In the North-realm of Arnor long ago, King Eärendur died, leaving three sons as his heirs. His two younger sons each challenged the eldest son, Amlaith, for the right to ascend the throne. The dispute led to the disintegration of Arnor into three successor kingdoms, the greatest of which, Arthedain, was ruled by Eärendur’s rightful heir Amlaith. For over a thousand years, Amlaith’s descendants ruled Arthedain, but the situation in the north grew perilous with the rise of the realm of Angmar and the incessant wars of its ruler, the Witch-king, on the Dúnedain of the North. During the reign of Araphant, Arthedain’s strength to endure was beginning to falter. When the king’s son was born, the royal seer proclaimed:
“Arvedui you shall call him, for he will be the last in Arthedain. Though a choice will come to the Dúnedain, and if they take the one that seems less hopeful, then your son will change his name and become king of a great realm. If not, then much sorrow and many lives of men shall pass, until the Dúnedain arise and are united again.”
And so the king’s son was named Arvedui, that is Last-king. When Arvedui ascended the throne, the realm was struggling to resist the attacks of Angmar. The Witch-king took Fornost, Arthedain’s chief city, and scattered the Dúnedain. Arvedui escaped the sack of the city with a group of his men-at-arms, and with him he brought the heirlooms of the realm: the Ring of Barahir and the palantíri of Annúminas and Amon Sûl. Servants of Angmar pursued them, until at last Arvedui and his men were driven out of the North Downs and into the snowbound lands around the great Ice-bay of Forochel. It was winter, and they were forced to take refuge in an abandoned Dwarf-mine. The cold temperatures and lack of provisions took their toll, and Arvedui and his men began to starve. Little food could be found in the frozen landscape around the mine. Eventually, they had no choice but to plead for help from the Lossoth, the Snow-men of Forochel. The Lossoth feared Arvedui and his men, but also pitied them, and they fed them and built for them houses of snow. Because the harsh winter conditions had killed their horses, Arvedui and his men had no choice but to wait out the winter, hoping that help would come to them.
Help finally came in March the following year. Círdan the Shipwright had heard of the Arvedui’s plight and sent a ship to the Ice-Bay to rescue him. But when the Lossoth saw the ship, they were frightened, and warned Arvedui not to go aboard, saying that the Witch-king’s power was still too great so early in the year. The advised him to wait until summer, when the snows and winds commanded by the Witch-kind would subside. Arvedui did not heed them, and giving them the Ring of Barahir he boarded the elf-ship. But as they sailed forth from the Ice-bay, a terrible storm descended and drove the ship against an ice-floe. The hull was crushed and the ship sank. Thus the Arvedui Last-king found his final resting place at the bottom of the bay, with the two seeing-stones that were his heritage. But his line did not perish, for his son, Aranarth, survived the war with Angmar and became the first of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain.
With this year’s winter festival on its way, I felt it was time to work on another cold-weather outfit. The impetus for this one was the undyeable blue section on the back of the helm, which I thought looks great with the accent colours of the cloak and the hauberk. I’ve always felt this helm to be vaguely Númenórean in feel, or a sort of “fantasy” take on how I picture that aesthetic in my mind’s eye, so it was a natural match with the cloak, with its imagery of Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor. The shield ties into the theme as well, depicting Vingilot, the ship of Eärendil and the blazing Silmaril above it… or perhaps it alludes to the ship that bore Arvedui to his watery grave.
- Head: Westfold Skirmish Helmet (crafted — Tailor T7), black
- Shoulders: Song-caller’s Shoulders (bartered — Shadowed Refuge light armour quartermaster or Twenty-first Hall Minstrel trainer), black
- Back: Radiant Cloak (crafted — Tailor T5), black
- Chest: Elven Hauberk (purchased — Celondim outfitter)
- Hands: Leijona Gloves (crafted — Tailor T5/Lossoth reputation)
- Feet: Leijona Boots (crafted — Tailor T5/Lossoth reputation)
- Shield: Light Westernesse Shield (crafted — Metalsmith T4)
- Weapon: Potent Resolute Sword of Prowess (scaled instance drop)
Tips: The recipes for the gloves and boots of Leijona can be purchased from the Lossoth Medium Armoursmith vendor in the Great Lodge at Sûri-kylä.
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