Cryptic Conjuring -> Opponents on the Move
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With the muggleborns in charge, nothing has really changed since the Battle of Hogwarts. The sides have been switched with those bearing old family names being discriminated against. Once again the revolution is upon us. What side will go to the darkest places to get what they want? Will it be yours?

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 Opponents on the Move, Drucilla/Richard
Richard Morrigan
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 07:25 PM
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Once again, Richard found himself approaching the Selwyn Manor. As usual, his gait slowed as he approached the home and took in the beauty of the gardens. Normally a visit of this nature was a good thing, but now the frustration rolled off him in almost visible waves. The papers that Desmonda had given him were tucked under his arms as he approached the door.

It should have occurred to him that the Ministry wouldn’t sit back forever and just let them go on with their plans. Somehow, though, it surprised him that they’d managed to put something together as quickly as they had. Stewart’s Ministry seemed to be able to move significantly faster than other administrations and that wasn’t a good thing as far as Richard was concerned. It was strange to think it, but he longed for the days of incompetent, lazy bureaucrats.

At least then, they’d be able to act unopposed.

With a shake of his head, he stepped up and knocked on the door.

Drucilla Selwyn

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Drucilla Selwyn
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 07:54 PM
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It was always nice to come back to what had been her family home and Drucilla did it often. Her son and daughter in-law were always welcoming but she did try to make sure she wasn’t around too much. She was there that evening because Malachi had taken delivery of some items for her through a contact at The Ministry. Rather than just make it a flying visit she had been invited to stay for dinner and now waited for the arrival of Richard Morrigan.

When the knock sounded it was Malachi who went to answer leaving his mother in the kitchen sitting at the table. He greeted Richard and then led the man to the kitchen before leaving them both with a final nod. The door closed behind him. He knew he would be told what he needed to know when he needed, it was the way his mother worked.

Glancing up from the map spread before her Drucilla smiled when she noticed the papers Richard held. “Desmonda came through then.” She didn’t ask, having never expected the young woman to fail. It had come as a surprise just how much Desmonda could still find out even after leaving the Administrative Department where it had to be said was the best place to pick up gossip. It was the Department her own moles would gather most information from.

“I finally talked the half-blood maintenance man into seeing his way to helping me.” She indicated the map before her. “An exact copy of the one the Winters woman is using, marked with her scrawl.” The map showed the surrounding areas of Hogsmeade and on it were marked spots where certain activities were to be placed. Covering most of it were dots which Drucilla had learned was where the eggs were to be hidden.

“Did she discover if the rumour of no magic is true?” This had interested Drucilla most and was the reason why she was considering actually attending the event with some grandchildren in tow. It would be so easy to walk around pointing out how things could be better or easier with the use of magic.

Suddenly remembering herself Drucilla stood. “Sit.” She told Richard. “Make yourself comfortable. I will fix some tea.” She’d gotten too absorbed in the map and had simply lost her manners but no matter, she was sorting that now. Using magic rather than the fire Drucilla boiled the water in the pot and soon had a tray arranged with all the tea essentials and a plate of biscuits.

After sitting the tray on a cleared space she took a cup and added sugar. She glanced to the side noticing another cup, one filled with forgotten cold tea. With a shake of her head and a wave of her wand she sent it to the sink before grinning at Richard. “I have never understood why I find it so easy to get lost in a map.”

Richard Morrigan

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Richard Morrigan
 Posted: Mar 26 2018, 03:58 PM
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“Good evening, Malachi,” Richard greeted kindly as the door was opened for him.

Malachi Selwyn was a well-meaning man, and he did his part for the cause to the best of his ability. Unfortunately, he hadn’t inherited the bearing or presence – nor the easy grasp of leadership – which his mother had. He allowed his mind to wander a bit as he was led through the house. According to Lady Selwyn, her grandson seemed to have inherited it; though, aside from a few brief meetings, Richard had never met the boy. Timothy said the boy was a Ravenclaw Prefect and seemed happy to do his part, but they weren’t really a part of the same circles.

