became the daily language spoken by the Tawarwaith.

Hers 2

His 2

These two Silvan Elves are pathfinders of Mirkwood. The wood is ever dark and dangerous, and the Elvenking’s scouts toil to keep footpaths clear of overgrowth, fallen trees and branches, and the webs of the great spiders that plague the wood. Though it was once called Greenwood the Great, there is little now that grows green in Mirkwood, and these elves are camouflaged in garb the colour of the leafmould that lies deep on the ground. Their clothing is decorated with a leaf motif inspired by the trees that they love and that they hope against hope one day will be restored to their former beauty and splendour. But until the day the Shadow is lifted from their land, Mirkwood will remain a forest under nightshade.

Hers 3

His 3

This “his and hers” look was inspired by the two hoods used in the outfits. I wanted to combine these interesting pieces with various Golden Host and Malledhrim pieces, with their leaf-motif, and complete the look with shoulders with strong and unique silhouettes. I didn’t include a cloak on her outfit, because most cloaks look pretty strange with the large sail-like shoulder-piece, especially those with cast-back hoods like the the one in his outfit. However, if you wanted to put something else in the back slot for this outfit, some good options are the Elven Prospector’s Pack (crafted — tailor T3; or purchased — LOTRO Store) or the Sage’s Pack (purchased — LOTRO Store). Both options look good dyed Ranger Green.

Hers 4

His 4

Hers

  • Head: Golden Host Helmet (crafted — tailor T6/Malledhrim reputation), gold
  • Shoulders: Lore-keeper’s Shoulders (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Barad Guldur level 65 light), rust
  • Chest: Tawarwaith Robe (crafted — tailor T6/Malledhrim reputation), gold
  • Hands: Golden Host Gauntlets (crafted — tailor T6/Malledhrim reputation), gold
  • Feet: Tawarwaith Shoes (crafted — tailor T6/Malledhrim reputation), gold
  • Satchel: Rune-keeper’s Rune-satchel of the Third Age (quest reward — Volume II Book 1 Chapter 14: Khazad-dûm at Last!), default

Tips: The Lore-keeper’s shoulders can also be obtained from the Lore-master trader in Ost Galadh by bartering a Dark Emblem of Heart looted from the Lieutenant of Barad Guldur. The first legendary Rune-keeper’s rune-satchel awarded via the epic quest line is useful to keep because when equipped cosmetically it is invisible. Thus, if you want your Rune-keeper to be able to have no satchel visible when displaying cosmetic outfits while keeping your regular satchel equipped, make sure to keep the rune-satchel from “Khazad-dûm at Last” (or keep a cosmetic copy in your Wardrobe).

His

  • Head: Noriel’s Leather Helm (quest reward — [75] Disturbances in Thinglad), gold
  • Shoulders: Shoulders of the Deathstorm (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Barad Guldur level 65 heavy), gold
  • Back: Cloak of the Fallen Leaves (purchased — LOTRO Store), Ranger green
  • Chest: Golden Host Coat (crafted — tailor T6/Malledhrim reputation), Ranger green
  • Hands: Gauntlets of the Hidden Paths (quest reward — [70] A Reasonable Request), Ranger green
  • Legs: Tawarwaith Leggings (crafted — tailor T6/Malledhrim reputation), Ranger green
  • Feet: Malledhrim Boots (crafted — metalsmith T6/Malledhrim reputation), Ranger green

Tips: The helm used in this outfit was formerly part of the level 65 medium Ettenmoors armour set. Likewise, the gloves were formerly part of the level 65 heavy Ettenmoors armour set.

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