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Clare Victoria Basiltree for Christopher Basiltree.
Meddlesome mother, but make her a squib <3
The thought of marrying Cecily Gallivan had occurred to Fitz in the way that the thought of marrying any attractive young lady did: a firm maybe and a hasty step away to more pleasurable topics, like sport or brandy.Fitzroy Prewett in Well. That took a turn.
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Complete five threads where your character experiences good luck, such as finding a sickle on the ground or being saved from a fall!

Silver & Gold
3rd October, 1890 — The Hog’s Head
Leila could have sworn she’d imagined the glimmer of bluish light in one of the dingy rooms upstairs at the inn, just some strange reflection through the window. But the sky was grey and darkening outside, not blue, so she knelt down and peered under the bed.

Her fingers teased it out with some trepidation. It was a ring, and not the sort of simple wedding band of some of their better-off clientele, but a sparkling thing, exquisitely studded with sapphires. Had someone set foot in the Hog’s Head owning this?

Leila was half-decent at picking out the patrons of the place who stuck out like a sore thumb even when they were trying to blend in, for there was usually something that gave them away - after all, she had been a good middle-class girl once, herself. But there was an equally likely alternative here to a scandal of that sort, which was crime: someone was a thief, or someone was doing a dubious deal and had stashed it there in the meantime, counting on the Hog’s Head to have a particularly inefficient housework policy. (It did, but.)

The least trouble would be to leave it there. She could hand it in to the Hogsmeade constables; she could figure out who here knew about it. She was almost tempted to hang onto it long enough to pawn it herself; Merlin knew she could use the funds. Still undecided, Leila held onto it as she descended the stairs to the pub floor, clenching it reflexively in her fist - perhaps a little too tightly, a little too fast - when she was met with an inquiring gaze on her.

"It was Lady Pevensie's, if Mr Higgs finds out I've lost it I will die", Eloquence hissed back to Shaw, her maid and chaperone, hand hovering on the door to the Hog's Head. "Miss Higgs, please, you just mustn't be seen in here", Shaw replied in a hushed voice, anxious but insistent.

With a sort of "pah!", as if Shaw was being needlessly cowardly (and she was), Eloquence led the way into the pub. It was crowded, it was merry, it was dank... but Loq found the adventure invigorating. And she really had seen someone suspicious go in here — the same suspicious person she'd spotted in the bookshop where she'd dropped her ring.

Eloquence and Shaw were standing rather closer together than they normally would, but it was with some (albeit slightly quivering) confidence that Loq addressed the first lady she saw. "Excuse me, you haven't seen a man in a hooded grey cloak have you?" Loq blinked as she peered from the girl's striking, scarred face to her worryingly clenched fist.

[Image: loq-sig.jpg]
Oh dear. This girl was not at all the usual clientele, and it showed. There was a raw touch of nervousness to her interjection, something that might have made Leila snort if she weren’t hiding a ring in her grasp and a little tense herself at the moment.

She relaxed her fist as she caught the stranger glancing down at it - hopefully not loosened enough to show any sign of sapphires, but enough that this young woman didn’t think Leila was going to punch her for her question.

She often would have liked to, with Hog’s Head patrons, but. “How recently?” She returned, raising her eyebrows as if she hadn’t the faintest idea what this was about. It might not be about the ring at all, she told herself, and gave the room a cursory scan. “I think we see about three hooded cloaks an hour,” she remarked with a rueful half-smile. More when it was crowded. Reluctantly, she asked something that she hoped would point back to another issue than her suspicion. “Are you alright?”

Possessing all the social graces of a young woman so positioned in society, Eloquence did not stare at the stranger's dramatic scarring, despite being deeply curious about it at once. Shaw, on the other hand, was not so quick to disguise her alarm; but luckily, the scarred girl had eyes for Eloquence, not for the maid.

"I'm quite alright thank you", she replied, perhaps a little quicker than she needed to. Just to prove that she was indeed alright, and not completely out of her element. "I saw the chap about an hour and a half ago, he was very tall and thin, but... my description falls short there, I'm afraid", she relented. As the other lady said, there were cloaks aplenty here in the Hog's Head.

"I've lost a ring, you see", she rubbed her empty finger, ignoring Shaw shifting uncomfortably at her side. "And I'm chasing a lead."

Eloquence had heard this phrase in a novel she'd read... but now she'd said it aloud, she reckoned it sounded rather silly.

[Image: loq-sig.jpg]
From Leila’s perspective, the maid’s reaction was not worth blinking at; no, but the poised politeness of her mistress was certainly something new amongst patrons of this place. And far rarer than the sort of cloaked man for whom she was searching; Leila screwed up her mouth in an apologetic frown even before she heard the girl’s next piece.

Lost a ring. Ah.

She could give it back, but she was not convinced the girl or the maid - or the constables, if they had sent for one - would believe her story. Neither that the ring had only been ‘lost’ and she had only ‘found’ it in one of the rooms; in the absence of a better culprit, Leila had no doubt that she would serve perfectly well in his place. She looked the part well enough these days. And Picardy’s man - the one who loitered in the inn for hours on end to observe her from time to time - would have a field day.

