(1937-10-06) It Looks Like Rain
Details for It Looks Like Rain
Summary: Frank and Magnus meet at the Community Hall to prepare for the 'Goblin Rights' gala. Frank receives payment in advance, along with a bonus.
Date: October 6, 1937
Location: Community Hall
Related: Runes and Oysters, others.

It looks like rain in Cherry Blossom Lane
The sunshine of your smile's no longer there
It looks like rain in Cherry Blossom Lane
Your golden voice no longer fills the air

The rippling notes have left the old mill stream
There's nothing left for me but just a dream

Gracie Fields, "It Looks Like Rain In Cherry Blossom Lane", 1937.

Community Hall

A community hall or civic center. A place for people to use for big events like dances, rallies, conventions, etc. It is a very large room with a few smaller conference rooms attached. A little planning ahead can get the whole place decorated to the host of the event's specifications.

After splitting up with Frank after their dinner at The Westminster Arms, Magnus made his way back to his estate. He said he'd meet up with the other man later at the Community Hall in Diagon Alley - so that, naturally, is where he is at the moment. He's arrived a bit ahead of schedule, probably just in case Frank does the same, and is presently standing idly near the stage, leaning on it with one elbow. He's changed from his Muggle-style business suit into a silver and black high-collared robe. The door to the hall has been left slightly open, although most of the lights are off save for the ones near the stage.

Frank is not, as it happens, ahead of schedule, owing to the necessity of taking the Underground back to his apartment in Hoxton, rather than apparating. He is, however, on time, almost to the very minute. Still in his regular Muggle street clothes, he's acquired in addition an elderly attache case of fading elegance; it bangs, repetitively, against his knee as he steps into the Hall, in a way that suggests a fair bit of weight within. Shutting the door behind him, he walks calmly through the Hall towards the stage. "Ambassador."

"Mr. Weasley." Magnus smiles at the other man when he appears at the far side of the room. He stands up immediately, walking just a little ways toward the approaching translator, and motions around the room. "I hope you didn't have any trouble finding the place. It's used fairly frequently, and I thought you'd probably been here on other occasions." In fact, he /knows/ the other man's been here at least one other time. When Frank gets close enough, he motions towards the briefcase and chuckles. "Your equipment?"

"It wasn't difficult to find," Frank assures him, serenely. The case is hefted up onto a convenient step, and opened: there's a variety of writing implements within (some standard things like chalk, some not - that little stoppered-up bottle of blood red liquid is almost certainly precisely what it looks like), and a handful of books that look rather like reference guides. "It has, as I warned you, been some years since I last did something like this, so it may be a lengthy process," he says, glancing towards the younger man. "I hope you didn't have plans."

After a curious look at the briefcase and its contents, Magnus turns his attention back to Frank and nods politely. "Very good, I'm glad you didn't have any trouble." He paces around the back of the stage to the steps, and slowly makes his way up. "Oh - no, I have plenty of time. In fact, I'm glad I stopped at home - I received a few letters during the day. As it turns out, things have been pushed back a little, and you'll have around three weeks to work; the gala won't be ready until around All Hallow's Eve." The wizard paces towards the front of the stage and its outer edge, and stops once he's just a foot or two away.

Listening with half an ear to Magnus's comments, the bulk of the translator's attention is on the stage before him. He has the look of a man doing some mental calculations, craning his neck (alas for being average height) to look at particular angles. "Mm. That's good. Do you have a way to prevent anyone from tampering with the stage until then? I can, if necessary, do it all in a few days, but these things take time and I would have to take time from work…" This is when dignified, trusting Frank loses all interest in tracking where his new patron is in relation to himself: he's too busy running a hand over the stage's sides, presumably checking what material they're made of.

For the moment, Magnus is standing placidly on the stage, his hands folded in front of him in a manner that, in combination with the fact that he's wearing a robe (even if it is a rather flashy robe), looks rather priest-like. He tilts his head to the side in a near-mirror of Frank's motion at the other man's question, his lips thinning out as he thinks. "I believe I'll be able to request that the hall be closed down if no other events are pending." He pauses, his expression thoughtful. "In addition to the stage, there's another small matter I'd like you to attend to." The ambassador points to the center of the seating area in front of him, to the carpeted walkway. "If there are any aggressors, they'll have to be apprehended. Would it be possible for you to put an anti-Apparition ward there to prevent their escape?"

