(1941-05-15) R.C.M.C. on Campus
Details for R.C.M.C. on Campus
Summary: A pair of R.C.M.C. Agents arrive at Hogwarts to finally try and get a better understanding of what is going on with the Centaur Civil War.
Date: May 15th, 1941
Location: Hogwarts
Plot: Centaur Civil War
Related: The Conclusion… Meeting with the Chief

At the Gate, Ogg is bobbing about his eyebrows at the pair on the otherside of the gate. Expressing his confusion at their presence and also giving protective "OGG!"s when they bring up that they are here to see the centaurs. Finally after a quarter of an hour of waiting, a supportive hand pats Ogg's arm from behind and when the wide Groundskeeper turns there is the smaller if still broad figure of Professor Silvanus Kettleburn. "It's alright Ogg, the Headmaster is expecting them. A gesture with his free hand and Kettleburn points out that Dumbledore is strolling down the path towards the gate.

One little grumbly whine of an "Ogg" from the (rumoured) half-troll and Kettleburn gives his arm another assuring pat before he gestures towards Oggs home, dismissing the Groundskeeper now that they are here to handle it. "They are not here to harm the centaurs, don't you worry my friend." Ogg gives a little, 'you better not' grunt and huff at the pair through the gates and then he lumbers for his hut. Grumbling under his breath the whole time.

"Terribly sorry for the delay." Dumbledore apologizes sincerely but makes no further excuses. With a wave of his hand the massive gates swing open and while Kettleburn is reaching to shake hands and make introductions, Dumbledore gives, "Welcome to Hogwarts. If you would like to get down to business, their village is right this way." A sweep of his hand angles east.

"Professor Kettleburn. Headmaster." Grayson's usually-arrogant drawl is rather pleasant; he smiles between the two older men, apparently genuinely pleased. "It's wonderful to see you both again. Thank you for taking the time to assist us." At Dumbledore's suggestion, Grayson falls silent for a few moments, and then turns toward Roe. "I'll defer to you, Miss Scamander."

The burly RCMD agent is carrying two rucksacks on his shoulders, both of them utterly overstuffed, but it is apparent that the man finds them about as heavy as a pair of feathers. He stands ramrod straight, gaze drifting from point to point across the Campus, just as though he were examining some sort of strange terrain.

There's a warm smile - though that's hardly anything unusual - from the smaller of the pair, who Kettleburn would recognise readily enough as a former student aide. Not so long ago, either! Ogg doesn't seem to unnecessarily perturb the young woman.. in fact her green eyes trail curiously after the behemoth of a 'man' as he toddles off back to his hut. But, first things first. "Hello, Silvanus! Brought anything onto the grounds you shouldn't have, lately?" There's a telling familiarity in her cheerful manner toward the Professor.. not to mention just a hint of rosy hue about her cheekbones at the sight of him. Ahem.

Looking beyond him, Roe's demeanor softens still further as Dumbledore arrives. Though she does fractionally straighten her posture. Force of habit. "Headmaster." The greeting is all she manages before she lets Grayson speak up, a sidelong glance and nod offered toward him for his words. "How good of you to accompany us yourself. Ever so kind. Of course, we'd not venture in like bulls in a china shop, I assure you! I wonder if.. while we walk, sir.. you might tell us a little of the situation here, to your understanding? I do recall something of a skirmish on school grounds not so long ago.." Her eyes flit to Kettleburn, shrewdly including him in the enquiry, also.

Kettleburn offers a rakish smirk, "I would never do such a thing, and you know it." The last incident after all was an ashwinder and he conjured it up himself. That's not bringing it onto campus. It's manifesting something on campus. Completely different creatures to Kettleburn. But he quiets down and goes to stroll in silence now behind and off to the far side of Dumbledore who's already starting to stroll. "I will walk you to the village then I'm afraid my other duties must pull me away. But Professor Kettleburn will remain with you throughout. As for what has happened, the Starchasers were chased from their home. Everything sounds like it's over some accusations of theft. But I could be absolutely wrong there. They have kept Centaur matters close to their very high chests as it were. I gave them sanctuary of course. It was all going to be temporary, until…" They are still some distance from the new centaur village, but even from here the trench and top of the meteor can be seen. "The Omen arrived. The Starchasers received their star. It is an extremely delicate situation. So long as the children follow the rules and do not go within the forest, there is no danger to them. The Starchasers are an extremely peaceful herd. So long as their area is respected and children don't go climbing about the meteor, there is no cause for alarm… or immediate relocation. We have things completely under control." He indicates Kettleburn who gives a confident nod of agreement.

