History of the Valar
Eru’s thought gave birth to the Ainur, the offspring of his mind. Then he called these servants together and spoke to them, instilling them with music and calling upon them to sing. This they did; but, for a while, they could not sing as one. As countless ages passed, however, the music became refined and the voices joined in glorious harmony. This was the Great Music that gave birth to Eä. Each Valar had his part in this Song, each his own purposeful melody, and together they forged Menel (the Heavens) and Arda (the Earth). At the heart of this wondrous marvel called Existence was the Flame Imperishable, that which gave life.
The Origin of Evil
Unfortunately, innocence and unity were sundered during this Creation. One of the greatest Ainur sought a larger part in the scheme and sang according to his own desire. This Ainu, Melkor, would later become known as Morgoth — the Black Enemy. His desire to manipulate the Flame of Life and create his own vision was the beginning of Evil, for Morgoth was Evil incarnate. He was the sole renegade among the exalted Ainur called the Valar, those High Spirits who entered Eä in order to complete its conception.
The Spring of Arda
Eru stayed the discord among the Ainur and ended the Great Music. Admonishing his servants, he shamed Morgoth. The Black Enemy submitted to the will of the One, but a painful hatred lay rooted deep within his remorse. Eru forgave Morgoth’s transgression and took the Valar out of their fair home in the Timeless Halls and showed them Eä. Set amidst the Void, this World was theirs to enter, to mold in its final glory.
When the Valar and Maïar left Eru’s Timeless Halls and passed into Eä, the World was but a rough shape, like an unworked jewel waiting to be crafted into a finished masterwork. The arriving Ainur, seeking perfection and symmetry, set about sculpting Arda and arranging the Heavens.
Morgoth worked in ways contrary to the scheme of the other Valar. The Black Enemy sought a World of his own thought and he challenged his brethren. As they built, Morgoth destroyed or perverted their work. War raged across the young lands.
Eventually, however, the Valar united against their renegade brother. Morgoth retreated, and with the coming of Tulkas — the last Vala to enter Eä — the Black Enemy fled from Arda, escaping over the Walls of Night that bound the World. The hearty Tulkas earned Morgoth’s undying enmity but, for a time, Eä remained at peace. The Two Lamps that Lit the World.
The World took shape during this, the Spring of Arda. Mountains and valleys emerged according to the scheme, and the land took on a placid balance. Two Great Lamps (Illuin and Ormal), erected on mountain pillars in the North and South, gave light to Arda, and all within the circular Bounds of the World achieved the glory Eru sought. Where their glow was brightest, the Valar constructed their home. They called it the island of Almaren, which rested in a vast lake in the middle of the continent that formed the center of Arda. There, the Exalted Ones relaxed in splendor, enjoying the marvels that they had created within the guidelines of Eru’s plan.
The Fall of the Two Lamps and the Twilight that Followed
Arda’s brief Spring was short-lived, however, for Morgoth came out of exile. The rebellious Ainu slipped back out of the Void quietly, hoping to surprise and so vanquish the other Valar. Entering Eä in the Far North of Arda, he set about building an unbreakable fortress. He delved a deep refuge called Utumno (Q. “The Valley of the Evil Hollow”) with the help of his lieutenant, Aulë’s chief Maia servant Sauron — whom he seduced before coming to Arda. Raising a great barrier to those who would assail his lair, he created the Iron Mountains, a semicircle of peaks that reached across Arda’s sole continent.
Signs of Morgoth’s return began to plague the land. Healthy forests withered and wretched quagmires appeared; foul beasts preyed upon fair fauna and a chilling cold gripped the North. The Valar awoke from their repose and searched Arda for the Black Enemy’s place of hiding. Before his discovery, however, Morgoth struck a blow that ended the Spring of Arda. Leaving Utumno to his servants, he struck down the mountain pillars that supported the lamps Illuin and Ormal, casting their fire upon the land and ripping the continent asunder. The World fell into darkness as the seas swelled and Almaren was destroyed. Fair Arda changed, the shape of its landscape forever marred.
Tulkas gave chase to the rogue Vala, but Morgoth returned safely to his hold amidst the cataclysm. Reinforcing its defenses, he awaited the Valar’s attempted retribution. This revenge would not come soon, though, for the Valar turned instead to the work of restoring the land and building a new home.
The Founding of Aman
The desecration of Arda affected all of its territories, but Endor in the middle reaches suffered most. Illuin and Ormal stood on the highest peaks ever erected in Arda, and their fiery fall swept across the regions that separated them. The Middle Land, Middle-earth, suffered dearly, for the Lamps were anchored on its flanks. Its roots torn, its fields washed in flame and flood, Endor was a sullied place.
In the aftermath, the Valar looked elsewhere for a home. They turned to the Outer Lands, those regions separated from the Walls of Night by the Encircling Sea. Of these, the fairest and westernmost was Aman, the Blessed Land. It was a remote place lying at the edge of World and far from Utumno, which lay in the northernmost marches of Middle-earth. Ta king leave of the war against the Great Evil, the Valar left Endor and entered Aman, making it their residence.
A wall of high mountains marched along the eastern side of the Blessed Land. Grander than any left in Endor, they sheltered most of Aman from the rest of the World. Only a narrow but fertile shelf lay between them and the Great Sea that parted Aman and Endor. Behind these mountains, the Pel6ri, the Valar established Valinor, their new home. There, all was hallowed and full of enduring life amidst the Exalted Spirits; thus, the name “Undying Lands”: Nevermore would the Valar have want of their own abode.
The Making of the Dwarves and the Awakening of the Firstborn
Eru alone created the Flame Imperishable. In his thought, souls formed and life was born. Out of his Flame, spirits kindled. No life could be conceived without his leave, as Morgoth discovered. While life naturally fascinated the Valar, who were entrusted with — cultivating the World, it first arose in Eru’s mind and could not come to pass outside his plan.
Nonetheless, the Vala Aulë sought to create a living race, and he labored away from Aman, in secret, molding the Seven Fathers of Dwarves in a hall deep beneath the surface of Endor. In those days Aulë endured torment, for the Smith understood that his conception was outside the scheme of the One; but he persevered and made his offspring strong, like the earth from which they came.
Eru knew all, though, and, at the instant the Smith completed his work, the One spoke to his misguided servant. He asked of Aulë’s motives and admonished the Vala for crafting things outside his authority. Aulë explained that he did not seek mastery over his creation, but rather sought something new and full of life. This thought touched Eru.
