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The School / Re: [Library] Karma police, Arrest this man
Last post by Harold Prendergast - March 03, 2021, 11:09:00 pm
Harold listened with deep fascination. Maledictions were firmly out of his field, but listening to an experienced practitioner of the arts - no matter how aggravating they could be over the smallest things - was always a place where one could learn.

"Chrononautics are a not-well understood field, I'm afraid to say. My former colleagues in the Ministry were looking into the matter; there were theories and rumours about layering stacked Hour-Reversal Charms such that their inherent instability could be managed, but the conventional Time Turner arrangement is only reliable for five, though a successfully stable configuration for six was discovered, though it required a substantial investment of time and magical effort to work." Harold didn't dwell on the finer points of what else it took. It was better not to remember.

The implications of what Montgomery was saying began to dawn on him, but only in the loosest, most abstract sense. "The implications of bloodwork are not something I know a lot about. However, it occurs to me that if wizarding blood is involved in some kind of spellcasting, the result can only be potent."

He sat back, sipped some more of his tea. "Malediction is hereditary, you say? I shan't be surprised if this is the outcome; I have yet to read up on any common circumstances, but blood magic always has a hint of the macabre about it and it tends to have an effect or two that shouldn't normally be so. But it seems to be the way it is. I believe you may be onto something with the notion that an enchantment powered by blood sacrifice might be difficult to disenchant. Adding more blood magic to the mix is likely to only escalate the situation."

He set the tea aside, and attempted to wrap his tongue around the professor's name. "Mmseed. Mmsad. No, I'm sorry, I shall have to take you up on the kind offer of 'Sid', unless you'd prefer Montgomery? I rather suspect we both have our preferences where tea is concerned, and a strong cup of the 'English blend' with milk is a viable challenger for..." Harold laughed. "There we are, debating over tea as a weapon. I'm not certain I would win such a battle if the situation were reversed; English tea with milk may be a particular forte of mine, but I would be defeated by a Turkish or Moroccan blend, especially served with mint or fruit. I would naturally enjoy - but the fruit would get the better of my stomach, I fear."

Harold's face solidified again after his random bout of laughter. "And you needn't concern yourself with hitting me with insoluble quandaries; in this hall of learning, I daresay if there is an answer to be found, it can be found here of all places. I rather choose to believe that the solution, well, simply has yet to be located. I have my own little drama, specifically concerning the field of chrononautics, and all of the... how did you put it... 'running of the numbers' has yet to apprise me of a solution."

He stared a little into the middle distance. "You are, of course, familiar with the application of Hour-Reversal Charms. What if I told you that I believed it were possible - for only a fraction of a moment - to stack the charm in reverse? You see..." Harold paused. He got the impression that this malediction business was deeply personal and troubling and felt it were only too polite to reciprocate somewhat. "I believe I can trust you with this... My wife and I were, well, researchers for the Ministry. Department of Mysteries. She was experimenting with what I could only describe as a prototype for an Hour-Traversal Charm. I believe my wife is trapped a few moments ahead of us in time."
Of course, he went on to be sweet, endearingly Southern Harold. Quoting Shakespeare, umming and ahing his way through any awkward bit of conversation. An English country gentleman? What did that even mean? Well, if Rose knew any, Harold seemed to fit the brief. The moment felt so strange, she struggled to come up with any response, save a brief nod.

What he said next though, quickly started to feel quite uncomfortable. He was trying to compliment her. Maybe. She wasn't sure and clearly there was more misunderstanding between them yet. He probably thought she was a widow or had an acceptable excuse for her situation. She should probably fix that. She didn't want to, but it wasn't a very honourable thing to do to mislead the man.

He didn't give her much time to respond though. Before she could even say a thing, he was on to explain himself. Really, he didn't need to. It was her fault that things were complicated, not his.

"I haven't read your letter," she admitted, suddenly feeling quite embarrassed. "I didn't quite feel up to the scolding I no doubt deserve."

When he started to talk about time travel she paled a little. Nothing good ever happened to wizards who meddled with time.

"Oh, Hal! Please, say that's not true! Surely, that isn't safe."