Though his expression doesn't shift, Grayson's eyes do flicker between Rowena and Kettleburn, an amused crinkle forming in their tiny web of wrinkles. But his features grow more grave as he follows along, listening closely to the two men speak. He glances at Roe thoughtfully for a moment, then clears his throat. "With all due respect, Headmaster, I am not entirely certain that I agree." He seems a little sheepish. "I hadn't heard about this star's arrival, but could it not be a further spur for whichever clan has chased them here?"

He falls silent again, absently reaching up to knuckle at his scarred upper lip. The man's gaze has taken on a distant, alert expression as the quartet draw nearer to the Centaur camp. He doesn't seem tense — if anything, he grows more relaxed — but his eyes move from point to point, missing little. They return several times to the meteor's trench.

"I have no doubt." Roe has a naturally sincere way of speaking. Namely because.. well. She's usually sincere. "Our presence here is not intended to impugn your handling of the situation, Headmaster. Merely to assess the situation formally and offer any aid that might be of use to either side, to maintain the peace." Settled now into her professional role, the young lady addresses each of the Professors equally as the group makes it's way toward the village. She's probably a little too 'fancy', in comparison to Kettleburn's outdoorsy take on attire, but it's suitable enough for her purpose - sturdy walking boots, with her plain grey slacks tucked neatly inside, and a shirt of plain black cotton, beneath the rather overlarge jacket lent to her by Grayson for the trip. Speaking of the devil..

The brunette nods gently aside toward her colleague. ".. a fair point. While I know the centaurs, as a whole, will respect their omens.. does the herd itself have the strength to defend itself and their territory, should another attack come?" She pauses, trying to reform her words to something more tactful. "What I mean to say is, Headmaster, when their laws are so different from our own, can you be sure that any aspect of this is under the control of anyone but the centaurs themselves?" She huffs a wayward strand of dark hair out of her eyes, shifting her focus from Dumbledore to the afore-indicated trench.

In the far reaching shadow of the Quidditch stands Dumbledore manages to not seem incredulous at the questions. "Since the first attack, we have seen to means of protecting our campus. With our help the Starchasers are more than capable of protecting their new home. In fact, Hogwarts is probably the safest from centaur attack that it has been since this civil war has started, with our wards and the centaur sentries and patrols, and of course our Ogg's efforts to calm the situation within the forest is quite effective indeed. The other herds don't have the connection to the meteor that the Starchasers do."

"With your help." Roe echoes the words, gently. A long moment passes before she ventures forth again. "..but that's rather my point, Headmaster. How much 'help' ought humans offer, before it risks being seen as 'interference'..?" The brunette raises a palm to quell any immediate indignance, following these words, continuing in the same soft-spoken manner. "Again, I don't mean to belittle the fine job you, all of you.." And here she flits a glance to Kettleburn, too. "..have done in.. well, keeping things as normal as possible for the school. But I cannot help but worry that the geography of these events has lent itself to a situation we would never dream of meddling in otherwise." We? Oh. Yes, she means 'they'.

"And the situation in the forest?" The young lady moves on, pleasantly enough. "You mention Ogg handles that. Exactly how much handling does it still require? I imagine any Civil War, to borrow your own phrasing, Headmaster, needs a delicate political hand. Or do you try to stay out of that and focus entirely on security of your ah.. shared territory?" Despite her cheery tone, Roe's green eyes give her away. She's worried.

Grayson tips an eyebrow slightly, considering the Headmaster. He slinks along within the shadows, as though moving from tree to tree in a dark forest. In the city he may be a swaggercock, but it seems that shadows and the distant treelines have returned him to some earlier state. But when he speaks, it's still in that Upper Class drawl. "I've absolutely no doubt, Headmaster, that you could secure Hogwarts single-handedly against an army of attacking goblins. And I am certain the students couldn't be safer." His smile is a touch wry. "But I admit that I'm fascinated with the puzzle of how this all fits together, and that I must agree with my colleague here. The scope of our duties requires that we investigate further." He glances at Rowena, his expression almost condescendingly approving. "But then, I'm truly only here as a packhorse and an extra set of eyes. Forgive me, gentlemen."

Dumbledore is calm and any insult from the questioning others might suffer is lost on him and he continues to answer their question. Kettleburn remains quiet and listening though the corners of his lips to tick in what might be considered a proud momentary smile as his former students. From the castle a student with black hair and Slytherin robes seems to be on trajectory towards the strolling group of adults.

