(1939-10-20) Mountains and Men
Details for Mountains and Men
Summary: Elspeth gathers her courage to demand answers of the MLE in the form of Bannon Bates.
Date: 20 October, 1939
Location: Gardens of Hogwarts
Related: directly after Game of Chase

The MLE has arrived. Elspeth knows this, Gabriel had gone to talk to them to tell them to come into the garden where Lan was last seen with the box. And so, she is sitting here in the garden, her satchel on her lap, sitting very straight. A tawny cat has found it's way from the castle, and sits next to her, golden eyes set straight ahead and seeming to set the example of prim posture for the Ravenclaw. Somehow the girl has managed, without realizing, to mimic a feline's ability to silently demand answers, just by sitting there with her head up and gaze alert.

Having been duly informed of yet another location of a box, hopefully this time without as many clues to give a person a headache, the auror known as Bannon Bates makes his way toward the Hogwarts gardens. His walking stick can be heard before he is, in fact, seen. Its gentle clicking upon any hard surface is a good indicator that he is nearby. Smoothing out the robes that indicate him as an auror and a Ministry worker, he finally appears around a hedge.

As the Auror enters the garden, Elspeth remains seated. Although she doesn't move her head to look at him, or move at all, the cat's eyes fasten on the auror and follow him. The ears of the cat, a little too big for the head, give the cat an almost uncanny look, as if it can somehow understand some small part of what is happening. Finally she decides to speak. "You are coming here because Ward was telling you that the last box was being brought in here," she states with quiet certainty.

Stepping toward Elspeth, the Bannon gives the girl and the cat a quick little nod in acknowledgement. "It is so, yes. I was informed that I would be able to find a box here." He looks from the girl to the cat for a brief moment before looking back to Elspeth. "It was my understanding that I would be led to the box. Shall I safely conclude that it shall be yourself and your feline companion who are to lead me to said box?"

Elspeth's head slowly moves to look towards Bannon, now. "I am being a muggle born, sir," she replies. As she faces him more completely, he may even recognize her from the Leaky Cauldron that summer just prior to term's start. "How would I be knowing how to guide you to the box?" She studies him for a moment. "What is being in those boxes that is being so important as for the Ministry to be setting students against each other?" She doesn't mince words, going straight to the point of the reason she is sitting there.

"Perhaps," Bannon begins, "I was hoping that you might have caught sight of where they attempted to hide it." He explains. "There is more to being muggle-born than the current headmaster and his ilk give credit for." He offers to her. Tilting his head to the side slightly, "Were you not the one to whom the Eibon child spoke ill words to? You and your family, during the summer at the Leaky Cauldron?"

"I was being too busy trying to keep a student from attacking another student with his wand to be following and seeing where the box was being hidden," Elspeth replies. "I am, yes. Why are you not answering my question?"

"Well, that is very noble of you, Miss." Bannon states. "We should all hope that one might defend another. Though I suppose the primary hope would be that none would be attacked to begin with. Unfortunately, as I am sure you have discovered, that is nary the case." He nods in recognition. "Ah, yes. You seemed familiar." He offers. His mustache twitches ever so slightly, trying to think of an answer that he could give, but that would also be acceptable to the job at hand, until the Ministry sees fit to make a press release to the paper. "We seek to establish…the rights of students to study freely without fear of retribution."

"This is being accomplished by encouraging students to be drawing wands on each other?" Elspeth asks incredulously. "I have been struggling all year to be telling my friends, to be telling other muggle borns, and half-bloods, and those purebloods that are supporting our cause that drawing our wands on the Magijugend will only be proving to them that we are as savage as they are saying we are… and I may as well have been talking to the wind for all the good it can be doing when the ministry is giving them permission to be doing the very thing I have been trying to tell them not to do." She shakes her head. "I am not being noble. I am trying to keep my fellow students safe when the adults do not seem to be doing their jobs in protecting their safety. I should not be having to do that." For a moment, her voice shakes with the fear of what she had to do, but it steadies once more with her conviction.

"First, let me say, that we do not condone, nor have we ever suggested, that students attack one another. That is not something we encourage." Bannon states in a clear, firm voice. Not angry, just stating a matter of fact. "We would never give a student permission to attack another. I have a daughter at Hogwarts. The last thing I would want is for her to endanger another, or for her to be endangered by others." He takes a deep breath in. "We believe there to be impropriety on the part of the Headmaster. Quite evident impropriety. And the boxes provide the proof we need to help correct the unseemliness put forth by him."

"They are holding the contracts that the Magijugend were being made to sign that their wands would be breaking if they are turning in Headmaster Flint or any of their fellow Magijugend, or something like that. All I am remembering clearly from Ward is that their wands can be breaking," Elspeth states. "It is being very wrong for an adult to be telling students that is all right for them to be signing something that could be making their wands break." She doesn't break eye contact with Bannon as she speaks. "A prefect just pointed his wand at a student that he suspected of having a box, and was telling him to not be making things harder on himself… that he should be handing over the box or that he would 'be subdued as the Ministry has asked, End of Story.' When I tried to intervene and say it was not being right, another student said that the prefect was only doing what the ministry has asked, how can it be wrong?" She falls quiet watching the auror, to see how he responds to what happened which seems to refute his assertion that they did not condone or suggest that students use force. "I am being thankful that the student was not having the box, because I am not sure that I was going to be able to stop it from happening," she finally says, her relief evident along with the sadness that she had to fear such a thing coming to pass.