She was about to give him a lecture about how unsafe and unsound his behaviour was when he came back to the subject of his wife. It had awkwardly gotten between them before and she wished he hadn't brought it up. What he said though, was enough to make Rose feel quite ill. Mrs Prendergast was missing?! Clearly, it must have been for at least days, maybe even weeks? What held true in the muggle world was that the longer a person had been missing, the more unlikely it was that they were still alive. For all Rose knew, the wizarding world wasn't any different.

"How long have you been looking for her?" Rose heard herself ask. There was another question though that was even more pressing. "And did your research do that to her? Is she stuck like Mintumble?"

Rose remembered Mrs Addington telling her about the case. Unspeakable Mintumble had been stuck in 1402 for days. People had been unborn. The ministry cover up operation had been enormous.

Of course she didn't really think Harold was at fault. He seemed so innocent to her. But she needed him to say it, needed him to reassure her that he had not done that to his wife. This was all too much. What in the name of Merlin had she gotten herself into by being friendly with this man?
Harold took the glasses off his face, and rubbed his eyes. The weight of the situation hit him full force.

"Well, no, I see what you mean but I rather suspect there has been quite a misunderstanding."

He sat down in an adjacent seat, sat back and tried to come across as relaxed rather than simply awkward. "First and foremost, I am not a pureblood. My mother was from a non-wizarding family that unexpectedly got a Hogwarts letter at eleven. I may dress the part of an English country gentleman - rather than a pureblood wizard - mostly because, quite frankly, I like to look the part and because my family encouraged me to look the part. The apparel oft proclaims the man, as I think it was Polonius said, and my father was rather a fan of the concept."

"I don't see you as disgraced; on the contrary, doing what you rather have to do to, well, keep a roof over both your heads - who would dare ask for more than that? I think you have done a remarkable job and while your Grace is, well, a little on the forward and a touch presumptuous side, I rather find it quite endearing that someone has such unquestioning loyalty in the universe. Would that we all could do such a thing."

Harold stopped, looked down, hands in his lap, suddenly seeming quite inward and quiet.

"I don't know if you read my letter but I wasn't... exactly as forthcoming about the details as perhaps I might have been." He paused, and then very clearly - though quietly - said his piece. "You're not going mad. The mugs don't just appear in places they couldn't or shouldn't be."

Harold looked around, making sure they were alone. His voice dropped to a slightly lower conspiratorial whisper. "I do a lot of reading. A lot of reading. I have a Time Turner, enabling me to read even more books and make better use of the time I have here before class begins. I lose track of time and leave my cups all over the place." He looked up, not quite meeting Rose's eyeline. "I may have even used it a time or two to collect mugs that made their way into your office, when you weren't around. I touched nothing else, I swear, just to retrieve my mugs when I had remembered they were there."

"I'm sorry I gave you impressions that aren't true. And as for my wife... she told me she would be back in five minutes, but to someone with a Time Turner, that shan't always mean what it seems like it should mean. I mostly came to Hogwarts to study, and to see if I could track down where my wife is. Or, rather, when."
Magical Ireland / [Scotland] Letters
Last post by Eoghan MacLiuthar - March 03, 2021, 06:56:25 am
Eoghan left his bedroom and headed to the owlry. In his hand was a parchment to his dear friend, Silas Bennett.

May 7, 1969
Inverness, Scotland

Dearest Silas,

it's been a while since I've sent a correspondence. I want to apologize dearly for the lack of communication. It's been quite hectic at the nursery and I'm afraid it keeps me apart from those that are most important.

The nursery is coming along nicely, I must admit. I have been able to expand the business and have started to dabble in rare and exotic plant life. In addition, I have been able to employ a full time worker, and assistant who has become integral in the running of this business. They have been helping me with tending to the crop, which has led to me having a free fortnight. If it isn't too much of a bother, I'd would be so fortunate to spend the evening discussing your newest creation.

At the same time, if I may please I'd like to explore the library. There is a book about the uses of Mooncalf dung that I'd like to borrow. I have been exploring the uses of different fertilizer and their magical impact on the growth of the plants that have taken crop in the gardens. As much as you enjoy the books of philosophy, I too, enjoy reading of the plants that grow amongst us.

