Melkor Captures ElvesMelkor captures Elves (4580 F.A.) - Melkor despised everything Ilúvatar held dear.  And the Elves were amongst his most beloved; the Firstborn of Ilúvatar.  And so, Melkor set out to warp the Elves; transform them into something akin to his own image.  He did not have the power to create beings who were evil, but he did have the power to turn them through torment.  And so he began snaring and then torturing them.  And when he was done...the Orcs were born.

 

"And Oromë loved the Quendi, and named them in their own tongue Eldar, the people of the stars; but that name was after borne only by those who followed him upon the westward road. (see Great Journey).  Yet many of the Quendi were filled with dread at his coming; and this was the doing of Melkor.  For by afterknowledge the wise declare that Melkor, ever watchful, was first aware of the awakening of the Quendi, and sent shadows and evil spirits to spy upon them and waylay them.  So it came to pass, some years ere the coming of Oromë, that if any Elves strayed far abroad, alone or few together, they would often vanish, and never return; and the Quendi said that the Hunter had caught them, and they were afraid.  And indeed the most ancient of songs of the Elves, of which echoes are remembered in the West, tell of the shadow-shapes that walked in the hills above Cuiviénen, or would pass suddenly over the stars.

 

"But of those unhappy ones who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty.  For who of the living has descended into the pits of Utumno, or has explored the darkness of the counsels of Melkor?  Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes." ~The Silmarillion, chap. 3 (Of the coming of the Elves)