(1938-12-01) Best Laid Plans
Details for Best Laid Plans
Summary: Alphard's scheme to get Julian in hot water for challenging him to an illegal duel comes to fruition…though not without a hitch or two.
Date: 1 December, 1938
Location: A lightly wooded area outside of Hogsmeade Village
Related: Unholy Alliance, Breaking the Wizard's Back

The day had come to which the stand-off would occur. With the day wearing down, and four o'clock fast approaching, Julian was standing by out in the clearing, his hands clasped behind his back as he leaned against one of the trees the forest had to offer. His ears were open, his eyes looking out along the pathway that he had come down earlier. The place and time had been set - whether Alphard was going to show up was left to be seen.

In the time that Julian had been out here, he had laid the groundwork for the field of battle. Safe zones had been created with runes enscribed with a knife into a few of the trees. Whether or not they all would hold up? That was also left to be seen. He was counting on it, but in all circumstances… rune magic was not always the best thing to rely on, given it's archaic form. It'll be okay, though.

Julian had counted on Seamus to distract Alphard and his party - giving him time to work on the rune magic he had in mind. The Foe-Repelling Charm… heh. Of course, if he's learned anything in the last five and a half years, it's that the 'bad guy' won't always play fair. So, it's best to have a backup.

So, here he was. He was waiting. He had his Second. And a small backup unit - well, mostly a cheering section. And if he's going to go down? He's going to go down in some semi-fashionable style; he's got on his typical fedora, with his white shirt, blue tie, dark blue cloak, and black slacks. His wand? It's in his left hand already, clasped tight. The little ornament - a blue hairtie - is secured snugly around the handle.

"What time is it?" He directs this question at Claire. He didn't want to look at his own timepiece.

"Three till." Claire's pocket watch is of Wizard make, but barely, and among the cheapest models you could find. And you'd have to look hard. She holds it up to her face where she can get the time out of the corner of her eye, without having to take her attention off scanning the perimeter. "How much longer do you think Seamus will hold him off?"

Alphard was not trying to arrive early, so Seamus' plot to distract and delay would have proven greatly unnecessary. Not that Alphard was planning on even worthying the filthy mudblood with insults. No conversation. No talking. Just sniff with contemptious derision. He was wearing his most stylishly black wizarding robes -emblazed with that Noble and Most Ancient House of Black's crest-, closed in the front, with hood draping down his back and with his dress shoes poking out beneath the hem.

He wasn't alone, but rather joined by Ria. It appeared Alphard had put his trust in the Magijugend. A great surprise, there, surely.

Gowned in black and wearing an intensely composed but paler-than-usual face is Musidora, having been escorted politely by a stoic Ward shortly after Julian headed out, as both moral support for the young witch and so that she didn't somehow get ambushed on the way down. The hood on her cloak is up and slender hands are folded over a small purple pouch containing a small variety of healing potions.

Lucian stands at the edge of the "field of battle," amidst the foliage, and leaning against a tree. Not that anyone is likely to have a notion he is there, masked as he is under a Disillusionment Charm. The shrubs and the mottled surface of the tree bark are mimicked by his form, serving well to allow him to remain camouflaged.

Garbed out in black slacks with an white dress shirt sans tie, Ward served as the friendly escort to Musidora to the grounds and as moral support to his friend dueling and the one at his side. There's no hat on his head, and while he's normally serious of appearance, he seems to be extra focused at the moment. "I'm just saying, Muse, it'll be fine."

Now, what is Morgana doing at a secret duel such as this? Well, someone would have to ask her, and that would require her to leave her hiding spot. Honestly, she wasn't going to bother, she was merely given a heads up and that was all. However something does not sit well and she has a feeling that this isn't going to end well. She managed to follow Lucian, even under his magical charm, which took a bit of effort on her part and for now is hiding in the brush, not far from the Slytherin Prefect. Sneaky Head Girl is Sneaky.

