(1939-10-17) The Next Move
Details for The Next Move
Summary: Three members of the Magijugend discuss the current situation at Hogwarts and make plans for the immediate future.
Date: 17 October 1939
Location: Slytherin Common Room, Hogwarts
Plot: Headmaster From Hell
Related: Lesson Not Taught

Calista is over by the window, her gaze outward as she sits on pile of pillows built up to brace her back and let her keep a high posture. Motion can be seen on the other side on occasion as something passes against the light of day filtered through the lake waters outside.

Calista's chin rest against a darkwood violin as she her hand draws a bow over the strings of her violin. Soft music plays out for the slow swirling form of the Giant Squid beyond.

Abraxas doesn't play an instrument that anyone is aware of, but he does emerge from the boy's dormitory with a folding chess set in one arm and his wand and a charms book in the other. He nods to Calista and then plops down in a chair by the fireplace, loosening his tie and putting his feet up with a quiet 'harrumph'.

"Very pretty, Flint." Lucretia enters the common room and heads for Abraxas. "Had you considered adding a bit less rallentando in the D section? Keep it moving forward you know…" She takes up the chair be Abraxas and curls up in it. She opens her mouth to say more when a blue cat with chartreuse eyes plops into her lap and she smiles. "Gaston," she greets, petting the animal. "What's wrong with you, Malfoy?"

One eye squints a little as Calista stars into the depths of the lake and watches the creature perform to her play. She takes a moment to complete the tune, then lifts her bow from the strings. There is a slow breath and she replies after a second, "No, I had not." There is something perhaps too sweet in the tone when she gets replies to the fourth year commenting on her style of play. A turn about at the mention of Abraxas, "Good day, Malfoy, Black." She states as she place the insturment gingerly in its case. Her gaze going to the chess board briefly.

"Picture Hogwarts as a chessboard, Black. I'm considering my next move." Malfoy says, idly, in answer to what's wrong with him. "You may have left before it came out yesterday, but Ward, that fil… muggleborn who was causing so much annoyance, was glibly talking about a hex that he shouldn't learn for two years - or at all, given his heritage." Abraxas stands, folding his hands behind his back as he paces and thinks out loud, "What are we /not/ seeing. I feel like I spend half my free time dragging muggle-borns and their supports to various professors. But that's just what's obvious. What's the play here?" He snorts, "I've been trying to get information out of Wilkins, but she's remarkably retiscent. She says I shouldn't be looking for a grand strategy beyond their hurling insults. And while I'd /like/ to believe they actually /are/ that stupid… they have a certain base, animal cleverness, just like muggles."

Abraxas Malfoy - deep thinker.

Lucretia's eyes twinkle at Calista's 'too sweet' reply, and her lips curl into an expression of amusement. "Well, you should," she returns just as sweetly. "You might find that it makes the fingering just -that- much lighter." There's no malice there, but it appears that Lucretia, for all her apparent youth, knows her stuff.

She turns her attention back to the boy, even as her hand continues to pet her now deeply-purring cat. She sighs. "Of course they do," she agrees evenly. "They're definitely up to something." She sighs, lapsing into silence as now -SHE's- plotting her next move. "If they're learning things beyond them, there -must- be someone doing the teaching. They aren't capable of just picking it up on their own."

"Next move?" Calista says as starts to return the pillows to aesthetic 'chaos.' "Yes, I have been considering that. S.C.U.M.S. is a failure. Making the Muggleborns eat a different menu is a horrible idea. It looks bad, and serves no purpose." the seventh year says as she turns about. "The entire plan must be scrapped, in favor of something more structured."

Calista continues in a smooth tone, "We cannot refuse to teach them anything. There are laws to consider. They must be taught at least self control with magic, they have it, until we can figure out a way to fix that. Then after a base two year introduction to wizarding life. Then direct them into service fields. Care of Magical Beasts, Herbology, a class devoted to domestic magic, and perhaps something else I have not worked out yet." she states as she watches the two of them. "How do we locate Muggleborns in the first place? Wild casting normally. Why do we bring them here. To teach them not to cast in the muggle world."