Weeping, the grief-stricken Smith raised his hammer in order to right his transgression, but Eru intervened. Forgiving his servant, the One accepted the Dwarves as a gift. Yet, since the Seven Fathers rested outside Eru’s scheme, Aulë’s children were placed in slumber, until their appointed time of awakening. Laying the stout Naugrim in wombs deep within remote parts of Endor, Aulë returned to Valinor. The Smith was comforted by Eru’s forgiveness, and by the knowledge that none of the other Valar knew his work. Only his spouse Yavanna received his counsel, and to her alone he revealed his work and his joy.
The Elves, not the Dwarves, were destined by Eru to be the Firstborn; and, indeed, this was so. They awoke at Cuiviénen in eastern Middle-earth not long after Aulë’s return to Aman. First to speak and immortal of body, the Elves stood as the first of the Children of Eru.
The Sleep of Yavanna
The World that greeted the Elves was a land in slumber. Robbed of the light of the Two Lamps, it slept as if in perpetual night. Yavanna — mistress of the earth and guardian of the Olvar — awaited the return of the Light. Few things stirred beneath the stars, save the multitudes of the Evil North.
The Two Trees
In the northeast part of Aman, at the middle of Valinor’s center, Yavanna blessed a green mound. From the mound sprang the roots of Two Trees watered by the tears of Nienna. They rose, stirred by Yavanna’s song; and light came out of their blossom, bathing the World once again in warm illumination. Their glowing dew, mists collected in wells below their roots, there to remain as a repository of life-giving light. This marked the beginning of the Count of Time.
The older of the Two Trees — Telperion — shone silver, like the color of the underside of its deep green leaves. Laurelin, its counterpart, had spring-green leaves with gilded edges and gave off a golden radiance. Together they lit Arda, just as the Lamps had before them. Once again, the life of the World waxed, and Eru’s vision continued to unfold.
Oromë’s Embassy and the Claim of Morgoth
With the awakening of the Elves, Morgoth stirred with new hate. The Black Enemy, seeking domination of the Firstborn, sent his shadowy servants southward to Cuiviénen. There –at the starlit inlet on the Inland Sea of Helcar, where the light of the Two Trees was but a faint glow — Morgoth’s minions sowed fear, suspicion, and discord.
The Valar were as yet unaware of the coming of the Elves, but Fate interceded, and the Huntsman Oromë came upon the Firstborn soon after the Black Enemy made his first overtures. His arrival was a wonderful, awkward moment that instilled a splendid song in Oromë’s heart. Unfortunately, many of the Elves looked upon the Vala rider as a predatory spectre, a creature of darkness who fed upon the weak.
In fact, many of the Elves had been lost, but not at Oromë’s hands. Captured or seduced by Morgoth’s fiendish ploys, they became the root of a new race — the Orcs. While the Black Enemy could not create life anew, he could pervert that which had already been given a spirit. The newborn race of Quendi were threatened with bondage or extinction.
The Battle of the Powers
Oromë returned to the West and spoke of his discovery, and of the dangers that threatened the Firstborn. The other Valar realized the gravity of this peril and resolved to combat their rebellious brother. Assembling the Host of Valinor, they marched on Endor, hoping to assail Utumno and end the Evil.
Morgoth’s armies met the Army of the West in northwestern Middle-earth and were utterly vanquished in a fray which remade much of the surrounding territory. Sauron’s dark fortress in Angband was overrun. The Valar’s host, led by Tulkas, swept the remnants of the forces of Darkness eastward. Placing a guard on Cuiviénen, the Exalted turned and marched on Morgoth’s stronghold. They assailed Utumno and a protracted siege ensued. In the end, however, the might of the Valar proved unstoppable. They broke Utumno and, invading its endless halls, confronted their fallen cohort.
Tulkas wrestled Morgoth and chained him with Angainor, Aulë’s masterwork. The Battle of the Powers ended in victory for the Valar. Shackled and blindfolded by his arch-rival Tulkas, the Black Enemy was led to Valinor. There, Manwë judged him, condemned him, and had him imprisoned in the inescapable Halls of Mandos.
The Great Journey of the Elves
A long peace followed, during which the Elves prospered. Yet little time passed before the Valar — desirous of safety for the Elves and fellowship for themselves — extended an invitation to the Firstborn to settle among the Exalted Spirits in the Undying Lands. The Elves reacted with apprehension for, excepting the Huntsman, the Quendi had only seen the Valar at war and therefore full of wrath.
Another approach was chosen. Oromë returned to Cuiviénen and proposed, in person, to the Quendi that they journey to Valinor. This embassy succeeded and the Vala Hunter returned home with three Elven emissaries: Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë.
Once in Valinor, the three Elves encountered the full glory of the Powers. Awe and desire filled their souls and they acceded to the Valar’s offer. Returning home on the back of Oromë’s steed Nahar, they spoke of the resplendent magnificence of Aman and persuaded many of their people to undertake the migration westward. Those that followed them came to be known as the Eldar. Their numbers included the whole of Ingwë’s folk (the Vanyar), as well as most of Finwë’s and E1we’s followers (the Noldor and Teleri, respectively).
Thus began the Great Journey across Endor and into Aman. This was the first split among the Quendi, for those left behind, the Avari (Q. “Unwilling”), remained in the East of Middle-earth and developed along their own lines. Later sundering occurred as the Eldar marched toward the Light of the Two Trees. The Nandor, Sindar, and Laiquendi groups of the Teleri never left Endor’s shores. Like the Avari, they became known as Moriquendi (Dark Elves), those that never gazed upon the Light. The Calaquendi, or Light Elves, counted all the Eldar who eventually reached the Undying Lands.
The Calaquendi groups settled in the eastern regions of the Blessed Realm. Vanyar and Noldor groups took their place in Valinor. The Teleri built their homes further east, on the Island of Tol Eressëa, and in the coastal region of Eldamar, between the Pel6ri mountains and the Great Sea.
Across the dividing ocean, in northwest Endor, the Sindar occupied the realm called Beleriand. Laiquendi later joined them, as did the Noldor who returned from Aman to do battle with their ageless foe. Morgoth’s Repentance and the Creation of the Silmarils
Morgoth stayed in the HaIls of Mandos for three ages. All the while, he petitioned for forgiveness, knowing that Manwë did not fully understand Evil. The King of the Valar empathized with all races and knew well of feelings, but the motivations of the Black Enemy were alien to his spirit. Morgoth persistently played upon Manwë’s sympathies.