Ria is always immaculately dressed in her regular garb, the black hood of her outerwear robes is also pulled over her head. "Merlin its annoyingly cold," she pouts, trailing next to Alphard and pulling her leather gloves tighter on her her hands. Still, she has time enough to procure a shiny red apple from her robe pocket and buff it on her soft sleeve. "Want one?" she offers to Alphard, "Apple a day, keeps the healer away … But not elven looking Hufflpuffs unfortunately." She half-frowns and sees the silvery haired locks of Seamus coming upon them.

All that Seamus planned to do was assault Alphard with a series of possible rules violations. He pulls out his pocket watch to check the time before he says,"I assume that is some sort of misconstrued insult directed towards myself." He says looking at Ria, the dark blue eyes are not too terribly pleased at the moment,"So unless you have some sort of new insult that I have not heard and especially nothing that is of an imbecilic crude or otherwise asinine insult, kindly keep it to yourself." He says without so much as batting an eye.

With his heart beating in his throat, Julian looks up when he hears the rustling of robes and foliage on the ground. And when two figures make their approach… Julian straightens up.

"At least we can say you're punctual, if anything, Black." Since Seamus is in tow of them… well, apparently, it only worked so well. At least he'd had time.

Breathing in, Julian looks toward Claire, over his shoulder… before looking back toward Alphard. He breathes in, hand tightening on his wand's handle. "Anything y'want to say before we get this party started, then?" As he asks this, he's pacing back a bit, perhaps to place himself into his ready spot. The tension is probably thick enough at this point to cut with a knife.

"Thank you, but no. I had a healthy lunch," Alphard murmured to Ria. He continued to ignore Seamus as beneath him.

His imperious gaze swept over Julian and his compatriots with obvious derision once him and Ria arrived at the location 'under escort' so to speak. "Why am I not surprised?" He asked idly of Ria, though he didn't look at all - outwardly at least - concerned at just how outnumbered they were. Instea he pitched his voice to carry:

"Yes. I said I would show up, and lo and behold, here I am. A man of my word." With an exaggerated effort, he offered Julian and his friends a mockingly theatric bow. "But before anything happens, before the inevitable consequences of this stupid challenge, I want you, Edwards, to admit to everybody here that this was your idea. You challenged me. You explain the rules, or lack of them. I won't have anyone later come with some revised edition."

He sniffed, looking at each of Julian's friends, one after another. Make him the bad guy? No! His gaze returned to Edwards with malicious challenge: "You wanted violence; own it."

Oh look at that smile on Ria's face! It's so sweet. It's soooo unnervingly sweet. "Seamus. You seem so wound up. I can tell, because you start to use such long words like imbecilic or asinine. Clearly, you must feel the need to compensate for something. But take care, Seamus! You are special - just. the. way. you. are." She practically coos at the Hufflepuff prefect. But follows next to Alphard to meet Julian's crew will rolled eyes. A mere look is thrown at Alphard in an 'I told you so fashion' and puts away the apple in her pocket for now.

Claire gives Julian a small, feral grin when he looks back at her, then falls back. She's just to Julian's left but inarguably out of the line of fire. She's seconding, not doubleteaming. But make no mistake, at the first sign of wavering she'll leap into the fray. As evidenced by the wand already in her hand. Claire, at least, is spoiling for violence.

"That would be your current boyfriend's thing. Compensating for something he's lacking, and no I am not referring to his ego as he has plenty of that." Seamus says smirking a bit,"And that would work Sykes if I did not use those words in my regular course of events." He says shaking his head a little bit. Stretching a little bit, he says,"I am not wound up. I am merely handling things."

"Y'shouldn't be so surprised," Julian remarks softly, nodding toward Ward and Musidora both… and Seamus, since he was in tow. "Witnesses. Claire Cameron stands as my Second."

A pause, then, and Julian nods. "A'right. I challenged you, Alphard Black. You tell me I'm only one for words? I'll show you otherwise, because I know I cannot be the only one tired of the way you treat other people. As established?… there are no particular rules of this combat. You wanted a chance to do to me what you'd honestly love to do? You're goin' to get it."

A pause. He tilts his head then. "I think I hit the high points of the other day." He purses his lips, and then lashes his wand in a sort of salute, before taking his stance. His face hardens.

