April 17th, 2098

14:47:50 [Kaust] Laughter, she hadn’t heard that in a while… or rather, she hadn’t heard it from herself in a while. In fact, ever since coming to London she’d felt a few things she hadn’t felt in some time. Sure there was despair, constant and overwhelming but beyond that a sort of odd sense of content from just being surrounded by people. Sure there was the team, rowdy and odd in their mannerism and certainly stalking about gave her an odd sensation of foreboding along with memories she didn’t quite understand but among these last few days had been some interesting happenings too. She’d made friends after all, the therapist was going to be so happy! Or coldly indifferent, she was never sure. Nontheless she was laughing (mostly because she’d managed to sneak off from the supervision of a fan-attacked teammate). Perfect! Hayden’s walk is one with purpose, her state of dress still a fantastic mess of undone tie and wrinkled shirt but she’s sporting her professional team scarf and German hat. She wants to be recognized, not by fans or scary students but by a very special lady~ She’s skipping off to see Kat again! Hoping that by lurking about her booth like a serial creeper the broom maker would magically show up again! Oh joy!

15:01:42 [Hippolytus] When one is walking around during personal free time, there is that sense that it must count. When walking around on the clock, however, one is more inclined to flights of fancy for that small, everyday thrill of “I’m totally getting paid for this right now.” And, professional as he was, Hippolytus Botts was not above stopping into a restaurant that he knew to have a very nice loo. Just to use it and pick up an order of chips on his way out. Today he was supposed to be doing a couple of ask-arounds, so as long as he hit all of the points he was supposed to hit, he could do whatever he wanted with the time between, couldn’t he? So he strolled along at a leisurely pace, Winifred perched on his shoulder where she occasionally pulled at his hair to try to convince him to hand over a chip. Her true purpose here was to hold the list of names he was tracking down. Also she needed the exercise. Ever since his parents had stopped speaking to him this latest time, she hadn’t had a lot to do.

15:01:44 [Hippolytus] Hip speared one golden chip and swished it around in the vinegar and salt that had pooled in the bottom of the carton before offering it to the little barn owl with a wicked grin. Repulsed by the vinegar, she shuffled indignantly to his other shoulder. The Auror laughed and speared a few more chips before stuffing them in his mouth. And just as he was trying to chew the mouthful down to a reasonable amount he could properly close his lips over, he ran into Hayden Kaust. Because of course he would run into Hayden Kaust when he’d just crammed a fistful of chips into his mouth. “MMF!” He stopped dead in his tracks and had to double over a little with the effort to swallow the whole shebang in such a hurry, then promptly started coughing on the vinegar. “Oh newts- sorry- sorry! It’s you, isn’t it-!”

15:27:33 [Kaust] The booth was in sight and empty, the usual coming back in fifteen minutes sign a delight and a shame but the woman wasn’t to upset. No, she’d spoken with her already and that in itself was a great miracle. She felt complete enough, but greedy…. If only she could steal away her time just once more? She knew what she wanted to request—“Gack!” Then she’s sent stumbling a bit, only to whip around with a snarl more inhuman than what it should have been. Granted, she did cover it up with a cough and a huff—nothing to see here, don’t pay any attention to that! “J-jah, it’s me… ah, unfortunately.” She gave a slow blink, looking the fellow over. Did she… know him? She’s seen him somewhere—the school? She can’t really place it. “And du are?” Oh, wow look at all those chips.

15:38:29 Hippolytus finally recovered from his coughing fit and dabbed at water eyes with the cuff of his robe. On his shoulder, Winifred had puffed into a content little sphere to witness his distress – she reckoned he had it coming. “Yes – sorry. I simply wouldn’t have expected- …” He cleared his throat and tried to salvage a bit of dignity by getting the pitch of his voice in order. “That was unexpected.” He smoothed a hand down from the collar of his robe and took a deep breath to make up for all of the hyperventilating he had to do to clear his air passage. “It’s just – oh, Hippolytus Botts, by the way – I remember watching you play when I was in school. I’m a fan… y-you know of the Quidditch, not the-“ His hand flipped around on his wrist as if he was trying to summon some kind of phrasing that wasn’t incredibly rude. “Er… well, obviously, neither of us would be… of all that… ker-.. fuffle.” Really? We’re going to call THAT a kerfuffle? Okay. “But Quidditch! Yes. Fantastic.” Winifred pulled his hair again – had he forgotten that he was on the clock? If he wanted to shut her up, she’d suggest a few chips. He pulled one from the top and offered it to the owl.

