The Lord of Waters
“Thus it came to pass that of the Ainur some abode still with Ilúvatar; but others, and among them many of the greatest and most fair, took the leave of Ilúvatar and descended into it. But this condition Ilúvatar made, that their power should thenceforward be contained and bounded in the World, to be within it forever, until it is complete, so that they are its life and it is theirs. And therefore they are named the Valar, the Powers of the World.” – Taken from The Silmarillion (Ainulindale)
Named Ulmo by the Eldar, he is second in authority among the seven Lords of the Valar and within his song he bent his thoughts to all bodies of water in Arda, from the early morning fogs laying across wide fields to the outermost seas. Ulmo built no residence in Valinor and was seldom seen there unless the need was great. His halls were within the Encircling Seas that lay west of Valinor. Like the ebb and flow of water, Ulmo travels around and under the Earth; in this way he gathers all the information of Arda and passes it along to Manwë.
Accompanying Ulmo to Arda are the Maiar: Salmar, who created the horn of Ulumúri, the sound of which, once heard, is forever remembered as an unquenchable longing for the sea. Given the task of protecting the inner seas are Ossë and his wife Uinen, both feared and loved by mariners.
Both Ulmo’s and Ossë’s great love of Elves and Men manifested it self in various ways:
From Ulmo’s appearance in visions, dreams and actual manifestation he instructed Finrod and Turgon to construct the hidden realms of Nargothrond and Gondolin that stood through out the greater part of the Wars of Beleriand. He also designated Tuor to deliver a message to Turgon, warning him of Morgoth’s knowledge of Gondolin. Turgon ignored it but Tuor remained there and wed Idril, who bore their only child, Eärendil, who later married Elwing. When Fëanor’s sons came to reclaim the Silmaril, Elwing threw herself into the sea and was rescued by Ulmo and turned into a bird. Joining her husband Eärendil, they used the Silmaril’s great power to gain entrance to the Blessed Realm to beg assistance of the Valar against Melkor.
Ossë’s songs of the seas sung to the Teleri increased their love of Arda and a greater reluctance to leave its shores. When Ulmo grudgingly came with the lonely isle to bear the Elves away, it was Ossë following behind singing to them still of the sea, that moved Ulmo to anchored Tol Eressëa within sight of the Blessed realm. The other Valar, displeased that the Teleri were still not on the actual shores, bade Ulmo to bring them finally home. Ulmo gave Ossë the task of teaching them shipbuilding and when they had finished, Ulmo sent white Swans to guide them at last to the Blessed Realm.