"You and me, Black. Let's settle this today."

"No, no. No 'as established', Edwards," Alphard tsked. "You wanted witnesses, let's give them the full accounting, here. I didn't want anything, I didn't ask for anything. This is entirely your doing, so I won't be besmirched by the suggestion that somehow I directed this battle in one way or another. When this goes down, it will be completely on your shoulders. No if, buts or whats!"

The long sleeves of his wizard's robes came together infrnot of him. Hish ands hidden and folded into each other like some ancient asian sage out of movies none of them had probably ever seen. Anyone who'd been in the Duelling Club with Alphard would know that he kept his wand there.

"It's greater than you and me, Edwards. But something will be settled."

Ria meets Seamus' response with her continue sweet smile, "Handling things? Ahh I see, did Edwards ask for your help in organizing all this? That's very kind of you." She gives the silver-haired boy a flirty sort of wink. But she turns her attention back to the exchange between the two boys. Her brow quirks at Julian's words, giving Alphard another look as she listens to his response. Her gloved leather fingers are intertwined behind her back as she patiently waits on.

"If I was involved in organizing this it would be done properly." Seamus says looking at Ria. Anyone who knows Seamus, knows that he values fair play. "I am not going handle this in the wrong way. " He says simply,"And I will make sure anyone who uses illegal charms is dealt with." He says coldly.

As Alphard squares himself away - the action Julian's familiar with as Alphard's stance, knowing where the other wizard keeps his wand from the Duelling Club… Julian's eyes narrow. With his wand drawn already, it was a matter of course. With a flick and jab of his wand, Julian calls out, "Retrogeno!"

The Knee-Reversal Hex. Yes, a relatively new one to his arsenal. He's not even used it in a Club duel yet. With his wand's movement, there's a blast of blue-ish red flash of light from his wand as he sends the hex flying.

Alphard only drew his wand once Julian had his out, and there was a hex coming at him. The length of wood cut out in a deflective gesture, while he hissed out: "Protego!" To form a Shield Charm in front of him. In his humble opinion it had been a good one, too. Just not good enough.

His eyes widened as the unfamiliar sensation of his knees reversing made balance a thing of the past. "Ugh!" As he struggled to remain in place. "What's wrong with you?"

The wooded area suddenly fills with the voice of Lucian Proudmore, booming loudly thanks to an Amplification Charm. "EVERYONE PUT YOUR WANDS AWAY, AND STAY EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE!" Moments later, some of the foliage seems to come to life. It becomes more and more evident with each step that it is in the shape of a young man, as the chameleon-like camouflage shimmers and melts away, revealing the Slytherin prefect with his wand aimed to the ground. The Eye of Truth pendant around his neck glints silver in the dimming light.

For his part, Ward actually maintains a straight face as the first volley is cast… but it is truly difficult for the young man as the results become apparent. "Oh my. That's embarassing." A hand reaches out to squeeze Musidora's somewhat reflexivly. Of course, that was before the amplification charm and the intervention of a prefect. "This just keeps getting better and better." The hand not with Muse lifts to the bridge of his nose.

The only word Muse has really learned over the last week that's really taken a shine is a softly uttered, "Shite". She takes only momentary solace in her friend's attempt at comfort, concern solely placed on Julian.

The Eye of Truth is fully noticed. Of course.

Julian gently snorts, and slowly, he just shakes his head. "It figures," he remarks softly. And Julian's wand… disappears. Where'd it go? Slight of hand! For all intents and purposes, though, it's 'put away.' He frowns a little bit.

"Were y'afraid someone would put you in your place, Black?" He says nothing else, instead, he just raises his hands lightly to place them behind his head. His expression is quite stone-faced as he looks toward the other boy, with his knees all reversed.

"How's it feel, by the way? 'Cause that's the way you make people you torment feel, just for the record. Exactly the question you asked me… 'what is wrong with you?'"

Point proven. Julian shuts up then.