Dumbledore continues to calmly answer the last wave of inqueries, "The Forest's Edge has been warded to keep back the Swift Arrows and anything else that might prove hostile in crossing the line into, as you said Miss Scamander, 'shared territory'. Ogg takes it upon himself to do his part in making sure the herds behave peacefully. But I'm sure you can understand that we aren't sure just what he does." Communication difficulties and all. "I believe that any attempt or even mention of re-locating to the Starchasers will prove to only aggitate the situation. So I hope that you understand that that will not be part of the discussion. You are free to investigate what is going on. I am just as curious as the Ministry to what started this all. But I would be a rude host indeed if I were to pry."

The dark haired boy has arrived and has politely remained at a distance until the Headmaster was done talking. "Excuse me, Headmaster. Profeseeor Slughorn…" Dumbledore ahhs and interupts the boy, "Thank you Tom. I will be right there, you may tell Professor Slughorn I'll be with him post haste. Thank you." Tom Riddle gives a little bob of his head, crisply turns on heel and heads from whence he came. "I am terribly sorry. But duty calls. As I said Professor Kettleburn will help you the rest of the way. It was very good to see you both again. Good luck." He offers out a hand for some farewell shaking.

Grayson listens with his typical aplomb to Dumbledore's answers, even risking a smile in Kettleburn's direction. He absently adjusts the pair of overstuffed rucksacks hanging from his shoulders, using a finger to hitch one further up on his shoulder. "Of course, Headmaster. Any relocation on the part of the Starchasers must be entirely their own idea." And then he seems to remember that he is here as a human packhorse and falls silent, looking deferentially toward Rowena. His equanimity remains even as Riddle approaches, barely glancing at the boy, until Slughorn's name is mentioned. Though he manages to shake Dumbledore's hand, even forcing a smile, the Potions Professor's name seems to have cast him into gloom.

Roe takes all this in with rapt attention.. enough so that she manages to trip over a pesky tufty clump of grass with her toe. Thankfully, she manages to remain upright, mostly by way of colliding with Grayson's shoulder, then hurriedly straightening, offering him an apologetic smile aside. He's used to it by now, no doubt. "No, absolutely, Headmaster." Her assurance, when it comes to the notion of re-location, is swift and certain. "That is neither our place nor prerogative. We're here only to open communications, if the Starchasers are willing to accommodate us. Nothing more." What's done is done, after all. No use crying over spilled milk. Any other old tuppeny phrases one can think of, along these lines.

"I should definitely like to gain a better understanding of the politics of the situation.. largely for my own interest, I must admit. We know so little of the centaurs, in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps your showing a willingness and ability to coexist is the first step in a new, peaceful direction."

The brunette falls quiet as the young lad approaches, offering a warm curve of lips in his direction, as appears to be her habit. Tugging the lapels of her overlarge jacket a little closer about herself, she steals another glance in Kettleburn's direction; a momentary grin revealing white teeth and dimples. Her attention is drawn back, inevitably, as Dumbledore begins to offer his apologies and farewell, her hand extending without hesitation to shake his in turn. "Certainly, Headmaster. And thank you again for taking the time to meet us. If I may say so.. the school is thriving under it's new leadership." A pause. "In my opinion, anyway." She doesn't seem to notice her colleague's downturn in mood.

As soon as word reached Josie that the our RCMC is here, well, she has to investigate. So, she comes slipping out of the castle not too long behind Riddle, her broom in her hand for a ready-made excuse for why she is out here. Of course, the group isn't heading quite in the direction of the Quidditch pitch, but she splits the difference, not following directly after the group, but veering close enough she can see what's going on. She does give a wave to Tom on the way by, though not in any way seeming to expect one back.

When Kettleburn spies his Aide, Josie, he waves her over. "Miss Davies, come meet an old Aide of mine…" Kettleburn gestures between Roe and Josie. "Miss Scamander this is Miss Davies. She is doing very well filling in your shoes. Miss Davies, it's Miss Scamander you have to thank for my Organization System, as it is." Which has deteriorated some since Roe was there to keep it fully on task. But as Roe can attest there was zero rhyme or reason to Kettleburn's 'organization'.

