19 March: Solidifying Alliances Who: Lucius Malfoy and Rodolphus Lestrange What: Discussion of Horcruces and the creation of a tenuous alliance. When: March 19 (Before the DMLE starts investigating) Where: Malfoy Manor Library Warnings: Typical plotting of other people’s demise
"Come in, come in. Dobby, please take Mr. Lestrange's cloak. To the coat closet, Dobby. Until he wants it back." Seeing the house elf retreat filled Lucius with frustration. He was still better than a new one would be, and it would disrupt the household too much to train a new elf.
The library was not as tidy as Lucius normally kept it, with a number of older books opened on the tables and Lucius had clearly been taking notes on something before Rod arrived.
Rodolphus handed the cloak to the house elf, keeping a small portfolio tucked under his arm as he entered. “Am I interrupting something?” He motioned to the room around them, trying to make sense of the books and things lain about. It was not a tone of judgement. These past few weeks had been long and now there was potential on the horizon. More importantly it was an unknown and he neither particularly cared for or trusted Arlo. Lucius, however, was an ally and someone who he knew he could count on for information if nothing else.
Dobby took the cloak away and Lucius hoped the embarrassing creature was detained by Narcissa. He'd rather pour Rodolphus a drink himself than try to get the elf to do it right. "No, not at all. I've got some of Father's unfinished business that I'm trying to wrap up and it's requiring me to do more research into his studies and interests than I care for. I hope your father left his affairs in better order than mine did." Lucius glanced over to the wet bar. "Would you like a drink?" He walked to the bar and began to make a drink for each of them.
“Yes, please.” While Lucius saw to their dranks, Rodolphus took a seat. It kept him from wanting to touch and skim through the open books. “Luckily, I had been rather hands on in much of the family affairs that there wasn’t much to sort. However, it is more his personal affairs that have intrigued me these days, especially in how they have also peaked the interest of Arlo Mulciber.”
Lucius let the physicality of the drink pouring keep him from appearing too interested in Rodolphus' opening conversational gambit. For a man whose existence was as intricately entwined in the hidden arts, Lucius had a few things he would not allow to be done via magic. Drinks required a human touch. "My father was unwaveringly confident in his dismissive evaluation of my character and prospects, from around age six. We keep his portrait in the privy, and refer to him as the Lord Privy Seal. My personal challenge for the next twenty years will be to refrain from spoiling my son as a reaction to my father's child rearing style."
He handed the older man his drink and sat in the other chair in the seating area. "So Arlo is interested in your father's personal affairs? They chose Nott to approach me about my father's . Nott's the smartest of them, even if he spends most of his time resting on Rowena Ravenclaw's laurels."
"How do you find your position as 'Mission Leader'?" If Rodolphus was in Nott's pocket, Lucius needed to know, but the conversation was delicate. A lack of zeal would not do if Rod was a zealot.
Rodolphus swirled the liquor in his glass. Nott and Mulciber were up to something, he had suspected after the show in the forest. The issue was he still didn’t know what. He had a few ideas. Resurrection and immortality most likely. The how was still an issue. “I find myself at a bit of an impasse. I would imagine that if something was entrusted to my father it was for good reason.”
"It might be that one felt inclined to trust our leader rather than the people who were not entrusted with such a duty in the first place. If the Dark Lord wanted Nott to have a book or Mulciber to have … something, would he not have made arrangements?" Lucius drank slowly and judiciously, dancing around the treason he was suggesting. Harrington's epigram came to mind. Treason doth never prosper. What's the Reason? For if it prosper none dare call it treason.. "Given the example shown of how minor infractions are handled in this new phase of things, there is little room for subtle disagreements over policy.
"Triumvirates are historically unstable. It's not impossible that the comity displayed recently will deteriorate until our three are Danton and Robspierre, or worse. Octavian, Lepidus and Marcus Antonius, perhaps. The Magisters of Ulm, after the fall of Filarion. One needs to be flexible to survive and prosper in parlous times such as those." He paused. "And one needs to find one's loyalty in friends and relations." That was the opening. He'd see if Rod wanted to take it.
Rodolphus would not have arrived, dangling information, if he wasn’t looking for an alliance. The Malfoys, regardless of how else he might feel about their … maneuverability were friends. And there was the bond between the two Black sisters that was not to be meddled.