Claire murmurs a note of surprised approval - well done, Jules - at his choice of spell. Her attention is laser focused on the two duelers, but when the prefect's voice booms out she whirls around. Wand raised to an aggressive height, there's a spell half shouted before she realizes who it is. And, for once, rethinks her plan of action. Claire lowers her wand, stiffly, it's not a natural action, but doesn't sheathe is yet. She's still leaning forward, on her toes, too keyed up to cycle down easily.

Everything moves rather quickly. Before Ria can even reply to Seamus, wands are drawn, spells are casted, and her fellow prefect steps out of the foliage. Hands still intertwined behind her back, she sharply eyes Julian and his party. No smart retorts for her this time around. Only business at this point. "Wands away, Cameron. You heard him," she says cooly to Claire.

Lucian casts his eyes around the area, brow furrowed in stern disapproval. "Edwards, Cameron, Lovegood, Crispin, Cavanaugh…all of you. I've got your names. Don't make this any harder on yourselves." Julian, in particular, gets a shake of Lucian's head. "You're a disgrace to the art, Edwards. I'd see you drummed out of Duelling Club, but it'll be a miracle if you're not expelled for this." He eyes Cameron, tuning up to snap at her, but Ria seems to handle it more cleanly, and he keeps his silence.

Morgana has been watching quietly, taking in all of the information and just who is here. So far she counts three Prefects who seem keen on letting this duel continue on. The first spell is flung, and while Morgana is about to stand and say her peace, however a very loud and booming Lucian beats her to it. Slipping out of her hiding spot, which is near the tree that Lucian was hiding against, she'll murmur something to the Slytherin Prefect before turning to her own Housemates. "I am extremely disappointed in all of you. An illegal Duel? Off school grounds?" The tone in her voice reflects just how angry she is at her fellow Ravenclaws.

Morgana whispers to Lucian: I wondered when you'd speak up.

"About bloody time," Alphard growled as he stowed away his wand away.

His eyes went down to the state of his knees. His expression was thoroughly disgusted, like he couldn't really believe his eyes. "Afraid? Bah. You're the one who made a big fuss about complaining about rules being broken, about a damn culture of fear at Hogwarts. I told you to stick to the bloody Duelling Club. I told you this was bloody against every rule. And look at you! If you'd known anything, you'd known that the forms of duelling is sacred, not to be.. LOOK WHAT YOU DID! YOU GAVE NO WARNING WE'D STARTED!" ALPARD WAS BEYOND INDIGNATED!

Infact, Alphard was heading straight towards tantrum realm. HIS KNEES WERE REVERSED. This wasn't how he'd planned it!

Unlike the others, Seamus doesn't have his wand out and had never made movement towards his wand. "I think that I did mention that you shouldn't actually go through with this." Seamus says casually but then frowns,"I am going to perform the counter-hex." He says looking to Lucian and gets his wand out to perform the counter spell on Alphard, before he stows it away again. "Black, you know as well as I do that no matter what you would have found something to complain about." He says casually.

"Can't help but notice no 'Black' and no 'Sykes' in that lovely little rollcall." It's an offhand comment before Morgana makes herself known, and the tone in voice just sort of sets it off. Ward may play under the radar, but he definatly knew when to shut his gob. At least..sometimes. "Right. Because a ready stance doesn't imply … ready." At least, that's his response to the tantruming yelling. And somewhat under his breath as well.

Claire shoves her wand roughly into her robes. "No disgrace to Black for accepting though, eh? Surely it's got to be at least as great at sin to accept an illegal duel," Claire snaps, an ugly snarl on her face.

Lucian jumps a bit at Morgana's appearance, startled. "Seven hells, Morgana. Where did you-…" He shakes his head, focusing on the matter at hand. "Black didn't accept, Cameron. Black was attacked. This was not a duel. There are rules. Edwards didn't just break school rules here. He broke the law."

"Stuff it, Proudmore. If my assumption's right, you're just as guilty for not stoppin' it before it started."

Julian just shakes his head, hands still behind his head as he stretches. The words that're coming at him at this point? He hears it all. Especially Black's.

"And as I told you, Black… as if you, of all of the damned people out here, were foreign to rule-breaking."

Watching him go into Tantrum mode, though? It was worth it. He watches the Black boy flail around until Seamus has the dignity to perform the counterhex.

