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Fern-hunting parties became popular, allowing young women to get outside in a seemingly innocuous pursuit with less rigid oversight and chaperoning than they saw in parlors and drawing rooms. They may have even had the occasional romantic meetup with a similarly fern-impassioned beau. — Bree


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Bunny Devon for Anne Devon. My fair lady of the night
Separating was also not a great idea, though they weren't doing great at staying together anyway. If she were to volunteer to be the human sacrifice.. well... Hogsmeade had plenty of debutantes anyway...

Barnabas Skeeter in CYOA: Group D


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Well-Traveled

Complete threads set in ten different forum locations. Threads must have at least ten posts, and three must be your own. Character accounts cannot be combined.

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#1
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April 11th, 1888 — MoM Careers Day Tour — A Conference Room

Ernest had no idea why he'd been required to participate in this little field trip for the children. He wasn't particularly looking forward to interviewing potential candidates for the position of Unspeakable, and was hardly hoping to encourage more of them to pine after a career they weren't suited for and waste his time with unnecessary interviews. Even if he'd wanted to impress them, however, which there was no point in making any attempt to do, it wasn't as though he could tell them anything about what actually happened in the department.

But being the Assistant Head came with all sorts of things he didn't want to do, and this was just another of their number. Ernest had dutifully waited in the conference room while the students filed in. His own son was among them, but that hardly changed his overall opinion of their intelligence as a group. After giving a speech of about four minutes in length which mostly enumerated the security measures in place around the department — and therefore what might happen to them should they unexpectedly wander towards the Department of Mysteries while they were performing some other menial task here at the Ministry — he drew towards what he expected to be the conclusion of the little meeting.

"We do not liaise with other departments here at the Ministry, so unless you plan to attempt to become an Unspeakable, you will never know what occurs on our floor." The emphasis was on attempt; as he was chiefly responsible for conducting the interviews for new members of the Department of Mysteries and greatly resented the imposition on his time by those who were unsuitable, he had begun taking quite a bit of pleasure in verbally destroying applicants once they'd disappointed him. "Even the Minister of Magic is only privy to very brief updates on the natural of our work, and these messages are delivered to him personally. So I suppose perhaps one or two of you can hope to gain some insight in that way," he said with a dismissive shrug. "Anyone can aspire to be Minister, after all."

In Ernest's book the qualifications for Minister were significantly less than those required for his department; the election was a popularity contest and the actual position more tedious than useful. He had never understood Urquart's decision to leave the department to pursue the Minister's seat. He had no particular opinion on Minister Ross one way or the other, except his general derision towards those employed in law enforcement. It certainly didn't take brains to lead a collective of government-sanctioned thugs in bullying the population into preserving law and order.

Open to any students on the MoM field trip or their chaperones/professors.


#2
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After listening to his father impress upon them their inadequacies for several minutes, Merriweather was rather hoping that no one here would realize that Ernest was his father. He sank in his seat, hoping to avoid any semblance of attention, be it fatherly or peer.

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#3
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Kristoffer had known since the Assistant Head had started speaking that this was Mr. Mulciber, his dormmate's father - and as such, he had spent much of the speech with his eyes boring into Merriweather a few seats down in idle amusement. He was hardly impressed by Mr. Mulciber's speech or his position; after all, the Department of Mysteries was practically the Lestrange family's home-from-home.

Not that Kristoffer actually had any interest in it. The bitter secrecy of it all already sounded tedious, and he had only perked up at the mention of becoming Minister, however disparaging the man's tone had been about it. Minister, at least, made an impact, gave one some recognisable authority; if the Department of Mysteries were quietly pulling the strings of government behind the scenes, Kristoffer would be mightily surprised.

Still, Kristoffer raised his hand to ask a question, because behind-the-scenes had never been his style. "Would you say the work you do is important, then?" He said lazily. Did any of it make a difference to the wizarding world in the long run, or did they just do nothing all day? (Maybe all the secrecy was just to make them seem more mysterious, because otherwise no one would actually care.)