Through this labor, I have come to recognize the delight of my self-esteem. It seems as though I'd become disconnected from myself when I reside in the city and worked the corporate job. It's strange to say, but I've finally found something that I can claim as mine. It  reminds me of the times you wrote from Russia and learned of the enchanting charms of experimental magic. I'd felt quiet jealous of that vigor you discovered and hoped to find and achieve that burning passion. From an abrupt change in my life, I finally understand how unadulterated knowledge can let us live with purpose.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Your friend, Eoghan.

Carefully he melted blue wax over the candle and poured the wax at the seal. He sealed the letter with his business logo. Eoghan tied the letter to Georgie, the small tawny screecher, to secure it for the flight. The owl cooed as Eoghan tied the short note to his friend and he watched as it went out into the chilled night sky.
Since parting in Dublin Farren had been mildly obsessed with whatever was unfolding in her life regarding Declan. She'd never dated someone but her second date was scheduled before the first was technically over. Seeing as he'd purchased her a bush at the flower market and he'd made it very clear he wanted to spend time alone with her she had invited him to her house to help her plant the bush. It was a good enough excuse to give them both a reason to spend time together in private without over analyzing it.

Despite advertising the afternoon as a casual, cozy affair she had been preparing the house and gardens all day for the event. Not only was this the first ever date she had planned it was the first time Declan would be coming to her home. It had occurred to her that inviting a man who had very plainly said he wanted a relationship to the house purchased for her by her dead husband was a risky move. However, alternatives were more complicated. Her family's homes were all occupied by relations and even if those estates were sprawling and everyone busy it would be easier to deal with the thoughts of a dead man than a brush with her very alive mother.

The house sat in the middle of one of Belgravia's most elegant crescents. All of the rooms on the ground floor, presumably the only place he might venture, had been tidied and polished. The mid-1800s mansion retained all of its original architectural details but reflected Farren's keen elegant style with meticulously curated classic furnishings. She expected he would pass right by the elegant formal rooms though. The only displays that might interest him were on display in the foyer. Notably absent from the entrance to the home were any signs of the Rosier family that had purchased her this house. Instead the elegant white staircase was lined with portraits of Abercrombie women including her mother, grandmother, great-great grandmother in Wizengamot robes, and an ancestor who had been Headmistress in the 1600s. Opposite the stairs was a handsome marble fireplace for the Floo. Above it was a large portrait of Farren looking regal in a jade gown, her massive Rosie family diamond ring, and the Abercrombie family tiara. The painting had been a wedding gift to Clive from her Grandfather. When Clive had died she'd removed their wedding portrait from the foyer and dragged this one out from Clive's study to ensure anyone who crossed the threshold wouldn't be confused about just whom this house belonged to.

Declan wasn't coming here for the house though. He was coming over to plant a bush - at least in theory. So it was the elegant glass and white washed steel frame conservatory on the back of the house that would be the focus. It was just as opulent as the rest of the house with elegant furnishings nestled amongst large exotic plants. The two sets of glass double doors into the garden were open so the fresh summer air could fill the space and the crups could come and go as they pleased. Her garden was quite the magical feat and clearly the product of some excellent magical skil. From the conservatory you'd have no idea her house was surrounded by other terraced homes. Lined with old trees, a hedge wall, the garden was easily three lots wide. A meandering gravel path lined with overgrown flowers and a large grassy patch in the center.

Earlier in the day her elf had hand delivered a note to Declan so that when he came looking for the house he might find it amongst the other 19th century homes despite it's protective charms. On a heavy vellum card embossed with her initials she'd scrawled the location out to him:

Number 6 Wilton Crescent, Belgravia
P.S. You can't miss it. The crups will be screaming bloody murder when you arrive

She'd put on her favorite casual summer dress. A pale blue tiered cotton dress with a low square neckline. Apart from her silver family locket her only accessory was an silver art deco hair comb pushed into her hair. With wavy lengths effortlessly piled on top of her head she'd let the summer heat give her victorian styled updo a lived in romantic look not bothering to fix the strands that had fallen loose to graze her neck. In order to distract herself as his arrival approached she'd had a small bundle of mail sent over from work. She received dozens of letters a week from readers and made a point to go through one's her staff deemed interesting. Sitting on the sofa in the conservatory she worked her way through the bundle. Letters of merit set on the table before her in a pile on the left the rubbish tossed in a pile on the right.

