(1941-05-02) Preparation, Preparation and Umm...
Details for Preparation, Preparation and Umm…
Summary: Grayson and Roe discuss plans for their upcoming venture.
Date: May 2nd, 1941
Location: Minnie's Tea of Magic
Plot: Centaur Civil War

Despite it being a typically overcast day outside, with sky the colour of day-old dishwater, beneath the canopy outside the cafeteria the enchantment provides the illusion of a darling summer's afternoon. And it's here that Roe is passing some time, rather than that dusty, cluttered Centaur Liaison office. Attired today in a crisp linen shirt and a calf-length skirt of a rather garishly bright aqua tartan with purple and gold detailing, the young woman is poring over a copy of the Prophet, while absentmindedly chewing a cucumber finger-sandwich. By one elbow, a dainty cup of tea is stirred at a lazy pace by a silver spoon.. maybe she's forgotten about it. With her navy-stockinged legs crossed primly at the knee and one foot bobbing gently in time to some unheard tune, she's a serene, solitary little figure within the comings and goings of the Ministry's busy atrium.

Grayson Loring is, as is his wont, rather perfectly-dressed. He's wearing a subdued business suit today beneath a pair of perfectly-tailored robes, its only flair a diamond stickpin through his navy tie. He emerges from the RCMC, heading toward the cafeteria, but pauses as he spots Roe's distracted presence. Mischief sparkles in his hazel eyes.

Drifting closer to the woman, trying to circle in from the side, he reaches into his pocket and produces a single Every-Flavored Bean, dark yellow in color. As he moves to sit, the man attempts to palm the bean into Roe's tea discreetly. And quite pleasantly, he says "Good afternoon, Miss Scamander. May I join you?"

With her jaw propped daintily on the knuckles of one hand, one might mistakenly believe Roe to be oblivious to her surroundings. Too often is that natural ditziness mistaken for a lack of wits. "Mister Loring." The warm greeting is accompanied with a smile, though she doesn't immediately look up at the man. Her teaspoon, however, ejects from her hot drink and raps Gray smartly on the knuckles; hardly painful but rather an amused reprimand. "Of course, of course, have a seat." The redhead doesn't even mention that attempted sabotage, only now meeting his gaze and offering a grin as she sits back in her seat. A more sociable position. The paper is briskly folded and set aside, atop a small notebook of cerulean velvet. "How are you?" Unthinkingly she flits a glance to his lower lip, so unfortunately split during their previous misadventure.

"Quite well, thank you. A bit of ice on the noggin and on the lower lip, and all was well." Grayson absently flicks some beads of tea off his hand, smiling momentarily — he, too, seems willing to admit his little prank never occured. "I've also been shopping," he adds pleasantly. "I thought about a muggle tent and a lantern — you seem to be such an enthusiast — but I decided against it."

Grayson raises an eyebrow subtly, watching for reaction. "I thought we might discuss centaurs, if you have time? I don't expect to become an expert in a few days, but if you might tell me which things to absolutely avoid saying.." The genteel man trails off, touching his recently-split lip absently, though no mark remains. Perhaps a little more than ice was used to patch up the marred skin.

"Well.. yes, while I do enjoy some little quirks of the Muggle way of life, I also prefer a good night's sleep to ah.. 'roughing it', as they say." Definite approval on his choice, there. "Fantastic. I'm glad to see you so enthused about our little excursion, truth be told. Not that I've been procrastinating, of course.. I rather thought we might take the train. That would give us considerably more time to get you up to speed on the basics..?" Roe arches a brow enquiringly, still smiling. "I'd already began noting down the most prudent things.." A hand glides toward that pretty notebook and draws it toward her, flicking open the cover to reveal some well-laid out lists and diagrams, in her precise writing. "But certainly, I could run a few points past you right now, if you've the time."

