(1939-09-17) The Emperor's New Clothes
Details for The Emperor's New Clothes
Summary: Gabriel and Elspeth create another work of art for the halls of Hogwarts, joined by Hattie. The conversation soon turns to speculation of the Slytherin's pedigrees, and the difficulty of having to keep up deceptions.
Date: 17 September, 1939
Location: Ravenclaw Common Room
Related: Cinderella

So, another night around the fireplace. Or, at a table near the fireplace, where Elspeth has brought down a few sheets of large poster paper. She leans on her elbows, both hands loosely clasped around a pencil and her braid falling over her shoulder and brushing the paper as she thinks. "So many choices," she muses, waiting for her partner in artistry crime to appear.

Gabriel comes down from the boys dormitory with his pencil case in hand. Before he's even at the table he's saying "The Emperor's New Clothes. Instead of one Emperor we can have two, Abraxas and Alphard, with Flint being the tailor, playing on their greed and lust for power to sell them a fallacy." By the time he's finished talking he's sitting at the table and has started pulling out colored pencils and a few sticks of charcoal from his pencil case.

Elspeth taps her pencil on the paper once, then looks up curiously to Gabriel as he offers his input. "I was thinking about Jack and the beanstalk, it is being Miss Taylor's favorite story and I had some ideas… although the Emporer's new clothes is being a good one. But…" she pauses and considers. "The Headmaster is not believing it is a fallacy, I do not think. He would not be continuing in the face of disapproval from even the likes of Cassius Malfoy and the Unity Party if he was not believing completely in his cause." She sets her pencil down to lower her chin to her hands. "It is seeming to me that other people are pushing Headmaster Flint, taking advantage of his yearning for power… there must be others that are supporting him, making sure he is, how you say? Staying the course?"

Gabriel taps a pencil on his chin for a few moments as he thinks as well. Then he smiles, "Flint as the Emperor with Abraxas and Alphard carrying coattails that aren't there and shadowy tailor in the background, with only their smiles visible from under their hoods…" Pulling a pencil sharpener from his pencil case he starts making sure all his pencils are well sharpened, catching the shavings on a piece of paper for later disposal, "How's that idea."

There's a slow nod from Elspeth at the idea, then there's a narrowing of her eyes. "And Eibon would be leading the way, carrying a standard that is having the Eye of Truth on it. And the Eye of Truth pendant is being all that Flint should be wearing, besides wearing his underwear because no one is wanting to see even a sketch of the Headmaster when he is not wearing any clothes." She turns to look at Gabriel. "We can be making the Jack and the Beanstalk later. I am liking this idea."

Gabriel tilts his head to the side as he starts smiling a bit wickedly, "We don't have to give him underwear. Eibon's little standard can be fluttering in front of Flint in a convenient manner. And I think we should make sure that there's something wrong with the Eye on the standard too. Maybe a broken middle line?" As he's talking he starts sketching out the picture on a regular sized piece of paper, mostly in stick figures.

Silence from the girl as she considers, and though her eyes glow, she shakes her head. "I am thinking we would be pushing our luck if we were trying that, though. Appealing as it is being." She picks up her pencil. "Besides, I am not being good enough at drawing people to be making without any clothes on." She looks over at the smaller piece of paper and nods. "Maybe we can be using three pieces?" She considers. "One in the front with Eibon leading the way, and then a middle one with the 'Emporer' and the shadowy figures. Then a third one with Black and Malfoy?"

Gabriel hmms then uses the edge of the table to rip his stick figure draft in three, "A triptych? We're getting fancy now, aren't we?" The he looks up and grins, "You know what!? We should sign these if we're making more. Something small and special that we can put in all of them, hidden in the picture but making it clear they're all made by the same people. After all, wouldn't want the wrong people getting in trouble, right?" As he thinks about this he starts to scratch his head with the back of one of the pencils.

"We are not having to worry about the wrong people getting in trouble," Elspeth says smoothly. "But, if you are wanting to put your own special little signature on it somewhere, then I am not objecting. Are you wanting me to sketch the outline and be drawing the faces again, then? And you can be coloring in adding patterns? And, maybe we should just be doing two. We are not wanting Eibon to have his head swelling any larger than it already is by giving him a whole page." She pauses to consider. "Perhaps we should not be breaking the Eye of Truth just yet. We do not want to be straining our goodwill with whomever was framing Cinderella."

Hattie eases through the common room door, letting it click shut behind her, and stands with her back supported by it, letting her head droop down, chin to chest. She takes a moment just to breathe before shaking it off, and striking out for the Table of Clandestine 'Claws. "Another?" she asks, sidling up.