"It's not our place to decide the Hogwarts Curriculum. Not yet. It will be someday." Abraxas says, confidently - after all, some of the great wizarding families are represented in the room. He looks at Calista, and gives a thin smile, "Though I agree that pushing quite so far so fast was probably a mistake, but /I/ am certainly not going to tell your Uncle that, are you?" His fingers interlace as he continues to pace back and forth in front of the fire, "The question, though, is what can we - the Magijugend - do to keep the cover on the cauldron and stop it from exploding in a spectacular, pyrotechnic mess." He closes his eyes for a moment, and says, to Lucretia, "Eibon tried to hex the muggleborn with a tongue tying curse. At least, that's what I think he was doing. He pulled off his wand and flashed it around, but nothing happened."

"…Ohhh, Angelus. You dear, daft git." Lucretia merely sighs and shakes her head. "Well, it was certainly provoked. I just wish he'd stop letting them manipulate him so blatantly." She continues her luxurious cat-petting in silence. "What we need is ears in the Muggleborns. Do we have anyone who could listen unobtrusively? It can't be Eibon. Not even a mudblood is stupid enough to trust him now." Her look turns to Calista. "Suggestions?"

"It is very much our duty to report flaws with the system, Abraxas. One day.. If we are careful and make a good system for the Muggleborns, it can be applied to the Half-bloods as well. My Uncle wants thoughts, he recruited us for this very rason to see as students. So, yes, I will give him my thoughts at the Christmas break. I would like to include other observations and reccomendations." Calista says as she relaxes to a seat close to the two. If Lucretia has not claimed the oposition with Abraxas, Calista will take across from him. She looks to the other girl though, "Angus MacMillan, we bring him into a certain level of confidence. We lead him to understand that we have our concerns. Then we let the young turn coat speak on behalf of his Muggle-born friends."

"And as I said, I've been trying to use Harriet Wilkins for the same purpose. Her father, at least, is from a good family. Even if he did…" Abraxas gives an elegant shudder, "marry a muggle." He nods to Calista, "I don't know if things will make it to Christmas Break. I have a very deep seated suspicion that the muggleborns and their friends are up to no good behind our backs." He stops pacing and rests his arms on the back of the chair he was until recently sitting in. "Right now, their behavior gives us the advantage. Because when they are disciplined - more out of regret than desire, you understand - we still look blameless. But the tensions are high enough that it's only a matter of time until someone does something stupid."

Abraxas adds, as if realizing his own paranoia, "There are a few hundred rooms in Hogwarts. Chances are, somebody is always up to no good in at least one of them."

Lucretia chuckles. "McMillan wouldn't believe you two, but I know him pretty well. I'll work on him." She nods then to Abraxas, lips turning into a brilliant smile. "So keep the pressure on," she says softly. "When the screws are applied, someone will cry out." Her eyes cut to Calista. "And see if you can talk to your Uncle. I'm concerned as you are about how the outside world is reacting. Public opinion is against those measures."

"I will see what I can do. I think he wants it to play out a little longer. We are only a month and a half in." Calista admits, her hands brushing the long hair back behind her. "Also, do understand, we must be ready, Abraxas. A major incident on behalf of the Muggle-born may indeed be uncomfortable for us. Enduring it gracefully though will insure that our point is made. They are dangerous and undisciplined." A little smile as she reaches for a peice, "Prepare. But when the time comes, it will prove the wisdom of the Headmaster at teaching us above and beyond to defend the wizard school from their bad conduct. We want them to do it, and we want to put it down. We must defend our way of life. It will prove the Pure-blood superiority in life-style and skill."

Abraxas snorts, "Flint, with all due respect, I don't think anyone has dealt with the current situation with more good grace than me. I haven't hexed a single mouthy one of the little bas… gentlemen. My father says that good manners are a sign of good breeding." He nods in general agreement, "We need to pick a few half-bloods that seem likely to adopt to fully wizarding ways and give them the opportunity to show they're on the right side of the struggle. Offer the carrot instead of the stick. And the devil take the rest of the blood traitors."