It's so obvious when someone is speaking on a topic that intrigues them, and the Scamander is no exception, green eyes sparkling with a focus she occasionally lacks in other matters and her fair complexion aglow in anticipation of the upcoming mission. "Let's see.." Picking up the book, she thumbs through a few pages, before holding it, splayed, out toward Gray. "Here's an example.. all adult members of a herd wear a sash. See how they have stars embroidered upon them?" She taps a forefinger upon a painstakingly copied version of an old print, depicting the creatures somewhat fancifully. "Those signify deeds. The more stars, the more important the centaur with whom you are conversing, so be wary."

With a flick of his wrist, a quill and small pocket notepad rise from Grayson's jacket. He sets the quill to scribbling down notes with another twist of his finger, nodding as he leans forward over Roe's work. "Yes, I see. Does the placement of the sash matter? Do their males and females both wear them?" He stops suddenly, looking up. "Forgive me. I don't mean to jump ahead." And he seems genuinely contrite — beneath the dandy and the street brawler, there seems to be an academic after all.

It's obvious that he is excited about the expedition - his quill splits after a few lines, blotting ink, and with a sigh and a tap of his finger he causes it to lie down. He seems briefly embarassed by his quill's lack of stamina, but focuses again keenly, this time looking Rowena in the eye. "Please. Continue. You've my full attention."

"They all wear them, yes. It's.. sort of a coming-of-age thing. And as far as I know, placement is unimportant. The colour, however.." Roe flicks the page, keen eyes flitting over the neat text. "..can tell you precisely which herd you're dealing with. Oh, now I'm getting ahead of myself!" With a soft chuckle, the young woman closes the book and deliberately sets it down, taking up her tea cup and blowing across the hot surface as she reorders her thoughts. It may seem as though she's steadily holding Gray's gaze.. but it doesn't take a genius to tell she's barely even seeing him, for the moment.

"Centaur society is basically organised into two constructs." she begins again, after a long moment, pausing to take a tentative sip. "There's the clan ..in this instance, the Dark Forest Clan.. and then there are, herds. Which I suppose you can consider subdivisions of the overall. The herd I'm interested in parlaying with are known as the Starchasers. They've had the most contact with Hogwarts and may therefore be the most amenable to outside contact. I hope." If she's amused by Gray's quill fumbling, she doesn't remark upon it.. the little quirk of her lips could be for any number of reasons.

"The Dark Forest Clan — yes, I see. Might I add, speaking of clans, that I quite admire your skirt today?" It's a quick slash of banter thrown into the conversation, but without much pause, Grayson is back on the topic. "Stargazers… Does this have anything to do with divination, or does the name derive from another source?"

He falls silent now, watching Rowena closely, his own lips quirking for a moment as he sees the absense in her gaze, the way she stares right through him. Perhaps he is familiar with the phenomenon. He pushes himself back into his seat absently, drawing himself rigidly upright for a moment. A very faint cracking sound can be heard in his back before he once again leans forward.

"My.. wh.. oh." It takes Roe a second or two to catch up, so engrossed is she in her topic. "..thank you." A blink and a glance downward, to remind herself what it is she's wearing (as she's plainly not the sort who agonises over her ensembles) is swiftly accompanied by the faintest hint of rosy hue across her cheeks, and she clears her throat gently. Oh good, back on topic. "Well ah.. well, all centaurs rever the heavens, or however they consider such things. They prize divination, it's a singular and all-consuming aspect of their heritage and belief system." She tucks her hair back behind her ear, venturing to meet Gray's eyes again now, assuming he's done winding her up. "Just as every herd has a chief, they also have a seer. A female who interprets their 'omens'. Fascinating, isn't it?" She's warming to it again, relaxing once more after the brief distraction.

