Ryan's Notes:If you read J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" you will see references made to the long history of the Middle Earth. This history is laid out in a book called "The Silmarillion".
Here's the short version:
The first beings were the "Valar", and were analagous to the demi-gods of Earth mythology. They walked under dark skies without Sun or Moon however.
Iluvatar (the Supreme Being) made many attempts to illuminate the world, but these were opposed by Melkor (who was the forebearer of Sauron). The first light was made by two massive lamps on either end of the world, but these were cast down and destroyed by Melkor.
The second attempt came in the form of two brilliant trees which shone over the Valinor. The silver tree was called "Telperion" and seeds taken from it eventually grew into the White Tree of Gondor. The gold tree was called Laurelin. A shining dew fell from the each tree which the Valar collected in wells.
The light of the Two Trees was captured in three brilliant jewels called "Silmarils" which afterwards became the source of much fighting and discord.
These were eventually poisoned and destroyed by Melkor with the help of a massive spider (and ancestor of Shelob) but they have always captured my imagination.
As always, I took quite a few liberties with this piece but I hope it is enjoyable even if you aren't familiar with the history of Middle-Earth.
I've added a free 1024 x 1024 version on Reddit.