As much as the knee reversing jinx, repulses Ria she tries to calm Alphard down as Seamus undoes the spell. Because seriously, it's a really creepy effect. "I am here as a prefect. Alphard warned about this arrangement and I came with him. And I would have, had you not found the need to send jinxes flying around," she says calmly to Julian. "Anyhow Edwards, Professor Lestrange is already aware that Proudmore and I are here to step in."

As much as the knee reversing jinx, repulses Ria she tries to calm Alphard down as Seamus undoes the spell. Because seriously, it's a really creepy effect. "I am here as a prefect. Alphard warned me about this arrangement and I came with him to intervene. And I would have, had you not found the need to send jinxes flying around," she says calmly to Julian. "Anyhow Edwards, Professor Lestrange is already aware that Proudmore and I are here to step in."

"Shut up and just do it you bloody.." Alphard cussed at Seamus, not a hint of gratitude at all anywhere on him. He awkwardly moved towards Ria so he could lean against her in a very undignified matter, one arm steadying himself on her shoulder. He was still spluttering, almost frothing at the mouth. HOW DARE ANYONE KNEE REVERSE HIM!

"You weren't supposed to just.. attack! This is why wizards can't grow up influenced by Muggles!" Splutter, growl. "They don't understand how things are done!"

Cold blue eyes are no longer serene and calm nor is pale skin pale but flushed with barely controlled irritation. Muse is fairly brimming with a sudden buildup of frustration though as she hears Julian's voice, some of the angry fire dims though she's still visibly trembling. She steps forward keeping her voice even, hands still folded in front of her. "He has been bullying time, time and time again. I was there when the challenge was issued. No matter what I did, /he/," she slides angry gray eyes to Alphard, "He could have stopped any time. He just sat there and smirked. He /wanted/ this to happen and we all know it, and he's been after Julian for who knows how long? He just pushes, and pushes and /pushes/ people. There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served. I came today to heal /anyone/ who could have been hurt, no matter class, house or blood but apparently some things can't be fixed." She finishes finally, breathing hard, hood having fallen back.

Fuck it if it was wordy and no one had probably ever heard the girls say quite that much in one sitting. At Alphard's comment? "Stop being such a baby."

Lucian sneers at Julian. "It didn't start, ignoramus. There was no accepted challenge. No named seconds. No terms of victory. No bow. This was no duel to stop. All you did here was assault another student. And the rest of you are off of allowed grounds, and possibly part of an illegal duel. Ria, Morgana, lets get this lot back to the castle. You'll all be in the professors' hands now."

"Actually Proudmore, they agreed to meet here for a duel. That sort of implies that Black was going along with it. A challenge was issued, and accepted. That sort of sounds like a duel to me." Seamus does point out rather casually. "I do think that you are here to try and place all the blame on someone other than Black and ignore his own involvement." He says in a cold voice. He might have taken pity on Black for the hex,"What a surprise. You cannot manage even the most basic of civilities." He has acid in his voice. Truth be told the more that Black speaks the more he wants to just ignore him but he's a Hufflepuff. "Save your breath. Black is a pureblood and the current administration will turn a blind eye to his attitude and behavior."

Lucian shakes his head. "There's no implication when it comes to duelling etiquette, Cavanaugh. You should know that better than anyone. There are strict rules."

"Apparently…things are done by showing up to a duel, then having two prefects pull rank as back up if you lose face." Ward apparently found his guts again as he listens to everything coming out. "Plenty of time for two prefects showing up to 'step in' to do so before any hex was thrown or started. Just want to protect your own and save face, right?" That's about the time his roughly silent companion finds her voice and calls out..well, everyone. "Didn't know you saved up your words for important moments. I almost feel bad stealing a few of 'em. But she is right. You prefects claim to have been here to step in, you only did after Black got taught a lesson. Sounds a bit like railroading to me."

"Standing ready with your wand drawn isn't acceptance? Black didn't come here of his own free will? I suppose Julian brought him here at wand point for the sole purpose of the enjoyment of reversing his knees. Black knew what he was doing full well." Arguing with a prefect is probably not the best course of action at this point, but Claire can't seem to stop herself.