So maybe she wouldn’t give it back, sympathetic as the wealthy young woman seemed in her distress.

“Chasing a lead?” Leila echoing, latching onto this instead. “If he was here, he didn’t stay long. I think I saw him on the stairs on his way out -” she lied, nonchalantly, though if he had stowed the ring there it was plausible. “But you’re not from the Hogsmeade constabulary, are you?” She raised her eyebrows as if the answer was not immediately obvious. What was she going to do, undertake the recovery of the ring herself?

What an almighty clash of interests. Eloquence was by now almost as interested in the mysteriously scarred girl as she was in determining the whereabouts of her ring — though of course the latter must take priority. The aforementioned scarred girl seemed interested enough in Eloquence to continue with a gentle but notable series of questions. And Shaw, her maid, was interested only in getting out of the Hog's Head as soon as humanely possible — though unfortunately for Shaw it was not an interest shared by the one making the decisions.

"No, I'm from Hampstead", Eloquence replied, seeing no merit in fibbing. "I don't suppose you saw which way he went, miss?" she gazed helplessly over at the closed door. "If I've nothing to go on, I'd better give in and just... speak to a policeman about the matter."
[-] The following 1 user Likes Eloquence Higgs's post:
   Elias Grimstone

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The girl - younger, richer, pretty in the delicate way Leila had used to be - seemed... nice. She couldn’t help a snort of slight amusement at the non-sequitur of Hampstead. Of course she had nothing to do with the constables. She seemed nice enough that Leila almost wanted to hand her back the ring and trust that she would not jump to conclusions about it.

But best not. Nor did Leila want to pocket it right now, with both the young lady and her maid looking on: and whatever she did with it, it might be traced back to her.

“I think that way,” Leila gestured, pointing along the street as if anyone had a hope of catching him up by now, or knowing that he had not apparated away. “But he stopped in one of the rooms upstairs,” she offered suddenly, like it had just come to her, “- perhaps there’s something there?” Well, no, the ring was still in her fist, but maybe she could deposit it in there to be re...found?

Eloquence did not miss the young lady's slight huff at the word Hampstead, and her first silly reaction was that perhaps she'd heard of the Hampstead Higgses at a society function. But then Loq reminded herself that they were in The Hog's Head, not The Ritz. The lady was probably just reacting to her citing such a well-to-do part of London.

At the unexpected new clue (the thief had been upstairs!), Eloquence's eyes widened hopefully. "Perhaps indeed! If you wouldn't mind escorting me t—" but her request was duly interrupted by a squeak from her lady's maid. "Oh for goodness sake, Shaw", she sighed at Shaw, who was eyeing the scarred girl fearfully.

"My maid is worried you can't be trusted", she announced openly to the stranger, and Shaw blushed a deep shade of puce.

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The young woman seemed perfectly happy to accompany her up to the rooms to poke around for clues, but her maid, evidently, was not.

Your maid might be right, Leila almost said, casually slipping her hands into the pockets of her skirts to deposit the ring from her fist. Instead, Leila shrugged, shooting Shaw only the most perfunctory of looks. “My name’s Leila, I worked at St. Mungo’s once,” well, interned for about a month before the attack, “and the next full moon isn’t until the 27th - but she can wait downstairs if she likes.” Perhaps her challenging tone was not the way to go to get a stranger to like her, but Leila frankly could not care less either way. It was not the end of the world if this young woman lost a ring. Indeed, it would probably be Shaw’s job on the line, after this. They could think what they wanted. For once the well-to-do girl seemed the more open-minded.

She put a hand on the banister at the bottom of the stairs, waiting impassively.

"Eloquence Higgs", she introduced herself in turn without really thinking, impatient to learn more about this most mysterious stranger. Made all the more mysterious by her lack of family name.

Shaw was beginning to drop any pretense of politeness, her disapproval of Leila such that she bid her no respect whatsoever. In fact, when Leila headed upstairs (Loq not far behind, of course), Shaw followed immediately with furrowed brow, muttering under her breath; "psh... 'wait downstairs' indeed... not on your life... the cheek of the thing..."

Eloquence ignored this completely, and ascended a few of the steps swiftly so she was walking alongside Leila, wide-eyed as she asked in a hushed voice; "the thing about the full moon... is that in jest...?"

Or was this really... a werewolf?!

[Image: loq-sig.jpg]
She had annoyed the Shaw woman, no doubt about it, and apparently done nothing but intrigue Miss Higgs. Fantastic.

Leila rolled her eyes before the girl came up alongside her; at her wide-eyed question she clicked her teeth. “Yes, it was in jest,” she said under her breath, as if the girl would believe that now. Best get this over with quickly and plant the ring for her to find organically before she had the chance to ask too many more questions, Leila decided, as she reached the landing and opened the door to the room in question.

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