When Eä, the "World that is", was given substance there came into it a part of the first race, the Ainur, the "holy ones". In the Timeless Halls they had been beings of pure spirit, who the "Valaquenta" records entered the World and taking earthly forms became two divided peoples. The people that were less powerful were numerous and their tale is recounted in the name of Maiar; the greatest in powers were fifteen in number and they are here accounted as the Valar, the Powers of Arda.
It is told in the ancient books that, when the Valar and Maiar came and first shaped the rough form of the World , they strove to make the perfect beauty that they had perceived in the Vision. Yet in this there was strife among the Valar and war marred their work. But at last the first kingdom of the Valar called Almaren was made on the isle in the middle of the vast lake in Middle-earth and all the World was lit by two brilliant lamps that stood to the North and South. Thus began the Ages of the Lamps.
Yet one of the Valar revolted and broke the Great Lamps of the Valar and Destroyed Almaren and its fair garden. So the Valar left Middle-earth and went West to the Continent of Aman where they placed the Pelóri Mountains about them and made their second kingdom of gardens and mansions more fair than the first.
The kingdom was called Valinor, and it's city of domes, bells and great halls was called Valimar. At this time, the Trees of the Valar, which gave Eternal Light, golden and silver, were m ade and all of Aman was lit within the borders of the Pelóri Mountains, the kingdom was a miracle of beauty.
First of the Valar is Manwë, who lives on Taniquetil, the highest mountain of Arda. He is the Wind Lord and the First King. All of Arda is his domain, but his chief love is the element of air, and so he is also called Súlimo "Lord of the Breath of Arda". He sits on a burmished throne clothed in azure robes, the Sceptre of Sapphire in his hand. Like sapphire too are Manwë's eyes, but even more bright, and as fearful as lightning, Manwë sees all the World beneath the skies. The turbulence in the air is his minds workings; his wrath is the thunderstorm that rocks the Earth and breaks even the mountain towers. All the birds of the air are his, the Eagles above all others. His is the Breath of the Earth and the breath of the peoples of Arda. Speech and sound itself are thus parts of his element, and the arts he loves above all others are poetry and song.
Within the domed halls of Ilmarin, the "mansion of the high airs" which Manwë made on Taniquetil, there also resides the Queen of the Valar. She is Varda, the Lady of the Stars, fairest of all the Valar for the light of Ilúvatar is still on her. She is a spirit of light that is like a fountain of diamonds. It was Varda who made the stars, and so Elves call her Elentári and Elbereth, the "star queen". Her name is a talisman to all those who would have light dispel darkness. It was Varda who filled the Lamps Illuin and Ormal with Light that lit all the World, and later too she took the dew of the Trees of the Valar and made the Stars brighter still. She made the forms of the stars that are called constellations; the Butterfly, the Swordsman and Menelmacar, the Sickle Valacirca, the Eagle Soronúmë and many others. In these forms may be read the fate of all peoples of the World.
It is said that the Elves worshiped Varda above all others, for it was her Stars that called them to the World and part of her early light is forever held in their eyes. For this deed they named her Tintallë and Gilthoniel, the "kindler", and for ever they sing to her by starlight and call her the Exalted and Lofty.
Next of the Valar is Ulmo, whose element is water. He is the Ocean Lord, whom all mariners know and Dwarves and Orcs fear. Most often he is vast and formless in his deep watery World, but his arising is like a high tidal wave come to shore; his helmet is wave-crested and his mail is emerald and bright silver. He raises Ulumúri, the great white horns of shell, to his lips and blows deep and long. When he speaks his voice too is deep as the sounding depths of the sea. Yet his form is not always fearful, nor indeed does he always appear as the Ocean Lord. For his is water in all its forms, from the spring rain and the fountains, to the rush of brooks and streams, to the sinuous of rivers. His voice, as well, may be gentle and sweet, beautiful and sorrowful. Yet, subtle of fierce, Ulmo moves all over the World and all that waters may learn by bank and shore comes finally to this lord.
Nourisher of the World is Yavanna, for her name means "giver of fruit"; she is also Kementári, "queen of Earth". She takes many forms, but often stands as tall as the most elegant cypress, green-robed and lit with a golden dew. All those who love the fruits of the Earth love Yavanna and worships her. She is the force that through the green fuse drives the flowers, and the first seed of all the Olvar were devised and planted by her. She is the protectress of all the fleet-footed Kelvar of woodland and fields. It was Yavanna who brought forth the mighty forests of Arda, and she who, during the Ages of Darkness, protected life in the lands of Middle-earth with the Sleep of Yavanna - a great enchantment cast over mortal lands. The greatest of her works was the making of the Trees of Valar, and, after their destruction, it was she who coaxed from their charred stalks a single flower and a single fruit, from which the Moon and the Sun were made.
Spouse of Yavanna, with whom she shares the element of Earth, yet more deeply, is Aulë the Smith, Maker of Mountains, master of all crafts, deviser of metals and gemstones. He is named Mahal the "maker" by Dwarves, for he is the power that fashioned these people from earth and stone. Imperfect though they were, the Dwarves were strong and stubborn as the stones themselves and loved all things that concerned their lord. Aulë was also friend and tutor of the Noldorin Elves, who first cut out the gemstones and excelled in building towers and cities in bright stone. They came often to his mansions, cut deep in the mountain roots of Valinor, and learned many of his skills. The greatest of his deeds was the work he undertook in the earliest Ages, when he shaped the forms of the Earth itself.
