Remember Mjoll the Lioness? If you spent much time in Riften, you'll have heard her railing against the Thieves Guild and the corrupt Black-Briar family, and you might have found out she lost a magic sword called Grimsever, leading to a sidequest to recover it from a dwemer ruin.
Kirie Cosplay, who estimates she spent two months of her spare time working on the armor, wig, and makeup for her impressive Mjoll the Lioness outfit, didn't have a convenient Dragonborn around to search for Grimsever and had to craft that herself as well.
"My Grimsever is all made from EVA foam," she explains. "I drew out all the detailing and used a Dremel tool to create the curves and ridges, and placing layers of foam where larger details were needed. The blade has been coated in a gloss and even with a glow in the dark coat!" As cool as the finished result looks, there's one downside to owning a glow-in-the-dark sword. "I keep it in a wardrobe so it doesn’t spook me too much at night," she says.
In a game where NPCs can sometimes blur together, Mjoll's a memorable standout, which explains why Kirie's still cosplaying her years after Skyrim's release. "Mjoll the Lioness is a unique character," she says. "She has strong features, while also having face markings which makes her appearance very appealing to me as I love to play with makeup."
Mjoll's practical armor, complete with fur lining, turned out to be a challenge not just to make but to hold together. "I think the hardest part of this costume was to create attachments for the armor pieces," Kirie says. "A few of them sit fine with just some strapping but I had to come up with ways for the hips and shoulders. The leather straps are slid up under the shoulder armour to meet the velcro pieces inside them. The curve along the top of the shoulder also has velcro to have it sitting just right."
Like the sword, the armor is mostly made from EVA foam, with some foam clay from Lumins Workshop. "I used contact adhesive for the foam pieces and super glue for all the tiny fiddly bits. It was fun to make the foam pieces look metal and rusted! Other pieces used fabric and fake fur. I dirtied up the fur as well to make it look not so shiny new."
That's a big part of the appeal of making a Skyrim-themed cosplay for Kirie. Being a Nord means getting to look like you've been through the wars, or at least knocked down by dwemer automatons a few times. "Making Skyrim cosplays is exciting because of how creative you can be," she says. "Almost every piece will need weathering or dirtying. How will you make this fabric look like it survives running through caves, snowstorms, even dragon fire? I would say never do a costume from this kind of environment and have it look like it's just come off the shop rack!"