Lucretia sort of peers at Calista for a moment, and then she grins again. She watches her cat as he decides to jump down and stalk off…. "Malfoy, how about a little game of chess?" she asks, eyebrows arching. "I'm sorry that I couldn't meet you in the Great Hall yesterday. Something came up. You won't hold it against me, will you?"

Calista moves slightly to give Lucretia room to take the chess game with Malfoy. "I think we are all performing quite well. In fact, Malfoy, your name will be mentioned quite favorably in my reports. I will graduate this year. Then I shall move to the Ministry. It will be left for the two of you to best proceed." She states casually as she starts to rise. "Though, I am not as in favor of trusting too many half-bloods with much. They are already in too many favorable positions. Enjoy your game, Black, Malfoy. We shall have to practice soon, Black." She says and lifts her violin implying that to be what they practice.

"Indeed. Our cause will miss you and Alphard, but I'm sure that you will put your efforts to reforming the rot that has crept into the Ministry. We need to uphold the wizarding way." Abraxas opines, with a little nod. Then he picks up the chessboard, "A game sounds lovely, Black, unless you were planning on meeting Eibon for your walk in the gardens." The barb thrown with malice aforethought, he gives her a sly little grin before setting the board up on one of the common room tables.

"Of course, Flint. We'll meet up soon… I always enjoy a chance to practice. Perhaps a couple of postcards and a rondeau." Lucretia waves to Calista and then moves a table over to their chairs with a flick of her wand and a murmured incantation. "You are very cute, Malfoy," she retorts to his sly little jab, "but Eibon is not for me, thank you very much. And you know it."

Abraxas gets the little moving pieces settled into their places on the board, and then sits back into the chair, tugging his robes around him like a blanket and putting his legs up over the chair arm. "Oh, don't worry, Lucretia, I'm sure that he won't interfere with your betrothal to your One True Love, whateverhisnameis." Another teasing little smirk, "Will he need a donation to buy the wedding cake?" He lets her play white, even as he continues to act like a jerk.

The girl groans. "Oh, mercy, Malfoy. As if I had anything to do with it." She sighs and moves one of her pieces forward: a pawn, queen's bishop's, forward two spaces. "And you needn't remind me that I'll be marrying beneath my social status. I can only hope that Ignatious decides to make something of himself."

"I'm sure the Blacks won't let you starve." Abraxas says, as he makes his counter-move, the game closely matched so early. "I'm sure that you will steer him in the right direction." A pause, and then, "Was it just me, or did Flint not seem to be paying a lot of attention to what was being said? Or maybe she doesn't think there's a problem."

Lucretia snorts. "As if my family would ever let anything so horrid happen to me." She shakes her head as she moves again, pressing her advantage just a little. "And.. Flint seems a bit like she was in her own world. Like she thinks she's in control or in charge. I'm not sure which but it's a bit off putting. I don't think what we were saying got through." She shrugs. "It looks like it will be you and I who will have to run this thing. We can't sustain what's happening right now, so plans -must- be made."

"I think my idea of preparing and hers are different. She seems to not realize that things are going to boil over like a poorly brewed potion." Abraxas says, with a frown, as he considers his next move, and then makes one that is neither brilliant nor particularly ill-advised. "This struggle is a marathon, not a sprint. If there is going to be a temporary setback at Hogwarts, we must still continue to soldier on afterwards. If we are convinced that is what is going to happen, we need to position ourselves so that things go for the best afterwards. Unlike Alphard and Calista, you and I will be here for another three years."

"Exactly," Lucretia says as she makes another move. "I'm positive that the setback is coming. I want to plan accordingly. There's -no way- that the Board is going to let Flint get away with the way things are going. It was too much, too fast, and for not enough purpose."

