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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

Home Alone
January 30th, 1891 — Scamander Home, Bartonburg

Helga had tried to convince her no one would be the wiser if she went to the ball tonight, but Henrietta had staunchly refused. Heaven help her if her mother caught word that she was attending balls before she debuted! It would be the end of her visit to the Scamanders, that was certain. It might be the end of Henri, too, depending on which mood the news caught her mother in. In any case, Henri was quite content to stay home tonight and busy herself with her sketchpad.

They'd left for the ball when there was just a hint of light in the sky, and Henri had gone into the garden to make the most of it before the early winter darkness forced her to retire inside. She'd gotten halfway through a sketch and wanted to finish it, but was losing the light too quickly. This might not have been a problem for most witches, but since Henri did not even make a habit of carrying her wand on her, especially not around the house, magical light was beyond her capabilities.

There was an oil lamp hanging at the top of the garden hedge, looking disused. Perhaps it still had a little oil in it? Biting her lip, Henri fetched a box of matches from the kitchen, then tried to reach the lamp. It had probably been placed with one of the Mr. Scamanders in mind, though, and at a mere five feet she stood no chance of reaching it. After frowning at it a moment, Henri scooted one garden chair over, climbing atop and standing on her tiptoes as she lit the match —

— and toppled forward, plunging through the hedge and towards the street.

OOC: Set during the art ball; open to anyone who isn't attending

Rune made this! <3
The cat Penny had let in once had come back again. All well and good while he was supervising its antics (which to be fair had mostly been lazing on a shelf all day) but, even if they had a truce, there was no way Elias was letting it ravage the workshop overnight, so he had had to gingerly put it out again, the stray clinging adamantly to his sleeves all the while. 

Perhaps the cat’s claws had been lingering on his mind once that was over with, and he had swept out the rest of the mess, shaking out the woodshavings from the broom (the sweeping sort this time, not one of his); because as he paced a little ways down the street to stretch his legs, something came crashing through the leafy undergrowth from someone’s garden and saw him leap out almost of his skin.

“Merlin!” He swore, instinctively angling the broomhandle in front of him in case the rustling creature pounced - and promptly dropping it when instead the thing crashing proved herself less of an angry creature and more a girl. Possibly his instinct ought to have been to leap to help her instead of brandishing a broom at her, Elias considered, wincing in apology as he observed the unusual route through - over? - the hedge she had made.

“Sorry,” he said, hastily changing tack. “I thought you were a...” A sparrow the size of an eagle? An overgrown gnome? He wasn’t quite sure what he had expected to be lunging out of the hedge towards him on a Bartonburg street, but a human had not been the top of his list. Still, calling her a gnome did not seem the most polite explanation, so he trailed off, still half trying to settle his heartbeat.

lady is the light of my life! <3
Before Henri could even catch her bearings and reorient herself to her new position on the sidewalk outside the Scamander home, someone had thrust a broom in her face. She let out a pitiful squeak and scooted backwards until she felt the branches of the hedge poke into her shoulders. She wished quite fervently that she could have just melted back through the hedge and into the garden, but apparently while the hedge had been willing to part and let her through up there, it was quite solid down here. Just her luck. Now she was outside (not just in the garden but actually off the property), she was alone, and there was a strange man trying to attack her with a broomstick!

He wasn't actually trying to attack her with a broomstick; he had dropped it. This did nothing to lessen her distress. She wanted to get up and run back inside before he had a chance to ask her what her name was — strange men always seemed to be doing that in Hogsmeade, and it made her terribly uncomfortable to handle her own introductions — but she had scattered the entire box of matches on the ground during the course of her fall, and she couldn't very well go back inside and leave them out here. What if the Scamander's cook couldn't light the stove the next morning and there was no breakfast or tea because of her? What if the housekeeper couldn't start any of the fires and they all had to wear mittens all day even indoors? (It did not occur to her that people usually accomplished these sorts of mundane tasks with magic; suddenly the entire happiness of the Scamander family seemed to hinge on this box of matches, and on Henri's ability to retrieve them).