"I am unaware of any such directive to permit students to attack and subdue one another in the retrieval of said boxes." Bannon says, completely sincere. "I can honestly say that while it is of paramount importance to me to ensure the retrieval of all of the boxes, I would rather lose a box than find harm done to another. Especially a student" It's evident that, while it may have been difficult for him to say some of that, it was the truth as he saw it. "As well, there are ways to convince a person to inform a person of information without doing anybody any harm." Likewise to Elspeth, he does not break eye contact. He maintains it, in hopes that she'll believe his words, his truth. "I am a muggle-born myself. I, too, have known the brunt of purist dogma. However, I also maintain that peace is the much greater choice."
Bannon takes in a deep breath and let's out it slowly. "There is a philospher, from Germany in fact, by the name of Immanual Kant whose words spring forth to me in moments like these. He says, 'Morality is not the doctrine of how we make ourselves happy, but how we make ourselves worthy of happiness.' My own morality states that I could not be happy should I permit violence amongst others. Yes, I am required to fight as a part of my position at the Ministry, but I would not condone others to do so. In fact, I am against such measure unless absolutely necessary." His takes a moment before he speaks again. "There is yet something else that he said that spring to mind. 'Seek not the favour of the multitude, it is seldom got my honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them." He tilts his head ever so slightly. "I seek the testimony of the few, those who must strive to be better than some of the majority who act with disdain upon their hearts."

Since she set herself to find answers from the Ministry, Elspeth does not flinch nor look away from Bannon as he speaks, and does not even show surprise when he reveals himself to be muggle born. She waits for his torrent of words to finish, and then gives him another moment to be sure he is finished before she speaks. "There is also another philosophical saying that is coming from our country," she replies steadily. " 'A barg mit a barg kennen zich nit tsuzamen kumen, ober a mentsh mit a mentsh kennen.' It is meaning, 'Mountains cannot be meeting, but men can be meeting'. But it is not being as widely known, as it a Yiddish saying." She gives him a sad smile. "What will be happening when these contracts are being found. Can you be breaking the magic in them so that students will not be losing their wands?"

"Yiddish." Bannon murmurs. For a moment, there's a flash of sadness in his own gaze. "I'm terribly sorry." He musters. He can only assume, if she speaks Yiddish and she's from Germany originally, that can't bode well for her family. But for now, there are other matters to attend to. "We will do our best to break any magic placed on the contracts. We cannot make any promises, however. It is impossible for us to try, however, if we do not know where the boxes are. I am glad we're not mountain, for we, as two humans, can meet. I ask…no, I implore of you. Are you absolutely certain you do not know where the box is?"

The cat gives a little meow and slips down from the bench to walk around Bannon's ankles. "Are you knowing that Evelyn Eibon was being deaf when she was being little?" Elspeth asks finally. "She was speaking sign language for a very long time before she was learning to hear and to talk. She was teaching me almost from the first day when we were becoming friends. Most of the Eibons are knowing sign language, although Angelus is not knowing it as well as the rest of us are. But he is still knowing some of it." She opens her satchel on her lap and takes out the box. "The others were not seeing it because they are not knowing… but I was watching when he was telling Lan where to be putting it. You are promising me that you will be doing your best to be making sure that no one will be having their wands broken?"

"I had not known that about that about Evelyn Eibon. I admit, however, I am not overly familiar with the Eibons." Of course, Bannon is fairly familiar with their underlying beliefs. He nods along as he listens to Elspeth speak, allowing her to explain the situation. "A useful skill she taught you. Aside from being able to speak with her, of course, without speaking vocally." He smiles a little. "I promise you that I, and others like me at the Ministry, will do everything in our power to ensure that the contracts will made void so that the wands are not broken."

Elspeth lifts the box towards Bannon. "Thank you. I was needing to be sure that I was not letting the box go to someone who is being as bad as the students were telling me you, the Ministry, were being. I am beginning to suspect that some of these students are going to be facing consequences, and I am hoping that other students were not being hurt." Letting the man take the box, she finally stands, and holds out her hand. "Elspeth Rosen," she gives her name in the introduction they had skipped in their conversation.

"It is I who should be thanking you." Bannon tells her as he accepts the box, resting it under one arm. "I am glad I was able to prove worthy." He seems quite sincere on that fact. "And I am glad to have your faith in me." He smiles and extends his own hand toward Elspeth's, accepting hers and shaking. "Bannon Bates." He introduces. "Once again, thank you for the box. I am grateful and indebted to you." Readjusting the box a little bit, he offers a little bow to Elspeth, scratching the cat behind the ear as he does so. "And now, I must be off. There is much work to be done."

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