Title: Checking on Construction
Artemidoros Etherium - January 3, 2011 04:05 PM (GMT)
Artemidoros was becoming tired of living in someone else’s house. However, there was nothing to be done about it until construction on his was finished. His landlady was a pleasant enough woman, but her shrieks at her small children made him wonder at times if she truly cared for them. They seemed better behaved about him, almost as if in fear of him, prompting him to wonder what the woman had told them about their new boarder.
Pulling his fur lined cloak closer about him to thwart the wind, he pushed the gate open with his walking stick and headed in what he hoped was the correct direction to view the construction site. His other visits to Hogsmeade had been hurried affairs, with a coachman to see him to his destinations.
He was pleased to discover that he did remember his way. Turning the corner onto Wellingtonshire, he focused on the far end, where his home would be located. Other than the fair number of workmen about the place, the exterior might have been finished. If nothing else, perhaps his presence would spur these workers to finish already. Anything that shortened his stay with the shrieking harridan would be a gain.
He made his way to the fence and stopped to watch the slow movement of the workers. Just like sap on such a cold winter day, they were sluggish, when they moved at all. Most of them had gathered around a fire burning in what appeared to him as a stone planter. He considered joining them, but remained content to stand by the fence in the hope of either seeing some work done, or barring that, meeting one or more of his future neighbors.
Roderick Elkins - January 4, 2011 05:28 AM (GMT)
Roderick had noticed the home that was under construction about a month ago. He liked to consider himself as observant, but when it came to his own neighborhood he relaxed just a bit too much. It didn't speak well of him, considering his occupation, but he was least observant at the Ministry and while he was out making calls. The construction itself seemed to be moving at a snail's pace. He'd gotten rather bored of it as the days had gone on, since it seemed that nothing had changed.
When he had finally thought to look across the street to check up on the status of the house, he was surprised to see that the exterior appeared to be completed. How had that happened? It had only been a foundation not that long ago... or had it been that long since he'd last checked? Standing outside of the property was a young man who obviously belonged to the neighborhood - the wealth that he had was evident by the style of his clothing.
Deciding that he ought to get to know his neighbors better, Roderick pulled his thick charcoal colored overcoat around him and left his home. Once Adrienne moved in with him, he imagined that she would want to meet their neighbors. It wouldn't do to admit that he didn't know them, despite having lived there for three years. Granted, he did know the Blacks, but he didn't think that his future-bride would be satisfied with only knowing one family on the entire street.
Pleasantly, he strolled up beside the younger man. He couldn't have been out of Hogwarts for long, Roderick thought as he noticed the youth in the others face. <font face="georgia" size="2">"Afternoon,"He greeted politely, <font face="georgia" size="2">"It's amazing how swiftly the street has filled up. When I first moved here, there were only two or three houses, including mine."</font></blockquote></font> [/dohtml]
Artemidoros Etherium - January 4, 2011 05:10 PM (GMT)
Artemidoros might have mistaken the motive of the gentleman who joined him, but is scarcely mattered. In his mind, this fellow was watching out for the neighborhood. Likely, he had seen a new face about and was politely checking out Artemidoros’ reason for being there. He heartily approved. Security of the community began with diligence, or so his cousin was wont to say. Perhaps he could rest a bit easier about the closeness of this street to some of the less desirable portions of the new town.
He turned to face the newcomer, taking in his attire a bit better. This gentleman obviously lived in one of the nearby houses, as he had assumed. He bowed to the stranger, tipping his top hat as was appropriate. He used these motions to cover the act of retrieving one of his cards from his pocket with his other hand. This he proffered to the older gentleman, making sure to switch it to his right hand first of course! After all, he didn’t wish to offend a potential neighbor.
“Good day, sir! I have come to check on the progress of my new home as reports indicated rather slow movement. I am pleased to see that they have finished much more of the outside than I had been informed. One could suspect that they might have heard of my coming.”
His eyes glinted with a bit of suppressed humor. Knowledge that he was to be married to the woman he loved, coupled with the freedom he felt travelling without family looking over his shoulder had moved his mood almost to a giddy state. He had been trained to function in society from a young age. It felt good to know that he could now put that training to use.
