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Re: A Visit to London

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 5:29 pm
by Monkey Kitty
Eve Travers

Haversham smiled. "Occasionally," he replied. "It's a rather niche interest. But so are most of our wares. We're accustomed to it." Then he quoted Rosemary a surprisingly reasonable price. H, H, & H Limited ran on the repeat business of satisfied customers. He could have gouged Rosemary on the price - and she might have paid it - but she would never have come back. If he met her needs without straining her bank account, he might tempt her back again someday. "If you are interested, we also carry some of the work of his collaborators. For example, we have the collection of essays that Grimsby-Thorpe edited with Arbuckle Weatherwax..."

Haversham now appeared fully engrossed, talking animatedly to Rosemary with his back to Eve. This was their chance. She reached out a cautious finger toward the spine of one of the volumes in the Concerning Goblins section...

The second her hand made contact with the leather, Haversham turned around. Eve was startled. But then she realized it had to be magic. There was some kind of enchantment on the books to alert the proprietor when they were being handled. Eve couldn't even begin to think of a cover story; she just stared at him, blinking stupidly.

Haversham stared back. "Ah," he said. "Not so reformed, are we, Professor? Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater, hm?"

It was then that Eve had the horrible realization of why Haversham imagined she was interested in these books. She felt herself sinking back into darkness, and a knot of panic tightened in her chest. Was he right? Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater? Maybe it was true, and maybe it wasn't, but right now, his assumption was convenient. With a silent apology to Liam, Shishguk, and Granrod... Eve nodded.

"I see," Haversham said. "Well, feel free to browse. These volumes are, as the sign indicates, for historical interest only." Did he subtly tap his nose at Eve? Or just scratch an itch? Then his attention turned back to Rosemary. "So, regarding the essays, some of the hypotheses have proven outdated, but the core text is interesting..."

Eve selected a copy of the same book Arminda Madison had purchased - Goblin Rebellions: Why Are They Doomed to Failure? - and after a brief perusal, indicated she would purchase it. She wanted to see what would happen. Haversham repeated his warning that it was only for historical context and was potentially offensive, and for just a moment, she believed him... at least until they left the store, and she had realized that as he was packaging up her purchase, he had discreetly tucked a copy of the same anti-goblin propaganda pamphlet into the book's flyleaf.

Re: A Visit to London

Posted: Mon May 13, 2024 6:39 pm
by Quaxo9
Rosemary Bain

She allowed herself to peek inside the cover and was already steeling herself against whatever the shopkeeper was going to offer her, no matter how delightful it sounded, when he suddenly stopped speaking. Rosemary looked up and briefly took in the scene. Her heart broke for her friend over the sacrifice she'd just made. If it was any consolation, she doubted Haversham would ever release information about a client.

It made her hate him a little bit more.

She paid for her purchase, against her better judgment. At least they had maintained their cover.

"What is that? Oh. Subtle." Rosemary simultaneously noticed and reacted to the pamphlet. "Okay, so we know Haversham is housing anti-goblin books and spreading propaganda, but that doesn't mean much more than that. What are they even trying to do? A bunch of so-called 'informed' people aren't going to necessarily become any sort of movement. There has to be another step to this."

"Maybe we should follow him."

Re: A Visit to London

Posted: Wed May 22, 2024 4:03 pm
by Monkey Kitty
Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

What Rosemary said crystalized the thing that had been nagging at Eve's mind about the pamphlets.

They were hateful; she understood hate. They were violent; she understood violence. But what they lacked was a concrete action step. They alluded to no plan. No call to join a meeting or offer of a contact. No follow-up steps at all. These pamphlets were designed to whip up emotions - but to what end? There was no direction given for the hate they generated. What was the use of inciting animosity about goblins without channeling it toward any specific objective?

He had believed Eve was still a Death Eater. If true, that would have made her the safest possible recipient. Yet even so, he had simply slipped a pamphlet into her book and sent her on her way. What... had been the point?

"Yes, we should follow," Eve agreed.

She still felt shaky and discomfited, uncomfortable with the blurred line between the past and the present. But Cambria took Eve's hand, and that helped. That grounded her firmly in the now, not the then. She gratefully squeezed Cambria's hand back.

Wherever Haversham was going, it seemed to be within walking distance. The old man was surprisingly agile, and they had to be careful - he was sharp, too. They followed him for a few blocks, staying just far enough away to be unworthy of notice, glancing into the windows of the now-closed shops as if window shopping were truly their only objective for the evening.