Gabriel waves at Hattie as she comes in, nodding in mute answer to her question while answering Elspeth's questions verbally, "Yes, you are better than me at actually drawing. I think the way we did it last time worked really well. And I think a triptych will work well. We just need to dress Eibon up as a jester, that'll keep his head nice and small. Or maybe give him a leash that Flint is holding?" As he talks his hand are drawing a tiny owl, eyes narrowed and wearing a monocle over one eye and a top hat made to size.

Elspeth's eyes open wide and then she bursts out laughing at Gabriel's second suggestion. "He is behaving rather like the Headmaster's lap dog," she agrees as the bold lines begin to take shape, she looks up to Hattie. "We are doing another one… I am thinking maybe four will be getting them riled enough that they will be frothing at the mouth to find out who is doing these pictures." She looks down. "Especially if we are being a little bit bigger, and a little bit bolder, every time. Maybe we can be adding the students in the background of the first one, all looking at Flint with round eyes and mouths. With a little firstie in the front row pointing out that he is not wearing clothes. Was it not being a little boy in the story?"

Hattie taps the top of a stool, asking permission to join them. Seated, she props up her chin on her wrist. "You might make the other people composites? Facets of multiple people? … Makes me wish the Arts Club could help."

Gabriel grins at Hattie, "Good idea!" As Elspeth draws out the true piece he keeps sketching quickly on his smaller pieces of paper, basically making suggestions for composition and design through his drawings. "The little kid pointing out that he's not wearing any clothes could be a composite of Niko, Madeline, Finley, Felix, and some of the other really outspoken students. And the people ooo'ing and aaah'ing at the Emperor can all be in Slytherin colors with only a very few from other Houses. Or we could draw it with people already laughing at him and make the Slytherin people be the ones all serious and shushing the others…"

The pencil pauses as Elspeth listens to the other two, her eyes going back and forth with perplexion. "Well… hurm…" she looks back down again. "That is becoming very complicated. Many times, a message is better received if one is not trying to put many details in it…" her brows pull together as she looks back down and begins to draw once more. "I was thinking that the students in the background are being mostly.. surprised and confused, that is why their mouths are hanging open. Just being normal students, without having identities."

Hattie crosses her arms beneath her head, and says of the Slytherin subjects Gabriel mentions, not without the tang of bitterness, "Poodles. All of them." She slides the stool back, pressing her hands to the table to push.

Gabriel nods to Elspeth as he starts to work on the coloring and shading of the picture sections he can work on without getting into Elspeth's way. "But we're drawing them like real people, not like animals. Maybe the next one we can anthropomorsize them." He stops working for a moment when Hattie pushes her chair back, looking a little disappointed, "Leaving? You have good ideas. We can use the suggestions."

Alphard's nose is suddenly a little longer than it should be at Hattie's expression of the Slytherin's being poodles when she bursts out laughing. "Oh drat." She tries to correct, and ends up smudging him a little bit… but he's still obviously Alphard. "I am knowing that one of them is not being a poodle." She returns to her work. "But only one of them. I was thinking that maybe the last one as it is going to be our… piece de resistance, could be something like that… you are leaving?" She echoes Gabriel.

Hattie explains, "I don't mean draw them like animals. I mean, that they ACT like them. They treat people like dogs. And it is getting harder… to just walk away and pretend that I think they are superior, because they have a pedigree. As if they don't mess the carpet or carry fleas." She walks round to the other side of the table, scuffing down the corner of a rug. "It makes me feel filthy. the whole thing. And even with all this… there's so little I can do. I want to run down to the pumpkin patch and stick my head in the dirt until things start making sense again."

Gabriel laughs a little bit as he starts going back to work. In this piece Flint is given waxy, pale skin. The shadows on his body make him look flabby and weak. And the underwear… Well, regardless of what Elet has drawn before he got to them, they turn into ill fitting boxers in Slytherin green with wacky yellow rubber duckies on them. The only other thing the old man is wearing is an Eye of Truth symbol that hangs right over his belly button, "I know how you feel, Hattie. But I keep telling myself that by walking away I /prove/ that I'm better than them." Alphard and Abraxas share the same color scheme as Flint, wearing robes of Slytherin green with details in jaundiced yellow.

At the mention of fleas, Elspeth needs to put her pencil down as she shakes with laughter. "And I am imagining that the way they are sitting around scratching behind their ears is being annoying as well." She does sober, though, as she watches Hattie, and slides from her stool to go give her a hug. "It is something that I was thinking last year. I am hoping that this is not lasting very long for you, maybe you can be staying in the commons studying more and more. You are being in your OWL year, and it is being rough on everyone."