“I am Artemidoros Etherium, sir. I trust your day is going well. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
He would have chosen the word honor, had he known the man’s position. However, he decided to err on the side of caution. There was no telling who the older man was, nor what his position might be.
Roderick Elkins - January 4, 2011 06:37 PM (GMT)
The young man was rather cheerful. It was a great contrast between him and Roderick. The older man couldn't even remember the last time he had felt giddy. He was cheered when he spent time with Adrienne, but to say that he was downright giddy was another thing entirely. Ah, to be young again and feel emotions so much more clearly.
<font face="georgia" size="2">"Perhaps they did,"</font> Roderick said with a slight chuckle, <font face="georgia" size="2">"I had not noticed that the exterior was finished until just a moment ago."</font> He wouldn't doubt it. The longer the lower class men could stretch out a job, the longer they would get paid before having to move on and find another occupation. It was a rough business to be in and if Roderick were more of a modest man, he would have been thankful for his station in life.
The name that was given to him was incredibly long, but it helped to see it on a card. <font face="georgia" size="2">"It is a pleasure to make yours as well. I am Roderick Elkins. My house is there, the mahogany brick one,"</font> He dipped his head politely and gestured towards a home only a few houses away, <font face="georgia" size="2">"It seems we are to be neighbors. Is there a Mrs. Etherium, if I may ask?"</font>
If so, she was probably close to Adrienne's age. It might be nice for her to have another wife not so far from her. Perhaps they could have tea together and do whatever it was that women did when they became friends. </blockquote></font>[/dohtml]
Artemidoros Etherium - January 4, 2011 07:57 PM (GMT)
“There is not yet a Mrs. Etherium, at least not as my wife. However, I am engaged to be married when my fiancé has graduated from Hogwarts. This place is as much for her as any other reason. I chose to come and open business here for her sake. I am afraid that my dear Miss Asperhand might wither away if forced to hide away among Muggles. I am pleased to make your acquaintance. It is always good to know your neighbors. I must admit, however, that where I grew up, the nearest neighbors were a good distance away. As for the workers, I had thought that spending to build here might help the town’s economy. If not for that, I would have simply elected to use my uncle’s house-elves build the place.”
That was probably more than he had spoken to anyone outside of Eleora since he had been a child. He had plenty of questions of his own now, but no way that he could think of to phrase them politely. He supposed he could ask about Mrs. Elkins, but would rather have known of the man’s occupation. Mentioning Eleora’s name was almost a breach, with her not present. Still, they were engaged and that change the rules a bit. In fact, to get out of the contract now would be nearly impossible, even if either of them were to change their mind.
“I suppose I should look into building a counting house on High Street. However, it seems prudent to wait until some of the other changes in my life settle down a bit. I have been out of school less than a year and should be married before another is gone.”
Then he had a thought. The man’s last name rang a bell. His cousin, David, had dealings with the Ministry recently over a flying carriage. Aside from some crazy Irishman screaming about the banshee, no one had been harmed. However, the Ministry had been rather disapproving of the project. It seemed the name Elkins was on the letter of reprimand, if he recalled.
“I suppose you to be Mr. Elkins of the Improper Use of Magic Department. Forgive me if I am incorrect. I seem to recall your name on a letter to my cousin.”
A loud crash drew his attention back to the house. Aside from some shouting and running about, he couldn’t make out what had happened. The workers seemed distressed by whatever it was, however.
Roderick Elkins - January 5, 2011 08:30 PM (GMT)
They were nearly in the same boat it seemed. Except Roderick's boat was much more aged than Mr. Etherium's. They both were engaged (granted, Adrienne did not know of it yet) and would hopefully both be wed by that time next year. <font face="georgia" size="2">"Congratulations, I imagine that to be rather exciting for the both of you,"</font> He said cordially. It wasn't often that a young man just out of school could afford to have a house built for himself and his future bride. Roderick assumed that he was incredibly wealthy then, to be able to do such a thing as well as afford to build a counting house.