“I don’t think it would be too bold of me to assume that we have shared goals.” Their approaches may be where the variance lay. “I am hoping that we might have an open exchange of information to better figure out exactly what our new leaders are trying to resolve.” Rodolphus leaned back in the seat, taking a sip from his glass. “Arlo asked me to recover a chalice of ‘great importance’ to the the cause, which may include contingencies to ‘cheat death’ as it were.”
"Let us hope that Arlo isn't haring off after the Thirteen Treasures of Britain to restore glory to the Hen Ogledd kingdoms of ancient Prydain. If he's looking for Pair Dadeni to restore the dead, I am afraid it doesn't work like he thinks it does." Lucius shook his head.
"I think we do have shared goals." Lucius leaned in toward Rodolphus. "It's difficult when one is in our position. We are natural leaders of our generation and it's better if we can rely on each other rather than our elders. They might not have the wisdom not to sacrifice us for their short-term goals. Nott visited me not too long ago. My father was apparently the keeper of a diary Lord Voldemort had been recording as a Hogwarts student.
"While I can imagine this would be of great interest to future historians of this era, and also to authorities looking to find his earliest associates, if Nott is interested in the diary as a magical vessel, that's another kind of thing entirely.
"Did you give Mulciber what he asked for?"
Rodolphus let the phrase magical vessel roll around in his mind a few times. Although truly there was just too much interest in boyhood diaries and journals. “I am afraid I have yet been able to locate the item in question.” He had a reasonable idea of where it was. He was just in no particular rush to acquire it. “I will, in relative short order, be organizing a retrieval team.
“I must admit that I am hesitant to simply turn over such an item. Quite honestly, I can’t say that I care much for the politics or agenda of most of the older generation.” Perhaps it was bias, but of them all, aside from the Dark Lord, Rodolphus truly only cared for his father and Rosier Senior. The others, including Arlo, seemed only to be playing exploding snap.
Lucius liked where Rodolphus was going. "Had it been meant for Mulciber, would it not have been entrusted to Mulciber? I personally suspect that my father would have made a duplicate of any special artifact entrusted to him, so as to deter the uncareful who attempted to violate his trust. If I do find this missing diary, I will have to exercise the same care retrieving it as if I were searching Baba Yaga's house for her spellbooks.
"As a historian, I cannot but think that such a diary would be worthwhile to save a copy of in any case. I shall find it, and then I'll have some decisions to make."
Rodolphus smiled, pleased to see they were not just men of similar goals, but similar plans. “My only concern would be if the duplicate does not produce the results that they intend. Although I suppose things can go missing and our fathers both knew how to keep their secrets.”
"I would not put it past my father to attempt to deceive me specifically. In addition to being morally bankrupt, he was pointlessly petty, may he rot quickly and unevenly in his grave. I might need to stress to Nott and Avery that my father had been experimenting with advanced concealment charms that disguised artifacts as if they were mundane versions of themselves, and tell them I hoped they could break my father's spells, but they were beyond me.
"Father did like a bit of challenging research."
Well, that was just about what he might expect from a Malfoy. “And I suppose that the Paris catacombs have more than justly earned their reputation.” It wasn’t quite so nuanced, but Rodolphus supposed it could work for a while, if only to delay things. “But what of you, Lucius, what type of challenge in the dark arts do you think that we might face now?”
"Now is a time for the Recondite Arts to stay hidden, building strength and letting others relax their guard. My heart is strong for the cause, but my head is working on contingencies and strategies. As our side is the side of the long game, we must play to our strengths. I have Nott's understanding that anything I say in public is an act, designed to lull the masses into complacency. As long as no one is foolish, it may be effective, regardless of what happens after.
"For me, I would like to study any artifacts, research why they are so important, and see what can be done with them to assure our future. It's not out of the question that I could turn over a well-studied item to our leaders, but one must protect one's self, family, and allies first."
"It would be a shame to turn something over to them and find it caused our leaders to have a terrible accident. Living with the guilt of that would be very difficult, indeed."
Accidents did happen. Rodolphus knew that better than most. “Not to mention terribly ironic that they were ill suited to handle what they sought.” Now, that was a play he could work with, it could even be maneuvered to buy someone else good favor or an escape should things become dire. Perhaps Lucius wasn’t entirely out of bounds in his want for contingencies plans.
Lucius nodded, as if that matter was settled. It helped to know that Rod was willing to consider harsh necessities. "I think if we had knowledge of two of the artifacts, we'd be in a position to know what we are abetting. In addition to the one I am tasked with getting, I am also in possession of an extensive research library. When you have possession of your item, you might want to bring it here to do some studies.”