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Magnus=Deception Vs Frank=Awareness
< Magnus: Good Success Frank: Great Success
< Net Result: Frank wins - Marginal Victory

"Mm, that would be helpful." The stage material appears to be satisfactory. After a few crisp bangs on it (presumably checking to see if it's hollow or not), the middle-aged man steps towards the stairs, climbing up onto the stage proper. If Magnus looks a bit like a priest, Frank - might pass for the moderator in a particularly shrubby sort of debate. Whatever his intended objective was, he pauses obediently when Magnus points to the walkway. And pauses. "Those are… difficult, but doable," the man concedes, slowly. After a moment, he directs a sharp look towards the ambassador. "But - pardon me - why would that be necessary? It seems like the negatives would outweigh the benefits. And why only there, for that matter?" Even in the dimmed lighting, the deepening furrow can't be missed.

While the translator does his work, Magnus stands silently, his pale grey eyes following the fellow. He doesn't want to interrupt him, even if this is just largely preliminary estimation. Once Frank has ascended to the stage and come closer to him, he smiles and shakes his head. "Doable, good. Ah - you'll have to forgive me, Mr. Weasley. This is probably simply a misunderstanding due to my extremely limited knowledge of runes - I need the entire seating area to be covered by the ward. If you have to install multiple runes to do that, by all means." His smiles grows slightly more thin, but he makes a dismissive gesture with his hand and goes on. "Do you have an estimate of the cost of this operation, Mr. Weasley? I'm assuming it will be some hundreds of galleons, at least."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Magnus=Persuasion Vs Frank=Awareness
< Magnus: Great Success Frank: Good Success
< Net Result: Magnus wins - Marginal Victory

"Ah." And still the estimable Mr. Weasley hesitates. It's quite possible, judging from his expression, that he's not sure what is bothering him: only that something is. Some tiny, niggling thing. "It's… doable. The wards for that have to be laid very carefully, or there's a good risk of doing someone damage when they unwittingly try to apparate here…" He's still frowning, ever-so-slightly, when the words 'hundreds of galleons' hit his ear. Hello there, giant distraction! And then he provides a succinct explanation for why the cheap suit, the slum apartment, the total lack of proper capitalization on valuable skills: "That's far too much for some hours of drawing on the floorboards! I couldn't possibly charge more than, ah. Fifty, perhaps."

"Fantastic." Magnus smiles warmly when this is all pronounced 'doable'. Doable is good. "Take all the time you need, and all the care that is required. By the way, I'll secure the facility during nights so that you can work here in off hours, if need be." It might be a bit rude to 'invite' the other wizard to work his nights away, but his next words, in response to the estimate of costs, might soften the blow. "Two hundred and fifty will be sufficient, I think." He frowns, reaches into his robe for a small book of cheques from Gringott's and a quill, and makes one of them out. He rips it off, deposits the book and quill back into his pocket, and hands the note to Frank after folding it in half (the 'Memo' portion of the note does not say anything about runes; it says 'Research services rendered for writing a novel on the political climate of Germany, etc.'). "One last thing, Mr. Weasley. Look over there. Do you see that light?" He points up, up… far up into the dark recesses of the ceiling just behind the raised stage curtain.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Frank=awareness Vs Magnus=deception
< Frank: Good Success Magnus: Great Success
< Net Result: Magnus wins - Marginal Victory

"Two hundred and fifty is really -" more than what Frank's job will make him in an entire year. He's a bit staggered by this, to the point where the inverse sticker shock has neatly brushed aside troublesome emotions like suspicion and pride. The man doesn't even notice what that check is written for: he's a little too distracted by that troublesome '2'. "Erhm?" Without a thought, he obeys instructions and looks towards the ceiling. "… What light?"