16:30:06 Kaust gave a nod as Hippo choked and sputtered in front of her. She looked a bit confused but otherwise seemed okay with the meeting. “I’m sure it vas.” A soft chuckle at his watery appearance before she cleared her throat. No need to be rude. “Herr Botts?” So he recognized her from when she’d played, oh so very long ago… or now rather as well. “Haha, vell dat ist good to know.” She motioned toward the booth that Kat owned, her smile still on display but not so much for the clumsy Hippo fellow. “I vas just waiting on someone but I dunno if she vill come. Vat about du?” For a moment she’d watch Hippo toy with his irritated bird—-and idly wonder how good it would taste held tightly trapped beneath massive paws—but shook her head at the antics.
16:41:12 [Hippolytus] “Ah-yes… Like the-… Like the beans.” Did he REALLY need to bring that up? He rarely did and honestly, it was an easy enough name that people generally didn’t need any clarification on what he was saying. Maybe he’d just wanted to be slightly impressive too. Never mind he didn’t even like the candy that had brought his family into the wizarding inner circles to begin with… let alone the fact he had nothing to do with that particular business. He wished he could swallow the mention of it now. “Er… horrible things. Anyway…” He glanced back over his shoulder at a currently vacant booth – one of hundreds that lined the alley and made it rather difficult to navigate these days. Hippolytus never had the best sense of direction, so with most of his go-to landmarks covered by flamboyant booths, he could look for a single paltry shop for hours, even if he stopped there every week of the world. He startled a little when he realized she’d ended with a question. One that he wished he had a better answer to. “Y-I-… Oh just…” He looked down at the carton of soggy chips he held in one hand. “Just… here for the chips. Turning again, he squinted at the booth Kaust indicated. “The broommaker? Are – you’re not swapping yours out, are you!? Er… well, I mean, you probably know a good broom when you- I’ve a Firefly myself.” Oh GOD, she wasn’t going to care!

17:40:31 [Kaust] Hippo rambled a lot! It was almost hard for the slow thinking Kaust to keep up. Yet she still smiled none the less, content with the company. “Did your grand papa make das candy?” She’s curious and Hippo seems so very uncomfortable with this explanation that she can’t help it. “I’d never give up meine broom but I am interested in another, possibly, for different activities. I vanna… travel.” That would be nice, being alone and mindless while flying over an ocean. The things she’d never been able to do when working for Katherine. She should do what she can while the woman was ignoring her and skip the country, several countries. “E-eventually, du know. After some stuff and things.” She went to literally sit on the booth, swinging her legs in a childish fashion as she stared at the sign. “A firefly! Dat ist gud broom! Und relax, are du nervous? I dun bite—” A pause… “Ahaha, generally.” Least not for another 26 or so days.

17:59:51 [Hippolytus] For the second time in twenty four hours, Hippolytus wasn’t sure what to do with the food in his hands, so he just held the carton with both, much to the frustration of his owl. She continued to periodically peck at his hair while he completely ignored her. “The… candy, yes. Well, no – he’d be a… third great uncle or something,” he said, glancing away. Really, he shouldn’t have brought it up. He looked relieved when she mentioned keeping her broom – he knew more than a few whose fantasy Quidditch teams depended on her and that broom’s stats. Not that he’d bring THAT up either. He didn’t want to look like too much of a goofy kid – especially not while in work robes. He watched her take a seat casually and, looking up and down the row for a moment, moved over to lean on the boot opposite her where the awnings nearly touched above. “Travel? By broo aching buttocks after a few HOURS on a broom. “Who wouldn’t?” He went to prop his shoulder against the stall pole, missed and tried again before succeeding and folding his arms as casually as he could. He perked up a little when she complimented his broom of choice. “Do you think so? I was never – Never much good at Quidditch, but now I put a lot of miles on mine for work.” When Hayden urged him to chill out, he responded with a very nervous giggle, which he promptly swallowed, controlling his tone. “Er. Oh, well. Very sorry. I don’t meet many…” He wafted a hand at her,” …celebrities.” Was there a word that meant a famous AND infamous person? The Germans probably had one. “I think I kicked someone out of his chair at one of your matches over a call when you knocked a Russian into the stands. You know… kid…stuff.”

19:00:41 [Ophelia] Oh gosh, oh no, oh man, this was bad!!! The flowers—they wouldn’t stop screaming! Hands trembling, Ophelia would lean forward and brace her palms against the counter, her gaze falling on the screaming bundle of azaleas before her. “W-wait, shhh…” So, she’d screwed up. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. You’re not being very fair,” she argued, butclearly the azaleas were having none of that. “You’ve scared everyone away, you can stop now!” It was an experiment that had gone horribly wrong—the half-empty potion bottle within Ophelia’s reach proved as much. Surveying her immediate surroundings, she was horrified to find that the shop was virtually empty, her customers frightened off by the screaming flora. Tempted to just throw the flowerpot against the ground and be done with it, Ophelia would instead reach into her robes and tentatively procure her wand. “I didn’t want to have to do this,” she lamented, then pointed her wand toward the offending flowers. Casting a Silencing Charm, the azaleas would immediately fall silent but continue to twitch and writhe as if struggling to scream in spite of themselves. Ignoring their continued movement, Ophelia would quietly pocket her wand and round the counter, her gaze still focused on the flowerpot. “You’re usually so agreeable,” she remarked. Grabbing the half-filled potion bottle, Ophelia would approach a nearby sink and pour the unholy concoction down the drain with a heavy sigh.