In the end, Manwë pardoned Morgoth after the Black Enemy’s repentance, and so began the saga that shaped the last days of the First Age. Morgoth reentered Valinor and began to plot his revenge.
Soon after Morgoth’s return, the Noldo Fëanor, eldest son of Finwë, created the Silmarils (Q. “Silmarilli”). They were undoubtedly the greatest work ever created by a Child of Eru. Embodying the unending light drawn from the Two Trees, these three gems burned with the glow of their own spirit. Their beauty was without parallel in the realm of material things.
Morgoth’s desire for these precious jewels led to his second rebellion. Encountering the incredible Silmarils, the Fallen Vala proved unable to stay his want. He sowed the seeds of discord among the Noldor, hoping to sunder the Elves from their loyalty to the Valar and Maïar. With this ploy, he planned to wrest these powerful prizes from the Eldar.
The Flight of Morgoth and the Coming of Ungoliant
Morgoth’s attempt to seduce the proud Noldor failed. The precious Silmarils remained firmly in the hands of Fëanor and the House of Finwë. The Noldor, alerted to their danger, called for aid from the Valar, and the Black Enemy was once again forced to flee from his brethren. Escaping southward from Valinor, he went into the shadowy reaches of Avathar. There, in the wilds of south-easternmost Aman, Morgoth met the haunting Spirit of the Void — the essence of the Unlight.
Called Ungoliant, this spidery, demonic incarnation of Nothingness was opposed to all that lived. She hungered for the light of life, the manifestations of the Flame Imperishable. Fearing Ungoliant’s nature, and in need of a powerful ally, Morgoth cultivated her thirsts and promised her what she sought most — the Light of the Two Trees and the Wells of Varda.
The Long Night
Heinous events sprang from this wicked union. In an act suggestive of the earlier destruction of the Two Lamps, Morgoth and Ungoliant slipped into Valinor and assailed the Two Trees. Poisoning the roots of Telperion and Laurelin and draining the Wells of Varda, Ungoliant cast the World into Darkness once again. Thus began the Long Night, a time of confusion, fear, and utter sorrow.
Using the apprehensive moments following Arda’s plunge into the Dark, Morgoth stole into the Noldo Treasury of Formenos and seized the Silmarils. Finwë, the King of the Noldor and sire of Fëanor, attempted to repel this trespassing, but the Black Enemy slew him and took the gems. His hands burned by the fire of the three jewels, Morgoth bore his booty northward. Oromë and Tulkas gave chase, but Ungoliant dissuaded all pursuit by spinning shadowy webs of impenetrable Unlight.
Morgoth’s Return to Middle-earth
Upon arriving in Lammoth in northwestern Middle-earth, Ungoliant confronted her companion and demanded the riches stolen from Formenos. Devouring all the jewels, save the priceless Silmarils, the Spirit of the Void grew. She loomed like a monstrous spider-shaped cloud of black nothingness and demanded Fëanor’s creations. The rogue Vala refused, and the erstwhile allies battled. With the aid of his Balrogs’s flaming whips, however, Morgoth prevailed. Ungoliant fled into Endor’s wilderness. (For more on Ungoliant, see 7.3.)
Rescued by the Balrogs and forever free of Ungoliant, Morgoth journeyed to Angband and rejoined the remainder of his surviving servants. There, his lieutenant Sauron had gathered the remnants of the host that served the Black Enemy before his fall in the Battle of the Powers. Morgoth took a new throne and began to rebuild his frigid domain. Strengthening his numbers, he augmented Angband’s delvings and constructed a stronghold that rivaled his old, now — shattered, subterranean fortress at Utumno. The waste of his minions’ toils piled skyward with each passing year. Using this slag, the Black Enemy erected Thangorodrim (S. “Mountains of Tyranny”), the triad of peaks beneath which lay his dark capital.
The Iron Crown of Morgoth
Morgoth claimed dominion over the World, calling himself King. To symbolize his sovereignty, he placed the three Silmarils in a crown — the Iron Crown — the most potent item of power ever created. With it, he channeled his energies to forge an army of countless denizens: Orcs and Trolls, Wolves and Wargs, Spectres and Werebeasts, and Dragons and Balrogs. The Host of the Black Enemy was formidable, and his conquest of Endor seemed assured.
The Revolt of the Noldor and the Kin-slaying
As the Great Evil rose in Middle-earth, the Noldor of Aman planned to avenge their King’s murder. Fired by the theft of the Silmarils and the destruction of the Two Trees, the three sons of Finwë gathered their people and prepared to march back into Endor. Most agreed to leave Valinor, despite the wishes of the Valar, so the Noldor swore the Oath of Fëanor and rose in revolt.
Leaving through the eastward pass called Calacirya, the Noldor entered Eldamar on the eastern coast of Aman. There, they encountered the seafaring Teleri and requested use of their ships in order to ferry into Endor. Olwë’s Teleri refused, knowing that the Valar had been betrayed. What followed was one of the saddest moments in Middle-earth’s history. Spurred by their burning hatred for Morgoth, the Noldor of Fëanor fell upon their Teleri brothers in an awful bloodletting. The lightly armed Teleri fought valiantly, but they proved no match for the proud Noldor. Reinforced by the van of his brother Fingolfin’s army, Fëanor prevailed and seized the Teleri ships.
The Kin-slaying of Alqualondë doomed the Noldor. Angered and bitter over what they perceived as a betrayal, Fëanor’s host immediately set sail from Alqualondë, leaving the bulk of their kin to fend for themselves. Temporarily abandoned, the people of Fingolfin and Finarfin (the youngest of Finwë’s sons) went northward along Aman’s rugged shores. They resolved to cross the treacherous ice of the Helcaraxë, which strangled the narrow straits between northeast Aman and northwestern Endor. At the same time, Fëanor’s folk sailed northward, skirting the coast as their brethren journeyed along the sea’s flank. Loyalty among the Noldor raged deep.
With the flight of the Noldor, the Teleri King Olwë called upon the Maia Ossë to exact punishment upon the Kin-slayers. The Valar intervened, however, for affairs purely between the Children of Eru were not the province of their guardianship. Whatever crimes the Noldor committed against the Teleri out of haste and pride, the Exalted Ones could not act in vengeance. Instead, Judgment and Fate would answer the need for justice.