Hattie returns the hug she is given, but says, "I can't live in here. Even if OWLs go well, I have… two more years after this. And then my practicum training, if I make it— but out there, it's worse. The world is getting darker for everyone. You know better than most…" She says to Gabriel, as he works, "I don't want to be better. That's what they do. I am just trying to figure out if there is any arena anywhere where you can declare victory just by leaving." She tells them both, as she settles down to scribble color onto the border, where there is no skill but filling in the motif, "I'm sorry. I really am. Its not even a month yet and it's really getting to me. I miss my friends in classes… when they aren't there, its just more of the Poodles."

Gabriel stops coloring for a moment to look at Hattie but he doesn't say anything because there really isn't much to say. After just gazing at her for a moment or two he goes back to the drawing, quickly coloring in the background crowd, in a mix of House colors. Details are kept to a minimum and the further the crowd gets from Flint the more of a general mass of colors and shadows it becomes. A tiny owl in a top hat and a monocle, with narrowed, disapproving eyes is drawn as a badge on the student that's pointing at Flint, then he draws a little speech bubble over said student that reads, 'He's got no clothes!'

"I am knowing," Elspeth says quietly. She pulls out her Star of David charm that she always wears under her clothes. "My family is being Jewish, and we were leaving Germany because of how horrible it is being. And I am being worried for my family that is still being in Germany." She sighs and tucks it back into it's place. "But there is being a difference here. In Germany, no one is speaking up. It is going to keep going on being bad until people are being able to speak up and be doing something. Here… people are being against what is happening, there are being protests and people are doing something. It is not going to be going on forever, it will be getting better. It is hard being strong when things are being so bad… but we are needing you, Hattie. What you are doing is being like… The Scarlet Pimpernal. You are being a hero in your own way for all of us."

Hattie looks down at her hands, as though such great praise magnifies her shame. She's doing her best to make the outlines seem a little choppy and hysterical. To Gabriel and Elspeth, Harriet murmurs, "Not yet. Right now, you are both taking all the risks for all of us. I just kind of wish that maybe I'd spent a little more time, you know, learning to act. Be a more convincing liar. It doesn't matter. For now, the curtain stays up… And we're not even allowed to READ The Scarlet Pimpernel. Maybe I can chalk some of that Irish chap, Yeats? verse out on the viaduct walk."

Gabriel tilts his head a bit to the side, the very tip of his tongue sticking out from the corner of his lips as he focuses on the work he's doing. "Which Yeats verse? I can't say I like poetry much…" Moving on to coloring Angelus, Gabriel gives his outfit the traditional Gryffindor colors then colors the standard he's carrying, the one showcasing the Magijugend symbol, in a sinister black and white. The special touch to Angelus? He's dressed as an old-fashioned court jester.

Hattie thinks on it. "I like the one about spreading out your dreams under someone's feet, because you haven't got more to give. But it's not right for the context." She purses her lips and puts down the art supply to admire the other two's accomplishment. "I don't have the book anymore, obviously, so I can't remember EXACTLY what it said— but it was something like: "So like a bit of stone I lie, under a broken tree. I could recover if I shrieked my heart's agony to passing bird, but I am dumb from human dignity."

"We are doing things here and there, but you are being out there every day, and you are having to be with them all day while we are escaping to our special class, as it is being called. We are not having to listen to their vile rot all day as you are… if I am telling truthfully? It is almost being fun watching Professor Burke try and keep up with the Ravenclaw second and third years. They are running rings around him." She gives her fellow Ravenclaw another squeeze to her shoulder, and then goes back to continue on the drawing. "It is being a great verse to be writing on the courtyard or somewhere, you are being right. And I am thinking, if you are wanting, that I can be finding a Scarlet Pimpernal that you can be reading and no one is knowing."

"Don't get in trouble for it, but I would like that. Anything, really, that doesn't tell me that my mother is a dirty simpleton, my father a traitor, and my squib siblings atrocities." She asks Elspeth quietly, giving her eyes a rub, to keep them dry and to take away the sting of firelight, "Are you finding it easy enough to get notes from last year— I mean, a clown for a professor is one thing, but no way to learn at all… that's HORRIBLE. Rowena Ravenclaw would turn them all into… chairs or something."

Elspeth shrugs one shoulder as she helps Gabriel finish working on the crowd. "It really is only being a matter of time until I am being caught for something real or imagined. I would rather I am being caught for something I can be proud of, than it being something they are making up." She grins at the younger artist, and then sits back as they finish up. "There are always being ways, Hattie. There are always being ways. If you are wanting to find them."

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