"Their name, though, I believe is derived from a task they accomplished.. finding a fallen star. Something like that. The references are vague." She bites gently at her lower lip, looking pensive now. "They seem to be considered rather.. forward-thinking, by their clan. And not in a good way. Which is why I think they might just have a little more time for us than the others. I don't suppose you recall the incident last year, in which there was some sort of a.. a fight between the herd and their rivals? Right on the doorstep of Hogwarts! I'm hoping either Dumbledore or Professor Kettleburn might provide us some insight.. Dumbledore's a great believer in 'live and let live', of course…"

Cutting herself off, the young woman grimaces ever so slightly. "I'm so sorry. I'm rambling, aren't I. Would you care for a cucumber sandwich?" She nudges the plate toward Gray politely with a fingertip.

"I do look forward to seeing Professor Dumbledore again; he was quite good to me when I was a student. But no, I didn't hear about the incident last year. So another herd within the same clan struck out at the Stargazers?" Grayson seems quite interested in this for a few moments, his lips half-parting as he taps his chin. And then, perhaps noting the lovely rosiness to Roe's cheeks, he adds "And is that a new blouse?"

A moment of silence to let the question penetrate Rowena's enthusiasm before he continues, absently shaking his head to the cucumbers. "Would it be considered unusual for clans to wage internal conflicts?" After a few moments, he adds, "Perhaps Dumbledore might know more about the herd-name's origin? It would be useful to know, I think. It seems each herd has a distinct internal culture, such as the progressiveness of our friends here."

"That's right, they did." She nods, equally and obviously intrigued by it, herself. She seems about to speak further, only to be waylaid by Grayson's next enquiry, directed again to her attire. "I.. it's.." Looking bemusedly down again, this time at her simply white blouse, Roe flicks a wryly amused glance toward the man through her lashes, head still tilted downward. "I do believe you are making fun of me, Mister Loring." If she had spectacles, they'd be primly perched on the tip of her nose, about now. And they'd probably be horn-rimmed, half-moon ones. Electing to ignore it, though, she moves to set down her tea cup, accidentally rattling it slightly as it encounters its saucer. Great, now the crockery is mimicking her.

"It's not unusual at all, in fact." Best to doggedly continue on. "Their morality and.. well, rules.. are so different to ours. That is, thieving and raids are an accepted way of life. It's very complicated.." Dabbing at a spatter of tea with a paper napkin, the redhead frowns a little, mulling things over as she wipes up the tablecloth.. and succeeds only in making it worse. "There seems to be considerable unrest within the clan as a whole. With any luck, this venture will provide us with more information. Perhaps a way to forge new relations."

Grayson's eyes are intense now, his features briefly stony as he listens to Rowena's conclusions. "I see." He doesn't elaborate immediately, but instead backtracks, glancing down to the briefly-trembling tea cup. "Not at all, madam. But it lacked ink-stains, and it was quite nicely starched, so I just assumed. It looks very fetching on you." And then, as before, back to business - the bait-and-switch seems to be his favorite form of flattery. Or torment.

"Have you considered, Rowena, the dangers of this little venture of ours? If the herds are in a state of unrest, we may be moving into the center of a rather fascinating battlefield." After a moment, he raises a hand. "Oh, I'm not saying that we oughtn't go, but it does call for a certain amount of caution, I think. Now.. assuming we encounter the Stargazers and they are willing to speak to us, is there a particular way to address their Chief?"

Bait and switch befuddles a creature like Roe, who tends to be thinking straightforwardly about the actual topic of any given moment. Those wide green eyes blink at her companion a few more times before she simply relents to a smile and decides to let it wash over her. Until the next time he catches her out. Which shouldn't be long. "Well, these sort of things are always at least a little dangerous, aren't they." she remarks, in an airlily dismissive tone that ought to duly inform Gray that no, actually, she hasn't given an awful lot of thought to it. Neatly stacking her discarded snack and cup to one side, clearing the distance between them somewhat, the young lady folds her arms comfortably atop the table and regards the man opposite steadily, the forward cant lending the conversationan a more conspiratorial atmosphere. "..I sincerely doubt we'll be taken before the Chief. Well, unless we're captured, of course. "I'm not sure about specific terms of address.. that's another thing I'm hoping to glean from the Professors. What I do know is that humans are regarded as suspicious, not to be trusted. And, presumably, ignorant. Which.. well, we are."

