(1937-11-08) The Opposition Grows
Details for The Opposition Grows
Summary: Gilbert has another meeting to recruit more speakers and continue preparations for the forum to discuss the repealment of the Statute of Secrecy.
Date: 1937-11-08
Location: Leaky Cauldron
Related: Plot: Unity

Some logs relating to this scene were not saved so we are providing the following background summary:
Having had a variety of meetings over the last few weeks Gilbert has started building support for a forum/debate about the movement to repeal the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. Now having the supports of members of the radio and print media he continues to work to find speakers for the panel, preferably from as many backgrounds as possible, to develop an event where all sides of the issue are heard and balanced information is provided to the public at large. The following scene picks up his work while he meets with Inacio Calderon to promote the forum further.
This cramped, angular room is the taproom of the Leaky Cauldron. A long bar runs along one side of the room, plain wooden stools set out before it. Smoke from pipes and candles fills the air. The patrons of this curious little bar, many of them elderly, sit hunched over their mugs at the tables. Waitresses sometimes coined 'Wenches' bustle back and forth bearing trays of food and mugs of ale. Many of the people seem strangely out of place, dressed in cloaks and floppy hats, as if they stumbled out of another century. Notably absent is any modern Muggle devices or electric lighting, or any sign of electricity at all. Still, the occasional Muggle does find their way in here, usually declaring it to be 'quaint' and 'atmospheric'.

Thursday, around 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Gilbert can be found sitting at his usual table in the Leaky Cauldron with an empty plate sitting next to his elbow a pint of dark lager in his hand and three of four books on history, Muggle society, and the Statute of Secrecy sitting at random places on the table. Switching from book to book he once in a while stops reading to take some notes in a pad that is sitting on his knees…

Coming in from the Muggle London side, Inacio is dressed very much the part, in the clothes of a laborer, his cap smudged with grease. He pulls it off, gives an apologetic look to the bar person, and pulls out his wand. A quick wave and incantation, and he's all sparkling clean again. Looking around, he spots the man described to him and approaches. "Good evening, Mr. Sullivan," he greets quietly, tilting his head to look at the various titles.

The bricks guarding the entrance to Diagon Alley start their familiar grind as they move to create the opening to allow two young witches to pass through. Annie and Rhye arrive arm in arm, chattering animatedly. Well, Annie is the more animated, and Rhye looks a bit drawn and pale, but still in good humor as the friends amble in. "And then I found the strip that he'd brought from the scarf, to weave into the knot." There's a happy smile on the slightly taller Annie's lips as she recounts a story to Rhye, her eyes slipping from the attention on her friend only to look to find them a likely place to sit.

Gilbert looks up from his books at he's addressed and smiles at the young man that called out his name. "Indeed. And I presume that you would be Mr. Calderon?" He offers the young man his hand as he speaks, the name coming out in perfect Spanish,"Please, have a seat. What would you like to drink?" Once the pleasantries are out of the way he raises a hand to wave to Annie and her companion.

Keeping close to Annie's reassuring presence, Rhyeline's dark eyes shine with amusement at her dear friend's story. As they enter the Leaky Cauldron and Annie looks for a place to sit, Rhyeline takes a moment to let her gaze linger on each inhabitant in turn. At last her regard settles upon Gilbert. As a famous scholar, it is no surprise that there is a blink of recognition. "Gilbert Sullivan. He writes books on Muggle affairs," she murmurs to her companion.

Inacio grins to Gilbert and takes the hand before he plops the cap on the table and takes a seat. "My friend Edwin's spoken of you, said we should get together but he was mysterious beyond that. I would guess, though…" he looks again the book about the Statute of Secrecy and the books about Muggles, "that this has something to do with the Repeal movement we were talking about over dinner the other night."

