1994-11-04: An Atypical House-Call


Ichabod_icon.gif Madeline_icon.gif

Scene Title An Atypical House-Call
Synopsis Madeline is accidentally assigned to check-up duty.
Location Shamblethorne, Hogsmeade
Date November 4, 1994
Watch For A panic attack.
Logger Icky

[HGM] - Shamblethorne
It is unclear from whence this ancient Roman-era construction received its title: presumably either from a one-time owner with that name, or because of the huge strands of ivy and prickly weeds that have crawled up its exterior to blanket it almost completely in green and brown. At any rate, the name has stuck over the ages, and any Hogsmeade resident will refer to it simply as 'Shamblethorne' without a second thought.
From the shabby dirt road, one must ascend a short cobblestone path to reach the site. Several crumbling walls in various stages of disrepair form a wide 'courtyard', in the center of which is a still-standing fountain. A lumpy, time-worn figure stands in its basin - the shape is suggestively feminine, but all the details have been weathered away. The villa itself is merely a pile of stone and rubble, its walls and roof having long since collapsed. Now the white marble boulders and slabs sit at strange, disjointed angles like the bones of some long-deceased giant.

It is night - just an hour or so after sunset, though the moon is already rising rapidly in the sky. It's been raining off an on all day, and while at the moment the clouds seem to be giving a temporary reprieve, everything is quite damp and a slight chill has settled in. Ichabod is currently standing in the center of the little ruined courtyard, looking rather bored and occasionally pulling out a very old pocketwatch to check the time. Each time he does this, his lips twist down in a frown that is steadily growing more displeased.

Madeline isn't technically late. It isn't her fault that she didn't know about this particular assignment until after she was supposed to be here. It isn't even her department anymore! Despite her tardiness, she still follows good decorum and Apparates in at the end of the path, walking through the chilly dampness up the rough path until she reaches the home, such that it is. It's clearly not quite what she expected, and there's a pause as she tries to figure out if she has the right place at all. But then she notices the form in the courtyard and feels obligated to see this through. "Er, excuse me?" she calls out, in a volume barely above a quiet speaking voice.

The old man glances up as a figure approaches from the other end of the courtyard; narrowing his eyes a bit, he taps the end of his cane on the ground and grumbles. "You're late - hm. Where are Midgecloud and Northrop?" Obviously, the two that normally attend to this particular duty. Ichabod shrugs this thought aside, however, and motions to the young girl to come towards him. "You /are/ here to perform the monthly check, I assume?" He sneers slightly after asking the question - it's obvious he considers the 'monthly check' to be quite silly. "Well, come on, then. I don't bite." Ha!

"I'm - I'm sorry, sir," Madeline apologizes promptly, having gone rather pink in the cheeks as he points out her tardiness. She doesn't bother trying to explain about how it isn't her fault. "And, ah, I - I believe Midgecloud is ill and Northrop on holiday, though I … may have got that backwards. They went over it, ah, awfully quickly," she explains in a quiet voice, as she heads into the courtyard proper at his gesture. "I've, ah, I've been asked to … substitute for them on the, yes, the monthly check, that's it."

Ichabod arches a brow slightly at the explanation, as well as the woman's demeanor. She sounds as if she barely knows what she's doing - really, if he didn't consider this whole thing a bother in the first place, he'd figure out who gave a job like this to someone so incompetent and spend an hour or so putting them in their place. Instead, he merely sighs. "Very well, then. Ichabod Noble, at your service." He extends a hand to her, his steely eyes scrutinizing her briefly before flicking over to the statue nearby. "Shall we get on with it?"

"Madeline Sagace," she introduces herself quickly, though still completely flustered, and not helped by that scrutinizing look, she first tries to offer her left hand before realizing that doesn't match with the one he's extending, and then quickly swapping for her right so that she can actually shake on it. "Yes, ah, yes. Right. I … will try not to take up too much of your time, Mr. …Noble?" She pauses, frowning, the familiarity of the name only sinking in through the fluster once she says it herself. Her light gaze flickers to him, but then she decides that maybe this isn't the time to ask if he knows a Jack. Then again, it would have helped stalled her next dilemma, which is … where exactly she should start. She looks around, trying to find an obvious spot to check.

"Noble, yes. And that would be much appreciated," Ichabod drawls, shooting the woman a look that suggests he's wondering if her head is stuffed with cabbage. He notices her obvious confusion as to how to proceed, and lets her dawdle about uselessly for a moment or two, his lips curling up in a slight smirk as he waits. Finally, he steps around her so that he's standing directly in front of the statue. "Diem perdidi." Instantly, the stone sculpture slides to the side - there's a set of stairs directly underneath. The gaunt old man waves a hand at the entrance and chuckles. "After you, then, Miss Sagace."

