Whom Thou Namest Friend, Part One by ElrondsScribe

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(Summer, early 1980s)

The Muggle train came to a stop at Philadelphia and let loose a crowd of hundreds, some going to catch a taxi, others to the parking lot to join waiting relatives, and still others to board buses or another train. Among them was the Elf we must follow, who was by no means conspicuous in that crowd of ordinary non-magical folk, except perhaps for his long hair and rather extraordinary personal beauty. He was fair-skinned and grey-eyed, as are most of that fairest immortal people, and was unassumingly dressed in blue jeans and a hooded sweater. He carried a nondescript grey messenger bag over his shoulder.

There was nothing about him to indicate that inside the messenger bag was a folder which would forever change the course of magical history, or that the one carrying it was one of the most brilliant and learned of the Elves. For this was Pengolodh himself, and he had just come from Boston, where he had met with other members of the Wise and the Nolmengolmor* (at least the few who cared to study mortal magic at length) to discuss revolutionary ideas.

The matter at hand had been the detrimental effects of the utter separation of wizardkind from the rest of the Mortal world, and any possible solutions. That the Statute of Secrecy had been a necessary measure at the time of its making there could be no doubt, but there was also no doubt that the long-term effects had not been all beneficial.

It was Cirdan who had brought up the point that Muggle-borns (or wizards otherwise reared in Muggle homes) were the most obviously disadvantaged by the legal and educational systems. It was they who left their entire families and any concept of the known and reliable behind in order to enter into a small, cloistered society that for the most part looked down upon them for being Muggle-born (or, more accurately, Muggle-raised). And yet purebloods (or wizards raised in wizard households) were also disadvantaged in a way, as they had the tendency to be absolutely ignorant of anything that did not concern their little closed-off world, and were the worse for it.

And of course there was always the question of what might happen if some great disaster befell a wizard (or even the wizard community at large) and he was forced to escape into the much larger Muggle world for a period of time.

Andreth (the elder)** had suggested that, while the educational system might not be at the root of the problem, it was probably the first place to look for answers. Accordingly, the council had laid out in full the structure of the system: the whole of primary school years dedicated to the non-magical basics (reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, as the saying went), and secondary school years dedicated to exclusively magical training and preparation for a wizarding career, with the optional addition of a higher educational or intensive training program.

Galadriel, who had seemed to be in the throes of some sort of epiphany, had then asked how schools such as Hogwarts in England found magical students to admit, particularly in Muggle families. No one had had a definitive answer for this until Faramir (son of Denethor) spoke up. He said that as least at Hogwarts, which was a good example of a quality magical school, there was a magical quill pen that was "programmed" to detect and record the births of all magical children in England, and to "automatically" keep track of them all until the time came for acceptance letters to be written. At that point, all the Deputy Headmaster or Headmistress had to do was to check the list of names for the year written by the quill (the Quill of Acceptance, as it was known) and send out the acceptance letters.

So much, then, was obviously true: that magical talent could be discerned in a child at birth, or even while yet in the womb. What then? Bursts of accidental magic in a child had been known to be dangerous. Did the magical community wait to develop their obviously magical children's magic until eleven years old? And in the case of Muggle-borns, magical schools waited to inform them of their status as wizards and witches until secondary school?

Was it not reasonable to assume that the first burst of uncontrolled magic in a child, however early it came, was a sign that he was ready to be taught to harness it right away? Or even sooner? The true shortcoming of the current educational system, then, was not so much in the subject matter (or lack thereof) as in the system's very structure - no magical training until secondary school, and nothing but magical training after that. In that case, the obvious solution was to integrate the subject matter at both the primary and secondary level, so that magical and non-magical disciplines alike would be taught "K through 12" as the American saying went.

And the ramifications of such changes? A young wizard brought up in this manner would not be forced to take a career in the wizarding world if such were not his desire. And even if he chose to take a wizarding career, he would not be helpless if forced for any reason to sojourn in the Muggle world for a while. Such changes would level the playing field for so-called "Muggle-borns" and make "purebloods" less helpless in regard to the outside world.

The obvious downside lay in the fact that both the magical community and the non-magical community required aptitude of a student in many subjects. In other words, a child educated in this integrated way would be a little less competent than his Muggle peers at Muggle subjects, and a little less competent than his wizard peers at wizard subjects. The only answer to this was to hope that eventually the idea of integrated education would catch on in the wizarding community, and the widely accepted standards of wizarding competency would be adjusted.

But it seemed to be a risk that would have to be taken; for the current wizarding war raging in England was forcing many wizards and witches to take shelter wherever they could, and some had indeed been forced to have dealings in the Muggle world, inept though they were at doing so. And if it could happen in England, which seemed to be the center of the most influential magical doings*, it could probably happen anywhere.

