(1937-10-06) Runes and Oysters
Details for Runes and Oysters
Summary: Magnus runs into Frank Weasley, who happens to be exactly the sort of person he's seeking…
Date: October 6, 1937
Location: IMC, Ministry of Magic
Related: Making Arrangements, A Faustian Covenant, among others.

You head towards International Cooperation

This floor of the Ministry of Magic houses only a few plush offices for the wizards and witches that serve as administrators and mediators in the Department of International Magical Cooperation. The rest of the floor is dedicated to many meeting rooms that run from small rooms meant for four to five people at most to one particularly large auditorium who's tiered seating area rivals the United Nations' General Assembly Hall in grandeur and size. Unknown to most a small kitchen is hidden behind the administrative offices and secret passageways run everywhere behind the meeting rooms allowing a staff of house-elves to unobtrusively provide catering for any of the meetings held in the department.

Magnus is only found here rarely; for the most part he works out of Whitehall, since he's a liaison to the Muggle government. Still, he has to check in at least occasionally, and today is one of those days; the tall, thin ambassador is holding a smart leather briefcase, and since he's in Wizarding public today he has on his favored black-and-red cape in addition to a business suit. He's just finished up with a meeting with several others in the department, most of whom are his juniors, so he looks a bit bored as he strolls out of the conference room and towards the lifts.

The lift, opening, reveals its contents: Frank Weasley, attention largely focused on the topmost of a trio of slim dossiers he's carrying in his arms. Gone are the mutedly classy clothes he wore, none too long ago, in a different country; gone, too, is the reserved confidence of being a person in their proper place. He's a harried man in a cheap suit, stepping out into the hallway with little attention to spare for his surroundings.

Raising a hand to flick long bangs away from his face, Magnus's attention goes to the elevator as it announces the arrival of a passenger with a chime. When the doors open, his pale eyes land on Frank and widen after brief scrutiny. "Frank?" He takes a step forward, lets the briefcase drop to the floor with a clunk, and extends his right hand. "Frank Weasley? By Merlin, it's you, isn't it? Thought you were still working with the Abendroths in Deutschland - how'd they shackle you with a government job, anyway?"

"Excuse me -" On autopilot, his mind clearly focused on the dossiers and their contents (up close, the uppermost will reveal itself to be labeled using Cyrillic letters) Frank very nearly manages to ignore both the briefcase clunk and the hand being held out to him. It's only after he shoots a harried glance that he pauses, then stops: with his own eyes widening, however briefly, it's obvious that Magnus has been recognized. There's a subtle 'oh shit' to it. "Ambassador Troy? I -" He takes a moment to collect himself, before offering his own hand, posture and expression deferential. "Ah. Well. Even with patrons, Deutschland is not… the best of places to be a Briton, these days. I started here two months ago. Just occasional contract work, when they need me."

"Oh, don't I know it," Magnus intones dryly. He takes the shorter man's proferred hand and shakes it - his grip isn't particularly strong, but it's still the firm handshake of someone who does a lot of handshaking as part of their occupation - and then drops it back to his side. "The Ministry recalled me at almost the same time, then. Odd, that we should both end up back in Britain after so long." After considering the other man's words for an instant, he smiles and nods. "Contract work, you say? I don't want to interrupt you while you're about your business, but if you've nothing to do when you're done, perhaps you'd let me buy you a drink or two and discuss a possible job with you? The beer here is passable at best, I'm afraid."

"Hopefully this nonsense ends soon," Frank says, mouth a thin line as he withdraws his hand. (His own style of handshake has the same polite deference as the rest of him; this is obviously a man who knows his place in Britain's class hierarchy.) "I miss German weather." The offer makes him hesitate a long moment, obviously uncertain, but the neat blond head finally nods - cautiously. "If you'd like, sir. My business here won't take more than an hour. I suppose I could meet you somewhere…?"

Sympathetically - or perhaps empathetically - Magnus nods to the sentiments of his coworker. "Agreed, on both counts. This English weather is dreadful stuff - rain, rain, and then some more rain…" He sighs, but brightens almost immediately when Frank accepts his offer, the tiny lines at the corners of his pale grey eyes crinkling with his smile. "Excellent. I'll just wait down in the lobby - I have some paperwork to sort out, anyway - and then we can go find a pub that suits our purposes. Or a restaurant, if you're feeling peckish. Trust me, I think you'll be interested in the work; it has to do with runes, and I recall those being a specialty of yours." His hand goes out again and he pats the man lightly on the shoulder in a chummy fashion, then picks up his briefcase and slips into the lift before it can close. "See you in an hour!"

"Don't forget fog," Frank says, dryly. "Fog seems to be an essential feature." Magnus's smile brings forth a small one in return, a little awkward on his face - but then, Weasley's always been a solemn sort of person, and getting a smile at all this early in the proceedings - and well before he's had anything to drink - is a bit of an accomplishment. It doesn't linger, and gives way entirely to a hint of a unsettled frown at the shoulder pat. "In an hour, then. Possibly a bit under." A polite nod of goodbye, and he's hurrying away towards one of the smaller conference rooms, dossiers in hand.