[HGM] - Shamblethorn - Interior
This circular, single-roomed subterranean dwelling is as different from the musty confines of a crypt as one can imagine - nevertheless, its centerpiece is a huge marble sarcophagus set on a raised pedestal. The rest of the space looks like a scene from a Victorian manor home. A deep green area rug with silver embroidery covers about three fourths of what appears to be solid maple flooring. Several portraits adorn the smooth stone walls, all of them in large, intricate golden frames. Three old-fashioned carved armchairs, a plush red sofa, and a very large, solid oaken desk are the most noticeable pieces of furniture.
At the south end of the room a stairwell curves up and away, ascending towards the surface - but it terminates in a blank wall.

And Ichabod's clear disapproval isn't helping Madeline's nerves any, so it's really feeding into a downward spiral here. She starts a bit as he steps around her, having been a little distracted by the slow circle she'd been turning in, hoping inspiration would strike. It should probably be a relief when he reveals the entrance into an actual home to her, but really, the whole thing gives her a bit of an ominous feeling. "I, ah, thank you," she stammers in response, eyeing the stairs but not wanting to dawdle more than she has, so she takes a deep breath and steps forward, scurrying down them. It's thus that she doesn't notice her new surroundings until she's completely submersed in them. At which point her eyes go rather wide, blue gaze flickering over the various accoutrements, but mostly fixed on that sarcophagus.

Following just behind her is Ichabod - he sidesteps her once more once she's completely inside and strides casually into the large, open space, then turns in place once he's near the sarcophagus and gestures around himself. The wall behind Madeline, meanwhile, slides back into place with a soft 'click'. "Here we are, then. Feel free to look around, Miss Sagace. No bodies, no bones, no half-dead persons running about with bite-marks in their necks," He recites drily, offering a thin and only semi-genial smile to illustrate the point.

"You- You're…" At least it didn't take Madeline horribly long to put it together, head filled with cabbage or not. Still, this clearly doesn't bode well for a quick and efficient sweep and him back to his business promptly, does it. Instead of having a look around, her gaze most immediately finds its way back to the exit - or what used to be the exit and now seems to be a wall. That does not fill her with a great deal of happiness, which is no doubt obvious as she looks back, wide eyed, at the gentleman whose evening she's ruining.

Ah, yes, Ichabod recognizes that look. That would be the 'deer in the headlights' look, although he is not familiar with that particular Muggle phrase. He arches a brow once more. "Young lady, you look rather pale. Are you all right?" Really, he's going to have to have a talk with /someone/ about this. The wall nearest him has a rack containing several aged bottles of liquor and wine, and he grabs one of these - firewhiskey, judging from the color - and pours some into a small glass, then walks over to Madeline and extends it to her. "You seem to be somewhat distressed. Here - calms the nerves."

Maybe he will have more luck convincing them that Madeline doesn't actually work for this department anymore. To his question, she makes an odd gesture with her head, sort of like a combination of a nod and a shake, accompanied by a slight twitch of her shoulders. "I - I'm sorry," she stammers in reply, though it's not clear even to her what the apology is for. Running on autopilot, she takes the glass as it's handed to her and doesn't even look at it before tossing it back. And immediately coughing, though she tries unsuccessfully to cover this fact by not opening her mouth - which just makes her sputter. She isn't very used to drinking hard liquor all that often.

Ignoring her apology, Ichabod merely shakes his head and rolls his pale eyes a bit. "Agenda." The wall behind her slides open once more, letting a gust of cool air inside. He also politely ignores her choking on the liquor, waiting until she's recomposed herself to continue. "Do me a favor and stop by my office tomorrow, Miss Sagace. I'd like to know who exactly assigned you to this detail," He says somewhat ominously, although the look he gives her at this point is more.. pitying than angry, although he still sounds annoyed. "I think you should go get some fresh air. You still look quite drawn."

Madeline has gone rather pink again, though maybe that's just the firewhiskey kicking in. "Y-Yes, all right, Mr. uh, Mr. Noble," she agrees in a quiet voice, the timid kid getting sent to the principal's office. She is not looking forward to reporting for that duty, but she isn't the type who will fail to show up. There's some definite relief now that the way out is open again, and she doesn't argue about his instruction to get some fresh air. "I … am sorry, sir. I - I didn't mean to waste your time." Her voice just keeps getting quieter and more miserable as she reaches the stairs.

"No need to worry, Miss Sagace. You wouldn't be the first," Ichabod says with a light chuckle, watching her as she nears the exit. Eventually he turns, his brows raising in slight incredulity, and paces back further inside. After reaching his desk, he pours himself another glass of the firewhiskey and begins to sip on it slowly. He might have lost his appetite for human food a few lifetimes back, but alcohol still thins out blood as well as it ever did.

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