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

Where will you fall?

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The first patented espresso machine was in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo. — Fallin
They hadn't been thieves before, at least. Noble had not been a murderer before either. Now he was one. Did thieving make a difference, at this point?
but the system is done for

The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors
It was only a last minute reflex that saw Fallon reaching for the file Faustus had had and burying it inside her cloak's pocket as they raced from the room. She then used that same hand to grab one of her many knives. The house was too dark to be moving through it empty handed, and if the flame flickering out indicated what she was beginning to suspect it did, then they were at a great disadvantage to the manor's occupants.

They slowed at the end of the hall, a great staircase led down to (presumably) the foyer and there were a series of closed doors before them. Not wanting to fall further into the trap, Fallon immediately dismissed the idea of entering the foyer. Instead, she wanted to find a way further up - an attic or a small chimney that they might climb out through. Nodding her head towards the doors, Fallon pressed her back against the wall as she silently crept towards each door and tried the handles.

Of course they were all locked.

"I can pick them but I don't know what kind of time we have." She whispered through the darkness, not bothering to mention that picking them in the dark would be a challenge in and of itself.

Even trying the simple doors wouldn’t work for them. Faustus swore again, reaching his hand for the doorknob and kneeling down on the floor. Taking advantage of the small keyhole, he tried to see if there was anything on the other side. He was only met with more darkness. They needed to get out, and quickly. “We’re running out of time,” He said, trying again to summon fire into his palm. “We have no choice.”

At the bottom of the staircase there could be another tap lurking for them, but they were at the moment, without magic and pressed for time. Just then, he heard a clatter at the below them, and the sound of someone hitting the ground. Another sound like a zap of lightning, and Faustus felt the back of his hair stand on end. It wasn’t difficult to shrink into the shadows; they were already in it. Checking on Fallon to make sure she was covered, he aimed his wand at the top of the staircase.

After what seemed like an endless amount of time, a figure appeared at the top of the stairs, wand in hand. Eyes flicking up to the backlit figure, Faustus recognized the curly hair. “Don’t kill us, Sterling it’s Hatchitt and I.” He said in a low voice.

Promptly lighting the end of his wand, Sterling illuminated the place they were standing, and looked quizzically at both of them. “What happened to you two?”

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Fallon wasn't often unnerved by missions. Not having magic, though, left her feeling deeply panicked as they rushed down the stairs. Malou needed them to survive - her survival likely hinged on it. But, more than that, Fallon wasn't yet ready to die. Not now. Not today.

Relief swept through her when Sterling finally appeared. "Never mind that, get us out of here." Fallon ordered gruffly. They could go over the contents of the folder shoved deep in her pocket once they had regrouped far from this death trap.

Escape with magic was a far easier feat - as Sterling took them both and apparated them both from the premises without further discussion. Fallon was immediately back on her feet once they had reappeared, pacing and thoughts racing with the implications of the manor. Malou hadn't been there, that much was obvious, and Gabriel had expected them to start there. So was the folder a further trap? Did he assume they'd discard it in lieu of the trap door? "What the fuck was that?" She hissed as she tore the documents from her pocket. "He couldn't have known we were coming. How was he that prepared?"

Landing back outside was good. His feet hit the ground and he was snapping his fingers to try and conjure another fireball. But there was nothing and he swore again along with Fallon. “We got doused with something that took away our magic.” He explained through gritted teeth as he stowed his wand away. Shrugging his coat off, he handed it to Sterling who magically stowed it away for him while he rolled up his sleeves. If they were going into this without magic, he needed a full range of movement. “He probably had that in place once he took her.” He surmised before running his hands through his hair once more. A growl of frustration worked its way through his chest until he heard Sterling again.

“What did you guys find?” He was frowning at the papers Fallon had in her hands. They were from the ledger he’d had in his hand before he found the lever. Eyes widening, he reached out for one of the pages. “A trap, Sterling,” He said shortly, as he skimmed the page. There a line that had caught his eye and he re-read it before a grin spread on his face. “His fastidiousness might have just been his downfall.” He revealed, brandishing the page at both of them. “Look - fifth line from the bottom, he made a large payment and addressed it to a location just outside of Copehnagen.” That had to be where Marie was kept.

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Fallon glared heavily at Sterling as she handed over her jacket as well. Where was he while they were trapped in the manor? How had he managed to avoid encountering any traps? She was grateful to him, of course, but being without magic for this next step would be incredibly difficult. "Probably had it in place long before he took her." Fallon muttered to herself as she used her now free hands to begin checking her daggers and knives. If she was going in without magic, she would ensure she was heavily armed.

"Copehnagen." Fallon repeated. Well, at least the ledgers had proved useful in the end. "We should go. We've already wasted too much time."

“We had to deal with some muggles nearby,” Faustus heard Sterling say defensively, though he wasn’t paying attention too closely to figure out why he’d said something like that. He was too busy scanning the page once more for any other clues. “Agreed. Sterling, you take Abernathy and I’ll grab one of the others.” He needed to check on the muggle situation.

Arriving at the address only cemented the fury that had seemed to settle into his bones. Walking under the archway, they were met with a wide open field in front with two barns on either side of the pathway. Ahead he could see multiple specs of light hovering in the darkness. They were men, holding their wands aloft. “He hired hit-men.” Faustus muttered darkly.

