BACKGROUND



M U M E Background Story


Introduction


This game takes place in J.R.R Tolkien's Middle-earth. This is an introduction for players who don't know about Tolkien's heroic fantasy masterpieces. Hereafter are described the cosmogony, the shaping of the world, and the key events that happened before the time of the game.

Not knowing the history of Middle-earth won't prevent you from playing this game, but you will have more fun if you do. Besides, your role-playing capabilities will be greatly enhanced. We therefore strongly suggest that you read some of the following:

by J.R.R Tolkien. If you don't have these handy or have no time, read on.

WARNING! A great number of names occur in Tolkien's works. We have tried to mention as few as possible, so you don't get too confused. However some of them can't be overlooked if you are to understand the mythology and the flow of events. In any case they are part of the world and game, and we enjoy them as such.

I. Cosmogony

At the beginning was Eru, or Il˙vatar. Before anything else he created the Ainur, the Holy Ones, which men sometimes call gods, and they were products of his thought. Each on its own at first, but afterwards all together they sang the Music of the Ainur, or AinulindalŰ. Among the Ainur the mightiest was Melkor, and he sought to impose his own theme, thus trying to increase his power. Soon appeared an utter discordance in the song, for Melkor was unwilling to tune his voice to the other Ainur's. Three times Il˙vatar arose and stopped the song, proposing a new theme, three times Melkor resumed his discordance. Then Il˙vatar stopped the music and blamed Melkor, who seemed to be ashamed, but was secretly hateful and jealous of the other Ainur.

At this time Eru gave a visible form to the music, and it took the shape of a green and blue sphere, glowing in the void. There seemed to live many creatures, some of which were the Children of Il˙vatar, Elves and Men. Upon seeing this vision some of the Ainur were eager to live in such a world, and Il˙vatar gave it Being, and named it Eń, the World that Is. The Elves simply call it Arda, the Earth.

Among the Ainur a few dozens decided to go down on Arda and the mightiest of these are called the Valar, the Powers of Arda, those of lesser power being called Maiar. Their ruler is ManwŰ, Lord of the Winds and Clouds. When they arrived on Arda, the Valar saw that much work had still to be done if the world was ever to look like the Vision they had seen. So began the Shaping of Arda, and in this labour they were hindered by Melkor, who wanted Arda for himself and all its dwellers as servants. Not until the coming of Tulkas the Strong, last of the Valar that came to Arda, were they able to expel Melkor from the Earth, and their victory lasted not long.

II. Ages of the Lamps


The Valar then settled on an island named Almaren, and forged two great lamps to prevent the darkness of Melkor from coming back. Each lamp was set on top of a huge pillar, one at the far north and the other at the southernmost part of the land. Thus began the Ages of Lamps. This peaceful era was called the Spring of Arda, when everything was new and the Children of Il˙vatar had not yet appeared. Dense forests grew on the Earth, and Arda began to look like the Vision of Eru. But Melkor managed to come back unnoticed and secretly built the sinister fortress of Utumno, deeply hidden under tall mountais in the northeast. With him he brought the evil hordes of rebel Maiar and demons that became his servants. He then attacked the Valar who were unprepared, threw down the Lamps and destroyed Almaren and much of the work of the Valar. They finally managed to chase him back to Utumno, but were unable to destroy his stronghold.

The shape of Arda was changed, and two major lands appeared: Middle-earth in the East and Aman in the west. They were separated by great dark seas.

III. Ages of the Trees


The Valar fled to Aman, and there raised huge mountains to protect themselves from the attacks of Melkor. They built the city of Valinor, and upon a hill created the two Trees of Valinor, which each shone of a light of its own: Telperion was silver, and Laurelin was golden. These sacred lights replaced the ancient Lamps, and this was the beginning of the first Age of the Trees. By that time the valar still didn't know when the Elves were to appear, and they were eventually found by the Vala OromŰ, in the east of Middle-earth. About at this time appeared also the Dwarves, who were not children of Eru but of AulŰ, one of the Valar. Of course Melkor was not idle and in the deep pits of Utumno bred the foul races of Orcs, Trolls, Balrogs and other evil creatures. Of the Orcs it is said that they are actually the corrupted bodies and tormented souls of Elves that were captured by Morgoth. What is sure is that these two races are the bitterest foes of each other. Melkor also built a second fortress in the north of Middle-earth, he called it Angband.

Knowing that Middle-earth would be no secure place for the young people of Elves as long as Melkor wasn't hindered from capturing and killing them, the Valar decided to wage war against him, and this struggle was called the War of Powers. Melkor was finally captured and chained, and doomed by ManwŰ to remain prisoner for three ages long. He never forgot that the Elves were the cause of his defeat, and thus bore them an everlasting hate.