The other factor preventing her from making a hasty retreat was that she was not actually sure she knew how to get up. Corsets weren't really meant for acrobatics. She had never been seated on the ground while wearing one before, and the one she was wearing tonight did not have a good deal of flexibility even at its loosest. Laced up as tightly as it was, she didn't think she could bend at all, which would complicate matters considerably.

"A what?" she asked, less because she had any desire to know and more because the way that he'd let his sentence trail off left her feeling strangely anxious.

Rune made this! <3
This was all a bit of a mess, Elias observed, at the scattered matches and the dropped broom and the girl squished up at the bottom of the hedge in a position that didn’t look particularly comfortable.

Of course, nor had her flight over the hedge.

A what? He had felt sheepish enough just thinking it, but now she was asking and although he very much wanted to lie, he could not come up with a particularly convincing one under the pressure. What appeared over hedges like that? A bird taking off, maybe, but no one in their right mind tried to attack birds with a broom, did they? A squirrel, he thought, with a violent agenda. A bludger? Eventually he settled for what had first crossed his mind, impolite or otherwise. “An attacking gnome?” He offered, with an apologetic shrug. Gnomes did live in people’s gardens, after all. “Apparently they can get quite bold if there’s an infestation of them... Are you alright?” he added with some concern, worrying she had actually gotten hurt in the fall, because she was not getting up as he had expected and he was talking about gnomes.

lady is the light of my life! <3
An attacking gnome? Henrietta had never experienced a gnome attack. She wasn't even sure she had seen one up close before, for all the time she spent loitering in gardens. Her mama would have had an exterminator out at the first sign of trouble, she assumed, and they lived in London, which meant they weren't quite as prone to infestations of the magical nature as they might have been in London. They weren't, anyway, going to catch anything simply because it was going through the neighborhood. All of which to say, she had no idea whether the man's apparent fear was a reasonable one or not. Maybe she ought not to spend her evening home alone in the garden, if she was in danger of being attacked by strange creatures...

At his question, she briefly took stock of herself. "I think so," she said with a nod, though she still wasn't sure about how to get up. There was nothing to grab on to in order to assist her, which made it challenging. The hedge was the only thing within arm's reach, and she could hardly just grab a fistful of leaves and try to claw her way back to a standing position. Perhaps she could have used the broom as a support, but first she would have to get it, and it had fallen several feet away. How would she even manage it? She might have to crawl, which wouldn't have been so bad except that there was a strange gentleman there to watch her. Mrs. Abercrombie was going to live to regret having finished her, Henrietta just knew it.

"Could you — perhaps — help me up?" she asked, utterly mortified by the request but seeing no way around it.

Rune made this! <3
I think so, she said, but in spite of that she had still not gotten up, and Elias had considered attempting to gather the dropped matches for her but as she had made no move towards doing that or moving at all, getting her to her feet did seem like the best first step. At any rate, she had asked for help. “Of course,” Elias agreed readily, pacing forwards and leaning over slightly to extend a hand close enough for her to reach. Both hands, maybe - if she needed more steadying.

As he did this, he tried, absently, to splice together the possible sequence of events that could have seen her topple through a hedge like that with a box of matches. “I take it you weren’t... trying to set fire to the garden hedge, were you?” A jest, mostly, because she looked the furthest thing from a pyromaniac street urchin as anyone could be, dishevelled from her fall or not.
Henrietta Cartwright

The following 1 user Likes Elias Grimstone's post:
   Henrietta Cartwright

lady is the light of my life! <3
Henrietta was focused on two things, as he approached. First, trying to get back to her feet in the most graceful way possible, to salvage whatever poise she had left after such an inglorious fall. Second, trying to ignore, as much as she could, the fact that this man was having to help her up. She had asked him to, of course, but really she wanted this particular part of the interaction purged from her memory immediately, so she was doing her best not to notice anything about him as he reached down to help her up. Concentrating, then, on her own body and on precisely nothing else, she failed to recognize his question as a joke. Her expression as she responded could be most accurately described as abject horror.