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"Could this be another trap?" Fallon asked as she eyed the barn skeptically. "Gabriel would've wanted her dead. A ransom doesn't serve his purpose." As much as it pained her to say it, Fallon knew her words to be true. Gabriel wouldn't have risked a wizard's ire unless he knew there was a finality to his plans. Malou returning home alive only allowed for this to happen again, or for him to be displaced by any of her children.

It most certainly could be another trap. But years of investigating and learning how to trust his instincts told Faustus that even if there was a trap here, that they would find her here. He didn’t know how to explain it, and he refused to entertain the fact that she was dead. Because if she was dead, he knew he would lay waste to absolutely everything this man owned without a second thought, rules be damned. “We haven’t seen a ransom note yet, and there wouldn’t be that many wizards to guard one single person.” That meant someone else was here too. Gabriel, perhaps.

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Prewett was right, of course. By her count there was at least ten guards with more likely inside. That many men wouldn't be necessary for a corpse or a trap, not unless they had some far greater aspiration of taking Prewett out too. But, that also made no sense as Fallon doubted Gabriel knew anything of Prewett beyond his name.

Certainly, no sane man would take Prewett's wife if they knew even half of what he was capable of.

"Alright." She conceeded. "How do you want to do this?"

In the space between when he’d spoken and when Hatchitt had responded, Faustus was scowling at the guards. “Someone needs to draw their fire. We might not have everyone in front of us.” Just as he said it, his eye caught a movement; a faint wheeze followed that movement: a guard was on top of the barn’s roof and had just sneezed.

“Up there.” He pointed, then looked to the barn opposite to see another guard on the rooftop. He looked back to Sterling who was looking determinedly at the crowd as if he had some sort of destiny to fulfil. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Faustus made a note to look more into that. Sterling had been getting more and more reckless in the past few months and it had started to make him worry. “Sterling, you want it? Hatchitt and I can take the barns and cover you from up top.”

“Sure thing, boss.” Sterling muttered, almost looking distracted by the group of wizards as he rolled up his sleeves. Faustus looked to Hatchitt in case she had anything to add.

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Were it anyone but Malou inside, Fallon would've called Sterling's recklessness into question. It'd been months of having to heal particularly rough injuries due to their sparring sessions, and it always seemed like there was something he was trying to truly hurt. She never pushed him on it, never forced the issue to come to light, but now - seeing that same look he gave her before a particularly brutal sequence on his face - Fallon wished that she had.

But, she hadn't. And now it was Malou's life in the balance.

Palming her first set of daggers into her hands, Fallon said instead, "Ready when you are."

Even before the words were out of Hatchitt’s mouth, Sterling had leapt forwards and started towards the group of people. After seeing a slight ripple in the air, Sterling disappeared almost completely. The ground crunched beneath his feet and headed off the path where he walked until he was halfway down. With a snap, he disappeared and then he had landed directly in the middle of both groups. The night erupted with noise. “I’ll take the barn on the right.” Faustus said, giving her a nod before twisting on the spot and apparating twice to make it to the barn where the man stood on a platform sticking out from roof.

There, he managed to catch the guard on the top by surprise. Another whirl of his wand saw the man disarmed. But before he could stun the man, he was yanked backwards and his wand flew out of his hand. He fell backwards, his head hitting the platform of the roof as someone else’s hand closed tightly around his throat. Through the stars flickering in his vision, Faustus could see the face of his attacker hovering just above him. Praying to Merlin that this would work, Faustus snapped his fingers and felt the spark of a flame nestle into his palm. With a grunt, he slammed his fist into the man’s face. While the man howled in pain, Faustus jumped up and seized his wand to extinguish the wayward flames before they could set anything else on fire.

Standing in front of the two men, he raised his hand. Both were swung up in the air and turned upside down with their hands and feet bound. “Now. I'm only going to ask this once.” He growled, stalking towards the both of them, his palm illuminating in flames once more. “Where is my wife?”

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   Fallon Hatchitt

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That her magic had still not recovered to its full extent was something Fallon was intensely aware of as she began her assault on the second barn. Getting to the barn had left her stores depleted enough that she could barely illuminate the way before her if she tried to. But, what she lacked in magical ability at present she made up for with lethal efficiency. Prewett would yell at her for it later, she was certain, she might even be benched for awhile, but as the first man's blood hit her fingers Fallon knew it to be the right call. After all, it wasn't as though she had time to bind each man manually if she were to knock them unconscious instead.

She made quick work of the first two, their bodies abandoned carelessly in the attic of the barn. There was another down below that she decided to leave breathing if only to provide her information. His death would be just as easily met once they had Malou safe in hand and, if she was extraordinarily lucky, perhaps he'd know where to find Gabriel too.

Another minute later found Fallon pressed flush against the third guard's neck, her wand aimed at his throat and another poised to sink into his kidney. Gripping onto him tightly, Fallon disapparated them both outside the first barn (not caring if her captive splinched himself in the process) and just as soon kicked the door open just in time to hear Prewett make his demands.

It was aurors against hit-wizards, and Faustus was glad to see that Hatchitt’s magic had come back fully. His eyes only briefly shifted to see her apparate, but before he could say another word, a sharp pain radiated throughout his side and he grunted, stumbling. Both men in front of him fell to the floor and promptly lost consciousness - in the back of his mind Faustus swore he heard the snapping of bones; perhaps that was just vengeance. He had no time to investigate that further. Something had lodged itself in his side, and his hand came away with blood. “Fuck,” He swore through gritted teeth, breathing through the pain as he tried to straighten up. “Hatchitt, please tell me you had better luck.”

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