With the departure of the Headmaster, Roe is free to shift her attention to Kettleburn and the youngster her invites over, the latter offered a warm smile in greeting. "How do you do? Oh dear, I do hope you haven't become entirely buried beneath the Professor's ah.. 'unique' system." How nice to have a hopelessly disorganised man in common; an ideal foundation for women to start upon! Raking her dark hair back with her fingertips, the petite young woman takes a half-step back, looking aside to Grayson as she includes him in the introductions. "..and this is my colleague from the R.C.M.C, Grayson Loring. Though, I'm afraid of the two of us he certainly has the most thrilling employment." She flits a conspiratorial glance between Kettleburn and his aide, a mischievous sparkle in her blue-green eyes. "..dragons." Who doesn't love dragons? It's a marvelously romantic line of work. If you're into that sort of thing.

Grayson turns his attention toward Josie curiously, taking in the young woman with a quick up-and-down. Amusement touches his features and he turns toward Roe, studying her in turn. The burly man's smile is a touch lopsided, the scar splitting his upper lip turning it nearly into a sneer. But his offered hand and his firm gaze seem genuine enough. "It's wonderful to meet you, Miss Davies. Professor Kettleburn shaped my interests, though I doubt he remembers me as fondly as he does Miss Scamander." Amusement touches his features again, and he turns toward Roe. "It's as though the two of you are survivors of the same bloody battle — organizing that lost cause." The jibe is utterly friendly, and he grins again as he looks to Kettleburn.

Josie brightens immediately as Kettleburn calls her over, and she turns to run over to the group, slowing again as she catches up. She smiles up to Roe, and then Grayson, as they're introduced, and says, "It's nice to meet you." She grins and shakes her head, and says, "No, I'm alright with this system. I figured it out after a while." She continues to smile cheerfully, though her eyes widen a little at the mention of dragons, "Really? Brilliant. I've never even seen one. We've had a lot of other creatures on the Fawley Farm, but none of those. At least, since I've been there."

Kettleburn does a fantastic Queen Victoria impression of 'We are NOT amused'. But then he smiles and goes into a bit of story mode as they draw closer to the growing centaur village, smack dab in the center of Hogwarts Campus. "Your Guardian Miss Davies lead a search party for a small child that went missing. They found the boy, in a Dragon's den in the bottom of the mountains to the north of the forest. The child had heard crying and went to help. The den's cave had been caved in. The crying was coming from there. He could crawl into the gaps but he couldn't get back out after he discovered a hatchling. The Hatchling was too big to fit through. So the lad stayed with the dragon and screamed his blood head off when he herd Miss Fawley and the others. Everything worked out in the end." He holds up his arm to point out circular scars on his forearm. "The teething stage was an interesting time."

The circular village is surrounded by rough posts with fabric and leathers and brambles woven and stretchs about them. Where tents once were more permanent hut structures are being built. Everything done in circles, all surrounding the meteor and it's crater in the center. There are two entrances into the village, both are guarded.

When the strangers approach the northern most gate a fierce looking blond and dun centaur warrior is standing guard with spear and shield. She narrows her eyes at those approaching and Kettleburn mutters darkly. "Miss Scamander, I think you should take over from here. This particular Centaur is not exactly suaded by my 'charm'. She goes by Ealisaid. I'll be right here." Leaning against a standing stone that's not too far away, well within help if it's needed, just out of the direct view of the Centaur that does indeed not care for his rugged charm. The professor also gives Josie a permissible wave through.

"Halt, who goes there?" Ealisaid's Scottish brogue is thick with a strange lilt to it, this is certainly not her first language. Her spear tilts with an aggressive snap in a diagonal direction away from her and across the entrance.

Inside the village, a darker-hued, older Centaur herds a cluster of children into one of the larger huts. She speaks gently to them, then emerges from the hut, to be met by another spear-wielding male. She nods to him, then trots towards the northern gate, not speaking now. Even her hooves' steady beat on the turf seems quiet.

Roe half-listens to the anecdote, perhaps having heard it before, a the group draws closer to its destination. Truth be told, Roe's gaze is roaming over their surroundings with unabashed curiosity. A centaur village! Right on the doorstep of Hogwarts! Who could have imagined? The layout of the encampment draws her notice, and one who knows her well would recognise the almost literal itch to pull out her notebook and start scribbling.. but she respectfully refrains from doing so. Not without effort, of course. Hello, R.C.M.C?