From the back of the garden the crups came running. He was here. Of course the crups knew first, they could always tell when someone was walking up to the threshold of the doorway. Barking they ran through the conservatory past her sofa into the house. By the time they got to the front door the butler will have opened the door for Declan. She had given up fighting with the old man about greeting her guests herself long ago. Seeing as Declan was an O'Dwyer he would be familiar with the protocol in such houses - ladies didn't answer their own doors. It was a familiar pattern. The crups barked harmlessly at the guest in the foyer. The butler hushed them and shooed them. They would take off, their little nails clicking on the marble floor, heading towards wherever in the house she was. Rushing back to their mistress to sit guard at her feet and protect her.

Inhaling deeply she closed her eyes for a moment. She'd hosted people in this house a million times. She never got butterflies in her own house. This time though was different. Yapping as they bound over the threshold back towards her the crups signaled that her butler and Declan were just a few paces behind. Turning to look to the door she sighed heavily trying to relax, it was no use, her heart was pounding.
London / Re: [Viridian] Ol' Lads and Ol' Tales
Last post by Eoghan MacLiuthar - March 03, 2021, 03:11:38 am
It wasn't much like Eoghan to become overly involved in the politics of the wizarding world. He'd ignored much of it in his youth, and had tried to pretend that it didn't exist. However, the honest truth was that it did exist and it permeated the wizarding world. He figured that Declan did not see as much of it in the same way that Eoghan had. Simply their status difference in society would dictate that their exposure, and perspective, would be different.

For Eoghan, this felt close to him because his mother was becoming involved in the squib riots, as she was a protector of the people, an Auror. He had pride in the accomplishments his mother had made in the force, though he couldn't seem to extend the sense of pride to himself. It was a challenge for sure. "Yeah, I cognizant of that. It's just...hard." he frowned as he grabbed the drink from Declan. "You see, my mum's involved in the mess because of her job and I just worry about what will happen with that bunch."

Eoghan took the spoon and dipped it into the honey before mixing it into his drink. The honey seemed to disapate in the drink despite the drink's temperature. "Yumm. Thank you." He took a swig of the drink. "I might take the afternoon off."

He took the conversation back to the point. "As I was saying, though, maybe with some liquid courage I'll make it to that Ó Dálaigh fellow." His lived experience of anxiety made it difficult for him to engage in the world in a meaningful way, sometimes. It deeply frustrated him, but he didn't know what he was supposed to do to really address it in a meaningful way. Could Ó Dálaigh do something about that? He did work with memories. Maybe if he obliterated his early memories he would be fine? He mentally shrugged.

Excitedly, Eoghan looked to the pink liquid. He became intriqued at it. "Wow. Maybe we could trade!" He grinned. It would take some time before the affects of the honey would hit them.  "I will try that out." He took the vial of the pink liquid and dripped some into the depressing orchid. It almost reminded him of himself.
Magical Ireland / Re: [Temple Bar] Kingdoms of Rain
Last post by Declan O'Dwyer - March 03, 2021, 12:11:13 am
"Like I know anything about that stuff either," he replied softly. "I've mostly been keeping myself busy with work." Sure, there had been some rumours about him every now and then, but nothing serious, nothing formal. "But we can figure that out together. I want more from life than a politically advantageous match. I think you do as well." She'd done the politically advantageous thing already. He hoped it didn't hold the same appeal anymore it once must have.

Finding words to say felt more and more difficult by the minute. He was content to spin her around and he enjoyed holding her. More talking, and things would get serious and deep. It was late and perhaps some of that how exactly and when and where was better left to the next day when their minds were fresher. Though he didn't want it to be true, the evening was winding down.