Nonetheless, Uinen — one of the Vala Ulmo two high Maïar — wept for the slain Teleri. Storms rose, buffeting the Noldo fleet as it made its way to the North. Many of the stolen ships sank in the high waves, and the small armada’s course changed in the passing winds. Fëanor’s haste was all for nought. The tragedy served as a testament to the troubled fate that would haunt the Kindred of Finwë from that time onward.
The Prophecy of the North
Meanwhile, the rest of the Noldor followed Fingolfin and Finarfin along the narrow trail between the Pelóri and the Great Sea. In time, they came to the northern borders of the Blessed Realm, where Valinor met the high, cold reaches of Araman. Waste lay before them, and beyond it grinding sea-ice.
As the Noldor crossed the boundary into the wild, a dark figure appeared upon a great rock that guarded the windswept shore. His identity was unclear, but to this day it is written that it was Mandos. The figure spoke in a firm, terrible tone. His solemn words caused the Noldor to rise and listen, and this they did. Waylaid for this somber moment, they heard the Prophecy of the North. The Doom — sayer told of the Valar’s curse and proclaimed their exile. His simple words spoke of the sorrow and pain that would follow the Noldor in the quest for war. He uttered the dark prediction that the House of Fëanor would be forever torn by their Oath, with lust and greed keeping them from their treasures and barring them from any real peace.
Finarfin’s Return to Valinor
Fëanor renewed his Oath in the face of the Prophecy, and most of his followers concurred; but Finarfin, his brother, decided to forsake the journey to Endor. Speaking to his sons, Finarfin proclaimed that he would return to Valinor and meet his punishment. Sadly, bitterly, he realized that his own House was sundered. The sons of Finarfin broke from their father out of love and loyalty for the sons of Fingolfin, and abided by their Oath. Finarfin returned to the Land of the Valar, where he was pardoned and given lordship over the loyal Noldor of Aman.
Fëanor’s Betrayal and the Arrival of the Noldor in Endor
Their brother gone, Fëanor and Fingolfin resumed their migration. An exceedingly difficult crossing of Araman spawned quarrels and recriminations until, finally, bitterness reigned between Finwë’s eldest sons. Fingolfin accused Fëanor of bringing disaster upon their Kindred, blaming his older half-brother for all the ills that befell the Noldor. In turn, Fëanor scoffed at the tidings.
As the Noldor approached the Helcaraxë, they argued about the means to traverse the icy crossing into Middle-earth. The white ships that Fëanor commanded were too few to transport their people and a ferry seemed impractical. Any journey on foot suggested insanity. Then one night, when the wind out of the northwest seemed strong and fair, Fëanor put the issue to rest. Gathering his folk, he slipped onto the ships and sailed away, once again leaving Fingolfin and the sons of Finarfin behind.
This time, however, Fëanor had no intention of rejoining his half-brother. Instead, he sailed to northwest Middle-earth, landing amidst a chorus of echoes. His first act was to order the burning of the white ships seized from the Teleri. No fleet would return to assist Fingolfin’s crossing.
The Creation of the Sun and the Moon
While the Noldor struggled on their journey to Middle-earth, the Valar sought to end the Long Night and restore Light to the World. Morgoth threatened the safety of the World and, without Light, the Children of Eru had little hope.
Upon word of Fëanor’s landing in Endor, Manwë summoned the Valier Yavanna and Nienna. He commanded them to use all their power over the Olvar in order to restore life in the Two Trees. But their enchantments, although strong, proved to be futile. Ungoliant had imbedded an irresistible poison.
Nonetheless, Nienna’s song coaxed a last vestige of their spirit from the dying boughs. In passing, Telperion bore a last Silver Flower, and Laurelin produced a single Golden Fruit. Each gift embodied the essence of their Light. The Valar rejoiced in their radiance as Yavanna presented them to Manwë. Consecrated by the King, their Light was fixed by placing them in two vessels forged by Aulë. And so, the Moon (Isil) and the Sun (Anar) were born out of the last offerings of Telperion and Laurelin.
Manwë gave the two new lamps to his spouse Varda, the Guardian of the Heavens, in hope that she could place them in the sky over Arda. Varda then chose two Maïar to accomplish this task. To guide the Moon, the Queen of the Valar accepted Tilion the Hunter, a servant of Oromë. Varda then selected Vána’s high Maia Arien, the Queen of the Fire-spirits, as guardian and guide for the Sun. The Death of Fëanor
While the lamps were being prepared, calamity once again struck the Noldor. In the last, starlit days of the Long Night, the Host of Fëanor wrestled with the death of their Lord. Mandos’s prediction to the Valar proved true; the firebrand soul of the most gifted Noldo to ever live returned to the Halls of the Dead before completing the Oath.
Morgoth’s watchful armies struck the Noldor’s unprepared camp after spotting the fires of the burning ships on the coast. For ten days the Battle-under-Stars raged. Although victorious, Fëanor’s pride trapped him once again. The Noldo King gave chase into Angband, where he was surrounded. Mortally wounded by Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs, Fëanor died. His bittersweet life colored much of the history of the First Age, and left an enduring and painful legacy.
The Coming of Fingolfin
Ironically, the Noldor under Fingolfin could see the fires of the Teleri ships and the smoke of battle; however, they could not aid their betrayer. The torturous ice that formed their road stole many lives and made their relief efforts impossible. They crept across the Helcaraxë in one of the most dramatic sojourns ever undertaken.
Fingolfin’s will proved stronger than his half-brother imagined. Aided by his son Fingon and Finarfin’s children — Galadriel, Finrod, Orodreth, Angrod, and Aegnor — he led his host across the frozen sea. They braved the multitudinous dangers of the grinding ice and, despite losing many of their number, they entered Endor at the moment the Moon first rose.
The Rise of the Sun and the Moon
Just as Telperion had been the first of the Two Trees to sprout, the Moon was the first of the heavenly lamps to rise into the Heavens. Guided by Tilion, it began its march from the West as Fingolfin’s folk completed their trials upon the Helcaraxë. New life sprang forth across the world as the silver lamp made its sky crossing.
Morgoth’s host was stunned by the Moon’s splendor, but the plans to crush the Elves of Beleriand nevertheless progressed. The arrival of the stalwart and vengeful Noldor threatened his dream and he hoped to slay the forces of Fëanor and Fingolfin before they settled; but this was not to be. Only seven days passed after the ascension of the Moon when the Sun first rose in the East. Blinded by the glorious golden light, Morgoth retreated below ground. He then collected his minions beneath the great black clouds that spewed out of Thangorodrim to shroud Angband from the newborn sunlight.