Haversham turned down a side street and stopped at the next corner, just inside a pool of lamplight. It was easy enough to hide in the darkness as another man stepped into the illuminated circle.

Cambria didn't recognize the newcomer. Eve did.

"That man is an Auror!" she whispered.

Before they had time to consider what that meant, the Auror addressed Haversham. "Making progress?"

"Yes," Haversham said. "I've given out almost all the pamphlets. Can you have another run printed, and drop them by the shop? After hours, of course."

Re: A Visit to London

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2024 6:14 pm
by Quaxo9
Rosemary Bain

Any method they could use to conceal themselves magically would only serve to draw more attention at this point. The elder Haversham was sharp enough, but an Auror? If this was a sting operation, the man was hiding it well, but as the interaction between the two continued she felt that unfortunately things were just as they seemed. She wasn't really surprised, mind. The Ministry still held firm to their laws concerning goblins and wands. While cordial, the interactions of human magic users tended towards cool.

But there was a significant gap between believing goblins shouldn't have wands and wanting them eradicated completely. The Auror seemed to be past the point of toeing the line. He could not be allowed to keep acting in a position of power while engaging in this...whatever it was. It struck her then that they still didn't really know what 'this' was all about. Certainly things had gotten more problematic knowing an Auror was involved, but they had nothing to prove.

"We need to find that printing press." Rosemary said in a low voice as she inspected a display of fossils in a shop window. "There has to be a reason they need so many pamphlets - and we need something we can report on."

Re: A Visit to London

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:32 pm
by Monkey Kitty
Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

Eve and Cambria both nodded their agreement that the printing press was the logical next step for investigation. How to get there was a bit trickier. There were surely dozens of magical presses that could complete the job - maybe more. When they'd examined the pamphlets earlier, they had seen no signs or marks indicating an origin, probably by design.

They did, however, have a clue that hadn't been available earlier - the Auror himself, who had been tasked with ordering another print run.

"I think we should break off from following Haversham, and follow the Auror instead," Cambria whispered. "We've probably learned all we can from Haversham. With luck, the Auror will want to complete the job right away and will lead us there."

Although 'right away,' was too optimistic, the Auror did eventually lead them to the destination they sought, albeit after meandering through a couple of apparently unrelated shops and stopping at The Leaky Cauldron for a pint. Their persistence eventually paid off, though, and the Auror, blissfully unaware he was followed by three witches, finally ducked into a rundown printshop at the end of a blind alley.

The shop consisted of two main parts. There was a small, dingy reception and office area - which the Auror had gone into, so that was presumably not an option or they might run directly into him - and a loading dock where printed materials could be collected by their respective buyers.

"Looks like there's no one back here," Eve said, gesturing with her chin toward the loading dock.

Moving as silently as possible, Cambria peered into various stacks and crates. "Found something," she said. She held up another sort of pamphlet, very much in the style of the first, but this one proclaimed that: We must use any means necessary, including violence, to eradicate these foul goblins from our land. With enough pressure applied, they will be forced to abandon this place, and then we will have full dominion over--

"But that's not true!" Cambria whispered. "The goblins aren't just going to leave. They're from here. Goblins have lived in Britain for all of recorded history. They have nowhere else to go. If anything, that would just lead to..."

"A rebellion?" Eve finished quietly.

"Yeah," Cambria replied. "But why would an Auror of all people want to create more unrest?"

Re: A Visit to London

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2024 7:05 pm
by Quaxo9
Rosemary Bain

There were a few reasons she could think of for an Auror to want to incite a goblin rebellion. One, he hoped to draw out the goblin rebellion against a prepared force in order to quash any hope of future goblin rebellions. Two, it was a power play that may not even have anything to do with goblins. Three, this was merely a personal vendetta that had festered so long that the man wanted to rid the country of all goblins. None of these reasons were entirely satisfying

"I think the answer to that will be best explored away from here - and with some added help from the inside." Rosemary slipped a couple of pamphlets into her pocket. "But some more information from here would be nice too..."

It was something she had been working on. Something she wished she had figured out while she was still in classes at Hogwarts. Even at this stage the charm wasn't something she felt she had fully comprehended. Rosemary dug deep into her pocket and pulled out a smooth piece of quartz she'd picked up on the roadside on their way to Liam's. She set it on the ground, pulled out her wand and whispered,

"Auscudio."

The rock was briefly encased in an orange glow. Rosemary picked it up, then looked the darkened dock for a moment before silently making her way toward the door between the shipping area and the office. Crouching low, she set the stone on a boarded over window ledge between the two entrances to the dock, tucked into a corner so as not to stand out overmuch. She nodded to her companions that they should leave.

