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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1893. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

Where will you fall?

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Queen Victoria was known for putting jackets and dresses on her pups, causing clothing for dogs to become so popular that fashion houses for just dog clothes started popping up all over Paris. — Fox
It would be easy to assume that Evangeline came to the Lady Morgana only to pick fights. That wasn't true at all. They also had very good biscuits.
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got skin in the game
7 October, 1893 — Wellingtonshire

Oz was still riding high on yesterday's news... and high in this sense did not necessarily mean euphoria so much as it related to the out-of-body experience brought about by opium use. The Minister's endorsement was good news by any measure, but he was not sure he had really caught up to it — to all the consequences and potential implications of it. He had found himself pacing more often than usual yesterday. He'd written a flurry of letters with different campaign ideas to his friend from the club who was ostensibly managing the campaign, then later that day second-guessed and retracted them all. His brain had been in motion all yesterday and accomplished nothing. He didn't even recall which of his family members had — helpfully but forcefully — prodded him out of the house today, but he had to hand it to them: being out and being social was good. It was at least providing a distraction while he waited for this new reality to set in.

Or it would have provided a distraction, if he'd let it. Instead he'd been talking about — what else? — the campaign most of the night. It happened without his trying — someone would offer congratulations on the endorsement, another would ask what sorts of conversations he'd had with Minister Ross privately, and on and on — but they were three card games in and he wasn't sure he'd been properly distracted once. Even when he was finally left without a ready conversation partner, he couldn't get too far from the topic. "You worked at the Ministry once, didn't you?" he asked Carmichael as he considered his hand of cards. "Or am I thinking of your brother?"
Elliot Carmichael / Cassius Lestrange

MJ is the light of my life <3
Elliot was — looking forward to the end of the month, when the events were eerie, and when he no longer had to think about politics. But he had not expected the club to be much of a reprise, so he was not surprised when Dempsey brought it up. (Especially because Dempsey was running.)

"George is still there," Elliot answered dutifully, "But I used to work in the Spirit Division." In hindsight, the work had served him well — he could be eerie and off-putting and was still not the most eerie and off-putting thing there. Of course, someone had gone and ruined it by murdering people.

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Oz's first thought was that it was a rather odd choice of career for someone in their situation — that was, someone who did not need to work. Then again, Oz thought every career was an odd choice of career for someone who didn't need to work. He'd gone over thirty years of his life without having a formal job, and didn't see his opinion on that changing any time soon — unless, of course, he won the election, in which case he wouldn't really have much choice in the matter. But still: some people needed money and had to work, and he understood that; some people had passions and wanted to work with them, and he supposed he understood that, too. Carmichael going to talk to ghosts as a day job didn't really seem to tick either box.

"Oh. My sister married a spirit," he said with a shrug — this was the only relevant thing he could say on the subject, because to be honest he was unsure if he had even known the Spirit Division existed prior to Daphnel's death. "Though she married him before that. He was alive for — two months of the marriage. He's a spirit now."

MJ is the light of my life <3
Elliot nodded at the mention of Daphnel. "I met Daphnel," he said, in a neutral tone. Hopefully Dempsey did not hold Elliot treating Daphnel like a ghost instead of like a person against him; he really had been operating under the rules that most ghosts understood, in Elliot's experience. "After he died, I mean. But that was recreational — I've been out of the Ministry for over a decade."

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Oz was unsure how anyone could have met with Daphnel "recreationally" after he'd died. Oz knew his brother-in-law well enough to know he'd been engaged in all the usual things wealthy men did in their free time: cards, quality whiskey, cigars, et cetera. The man had never impressed him as particularly interesting, though. When Oz tried to imagine someone just talking to Daphnel, without the benefit of props like poker chips or wine glasses, he could not imagine what either of them would say. Of course, he'd always been biased against Daphnel, since he'd taken such a sudden and (to Oz's view) unfounded interest in Christabel. He'd hardly known him until he'd set about looking for reasons to dislike him... and possibly this was how Oz would have treated any of his siblings' suitors, but at least in this case he'd been right. Daphnel was dead and Christabel was unhappy, which probably justified all future efforts Oz made to be obnoxious to suitors on his siblings' behalf.

"I've got a friend in the Spirit Division, too," he mused, thinking of Morgan. "Between that and the brother-in-law you'd think I'd have more to do with ghosts, but —" he shrugged, as if to say not my thing. Presumably they were Carmichael's "thing", if he was chatting ghosts up recreationally (it was possible that Carmichael and Daphnel were just friendly, and their conversation hadn't been due to the ghost thing, but based on Carmichael's phrasing Oz doubted it).

"Why did you want to work there?" he asked. Carmichael's situation in life was similar to Ozymandias', and Oz had never once seen the appeal in a mundane day job. Which — technically he was campaigning for a day job now, but there was a significant difference between being Minister of Magic (potentially, if he won — which he probably wouldn't, but he could) and lowly field work and filing reports.

MJ is the light of my life <3
Elliot smiled at the other man's shrug — most people did not have an abundant interest-level in ghosts or spirits, and Elliot only did because he'd decided to take Ghoul Studies when he was a child.

