Read more about the Uncandled Eggs series here.
This post is dedicated to my first mystery - Ost Barandor. I cannot connect this to any Tolkien lore. Maybe I just have not looked in the correct places. But it certainly seems like it SHOULD be straight from the lore somewhere!
Ost Barandor is a ruined fortress in the far northwest corner of Bree-land. High above the rolling Brandy Hills, it isn't far from the spot where you find the giant Svalfang. Don't confuse it with Ost Baranor, another ruins in the Chetwood near the Yellow Tree.
It is far from most quest lines and seldom visited except by node farmers and those curious enough to wonder about the high ruins they often see in the distance. Nearby is Starmere Lake, another seemingly "actionless" area that is quite beautiful and tranquil.
Berephon of Turbine confirms that Ost Barandor translates as "Fortress of the Brown Land." Baranduin is of course Sindarin for "golden-brown river," and the brown-toned water is most definitely rendered so in LOTRO. The Hobbits had a bit of fun with the name at several points, calling it Branda-nîn, the "border water" in their Westron terms, and later Bralda-hîm, the "heady ale."
I can't help but wonder when this fortress was built, and by whom. This region was once part of the Kingdom of Arnor long ago. When Arnor was broken into smaller kingdoms, I believe this place would have been on the borderline of Arthedain and Cardolan.
In 1636, the Great Plague killed the King in Gondor and spread north and west, devastating much of the population. The kingdom of Cardolan was particularly decimated with very few surviving. One can't help but wonder if Ost Barandor was struck by that plague, leaving it deserted to fall into ruins. Possibly the barrows of some of its inhabitants can be found inside those Downs to the southeast.
I'm more than happy to be proved wrong. If anyone can provide references for Ost Barandor appearing anywhere in Tolkien lore, by all means please post here! At any rate, if you have never bothered to explore this very quiet corner of Bree-land, the view is not to be missed.
Sources: The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F