Once again, the Valar sit on their laurels and congratulate themselves. Behind their mountains, all are at peace. They turned on the lights, but they left Middle-Earth unprotected. Of course Morgoth sneaks around through the backdoor. Next thing you know, he’s pretty much overrun the place. The Years of the Sun run quicker than the longer Years of the Trees in Valinor. Life flourished, but there was also the stink of mortality.
Upon the first rising of the Sun, the Younger Children of Ilúvatar awoke in the land of Hildórien in the East. But the Sun rose in the West, and Men were drawn toward it. The Elves gave them many names, most of them completely unflattering if not outright insulting, so even in Middle-Earth, racism is a problem. Or maybe it’s just the natural way of things for older siblings to pick on the younger ones. Either way, the Elves come across as having their noses stuck up in the air, looking down upon their mortal brethren.
The Valar did not come forth to council them as they did with the Elves, so Men did not understand them. Naturally, what is not understood is often feared. Ulmo made his attempts to guide Men through messages in the water. Men were drawn to the water, but they did not know why, lacking the skill of the Elves to perceive the messages, let alone understand them. The Elves that Men learned of and from were the Moriquendi, the Dark Elves, who did not set out on the paths to Valinor.
Held in check by the Sun, Morgoth had little power to wander, and in his weakness Men were able to spread across the land alongside the growth of many new things in Middle-Earth. But peace, as it always is, would be all too brief.
Men were built as Elves in those days, but not as beautiful, and still woefully mortal, as previously mentioned. They succumbed to illness and accident. Elves could be killed, of course, but if left otherwise they were immortal. Men tasted death after far too brief a time in the world. What comes of them after death, only Manwë and Mandos know. It is sometimes believed that the Valar do not control their fates, that since it was not told in the Music of the Ainur, perhaps only Ilúvatar holds understanding of what lies beyond for Men. Only one has ever returned from the other side, Beren, whose story will be told later in these pages.
In those early years, Men and Elves fought side by side, and the Elves numbered many of them as heroes. And we are given some names of the offspring of Men and Elves whom we will absolutely need to know for later: Eärendil the Mariner, his spouse Elwing, and their child Elrond.