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The Spectre of Death
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December 20th, 1889 —  St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies & Injuries, Tearoom
The teacup sat full on its saucer before her, the steam rising from its depths having long since dissipated. The tea was now much like the woman who didn't drink it: cold, and uncertain what to do with itself.

She had been at the Ministry of Magic when it happened, though only just—the socialite had intended to make an appearance at the candle lighting, a fundraiser, ironically, for the very hospital in which she now sat. The same hospital that was even now hiding her husband somewhere within its depths. The crowd, panicked, had been on the move already on her arrival, carrying her swiftly out again as soon as she went in. Rufina had not even thought of her husband in the frenzy—not that she would say as much aloud.

She had repaired to The Lady Morgana, where information had arrived in bits and pieces, some more true than others. Eventually, though, one of the footmen presented her with a note that shook her to the core.

Mr. Ernest Mulciber has been taken with urgency to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

That was all. No further detail.

Whatever their differences, Ernest Mulciber was her husband, a critical piece in the puzzle that was Rufina's life. She had been torn, then—to rush to him now, in a frenzy, or to arrive when she had had a chance to calm her nerves.

Rufina had elected the latter. She simply hadn't expected it to take so long.

She almost needn't have bothered—she had been at the hospital an hour. A welcome witch had ushered her not to her husband's bedside as she had insisted, but to the tearoom. The healers were overburdened, the insipid girl had informed her, and one would find her when they had a chance.

Rufina's patience was thin, her nerves shot, and her future less certain now than it had ever been before.

Open to 1-2 others visiting the hospital in the wake of the Ministry Disaster

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Of course, she had been volunteering when it had happened. Luck was on her side, however, and Evalina Rosier had found herself away from the calamity, but she found herself nevertheless slightly shaken by what had occurred. It was easy to feign concern for her husband; she'd been doing that for years. She'd let her features stiffen in horror whilst making sure to hide any traces of internal hope she might feel that her husband had finally expired. What followed was a sense of contempt that - had it indeed happened - it hadn't been her hand that dealt the cards.

Evalina had let herself be comforted only briefly though until her thoughts turned to her brother and son. Then the panic truly started and her eyes blazed as she demanded information about what had happened to them. Of course, none came and she allowed herself to be escorted to the tea room. With it quite empty, Eva had paced back and forth until she realized she was letting her feelings get the better of her when she saw slight scorch marks from the path she'd traced. Scoffing, she whipped out her wand and slashed it through the air to repair the floor she'd just unintentionally damaged.

In her heightened state, the scorch marks only worsened. Thankfully, no one was in there to witness the most unladylike growl that emitted from her person. It was time to calm herself down. She took her leave and decided it would be best to get some answers. She'd headed down to the front hall where the welcome witch was attending to other concerned family members and workers. It took an infuriatingly long time, but eventually, Eva found herself at the front of the line, doing her best not to show her true colors as she demanded information.

Panic was not her best virtue, it seemed.

And yet information did not come, as the witch had no idea where her brother and son (bloody hell, she almost forgot to inquire about her husband too) were. She saw herself being led back again into the bloody tea room.

This time around, Evalina found a familiar face. Her expression lifted slightly, grateful to see a familiar face, but then fell immediately when she realized what this must mean. "Is it -?" Ernest? The question died on her lips, as she already knew the answer. Ernest may only be her cousin, but he was at least a few rungs above her husband.
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   Rufina Mulciber

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Her gaze, which had been so unfocused all this time, found a familiar face, and Rufina locked eyes with Evalina Rosier, her husband's cousin. She felt, rather than heard, the words leave the other woman's lips, and all the witch could do was nod rather helplessly.

(Rufina Mulciber had never been helpless in her life, bar once or twice, and she did not care for it in the least.)

"No one is able to tell me what has become of my husband," Rufina answered, casting a pointed and disparaging look at the individual who had escorted Evalina to the tea room.

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Evalina may have ranked her husband just below a sack of dung, but she knew others weren't subject to such misery - some, like her cousin's wife, had the good fortune of at least sharing some sort of mutual affection; if not, respect.

She followed Rufina's gaze towards the welcome witch and straightened her back in an authoritative manner. With a flick of her hand - a gesture many of her servants had become accustomed to when they knew if they stayed longer there would be consequences - she dismissed the wench. "Please bring us some tea at your earliest convenience," she requested in a tone that did not convey much patience. Her expression softened as she turned back towards Rufina. Eva relaxed her stance a bit before joining the other witch.

"They've not even deigned to tell you of his whereabouts in the hospital?" she inquired, though again, the answer was obvious. Evalina doubted that as a proper example of a society wife, Rufina Mulciber would be here instead of at her husband's side if she knew where he was.
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   Elladora Black

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"Would I be here if they had?" Rufina asked darkly, casting a disdainful look about the room. Even The Painted Lady had a more genteel atmosphere, and that was in Hogsmeade!

"They simply insist that they will speak with me when they get a moment—as if I have all of the time in the world, as if I am not worried sick about my husband—"

Here, Rufina stopped short, looking more closely at Evalina. It might have occurred to her sooner, were she not in something of a state, but it occurred to her now and her look, heated a moment before, shifted to one of apology.

"My dear I am so sorry, I didn't think—you must be here for Enoch. How is he?"

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No. Evalina answered grimly to herself as she moved forward to sit in a spare chair. They would most certainly not have left her there had she known his whereabouts. The witch laced her fingers together in front of her, her gaze on Rufina as she fretted over her husband. A look of empathy showed on her face, however she knew there was not a speck of pure blood inside her that would conjure up feelings of fear, anxiety and helplessness towards her own husband.

As the conversation shifted more towards Evalina herself, she found her shoulders droop a fraction of an inch. Enoch. Her son, her pride and joy. A muscle twitched in her throat as all aforementioned emotions crashed upon her like a wave. Her eyebrows knitted together even further and she pursed her lips. "I unfortunately find myself in the same boat as yourself," she replied, doing her best to smile ironically, though her voice was lower than usual and the commanding tone she used on the witch had fractured. "I have heard no word from anyone in my family." It seemed they were both left to be tortured.
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   Rufina Mulciber

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A surge of compassion rolled through her as Rufina moved her hand to rest comfortingly on Evalina's own. It was a mercy that Meriwhether had not been at the Minsitry of Magic offices; Rufina would not be half as calm as she was now—limited though that was—were her child's safety in any question. She could only imagine what the other woman was feeling now.

At it was awful.

"Let us take matters into our own hands, then," Rufina said decisively.

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Though she presented society with all the clues to assume she was equally as open to phsyical affection amongst her women friends, the exact was rather opposite and Evalina tried to avoid it at all costs where she could, save for when she was with Elladora. And normally at a time like this she would seek comfort in the other woman, but the fact remained that she was not here.

Evalina offered Rufina a small smile and took her proffered hand, surprised to find it was much-needed assurance despite the fact that neither woman knew what had happened to their loved ones. At Rufina's rallying words, Evalina looked up, blinking. And then she smiled, conviction rising in her. She'd help Rufina to Earnest and Rufina would see her to her son. She nodded, rising in her seat. "Let's." she echoed, her tone mirroring Rufina's own.

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With a determination that would make armies tremble, the women abandoned the tearoom in search of answers. Woe to those who denied them.

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