The Making of Night and Day
The great light also bothered the Valar Lórien and Estë, for it obscured the starlight and created an ever-present day. No night remained for rest and sleep, so they prayed for a new order in the sky. These calls were answered, perhaps by Fate, when the wandering Tilion left his course in hopes of touching the glory of the Sun. Coming too close to the fiery orb, the Moon was burned and dimmed and Tilion turned away.
From then onward, the Moon produced a dimmer light and followed a new course. A time of half-light was conceived and the people of the Vala Ulmo responded by pulling the Sun down upon the cool waters of the Encircling Sea as the Moon rose. The Sun rested as the Moon dominated the sky, and ascended as the Moon slipped into its eastern descent. A cycle of night and day began.
The Attack Upon the Sky
Morgoth sought to destroy the new lamps, just as he had brought down Illuin and Ormal and the Two Trees. But the power of the Black Enemy, tied to Arda more and more, weakened with the ages and with each new crafting outside the thought of Eru. Morgoth’s ability to sweep away the Maïar in the sky was then limited and, when he attacked Tilion and the Moon, he was driven back to Arda. Since Arien was even stronger, the renegade Vala realized that his plight was fixed. The Sun and the Moon kept their paths and the Black Enemy looked to other means for darkening the earth.
The Defense of Aman
Morgoth’s attack on the Moon told the Valar two things about their foe. First, they realized that Aman itself needed strengthening, for the Black Enemy was both desperate and ready for battle. Secondly, the Powers saw that their fallen brother’s strength was rooted to Arda and waned as he went skyward. The Valar raised the already-high peaks of the Pel6ri mountains into a wall that touched the clear reaches above the clouds. Closing all the passes of the range, save one for the loyal Elves of Eldamar and Tol Eressëa, they fortified Aman with a virtually unbreakable boundary. An unsleeping watch was posted upon the heights and, thereafter, Valinor was a guarded land.
The Birth of Men
With the dawn of the age of the Sun and the Moon, the Valar retreated for a time from their involvement in Endor’s affairs. Their new creations served to brighten the hearts of the Quendi but, more importantly, they lit the World for the Valar’s new wards — Men — the Second-born of the Free Peoples.
The race of Men awoke in Hild6rien in eastern Middle-earth at the moment the Sun came into the sky. They were mortal and less fair than the Elves, but Eru cherished their spirits as he did those of no other people. Entrusting their souls to the guardian Valar, the One made it clear that it would be Men who would inherit the mantle of lordship over Endor. Their well-being was critical to the scheme, and the timing of their birth and the rise of the Sun was no coincidence.
The Third and Fourth Battles Between Morgoth and the Elves
While Men awoke and began to multiply and spread westward, the Elves of Beleriand faced the Great Evil of Angband. A vast, empty plain separated the cold, ever-dark North from the Elven Kingdoms. Residing in territories of varying allegiance, the Quendi arrayed themselves in three Teleri/Sinda and nine Noldo domains.
Of these Kingdoms, many were at odds. The Sindar of Doriath would not fight alongside the avenging Noldor, preferring to remain behind the protective Girdle of the Maia Melian. Noldor lords quarreled over past transgressions, in keeping with the Prophecy of the North. It was an anxious time.
Three campaigns — the Third through Fifth Battles of the First Age — followed the settlement of the Noldor. Twice Morgoth’s armies struck southward out of Angband, each time behind a wall of flame. Defeated in the Third Battle, the Black Enemy withstood a four-hundred-year siege.
The Evil Host broke the Elven stranglehold in the Fourth Battle. Led by rivers of fire, they exploded out of Thangorodrim and laid waste to the lands between Angband and Beleriand. The Elves retreated southward, and scores of their holds were overrun. Sorely wounded, the Noldor desperately regrouped as Fingolfin heard word of the disaster.
The Death of Fingolfin
The angry High Noldo rode into Angband and up to the gates of the dark capital. There, he challenged Morgoth to single combat. The fallen Vala came forth and battled Fingolfin in the greatest duel in history. Wounded in the leg and shamed by his foe’s success, Morgoth slew the Noldo King using the enchanted mace Grond.
In the months that followed, the armies of Darkness skirmished with the remaining Elves, but the worst danger had passed. Fingolfin’s prideful sacrifice temporarily subdued the wrath of Morgoth and enabled his kinsmen to restore their strength.
The Coming of Men
During the wars against the Black Enemy, a few centuries after the death of Fëanor, Finrod encountered the Edain (sing. “Adan”). It was the first meeting of Elves and Men in the West. Struck by their innocence, ignorance, and love of life, he befriended and instructed them. This was a prelude to a long and wonderful alliance between Adan and Elf. Eventually, three Mannish lines settled among the Elves and bonded themselves with the Firstborn. Their strength was needed in the coming years.
The Quest of the Silmaril
One Man, Beren son of Barahir, exemplified the spirit of the Second-born. A noble rogue who fought Morgoth’s brigands along the northern frontier, Beren fell in love with the wildly beautiful Lúthien, the daughter of King Elwë and the Maia Melian. Elwë did not approve of this love, so he gave Beren a quest to fulfill. To obtain leave necessary to marry Lúthien, Beren had to acquire a Silmaril.
Beren sought aid in this formidable venture, for the Silmarils rested in the Iron Crown of Morgoth and their recovery was hardly imaginable. Joining with the Noldo Finrod, who owed Beren’s father a favor and sought the Silmarils himself, Beren and a small party went north toward Angband. Their journey ended quickly, however, when the Maia Sauron ambushed their band and imprisoned them.
With the aid of Huan — the Hound of Valinor — Lúthien rescued her beloved, but Finrod perished at the hands of his captor. The lovers and Huan slipped northward and stole into Thangorodrim. There, Lúthien’s enchanting song put Morgoth to sleep, enabling Beren to secure a Silmaril before they were forced to flee.
Unfortunately, their escape was barred by Carcharoth, the Black Enemy’s foul War-wolf. Encountering the thieves at the outer gate, he bit off Beren’s hand and swallowed the stolen jewel. This act briefly saved Beren’s life, for the beast was consumed from within by the fire of the Silmaril and went wild. Left alone, Lúthien, Beren, and Huan escaped on the wings of eagles.