"Oh." Roused from her reverie and coming to an abrupt halt as Kettleburn addresses her, the brunette blinks at him owlishly a few times. "Err.. right. Yes. No problem." Talk about getting chucked in the deep end! Yes, yes, go ahead and make small talk with the spear-wielding centaur. Thanks, Silv. Still, she musters herself enough to cast the professor a parting jibe. "Good to know it doesn't work on everyone.." With that, and a determined straightening of her shoulders, the diminutive young lady ventures a few steps toward the intimidating figure at the northern gate, regarding her with a forced aura of calm. The polite smile, though? Entirely genuine. Offering her palms in an expansive gesture, held out to either side as she stoops ever so slightly in a bow - perhaps having noted the stars on the centaur's sash? - Roe optimistically offers a genial opener. "Greetings. Ah… my name is Roe. And this is.."

She looks to her companions imploringly, waiting for them to join her in introductions.

A cocky grin crosses the Dragonologist's features as he listens to Josie. "Dragons really aren't all that exciting, miss," he says deadpan. "You just have to know how to handle them. With about a dozen of your most trusted friends, a lot of stun spells, and — if you're very fortunate — very little burn cream." But now they're here at the Centaurs and his cockiness goes away like a mask, replaced gravity. Rowena gives him his cue and he steps forward, lowering his gaze and speaking deferentially. "Grayson Loring." He looks up again, meeting the Centaur's gaze steadily, features still quite serious and respectful. His pair of rucksacks are lowered easily to the ground, perhaps to free him up for any bizarre greeting ritual.

Josie listens to grace and with a slightly awed expression but, soon enough they are nearing the centres. She gives a surprised look to her teacher as he waves her through, but then smiles brightly and follows along after the ministry agents. She's still holding her broom, which he seems to find a little awkward, but she does her best to hold it as naturally as possible as she follows along. She adds her own introduction, then, since it seems to be expected, "I'm Josie Davies-Bates."

Ealisaid nods her head to each who introduce themselves. "I greet you." She then does a rather elaborate and flamboyant wave of her spear hand, stomps her fore-hooves in a cadence (that's not too far off of the human's 'Shave and a Hair Cut.') and then swishes her tail really wagging her rump along with it. She then looks at the humans expectantly.

Grayson smiles wryly as he watches the Centaur go through her routine. His eyes sparkle with mischief. "I greet you," he agrees. And then he goes through a rather good approximation of the routine, keeping a straight face. He even finishes with a twitch of his backside in both directions. "Forgive me," he says after he finishes, meeting Ealisaid's gaze, letting the amusement touch his voice. "I don't have a tail."

"Oh my." Roe takes in this little display, watching the stomping hooves with arched brows and unable to help a slight grin; a mere glimpse of teeth before she looks up at the centaur again and does her best to sober her expression. "You know, I'm a really dreadful dancer.. only two feet, you see. And both of them are left." Still, never one to be outdone, she scuffs her heels and toes in a wobbly little jig, likely quite aware there's some fun being had at her expense. So what else is new?

Belatedly stifling a chuckle at Gray's rump-wiggling, Roe pushes a wayward few strands of dark hair out of her eyes and regards the blonde centaur with wry amusement. "..well met." A swift appraisal of the female's attire and weaponry affords a reasonable guess. "You are a warrior of the Starchasers..?"

"Don't have much of a hind-end, either one of them, but we can't fault for unfortunate circumstances of birth, can we?" murmurs the older Centaur as she trots up, her voice soft with gentle humor. "The foals are having story-time early," she adds to the younger Centaur, bobbing her head. Then she looks thoughtfully at the humans, going silent again.

Josie just looks confused as she looks between the others, totally lost. Finally, she says to the centaur, "I'm.. I'm sorry, I don't know how to do that. And I don't want to insult you even more by doing it very wrong."

Ealisaid rather abruptly goes from smug and smirky watching the humans try at her made up ritual of greeting right back to stoic and a mask of a perfect sentinel at the realized arrival of the older centaur.

"Ealisaid, Starchaser and Warrior. Yes." She acknowledges Roe's guess is in fact reasonable. "My dame, Caitig, Leafwarden of the Starchasers." She bows her head respectfully towards the brunette centaur.

The youngest of the group is then looked towards. "Come with gift be good. Ealsaid thanks." The students always seem to bring presents trying to butter her up hoping she'll let them into the village. So from behind the shield her fingers release the leather strap and reach for the girl's broom. But it seems as usual any gift while received gratefully, doesn't do much buttering. "Why for you here?" Is aimed mostly at the petite woman who seems to lead this intrusion, but a sweep of her pale eyes over all the present humans includes them all in the question. A little snorty chuff escapes the warrior upon seeing the Care of Magical Creatures Professor in the background. In that chuff holds the expression of, 'Damn right you stay the hell back there.'