What he liked though was that there was much that remained unsaid, much he hadn't shown her, much they hadn't yet done. There were things to look forward to, things to hope for. And she'd told him she wanted him in her life. "And just for the record, you'll struggle getting rid of me now. I had a wonderful evening. I can't believe we ever let anything get between us." Maybe that wasn't quite the answer she was looking for, but just friends, as nice as it could be, was not enough anymore.

It was getting late, and he felt slightly dizzy from dancing. Though part of him wanted to stay it would hardly be proper to keep her past midnight.

As they headed back to their table, he noticed that the bush he had bought for her still hadn't bothered to flower. There went his plan of asking her for a second date right there and then. Had he been too distracted by her to notice that he'd bought a dud? Oh well, she'd have a random green shrub then. What did it matter? He could ask her out anyway, magical once in a century blossoms or not.

"When can I see you again?" He asked simply, as they picked up their belongings. Time to take Farren home and start saying their goodbyes. For now.
London / Re: [SANCTUARY] I'm living in twilight
Last post by Odhrán Ó Dálaigh - March 02, 2021, 10:10:54 pm
Abercrombie? Really. Well, the man in front of him had to be a high animal then. Odhrán had heard the name before, but it was about seven rungs up the ladder from where he found himself. London high society, sacred purebloods - he knew a little bit about it, that stuff had been among the aspirational goals of his father a long time ago. Before he'd gone to Azkaban. Before their lives had fallen apart.

He gave a wry smile, overcome by the strange realisation that meeting this man was among the many things his father had once wanted for Odhrán. Well, here he was and the sensation of it was underwhelming. Not that he had anything against Abercrombie - just that getting to meet him didn't feel like it was worth all that his family had sacrificed in their ill-advised attempts to ascend in society.

"People go as far as possible, when given the authority to do so," Odhrán said distantly still distracted by the thought of his father. He hadn't thought about him in some time.

"If it were just one person acting, there would be limits. But there are no bounds to what a wizard is willing to do in the name of another. I only did as I was told. I am not responsible. Someone cast the Imperius Curse on me."

He seemed strangely detached, repeating these words. The defeated look in his eyes, made it obvious that he had heard these words before to justify a great many things. After all, he didn't just see patients who had their memory taken, but also those who really wanted to forget. Sometimes, he had patients who wanted to forget what had happened to them. But the worst kind of patient, the people that made him sick to the stomach were the people who wanted to forget what they had done.

They were the fuel of Odhrán's nightmares, the root cause of why he had stopped believing in humankind some time ago. One of the reasons he needed grounding. One of the reasons he struggled to hold on when he had a rough day. Nobody ever admitted guilt. Nobody ever wanted to make amends. No, they just wanted to move on. There was no such thing as remorse.

"Truthfully, that's one of the ... cleaner cases I could have shown you. So far, not that many, but they are becoming more frequent. Maybe five or six in the last year that I have seen. Probably more over at St. Mangled's. I run a small, private clinic. I'm not usually where people come as a first port of call when something's wrong. I only get referred the cases when folks like Dankworth and Audish can't fix it."

"So, not that it's any of my business, but are your ministry mates doing anything about this mess? I wouldn't mind a sound night's sleep again."
The School / Re: [Library] Karma police, Arrest this man
Last post by M. B. Montgomery - March 02, 2021, 09:02:03 pm
"... near infinite," Msaed finished for him.

"I am afraid I came to the same conclusion on that." He sighed. "And of course, attempts have been made by healers before, combining thaumaturgical energy. When I was younger, I looked into solving this chrono-nautically, but that approach gets you nowhere with third- or second-generation victims. The turners don't really like spinning that far."

"I have known for a while that solving it necromantically probably gets you around the curvature towards an asymptote problem, but the amount of sacrificial blood needed to make that work... I am aware of a scholar, and I'll use that term very loosely here, in Khartoum that was trying to research in that direction. I think he's right, but obviously the implications..."

He gave Harold a concerned look. The other professor didn't seem like the kind who had dabbled in the Dark Arts or had seen much of it up close.

"I've never found anyone willing to tell me what is required to cast a malediction, but I suspect that the Khartoum theory on this is plausible. Blood sacrifice to cast. Therefore, a direct counter is unworkable, not something you can try."

