This is probably the longest I have ever taken to work my way through an expansion’s content (expansions that came out during my hiatus not included of course). I am only just now getting Cithryth to level 95 and completing the corresponding Epic Story. And what a spectacularly epic story it is too! While I really appreciate the story and character crafting that goes into the Epic Story in general, I’ve never been quite as avid of a fan of it as some people. But as a Captain of Rohan, the Helm’s Deep Epic Story was truly moving.
At first the Epic Story was moving along pretty much as usual. Helping people get a camp ready, looking into a stolen item, etc. Even the grand awakening of Theoden by Gandalf wasn’t all that spectacular to me. In retrospect I think by the time I got to that part it had been hyped up so much that it was hard to really experience it as well. However after everyone had left Edoras and it was just me and Eowyn getting ready to leave – that’s when the Epic picked up.
Cithryth, like Eowyn, is a warrior woman of Rohan. Better suited to a sword in the hand than a cooking pot. Cithryth was created with Eowyn in mind. So being able to walk and talk with Eowyn in Edoras was a dream.
Then it got even better. I got to ride out with Eowyn and do mounted combat. It was such a rush and I thought that I had reached the peak. I thought I would never be able to top that moment of the Epic Story, as irrelevant as it was to the greater picture.
And from there the Epic Story dipped back down to its less exciting usual ways. Killing 10 orcs, asking someone for help, discovering some plot. After awhile I finally got sent to go meet Theoden, Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas at Helm’s Deep. Then the story really started picking up.
After helping everyone prepare for the battle and aiding Gamling at Helm’s Dike, there is a brief interlude before Saruman’s army reaches the Wall. If you’re a captain, during this pause Aragorn asks you to help him give some inspiring words to the Rohirrim gathered on the walls. As you prepare to help Aragorn, Galadriel’s words of foretelling echo through your mind. Even just remembering this moment from in-game gives me chills down my spine.
A long vigil, waiting for an ally that does not come.
Your words must inspire, for time passes too slowly behind the walls.
They cannot stand forever, the walls, nor the Men under your command.
The dawn seems far off, Captain; is it your fate to see it?
I didn’t take screenshots of that part but only because I was too overwhelmed by it and immersed in the moment to remember. Then the best part – Aragorn asks for assistance in inspiring the soldiers.
These were words specific for a Captain of Rohan that I could use to inspire the soldiers. I wasn’t generically labeled a “Captain of Men” or even mislabeled a “Captain of the North”. I was a Rohirrim, like the soldiers. And I was there to inspire them for Rohan. I was there to defend the fortress of Helm Hammerhand!
What made this Epic Story so amazing was that it was tailored to my character. The class-specific instance hearkening back to Lady Galadriel. The words you could choose gave you options that reflected your character’s actual heritage. So often in LOTRO our character’s geographic origins are completely ignored, used only to grant a title and determine our skin, hair and eye color choices. For once in this Epic Story I was able to proclaim that I was a Captain of the Men of Rohan!