Strangely, Fate dictated that Beren would die at the hands of Carcharoth, and in the process retrieve the lost jewel, for the hero and the demon-wolf came together further south. Carcharoth mortally wounded Beren and slew Huan, but was itself slain by the great hound. The Silmaril was reclaimed at a drear price. Lúthien grieved as the dying Beren fulfilled his quest and gave the cursed jewel to her father. Her heart broken, she died soon thereafter. She and her love were given a second life in return for her immortality, and Beren’s Silmaril passed through her line to her granddaughter Elwing. The Fifth Battle
Less than two decades after the Fourth Battle, the Elves took to the offensive under the Union of Maedhros (eldest son of Fëanor). The collected armies included Noldor and Men, as well as a small host of Sindar from Falas. Marching in two groups, the Union hoped to join on the northern plain and assault Thangorodrim in a bold onslaught.
Treachery undid their plans, however, as Morgoth’s spies delayed Maedhros’s eastern column. Meanwhile, the vanguard of the western army marched into a trap which claimed Fingon’s entire cohort. Turgon withdrew behind a screen provided by the Edain, not knowing that Maedhros’s forces had been encircled not far to the east. In the end, the Evil Host swept over all of the northern territories except Turgon’s hidden Noldo City at Gondolin. Turgon’s folks bolstered their defenses and lay in hiding, taking comfort in the blessing that Ulmo had bestowed upon the city long before. Surrounded, they knew their doom was at hand.
The Fall of Gondolin
Gondolin nestled in a circular mountain valley which was unknown to all but its residents. It was fated to perish, however, and Morgoth finally found word of its approximate location. Still later, the treason of Maeglin betrayed its exit ways. The Valar’s Prophecy again proved true as Noldo turned upon Noldo out of desire and spite. Maeglin’s revelations led to the city’s demise. Morgoth’s armies annihilated most of its surprised citizenry.
Some escaped, however, including the Man Tuor and his son Eärendil. Their flight took them southward, to the Havens of Sirion in the lands of the Sindar. There, they settled in an uneasy peace, forlorn of hope in the face of the Black Enemy’s impending victory.
Of all the Valar, Ulmo was closest to the events that transpired during these years, and the Lord of the Oceans was acutely aware that the Eldar of Endor faced extermination. Pity stirred his otherwise restrained spirit. Traveling to Valinor, he appealed to Manwë to forgive the Noldor and intercede against Morgoth.
Manwë refused this heartfelt request, citing the Prophecy and the words of the wise. He told Ulmo that only one of the Elves or Men could ask and obtain forgiveness, for it was their pardon that was sought. No other pleading could stir the Powers to intervene. Thus, Manwë let Fate ride its course.
The Voyage of Eärendil
Tuor grew old in the Havens and sought the sea, as if he was an Elf. In time, he set sail with his Noldo wife Idril, bearing westward for Aman despite his mortality. His fate is not known, although legends say that he joined the Noldor of the Blessed Realm. If so, his spirit is the only Second-born soul to become one with the Deathless. ’
Tuor’s son Eärendil became lord in his absence, but it was not long before he too took to the Ocean in hope of finding his parents. His search proved hard and barren of success by the time his dreams called him home. Seeing the Havens of Sirion and his love Elwing endangered, he set a hasty course homeward. But he arrived too late.
As Eärendil voyaged across the Great Sea, two sons of Fëanor attacked the Havens of Sirion and laid waste to the Sinda Kingdom of Falas. Seeking the Silmaril worn by Elwing, their Noldo pride drove them to slaughter their fellow Eldar, just as their father had fallen upon the Teleri. Their assault destroyed the Sinda cities. The attacking Noldor captured Eärendil’s sons — Elrond and Elros — and drove Elwing to cast herself into the Ocean.
Ulmo rescued Elwing and reunited her with Eärendil, but the sorrow over the loss of their sons was deep. Although Maglor took good care of them, Eärendil could not find his heirs. And so, with Ewing’s Silmaril upon his brow, he turned back to his ship and made his way toward Valinor.
The Mannish voyager reached Aman and entered Valinor on behalf of Endor’s Children. Obtaining leave to see the Valar, he sought their pardon and aid in the struggle against Morgoth. The Powers swayed, his errand was fulfilled.
Mandos questioned the mariner’s status, for he had entered Aman as a mortal. But Ulmo stated that Fate gave Eärendil the right to enter the Undying Lands, and thus the voyager’s line was given the right to choose the destiny of their spirits — whether they be mortal or not. In this, Elwing and Eärendil both chose immortality, as did their son Elrond. Then, the Valar prepared a great ship for the great seaman, and Eärendil sailed through the Doors of Night and into the sky, where the Silmaril shone like a star.
The Great Battle
With Eärendil’s departure, the Host of Valinor assembled once again against Morgoth. Manwë’s Herald Eönwë was chosen to lead a Maia army that has never since seen an equal. Thunder and lightning accompanied their dramatic march into northwestern Middle-earth. Nothing stayed their onslaught, as they obliterated Morgoth’s mighty hordes in the Great Battle. Countless thousands of Orcs, Trolls, and Men fell before the Vala wrath.
At the height of this fray, which shook the very roots of Endor, Eärendil came down in his ship amidst a cloud of birds. Great Eagles battled Dragons as the Maia dueled the fiery Balrogs below. Ancalagon the Black, the mightiest of Morgoth’s Drakes, rose above Thangorodrim and the War of Wrath reached its climax. Assailing Thorondor, the King of the Eagles, the black Dragon hoped to turn the tide of battle, but Eärendil slew the winged beast. Ancalagon fell and broke the spine of Thangorodrim’s high peaks.
Earthquakes followed, and much of the land was destroyed in the cataclysm. Most of Beleriand sank in the high waves that recalled the floods following the fall of the Two Lamps. The World was remade as the First Age slipped into history.
Morgoth surrendered to E6nwe and his Iron Crown was beaten into a shackle. Bound by his prize, the Black Enemy was cast into the Void. His surviving minions fled, although some, like Sauron, were captured. E6nwe received their submission and gave the Maïar over for judgment in Valinor. Sauron escaped, unable to stay his pride and abase himself in hope of a pardon, but the cause of peace had nevertheless prevailed. The Valar had ended the long rebellion of their feared brother, and the World entered a new era.
The Valar’s Guardianship at the Dawn of the Second Age
With the struggle against Morgoth complete, the Valar reflected upon their guardianship and looked forward to the Second Age. The Doom of the Noldor was complete, for the three Silmarils taken from Morgoth’s crown had returned to Eä. The one worn by Eärendil lit the night sky, while a second returned to the bowels of Endor when the Noldo Maedhros cast himself into a fiery chasm. Maglor, Maedhros’s brother threw the third jewel into the Great Sea. Thus, the Light of his father’s works found their way into the essence of Eä’s earth, sea, and air.
