(1939-10-20) Aura of Infallibility
Details for Aura of Infallibility
Summary: Enceladus Malfoy, Chairman of Hogwarts' Board of Governors, discusses the situation at Hogwarts with his son, Abraxas, and answers some questions about what has happened and might happen in the future.
Date: 20 October 1939
Location: Outside the Hospital Wing & Entry Courtyard, Hogwarts
Plot: Headmaster from Hell
Related: After the Storm; The Law Comes to Hogwarts; A Not-So-Merry Chase

Abraxas's injuries were far from serious - he more went to see Madame Spleen so people would stop telling him to, as opposed to because he felt medical attention was required. But his twisted ankle and bruised elbow were now set to rights by the judicious application of minor healing magic, and the young Malfoy was leaving just in time to find the imposing figure of his father approaching. The boy looks tired - as might be expected, after what was a long day of chasing, being chased, rolling spell battles down the grand staircase, leading Madeline Evans through the Dungeons in hopes of throwing her off the scent, and then waiting while the MLE did their thing around the dungeons. He's heard the news, that the contracts were recovered. He's seen the Aurors leaving. But none of that compares to the worry that crosses his features as he sees his father coming.

Enceladus Malfoy slows his steps when his son comes into view, and then comes to a stop, eyeing the boy expectantly as he waits for him to cross the distance. "Were you seriously hurt?" The question is put to Abraxas as plainly as if Enceladus were asking his son to pass the salt. Enceladus Malfoy is a believer in tough love. Let his wife do the doting.

Abraxas shakes his head, "No, father, I wasn't." He swallows hard, standing a bit taller than before, and says, "We were ambushed, but we won our way through, Oberon Lestrange, Lucretia Black, and I." He pauses, and then says, just as directly, "I have a lot of questions."

Enceladus nods curtly, the slight lifting of his brow subtly indicating his approval at his son keeping the company of Blacks and Lestranges. "As do I. Walk with me." He turns on his heel, heading back toward the Grand Staircase, expecting his son to be in tow. "Tell me exactly what Headmaster Flint ordered you and the other Magijugend to do." His cool, precise words echo in the massive chamber that houses the staircase. Apparently he isn't terribly concerned about who might overhear the question, or the answer.

Abraxas falls into pace a little more than a step behind, fortunately now grown enough that he can keep up. "We were called into his office, the members of the Magijugend. There were a number of chests there. I was given one, and a note that said I was to bring it to the dungeons, and place it in a secret closet in a room there." He pauses, and thinks for a moment to recall exact words, and says, "We were told that the fil… that the muggleborn students and their friends would attempt to stop or delay us, and that we were not to allow that to happen. We were to make sure that the locations of the boxes were not found, and were not to fail him." The Malfoy heir adds, perhaps a bit drolly, "They did, indeed, try to stop us. They were waiting the minute we emerged from the Headmaster's office."

"Then they were informed ahead of time, which means they undoubtedly had assistance from the school faculty." It's more of a thought out loud than a discussion. Enceladus wastes no time on the stairs, descending to the main entry hall, then leading his son out to the courtyard where they can speak more privately. When he has reached a far corner of the covered walkway, assured that they are alone, he stops and turns to face his son. "Ask you questions, boy," he commands, folding his hands behind his back.

"Yes, father. I was told Professor Viridian let the MLE onto the grounds, and his sympathies are well known." Abraxas says, with an agreeing nod. He gathers his thoughts for a moment, and then says, "Cousin Cassius came out against the Headmaster in the Daily Prophet. I don't think he would do that without your permission. Nor would the Wizengamot issue a warrant without at the very least letting you know - you have too many friends there. But the Board put Headmaster Flint in power. I… don't understand our part in this. Was it to make someone else look better by comparison? You and Headmaster Flint are friends, I thought…" Though even at his young age, Abraxas knows that 'friends' are really more 'people that are useful to you', at least for the Malfoys.