Richard smiled warmly at the Selwyn matriarch as her son shut them into the kitchen alone. With a short bow, he greeted, “She did indeed Lady Selwyn. I hope that you didn’t doubt her; she’s a truly remarkable assistant. I’m lucky to have her.”

“A wise move, a lot of the Ministers that have come and gone tend not to think about the staff that low down the food chain. I wonder if our current Minister is just such a one,” he mused as he approached the table where the map was laid out. The map was thoroughly marked, though Richard was rather in the dark as to what the marks meant.

“Well, at least they seem to be putting some real planning behind this…”

With an affirmative nod, he confirmed, “That’s what she tells me. I trust her on it. Apparently, the Minister believes that going through this mess without magic is… ‘part of the fun.’”

“That would be wonderful, thank you,” he said as he took a seat and laid out the paperwork that Desmonda had brought him.

“They are fascinating, especially when it’s something like this.”

His eyes scanned the map for a long while before offering, “There’s a lot of open, unprotected ground here. The Aurors have been strapped for personnel and their attention has been captured in trying to track down the Headmaster’s murderer.”

“It would be a shame if something happened here…”

Drucilla Selwyn

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Drucilla Selwyn
 Posted: Mar 26 2018, 08:55 PM
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“Not for a second.” Drucilla’s eyes back on the map she commented, “That girl has a habit of getting what she wants. Except against her mother, of course, but that woman is a master of the craft.” Though Drucilla hadn’t spent much time with the woman she knew her well through her daughter and mostly, what she knew she did not like. So while the words in Desmonda’s favour were spoken with some affection it was the opposite case when speaking of the mother.

Though a tad slow on the uptake Drucilla thought she might have detected something there in Richard’s own words. She glanced up at him, the hint of a smile playing on her lips. There had been a suspicion brewing since the night Desmonda had visited with Nero and they’d spoken of the job she had applied for. A suspicion furthered at the Winter Fayre when Richard had come to her to take his leave with the young woman in tow.

As much as Drucilla was desperate to ask she felt it was not her place so contented herself with stating. “Yes, you truly are lucky.”

After a moment to think it over she offered her opinion, “Whether he is or is not is not a worry for us right now. Obliviate is a wonderfully useful spell.” Drucilla was a woman who tended to take no chances and covered her tracks well. Even if others would see no need, even if she saw little need herself she was always careful. “It is something to find out though. Useful to know.”

She nodded her agreement to his remark on planning. It had come as a surprise to Drucilla the amount of effort apparently being put into the event. She had expected some kind of half-hearted attempt.

Shaking her head she scoffed. “Fun without the magic. I could almost understand if they wanted to make their world better with magic… no matter.” She grinned. “This actually plays into our hands as we loudly wonder what they find wrong in magic.”

“Yes, that was the first thing I noticed too.” Drucilla admitted. “Any information on the rest of the DMLE? They’ve been known to use more than the Aurors.” Whatever they may plan they had to know how many trained specialists would be in attendance and what level of training they may have. “I may be able to get exact numbers on the Aurors in attendance. It’s been made a bit difficult by the decision that Aurors and Wizengamot will not be given any tasks.”

There was no stopping the curve to her lips at the mention of tasks. “Did Desmonda find out anything about them? It appears that jobs for the day are to be sorted on a blood basis though, of course, no one is saying that outright except for myself. It doesn’t take anything near a genius to guess who will get the worst of these jobs.” She was not laughing at the thought of the worst job, no not laughing, not yet.

Richard Morrigan

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Richard Morrigan
 Posted: Mar 28 2018, 03:22 PM
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“She does indeed,” Richard agreed with an amused smile as she looked over the map.

“I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her mother yet. Although, I must say that the things I’ve heard haven’t exactly been complementary. Generally respectful, but not complementary.”

Meeting the parents wasn’t something that he’d had to think about in years and years. Honestly, he still didn’t have to think about it yet. They’d not been together for very long and there was still all kinds of time to see how things developed and just where they stood with each other. For the moment, though, he was content to just spend time with her and get to know her better.

By the time she looked back up, however, he’d turned his attention to the map. The question in her voice was fairly obvious and he grinned as he nodded in agreement.

“It really is,” Richard couldn’t help but think back to his use of the spell to help Amber some years before. The thought of her brought her departure to mind again and he found himself hoping that she was doing well, wherever she’d settled down.

Again, her response brought a smile to his face. They were on pretty much the same page, as was often the case. The banning of magic from an event in the magical world wasn’t likely to sit well with any but the most ardent muggle supporter. Maybe if they’d designated certain areas as magic free zones… but the entire event?

“I’ve not heard anything about the staffing for the event when it comes to security, but I’ve put some feelers out. I’m hoping to hear back by the end of the day tomorrow. There are still some Aurors that are disappointed to see the way that our world is headed.”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of time. Even if he got a report back as quickly as he hoped, he wasn’t as convinced that he’d be able to arrange anything in enough time that wouldn’t get out of hand. It was frustrating that the Ministry had managed to keep everything under wraps as long as they had. With a shake of his head, “She hasn’t told me anything about that yet – though I’m sure you’re right. It’ll be interesting to see just how far Stewart and his minions will go to get back at them.”

Drucilla Selwyn

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Drucilla Selwyn
 Posted: Mar 28 2018, 04:21 PM
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“I would not even worry myself with being respectful.” Drucilla told him. Then, true to her words she didn’t. “The woman is an absolute cow.” She sat back in her seat. “A manipulative control freak. Now I’m not saying people shouldn’t manipulate or control, sometimes it is simply all that is called for but…” She paused because really she should not say. That woman wasn’t what they were to discuss that night. “Well, I just do not like the woman and Desmonda does not deserve her. Nor does she deserve Desmonda.”

It being clear that Richard wasn’t going to tell her what she wanted to know annoyed Drucilla slightly. She was admittedly a gossip, she never denied it. Gossiping was a great way to gather information and she certainly gathered more than she gave out. It wasn’t a case of wanting to be in the know, not really. She had a soft spot for both of them, enjoyed both their company and now that the idea was in her head it only made sense that they should get together. Merlin knows they both deserved a bit of happiness coming their way.

Drucilla let out an irritated puff of breath. Richard was a private man and she could respect that. Especially since, if she really wanted to, she could quiz Desmonda about it. The girl was good at secret keeping herself but so far Drucilla didn’t know of one secret she’d managed to keep from her.

“I’ll speak with one of the reporter’s tomorrow. Let them know of this non-magical development.” Drucilla informed him as she made up her mind to do exactly what she said. There were a few reporter’s at The Prophet who could still be trusted to put the proper spin on articles with names important enough that their articles actually made it into the paper.

“Yes, I have heard that too. It’s just too bad really that the Head Auror is an apparently well-liked muggleborn.” It had annoyed her when speaking to some of the purebloods who had worked with him in the past to find that the man was respected and, as she’d said, liked. She couldn’t blame them, if it wasn’t for his blood she would have no problem with him herself.

“I doubt she knows. Arthur doesn’t and I could not bring myself to tell him.” Drucilla grinned. “Actually, that is a lie. I could not stop laughing long enough to tell him.” She started laughing then as she accio’d some pieces from the box on the floor beside her. They were clippings from a muggle catalogue, copies of the ones Ms Winters had. “They have to wear costumes.”

“That is for Arthur.” She passed the picture of a man dressed in a baby blue bunny costume. The inner ears, an oval in the middle and paws were all a light pink colour. In one large fluffy hand was held a large plush carrot.

“Some of the others - Desmonda included are to wear these.” As tears of mirth sprang to her eyes Drucilla laughed out loud again as she passed over the second picture. In this were four people all wearing a differently coloured, differently patterned egg costume. The arms of the person inside could only be seen from the elbow down and the legs just above the knee. “I know it’s cruel but I find myself looking forward to seeing them waddling around.” She was gone again, lost to her laughter as she wiped at her eyes.

Richard Morrigan

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Richard Morrigan
 Posted: Mar 29 2018, 02:26 PM
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The description that Drucilla gave him completely matched the image that had formed in his mind as he’d heard about her. It wasn’t anything that he was too worried about however; he’d dealt with many people who were the same through his years in government. Not to mention that he was again getting ahead of himself. The newness of the relationship he shared with Desmonda made it all seem so new – he just had to remember that it was really that new.

“That was pretty well my impression of her. It’s nice to have it confirmed.”

Richard smiled as he heard the frustrated huff from his companion. If he and Desmonda hadn’t agreed to keep their relationship quiet, he might have been bragging already. There was still a part of him that really wanted to; but keeping quiet about his personal life was beyond second nature by this point and he let it go. He knew that Desmonda still spoke to Dru relatively frequently. If she wanted the older woman to know, she could tell her.

“Wonderful,” he conceded, “I’m sure that you have someone in mind already, but if you’re looking for names I’ve cultivated a working relationship with a couple of reporters at the Prophet. They’re good at taking the stories and running with them without dropping any names that we wouldn’t want them to.”

Auror Mitchell was remarkably good at his job. Like Dru, it was something that had bothered Richard for some time. Even his contacts that he’d kept up in the Auror’s office weren’t willing to move against the Head. The man had a reputation for fairness and effectiveness and nobody seemed to want to do or say anything against him.

“Apparently he’s good at his job. I’m more frustrated that we can’t guide him through the Department Head anymore. Norwood would have been resistant to coercion before what happened to his father. He’s a lost cause now.”

When she summoned over the brochures, Richard couldn’t help the smile that washed over his face – and didn’t even try. There was no way that something like this was going to happen without a multitude of photographers around and he made a point that he was going to have to track one down and get copies of whatever he took. The mental picture of Desmonda in one of the outfits was humerous enough – but picturing Weasley in the outfit that Dru had indicated … it was just too good.

“Are you going to give him a warning?” Richard asked through his laughter.

“It would be a shame if he ended up in Azkaban for trying to assassinate the Minister for making him wear that…”

Her laughter kindled his again, and he strangely found himself looking forward to this event.

Drucilla Selwyn

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Drucilla Selwyn
 Posted: Mar 29 2018, 04:29 PM
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Drucilla nodded at Richard’s comment even as she fixed him with her stare and folded her arms. He really wasn’t going to say a word, just sit there with the air of the cat who had got the cream. Though she could well believe it of the man and as she’d thought just moments before would normally respect it… it was proving a most difficult task when it came right down to it.

It too still held true that she could wait and ask Desmonda, she was still certain that the young woman would tell. She didn’t want to wait though with Richard right there and perfectly able to tell. While she was usually the most patient of people Drucilla was finding a distinct lack of it then. It wasn’t that important an issue, not really and it affected her in no way whatsoever except that she’d be pleased by the news. She really shouldn’t want to know as much as she did, she should be able to stay content with suspicions until she was told without prompting.

She should, but she couldn’t and frankly, she didn’t want to. “Richard Morrigan!” There was just a hint of scolding to her tone. “You may as well tell me what it is that’s making you smile and smirk any time one of us speaks her name.” She raised her brow at him. “I can guess of course, especially now that I recall to mind her expressions while speaking some months ago about her potential new job and boss that came with it.” It was a knowing look she wore now. “You should know you never have to keep secrets from me.”

While nobody ever had to keep secrets from Drucilla and really shouldn’t because she had a habit of finding things out - they did. More often than the woman would have liked. Rarely did she call anyone out, only if she really had to since she much preferred to let them string themselves along while they believed that is what they were doing to her.

“We can do an exchange of names.” She told Richard with a small smile. She suspected that neither of them would ever feel they had too many useful names to use.

Drucilla nodded her agreement to Richard’s thoughts, about the Auror and the head of the department. It had come as a blow to see the last fired and replaced with one so unlikely to be used by them. No matter, they’d find a way around both eventually. There was always a way.

“I think I should.” Drucilla answered. “Though I don’t know if I can or even if I want to.” While she didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news there was a part of her that wanted the chance to see Arthur’s face when he found out. A mostly impossible thing even without her telling him. She doubted even the Minister and his sidekick were stupid enough to leave telling their staff their jobs until the day.

“Oh I’m certain he will behave. He’s a calmer man than you suspected I think. He does actually know how to conduct himself.” At least he mostly did. Arthur had been another surprise to the woman, a welcome one. She’d approached him expecting to at least be annoyed by the man but had since found that she rather liked him. She certainly respected what he was trying to do and gave him a lot of credit for that.

“Are you going to warn Desmonda?” Drucilla turned the question over to him.

After wiping tears from her eyes she took a sip of her tea. She was winning the fight to not let her laughter out again, to keep it in and move their discussion on. That was until she glanced again at the pictures she’d passed to Richard. They were just too funny and she obviously wasn’t over it yet.

Richard Morrigan

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Richard Morrigan
 Posted: Apr 2 2018, 03:27 PM
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It was almost impossible to hold in the smile as he could feel her glaring at him for not giving up the information that she was so clearly after. He was vaguely curious as to just how many people would be willing to withhold information from her just to see her fume; his guess was not very many. When she’d finally had enough, her outburst surprised a bark of laughter from him. He’d thought she’d be able to hold on a bit longer than that.

“I know that Dru,” he replied with a fond smile.

“Clearly you’ve pieced together most of what is going on. Desmonda and I have been spending a fair amount of time together. With all the rumors and drama that could cause around the halls at the Ministry, we’ve obviously been keeping things quiet.”

“In fact,” he grinned, “you’re the first person we’ve agreed to tell. As though we’d have been able to hide it from you with as closely as you and I have been working together.”

Richard nodded. It was always a good thing to have a wider sea of contacts to draw from, and he could only imagine how impressive Drucilla Selwyn’s network was after this long. He was more than willing to trade names – between the two of them, their information sources should be second to none. Something to make even the Daily Prophet jealous.

“It might be worth giving him the heads up. You seem to have him wrapped around your little finger already, but if you gave him a warning about something like that, he might actually start to worship you. He doesn’t seem to have too many people around him that are looking out for his best interests.”

He nodded, “I’ve seen him interacting with you and have been watching him a bit more closely. I will admit that I may have underestimated him.”

Again, he laughed before replying, “I vaguely feel like I have to. There’s no way she’d believe that we didn’t know about this beforehand. If I could assure that I could be there to see the look on her face when she found out I might risk it.”

“Considering that’s not possible, I think I’ll alert her – better to not have her pissed off at me. Things are going so well.”

Drucilla Selwyn

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Drucilla Selwyn
 Posted: Apr 3 2018, 11:36 AM
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The look Drucilla sent Richard’s way was scathing and questioning. If he knew that then why on earth had he not told her and actually made her have to snap. Of course she could guess many reasons for why - none of them anywhere near good enough.

When he finally let her in on the secret like she wanted her resulting smile was bright and happy. She liked Richard, a lot, and it had to be said that over the years she’d gotten bored of him failing to notice any of the women giving him the eye. Her smile brightened further still at the news she was the first person they’d decided to tell. That earned the pair a lot of brownie points and if she hadn’t been immediately on their side, in their corner that would have done it.

“Oh but sometimes it is just so good to be the one creating a scandal.” Her smile turned mischievous as her eyes lit up. “I caused a scandal or two myself in my time. Getting together with Mordechai was a huge one and we were still in school.” As she had back then Drucilla looked most pleased with herself, in fact, a person would be hard pressed to find a woman more pleased with herself. “There I was an Erested, a girl from a family without a pot to piss in and there he was betrothed to and already in a relationship with my then best friend.” Drucilla shrugged lightly. “Sometimes a scandal can be quite fun.”

Then her eyes narrowed as she regarded the man. “That had better be the only reason for secret keeping. If either of you are ashamed I will hex you both. My wands right there…” she nodded at it. “One to you and then I will send one her way also.”

Others would see shame Drucilla knew, those others that would always look for the shame angle in whatever Richard done in life. She instantly knew where the shame would be found by those types. But there was no need for it and she decided then, if it worked out for the two and anyone even looked at them wrong they’d have her to deal with.

With Richard’s agreement Drucilla got parchment and quill and quickly wrote down the names she knew and used. This she passed to him. “Those are mines at The Prophet.” She ran her finger so far down the list. “The Quibbler.” Another two names down. “And the rest are freelance.”

Having successfully gotten over her amusement and after taking another sip of her tea Drucilla nodded. “I will tell him. If he does not pop in tonight I will hunt him down tomorrow.” It saddened her that his word concerning Arthur rang so true, though it pleased her to hear Richard admit he may have been wrong. “He just needed someone on his side.”

It was a glaring mistake that she’d come to realise she had missed for years. There were too many purebloods who had been left alone, allowed to drift further away from the community they should always have been a part of. With Arthur at least she could correct the mistake, with the Cowan girl she was beginning to think it was too little too late. At least it looked like she’s succeed in one of her projects.

Drucilla chuckled but with no danger of a giggling fit ensuing. “Oh no we can’t have her pissed off, not if things are going so well.” Even while she joked about it Drucilla felt pity for the girl. She’d had a life of being forced into outfits she didn’t choose, often didn’t even like at her mother’s hand. Drucilla would put gold on her never even beginning to think that there was worse to come, much worse and at hands not belonging to her mother.

“Onto the task at hand then… now you’ve shared secrets and we’ve had our fun.” The woman lifted her wand and with it drew her own marks on the map, near the top just beyond the empty area Richard had pointed out. “I will never claim to know the forest well but I do know something that could prove useful. This trail…” She traced the path she’d made with her finger. “Leads to this clearing.” Her wand tip landed on the clearing she spoke of. “With only a few minor tweaks however if could lead to this clearing.”

Another gap in the trees was pointed out and with a flick of her wand words appeared there detailing exactly what it was. Drucilla looked to Richard again. “Thoughts?”

Richard Morrigan

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Richard Morrigan
 Posted: Apr 3 2018, 03:39 PM
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Her mischievous smile and her response surprised a laugh out of Richard. It may have been a long time – much longer than he liked to think about – but he’d been young once. He’d always deeply enjoyed being part of things that could be called ‘scandalous,’ and if he were honest with himself, he would say that was still true. The other side of that coin, however, was that his favorite part was always taking part and then not being caught.

“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” he countered with a grin when she told him that she’d been involved in a scandal or two in her lifetime.

His parents had talked about her engagement to Mordechai in something less than complementary terms when he’d been growing up. Honestly, it was one of the first things that he’d learned about the woman who would later become one of his closest friends and allies.

“They can also be good for causing a bit of an uproar among the families – sometimes we run a bit dry.”

At first, he looked at her curiously as her eyes narrowed. Something had clearly irked her and he’d have been damned if he knew what it was. Then came her explanation and he laughed. With a shake of his head he assured her, “There’s no shame here. What would either of us have to be ashamed of; I’ve caught the eye of a beautiful woman some years younger than I, and she’s caught the attention of a former Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.”

“We’re keeping things quiet largely to avoid the hassle that we’d received from Winters and her minions – but also because it’s truly nobody’s business but those who are close to us.”

Richard looked over the list that she’d given him and was amused to see that there was actually a fair bit of overlap; except for at the Quibbler – he had a different name there and two contacts for the Wizarding Wireless. He also had a different set of freelancers and photographers that he worked with from time to time. After writing them down, he slid the sheet of paper across the table to her and said, “Well – these will come in quite handy. It always pays to know the right people.”

“That’s probably the safest bet.”

“So many of us did,” he agreed with a nod, “it’s unfortunate that nobody has done anything about that before now. It makes so much more work for us to do. So much lost time.”

With a laugh he agreed, “That’s my thought exactly.”

Then it was time to get back to work. A sly grin spread across Richard’s face as he looked at the clearing she’d pointed out. It would do the trick nicely – they just had to come up with a plan for getting the updated layout to the people who would be setting things up. A task that likely wasn’t going to be nearly as difficult as it probably should have been.

“I like it… now, how about if we add this…”

*Fade Scene*

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