Throughout the long ages, Melkor fortified his stronghold Utumno and gathered all his servants, among them were the Balrogs. In the northern part of Middle-earth he created another fortress, Angband, which was commanded by Sauron, Melkor's lieutenant.
During these ages, Oromë and Yavanna walked in Middle-earth, and returning to Aman, the Valar held council. Tulkas proposed to make war swiftly before the Firstborn shall awake. From Mandos's prophecy, Varda wrought the stars from the Telperion which would also serve as a warning to Melkor. After the labors of Varda, the Children of Ilúvatar finally awoke.
The Elves awoke in Cuiviénen and first beheld the stars of Varda. They dwelt long there and named themselves the Quendi. Some time later, Oromë rode eastward and found the Elves. Thus, he named the Elves Eldar in their tongue. But the Elves were doubtful of Oromë, partly because of Melkor's shadows and evil spirits to spy on them. Before the arrival of Oromë, some of the Elves would vanish and never returned.
Oromë rode back to Valinor and announced the coming of the Elves. The Valar rejoiced and had another council debating to make war on Melkor. The Valar passed over to Middle-earth and broke down the stronghold of Utumno. Melkor fled to the uttermost part but Tulkas defeated him and cast Angainor that Aulë had wrought. However, the Valar did not discover all the other servants of Melkor, and those servants lingered ever in the shadows. Thus ended the War for Sake of the Elves.
Melkor was sent before the feet of Manwë, where he asked for pardon but was denied. Instead, he was admitted into the duress of Mandor and there to dwell for three ages long.
Again, the Valar held council and decided to befriend the Elves. Oromë returned to Cuiviénen to persuade the Elves in coming to Valinor. The Elves were unwilling at first, but eventually decided to send three ambassadors: Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë. Enamored by the light of the Two Trees, the ambassadors returned to their people and urged them to come. The Sundering of the Elves began: Ingwë led the Vanyar; Finwë led the Ñoldor; and Elwë and his brother Olwë led the Teleri. Lenwë forsook the westward march and dwelt with his people in the forests.
Eventually, the host reached the Anduin and the Misty Mountains—lifted to terrible heights by Melkor to hinder the riding of Oromë—and the Teleri dallied long on the shores of the Anduin and became separated from the Noldor and Vanyar, who were more eager to follow Oromë. Some of the Teleri remained at the Anduin and became the Nandor, but Elwë eventually led the majority of his people over the Misty Mountains and, from there, northward into Beleriand.
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