Saturday, June 29, 2019
Greetings, readers of Material Middle-earth! I wanted to try something different today. Rather than talk about the outfit itself, I've decided to share a story inspired by both my appearance and the location. One Mirkwood quest in particular, A Dangerous Lair, was a major influence in this literary experiment. And I also pulled some tidbits from others for atmosphere. It may not exactly be LOTR-appropriate, but it feels right for LOTRO.
I'm about ten years out of practice with story writing and I know it's not perfect, but I hope it's enjoyable!
Lanael looked above her, rubbing her eyes, and fixed her gaze upon the ceiling. She heard the skittering and scratching as something moved across the roof. There were moments when she was unable to pinpoint the exact source, the sounds nearly drowning out the crackling coming from the hearth. At least one foul creature had climbed upon the Haunted Inn's roof and for what purpose, she had no idea.
"The woods are rife with poisonous spiders," spoke the tall, grey-clad Malledhrim Sentry pacing around the Haunted Inn's common room. "At night, they are especially active, lurking in the darkness of the trees. Sometimes, they crawl along the rooftop, hoping to catch the guards unaware. They are a threat, truly, to our efforts here."
"So that's what that is. Have you located their nest?" she asked boldly, before yawning. The wooden chair she'd tried sleeping in hadn't been very comfortable. It was unbalanced and wobbled every time she'd shift positions.
"The Dreadweaver's Lair is to the southwest, a short distance past the road leading to Ost Galadh."
"Why haven't you destroyed the nest?" Lanael crankily pressed, irritated by the lack of sleep. "Surely, the small host you've gathered here can remove that threat."
The sentry stopped pacing, growing quiet. He looked around, noticing a party of adventurers conversing over a small meal in the adjacent room. He slowly approached the inquisitive elf, the tension rising in his lowered voice, his fist clenched. "We are not as well off as it seems. Our numbers have grown smaller. Elves and orcs alike have been taken by the spiders plaguing us from the south. Scouts that have been sent north to Dannenglor haven't returned. Shades and other foul beings attack from Audaghaim, across the eastern bridge. There is no one to spare to destroy the nest."
Lanael paused, finding it difficult to speak. The sting of his words had caught her off guard. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize..." she whispered as she looked down, unable to look in his eyes.
He guided her to a wooden bench across from the roaring hearth and sat down beside her. "My apologizes. It wasn't my intent to speak so harshly. You didn't know. You were never meant to come here. One of our scouts saw you bound for Ost Galadh as the sun was setting and guided you here for your own safety. The woods are especially dangerous after dusk, as you have just learned."
As they sat there silently and stared at the slowly diminishing flames, the scratching sounds overhead faded. The crackling of the fire and soft, indistinguishable voices from the adjoining room filled the inn once more. Slowly realizing the relative silence, they sighed collectively.
"If you'll excuse me, I must check on my injured companions in the cellar. Another was poisoned by a spider the night before last," said the sentry as he rose from the bench. He began to walk away, stopped mid stride, and he turned around briefly. "And, if I may be so bold, I'd suggest getting some rest, now that the inn is quiet once more. You'll need to be alert when you travel in the morning. Sleep well."
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Every now and then, I've made an outfit that leaves me with mixed feelings. I've let those sit for a few weeks then revisit them and reassess the work I've done. Sometimes they've made it to this blog. Sometimes they haven't. Sometimes an outfit's sat there indefinitely because something feels off, but has the potential to be finished without any indication as to how. And that would be this outfit. The Watchman of the Northern Lands, which was posted last month, was the redesigned product. I still have this original version saved to an outfit slot, still not quite sure what to do with it, but my hopes of completing it have dwindled. Since Material Middle-earth is a blog for outfit ideas, I've uploaded it should someone want to make something out of it.
Saturday, June 1, 2019
My absolute favorite staff has always been the Staff of Storied Past. Although recently introduced through the LOTRO Store, this staff has been in the game's coding for years. Originally, it was called the Lore-master's Staff of the First Age (level 58). In my decade of playing LOTRO, I've never seen this staff drop. Nor have I seen any other First Age weaponry from level 53-58 drop. It's still a mystery, but I've never known the reason why these beautiful weapons weren't introduced into the loot pools. Luckily, the developers at SSG introduced some of those skins to the LOTRO Store as limited time items, appearing for approximately one week every couple of months. I purchased this staff on its initial release day.
Finally, I had the chance to make an outfit revolving around it. It was an interesting approach too!