With a bright smile, Annie gently leads her friend over to the table where now two men sit, clearly delighted to have a surprise for Rhye in store. "Good evening, Mr. Sullivan," she greets warmly, and then a nod goes to the unknown Inacio with a friendly, "Alright?" Her eyes pause for a moment on the man who is as dark and swarthy as her husband is pale and gingery, before her gaze flickers away. "Would yeh have room for us t' join yeh?" she asks, adding an introduction, "This is my best mate from Hoggies, Rhyeline."

A subtle blush warms Rhyeline's rather pale features as she is introduced to the prominent scholar. It seems a powerful, sudden shyness has settled upon the young witch, having been caught so off guard by suddenly being steered directly to the man's table. Silent, she offers a small nod by way of greeting and keeps close to her friend's side.

Gilbert Stands as the ladies approach and pulls out a chair for one of them, "Of course, there is always space at my table for pleasant company." Motioning to the other man at the table with his free hand he adds,"Please let me introduce Mr. Calderon. Mr. Calderon I would like to introduce the newly minted Mrs. Moody and Ms. Diderot." To Rhye he smiles slyly and says,"Yes, indeed I know you, at least from your father's stories. He has been of some professional help and we have talked about you more than once. I must say you do look different from the last picture of you he showed me."

Inacio rises again from his seat as the ladies approach, and gives them both a shy nod and pleasant, 'nice to meet you' smiles, before settling back down his seat. He turns a slightly expectant look back towards the elder scholar.

Annie's smile warms up even a notch more as they are so graciously greeted, and she moves with Rhye as if the girls are attached. Annie deftly kicks her foot out to snag the leg of the last chair at the table, easily tugging it over closer to the chair Gilbert pulled out as she lets Rhyeline sit there. "Pleasure," she says cheerily at the introduction to Inacio.

Once the ladies are seated and drinks orders are placed all around, on Gilbert's tab, he addresses everyone with the answer to Inacio's original question,"It does indeed have to do with that conversation. I am arranging a forum on the Statute in a few weeks time and Edwin suggested you might be willing to participate. Basically the intention is to have a setting in which all areas of the issue can be explored publicly, followed with a question and answer session from the audience. If its a forum or a debate depends on the answer I get to the invitation I made to Mr. Malfoy and his confederates."

While it is no surprise that the scholar would be acquainted with her father, a famous author himself, it seems Rhyeline had not expected to be recognized. Positively clinging to Annie's arm, Inacio's nod draws the painfully shy witch's attention at last and she returns with a small nod of her own. Sitting down with care in the seat drawn out by Mr. Sullivan himself, Rhyeline folds her hands in her laps and keeps her gaze downcast for the moment. However, as the conversation regarding the upcoming forum progresses, she lifts her gaze with interest.

Inacio gives another of his friendly smiles when the drinks are ordered and then leans back comfortably in his chair. "What sort of forum are you thinking of?" he asks curiously.

Annie reaches one hand out to take up the cup of warm cider she's been brought, and her eyes shift to Gilbert with unmistakable interest. She doesn't speak up; Inacio's question provides her an opportunity to listen as she sips her drink, content to get the lay of the land, as it were.

Gilbert waits until everyone has their drinks and have been able to take their first drink before speaking again,"As you are all probably aware, Mr. Malfoy held a rally in favor of repealing the Statute of Secrecy a few months back. I personally felt that it was a very biased presentation lack much in the way of examining what the possible reasons for keeping the Statute in place are. So I want to have a forum in which we talk about both the possible positive effects of repealment /and/ the possible negative effects, as well as providing the audience with a little bit of history as to why the Statute was put in place to begin with. If Mr. Malfoy accepts the invitation I have made we would be using a debate format. If not, it would be more of a conference."

Rhyeline accepts a glass of mulled wine and warms both her hands against its sides. Bringing it close to her lips, she inhales the intermingling scents of pumpkin spice and port before taking a small sip. As she continues to listen to conversation, the reserved young witch watches Gilbert with growing fascination. At last she speaks up, her voice as soft as one might have expected. "Who will serve as moderator?"