Under his breath, Grayson murmurs "Marvelous." And then, louder and with a bit more enthusiasm, "Marvelous!" He clears his throat, leaning forward as well, reaching out with a fingertip toward the back of Rowena's hand. Despite the intimacy of the gesture, his voice is quite level and sympathetic rather than teasing. "I do hate to be blunt, Rowena, but have you done much fieldwork?" He is silent for a few moments before considering. "For instance, have you been taken hostage in the past?"

Either not noticing or simply not minding the gesture, Roe arches a brow across at the man, giving the matter some thought before replying. "Well.. no. I haven't. I mean, I deal with Bundimun and Chizpurfle infestations, that sort of thing. Nothing 'high risk', as such. But.. I'm quite capable, I assure you. And besides.." She flashes him an enigmatic grin. "..I have you."

She withdraws her hand, offering a pat to his, instead. "Do stop fretting. I'm certain everything will go smoothly." Spoken like a true eternal optimist.

"Ye-ess…" Grayson draws out the word, turning his palm over to try to capture Rowena's hand. "You do have me, Rowena, but I shall tell you a small secret. There is one reason, and one reason only, that I am here to assist you." Grayson's smile is pure shark, no mirth at all. "I have never, not ever, assumed that anything will go smoothly."

"Operations of this sort — 'high risk' matters, as you say — always go balls-up in one way or another, dear girl. So let's assume that we'll run into trouble. That's always seen me through in the past, lacking any firm plan." His grin turns roguish suddenly. "Oh, this might be quite fun."

"Oh, very well." With a feigned sigh, Roe casts her green eyes upward to the enchanted summer sky, unable to help a grin evenm a splitsecond later as she continues. "Let's assume it's going to be utterly disastrous. Which, knowing me, it will be. It'll be marginally less so.." She lowers her gaze to regard Gray. "..with you there. On my own I'd just as likely find myself living in a tree, on a diet of berries." Such genuine conviction when it comes to the abilities of the man across from her. But then.. "You've spent ten years out there. Doing dangerous work. Fighting for what's right. Well, it's time I started doing more than paperwork, I think." She pauses suddenly, head canting a touch to one side as she studies his features more keenly. "..how old are you, anyway? Oh.. sorry, that sounded rather less unkind in my head.."

"I'm thirty-two. And I realize that I look quite young, it's alright to say so." Again, the roguish grin, the tilt to his eyebrow. He squeezes Rowena's hand gently, then considers for a few moments. "Well, it's true that you'll be marginally safer with me around. I suppose that's enough of a salve for my conscience. I needn't terrify you, eh?" He laughs suddenly, low and rich, and shakes his head. "I must sound like a right old bore." He grins. "Well, I'll just have to test you a bit on your Counter-Spells on the way out, eh?"

"Gray.. I'm blatantly not too proud to admit when someone knows more than me. And you do, in this sort of thing. Terrify me if it amuses you.. but do, at least, impart some wisdom at the same time. I am more than willing to learn." Roe smiles warmly, in spite of herself, in response to his laughter.. then allows her gaze to wander from him, even as he's offering that teasing suggestion. "I don't suppose it would do any harm to dust off and have a practice, if it would help put your mind at ease.." Her attention alights upon the training area, off in the distance, and that smile twists to a smirk as she glances to her companion. Is that quirk of brow and fractional nod in the indicated direction an invitation, then?

"Oh, madam. I see you're made of the sort of stuff that I like." With this rather ambiguous line, Grayson rises to his feet and absently massages the back of his neck. He walks without much further ado toward the practice area, circling his wrists in the air and reciting tongue twisters. "Red-leather, yellow-leather, red-leather, yellow-leather. Mary Poppins popped her top atop a merry moppet." His look over his shoulder to Rowena is pure challenge and amusement.

Continued in Let's Call It A Draw

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