19:07:54 [Kaust] No sign of Kat at the booth and Hayden couldn’t practically stay there forever. Eventually, if she wasn’t careful, one of those rowdy players would come around and snag her away and if she wanted to keep her sanity she’d need to keep avoiding them so after some small talk she’d offered, slyly, to walk around with Herr Botts. That was probably why they were currently munching on sticks of meat, meat that she had—slyly—suggested Mr. Botts pay for. Wonderful! It’s just when she finished off her sticks that some sort of odd screaming began, screaming that was taking place on the inside of a flower shop. “Oh dear.” Was someone in trouble?! The screaming is cut off though, even more suspicious! With a roll of her shoulders she’d motion for Botts to enter the shop first, you know incase a dark wizard was in there and firing blindly. Yet, no worries, she’ll back him up by sliding on in second. Oooh~ Pretty flowers. Pretty writhing flowers… man all that twitching motions remind her of tortu—Happiness, happiness
19:07:57 [Kaust] and sunshine.

19:11:57 [Gloriana] Diagon Alley. Ugh. Glori hated Diagon Alley. She barely tolerated it before and now she wanted to shake the buildings down into rubble. But there she was, pushing through the crowds with a coffee cup that didn’t smell much like coffee. “Geoffame!“ She elbowed a portly gentlemen in a particularly tightly-knit crowd around one of the Veela booths. He barely even noticed, and Gloriana looked like a frazzled mess coming out of the throng. “Fuckin’ cunts, the lo’ of ya! ‘Em Veela’s don’ wan’ nothin’ ta do with ya!“ Nobody even shot her a cursory glance. She spat at the crowd and turned back toward… wherever it was she was stumbling to get to. Approaching a flower shop, she heard piercing screams. “Oy! Tell ‘em flo’ers to knock it off er I’ll burn ‘em!“ So much for Gloriana: The Fun Drunk. Meet Gloriana: The Even Nastier Bitch. (She obviously didn’t see the pair who were approaching the same shop.)

19:26:05 [Hippolytus] Just… taking a walk with Hayden Kaust. Why not? Winifred was strutting from shoulder to shoulder, but he ignored her and the sense of urgency she was trying to instill in him. To be fair, he’d had a VERY taxing work week for this, that, or the other reason and he’d been sufficiently busy today – he’d even side-quested a little and helped a few shop owners clear out a pixie swarm. So this was really cutting the afternoon short. Just… ignore the delicious carnival food in his hand. He’d managed to loosen up and eagerly chatted with the star player about brooms and grand stand antics. She was surprisingly pleasant, considering the stories one could hear about her, ranging from prickliness to cruelty. Most, he assumed, had to be exaggerated. He was so distracted that his usual calm demeanor in the harrowing line of work shattered into a little startle as those screams. “Whaaat the-?” He spun about and abandoned his meat skewer to draw his wand and sweep towards the suddenly silent shop. He ducked down and turned around the doorjamb to enter, casting a keen eye around for trouble. “I’m with the Min- oh.” Nnnope. Flowers. Not even man-eating flowers. “Er… sorry,” he said awkwardly as he spotted the shop’s owner. “I heard screams… iiiis everything alright?”

19:35:02 [Ophelia] Where had it all gone wrong? Her previous attempt had gone well enough—the azaleas had managed to bleat a couple of warbled notes before falling silent (though they’d wilted almost immediately afterward). She wondered, maybe, if her measurements were incorrect. “Tch.” Bringing the empty flask toward her, Ophelia would sniff it and shudder violently. Eurgh, no wonder they’d started their screaming. In the midst of rinsing the flask she was mildly startled by the tell-tale ring of her shop’s bell. Turning to the door, she grinned uneasily at her newest customers while setting the empty flask alongside a display of gardenias. “W-welcome to Thoughts and Remembrances! Just so you’re aware, we currently have a sale going o—” Pausing mid-sentence, Ophelia would stare blankly at Kaust for a prolonged moment before abruptly turning away and beginning to shuffle back towards the register. “We’re… having a sale on a wide variety of mood-shifting flowers,” she explained, gesturing toward the display alongside the register. As if on cue, the flowers would begin to tremble before turning a deep, stormy grey. Ignoring their shift in color, Ophelia would glance toward the second customer and raise her hands, palms facing outward. “Ah…” Lowering her hands slowly, she offered him a small smile. “O-oh, I suppose that was pretty loud. Er, everything’s fine,” she said slowly. “Experiment gone awry, is all. But ah, while you’re here… you’re more than welcome to look around.” About to round the counter and give them the grand tour, she was interrupted by a series of shouts coming from outside. Brows furrowing, she would tentatively approach the shop’s front window and bear witness to Gloriana’s drunken yelling. Well, the screaming had stopped—hopefully she’d forget about it and… y’know, go away…

