Wednesday, April 22, 2020

At the Council of Elrond

This is the sixth part of the story which began here. The second is here.
 The third is here. The fourth is here. The fifth is here. 
This saga continues below.

In Rivendell

After a few hours walking they came to a beautiful city in a valley more lovely than any they had ever heard of or seen. The elf, Erestor brought them to a massive gate which opened at his approach. They found themselves entering a great hall. Seated at one end was two tall, noble elves. One was Elrond. The other was Galadriel, of whom so many songs were sung.

They were made welcome and told the next morning there would be a council that would be of interest to them and their quest. Until then, they could refresh themselves and wash away the dirt and weariness of travel. A feast was being made ready for that evening where they would meet others and make merry as they saw fit. So, they joined in, celebrating with wine or the heady mead the elves liked to drink. A few dwarves were drinking heavy ales and a couple of the travelers switched to that, being their preference. A very few other humans were there as well.

The next morning the travelers were awoken by a tall man in their room, even though they locked the door the night before. He was wearing white robes with a white hat and long flowing beard. He carried a long staff and appeared to have a sword hanging from his belt.

“Wake up, foolish testers! Wake up! You barely have time to wash your faces and get dressed and get to the Council Chamber. The bell has already rung for people to attend. You have come this far, now move! Quickly!”

Without another word he left. They looked around and realized their clothing had been washed and folded. They jumped up, washed their faces in the basins provided and threw on their clean clothes. They grabbed a bun and a piece of fruit each that had been laid out for them and walked quickly down the hallway.

Following the sound of voices, they found a large chamber where a multitude of people sat in a large circle, taking up most of the room. They find four empty seats waiting for them and sit down. Looking around the room they saw a variety of elves and dwarves, human men and women. Some were dressed richly, some as if coming from long travel. Some openly carried swords or large axes. Some were wearing chainmail, and some were wearing silk.

Elrond stood and looked around the room. “Well met,” he began. “The Purpose for which we are called hither. Called I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met. Believe also, that we who sit here, and none others, must find counsel for the Peril of the World.”*

“Never has there been a gathering like this, save when the Halflings brought Sauron's One Ring forth and journeyed to Mordor to destroy it at the end of the Third Age. It is impossible to tell now, in this age, what may come of this gathering. The future is unknowable. All we can do is make the best choices we can make with what we know now.

“Most of you know the recent history of how we arrived to this point in software development. The older history might be unfamiliar to you, save by rumor. I remember well how the first programmers were women. They worked hard understanding the connectivity required for the first electronic computers to work and how they could be made more flexible. I remember how they were pushed aside when Men found their work and discoveries more interesting, and likely more lucrative, than what they did.

“I remember how languages were developed to make use of these advances. How the people working to make them better worked side by side. I remember how rank and position was set aside for most. I also remember how people were slighted and relegated to “less important” and glamorous roles because of outward looks.

“I was saddened to see Men presume that because Sauron was defeated, they no longer needed to listen to the wisdom of other races who had long ago deemed such differences to be irrelevant.

“Still, I saw hopeful signs that they might learn to be equals. People set aside job titles and specific roles and worked to make technology do amazing things. Many of the Elves thought the time had come for us to finally go to the Havens and cross the Sea. We few stayed because we saw evil at work again and thought to counter it, if we could. Even without the power of the Three Rings, we thought we might give counsel one more time before leaving at long last. 

“And here we are gathered.” 

A dwarf stood and looked at Elrond and the man in white robes. "Forgive me Master Elrond. All you say is true. Dwarves remember well how these things came to pass. We feared that the Race of Men might falter even though the Evil of Sauron was removed. We hoped that the King, Aragorn, might order all things differently. Alas for our times. It would seem the hopes of Dain in this have not come to pass. We will aid this, however we can. If you or Gandalf can guide us a little longer, we would not replace one Evil with another."

Two Elves stood. One was Erestor, the other dressed in more simple, green clothing. “Gimli, son of Gloin, we know your worth and see your concerns. A better companion no elf could ask for. We know these threats have existed in the race of Men from the early times. Through the Dark Years they slumbered. While your request is heartfelt, I fear this falls on the Race of Men to address. Our time is over. We elves will fade. We have little influence except in rare people.”

“Legolas Greenleaf, you speak for me as well,” said Erestor. "We can offer some amount of counsel to Men. But, only those willing to hear it will act. We cannot change them, no matter our good intent.”

All sat and looked downcast. Gimli most of all. Elrond looked around the room. “Faramir, Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithelen, speak now. You have thoughts on this.”

A tall, noble looking man in white and green livery bearing a silver tree wrought by some craft the travelers did not know, stood and looked around the room. His gaze landed on the four travelers and he spoke.

“Let us remember the words of Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror, King under the Mountain and predecessor of Dain. Thorin at the time of his parting, regretted that so many valued wealth and hoarded gold and jewels over companionship, good food, shared experiences and happy memories. Since the decision to make Software an asset to be created or manufactured, Men have longed to control the making of it.

“Indeed, much of the ill will that exists in the making of software comes from those who would assert control over the making and testing of software. All would control that which cannot be controlled. It might be discovered, but controlling how it is discovered in folly. All attempts to do so lead to bitter division and rancor.

“People come forth from time to time with the “best ways” to make software. They speak of ideal ways that software can be crafted - dreamed, designed and created. They put forth their methods over all other methods and fail to see the folly they bring.

“This is common among all men. They see only that which they would. Even those of the Race of Numenor can be deceived by their own visions, as my father was ere the end.”

The man robed in White looked thoughtfully at Faramir as he sat down. Elrond smiled and said “Now Gandalf, let us hear you. Your wisdom is great and you have seen much of the world. Your long struggle against Sauron and his minions have taught you much about Men as well. Speak now and do not be silent.”

Gandalf, for verily it was Gandalf the White who stood before them now, looked at the gathered assembly who seemed ill at ease. His eyes fell on the Four Travelers.

The Noon bell chimed. Still, silence filled the room and no one made to move. The Four Travelers shifted uneasily in their seats.

The Story continues here.
* JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, ©JRR Tolkien, 1954, renewed 1982, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, Boston, 2014, p. 236

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