Dempsey asked an interesting question, in that it was one Elliot wasn't asked very often. "Being a gentleman of leisure did not suit me as well at that age," he settled on, after a beat. "And I had a N.E.W.T. in Ghoul Studies, so it seemed like a good fit. But I have the Sight —" Elliot's lips curled up in a self-deprecating smile "— and I did not think that ghosts would mind nearly as much as people did."

This seemed like a good, if honest, way to explain things without saying that he had an interest in the morbid since he was fifteen — given Dempsey's family, Elliot did not expect him to mind morbid things, but one never knew who else was listening at the club.

"It turned out I didn't mind the ghosts but had little patience for the Ministry," Elliot said. (This one was a lie, but why dredge up the past?) "So should you be elected, I wish you better luck with it."

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Carmichael's answers left Ozymandias with more questions than anything. What did it mean when he said being a gentleman of leisure didn't suit him? Being a gentleman of leisure was just doing whatever one wanted all day — what about that could not suit someone? Probably he meant the lifestyle that most young men in their position fell into, Oz decided. Attending parties and spending half of one's waking hours drunk or high to some degree wasn't for everyone, sure. And maybe there was a clue in his response to that end. He'd said spirits wouldn't mind if he had the Sight, but Oz did not know of anyone living who minded, either — for example, it hardly made any material difference to a casual conversation like the one they were having right now. Presumably if Carmichael had a vision about him, Oz might mind... not that he would be offended by it, probably, but he could certainly see not wanting to hang around Carmichael if that was the sort of thing that happened often. So maybe that was it: maybe he'd been generally unlikeable, because of a propensity for seeing futures no one wanted to see. An intrusive future could certainly have put a damper on a session of party potions. Maybe he even had visions more often when he was drunk, the way some other people tended to get more handsy when they were intoxicated, or quicker to anger — wouldn't that have been an inconvenient wrinkle? Oz glanced at Carmichael's drink, wondering at whether it was the same as his.

But even that didn't quite make it make sense in Oz's mind that Carmichael wouldn't have been suited to being a gentleman of leisure. So he was a weird drunk, and didn't want to participate in wild parties — fair enough, but there were plenty of other young men in similar predicaments who instead spent their time on academia, or other more solitary pursuits. Maybe Carmichael lacked the inspiration for academia? It could be rather aimless if one didn't come in with intention.

But even then — if Carmichael wasn't inclined towards youthful parties, and wasn't intellectual enough or creative enough to choose some academic pursuit — hobbies? Mistresses? How did one look around at the whole wide world and find nothing worth spending ones time on, rather than taking directions from someone else and writing up paperwork about ghosts? Maybe he wasn't interested in women, and that was the subject of mistresses closed (he wasn't married, Oz knew, so it wasn't an unreasonable conclusion to draw), but he couldn't have gone hunting or bred exotic birds or become a dueling expert or tended a greenhouse or written novels? Oz couldn't conceptualize it; he came from a whole family of people who split their time amongst hobbies, and none of them had ever selected low level Ministry desk work as a path of interest. Even Endymion and Don Juan, who had careers for the sake of appearances (at least, Oz suspected both of them had a career mostly for the sake of appearances, not for any intrinsic motivation — and certainly not for any extrinsic motivation, as he knew his father too well to suppose either of them had ever stopped receiving an allowance) had at least chosen things that were baseline interesting. He had expected that Carmichael would have some reason for selecting such a strange entrance career, when he probably could have done anything at all, but it turned out there was nothing driving it at all except a lack of taste for the alternatives. What in the world?

In any case, Oz was still quite happy to shift the conversation away from that potential line of questioning and seize upon the last thing Carmichael had said instead. "Little patience for the Ministry," he repeated. "I'd love to hear more about that — what specifically left you frustrated with it. Not that the Minister has the power to entirely control the experience down at that level," he allowed, "But I like to hear people's perspectives about what's working and what isn't, to get a better sense of what sorts of changes might need to be made. Were I elected," he added, almost as an afterthought — and it was sort of a cheeky addition, like a performer on stage breaking the fourth wall for a moment to acknowledge the artificiality of the stage they'd been placed on. This was all a bit of song and dance, of course, but it was the one he'd been singing for weeks now, so at least he knew the lyrics well enough.

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   Elliot Carmichael

MJ is the light of my life <3
Elliot was happy to talk more about failings of the Ministry. He took a sip of his wine and set it back down before answering. "Were you elected," he said, echoing Dempsey's cheeky tone. "I struggled with the hierarchy. It felt like good ideas on how to innovate were dismissed, in favor of — whatever the easy, old idea was." That felt like a simple way to say 'my boss did not listen when I knew my colleague was going to kill someone,' and less horrible, besides.

"That's what it came down to, really — the Ministry moves slow," Elliot added. "It's resistant to change, and not just in the Wizengamot. And some departments were — so deeply purist. As a halfblood —" he shrugged. They'd had two progressive Ministers for Magic since the assassination of Darcy Potter, and yet little had changed in magical Britain. The muggle world seemed to change slowly, too — but Elliot did not know it nearly as well.

"And I wanted to study my own interests. But that had little to do with the Ministry, of course," Elliot added, as a belated afterthought.

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