After an hour, Magnus had met up with the translator in the Ministry atrium and led him out the visitor's entrance. Their destination, a pub only a few blocks away named 'The Westminster Arms', is fairly typical British pub-fare (although much nicer than any of its ilk found on the outskirts of the city, since real estate in the neighborhood tends to get gobbled up for a very pretty penny). The exterior of the building is dark wood, with shades drawn over the large windows and a sign bearing two crossed rifles over the entrance.
"…well, as you know, the Germans aren't exactly easy to deal with these days - Hitler's idea of diplomacy is just barely up to Iron Age standards. But only for the particularly rude tribes." He's been offering a short explanation of his duties in the other country to Frank as they walk, as well as his reasons for coming back to England - which apparently include some kind of attempts on his life, though he hasn't elaborated much on that. As they approach the door of the building, he holds it open and chuckles. "After you, Herr Weasley." The inside of the pub is fairly eloquent, as pubs go - muted blue decor and carpeting with light golden fleur-de-lis patterns on the dark crimson walls. The bar is large and only a bit smoky at this early hour.

If Magnus has been communicative, Frank has been less so. He's allowed the younger man to dominate the conversation without a struggle, listening attentively and saying little. The pub is a classier institution than he might have picked, and one can practically see him calculating out whether so much as a glass of water will break his weekly budget. Still, he enters, obedient, shoulders straight and expression reserved, a hand automatically lifting to take his hat off his head the moment he passes the threshold. "Thank you. Did you have a preference for where…" He's totally handing off the question of acquiring seats to the more impressive half the of the pair. That buck is passed.

"Oh, oh," Magnus says, glancing around and stepping inside after the other man. The door comes closed automatically, and after contemplating on the various areas of the establishment for a few seconds, the ambassador steps around Frank and heads towards a quiet table in the corner. There's a menu already sitting out, and after setting his briefcase down beside one of the chairs and pulling the other out for his companion, he seats himself and begins to skim it disinterestedly. "Are you hungry, Mr. Weasley?" He gives the (probably overwhelmed) translator a scant second or two to answer, then looks up as a waitress comes over and smiles at her. "Oysters to start. Two filet mignons, medium rare for me, please. And a bottle of chablis with two glasses. Also, whatever else my friend would like to drink…" He makes a scribbling motion and then points towards himself, a fairly universal 'check goes to me' gesture, then glances over at Frank and grins.

"That's…" Aw, poor, mortified, cheap-ass boo, he's turning red, "… more than sufficient. Thank you." Overwhelmed is right: though he's clinging to his dignity with all the force he can muster, Frank looks about as 'at ease' as a canary in the middle of an unsafe coal mine. A coal mine full of cats. His hands toy awkwardly with the brim of his hat until the waitress has departed. The moment she is out of earshot, the man collects up a few more scraps of self-esteem, squares his shoulders, and gets directly to the point: "Ambassador, you said something about a potential job?" It's subtle, but the fixed set of his mouth, as he gazes at Magnus, communicates an accusatory 'Are you having fun?'

"Medium-rare for my friend, then, as well," Magnus says calmly; he waves the waitress away dismissively when she asks if they need anything else, and once she's good and gone, he turns back to the other man and smiles apologetically at him. "Forgive me, Mr. Weasley. I hate eating alone, and I have particular tastes. And I'm quite happy to see a fellow traveller back in England, so consider this a welcoming gift." He seems oblivious to the other man's less-than-opulent manner of dress - perhaps it's on purpose, since he can sense that he may have affronted him with the exorbitance. "Yes, yes - it's a bit of an odd job, but I'm willing to pay you very handsomely for it, since it requires a specialty that not many people possess. I'm currently planning a large public gala on behalf of the Goblin Rights Group and the Brotherhood of Goblins…"

"I… see." After a moment's pause, the translator evidently decides to handle his discomfort by burying it in business. Frank listens attentively as Magnus begins his explanation, a hint of suppressed enthusiasm sneaking in with the words 'pay very handsomely'. "I see," he repeats, once Magnus trails off. "I wasn't aware that was one of your causes." He's silent for a moment, then says, slow and careful: "But how would I be of potential service?"

Magnus pauses briefly when the waitress brings their wine and pours them each a glass, then goes on, ignoring his for now: "Yes, I've only recently joined the G.R.G., so that's not surprising. As for your services - well, in 1915, a similar event took place in Munich, during which a goblin speaker was killed by an intolerant wizard in the crowd. Almost the same thing happened ten years before, in York…" He sighs, and leans back in his chair, finally picking up his wine and taking a sip. "I want to ensure that /doesn't/ happen in London. I have sufficient skill in Charms to magically activate protective runes, but not enough knowledge of the runes themselves to draw them. I want the stage at his gala to be completely secure, able to withstand multiple offensive spells or attacks for a matter of some minutes, at least."