The Noldor’s price was paid and Morgoth was gone, so the Valar created a new order in the World. They drew bounds across the Sundering Sea, and placed a ban against mortals coming to Aman’s shores. Swearing never again to intervene directly in the affairs of Endor, the Valar proclaimed Middle-earth as the land of Eru’s Children.
The Powers conceived of the Middle Land as the stage where the Elves would act out their final days as the teachers of Men, and where Men would inherit the mantle of dominion that they would carry until the final days. Eru had given Men the “gift of death”; and the One considered the Second-born to be special. Their destiny was tied to him alone. The Valar, then, resolved to remain apart from their development.
The Creation of Númenór
Still, the Lords of Aman called upon Ulmo to reward the Men who loyally labored in opposition to the Black Enemy. In turn, Ulmo gave the Edain the Land of the Gift — a great island continent to serve as their new home. Ulmo’s Maia Ossë raised the isle in the midst of the Great Sea between Endor and Aman and it became the westernmost anchorage of mortal Men; thus the name Númenór (S. “Andor”; W. “Westernesse”). Led by Elros (son of Eärendil and Elwing, and brother of Elrond), the Edain landed on the newborn island in the thirty-second year of the Second Age.
The Rise of Andor and the Black Years
Although the Valar foresaw the rise of Men, the Second and Third Ages were times of transition. The Age of Man began later. Men learned, prospered, and suffered in the interim, while the Elves forged new Kingdoms which faded into legend. According to the Eldar, the Second Age counted the Black Years, and the Third Age included the Fading Years.
The Adan occupation of Númenór harkened the rise of a rich Mannish culture. Close to Tol Eressëa and Eldamar in Aman, Westernesse was frequented by Elves, who taught the Numen6reans much about the World. Numen6rean ships sailed far afield, exploring most of Endor’s coasts and touching the cultures of their lesser brethren in Middle-earth. Andor’s people, the Edain called Dúnedain, grew in knowledge and strength.
With power came pitfalls, however, for the taste of success fostered greater and greater visions and tempted the Numen6reans to embark on far grander ventures. Eventually, they became enamored of themselves, full of pride and hungry for wealth and might. Forgetting much of their heritage, the Dúnedain paid less and less heed to their Elven tutors. They began to colonize or conquer peoples whom they once ignored or taught, establishing a growing empire in Middle-earth.
The Men of Endor
Númenór’s glorious evolution contrasted starkly with the development of Mannish civilization in Middle-earth. Shying away from the Elves that remained after the First Age, the Men of Endor learned slowly and lived in relative ignorance. Their small, isolated, and often dark realms adopted superstitious norms and looked to each other with fear and suspicion.
Sauron found these vulnerable Men easy to exploit. Coming out of hiding five centuries after his master’s fall, the evil Maia quickly consolidated power. By S.A. 1000, he declared himself Lord of Men and established his Kingdom in Mordor (S. “Black Land”).
Despite the fact that Sauron was a renegade Ainu and one of their people, the Valar restrained themselves from interfering with his plotting. The Powers had reluctantly intervened against Morgoth, a Vala who presented a far greater danger, and they had sworn to let the folk in Endor survive and learn from their own trials. So long as they maintained the Balance of Things, the Valar left the Dark Lord to himself. After all, they reasoned, Men were not ruled by Fate in the same way as the Ainur and Elves.
The Corruption of Andor and the Failure of Vala Guardianship
By Second Age 3261, Númenór’s might had reached such heights that the Dúnedain decided to end Sauron’s claim as King of Men. Assembling a huge invasion fleet, King Ar-Pharazôn led the Men of Endor to Middle-earth. They landed at the Havens of Umbar and marched northward toward Mordor.
Sauron had warred on the Elves of northwest Endor since S.A. 1693 and his defeat in 1700 had sapped much of his strength. His rebuilding Kingdom was still on the defensive much of the time and, when the Dúnedain assaulted Mordor, he surrendered. His victory would come through means other than open combat.
The Dark Lord methodically manipulated his captors. Quickly paroled, he became Ar-Pharazôn’s advisor, sowing false dreams of immortality for Men. His smooth deception resulted in Númenór’s near-total corruption. The Dúnedain questioned the Ban of the Valar, convinced that the Elves had undying life only because of their claims in Aman. Believing that the Valar had been duped by the Eldar or were false “gods” in league with the evil Elves, Ar-Pharazôn ordered the Great Armament.
Once again the Valar misunderstood the gravity of Evil. Their guardianship, founded on virtually complete non-interference, relied on the Firstborn’s strength and diplomacy. But with Dúnedain prejudices calling for the Eldar’s persecution and defeat, the Elves no longer had any influence in Andor. The Ban was broken as Men lost faith in the Powers (and therefore Eru).
The Downfall of Númenór
The Númenórean armada, the greatest force ever assembled by Men, sailed westward toward Aman in S.A. 3319. Ignoring the warnings of the Faithful Edain, the Dúnedain sought to conquer the Elven lands of Tol Eressëa and Eldamar and build a domain on immortal ground. But instead of conquest and immortality, the Great Armada reaped doom. No Elves contested their landings, for the might of Númenór was great; however, the Elven flight hardly signaled victory for the Men of Westernesse. As they encamped in Aman, a great cataclysm struck.
The invasion of the Undying Lands caused the Change of the World, as the Valar called upon Eru to lay aside their guardianship. And, for a brief time, the One took charge of Eä from his servants, remaking Arda and destroying the mighty Dúnedain and their precious land. The Army of Men was buried beneath a swell of earth, as if swallowed by the land, their bodies imprisoned until the Last Days. Their fleet was engulfed in a roaring tidal wave and swept westward, into a gaping, watery chasm that separated the Great Sea between Númenór and Aman. The island they held dear, fair Númenór, tumbled into the sea, its fertile lands, grand monuments, and proud families perishing in the sundering abyss. Save for the nine ships of the Faithful — who stayed in Númenór and were borne eastward to Middle-earth on a divine wind — all who resided in Andor died in the stormy tumult.
The Valar’s Guardianship After the Downfall
The Change in the World marked a new era in Eä. Arda was reshaped, its lands and seas bent, and Aman was removed to a place that no one could reach without leave of the Powers. The Valar’s Ban manifested itself as a physical barrier and, from this time onward, the elusive Straight Way was the only route to the Undying Lands.