Abraxas continues to play, taking a bit longer to think this time, the fingers of one hand curling under his chin. He says, "I don't think the Board is completely on the Headmaster's side, no. I've tried to explain to people - though they don't seem to listen - that my cousin Cassius would not have come out against the Headmaster's policies if my father had not given his blessing. The Malfoys don't break ranks in public. Family before all."

Lucretia inclines her head as her brown eyes study the board. "I wonder, Abraxas," she murmurs, "what it would take to move us to a more tenable position." She calls her move and her queen shuffles into position, obliterating one of Abraxas' bishops. "In your mind, I mean. Tell me how you'd play this."

"The current position, I think, is unwinnable." he says, hiding his annoyance at making a sub-optimal move. He continues to rest his chin in his palm, observing, "But maybe I should be asking you, considering how this game is going. Calista Flint is right, we need to change how this is done. But that's not in our power, and probably too little too late. Separate classes, yes, but I would have maintained the same curriculum, perhaps just tweaked. Or perhaps even a separate house for muggle-borns. Samira Prince says that's the way they did it at her old school."

Lucretia just gives Abraxas a brilliant smile. "Now now, you're not trying to butter me up, are you? I promise that flowers and jewelry will do the job much better." She makes another move, but doesn't gain much ground. "That's all well and good, but as you say: too late. What -now- is my question. How do you see us moving forward to minimize our losses?"

"Flattery is the sincerest form of flattery." Abraxas observes, with a small chuckle, as he continues to play. The game is still quite even, though she seems to have a bit of an edge. "I think, thought it galls me to say it, that we need to continue as I have been. Being fair, even now while we have the upper hand, so that we can't be painted as villains if things change. And continue to develop sources among the other houses. In the long run, show our own worth and the superiority of our ideals.

Lucretia nods. "I agree with you," she says, "but a girl still likes things that sparkle." Her eyes twinkle and she moves… and moves well. "I am supremely concerned that we not seem as tyrants and fools when this all goes 'pear shaped' as the Americans say." She inhales and then switches over to French. «It's entirely possible that the plotting we suspect has been happening for some time. I don't know what they've got in mind and, while I want to find out, I intend to prepare for the worst.»

Abraxas changes easily into French, nodding at her as the play goes on, "I think, actually, that's a British phrase. But entirely beside the point, because pear shaped is where we're headed. And yes, they've been plotting since the opening feast. I can just /feel/ it." He eventually makes a move.

Lucretia nods. She moves and blocks the boy's advance, but unthinkingly leaves her king's bishop open. "Hm." Her head tilts, as she still speaks in French. "I wonder, Abraxas, how you would feel about talking about this some more later. Perhaps over dinner?"

Abraxas moves his rook to take Lucretia's bishop, and begins to chase her king, maneuvering for a mate, but not without leaving some openings of his own in such a close game. "I would, of course, be pleased to. I'm going to Hogsmeade over this weekend, though I may be back by suppertime Sunday."

Lucretia arches her eyebrow as she maneuvers around. It really is a close game of chess. "Are you? So am I. Perhaps we could meet there." She nudges one of his pawns off the board.

His rook holding the file that forces her King to move, Abraxas maneuvers with his Queen. "Check." he says, then, "Mate in two." It does appear that it's probably inevitable. But he nods agreement, "Sure. I'd be happy to buy you lunch at the Three Broomsticks or something."

Lucretia laughs with delight at the brilliant move, and she moves her king, but it could still not be enough. "Well, sure. It'll be nice to chat about it in less confined quarters." How her eyes twinkle. "Be careful, though. I am the terrible Lucretia Black. I apparently inject venom into people and slither away." She inclines her head, ceding the move to him.

"Oh, and I'm the terrible Abraxas Malfoy, who occasionally has a roasted muggleborn for supper." Abraxas says. He misses a move, and the game drags on and on and on. He stretches, a while later, "It's getting late. Call it a draw? We can start a new game in Hogsmeade, or next week."

"You shouldn't do that you know. They cause such horrible indigestion." Lucretia gives Abraxas a cheeky grin and then nods. "Sure. A draw works for me. I look forward to another game. And to future plans."

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