<font face="georgia" size="2">"I would look into building plans at least,"</font> He advised in an attempt to be helpful, <font face="georgia" size="2">"At the rate High Street is filling up, it seems like new shops are cropping up every day. I can't be certain that there would be room for anything else to be built a year from now, unless it slows down between now and then."</font> It was an estimate and a very rough one at that.
Roderick had signed so many papers and files that he could not keep them straight anymore. He could hardly remember who he had had to send a letter of reprimand and who he had not. <font face="georgia" size="2">"Yes that is I,"</font> He replied politely. He hadn't a clue who Mr. Etherium's cousin was nor what he had written him a letter about. With the increased population in Hogsmeade, there were so many incidents regarding the improper use of magic that Roderick's department had nearly doubled in size.
The crash stopped him from saying anything else - the workers scrambled and appeared rather upset. Roderick's sharp gaze flitted about, but he was unable to determine what exactly had happened. <font face="georgia" size="2">"What's this?"</font> He muttered to himself.</blockquote></font>[/dohtml]
Artemidoros Etherium - January 6, 2011 11:02 PM (GMT)
He turned back to his companion to speak, still unable to decide what the crashing had been. Even more workmen moved about the site now, frantically trying to do… something. His experience in these matters was nonexistent. He could only assume that loud cracking sounds and the sign of panic in the workers was a bad thing.
“Yes, it is an exciting…” He was interrupted by a second snapping sound. Then the entire front of the house fell forward, like a domino or the ramp on a ferry. He looked on in surprise as the foundation was revealed, but no other walls. The entire front had been a sham, much like a stage prop.
He shook his head. “I wonder if I can hire a different company to construct a counting house. This group seems a bit shady,” He said. Artemidoros had wanted to handle this himself. Obviously, the impatient tone of his letter had inspired them to put him at ease. He wondered how far along they could have been if they had continued to work. He might get his cousins or uncle involved in this after all. He had been a student until recently. He did not carry the authority they did, title or no.
“Your home, I would assume, is in fine shape. Perhaps there is hope for mine. I would think that they could have carried out a better deceit with magic.”
Roderick Elkins - January 7, 2011 05:59 PM (GMT)
The interruption was a great one. The entire front of the house fell forward, revealing a complete emptiness inside. It had been all an act, like a mask of makeup painted over an ugly woman's face. You wouldn't know until she washed it off, and by then it was usually too late. Roderick was glad that Adrienne didn't wear heavy makeup. He didn't think her beauty could be faked.
<font face="georgia" size="2">"Indeed,"</font> He agreed. It proved just the sort of company they were with an attempt to fool the man paying them to build it. <font face="georgia" size="2">"My home is incredibly well built and sturdy... and it also has walls inside of it. I imagine these types did not receive the magical education that you and I have. I doubt any one of them even knows how to use a wand."</font> From what he had seen, most of the lower class didn't possess their own wands. They had no need for them - the magic that the wand could create surpassed their level of intelligence.
After a moment, he added, <font face="georgia" size="2">"Would you like me to get you in contact with the company I used? Their fares are rather steep, but you will know for certain that the job is well done. I figure if it is good enough to build the Ministry's building here, than it certainly will be good enough to build my own home."</font></blockquote></font>[/dohtml]
Artemidoros Etherium - January 7, 2011 07:02 PM (GMT)
“Oddly, workmen in our home district do not require such supervision. They strive to please in hopes of gaining further custom from my family. Much of the construction in the area is underwritten by us; I should have thought that the same rules did not apply here. Indeed, the prime reason for my visit today is that I can cancel the contract without penalty if they have not made a certain amount of progress. I see that is the case. I would very much appreciate being put in contact with your company.”
Once more he bowed slightly to his elder. The pity of the situation was that this company was only supposed to build the outside of the house. As there would be a great deal of wizard space used on the interior, his family and a more known and trusted firm were to do that work. Not only did the space need to be enchanted, the interior structure needed to be built.
“I can much better afford expensive work done correctly over shoddy work that must be repeated. As I intend to underwrite construction work here, this company may find they have failed more than they gambled.”