The Valar then invited the Elves to come to Valinor and dwell there in their realm. Thus a great number of them began the Great Journey to the West, which lasted many years. Some however refused to follow the Valar, and remained in the East. They are called Avari, the Unwilling. Of the Elvenfolk who journeyed West, the Vanyar were the first to get to Aman, and never came back to Middle-earth. They are called the High-Elves, and they dwell in Valinor with the Valar themselves. Not much is said about them in the songs of Middle-earth. The second ones were the Noldor, or Deep-Elves, a very famous folk. They built the famous city of Tirion, on the eastern coast of Aman. The fate of Middle-earth is in many ways tied to their deeds. From the Valar they learnt much wisdom and knowledge, and became masters of many arts and lore. The last ones were the Teleri, the Sea-Elves, and they did not all come to Aman. They were the first builders of ships, and those of them who at last set foot on Aman founded the city of AlqualondŰ, the Swan-Haven, not far from Tirion, the city of their kin the Noldor.

The remainder of the Teleri never reached Aman, but stayed in Middle-earth and their speech gradually changed. They settled in a land called Beleriand and were called the Sindar, or Grey-Elves. Their kingdom was a forest called Doriath, and their king was Thingol Greymantle. In the eastern mountains of Beleriand lived the Dwarves, and though the friendship was cold between these two kindreds, they lived in peace and traded many different goods. The Dwarves were very skilled in metalwork, and their armors were the best available at that time. They usually lived underground in huge cave complexes, deeply dug under the mountains. By that time FŰanor son of FinwŰ, King of the Noldor, made the Silmarils: the three most famous gems of Arda, and these jewels were the cause of great trouble in Aman and Middle-earth. No one knows what they are made of, but within them lives the light of the two Trees of Valinor, and as such they are sacred to the Noldor and most of the other Elves who heard about them.

After a long time Melkor was brought before ManwŰ, and pretending to regret the harm he had done to the Valar and Elves he was released. Not before a long time did he again dare to wage war against them, but he immediately started spreading lies about the Valar among the Noldor, thereby hoping to weaken their friendship. And soon FŰanor began to distrust all but his closest kin, thinking that everyone, including the Valar, wished to steal the Silmarils. He then swore that he would make war to anyone that held one of his jewels. He also urged the Noldor to follow him back to Middle-earth, where they could dwell in peace, far from the greed of the Valar.

IV. Ages of the Sun


At this time Melkor felt strong enough to strike again, knowing that the Noldor and Valar would not efficiently help each other. Thus he stole the Silmarils, killing FinwŰ, father of FŰanor, who was guarding them, and fled to the south to seek the help of Ungoliant. She was a rebel Maia, and usually took the shape of a huge spider. She cast an Unlight upon Melkor and herself, and thus hidden from ManwŰ they rushed to Valinor, killed the Trees and fled to Angband, leaving Aman completely confused. This was the end of the Age of the Trees. The first reaction of the Valar was to provide the world with new lights, that replaced the Trees of Valinor. Each had made a last flower, and these were cast in the sky, driven by a Maia. They turned around the Earth at different speeds, and to the Men they are known as Sun and Moon. This was the beginning of the Ages of the Sun.

In the meantime a large part of the Noldor left Tirion and headed for Middle-earth. They were led by FŰanor and by his half-brother Fingolfin. Soon they realised that the journey on land would be longer than they had foreseen, and they resolved to borrow the ships of the Teleri of AlqualondŰ. But OlwŰ, King of the Teleri, was unwilling to help the Noldor, for he was not concerned with FŰanor's quarrel with the Valar, and did not trust him. The Noldor then attacked the Teleri, stole their ships and journeyed on, some on ships, some on land. They eventually reached the northern part of Aman, where it is very near to Middle-earth. But between them laid the terrible waste of HelcaraxŰ, the Grinding Ice, and no one was willing to cross this barren land. Since there were not enough ships to carry all of the Noldor over the sea, FŰanor and his sons secretly sailed during the night, followed by their closest friends, and upon arriving on Middle-earth they burned the Teleri's vessels, the fairest ships ever made on Arda. Fingolfin and his people were left behind, and they had no choice but turn back and come in shame to Tirion, or cross the HelcaraxŰ, what they did. They lost many valiant lords and ladies, and when they finally set foot on Middle-earth there was no more friendship between them and the sons of FŰanor.

The Noldor settled in Beleriand, and they were coolly welcomed by Thingol, king of the Sindar. They built their kingdoms around his realm, and kept a close watch on the fortress of Angband which lay but too near in the north. Melkor attacked them a few times with Orc-raids, and during one of these FŰanor was killed. Melkor was building new forces of which the Elves had no idea, and it was too soon for him to attack seriously, so the Elves dwelt in peace in Beleriand, the Sindar and Noldor being allied in time of War. It is also by that time that the first Men came into Beleriand, and although the Elves were very suspicious at first, they managed to live in peace, seeing that the mortal Men were useful allies at war.


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