His tone had gone quite dark and the haunted expression in his eyes said it all. There had been a point in his life when he had considered it. He'd debated if he could lift a malediction if he sacrificed his life in the act of doing so. What had stopped him at the time was the rather chilling realisation that just his own life was likely not enough.

Msaed took a moment to regain composure. "I've since tried a new line of thinking. Okay, this is not very good, but let's say we write off the first-generation victim as ethically unsolvable, maybe that point of transference between generations gives a better opportunity to attack where the spell isn't refuelled by more blood sacrifice..."

He stopped himself. "I'm sorry. I probably shouldn't hit you with an unsolvable problem when we've only just met. You can call me Msaed if you like," he chuckled briefly, "If you can pronounce that. Or Sid if you can't. That might be easier. Or Monty if you can beat me in a duel, but then you said you were too tea-like for that. Though, just between the two of us, I'll have you know I've been defeated by English tea before. More than one cup of the stuff, especially with milk, and I'm struggling. I reckon your chances wouldn't be all that bad."

It was a bad joke. He knew it. But the mood in the room had grown so heavy he wanted to cut through it somehow. His colleague hadn't signed up for this. Maybe giving him a bit of time to digest wouldn't be the worst idea he'd ever had.   
London / Re: [SANCTUARY] I'm living in twilight
Last post by Pyxis Abercrombie - March 02, 2021, 08:14:38 pm
Pyxis stared blankly at the older man as he shared his occupation. The Pureblood didn't bother with using Legilimency to ascertain the legitimacy of his claim when Odhrán elaborated. There was no point; his companion was far too skilled at Occlumency. The twenty six year old resisted the urge to frown as the other man spoke of his need for grounding. It was something he could relate to. He had come across some truly horrid things during his work for the Unspeakables. Pyxis knew what it was like to feel burdened with the worst of humanity, to need a tether, a light in the dark, anything that would stop him from spiralling deep in to the abyss. The Unspeakable decided he couldn't hold his actions against the healer.

Pyxis had opened his mouth to say as much when the image of a man suddenly appeared in his mind's eye. The Pureblood fought hard not to recoil as he came to realise just how badly damaged the man was. Anyone who knew him wouldn't have described the Abercrombie as the softest of men, but the sight before him made his stomach churn. How could anyone treat another human being like that? Pyxis was no healer, but even he knew enough to realise the chances of the victim ever leading a normal life again was slim. Pyxis had been wary when his Cousin Farren spoke of a lunch with the self-proclaimed Lord Voldemort six years ago. While he was all for fighting to defend Pureblood Culture against the insidious attempts to replace it with crass muggle values the idea of doing so behind a figure using the French for flight from death as a pseudonym didn't sit well with him. If he had any doubts before the healers vision had eradicated him. He could never get behind someone who could do this to another human.

"It did cross my mind yes" he confirmed simply as he considered what he should say next. The Pureblood knew he needed to be very careful what he said lest his reluctance to join Voldemort got back to the wrong people. "I had heard rumours... of a man who was trying to rally Purebloods behind him. I must confess I did not realise he and his followers had taken things that far." Pyxis was careful to hide the disgust he felt; the words were delivered in a bland matter of fact tone instead. He knew this was something he would have to discuss with his Cousin Farren, perhaps even show her in the Pensieve his grandfather kept in Harlington. If Voldemort and his followers were willing to go this far they'd have to be very careful indeed.

The Pureblood took a deep breathe before he decided to take a gamble and be honest with the man. "My name is Pyxis Abercrombie. I work at the Ministry of Magic." He wasn't surprised Odhrán hadn't heard of him. He was only mentioned in the media as a side note while in the company of his Cousin Farren. However, he'd be surprised if O'Dálaigh failed to recognise his surname. The Abercrombies were one of, if not the best known, families in their world after all.

"I know you can't give names, patient confidentiality and all that, but can I ask, off the record, how many cases have you come across? Are the victims all injured to that extent? Or was this a particularly grievous case?" The more information he could gather on what was happening in their world the better. Pyxis knew his Aunt Victoria and her mother in law Farrah were enamoured with Voldemort, but they wouldn't participate in torture, would they?
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