Grayson glances over his shoulder toward Kettleburn, picking up on the tension between he and Ealisaid. But there's the dame to consider, and he bows his head toward her as well. As the mischief fades from Ealisaid's expression, it fades from Grayson's as well. "Leafwarden. Forgive me if it is the incorrect address — I'm more than usually ignorant — but I greet you with all respect." He does not initiate any wild dance-and-twitch this time, but instead just stands with his hands at his side, glancing sidelong to Josie as her broom is taken.

Good start, she got something right! Not the dancing, of course. The guess at the centaur's position. Roe looks past Ealisaid, following the direction of her gaze, and inclines her head respectfully toward the herd's healer, offering a tentative smile to the more solemn-looking female.

Oh.. there appears to be a bit of a misunderstanding with the student's broom. That's not really Roe's place to sort out.. but she can't help but pause, glancing aside toward Josie with a touch of curiosity, no doubt wondering how the young girl will react. Given that this particular sentry seems to have a sense of humor - albeit dreadful - perhaps the situation can be remedied. But it can wait, most likely. Returning her focus to the task at hand, and the fair inquiry made, Roe clasps her hands primly before herself, adopting a wide-legged stance. "We are here to learn. If your Chief would allow it, of course." The young woman's tone is even and calm, perfectly pleasant and without expectation. "It seems that it's only right we seek to better understand one another, now that the Starchasers territory borders peacefully with Hogwarts. And.. I shan't beat around the bush here, Miss Ealisaid.. is it alright to address you as such?.. well, we're keen to establish the situation of the civil war within the clan. If it is possible to, without infringing upon your traditions, to which we have no right."

All very diplomatic. Though that is, of course, part and parcel of Roe's job.

Josie's eyes widen as her broom is taken, opening her mouth and then closing it. For a moment, she's Jo again, scrambling for a con that can get her out of this. In the end, however, she just nods as she bites her lip. She was given the rare opportunity to attend this meeting. The last thing she wants to do is screw it up.

Caitig tilts her head, then paws slightly at the ground. "What learning do you seek?" she asks, her voice still gentle. Her gaze goes to the broom, and her tail swishes her belly. "I have seen humans in the air on those. Perhaps it is not-gift. And…. understand civil war is not within our *herd*, thank you. We are more civilised than that."

The guard slides the broom into the holster along her equine form that is meant for her spears. It's a bit wobbly, but it works. "I am Ealisaid. Ealisaid does not Miss." In other words, human titles aren't her thing. "Of course it is gift. They seek the Chief." Bribery is real in guard duty. Her dame is give as respectful as a 'Duh!' face can be. Then Ealisaid's eyes land on the pair of rucksacks Grayson was muling about then the glance lifts to Grayson and then Roe. That same sort of expectancy etched on her stoic features that was there after her greeting 'ritual'.

Grayson catches the look and smiles — he seems to have anticipated this possible need. With a wry glance over at Rowena, he opens one of the rucksacks and sorts through it for a few moments. "Ealisaid, Miss Scamander and I would both be very pleased if you would accept…this…as a gift." And he comes out with a silver goblet, rather fine, with a pair of centaurs running up the handles. As he straightens, he mouths aside to Rowena, "..Kitchen sink, eh?" And he steps forward, holding the goblet up in offer.

"Oh.." Roe looks rather crestfallen, in all honesty, as the elder centaur corrects her; the sheepish expression swiftly giving way to a subtle blush creeping up around her ears and cheekbones. "Oh.. I do apologise, Leafwarden. I expect the reading material I've had likely isn't as accurate as one might hope. I thought the ah.. Dark Forest Clan..?" She hesitates over the name, likely fearful of getting something else wrong and offending the females. "..was broken up into herds? You see, this is precisely why we should perhaps learn more of one another, to avoid such missteps."

Suitably surprised, though pleasantly so, Roe glances aside as Grayson hefts an offering to the warrioress, unable to help a slight grin as she catches those mouthed words and offers a fractional nod. Whether it's a suitable gift for a centaur remains to be seen.. but at least he planned ahead.

Josie brightens a little as the older centaur suggests that it isn't a gift, opening her mouth to agree. "I didn't actually know we should bring gifts…" The last few words kind of trail off, however, as the guard insists it is. She looks over to the two from the Ministry, and the gift they present.

