When the Númenóreans came to the shores of Middle-earth, fleeing the drowning of their island-home, they found the coasts and valleys inhabited by Men who were their distant kin. But their kinship went unrecognized, for these indigenous Men were descended from the Second House of the Edain in the Elder Days before the world was changed, and their language was uncouth to Elendil’s people. In the years of Darkness, before the coming of the Númenóreans, the Men of the White Mountains had turned to the worship of Sauron, for he was mighty and terrible, and their kings practiced heathen rites, burning themselves alive in pride and despair. But now Mordor lay empty, for Sauron too had gone down in the wrack and ruin of Númenor. Wishing to have the allegiance of the Men of the Mountains, Isildur, prince of the fledgling Númenórean realm-in-exile of Gondor, met the Men of the Mountains at the Hill of Erech, where had been placed a great sphere of smooth black stone brought over the sea from Númenor. There, the king of the mountain-men swore that his folk would be allies to Gondor and to fight for her at need.
Later, when the Last Alliance of Elves and Men was formed to combat Sauron, however, the Men of the Mountains broke their oath, refusing Isildur’s call to fight against their former master. Therefore, Isildur cursed them, saying to their king:
Thou shalt be the last king, and if the West prove mightier than thy Black Master, this curse I lay upon thee and thy folk; to rest never until your oath is fulfilled. For this war will last through years uncounted, and you shall be summoned once again ere the end.
— The Lord of the Rings, 5:II
The Men of the Mountains fled before Isildur’s wrath, hiding themselves in the valleys of the White Mountains where they shunned contact with other men. They were become warlocks, oathbreakers, and over the long years they dwindled in the barren hills and the curse of Isildur took hold of them, for they did not die, but lingered on as shadows of their former selves in the darkness under the Haunted Mountain of the Dwimorberg. There they have remained until, as foretold by Malbeth the Seer of Arnor, the Heir of Isildur himself shall come forth to hold them to their oath and release them at last from their bondage to the circles of the the World.
From time to time I enjoy trying to put together an outfit suitable for the foes of the Free Peoples, and the key to that seems to be to try to find pieces that when combined create a bit of a different silhouette than we usually see on our characters. Since the Men of the Mountains (and indeed all Hill-men and descendants of the Second House of the Edain) are presented as being culturally pseudo-Celtic, I wanted to give this guy a look that would suggest a lower technological level relative to the Númenóreans-in-Exile, who are analogous to the Roman Empire in this situation. I thought the bare arms and legs and cloth foot-wrappings helped with this, and I also gave him a vaguely Roman-esque helm and shield to suggest some cultural crossover in the hundred years or so before his folk broke faith (again, analogous to the cultural exchange that took place between the Roman Empire and, for example, the Gauls). As for the name “warlock”, this is a word that has come to be associated with sorcery and synonymous with “sorcerer, magician” but in Old English wǣrloġa meant “oath-breaker, deceiver” from wǣr “faith; fidelity, friendship; agreement, promise” + loġa “liar, deceiver”. It became associated with the Devil, the original oath-breaker, and then with those thought to be in service to the Devil as sorcerers or magicians, and this is how the word came to have its present sense. It seemed to me a fitting term for the treacherous Men of the Mountain and the shadows that they became.
- Head: Westemnet Battle Helmet, (crafted — metalsmith T9), steel blue
- Shoulders: Light Nadhin Shoulders (bartered — Dol Amroth light armour quartermaster), turquoise
- Back: Cloak of the Raven (bartered — Harvestmath festival trader/cosmetic clothing), turquoise
- Chest: Langhár’s Tunic and Waistcoat (quest reward — Beorning intro  Preparations for Travel), turquoise
- Hands: Dúnadan Workman’s Cuffs (deed reward — Volume III Interludes, Part 1), navy
- Feet: Dúnadan Workman’s Sandals (deed reward — Volume III Interludes, Part 1), navy
- Shield: Wildermore Battle Shield (crafted — metalsmith T8/Survivors of Wildermore reputation)
- Weapon: Polished Westemnet Axe (crafted — weaponsmith T9)
Tips: The shoulders used in this outfit are also a random world-drop at any level. Check for them at the Auction House. The appearance of the chest piece used in this outfit alternates its appearance with the auto-granted Beorning class armour depending on whether your Beorning is a man or a woman. By completing the Beorning character intro, you can obtain both full sets of gear.
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