19:51:37 [Kaust] Meat finished the bare stick was spit from her lips as she swept into the store behind Botts, in her grip was not her own hand but right underneath her palm was the flat butt of… something hidden mostly by a rune enchanted holster. Yet upon entering the shop and not seeing blood shed but those twisting silent charmed flowers she’d relax and thus hide away the item she’d been about to draw back within the confines of her usual leather jacket. A soft sigh of relief before a deep inhale as the flower keep speaks but she’s smelling the flowers (the scent is rather overpowering) not so much anything else. At Bott’s side she’d explore most of the shop wares by eye, that is until Ophelia reveals herself. There’s a sharp intake of breath, a few wicked thuds of her heart and then the passing sensation of dizziness. More memories… It’s to be assumed but while she waited for the important images to flutter against the backdrop of her mental landscape they never came. Slowly she relaxed again, watching the mood changing flowers before tossing a somewhat narrowed look to Botts. She was uneasy, not so much because the shop keeper was but because she was supposed to be remembering something important and fear kept it back. In fact, those flowers might shift to a high yellow and start trembling as she reached out to grab a pot up, gnawing on her bottom lip as Ophelia left to check on the noise outside. The noise that was drunk Gloriana. “Ah, Herr Botts. This is sort of cute, don’t du think?” But by the time she turns to show him the flower she’s broken out into a slight cold sweat and the flower is sagging and… black. “O-oh… oh no that’s… that’s not right, don’t turn dat color!” That’s not fair at all.

19:53:41 [Gloriana] Her gaze lifted to the street again to find one Hayden Kaust slipping into the aforementioned flower shop as if she were prepared to start trouble. Vehement brown eyes narrowed and Gloriana resolved to follow her in. The door slammed promptly behind her. “You…“ Her tone was hushed, but certainly no less intense. “I been stumbling’ ‘round fer a week tryin’a ferge’ about wha’ you done!“ Where was this accent even from — like drinking had turned her into an educated Cockney twit from the 19th century? “Killed er tortured ‘ow many students? And ‘ere you are… in a fackin’ flower shop like there in’t anythin’ to repent fo’…“ Her chest rose and fell with an angry heave. There that there was an Auror approximately three feet away. Never mind that it was Mop’s friend. Never mind that the shop’s owner was probably not real keen on people verbally (and possibly physically) assaulting their customers.

20:12:59 Hippolytus gave Ophelia a look of chagrin, smiling around it a little. “Oh. Screaming flowers. Of course.” Hip sometimes wondered if he was the only one who ever took a mental step back from their world and was amazed at how batshit insane it was. Just him? Alright. But he should have suspected shrieking flowers – oddly, there were a FEW varieties of very vocal flora. “Sorry for the intrusion the-…” He all but interrupted himself when he realized that Hayden seemed interested in sticking around the shop. “Sure, I’ll have a look.” He sheathed his wand and clasped his hands behind his back and he ran an uneducated eye over the arrangements of flowers. Well… they ALL looked pretty and it made him wonder if she shipped overseas. It would probably be rather unadvisable not to send his technical fiancé something for Valentine’s Day. It was an idle notion from which he was easily distracted, however, when Hayden drew his attention to a little pot of flowers that… seemed to be feeling under the weather. He flashed a bit of a grin and poked a finger that the wilty petals. “If you like that sort of gothic look!” he replied with a laugh. But the companionable moment was cut short when Gloriana and a whole lot of booze smell came crashing into the shop. Hip momentarily felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle and his brows raised when the woman started slurring at Miss Kaust. The Auror swallowed and grimaced a little. He could tell from Hayden’s body language that she was on the verge of defending herself, so he stepped into the center of the confrontation, a shoulder towards each of them and a hand held up to Gloriana. “Ms. Boulstridge. You are clearly inebriated – you need to get yourself a ride home. Immediately.”