"Do you think you're the only one who knows how to sneak around?" Morgana replies with a raise of her brows before she looks back at the gathering of Ravenclaws. "Everyone, shut your mouths." Morgana says in that rare commanding tone that she uses, glaring at nearly everyone at this point. Her own housemates seem to want to make this worse, oh so worse, and there is only so much damage control that she can do at this point. "The next person in my house that speaks before we get back to the castle will regret it." Honestly, she's beginning to believe she lives with Gryffindors. "Start walking."

Musidora's hood is drawn again perhaps to hide the faint /green/ tinge that's come to her skin as the young woman looks suddenly very ill. But she stays silent, clutching the bag holding the potions close to her chest. All of that energy spent talking seems as if it might pitch her over.

"I never accepted the duel," Alphard hissed at Seamus. "I said I would be here. If he read read something else into that than what I meant, then that's completely his bloody fault. And besides, duels have forms. I even warned him he'd regret it. Now get out of my sight. You disgust me." Thank you? No, there would be no thank you. He gave an arrogant toss of his head.

When he looked at Julian next, there was murder in his eyes. Cold, hard, evil.

There's a moment at the flying words where Ward opens his mouth, but shuts it swiftly after as he notices Musidora's physical response to her words. An arm goes out to help support his friend to ensure she doesn't fall or pitch over, his better judgements reigning in his anger and frustration. Besides, he heard his prefect's words, and has absolutely zero plans to make it any worse on himself or his friends.

Lucian gives Alphard a stern scowl at his harsh words. But he keeps his tongue, maintaining his focus on trying to herd the Ravenclaws, and the Hufflepuff prefect, back to Hogwarts.

Ria rolls her eyes and does her best to support Alphard as he regains use of his knees. "Black, if you don't calm down, you'll fall over," she says to him. Like a new born foal he is! A seething, new born foal. And with the rest she walks onward back to the castle.

Claire finally manages to SHUT. UP. in a struggled, intelligible muttering. Her hands clench and unclench rapidly, in the only way to disperse her pent up agitation she can come up with that won't directly make the situation worse for her side.

Alphard shut up, even if it sent trembles across his lips and made the vein in his temple THROB-THROB-THROB. Leaning on Ria he just settled for scowling at everybody but the two other Magijugend. His beautiful scheme had almost perfectly worked out. It was the almost part that he just couldn't get over.

There's a quiet shake of his head. Julian has nothing to say. He does look to the ones who've actually spoken up for him, though… and he purses his lips quietly. He does, however, see that look in Alphard's eyes…

And the look is met with fire. Eyes narrowed. He finally pushed the wrong Half-blood too far. It's not murder.

"Proudmore, this isn't over." Seamus says simply pulling his dignity about himself,"Oh trust me. This is not over." His voice is cold as he walks towards the school. He might loose his prefecture but he's also not going to be standing by on this,"Black, I do formally challenge you to a duel in Dueling club. I will show you EXACTLY what a true duel is like." There's no anger just a calm cold rationality.

"If you're still a part of the Duelling Club after helping organize and facilitate this mess, I'll be happy to accept." Alphard sneered at Seamus.

"Scratch that. I just accept." Alphard added. Then shut up and continued to lean on Ria.

"Exactly what part of shut up do you not bloody understand?" Morgana finally snaps, pointing her ire at the Hufflepuff this time, and Black since he can't seem to keep his mouth shut either. "Not another word. Any of you!"

Ria narrows her eyes at the way Seamus speaks to Lucian, clutching onto the struggling Alphard. "Is that a threat to my fellow house prefect, Cavanaugh?"

Claire snickers to herself. Which, technically, is not talking so there is no reason for anyone to snap at her.

Lucian smiles warmly at Ria when she stands up in his defence.

"It is not a threat. I do not make threats." Seamus points out,"Have you ever heard me make a threat?" He asks arching a brow and just shakes his head.

The group of students is then led back to Hogwarts, to find Professor Lestrange conveniently waiting at the gates….

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