The Elder King of Arda stood as he had since sunset upon a terrace floored with gleaming marble. His spouse had gone to see to a newly-formed star and would return by dawn. Below him, Middle-earth was alternately revealed and concealed by flowing clouds. Above him, the sky was blue-black, studded with stars. A faint breeze stirred the cloak of changeful blue that he wore.
When the voice came, he thought at first that he had imagined it, hearing it in longing only. "ManwŰ, ManwŰ."
The sound was a whisper, not a shout, but he started, as if awakening, joy rising within him. "Speak, Atar, for I hear."
"Though their master cannot yet return from beyond the walls of the world, Melkor's servants are active in Middle-earth. It is time that my elder and younger children remembered each other and renewed their broken friendship, that together they might aid in the defense of Arda. Therefore, beloved, let you and your peers devise a way to bring them together. You too must sit no longer behind your mountains, for all my creatures are needed in this endeavor."
ManwŰ's eyes flashed with delight, for he had long desired to act, feeling that his vigil had been fruitless.
"Not so," said the voice of Il˙vatar, and ManwŰ felt His love surround him more closely than his cloak.
"Let it be as you command, Atar," he said.
The king's summons had come at daybreak, and now the council chamber was bright with the light of the gathered Valar and their chief Maiar. As ManwŰ and Varda entered, the others rose to give them their obeisance, but the king gestured them to be seated. "My friends," he said, "today we begin anew, for Atar has commanded us, and all of the free peoples of Arda, to join together to defend it."
"At last!" shouted Tulkas. "When shall we set forth?"
"Peace, Tulkas," said ManwŰ, giving the impetuous Vala a smile. "You know that we ourselves cannot go to open war until The End, but that is not yet. This is not what Atar has commanded."
"What then?" asked Tulkas.
ManwŰ sighed, and for a moment, sorrow touched his features. "All of you know that the events of the first three ages have been forgotten by most of the Secondborn. Very few now read the Histories. It is our task, I think, to rekindle knowledge. Also, we are to bring the Atani and their elder kin together."
"But how," said EstŰ. "They cannot come to Aman, for their bodies would not withstand the flow of power here."
"This is so," said ManwŰ. "Therefore we must take counsel as to how this might be done. It is also not possible for the Firstborn to live for long in Middle-earth, for the Marring would quickly cause them to fade. So then, my friends, how shall we obey Atar's command?"
For a while, no one spoke. Then Ulmo said, "Let some of those of the Firstborn who have befriended Men be summoned, since most of us have had no dealings with them."
"I too shall help," said Olˇrin, rising from among the Maiar to give his lord a bow.
ManwŰ smiled at the Maia. "Go then, and call the friends of Men to us."
And so the Valar and Maiar took counsel with those of the Eldar who had known and loved the Secondborn. Finrod, Elrond, Glorfindel and many others came gladly at their summons. Above all, mindful of past errors, ManwŰ and his peers were attentive to the promptings of Il˙vatar. After many days of deliberation, this was the plan they devised and set forth to accomplish: A region was built, not in Aman or even on the Lonely Isle, but at the entrance of the Straight Road, just within the borders of the Hidden Realm. There, Men, Elves, Maiar and Valar could exchange knowledge in a place not quite outside of Middle-earth, yet not exactly within it. Some of the Men of Middle-earth would later call this country FaŰry.
When the trees of the new land had come to full growth, and a house where all could gather had been completed, those of the Maiar and Eldar who had been chosen for the task set forth to find the Eldandili.
All words are in Quenya, unless otherwise stated.
Arda—what we might call the Solar System.
Il˙vatar—The All-father, God.
Atani—The Second, Men.
Aman—The Blessed Realm.
Eldar—Elves, the People of the Stars.