In times long past, there was a great friendship between the Dwarves of Erebor and the ravens that dwelt on the slopes of the mountain. The ravens were a wise and ancient breed, and in King Thrór’s time their chief, Carc, roosted with his wife above the chamber of the guard-house on Ravenshill, one of the foothills of Erebor. The ravens were exceptionally long-lived, for when Bilbo and Thorin’s company of dwarves came to the Lonely Mountain, they learned that Carc had died, but his son Roäc was still alive, having come out of the egg one hundred and fifty-three years earlier. Balin’s comments at Ravenshill imply that he at least, and possibly other dwarves, could understand the natural speech of the ravens (and crow-speech, but the dwarves disliked crows), and likewise some of the ravens could understand and speak Westron. Indeed Roäc spoke to Thorin in the common speech, bringing both surprising news and an ominous warning.
This dwarf is one of those among Thrór’s folk learned in the speech of the ravens. He has come to Ravenshill to converse with several of his feathered friends, for they collect news from abroad as fervently as they collect bright things to secret in their nests. Here in the dwarves’ guardhouse, great ravens of carven black stone seem to peer down from the ceiling while he speaks with the birds in their harsh but intricate tongue. His robe is simple but finely-made, a rich indigo in hue, like the light gleaming on raven feathers. His silver-hemmed hood has a slightly beak-like profile, befitting his role as raven-friend and bird-speaker and giving him a wise countenance.
In mythology and medieval literature, the language of the birds is seen as a secret, mystical tongue that could be understood only be those initiated to its mysteries. Comprehension of the language was often acquired by some magical transformation or boon, or by tasting dragon’s blood, as did Sigurd in the Icelandic Völsungasaga. Birds often communicated in order to warn heroes of death and danger or to alert them to secret treasure. Ravens specifically have their own additional niche in mythology, being considered harbingers of death and battle; for example Huginn and Muninn were the raven-friends of Odin, acting as his spies and informants at large and flying out across Midgard each day to seek the corpses of hanged men and those slain in battle. In The Hobbit, it’s interesting how many of these ideas are sort of swirling around just beneath the surface. The raven Roäc does indeed act as a harbinger of battle, bringing word to Dáin in the Iron Hills about the strife to come. He brings word of Smaug’s death to Thorin, but also proclaims a dire warning: “the treasure is likely to be your death.”
I’ve had the idea for this outfit in mind for a while now (in terms of theme and constituent pieces), but when I heard that “The Fires of Smaug”, one of Update 10’s new instances, takes place at Ravenshill, I knew that I’d have to hold off on sharing the outfit until the instance went live so I could take my screenshots in a thematic location! Sure enough, I love the big stone raven-statues up in the rafters of the space, and all the ravens perched on the ledges. Although there are a number of cosmetic pieces in-game with feather and bird motifs, I decided to be a little less explicit with this outfit, and I chose just the subtle beak-like shape of the hat to reference the theme.
- Head: The Song-protector’s Hat (bartered — Ox-clan merchant camp/Minstrel instance armour), violet
- Shoulders: Shoulders of the Helmingas (pre-order — Rise of Isengard), default
- Back: Worn Cloak of the Ranger (quest reward — epic  Volume 3, Book 5, Chapter 1: Separate Ways – Radanir), red
- Chest: Scholar’s Vestments (purchased — any outfit vendor), indigo
- Hands: Durn-durnvol (looted — Rise of Isengard instance cluster), indigo
- Feet: Ceremonial Boots of the Brazen Call (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Moria cosmetic clothing – heavy), violet
Tips: The hood used in this outfit shares its appearance with the hoods from the other two Minstrel instance armour sets available at the Ox-clan merchant camp, as well as the Lore-master and Rune-keeper sets also available there. The boots that I used have the same appearance as the ones from the other level 58 Moria instance cluster heavy armour sets.
You may also like: