Every single protective charm that Freya could think of, and even some that she could no longer recall, she had spun around her property. A house in the middle of nowhere in the English countryside, where the closest neighbours were not anywhere near close. And even then, it was not the place where she did her experiments. The standard ones, certainly. But she was not fool enough to keep kidnapped people on her main property, just on the chance...
She felt the wards twinge - the sign of someone who had permission entering the property. Or perhaps a person who had broken through the wards, but Freya was hoping that it was more of the first. Getting to her feet, she moved to answer the door. "Afternoon, Thomas."
His wand was at the ready when he entered; in this line of work, in this type of organization of vengeful people, no one, not even Thomas Sedgwick, could be sure of their own safety, no matter how many protective wards had sprung up around the house. He entered slowly with his wand at the ready, and even after Freya had greeted him, he stood cautiously.
"Good afternoon, Freya," he returned. His voice was rough, hoarse; he had been getting over a cold, but he was also old, tired, and angry. Instinctively, at seeing his fearless leader, the man's free hand wandered over to the bag that rested against his hip. "Do you have any coffee?"
Freya's eyes flickered to the wand that he was holding in his hand. She couldn't blame him for being cautious - it was a good trait to have after all. Her own was in quick reach, though she did have hope that she was not going to need to use it in her own home. Who knew for how long that hope would continue to hold, but it was steadily there for the time being.
"I dare say I can find some in the kitchen," she said, stepping aside to allow him entry into the house. Her eyes scanned the yard behind him, but nothing seemed out of place, so she closed the door behind Thomas once he had stepped inside.
Moving through it, and expecting him to be following behind her, she went to the kitchen. "And how have things been for you lately? Anything of interest to tell?"
Snow had coated his coat, giving him an extra layer he did not need and did not want; once he was inside, Thomas slipped his wand into a coat pocket, shrugged off the offending material, and then deposited the coat on a nearby surface and retrieved his wand. The man followed his leader without another delay.
"Well, since you've asked, we uncovered a document from Grindelwald's time--quite an interesting piece, it was, and it got me thinking, 'What if we could make use of that information in an exhibit?' An exhibit, Freya," Thomas said, quietly but excitedly. "So then I thought, 'An exhibit on Grindelwald? Why not use the Institute as a cover, take out funds and supply some Illusion brews to let everyone have a good time?'" Illusion brews were rather fun, as long as they were handled with care. It was safer than alcohol in a lot of situations.
"Illusion brews, quite handy, they are." Thomas leaned against the threshold once they had reached the kitchen and crossed his arms over his chest. His wand poked out to one side. "Could last hours. Could last days. A bit expensive to make when you're not servicing an exhibit with organizational funding. Funding hasn't been approved yet."
Freya watched Thomas as he spoke, and as they walked. Her mind trailed off for a moment, thinking about Grindelwald, and what he had done when he had stood at the center. An exhibit? The idea of an exhibit was vaguely interesting, if not particularly relevant - though Freya had asked if there was anything interesting to tell, she had not exactly set parameters. That was until he kept talking at least.
Moving around the kitchen, to set up the coffee, she paused, and glanced back over at him. "Make them think they're in a Grindewald exhibit, when they're really just in an empty room." Oh that was fun. "And funnel the funds away to something else." Another pause. "Though you'd have to ensure that everyone stays under the brews, including those that would feasibly help set up the exhibit."
"Yes, yes, all good, all good--and who goes to these exhibits?" Thomas said, but it was a question he intended to answer. "Those like me, the ones who cling passionately to their interests--and those with money, with wealth, with power who show up at events so that the public continues to watch them. Some of them are half-bloods and muggleborns, but the rest....
"How's that coffee?" He was tired. Old and tired. Coffee was a welcome warmth from the outside, a welcome concoction of energy to endure the long night of thinking and planning he had ahead of himself--that they had ahead of themselves if Freya was going to assist him. He lowered himself into the nearest seat and looked up at Freya. "The exhibit could be set up, something simple with displays, enchantments, all kinds of fun, magical things, and the Society and the Institute will both remain none the wiser.
"The problem is establishing an alibi when the organizers, myself included, are inevitably investigated for drugging people." This whole organization was a major risk, never mind what Thomas had in mind for the coming weeks. "That's precisely why we need something concrete. Real information, as it were, with some actual arts and crafts behind it," he explained. "Then we could convince them all to take the Illusion brews willingly--willingly is always the best way for it to be useful, helpful. It'll be like a party. A winter party. 'The Winter Party.'"
Last Edit: Dec 20, 2016 16:53:28 GMT -6 by Deleted
Continuing to watch him talk, Freya's lip curled into a smile. An event that would pull purebloods towards them. They were the ones who cared the most about their prestige, their image. Who would go to each and every public social gathering so that they could flaunt around in front of the rest. In front of people who had similar amount of power, influential, money. "The rest are people we could make a lot of good use from." Money and power was not all they had. Magic. Old magic that ran deep in their veins. Back and back and back along generations.
At the mention of coffee she returned to setting it up, having been momentarily distracted by the prospect of what he was suggesting. "The willingly should not be too hard," she mused. "Hand someone a drink at a party, and most people will take it," as she said that, she held out a mug of coffee to him. "If you had some compulsion charms to sweep in the outliers... people taking drinks does not suspicion on its own accord." The Winter party. Oh she liked the sound of that.
Thomas was grateful Freya could fill in the blanks. Sometimes he could go on and on, often on tangent after tangent, but his habits tired him out. "Yes, a compulsion charm...only when it's necessary, of course," he said idly. Now that he'd warmed up some in the house, he went about pulling off his gloves and boots, shaking more snow around his chair. His socks would remain on his feet, but he didn't see a reason to drink coffee in a house with his boots still on. "Thank you for the coffee.
"A great prospect, this idea of mine. I think the Society and the Institute will value it for great research purposes--the Institute especially. Distributing Illusion brews en masse isn't exactly a common practice, but if we can approve its creation and distribution from all levels, we'll cover our tracks." Thomas held out his arms and spoke loudly and dramatically, as if announcing to an audience: "'Welcome, everyone, to The Winter Party!' It will be as theatrical as it will be informative."
Last Edit: Dec 20, 2016 19:52:03 GMT -6 by Deleted
Freya watched in mild amusement as Thomas took off his gloves and his boots. Well, at least he seemed to feel comfortable. Or as comfortable as he could be, considering that he was still carrying his wand around the place. "Just to pick up those who do not immeadietely go for the drink. In small quantities it should be fairly easy to manage," and then everyone would be caught up in the illusion brews. She smiled. Excellent.
"It's a sensational idea," she said, her brain still turning over the details. "Covering our tracks should not be too difficult, if we are careful, at least in setting up the event. It may be covering what happens then, that could pose more of a problem," she gave a slight shrug, not particularly worried about that at this point. It was surely manageable with enough thought. "Theatrics are a nice distraction, like pickpockets, make them look one way, and then steal from behind."
Thomas knew nothing of pickpocketing from experience, but he nodded slowly at the simile. "Yes, I suppose you're right," he said quietly. "In any case, we need a place. A location. A stage for our theatrics. Setting up an exhibit and ushering in crowds of people, not exactly an easy feat. I'm thinking a field somewhere, somewhere we could easily discourage muggles from visiting with a few waves of our wands, but we all have a tendency to favor the indoors, don't we?
"Manors and mansions then, the older the better. Somewhere far enough from here to dissuade anyone from turning a suspicious eye toward you but close enough to easily transport them. Portkeys perhaps, but those are difficult enough to make without the sheer numbers. I suppose the World Cup makes good use of them from time to time, but we don't know how many people will be showing up....
"Imagine, scores of witches and wizards suddenly showing up in your living room." Thomas started to properly drink his coffee now. All this talking was wearing on him, but he was sure he would be fine after his mug was drained.
Last Edit: Dec 20, 2016 19:52:43 GMT -6 by Deleted
"Inside would be better, and certainly in this weather," her eyes drifted to the window, and the snow that was falling down past it. Perhaps a summer party could get away with that, but not in the winter. "A further benefit of indoors is rooms and corridors. Easier to lure people away and lose them, when they are not all in one big open space."
She took a sip of her drink. "It may be possible to hire someone out for the night. There would be castles or mansions or halls that can be hired - even if we have to step into the muggle world to obtain it." There would be something to be found. "Portkeys work for the world cup, because people are willingly grabbing them, it is harder to move those that are not quite so willing. Though that said, we wouldn't want the numbers we transport to be too great. Not too obvious that the event is explicately tied up with those that go missing."
"Precisely," Thomas said with a bit too much gusto: he banged his free hand on the table, but then he took another sip of his coffee as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. "Maybe a...a tavern or an inn with a conference room or a convention hall--somewhere with plenty of people downstairs and plenty of space upstairs, maybe that'll suit our purposes."
The muggle world was a possibility, but with so many magical people moving through, they would have to be extra careful with that option. "Do you know any muggle locations that would be willing to rent out without asking questions?"
Last Edit: Dec 20, 2016 20:21:49 GMT -6 by Deleted
"A place like that would suit perfectly," Freya said with a nod. The question was then finding a place like that. Which was another difficulty of its own. "Not off my head, no," she said. "But a further benefit of a muggle place, is that we would not have other spells to contest again, protective charms that have already been laid down. We have a canvas to weave whatever we want to." Along with whatever spells the Institute would want to put down, but that was somewhat of a different matter.
"What sort of time frame were you thinking? Winter clearly," considering his few mentions of a winter party. "But within the Christmas break, when the students are still around? Or further into the season?"
Thomas hesitated. "I think it easier to act when students aren't involved," he said quietly. He transferred his mug of coffee to his other hand and rested both against the table. "What do you think, Freya? I've come a long way and I've too many thoughts in my head as it is."
He was still thinking about (congratulating himself for) his great epiphany, but he wasn't going to pretend to already have all the answers. After all, the venue was still up in the air. Perhaps a muggle location far from civilization would suffice, maybe somewhere in a forest or on a small island....Thomas looked to the floor as he thought about everything, but he would pay attention if Freya talked to him.
"It would likely be easier without the students in the mess, yes," she mused. At this point, children might just get in the way, and Freya did not particularly want to deal with that. Besides, missing children created far more of a fuss than missing adults did.
"Then it depends on when would be best. January, while it is still fairly winter. The end of Feb, the end of winter, going into spring. Or perhaps even on the equinox, though that is not in winter, and is a few months away from here." She took another sip of her coffee thoughtfully. Did the date really matter? Would it be that important in the grand scheme of things?