Ealisaid narrows her eyes looking towards Kettleburn and then down at Josie. With slight irritability she pulls the broom from her holster and instead leans it up against the gate behind her. "It will be here if you come back out." She manages to not make the if sound too terribly threatening. But then she puts that aside to handle the matter of the real gift giving. The silver cup is eyeballed a bit apprehensively. She reaches out to take the empty goblet and tilts it this way and that. "It is empty." There is either no pleasing her, or she is just messing with the humans again. "Grayson wants marriage with Ealisaid?" She squints at Grayson and looks him over, up and down and up again. "Graysons tailess rump is good." Her mouth twists in thought and she tilts her head one way then the other as she continues to survey the gift bearer. An offering of a filled cup between mates does happen to be a centaur custom of courtship. But usually it's a horn or shell. Metallurgy is not a Centaur thing. It's why her Woodsman metal axe on the holster at her hips is a rare treasure.

Caitig's eyes twinkle, and she snorts softly at her daughter. "We could braid him a tail to wear… but only two legs…. wouldn't that be awkward? Meaning no disrespect," she adds to Grayson. She paces around him thoughtfully. "In all other fashion he *does* look manly enough for you, Daughter. And perhaps he will bring the mead when it is matured?" Her lips twitch, and she looks at Josie. "Foals are granted lenience in gift-giving, as in other things. Still…. I do not keep the gate." There is another snort, and then she glances at Roe curiously.

Inspected like a piece of meat by Caitig, and offered a courtship by Ealisaid, Grayson grins. It's a wild, roguish, smile. He considers Ealisaid, up and down, head canting to the side. "I have brandy in my pack," he offers her, with a lascivious grin. "But I'm not certain I'm marriage material, Ealisaid." He winks at Caitig, inviting the mother to share in the joke. It's a gamble, of course. He doesn't really know the boundaries of the culture he's interacting with. But he does take pity on Josie. "The young lady — the foal — didn't know to bring a gift. May I make another offering, on her behalf?"

Looking amused as the focus of the discussion settles to centre around Grayson - and his haunches - Roe folds her arms and observes the scene with a grin, her earlier sheepishness apparently set aside. Casting a glance toward Josie, she offers what she hopes is a reassuring smile, which a moment later is backed up by the dragonologist and his diplomatic attempt to rescue the captured broomstick.

Josie smiles in relief, and gives a bow, "Thank you." The 'if' doesn't seem to bother her, having me apparently more worried about giving offense and/or losing her broom than any concern over her own safety. She does look to Grayson with a relieved smile at his offer on her behalf.

"Ealisaid hear of Brandy, not drank." She gives the goblet a little 'fill'er up' waggle with the goblet held out towards Grayson. It seems like there's no 'No Drinking On Duty' rule. Or at least not with this particular guard. "Pour. Then gift." Ealisaid instructs Grayson with a faint smile that is more in her eyes than lips. "The Rowena? No gift." She asks Grayson but glances to the brunette who's a bit involved with her mother now. If he's willing to give a gift on Josie's behalf, Ealisaid's not above extorting another. Even, "And the Slaver." Her pale gaze then flicks towards the man whom in her eyes captures and enslaves animals, creatures and spreads Human Superiority over the things he teaches about. "Gift or Go, for it. Ealisaid no want Slaver close."

"Come here, child," murmurs Caitig. "You do not understand us, and so you are afraid. Respect that which you do not fear, child. But do not be afraid without reason." She smiles genlty. "I should have had another foal. If you take the small-rumped man, I'd like a grandchild," she adds, eyeing the cup.

"Brandy, right. Please accept brandy as another gift-offering, on behalf of both Rowena and Josie, Ealisaid." And after a few moments' rummaging, he produces a crystal decanter topped off with brandy. And then he's pouring, until he hears Caitig's comment. Brandy goes everywhere across the grass. "Shi— I mean.. Blast. I do apologize." Grayson shoots Rowena a half-amused, half-panicked look as he reseals the crystal decanter. "I.. am afraid I've no other gifts appropriate to the occasion."