Once outside and at a safe distance, Rosemary let out a breath she'd been holding for blocks. Her voice had a smile in it despite the situation.

"Well. We'll see soon enough if I have it sorted. I call it the 'Nota Bene Charm' and it should be recording sounds from that press for the next...oh, actually I have no idea how long. I have a lot of testing to do yet."

Re: A Visit to London

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2024 5:39 pm
by Monkey Kitty
Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

Eve and Cambria watched in fascination as Rosemary set up her crystal.

"Clever," Eve muttered under her breath, while Cambria whispered, "That's so cool!"

When they were out of earshot, the two witches had a million questions - the intricacies of the creation, the origin of the idea, the parameters Rosemary intended to test... which occupied a good bit of the walk back to Liam and Shishguk's flat.

There was, unfortunately, little more they could do that night other than return to the flat. It was getting late. Shops were starting to close. Even in the bustling streets of London that never quite slept, pedestrians were getting noticeably fewer, which meant anyone out and about was liable to attract more attention. They had done their day's work.

Liam and Shishguk generously offered to let Eve, Cambria, and Rosemary stay the night, setting up sleeping arrangements in the sitting room. (Along, of course, with all necessary pets.) Grandrod would be sleeping in the small spare bedroom. Eve got the feeling that Liam and Shishguk were on edge, and as well as being hospitable, they welcomed the extra wands if it came to needing to defend themselves - and she easily agreed, and Cambria followed suit.

The night, however, passed uneventfully. It seemed that at least for the time being, the chaos had passed.

Before she went to sleep, Eve asked Liam, "Do you know anyplace nearby to get old copies of the Daily Prophet?"

"How old?"

"From my trial," Eve said, with no apparent emotion in her voice.

"Oh. I... erm... I have those." Seeing his mother's surprise, Liam quickly explained. "You have to understand, Mum - for such a long time, that was all I had of you. Those pictures on the page. Of course I kept them. I stared at them all the time, trying to figure out who you were."

"And did you figure it out?" Eve asked out of curiosity.

"I think so. A little. Enough to want you out of Azkaban. But less than I know now."

Eve nodded, satisfied with that explanation, and thanked Liam for the loan of the papers. She skimmed them - carefully avoiding looking at the pictures of her younger self, pregnant and with a thousand-yard stare in her dead eyes - looking only at the Aurors in the background, trying to match a name with a face. Finally, she spotted a two-decades-younger version of the Auror they had caught meeting with Haversham tonight.

"Got you," she said, running a finger along the caption till she found his name. "Andrew Darby."

In the morning, as they settled around the breakfast table, Eve told the others, "I know our mystery Auror's name. Maybe it's time to start making some inquiries regarding the Ministry of Magic."

Re: A Visit to London

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2024 3:32 pm
by Quaxo9
Rosemary Bain

She'd stretched herself out on the rug with a throw cushion under her head and her jacket tucked up under her chin and slept quite soundly in spite of the day's excitement. Lucie had spent the night in the window, alternating between tucking her head under her wing and staring up at the moon through the open pane. While she wouldn't have complained, Rosemary was quite pleased that there was coffee served with breakfast. She'd taken some toast and jam and shared it with her jackdaw who smacked her bill in approval.

"Well, that was quick work! A name certainly helps direct the inquiry - but we'd better be careful who we talk to. This Auror may have 'friends' in the Ministry and we most certainly don't want to tip him off."

Rosemary whispered to Lucie as she stroked the bird's head. The jackdaw cawed twice, bobbed and flew out the window. Picking up another triangle of toast, she returned her attention to those gathered at the table.

"I sent Lucie to see if the boxes are gone from the print shop. If they are, I asked her to pick up the stone." She took a sip of coffee, looking pensive. "We will only get one chance to hear the recording - if it worked, that is. I'm not sure the Ministry would accept a recording of the stone's script without being suspicious that it was doctored somehow. I don't know many people who would listen to a rock's recording of an empty warehouse for hours on end without due cause...save one Auror whom I'd rather not involve."

She was thinking, of course, of Auror Barclay. The man had it in for Eve and she herself had certainly made an 'impression' on the man. But, as much as she trusted in his dislike for them, she also trusted in his dogged pursuit of justice. If anyone would have the patience to listen to a recording to either clear or indite a fellow Auoror, it would be him. As long as he wasn't part of the scheme, of course.