Deeper still than the halls of Aulë's mansions are the Halls of Mandos, which are in the west where the waves of Ekkaia, the Encircling Sea, wash the Undying Lands. This is the house of the dead where the Vala Námo lives, who by all, after his mansion, is called Mandos, the Speaker of Doom. A master of spirits is the Doomsman and, of all the Valar, most aware of the Will of Illúvatar. He is unbending and unmoved by pity, for he knows all the fates that were declared in the Music. In the lore of the Elves, the spirit of slain Elves are called to the Lord of the Dead and they inhabit his mansion in the place called the Halls of Awaiting.
Near Mandos on the West shore of Valinor lives his sister Nienna the Weeper. She is the cloaked woman in mourning, but she is not Despair, even though Grief is her domain; tears flow from her ceaselessly and her house looks out upon the Walls of the Night. Instead she is Pity and Suffering that brings wisdom and endurance beyond hope; from the waters of her tears much is born that is unlooked for, yet it is often that which sustains life. So it was that the tears of Nienna and the skills of Yavanna brought forth Isil the flower of the Moon and Anar the fruit of the Sun from the ruin of the Trees of the Valar, and from such grief the Light of the World was born, both by day and by night.
In the southern lands of Valinor are the beautiful Woods of Oromë, where Oromë, Tamer of Beasts and the Huntsman, resides. All nations of horsemen love him as well as those who live by hunting and those who are herdsmen and foresters. Oromë is fearsome when hunting and his wrath in battle is dreadful. With spear and bow, the Huntsman rides out on his steed, Nahar, a beast white and silver with hooves of gold that shake the Earth. When Oromë blows his great hunting horn Valórama, all evil creatures flee before him, the mountains and woods echo with sound and in his train come hunting hounds and Maiar and Eldar huntsmen on furious horses. Most often this huntsman called Oromë the "horn-blower", which is Araw to the Men of Gondor and Béma in Westron; to Elves he is Aldaron in Quenya and Tauron in Sindarin, which mean "forest lord".
Now these are the eight Valar who are called the Aratar, the mightiest of the powers who dwelt in the Spheres of the World. Yet there are six more Valar, and one more after them who fell into evil ways and thus is counted last. Those who desire eternal youth worship Vána, wife of Oromë and younger sister of Yavanna. Vána the Ever-young is her name; she has gardens of golden flowers and her chief delight are bird song and flower blossom. Nessa the Dancer is named next; she is Oromë's sister. She loves the fleet woodland creatures and they come to her for she is herself a wild spirit who dances unceasingly on the green and never-fading grasses of Valinor. The husband of Nessa is Tulkas the Strong, who entered Arda last of all the Valar. He is called the wrestler and also Astaldo the "valiant". He is the strongest of all the Valar, quick and tireless, gold-haired and gold-bearded; even in war he carries no weapon for his naked strength and great heart overwhelm all enemies.
Brother of Mandos is Lórien, the Dream Master. Like Mandos, Lórien is named after the place of his dwelling, for Lórien is the fairest garden within Arda. His true name is Irmo, but to all he is Lórien, King of Dream and Vision. Within the gardens of Lórien is the Lake Lórellin in which there is an island filled with tall trees and gentle mists. Here Estë the Healer, the Gentle One, lives. Her mantle is gray, and rest is what she grants. She is praised by all, but her gifts are most desired by those whose suffering is great. The Vala named Vairë is wife of Mandos, and she is called the Weaver. Within her husband's halls she tirelessly weaves on a loom the tapestries of history and fate before those events are come in the course of Time.
Last of the Valar is he who in the beginning was mightiest of Ainur. He was named Melkor, "He who arises in might". He owned in part the powers of all the Valar, but chiefly his realm was Dark and Cold. He moved over Arda like a black cloud that was dreadful to behold, like the Worlds nightmare come into daylight. All evil that was and is in the World had its beginning in Melkor, for he revolted against Ilúvatar in the Timeless Halls and came to Arda in anger, wishing to make his own kingdom. He brought corruption into the World, and with him came part of the Maiar twisted by his malice. He made his fortress, Utumno, and his armoury, Angband, deep under the mountain roots of Middle-earth. In Arda he waged five great wars against the Valar and put out the fairest lights of the World by destroying both the Great Lamps and the Trees of the Valar. In the beginning Melkor appeared in forms both fair and evil: his wiles were many and even Manwë the First King was deceived. Yet after the Darkening of Valinor, he always assumed his evil form and the Elves called him Morgoth, the "dark enemy of the World". This warrior king was like a great tower, iron-crowned, with black armor and a shield black, vast and blank. His countenance was evil for the fire of malice was in his eyes, his face was twisted with rage and scarred by the claws of Thorondor the Eagle lord and the knife Angrist of Beren the Edain. He bore eight other wounds and his hands were burned from the fire of the Silmarils, so he was perpetually in pain. Grond the mace, called the Hammer of the Underworld, was his chief weapon and it sounded like thunder and split the earth with its force. Yet, in the War of Wrath all his power was destroyed, though Melkor summoned Dragons, Balrogs, Orcs, Trolls and every other evil being to his aid. This war was the end of him, and, though much of his evil and so me of his servants remained, he alone of the Valar was driven from the Spheres of the World and now dwells forever in the Void.