20:28:52 [Ophelia] “Y-yes, well. They’re not… supposed to do that,” she explained, grinning weakly. “I’ve been working on getting them to sing. What with Valentine’s Day coming up.” It was her favorite holiday—strictly for business purposes, of course. With neither of them willing to speak to one another, Ophelia would settle for merely watching her two customers from afar. She wonders, vaguely, if the woman currently surveying her wares is that same woman she’d known during her days as a wayward teenage know-it-all. She certainly looked like the woman in question, but her casual indifference made Ophelia wonder if this wasn’t just an awkward case of mistaken identity. She was shaken from her thoughts by Gloriana’s…energetic arrival, Ophelia glancing toward the young woman and blinking in apparent confusion. It was too bad—the tension in the shop was only just beginning to settle. Her suspicions confirmed by a drunken rant, Ophelia had been about to step in in an effort to defuse the situation when Hippolytus took it upon himself to enter the fray. “…Boulstridge?” It was a familiar name. Regardless, the brunette would shake her head and nod towards the front door. “Please, if you’re going to argue I would prefer it if you do so outside.” There are a lot of, uh… breakable things in her store.

20:38:24 Cyrus`Valen When he stepped out into the streets shortly after lunch that morning, he was…well, what most would call a changed man, and not in the positive sense of the word. Whatever had happened to him after his confrontation with Gloriana and the Auror at Lilipot’s, it was for the worst. Both facets of his personality he’d displayed that day…the cool, emotionless façade and the nigh-uncontrollable rage he’d erupted into at the mere sight of his perceived tormentors, had combined. He was angry, yes…but he was also cool, calculating. And of course, some of those old mannerisms had returned…the arrogance, the way he carried himself, with the slight strut in his walk. He’d decided to go out, not particularly looking for trouble, though if the Boulstridge girl happened upon him, it would be somewhat of a blessing. And, look at that. He could practically hear her from her, rambling into a shop…flowers. He’d ducked in…and what he saw there made his blood run cold…at first, and then pure fury rose to his form. "Kaust.” He briefly recognized the Auror, but he was mostly blind in his rage, only aware that there were other people situationally. In a flash, his wand was raised and he fired out a trio of “Expelliarmus!”, intended to disarm the two women in question, and the Auror…and then a forth spell, a jet of red light that bounced haphazardly about the shop, knocking over items willy nilly, intended to sew chaos.

20:51:32 [Kaust] With her own mental landscape in shambles it seemed impossible for her to actively remember the owner of the shop. Remembering, for the most part, was a painful and exhausting process and with the Conclave in full swing expending that energy on such dangerous concepts seemed a sure way to get the team snooping about and dragging her to bars. That was why she’d run earlier, trying hard to break the unhealthy habit of constantly drinking to ease the pain of her history, of actions she’d had no control over doing. Nothing had been achieved during her last six years, during her struggle to remember what it felt like to not be a puppet, to live as humanity had originally intended. There had been no help for her shaken form in prison, no assistance from family members that scowled at her ‘failure’ and left her emotionally defenseless. There had only been suffering, a misery so suffocating that it threatened to consume her. There had only been Zner, Zner and the broom and the sport that saved her from the sport that saved her from the darkness the first time. Yet here, among these sharks and vultures there existed only remembrance and agony. It was a challenge to drag her heavy body from the bed every day knowing that it was just one more day meant to be spent in hell. That was what she’d gotten, this was what she deserved for not killing them all, when she’d been given the power and influence and for that she should have been shamed. Yet ultimately Hayden continued to move going through the motions of pretending to be human when underneath her skin dwelled the taint of a monster. Even more so she was constantly reminded of her failures in the faces of those she’d left living-she’d… left living? It was becoming confusing, she couldn’t really tell what actions she’d done and what actions her corruption had done. She’d been possessed, a rider in her own body, a victim to circumstance and wicked ideals but that information seemed impossible to grasp for some, for most and the ache in her chest was to overpowering to continue separating the feelings from everyday existence. Why was it so hard being good? Why did everyone want her to be bad? Gloriana’s drunken outburst wasn’t entirely true-because, obviously it hadn’t been her—but it was just as effective setting left eye to twitch and the flower in her grip to spill and slip to the floor. Pressure started up behind her head and the beast that dwelled within her rolled in the agony of the darker emotions that swept over her. She parted her lips but only spittle flew from them and all too soon Hippo was before her, protecting her? No, keeping her from reacting, from defending her actions. Yet the tension isn’t meant for defense, there was nothing to defend against… Glori was drunk and she’d seen the woman in tears the day before. Hayden doesn’t approve of violence of any form, even as the perverse background of her thoughts howled at the need to unleash the rage of her pain—-No no, that’s not me, that’s not the real me!, but the sudden onslaught of memories is more than enough to have her wheezing as she reached for Hippo to clutch at his back. Then it only got worse, another entered, saying her nap and flinging out spells that would miss her by proxy since she was pressing against Hippo. But things were breaking, it was too much to handle after being so precariously balanced on the edge of her sanity for these last few days. She couldn’t change what she’d done nobody will let her, and all too soon she’s set to crack. What erupts past her lips is a scream, a long terror filled pain filled scream, as if she was the one being killed. She’d collapse to the ground and jerk, screaming and screaming and curled into a ball while she held her head. All of it stop, just everything go away. But even as the red light bounces all over she will not stop screaming. If they thought the flowers were bad, this was nothing in comparison. Her eyes are wide open in her terror, glasses with her unleashed tears as she clawed and scratched at herself, uncaring in her panic attack what she hurt on her form. She deserved to hurt, everyone kept saying she deserved it, she had to hurt, she had to hurt so she could stop hurting! Maybe once she did people would stop reminding her of what she didn’t want to remember and let her just be good. Hurthurthurthurthurt.

