The host of spiritual beings brought into existence by Eru Ilúvatar before the beginning of the World. The Holy Ones were better known by their Elvish name - Ainur - of which 'holy ones' is the English translation. These Ainur were the agents through which Ilúvatar created Arda, through their making of a Great Music, but that Music, and the World that sprang from it, was marred by Melkor. After seeing a vision of the new world, many of the Holy Ones desired to bring it to fruition, and bound themselves to it to guide its formation and growth. The most powerful of these became the beings known as the Valar, while the many lesser spirits that came to their aid were the Maiar, and perhaps other orders as well. Ranged against them were others, who had in the beginning been Holy Ones themselves, but who had fallen into darkness: the Dark Lord Melkor, his mighty follower Sauron, and many corrupted Maiar, including the demons known as Balrogs.
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