The elder Malfoy actually smirks, nodding. "Your prefecture has served you well. You are gaining insight. You are correct, Cassius spoke with me before denouncing Headmaster Flint. He may be something of maverick, but he still understands the importance of family loyalty." He purses his lips, pondering for a moment. "Abraxas…even the best laid plans can be derailed. The difficulty of hinging those plans on positions of power is that those positions must be held by people, and people are fallible."

Abraxas nods, and goes on to explain briefly about his noticing Professors Black and Lestrange had concerns as well. "So, I was right to suspect that the problem was not so much Headmaster Flint's philosophy, but that he chose to press too hard too soon?" He glances away for a moment, and looks back, before saying, "Even knowing all that, and knowing that things were certainly going to change… I still felt that I had given him my word. A wand can be replaced, but I felt obligated. I didn't want to bring shame to the Malfoy name by backing down at the moment of truth. So when the muggleborns attacked us, when one of them tried to grab the box away from me, I drew my wand on him." He is, of course, concerned that he's done something to tarnish the Malfoys - that's probably the only thing he fears.

"You behaved correctly," Enceladus reassures his son. "There might have reached a point when it would be better to refuse Flint's orders. But things had not yet become so dire. Believe it when I say the situation could have grown much worse. Still, the future has become uncertain. Tell me, boy. If you had the power, what would you do next?"

"I… am not precisely sure, father. Keeping Headmaster Flint in power seems impossible. The Headmaster depends on a certain aura of infallibility, and that has been shattered in his case. The faculty, at least, and some of the students with the proper connections would know that he has pushed the Governors beyond tolerance if the Aurors were allowed to come here." A slight exhale, as he thinks, "Perhaps the more clever strategy would be to make someone like Professor Viridian headmaster, and hope that he pushes his /own/ agendas just as strongly as Headmaster Flint did, then setting up the possibility of eventually replacing Viridian with a more moderate person of proper leanings, like Professor Black, who has the eminence for the position. But that is dangerous, because he might not play into our hands that way. And even if it worked out, what damage would be done to Hogwarts' reputation?" Abraxas's lips purse. He's at least trying to puzzle it all out.

Enceladus chuckles softly, placing a hand on Abraxas's shoulder. "Yes, it would be a dangerous gambit, indeed. Vindictus Viridian may be brash, but he is no fool. He would anticipate such a scheme, and then we would be forced to try to provoke him, which could easily explode in our faces. In any event, I doubt the Governors will want to take a chance on a controversial candidate like Viridian. If Flint is ousted, they will seek someone moderate. Someone that can bring peace to the school and restore its reputation. The choice is nearly inevitable." He sighs, dropping his hand. "Our plans did not come to fruition. The time has come for us to fall back and recover our strength. Malfoys have always been survivors, above all else. Better to live to fight another day. Let the Blacks and their ilk throw themselves on the pyre in the name of nobility. When the smoke clears, we shall be there, ready to set the world to rights."

"So for now, Professor Flint will stay Headmaster?" Abraxas asks. He nods, though, and says, "I understand. When it started to look like Professor Flint was on an island, I did my best to both keep my word and… make sure I wasn't on that island with him if things went badly." There is actually a momentarily proud smile. But then, growing more concerned, he says, "I just hope we don't all get into /too/ much trouble. At least not the proper wizarding sorts. And I'll have to start making plans for afterwards. I don't think there will be a Magijugend much longer."

"We shall see. Bureaucracy moves slowly. Though incidents like these have a way of greasing the wheels." Enceladus sighs, already looking toward the next day's difficult meetings with the other Governors. "In the meanwhile, do as you have done. Keep alert, and prepare for every contingency. Now I must go. Your mother asks me to send along her fond wishes for you. Have you a message for her?"

"Give her my love, of course." Abraxas says, though it sounds mostly a formality, "And do tell her that my friends and I are looking forward to the Yule Party." He nods to Enceladus, and then shakes hands, "Thank you, Father, for clarifying things. I shall not disappoint you."

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