21:11:54 [Gloriana] Glori’s body was tense from head to toe, up crushed in her hand from the ensuing rage. Here was Kaust, the woman responsible for destroying her childhood ( tearing it limb from limb and then setting it on fire in front of her eyes), clinging to Hippolytus for protection. She seethed with anger. “C’mon ya coward, now tha’ your Kali-worshippin’ dog’s gone, lesse how ya do in a fight!“ She pushed to get passed Botts and met resistance (he was strong, considering his gangly size). “Outta my way!“ She kept on, trying to overcome the Auror-y obstacle and completely ignored the shop owner. OF course, none of this lasted very long before a familiar voice registered too late and sent them all staggering. Gloriana backed into a display and knocked more than a few pretty flowers onto the floor. Disorient took hold, and she closed her eyes tight to gain her bearings. STOP SPINNING, she begged the room. But it didn’t help, and neither did the tremendous screams that began to emerge from Kaust. She tried to block the ear nearest Kaust’s screaming as she scrambled back onto her hands and knees. To search for the wand that tumbled from her back pocket. Get out! Get out! “Where the bloody hell!!!“ Her hands searched frantically beneath the displays. She had to leave! She had to leave now!

21:30:34 Hippolytus had learned a few things during the very tumultuous years he’d been in training to be an Auror and one was to look for the calm in the calamity. As things explode around you, it is easy to freeze up, but an Auror never had the luxury of that being an excuse. If people just STOPPED being drunken idiots when you told them to, the world would be a much calmer place just for that. So he knew Gloriana wasn’t going to snap to her senses and say: “You know, you’re right, Mr. Botts, I should go home before I do something I’ll regret in the morning.” And his inherent lack of faith in that regard was what enabled him to take that step forward and be between her and Kaust when she tried to push past him. He felt his patience fraying, but held it together with resolve. “Hey! I said you need to go home! No one is fighting here-,” Wouldn’t that have been nice. With a grimace, he had to reach out and put the open palm of his hand on Gloriana’s shoulder to stop her. It wasn’t the most PC of moves, but the last thing he wanted was her launching herself at Hayden. Fortunately, that shakey move was what enabled him to form an actual GRIP when the doorway was suddenly darkened by the Angriest Irishman who came in, wand blazing. Patience fraying, Patience fraying… He jerked Gloriana to the side and out of the way, all but just THROWING her to the floor as Valen’s spells zapped the room, one firing off at his wand, but fortunately, Hip hadn’t gotten it out of its sheath just yet and he only suffered a (very painful) sting to the hand. It was then that Kaust’s situation, almost simultaneously became crystal clear. Hip felt a flood of oxygen in his system as his lungs dragged it in, preparing for the worst. The buzz focused him mercilessly and suddenly, it wasn’t his good wand wielding hand to watch, the other had caught the pot Kaust had dropped and heaved it at Valen’s face – a moment’s distraction to fill the second it took him to whip his wand from its holster on his hip. “Stupefy!” Yeah. Words. He needed to be flawless just now and couldn’t risk his wand just deciding it wasn’t doing nonverbal spells. “Protego!” For a moment, a protection spell arched in front of them. “GET OUT!” He hollered even as he hoped to have time to shed his gold and black outer robe. His aim was to shake it open and throw it over Kaust like he was smothering the flames that ate away at a burn victim. “Hayden! It’ll be alright!” The robe would be followed by his arms encircling her shoulders and holding her in what amounted to a makeshift shock blanket.

21:53:06 Cyrus`Valen The damned Auror had caused him to miss the blonde source of his ire, and Boulstridge had at least been toppled by his opening barrage. He was ready for the Auror, however…despite his rage, he was a duelist, and not exactly a stranger to dirty tactics. Ducking beneath the tossed pot, his wand waved elegantly, and the Stupefy danced for a moment on the tip of his own wand before he flicked his wrist, deflecting it towards Gloriana, in the hopes it’d reach before the protective shield flew up. He had a choice here…he could wait for the shield charm to dispel…or…he began to fling spells at it, wand slashing and twisting violently at the air as he bombarded it. Everything from common jelly-leg and bat-bogey hexes, all the way up to the more violent spells. Reducto, Stupefy, stinging hexes…attempting to put enough strain on the shield to shatter it.