At least Eleora did not have to deal with this. She was still safely in school. He quirked a bit of a smile. Disclosing this information to her was necessary, of course. How he presented it would make a fun game. She was already sharp enough to know that he was presenting things in a rosy light. Many families seemed to neglect the talents of the wife. His would not be one of those. Her mind was a valuable asset. As much as he could get away with inside the realm of the proper, he would encourage her participation. Then again, a good bit of the smile simply came from thoughts about his fiancé.
Roderick Elkins - January 9, 2011 06:39 PM (GMT)
Roderick nodded. It was a shame that such poor work was a common thing in Hogsmeade. He didn't know what the reason was for it - perhaps since the village was so small they had grown used to being so near to the upper class society. They did not strive to impress them, but to simply swindle their money from their pockets. It was merely a theory, but Roderick placed the blame on the people of the lower class.
<font face="georgia" size="2">"I believe I have a card here somewhere,"</font> He said as he searched his pockets for his card holder. It was classy and made of a dark silver and looked fairly small in his hands. He flipped through a few different cards before he found it. <font face="georgia" size="2">"Ah, here it is,"</font> He said. It had an elegant but not overly done design. He passed it to Mr. Eherium, <font face="georgia" size="2">"It may help put you a bit higher on the waiting list if you tell them that I sent you."</font>
He had paid them a good chunk of money. They were eager to do whatever building needs he might have and often checked in with him to make sure he still did not want to change anything in his home. Most likely, some things would need to be changed for Adrienne. He figured her taste was very different than his own.
<font face="georgia" size="2">"They build rather quickly. My own home was done in four months time,"</font> Roderick added, <font face="georgia" size="2">"And that includes the magical aspects of it."</font></blockquote></font>[/dohtml]
Artemidoros Etherium - January 11, 2011 11:14 PM (GMT)
“If they can handle the interior and other compressed spaces as well as the shell, it would save me a bit of trouble to finish the place. I was going to have people I know come to do that work, likely at a great deal of expense. I will look into it.”
He took the card long enough to read it. Then he took his wand. Giving the dark wood a swish, he tapped the card and duplicated it. Once again, he marveled at living in a place where he did not have to hide his ability as if it were some shameful disease. Muggles were not bad people. They and the restrictions placed upon behavior around them were simply inconvenient at times. He handed the original back to Elkins as he put away the wand and then the card with his other hand. A sudden thought crossed his mind: had he used his wand in his left hand? That had been a habit he had long ago thought broken.
“Thank you for the card and advice. I will surely make use of it. I hope my fiancé will be available when the inside is to be done. I have an idea of what is necessary, but I expect she will have her own ideas. Since the home is her domain, I would hope that she will speak up to make it pleasant for her. Squeezing in a ball room might be interesting.”
His eyes sparkled again as he thought of the mechanics of trying to please Eleora. Even with the quality of wizards he intended to use, there was a point of diminishing returns in expanding space. One could not fit Victoria Station into a tent.
Roderick Elkins - January 16, 2011 01:13 AM (GMT)
Roderick watched as the card was duplicated. He tucked the original back into his card holder which was then replaced safely into his coat pocket. He nodded, <font face="georgia" size="2">"You are quite welcome. It will be nice to have neighbors so near to my fiancee's age."</font> Hopefully, it would keep her occupied. She had a tendency to flirt and grow bored quickly, he had discovered, and he hoped that with neighbors her own age they might keep her entertained better than he could.
<font face="georgia" size="2">"A ballroom would be quite a feat,"</font> He commented. Not everyone had room in their homes for such a thing. The parties and gatherings held at their home would no doubt be a favorite among those invited. Roderick didn't have a ballroom. He honestly found a ball to be pointless, other than to find a future wife. He had done so and did not planning on attending any others again. Ever. It was a bit ironic, even, because he had not even found his future bride at a ball or social gathering.
After a moment of surveying the man's facade of a home once more, he spoke again, <font face="georgia" size="2">"I suppose I ought to let you be on your way Mr. Etherium — I wouldn't want to keep you."</font> Roderick himself had some files he needed to look over at the Ministry before the day's end.
<font face="georgia" size="2">"It was a pleasure to meet you and best of luck on your home. I hope the company I suggested is much more satisfactory than the previous one,"</font> He said with a polite bow.</blockquote></font>[/dohtml]