Once Frank has taken the cheque from him, Magnus smiles magnanimously. His hand is still pointing up to the ceiling, and when the translator cranes his neck to look up, the ambassador's other hand goes into his pocket again. This time it comes out with his wand. "This light, Mr. Weasley." He nonchalantly raises his arm, his pale eyes widening a little with a definitely-not-pleasant gleam as his lips form the word of the curse: "Imperio!"

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Frank=DM Vs Magnus=OM
< Frank: Failure Magnus: Good Success
< Net Result: Magnus wins - Solid Victory

Oh. That light. Frank is caught entirely off guard, without time to think of reaction beyond an alarmed widening of his eyes. At once the man's startled expression goes slack, serene, dreamlike; the hand with the cheque drops easily to his side.

The tension goes out of Magnus once the spell is cast. He also looks rather tired all of a sudden, and a little sick. His wand goes back down to his side at the same lazy rate as Frank's arm. After a few seconds of silence, he reaches out and pats the other man consolingly on the arm. "Sorry, Frank. I'm afraid I can't afford any unnecessary risks. It's why I chose you - your skills are exceptional." He frowns, thinking over his next words carefully, then turns towards the seating area again. "You'll do as I instructed. Do most of your work at night, and say nothing of being here to anyone. I'll give you a key to get in. There are a few other specifications I've failed to mention so far. Are you listening?"

If there was any doubt as to the spell's success, the zenlike tone of Frank's voice would brush away any doubts. "Yes," he says, staring placidly ahead.

"Very good. Aside from the anti-Apparition wards, you'll install a set of minor runes which will switch off all of the lights in the hall and seal the doors." The ambassador paces back and forth across the stage a couple of times, his hands folded in front of him, and then looks at Frank. "Also, all of the wards will be activated simultaneously by a spoken phrase. Something unusual that nobody is likely to say…" He frowns, taps his foot a few times, and then brightens. "Ah. One of my favorite unusual words. Callipygean."

"Callipygean," Frank says, agreeably. He has nodded in time with every instruction that punctuates his peaceful haze, the information tucking itself safely within his fogged brain. The man continues to stare straight ahead: with the differences in their heights, the result is that he gazes obediently at Magnus's shoulder.

Magnus nods agreeably when Frank mimics the word. He chuckles quietly to himself, then claps his gloved hands together softly. "Well, Mr. Weasley, time to get started. I'll stay here to supervise your progress tonight, and to do the initial charm-work. You'll alert me whenever you require further action from me in that regard, I trust. And as for your daily life, you will go about things as normal, acting as you always do in all other regards save this one. If anyone questions you about me, you'll tell them that you've done some research for me on a book I hope to author on the political machinations of Germany, since you have some experience in that area."

<FS3> Frank rolls Ancient Runes: Good Success.
<FS3> Magnus rolls Charms: Good Success.

"Yes." His assent accompanied by a placid nod, Frank starts to move as soon as Magnus finishes speaking, heading directly for the materials in the attache case. Kneeling down and picking up a bottle and the chalk, he moves without hesitation for the further corner of the stage, gesturing for Magnus to follow him. In the peculiar manner of the Imperius Charm, the man's habitual caution about his magical knowledge seems to have vanished: pulling loose the stopper, he quickly dips a finger into the substance within and draws a complex rune out onto the wood with a few decisive movements. Taking up the chalk, he draws a final, delicate line, and points to it. "A room this size will take at least a dozen warding runes if they're to be subtle. This final line needs to be drawn with a wand, at which point the rune will vanish." The calm, rote-from-memory tone is going to be the order of the evening, apparently.

"Subtle is the aim, Mr. Weasley," Magnus says, his lips curling up slightly at the corners. He follows the translator across the stage as directed, gazing down at the carefully measured work the other man is doing and nodding appreciatively. When prompted, he withdraws his wand again and kneels, carefully tracing the penultimate stroke. He watches curiously as the whole image glows and then begins to fade away. "Beautiful. I'm humbled to watch a master at work. Let's continue." And so it will go for quite a while longer as the two men work into the night, gradually covering the most important areas first. There will be more to do later, but for now, they're making a good start…

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