22:01:54 [Kaust] Not enough blood, not enough pain, it was never enough to erase the fear, to ease the anguish. She didn’t know what to do in this situation and her flops and flails were useless tools for defense. Things were happening however and she still didn’t stop screaming, even when Hippo threw t that spell over them after he valiantly attempted to defuse the situation. Just make it all stop. Once the cloak is flung over her person that’s when her voice cuts short, her throat straining to make sounds as it goes hoarse from her constant screams. She huffs and pants with head tilted back, her glasses askew and her hat (with wand inside) on her lap as she struggles to keep bleeding—she’s messed herself up something bad, the flushed red lines on her face and neck nothing in comparison to the teeth marks on her arms, but with the warm body at her back and the words in her ear she seems to be less destructive. Black does gnaw on the edges of her consciousness though and her legs flop and twitch every so often as she breathes heavily, like she’s not getting enough air, only pausing so often to croak out nonsensical things in German. She has no idea that the assassin is still flinging spells, there’s not much left within her to notice anything really.

22:08:44 [Gloriana] Was, by unfortunate circumstance (that was happening a lot lately), not protected by the Protego charm Hip cast over himself and Kaust. No, the fates were a cruel lot this past week, and crueler still today by putting her just out of range. She glanced over her shoulder at the murderous Cyrus just in time to see his gaze shift, and shrieked as she forced herself out of the way of the redirected, offensive charm. The force of the blast was enough to blow out the bottom shelving area of the display, revealing Glori’s wand. She dove for it and pointed at Cyrus, “Avis!“ From her wand shot a string of sparrows dipping and diving around him, pecking and clawing and distracting him from his target (at least that’s the intent, anyway… there’s no telling how long they’ll really last). Glori, desperate to escape him, crawled back down the aisle toward the door — this space was too small (and her head too foggy) for apparating.

22:27:47 [Hippolytus] The shield charm wouldn’t hold forever, but if Cyrus decided to ship spells at it, he’d be dodging his own until it did finally crumble. Hip, however, wary of the time and burden limit of his own spell had kept one arm over Kaust and in the other hand, had his wand at the ready to counter the rampaging Irishman again. The knuckles of the hand that fought to contain the Quidditch player amid her dangerous breakdown were white as bone, but still he clutched her shoulder as if keeping her still might lessen the damage she did to herself and that her worn down mind inflicted upon itself. There was plenty in training that supposedly prepared an Auror for potentially dealing with the fallout of possession, but the stark and tragic reality of it was a little harder to grasp – people needed a face to hate for the damage done, no matter who was behind it. Hip gritted his teeth, clinging to his own patience. He had to be quick, but he couldn’t rush anything. He could see that Cyrus was furious and Gloriana was panicking. A white light flooded from Hip’s wand, filling the room for an instant before it dimmed to a huge form that stood between Hippolytus and his shield. He breathed out in the moment of protection they had left and, saying again, almost under his breath, but audible to Hayden: “I promise, it’ll be alright.” Heee hoped so. The protego charm shattered. The patronus fled away out of the shop. Wand at the ready, Hip expelled the last curse thrown towards the barrier as it sped towards them, flicking it away. His own combo came on the heels of Gloriana’s birds in a flash of blue: another body bind followed up with an incarcerous spell, causing the ground around Cyrus to erupt with binding chains that arched over him before snapping to the ground.

22:46:30 Cyrus`Valen He wasn’t quite sure of the purpose of the patronus (he himself had been unable to conjure one in years), but he had larger concerns…like the birds divebominb his head and the attempt at binding him. The body bind again knocked aside, he raised his wand and bellowed, “FINITE INCANTATEM!. The countering spell, stopping the chains mid-air and causing them to collapse harmlessly, and the birds vanished as quickly as they had arrived. The Auror was grating on his already frazzled nerves now. And he noted Boulstridge trying to flee…not this time. Not now, not when he was so close to putting his plan in motion. And so, though his eyes remained on Hippolytus, his wand swiveled to the girl in question, and he used it all. The anger, the hatred, the general despair he felt, and uttered the incantation that would choose his path from here on out for him. The one that would mean there would be no coming back from the path he was heading down, the unforgivable. “Crucio,” he spat, and an oily red light leapt from the wand and crashed towards Boulstridge, and should it connect…well, it was a potent one, wracking her body with white-hot agony from head to toe.