Having ordered a mulled wine similar to Rhye's but with more of a 'Sangria' flavor to it, Inacio studies Gilbert. He gives a slight sideways nod to Rhye as he speaks. "She brings up a good point. Also, what part do you anticipate me playing in this forum?

In a juxtaposition of their usual positions, Annie still remains quiet as Rhyeline speaks up, and then another question comes from Inacio too. She's still clearly interested, but has nothing to offer up but her attention for now.

Gilbert nods after taking another sip from his pint of lager,"That would be part of the idea of this meeting; finding out how you feel about the issue. Mr. Collin seemed to feel that you might be on the anti-repealment side of the fence but anyone that is willing to speak openly and honestly about their views is welcome. Of course, if Mr. Malfoy's camp accept the invitation they will obviously want to represent the pro-repealment side of the debate so some of us must be willing to speak about the possible negative repercussions." With so many glasses of drinks on the table now Gilbert decides to clear off his books, just in case of spills. As he works on this he answers Rhye's question, "Mr. Kogrod, one of the reporters for the Daily Prophet has volunteered to serve as a moderator and Mr. Smith of the WWN will be helping out by broadcasting the event and providing radio commentary."

Rhyeline nods as Gilbert supplies her with an answer which seems to have satisfied her. Taking a slow sip of her mulled wine, her gaze shifts to Inacio whom she watches with quiet curiosity to see what in fact his views are on the matter of the Statute of Secrecy.

For a moment, Inacio is silent, he glances to the women, then he nods. "I'm not in support of Repealing the Statute mostly from the logistics stand point. How is it going to be accomplished? Suddenly flashing something like this on the Muggles might be sparking the powder keg that is already brewing, possibly even turning their guns from each other towards us." He takes a sip. "Not only that, but the people with money and status who are doing the talking, are usually the ones that do the talking, but rarely the ones that actually do any of the doing. It's usually the people on the street, like you and I, that are left to implement their plans, and take the brunt of what goes wrong if it does."

Annie scoots just a measure closer to Rhye, a light frown on her face as she listens to the men. Working in the library, she's heard a lot of whispers about a lot of different arguments both for and against repealment. She seldom offers her own opinion, but always holds a keen interest for these discussions.

Gilbert smiles a little bit and nods along with Inacio. "And that is exactly why I want to have this event. To showcase a variety of view points. Personally, I think it would be nice if we could repeal it but I think there are many, many problems with the idea that we would have to anticipate and plans for. And I definitely agree with you that the Muggle political climate makes this the wrong moment to try it." Taking a long pull from his pint he then looks at Inacio directly and asks,"So, do you think you would be willing to participate as a panelist?"

Remaining silent, Rhyeline continues to take small, slow sips of her mulled wine. As the conversation unfolds between the two men, her dark, observant gaze flickers back and forth to each in turn.

Inacio nods. "That's the main problem as I see it. The current Muggle political climate. It is a nice idea, would it make it easier if I didn't have to work so hard to look like a Muggle when I'm out working? Sure. Would it make it easier if I didn't have to worry about having to call an Obliviator when I'm up against the wall and need to use magic? Again, that would be great. But the Muggles, maybe unwittingly, pointed a whole bunch of… cannons at each other years ago, and people are starting to light the fuses. I know that these people who are pushing from Repeal are doing in large part to prevent the war, but this is more likely to spark a war. If we're going to do anything about the war, we have to do it from behind the scenes. Not out in front… we stand to lose more people, more of us Wizards, if we try and take the stage, than if we hang back and weather the storm."

"What will this debate decide?" murmurs Rhyeline from behind her glass of mulled wine. "Will it be a turning point in the matter? Or will it merely bring conversations already taking place to greater prominence?" As her dear friend excuses herself to the little witch's room, she bites her lower lip, just a bit before peeking hesitantly to the men once more.

