Of the Beginning of Days
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Following the entrance of the Ainur as the Valar, Arda was still lifeless and had no distinct geographical features. The initial shape of Arda, chosen by the Valar, was of a symmetrical continent lit by two lamps: Illuin and Ormal; one in the continent's north, and one in the south. However the lamps were destroyed by the vicious Melkor. The Spring of Arda ended and the world was again darkened, and the lamps' fall spoiled the perfect symmetry of Arda's surface. Two main continents were created that are of concern to the story: Aman on the far West, and Middle-earth to the East, over the Great Ocean.
Following this, Melkor hid himself from the Valar in an enormous fortress, Utumno. He also surrounded himself with horrible beasts, many of them Maiar in the form of fell animals, known as Balrogs. Balrogs were to remain his most faithful servants and soldiers ever after.