Now that it seemed obvious that there must be changes suggested in magical eduaction, the only question was how such changes were to take place. Might a school be started? Could young magical children with willing parents, Muggle and wizard alike, be individually tutored?

It was obvious that a school built on such principles as had been discussed could not be a boarding school, simply because its students would be too young (probably toddlers mostly). It would therefore have to be in the middle of some wizarding community that as a whole was convinced of the merit of such a complete rethinking of their children's education, and that would take some time. Not to mention that the school would have to be approved by the wizarding government, which would be even harder to accomplish.

Individual tutoring and homeschooling was probably the most practical way to go, at least for the present. At that point it was more a matter of convincing parents of what they wanted to do, and simply doing it.

It went without saying that either idea would be considered radical, and even controversial, by mainstream wizard society. It was perhaps not so inflammatory as Elrond's ideas about the possibility of Muggles being able to wield magic*, but it would undoubtedly garner quite a varied response in the magical community when they went public with their intentions.

The only question that now remained was how to discern magic in a baby or young child. Elrond and the other members of the council who were Healers all said that it was really quite easy to detect even a baby's magical core if one knew what to look for, and had outlined all the telltale signs, such as differences in the rhythms between a child's fea and hroa; or a very peculiar swirl of dark blue in the middle of the child's aura, whatever the dominant color was; and of course, the inevitable bursts of accidental magic, such as flying or levitating through the air, or summoning wanted toys, or making a family pet do the child's bidding.

Pengolodh himself had been asked to employ the use of a magical pen to record all that was said during the council, and as he had not had much to say he had agreed. He had gone mainly to learn and not to contribute, as there was much he had not known, and he was now going back to the house that he owned in Philadelphia to type up another copy of the document which was now in his bag. A few months prior he had bought, at some expense, one of the new personal computers and a printer, and he was now going to make use of them.

He wondered idly how his own life would change if he took it upon himself to tutor a child. He would probably have to leave his job as a college professor if he were really going to do it, or at least work part-time as a substitute.

A pleasant little scene caught the Elf's eye, and he paused a moment to look. He was across the street from one of the public playgrounds, where at so late an hour in the afternoon there was only one small black boy on the swingset with his father pushing him.

"Push me highew, Daddy!" the toddler was shrieking. "I wanna fwy!"

"No flying today, kid," said the father laughing. "And you're pretty high up anyway."

"Wook wha' I can do, Daddy!" howled the child, and to Pengolodh's horror he let go of the chains of his swing and soared forward and upward into the air.

"ELIJAH!" The man darted forward with his arms held out, and Pengolodh was running across the street before he knew what he was doing; but the boy did not fall. He continued sailing forward and up with his arms held out like the wings of a bird. He circled like an eagle a few times, and then unexpectedly went crashing into Pengolodh like a small load of bricks, knocking the Elf onto his backside.

"Umf!" he grunted.

"Hi!" said little Elijah cheerfully.

Pengolodh climbed to his feet, adjusting his hold on the boy. "What have we here?" he said. "The little rocket talks? It barrels into me and sends me tumbling, and then it talks to me?"

The boy giggled, but at this moment his father made his way over. "Sorry about that," he mumbled, clearly mortified, and snatched up the errant boy.

"Elijah," his voice was now stern. "I said no flying, remember?"

Elijah squirmed and looked nervous. He knew he was in trouble. "Sowwy," he said meekly.

"Wait!" said Pengolodh hurriedly. He was sure now that the child was magical, and he did not believe that it was a coincidence that he had seen the little burst of magic on the day that the council had been held. "Please, wait."

The man looked at him with raised eyebrows. He was far taller than most mortal men - well over six and a half feet tall, with broad shoulders a stocky build - and had a deep, rumbling voice like a roll of thunder that would intimidate anyone. "What can I do for you?" he asked.

Pengolodh paused. "Well," he said. "Perhaps the matter might be better discussed in a more private venue. Might I visit your home?"

* Nolmengolmor - I freely admit this is probably rather atrocious Quenya, as I made up the word myself. I pieced it together from the words Nolme (which has to do with matters of knowledge and science and philosophy) and Ingolmor (which I think means learned ones or something) Basically, a council for people who are into scientific-philosophical-abstract types of knowledge. Feel free to correct my Quenya at any time.

** My Tolkien headcanon has been influenced by many more experienced and knowledgeable fanfiction writers, particularly in the matter of OCs that I will be including. Andreth the elder is the Andreth whom Aegnor loved (and at this point in my Omega/AoB universe they are married), and the other Andreth is an OC of LalaithElerrina's.

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