Gilbert considers Rhye's question for a few moments before answering with,"Well, the intention is to bring the conversation to the general public. Especially give that the conversation has been taking place among the upper echelons of our society and it is definitely a conversation everyone should be able to give informed input on. But, like anything involving politics, it can be hard to accurately predict what the real effect will be in the long run. And I completely agree with everything you just said Mr. Calderon."

Inacio nods slowly. "I think perhaps the biggest reason is to present people with a choice. To give them facts from both sides so they can decide how to vote. It is supposed to come to a vote, and I concede that if you don't know much about the Muggles, then Cassius Malfoy sounds downright reasonable. People need to know all the possibilities, not just what can go right, but what can go wrong, before they make a decision.

"I see. Then the debates will serve to inform before a vote takes place," murmurs Rhyeline as she lowers her gaze thoughtfully to what remains of her mulled wine. Glancing up at them once more, "How are the questions for the debate being composed?"

Gilbert shrugs a little bit at that question, then pulls out his notepad, flips back a couple of pages from the one he'd been working on when everyone came in then slides it to the middle of the table, avoiding puddles along the way,"Well, what we have been discussing up to now is a question/rebuttal format. Six questions, 3 for the pro-repealment group and 3 for the anti-repealment group with a minute to answer and 30 seconds for the opposite group to rebut. Once all the questions have been addressed then the moderator will receive questions from the floor for the panelists to answer."

Inacio nods. "It sounds like a good format. Do you think there will be many attending? How is Mr. Smith, by the way? Recovering well from his mishap?"

Rhyeline leans in to peek at the notepad that Gilbert slides over for them to see. Tilting her head to the side, her gaze flickers across the page before lifting once more to the scholar. "But as for what the questions are, that has not yet been decided?"

As Inacio inquires after a Mr. Smith, Rhyeline sits back once more in her chair and merely listens.

Gilbert sips his lager then nods,"Mr. Kogrod is in charge of the questions and for the sake of fairness will not be discussing them with anyone until the day of the forum. We all know the topic after all. Last I saw Mr. Smith he had just been released from the hospital and was roaring to get back into the mix of things."

Rhyeline nods as Gilbert answers her question. In silence she considers the matter, staring into what remains of her mulled wine. Closing her eyes, she takes a long, last drought and then places the empty glass on the table.

Just then, Annie returns from the little witch's room. It seems that the two friends are ready to continue their shopping expedition in Diagon alley.

Rising from her seat, Rhyeline turns to the two men. Placing her fingertips to steady herself, she dips into a little curtsy. "It was a pleasure to meet you both," she murmurs. Her dark gaze lingering upon Gilbert, she adds, "An honor."

Inacio nodnods. "Good man. It can be hard to get back on your feet after something like that. I don't know how we're going to find this Constantine Hopewell, but that's another reason I'd like to try and see this decided sooner rather than later. If the Wizarding Community at large decides not to Repeal, then he'll be doubly hunted down… if it goes through, perhaps he'll stop. Attempting to murder a man to get your way is quite beyond the pale." He stands as Rhyeline gets up to leave, and gives her a small nod. "It was a pleasure meeting you Miss, both of you." He can't help but smile as Gilbert receives a little extra honor, and regains his seat.

Gilbert stands as the ladies leave the table. With a small bow of the head he acknowledges Rhye's last comment,"The honor and pleasure was mine. I hope the two of you enjoy the rest of your evening and please, do attend the forum." Once the ladies have departed he returns to his seat and smiles at Inacio,"Well then, can I count on your participation as a panelist then, Mr. Calderon?"

After watching the women leave, Inacio look thoughtfully to his glass. "I am happy to help in any way that I can, Mr. Sullivan. I've never been very good at public speaking, though. I can't be sure that I'd be that much of a help to you as a panelist. But if you really think that I could help," he lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "As long as I can't hurt things, I could be a panelist."

A small smile touches the reserved young witch's lips as Gilbert gives an invitation to the forum. "Thank you, I would like very much to attend." Then with that, Rhyeline turns and the two witches depart once again, arm and arm, into Diagon Alley.

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