In the First Age of Middle-earth, there lived in the land of Dorthonion a woman named Emeldir. She was of the House of Bëor and was wed to Barahir son of Bregor. Emeldir bore Barahir a son destined for great deeds: Beren. In IA 455 Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame, erupted to disastrous results. Morgoth’s forces broke the long Siege of Angband and poured forth, routing the Elves and Men that opposed them. The land of Dorthonion was destroyed, its forests twisted and ruined, and it became known as Taur-nu-Fuin, the Forest Under Nightshade. Barahir, Beren, and the surviving Men of Dorthonion remained to defend it, and Emeldir’s desire was to remain and fight by her husband’s side. Nevertheless, she was commanded to bring the women and children of Dorthonion to safety. She gathered them and gave arms to those that would bear them, then she led them into the mountains and, after great hardship, to safety in the Forest of Brethil. For these deeds, and for her courageous disposition, she was given the epithet “the Man-hearted.”
Here we see Emeldir against the backdrop of the mountains of the Echoriath, having led her people over their passes at last. She has arrayed herself in tough leather armour reinforced with steel plating, knowing that the hosts of Morgoth lay all about — and that though she did not have her wish to do battle in defense of Dorthonion, she may well have to fight to protect her followers in exile. A deep woolen hood shields her from the weather of the high passes, and she carries a large pack upon her back, laden with provisions for the difficult crossing. Turning back to face the Echoriath and ruined Dorthonion beyond, she raises her spear both in defiance of Morgoth and as a loving salute to her son and husband, left behind to fight.
Some people complain of a perceived lack of strong women in Tolkien’s writing, but I disagree. They’re not necessarily at the centre of many of the stories, but they can be found — and of course, being a strong woman doesn’t necessarily involve fighting with sword and shield (take Lúthien or Galadriel for example… and I feel there are other excellent examples as well, but that’s a subject for another post and another time!). Emeldir, mother of one of the greatest heroes of the Great Tales of Middle-earth, was certainly a strong and courageous woman in her own right (and clearly she could fight), so I’ve been eager to make a portrait of her. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to play around a bit with some of the Rift raid cosmetics that were recently made available for barter at skirmish camps, since I feel their epic styling is suited to a character of the First Age. I settled on the leggings from the Hunter set — I think they’re quite unique among LOTRO cosmetics, and I think they’ve led to a really nice combination here for a medium-to-heavily armoured warrior-woman or lady-Ranger styled outfit.
- Head: Worn Ranger’s Hood (quest reward — epic  Volume 3, Book 5, Chapter 1: Separate Ways – Corunir), Rivendell green
- Shoulders: Leather Shoulder Guards of the Leaping Stag (quest reward — Dunland  Plunderer’s Plunder), washed
- Back: Travel Pack (looted — Yule festival/Hobbit Gift Box), dark green
- Chest: Leather Jacket of Determination (looted — world drop/general), Rivendell green
- Hands: Gloves of the Aurochs (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Helegrod cosmetic clothing – medium), olive
- Legs: Ceremonial Doom-hunter’s Leggings (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Rift cosmetic clothing – medium), rust
- Feet: Ceremonial Boots of the West-tower (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Annúminas cosmetic clothing), Rivendell green
Tips: If you don’t have access to the Worn Ranger’s Hood, there are a variety of other hoods available in-game that would look nice with this outfit; for example, the Traveller’s Hood (purchased — LOTRO Store) or the Hood of Night (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Halls of Night – rare). Of course, the Fine Grey Company Hood (quest reward — epic  Volume 3, Book 5, Chapter 1: Separate Ways – Corunir), which is the masked counterpart to the Worn Ranger’s Hood, may also look good with some dye experimentation. The shoulders used in this outfit have the same appearance as several other Dunland quest rewards, and can also be obtained as the Lynx-hide Shoulderpads (bartered — Galtrev, Forthbrond or Grimbold’s Camp Rohirrim quartermaster). I used cosmetic pieces from the Aurochs set, the Doom-hunter’s set, which are the Hunter sets from Helegrod and the Rift, respectively; and the West-tower set, which is the heavy Annúminas set. The Travel Pack is available from Hobbit gift-boxes during the Yule festival. An easily-obtained (short-sleeved) alternative to the chest piece I used is the Falconer’s Shirt (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Halls of Night).