"Well," Frank says, slowly. "It's something I've done before, though not in a few years. I cannot personally," his middle-aged dignity, already extensive, only deepens as he sets his wineglass carefully down, "activate them myself, of course. But it's doable, to have one wizard draw and another cast." His steady gaze drifts in thought, blue-brown eyes tracing a design on the tablecloth. Voice quiet, he muses: "How long would I have to perform the necessary research? What size would the wards need to be, and approximately how strong? And how many… beings…" 'Wizards' not being appropriate, in context of a joint human-goblin activity, "… are aware this is in the works?"

"Ah, good. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find a competent runesmith - they're surprisingly rare - so this is excellent news," Magnus says quietly, allowing the compliment to the other man's abilities to remain underspoken, as the man seems to prefer subtlety to garishness. "There are two weeks until the gala. I can bring you by the location myself - in fact, I'd prefer to do so, to show you some of the specifics required. There are some miscellaneous smaller rune-related tasks to be done as well, for which you'll also be compensated. As for the strength of the barrier, I trust you to perform as well as you can in the amount of time available; I'm not an unreasonable man." He smiles, and when the oysters are dropped off and the waitress has departed again, picks one up and tips it back. "Ah, delicious - please, have as much as you like. For now only myself and one other organizer know about these measures - in fact I didn't think I'd be able to find someone. But I'd prefer this remains quiet, since it will be that much more effective if any potential aggressors aren't expecting it."

"It's a less showy form of magic," Frank muses, voice quiet, mild, and modest. Though the compliment is unspoken, he hears it, and in his own reserved way seems to appreciate it. "And a great deal of work and attention to detail, for - most of the time - little visible final product." He's quiet while the waitress comes near, sipping his wine with subdued appreciation. The oysters are eyed with hesitation, but he evidently can't resist the temptation to eat one. And then, after a brief widening of his eyes at the taste, another in quick succession. "All right," Frank says, with dignity, as soon as he's finished chewing. "I'm interested. And assuming the Goblins aren't planning to preach bloody revolution, it's a decent cause. But you'll have to give me a bit of time to give you my fee," ha ha, like he's going to overlook that part of it. "It has been a few years, as I said, and I'll need to find a way to spend the next few days figuring out what would even be possible, and how much time drawing them will take." With reluctant honesty, the translator adds: "I won't be offended if you seek out Flint, or someone else with more recent experience."

"Often those things which are are left unseen have the greatest effect, Herr Weasley," Magnus says pleasantly, taking a few more sips of his wine and then lifting the bottle to top both of their glasses off. "As for your preparations, best to be cautious, so don't worry if you need some extra time. Part of the reason I'd rather you did the work - than Flint, as you mention - is because I've heard enough about the Abendroths to know that they're discerning about their acquaintances, especially the ones they work with professionally." Magnus tips back another couple of oysters, simply swallowing them whole and then finishing with a little wine. Eventually the waitress makes her way back out and sets the steak and sides down, and the ambassador grins. He's not a big eater, but he'll pick happily at well-made food. "Let me know when you're available to take a look at the location and we'll go sum things up together."

Bit by tiny bit, Frank is relaxing: not enough to throw that assumed discretion into question, but wine and oysters - and steak, now - are things he is evidently susceptible to. "The sooner I see the site, the better," he says, post-oyster. "Tonight, if possible, or tomorrow. So I can see the amount of space I need to worry about. And as you said, the event is scheduled for two weeks?" A long and contemplative sip of wine is taken, half an eye on the steak but most of his attention fixed on Magnus. "Am I correct in thinking you'll be handling the necessary wandwork?" His reserve has dropped just enough to permit a touch of ruefulness. "I prefer not to put my own skills to the test when I don't need to. Particularly when it's a life on the line."

"I think tonight can be arranged, although I'll have to make a quick trip home beforehand." A thoughtful expression crosses Magnus's face, and he stops eating briefly, his knife and fork hovering over the steak in mid-air. Suddenly he digs in again, sawing off a few pieces and then putting one delicately in his mouth. "I'll be handling the wandwork, yes. Assuming it's not /too/ challenging, I mean - I'm not extremely skilled myself, just professionally passable, so if necessary I'll bring in someone more suitable." He doesn't sound like he /wants/ to do that, but his tone of voice is serious.

"As you like." If the translator is curious why a trip home would be necessary, there's not much hint of it on his face. Finally trading oysters in favor of steak, Frank eats quietly as Magnus speaks, then shakes his head. "'Professionally passable' ought to do it. The last person I did this with was clever at wandwork, but it isn't her forte, so I think we ought to be safe. At the very least, nothing you would be doing would be the part that could go wrong." Absently he adds, "And bringing additional people in might be far more dangerous."

"Perfect," Magnus says, his professionally smooth voice conveying his satisfaction at how the arrangements are falling into place. "Then I believe we've touched on all the major points and can proceed. How do you like your food, Mr. Weasley?" The ambassador is really just sort of rearranging his food on his plate at this point, although now and then he actually deigns to eat a bite or two. He'll make pleasant small talk for the rest of their meal, genuinely seeming to enjoy the other man's company - which he does. Almost makes him /not/ want to take advantage of the poor fellow, but needs must be met…

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License