With the Change, Middle-earth became the focus of life in Arda, just as the Men — destined to inherit its riches — began their rise out of darkness. Now the straight one-way path, the Elven road to Aman, no longer brought knowledge and wealth to Endor. The people of the Middle Lands turned their attention inward.
The nature of the Valar’s guardianship also changed. Always remote, the Ainur of Eä no longer sought to shape the World; rather they concerned themselves with maintaining the new Balance of Things. Never again would the Host of Valinor sally forth to do battle, bringing victory and destruction. A new order dawned as the Valar reassumed the mantle of wardship from Eru.
The End of the Second Age
Lessons were learned, of course, for the Downfall taught the Powers much about the ways of Evil. Yet, the Lords of Aman still preferred to let history (and Fate) run its course. When Sauron rose out of the disaster that befell Númenór and reestablished his Kingdom in Mordor, the Valar looked to the Children of Eru to contest the Dark Lord’s might.
This they did, for the Faithful Dúnedain of the Kingdoms in Exile (Arnor and Gondor) — led by Elendil the Tall — joined the Noldo High King Gil-galad in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Their stalwart army assailed the Black Land and bested the forces of Darkness on behalf of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Then, after a protracted siege, they broke into Sauron’s Dark Tower and ended his second reign. Although Gil-galad and Elendil fell, Elendil’s son Isildur cut the One Ring from the Dark Lord’s twisted hand. The spirit of the fallen Maia slipped into temporary oblivion as the Second Age ended.
The Vala Intervention
When Sauron rose again in T.A. 1000, the Valar resolved to rid the World of the renegade Ainu. The Dark Lord’s spirit had proved too resilient, and his Evil too persistent. More importantly, many of the great Elves of the Last Alliance had died or had left Middle-earth for the fair havens of Aman. Events suggested a dire challenge to the Balance of Things.
The most significant factor behind the Valar’s decision, however, related to the unfated destiny of the Second-born. No clue to Men’s Fate existed, for only Eru knew their doom. Thus, concern gripped the Lords of Aman. The Men of Endor had broken no pact with the Powers — as had both the Noldor and the Númenóreans. The Men of the Third Age were not fated to suffer a punishment like that which burdened the ignominious Noldorin Houses; nor were they to be doomed to die because of false pride, like the Men of sunken Westernesse. In fact, the Faithful had shunned the Great Armament and had aided the Elves in the Last Alliance that ended the Second Age. Their faith deserved reward in this dark hour.
The Valar and the Wizards
The Ainur resolved to match this faith. Understanding the delicate nature of the Balance, however, they chose an indirect strategy. After all, the onslaught of their Host had twice resulted in the remaking of Endor’s lands. Thus, they relied on the spark in Men’s souls and sought to unite this love of truth and freedom. While the Valar never held Men to the high standards ascribed to the gifted Firstborn, they realized that the Second-born embraced a different, but very powerful, kind of strength.
A council of the Valar agreed to appoint three ambassadors to go to Middle-earth and join the Free Peoples in a struggle against the Lord of the Rings. They chose volunteers from the ranks of the Maia Order of Wizards, for its members were powerful and wise. Saruman the White (Curumo), their first choice, was the leader of the brotherhood and chief among Aulë’s people. Oromë’s servant Alatar also volunteered, but no others came forth.
Manwë then picked his own servant Olórin (Gandalf), for the Grey Wizard was wisest of the Order, and indeed of all the Maïar. Certainly, Gandalf’s wisdom explained his reluctance, since he foresaw the pitfalls that awaited the Valar’s ambassadors. Ever loyal, however, Gandalf agreed to undertake the embassy. Varda supported this decision, suspecting that the Grey Wizard represented the greatest hope, and the Queen of the Valar made clear that neither Saruman nor Alatar would outrank her spouse’s choice.
Thus, three Wizards were chosen as planned; but, in the end, five went to Middle-earth. As guardians, the Valar jealously protected their interests, and it was no surprise when Yavanna interceded with her own appointment. Because of her concern for the fate of Endor’s plants and lesser beasts, the Mistress of the Earth elected Radagast the Brown (Aiwendil) to accompany Saruman. Alatar then requested that his friend Pallando, a servant of Mandos, be allowed to go as his companion. His desire was ratified, and two pairs of Wizards complete, but no more were chosen. Gandalf went alone.
The Wizards’ Embassy
The Istari entered Middle-earth around T.A. 1050, less than fifty years after Sauron’s reappearance. Each traveled as an old Man, a form which alluded to wisdom but did not bespeak lordly power or implant fear. Their mission dictated that they would unite the Free Peoples in cooperation. Free will, not coercion, would decide the success of their embassy. It was the knowledge and wisdom of the Istari, not their power, that gave hope to the Powers that sent them.
The five Maïar who set out to combat the Dark Lord shared, at least in essence, a great deal with their foe. In fact, Saruman inherited the mantle as Aulë’s chief servant from the fallen Sauron. This common background provided them with insight about the Lord of Mordor, but it also enabled the Evil One to see into their spirits as well; and Sauron possessed far more learning about Endor and the frailties of the embodied soul.
Gandalf’s quiet fears and predictions proved true. All of his compatriots became rooted in their adopted being and lost sight of their appointed method and mission. Yet Varda’s confidence in the Grey also was well founded. Gandalf’s bond to Middle-earth was one of empathy with the faith of Men, and the wisdom he provided far outweighed the gifts offered by his powerful brethren. Just as importantly, he brought out the strength that Eru had placed in his Children’s spirits. Thus, he nurtured and welded the alliance that vanquished the Lord of the Rings, the strongest of the Valar’s original Maïar.
The end of the Third Age marked the beginning of the Age of Men, and the waning of the other Free Peoples’ presence in Middle-earth. It also heralded a new period in the Valar’s wardship.
Of all of Eru’s Children, the Second-born were closest in spirit to the One’s vision and the least bound to Fate. Men’s relationship with Eru was in many ways direct, and only the One knew their destiny. Unlike Elves, their souls were not affiliated with Aman or the Valar; nor were they the offspring of a Vala, as were the Dwarves.
With Man’s inheritance of Endor, the Powers of Aman finally achieved something Eru had desired but, in this, they sadly retreated from much of the progress of the Middle Land. Turning to their Firstborn Children, who lived among them, they remained farther apart from Endor than they had in Elder Days. The Valar still guarded Arda and its Heavens, and upheld the Balance. But the Powers’s role in Eli had evolved with time … perhaps just as planned.
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