"Honeyed almonds." Either Roe has just remembered something, or she has a very odd form of tourettes. Rummaging in one pocket of her too-large jacket, she produces a crumpled paper bag of the sweet treats, which she duly offers toward the guard. "Not as exciting as brandy, I'm afraid.. but they're nice!" As to the matter of Kettleburn, the petite brunette casts a glance back over her shoulder toward the Yorkshireman. "Professor Kettleburn won't be joining us. He has awareness and respect enough to realise his presence is not welcome." A flit of a distracted glance goes toward Josie, gauging her response to the words offered by the elder centaur, with just the faintest of smiles tugging at her lips. She'd have loved this, at Josie's age!

Oh. And Grayson's rather worried expression? That elicits an innocent arching of brows from the magizoologist. She's not going to rescue him. Or his little rump.

Josie obediently steps over towards Caitig, at her request. She may be afraid, but she doesn't let us stop her from approaching. "Thank you, I'll try." At the mention of a grandchild, she looks back in time to see Grayson's reaction, and she just can't help but giggle. She does glance back to Kettleburn at the mention of him being a slaver.

Ealisaid looks briefly surprised that a fancy crystal decanter that comes out of the rucksack. Wizards are strange! She takes the decanter though and uses her mouth to pull the stopper out and she pours the brandy into the cup until it's nearly over flowing. Once full she lowers her head to re-stopper the bottle and hand it back to Grayson. She takes the almonds as well and it's like the Northen Gate turns into a pub because she pops some of the almonds into her mouth, cruches at them and then washes it down with a large swig of brandy. The burn of the brandy is nothing like the sweet kick of mead and she blinks and looks down at the goblet. In all of her eyeing of Grayson she noticed his knife and she points to it with that rather familiar by now expectant look. "No weapon. No wand. Leave with me and Dame will take." She is back at the knife, "Good gift." She's just sayin.

Kettleburn gives a respectful nod and starts to back away. He is not happy about the guard's viewpoint of him, but now is not the time or place to prove himself. When Josie looks towards him he lifts a finger to point towards his temple and mouthes, "Remember." to her, instructing her to do all he knows she knows. Then he turns around heads back towards the school.

Caitig swishes her tail, nodding her head. She holds out her hand for the weapons and the wands, her eyes glittering. Her head is high, and she watches the brandy and the brandy disaster with laughter on her lips. "So…. no grandchildren, then?"

"No weapon. No wand." Grayson's features go carefully blank for a moment as he considers Ealisaid, then he shrugs faintly and — slowly — draws out the belt-knife he carries at his side. It might be an unusual thing for a Wizard to lug about, particularly as it's clearly a -weapon- and not a tool, but he handles it with familiarity. "Not a gift," he tells Ealisaid gently. "It's an old friend of mine." He offers it out hilt-first. And then, more reluctantly, he produces his wand and offers it as well. His good humor returns somewhat at Caitig's question, and he winks over at her. "Probably not, Leafwarden. I'm afraid I'm unsuited to the task of raising foals."

With an amused quirk of her lips, Roe glances aside at Grayson as she, too, offers forward her wand; a pretty affair of golden pear wood. "..is that the part that concerns you, in this consideration?" Let's be honest.. Caitig could likely snap him like a twig. And he'd need at least 2 hay bales to stand on before he ever need concern himself about foal-rearing. Pushing her dark hair back behind her ear, the little brunette looks decidedly vulnerable having relinquished her wand, but she braves it out with a smile up at the centaur. And edges a touch closer to her companion's arm.

Josie nods to Kettleburn at his silent instruction, and then turns back to the centaurs. She frowns a little at the request to turn over weapons and wands, but she nods again. Obediently, she pulls out her wand, which appears to be made of yew, to turn it over as well.

That moment when a parent takes a joke and runs with it right into embarrassing territory, that's about where Ealisaid is right now. The whickering sound that comes from the guard next is a Centaur version of, 'MooooOOOOOMMMMmmmmm. Knock it off! You're embarassing meeee!' The fancy cup filled with (to her mind) torch fuel is lifted again for another drink. But the second swig looks like it was worse than the first and the cup is unceremoniously dumped out and the cup is slid away into a satchel. The last of the almonds is tossed into her mouth and she crunches away on them, one cheek pooched out as she collects the items from her mother and into a nook in the gate they go. Finally the warrior re-adjusts to be in sentinel mode once more. Spear and shield held at attention proudly. "Go." The final exchange between the Guard and the One That Got Away is a twitch of what might be a wink and then it's all stoicism from Ealisaid from there as she returns to her duties. Though those who keep an eye on her just may catch her looking over her shoulder to catch one last look at the tailess rump of Grayson as they enter the village finally.

Continued in: Meeting With the Chief

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