"No! I wasn't doing anything of the sort. I was trying to light the lantern. Oh — please don't tell the Scamanders I was trying to burn down their hedge," she pleaded. "They've been so kind but I'm sure they'd send me back to London if they thought I'd nearly set their house on fire. Even if I didn't mean to and was only being clumsy."

Rune made this! <3
She was slender and slight and on the short side, so it was hardly much trouble to help pull her to her feet. Although she seemed very concentrated upon it, which seemed odd; now Elias felt obliged to survey her again more closely, under the hypothesis that perhaps she had hurt herself on her fall through the hedge, and was trying to brush it off as less than it was.

He had had a few too many ungainly broomstick landings not to be familiar with ignoring scrapes and grazes, anyway. But, whatever had happened, he did not think leaving the Scamanders’ apparent houseguest on the side of the street if she’d broken a wrist or a leg or something was particularly neighbourly behaviour. No more than setting hedges on fire would have been... but she sounded more insistent about that than he had expected.

“No, it’s alright, I - was only joking,” Elias admitted, wondering whether it might not have been more polite of him to keep up the pretence of having been serious, just to embarrass her less. “But your secret’s safe with me,” he said anyway, smiling lightly. “I’m sure it could have happened to anyone.” (He was not entirely sure about that, but the reassurance couldn’t hurt.)

lady is the light of my life! <3
Even on her feet, Henrietta felt as though she was looking up just as sharply as before to keep her eyes on his face. She hadn't realized how huge he was from the ground, but now she could hardly fail to do so. Even slouching as he was (which he really was — if Henrietta had ever done that in her life she thought she might have gotten smacked in the shoulders with her governess' wand to straighten her out) he handily towered over her. She might have supposed he was part giant, distantly, except that his features looked far too soft and intelligent for that.

"Oh," she said, sounding vaguely disappointed by the revelation that he'd been joking. Why couldn't Henri have been clever or witty, like her oldest sister? Hermione would never have failed to realize when a gentleman was making a joke, and she would have had something just as amusing to say in response without even having to think about it. And Hortense might have laughed in that melodic way she had, and no one would have minded that she had nothing funny to say because they were all so captivated by her.

"That's very kind of you to say," she said with a frown. "But it seems like things like this only ever happen to me."

Rune made this! <3
He could still see no signs she had hurt herself, but she did sound strangely put out by something he had said, or perhaps by the joke, or - well, he had no idea, but his eyebrows knitted slightly looking at her, considering.

Well, I can tell them you were burning down the hedge, he almost put in, but he couldn’t see how that would help, unless she actually had been and was privately hoping to get sent home. He might not know the Scamanders particularly well, but nevertheless that did sound like a drastic move.

She did sound rather forlorn about her incident, though, and Elias had a feeling there was not much to be said to alleviate that for her - a little distance from it, and she would probably feel better about it - so perhaps he ought to just tidy up the fallen matches for her. He didn’t have his wand on hand, but he had brought that sweeping broom, so he moved off to grab that again, as he countered, with another slight laugh. “Oh, but I can promise you that you’re not the only one who can be clumsy.” He meant that quite sincerely. “And I’m sure you’re not even the first person to fall through a hedge.”

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   Henrietta Cartwright

lady is the light of my life! <3
Henrietta was still vaguely hung up on the idea that if she had been witty she would have been able to make a joke in response, but she was struggling to come up with anything she thought might sound funny. She fidgeted her hands in front of her stomach, grabbing one fingertip with her opposite hand. She was wearing a ring and she reached over to mess with it in the same distracted fashion, but only for a moment — it was slightly too loose and almost immediately started to slip off her finger, and she had to clutch her hand hard to prevent it from falling. That would have just been insult to injury, if her ring clattered down to the cobblestones and rolled away and was lost forever. Her mother probably would have said it served her right, for fidgeting.