23:01:17 [Kaust] This was the complete opposite of being alright but the most Hayden could do was be held by Hippo and listen to his promise. She was breathing normally by then but limp (and useless, sorry Hippo) so she couldn’t do much against the killer than seemed to just be flinging about spells and defusing them with ease. Finally, red tipped fingertips smeared in her blood would twitch and move to rest against any part of Hippo that was there, her body trembling from the defused energy, her chest rumbling with weak words and inhuman growls. She’s not home mentally at the moment, but The Other is.

23:12:47 [Gloriana] Out, out, have to get out! She scrambled across the floor, cringing from the blinding light of a patronus (Oh please be sending for reinforcements!). There was another wave of spells sent at Cyrus, and she found the perfect moment in his distraction to just- but no, the comfort and aid Hayden received could never reach Glori in time. No sooner had the words leapt from his mouth had Gloriana jerked her head back in unmistakable fear — what followed was nothing short of horrifying.

23:14:22 [Gloriana] The screaming fits of terror Kaust had unleashed on the shop were no less equaled — no, they were surpassed — by Gloriana. It was like that her screams were heard all the way into Leadenhall Market (on the other side of the Leaky Cauldron), and had already garnered the attention of passersby with their hands poised to protect their ears. Every muscle in her body tensed at the immeasurable pain that burned through her like a fiendfyre. Tears were already streaming down her face when she begged someone, anyone to make it stop. “Make it stop!!!“ Every painful memory, every physical ailment she’d ever experienced, every heartache and every bit of soul-rending fear she’d ever experienced — her mother’s death, the long and painful investigation that tore what was left of her family apart, Archie’s murder, the destruction of the one place she called home, and the inevitable heartbreak that came with the realization that the one person who could ever love her, no longer did — flooded upon her at once, in one agonizing hurricane that was almost as unbearable to watch as it was to experience.

23:14:38 [Gloriana] Her fingernails were cracked and bleeding by the time it was over, raked restlessly against the floor as if it would ever help to overcome the misery the unforgivable curse was doomed to cause her (certainly for the rest of her life). Glori’s eyes were open, and still brimming with tears, but she was by no means conscious. Her chest trembled with staccato gasps and leftover sobs while the rest of her twitched with the aftershock. She would live, and with most of her sanity still intact, but she would never ever forget the day she suffered the Cruciatus curse at the hands of Cyrus Valen.

23:18:58 [Hippolytus] The patronus, as it would turn out, would end up being the cause of Cyrus’s greatest concern, but for the time being, it simply fled away as a dash of light. Don’t even worry about that. Now – did anyone else hear that snap? Because Hippolytus heard a very distinct and crisp little ‘snap’ somewhere. Funny. Red arched across his vision for a moment. Somewhat across the board, red is a warning. Stay away. Stop. Caution. But today, to Hip, red meant go. He eased Kaust down as if sliding her into a pool of water, slipping his hands from around her as he sprang up with a hiss. Somewhere, miles away was screaming, but with a fleet footed charm, the world moved too fast for sound to reach him properly and it seemed like he was submerged until he collided with Cyrus bodily. The sound of it was like air being forced from a drum in his ears. Somewhere along the route, he’d seized a watering can, a simple, tin container with an arching handle. This, he brought down around Cyrus’s head, the handle aimed to catch him around the throat and drag him with Hip seized the spout and slung the Irishman AND himself to the floor in a vicious grapple. Meanwhile, that patronus HAD been going for help and somewhere on the crowded streets, a massive hippo had suddenly materialized like a dumpsite of ectoplasm in front of a head Auror and BELLOWED out its call to arms. So by the time Hip had gone Cujo on Cyrus, the shop was suddenly encased in blocking spells and flooded with the presence of on-hand Aurors and Hitwizards.

23:54:22 Cyrus`Valen Given the fact that his eyes had never left the Auror in question, it was mildly amusing he was attempting such a blatant charge. He took a step back to stay just out of reach of both the can and the grapple, while sharply bringing his foot up into the male’s chin, all the while his wand was swiveling again to fire off a body-bind at the charging (and now potentially toppling) Auror to stop him in his track. He could see Kaust in the background, but right now, he knew he was about to have one hell of a fight that, no matter how good he was, he’d not win, on his hands. Even if he could take them all on, the sheer numbers would eventually overwhelm. His wand still ready should the Auror not be downed, he pondered…no apparition, and clearly he wasn’t strolling out of here. So, still anticipating an attack, he lowered his wand to the floor and unleashed one HELL of a series of reductos, until the floor crumbled away and into the sewers below. He drug Boulstridge over, dropping her first before dropping in himself, using his wand to knit the hole back together much like he’d done to the shop yesterday, to buy at least a little time. He, unfortunately, would have to carry her, dumping her over a shoulder and rather ungracefully fleeing through the sewers.

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