2009, the first year of the takeover. All early LR posts from the first year of the takeover are here.
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January 9th

A large podium had been set up in front of Flourish and Blott's who had graciously allowed this public speaking to be set up. A fair sized crowd had showed up and congregated around the podium as Damien Noland ascended the steps. His usual small group of supporters stood toward the front, but many other curious individuals had gathered to see what the fuss what about. There was even a man with a large microphone so that the speech Damien was about to deliver could be broadcast over the wizard wireless. There were also a few reporters who would most likely bombard him with questions when he was done. Many a wizard might find speaking in front of a crowd nerve wreaking, but Damien didn't mind it at all. It was what he did best. He gave a broad smile as he received a light cheer from the crowd. He then raised his hand to quiet them, so that he might begin his speech.

"For those of you who do not know who I am, my name is Damien Noland. I am here today to address some very important issues, several of which that have reached a crisis point. I would like to start off, however, with an apology to all those families who lost loved ones in the recent massacre on the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. No words or condolences I could express would help relieve the utter pain and misery felt by such a devastating loss." He paused, allowing for a moment of silence. He had been horror struck to hear of the events that had taken place at his old school. For him, it had been a place of friendship and learning, not of fear and murder. He had been quick to create response and today he was enacting it, as well as expressing his ambitions for his future career.

"I use the word massacre, because that is exactly what this is: a massacre. Do not let the Ministry deceive you with their talk of 'magical terrorism', because they are the entire reason this happened in the first place." He let this bold statement sink in, and then continued on. "Our current Ministry of Magic is in an utter state of chaos. It has turned into one giant bureaucratic mess where problems get tossed from one department to another, until disaster strikes and they scramble to find someone to blame. This fault does not fall upon the workers, but the leaders and organizers who sit in their thrones far above the reaches of responsibility for their mistakes. The time has come for this to stop." There was a murmuring through the crowd, mostly in agreement. The opinion of the Ministry of the general population was undoubtedly low.

"So who does the ministry blame for this tragedy at Hogwarts? Terrorists. I will tell you now that there are no 'terrorists' to blame for this, but Death Eaters." Now there was a loud murmur through the crowd, shocked that he would say this. "No, I do not like to admit it, but eyewitness accounts that have been covered up under the Ministry's propaganda attest to it. Now many of you might be asking, 'Why would the Ministry try to cover up something like this?', and rightly so." Damien reached into his suit pocket, pulling out a piece of paper which he unfolded and held up for the crowd to see. "I have here a list of a dozen or so Death Eaters that have never been caught and many more incidents that had never even been looked into. Now this situation has come back to haunt us, and instead of taking responsibility, the Ministry tries to divert the blame. The system has failed us, and thus, in a sense, we have failed ourselves." His face had become solemn as he stuck his list back into his pocket.

When he looked back up at the crowd though, he had a small but hopeful smile on his face. "But do not for one instance think that all is lost. The time has come for change, for a new system: one that will admit to mistakes and one that will actively work to fix them." A small cheer came up from the crowd in response, and he waited for them to calm down. "I stand at the forefront of this change, and I implore you to join me. Together, we can make a difference a create the kind of government this country deserves." The crowd erupted even louder at this, and he gave the large grin he was becoming known for.

Now was the time though, for his grand announcement. He nodded and smiled as the crowd finally began to settle down. "Now, as one of the leaders of the support for a change, I have an announcement that serves as proof that I am not just all talk. As most of you are certainly aware, the Ministry has shut down Hogwarts indefinitely, with no plans for its reopening in the visible future. This is a terrible mistake. While a short period is deserved for grieving, we cannot give up on the futures of our children. They are the future of this country, and they deserve to be able to finish out their education within their own country. Yet the Ministry seems keen on giving up; this setback may be the worst in Hogwarts' history, but if their is one thing that stands true in the spirit of the school, it is that unending perseverance to move on. I hold that spirit close to my heart, regardless of what the Ministry tries to feed me."

"That is why, I am pleased to announce, that I am opening a private school for witchcraft and wizardry to serve as this country's place of learning while Hogwarts remains closed."
A quiet explosion of talk was now whispering through the crowd, some with excitement, some with curiosity. "I have received many generous donations from several sources who wish to remain anonymous in support of this school. All parents of students who formerly attended Hogwarts will soon be receiving letters by owl that will explain my plans in much greater detail. My plan is to have as little transition difficulty for the students who wish to further their education in their own country. The school will be keeping all of the same classes and many of the programs of Hogwarts, picking up where the school year left off. At this time, I would like to ask that any former Hogwarts Professors wishing to resume their teaching positions during the interim will be readily hired by the school at equal pay. I almost like to think of this school as a 'Hogwarts away from Hogwarts'."

The crowd was bustling and restless and the time had come for him to make his finishing remarks. "More details on this school will readily follow suit in the coming week or so. However, I cannot stress enough the safety precautions set up for the students. I have invested in advanced magical defenses that surpass even those of Hogwarts. Safety of our children is key in such times as these. Also, as this school is private, it falls outside of the jurisdiction of the Ministry. The Ministry may give up, but I refuse to allow the people to. The time has come for change and only we can enact it!" He ended his speech with a triumphant call into a roar of cheers that followed. He smiled and nodded as he made one final announcement, practically shouting to be heard. "I would like to thank Flourish and Blott's for hosting this event, and I shall remain here for a small amount of further questioning." The reporters rushed to the front of the crowd, quills scribbling away.

Damien was excited really. He loved the limelight, but more significantly he loved being able to make a difference - anyone could if they just had the will to. He smiled, thinking about all the possibilities of a better tomorrow. He was leading the winds of change forward, and it was a great feeling.
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