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#4
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Ernest had really been hoping that they all just shuffled out of the room and left him to go back to what he had been doing, but it seemed that someone felt inclined to detain him with inanities. It was utterly unsurprising that the culprit was a Lestrange — which Ernest deduced from a glance down at the gaudy visitor badge all of the students had pinned on to their Hogwarts robes, not because he cared enough about the Lestrange family to recognize its not-even-fully-adult members.

"It's impactful enough to have ensnared at least half of your family tree, Mr. Lestrange," he said with a rather passive shrug. He didn't care much what the young Lestrange thought; he wasn't trying to recruit him. If anything, he would have preferred to have had less of the influential family in his department; they already felt as though they ran the place and could do as they pleased. "The actual importance of what we do can only be fully appreciated generations later — when the records are eventually declassified. I imagine you've covered a good deal of the department's prior research in your History of Magic class," he added lazily. Of course, a good deal of it wouldn't have been covered at all; there were still things the department had started working on a hundred years ago that hadn't been declassified. Not that any of these children would ever need to know that. They were content to merely use tools as they were presented to them; it was not theirs to wonder why. Which was why none of them had what it took to be an Unspeakable, or to really achieve anything incredible with their life.


#5
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Watching Kristoffer Lestrange interact with his father was only slightly less painful than hearing his father lecture had been. Merry was still focusing on remaining unnoticed - he just wanted to survive the meeting - but his father's insulting Kristoffer got his attention. Before he could stop himself, he snorted audibly.

Welp, he'd lived a good life.

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#6
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Kristoffer wasn't sure he believed any of his wider family had gone into the Department of Mysteries for the impact of it, and he couldn't picture many of them being pleased, in fifty years, about having made the world a better place or anything. As far as he could tell, the department took his relatives who lacked the charisma and visible interest in people to do anything else... although perhaps it was their clever way of isolating themselves from a world of morons.

One's work being remembered generations later but not now, however, did not set Kristoffer's world alight, and he had never paid a great deal of attention in History of Magic, anyway. What he did pay a great deal of attention to, however, was the snort that came at Mr. Mulciber's dismissive answer, and that came from his son.

The muscle in Kristoffer's jaw tensed. He had been going to slouch again, now that he'd pretended to be interested, but if Merriweather thought this was so funny, he ought to join the conversation. "Ah, I see," Kris nodded politely at the man, adding innocently: "And is it a career passed through the generations of your family tree as well, sir? Do you hope your son will go on to join you there so that he can appreciate its importance too?"


#7
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The obvious answer, in Ernest's opinion, was no, of course not, but he did have at least enough paternal pride in his son not to be tricked into openly admitting that he thought the boy's intellect was negligible. Not that it was Merriweather's fault; most people were idiots, after all. It was just the way of the world, and nothing his offspring had done had ever managed to convince Ernest that he was in any way above 7the average in that respect. He also, however, thought that whether or not Merriweather was suited for a career in the Department of Mysteries was none of Mr. Lestrange's business. If the young Lestrange ended up in the department, after all, it would be purely the result of nepotism, not any actual talent or intellect.

"I imagine my son has enough of a brain to find himself a suitable career, independent of his family tree. I've always thought the tendency of some families to dominate certain industries or departments showed a lack of inspiration in their junior members," he said, a little snarkily though he kept his tone at least superficially professional. Sparing his son only the briefest of glances, he returned his attention to Mr. Lestrange and added with feigned curiosity, "I'm surprised by your interest in Mr. Mulciber's choice of career. Were you hoping to follow him into it? I had never imagined Merriweather to have such devoted friends." He might have used the word lackeys instead of friends, if he'd thought there was any way to get away with it without seeming blatantly teasing. He hardly wanted to get a reputation for picking fights with children, after all, and he was really only continuing the conversation until some professor got their wits about them enough to usher the group out the door and let him go back to work, but in the meantime... well, Mr. Lestrange was annoying. Ernest could enjoy taking the time to bruise his ego slightly, if the alternative was just to stand around and listen to him being a little shit.
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#8
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This was easily the most awesome thing Ernest had ever done, and Merry hid a grin behind his hand. Taunting Kris Lestrange? In public? Awesome as fuck, thank you very much. It was probably going to get him pushed down some stairs later, but it was also distinctly worth it.

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