The Lay of Leithian tells the story of Beren, a mortal Man of the First Age, who espied Lúthien, daughter of an Elven-king, dancing among the hemlock in the twilight. Her own sweet song was returned by the nightingales that surrounded her. Beren’s heart was at once smitten with love for her, and not knowing her name he called out to her “Tinúviel! Tinúviel!”; that is, daughter of twilight, nightingale, a songbird of great poetical and mythological significance both in the Primary World as well as in Middle-earth, it seems. The nightingale is so named because of its beautiful song, and because it is one of the few birds to sing at night; it’s very name means “night singer”. But what of the bright day? The day belongs to the lark, a bird with one of the most renowned day-time songs. Larks are frequently referred to in poetry and mythology, again both in the Primary World and in Middle-earth, and are asssociated with dawn (both of the day and of the spirit) and with lovers. Compare Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, “the lark at break of day arising/From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate” with this passage from The Silmarillion: “Keen, heart-piercing was [Lúthien’s] song as the song of the lark that rises from the gates of night and pours its voice among the dying stars, seeing the sun behind the walls of the world”.
This elf-maid is more akin to the lark than to the nightingale. Young by the reckoning of her kindred, she does yet keenly feel the sense of loss and regret that is the inheritance of the Eldar. Instead she loves the freshness and beauty found in the awakening of each new day, when the sun rises and glisters on trees still robed in their jewelled nightgowns of dew. In the warm light of the morning, she dances and sings and pipes under the hollies and is answered with the glorious dawn chorus of the wood-larks. Her clothing is in hues of subtle gold and soft brown, like the drab plumage of the birds she loves, but it is trimmed with accents of the freshest green, like the colour of the first unfurling leaves of spring. A fanciful brimmed hat reveals her playful nature, and her cloak is beautifully embroidered with delicate branches upon which a roosting lark is depicted. Heaven help the unguarded heart of any man, whether of mortal or immortal kindred, who at unawares stumbles upon her!
I guess I’ve been in a minstrel-ly mood this week! I wanted to create an outfit featuring the Peace-keeper’s Cloak, which is undyeable and has the added difficulty of the bright green border on its hem. The little bird design on the cloak made me think of the nightingales so closely associated with Lúthien. For a sunnier twist to the concept, I thought of the lark, which poetically is to dawn as the nightingale is to evening, and I was pleased to be reminded that larks are referenced several times in the various Lúthien material as well.
- Head: Songmaster’s Hat (bartered — Ost Galadh Minstrel trainer), dark green
- Shoulders: Elven Outrider’s Shoulders (crafted — tailor T3; or looted — world drop/general), forest green
- Back: Cloak of the Peace-keeper (pre-order — Shadows of Angmar Collector’s Edition), default
- Chest: Elven Campaigner’s Armour (crafted — tailor T5; or looted — world drop/general), umber
- Hands: Elven Cotton Gloves (crafted — tailor T3; or purchased — Rivendell light armour vendor; or looted — world drop/general), dark green
- Legs: Ceremonial Leggings of the Poet’s Heart (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Moria cosmetics – light armour), umber
- Feet: Songmaster’s Shoes (bartered — Ost Galadh Minstrel trainer), dark green
Tips: Pieces with the same skin as the Songmaster’s Hat and Shoes are also available as part of the Armour of the Lady’s Grace set (bartered — Caras Galadhon Minstrel trainer). The Leggings of the Poet’s Heart share their skin with from the leggings from the other level 60 Mines of Moria instance cluster light armour sets. They can also be crafted as the Leggings of Lothlórien (crafted — tailor T6/Galadhrim reputation) available at Friend standing with the Galadhrim.