"Well, if you fell through a hedge it would be much more of an ordeal," she said, very quietly. "It would leave such a gap in the branches they might just need to put in a new gate, rather than patching it up." This was her best attempt at a joke, after having considered the situation for several seconds trying to find something funny about it, but she was too insecure about the attempt to laugh. Suppose he was sensitive about how tall he was and he didn't find this humorous at all? Henrietta blushed and looked down at her hands, so that she wouldn't have to see how he reacted to it; she was becoming increasingly certain that it had been a terribly dull thing to say.

Rune made this! <3
She certainly didn’t look like she believed a word he’d said. Maybe she was just a little shy; maybe he ought not to have called her clumsy to her face - although he was now stooping back down to gather up all the matches she’d scattered to set the undamaged ones back in the box, the muggle way, so hopefully that was enough to project that he only meant well.

And when she spoke at last, it was with such... sober delivery that it took a moment for Elias to decide whether she was being purposefully deadpan or just horribly serious. His eyebrows drew together a little in bemusement, though he tried to hide it; but whether it was a joke or not, it was at his expense and was entirely fair, so he did crack a smile all the same. “Yes,” he returned, a tinge of surprise still in his amused tone, “yes, I expect you’re right.” A little awkwardly, he held out the matchbox to her again, even though she seemed to be quite determinedly not looking. “But you’re - alright to get back into the garden the usual way, I suppose, Miss...?” Elias added, nodding his head at the place from whence she’d fallen, before managing a better grin with the teasing offer: “Or do you need me to clear you a gap for the Scamanders’ new gate?”

lady is the light of my life! <3
Darn it all, she had been so close to getting through this encounter without being forced through an introduction. Henri supposed she could have ignored his gentle question even now, because it really wasn't proper. She wasn't even out yet, so she shouldn't be being introduced to men in general, much less introducing herself to said men. But she also oughtn't to be alone with gentlemen whose names she didn't even know, even if they were just on a public street in town, so perhaps the boat had already sailed on propriety for the evening. Probably it had shoved off from the pier the moment she'd pitched through the hedge with such a lack of grace.

Besides, he was being rather nice, picking up the match sticks for her and helping her to her feet and everything. There was no need to be rude. "Miss Cartwright," she supplied, with a smile that was almost genuine, albeit very fleeting. She had glanced up at his face for only a moment before settling her eyes instead on the match box he'd held out to her, and now she took it in both hands and clutched it to her stomach as though afraid it might spring back out onto the pavement of its own accord if she didn't properly contain it. "And I'm sure I can manage through the existing gate. Thank you."

Rune made this! <3
Miss Cartwright, she said. Perhaps like the cauldron company? Though, given, well... just about everything about her, Elias could hardly picture her as someone who had much use for cauldrons, at least not personally. If lighting a lantern had caused this much of an ordeal, imagine the disaster of potion brewing.

He felt, immediately, a little bad for thinking it: like most young ladies, she probably had plenty of natural talent in something or other, and had been perfectly nice in spite of her strange soberness in tone and skittish air. He smiled back a little more brightly at her remark as if to make up for thinking it. “You’re very welcome. Elias Grimstone,” he added, though she hadn’t asked, “- I live just down the way.” He inclined his head in that direction, tempted to linger for a moment more just to make absolutely sure that she made it through the garden gate alive, but...

“Good evening, Miss Cartwright,” he said instead with a farewell nod, trusting that she could manage that much - but also rather hoping that she didn’t somehow burn down the whole unsuspecting street the moment he turned his back.

The following 1 user Likes Elias Grimstone's post:
   Henrietta Cartwright

lady is the light of my life! <3

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