When you dig up old magical artefacts for a living life can be unpredictable. That is why Kit has found herself in a souk in the old part of Cairo. Dressed sedately and with a scarf over her hair she moves towards a cafe where she is meant to meet the partner her employer has sent to aid in her quest. It is a temperate to night this far south, not hot by Egyptian standards but by British. The souk is lit by pools of light emanating from lanterns hanging from stalls and the occasional street lamp. As she approaches the cafe, Kit reaches into pocket and pulls out the details she was given. Her contact is meant to be identified by a unique piece of clothing.
Magnus just got to Egypt this morning on a new assignment. It took a slight turn though as he was directed to go meet someone dealing with artefacts who had a small curse problem on their hand. The man is sitting in the cafe already, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, with a fedora to top the outfit off – his unique piece of clothing. He's got a drink in front of him, which he is casually sipping.
Living with one foot in the wizarding world and one in the muggle, Kit has seen her fair share of unique clothing. A fedora is rather low key compared to some but it blends in and is also noticeable in the setting. Once more she looks down at the paper then walks up to the table and and speaks in broken Arabic, "Masaa al-khayr," before switching to English, "A friend has asked me to meet you and take you to him." She glances around, knowing that it is not exactly customary for women to greet strangers. "
Magnus looks up from his drink about to reply when recognition flickers in his eyes. "Kit?" he asks before grinning a bit. "Well what are the odds of this." He reaches for the fedora, taking if off and setting it on the table.
Seeing a familiar face is clearly not what Kit expected given the surprise she easily shows. As she slides into a seat across from him Kit asks Magnus, "Did Banks hire you recently or have you worked for him before?"
"Drink?" Magnus asks, flagging the waiter without waiting for an answer. "I think he's worked with my boss before. He's the one that gave me the tip since I was already headed to Egypt for some work. And here I am," he explains with a grin. "So are we going to be working together then?"
Kit nods twice, first in that slightly quick and jerky manner they have when agreeing to a question and then in the slower way of someone who is thinking things through and finding the pieces fit. "There are some Greek artefacts that I am hunting but I've hit a snag and need someone to help." Her scarf slips a bit when she tilts her head and asks, "Are you free to help me for a day or two or do you still need to work on the other job?"
The waiter is quick to arrive and Magnus will order for Kit after asking what she wants just to smooth the process along at the local establishment. “I should be. My job for work should take more than two days and I’m here for four. So I can be flexible. You’re anticipating curses then?”
Kit waits until they are alone again and then moves her chair slightly, seemingly to shift out of a shaft of light from the lantern hanging overhead but really to better position herself so that she can speak quietly to Magnus. "When we last met I had been briefly stuck when a wall collapsed on a dig I was doing. The collapsed wall, once I got past it, revealed a clue to a more long term project I have been asked to do by Banks. He is convinced that there is a relic here in Cairo that was given to Cleopatra by the Romans but was in fact Greek in nature. I have hit a new wall, figuratively," she nods a little as if admitting this to herself," – and literally – and that is where you come in. It may just be that I have found what I am looking for, or it may be another piece of the puzzle but the curse is too strong for me." Her fingers drum idly on the battered wooden tabletop, "How are you with creepy crawlies?"
Magnus takes a casual sip of his drink, leaning forward in his chair so he can listen to Kit better. “Interesting,” he says finally. “Oh, creepy crawlies and me get on just fine. Now crazy about snakes, but everyone has their flaw, hm?” He grins a bit. “I’m intrigued. How about tomorrow then? You can show me this wall?”
"I cannot make any promises about a lack of snakes but we've got plenty of other things that are crawling around the wall." Kit frowns, admitting, "I think the scorpions are linked to the curse. They are nasty and the locals we hired to help won't go near the site until we clear them out. Squibs or wizards." She purses her lips, considering the question and then nods, "Tomorrow is fine."
"Yeah, nasty little buggers, scorpions. You get them a lot around here." Magnus just gives a nod. "Alright then. Tomorrow. Just do your best on the snakes," he tells her with a little grin. "Leave me the address where I should meet you?"
"I am staying at the Golden Palm in Garden City off of Dar el Shefha," says Kit. She accepts the tea from the waiter and carefully tests the temperature. "Make sure to bring your overnight bag, just in case."
“Great. I’ll be there tomorrow morning after breakfast.” Magnus reaches for his drink, taking a sip. “For business or pleasure?” He asks in regard to the bag with a small smirk, looking over at Kit once more.
Kit sips more of her tea, but the corner of her mouth twitches faintly with amusement. "If you don't take pleasure in the business you are doing then you are in the wrong line of work." Her cup is carefully placed on the saucer. "I am not out for a ride on your broom shaft if that's what you are asking, Magnus. But thanks for the compliment all the same. I'll see you tomorrow." With that she rises to her feet and adjusting her head scarf waits to hear a reply before leaving.(edited)
Magnus laughs rather heartily at her reply, looking very amused. "Let's see what you think about spending two days with me," he jokes before lifting a hand to wave her off. "See you tomorrow."
Garden City is a part of town littered with hotels and accommodation. The Golden Palm, while not an exclusive establishment, caters only to the wizarding community. The grand marble lobby with its large golden palm taking pride of place is where Magnus finds Kit, dressed for the dirt and dust of the day ahead. She is looking over a map and speaking in quiet tones to a local guide.
Magnus is roughly on time, just after breakfast as he said. He has a pack slung over his shoulder and is dressed in tan pants that look ready for the field, and a long sleeve shirt made of airy fabric ideal for protecting from the heat without making you too warm. He pushes his sunglasses onto the top of his head as he strolls towards Kit. "Morning sunshine. Ready to tackle these scorpions?" he says with a bright smile.
"As ready as one can ever be, comes her reply." Kit nods towards Magnus and introduces him to the guide then gives her fellow Gryffindor her attention, " We have a twenty minute walk then we can port key to the site." She slips on her sunglasses and a hat.
Magnus greets the guide in near flawless Egyptian before turning to Kit once more. "Alright, lead the way." He'll follow her outside, putting his own sunglasses back on. "You work in Egypt a lot then?" he asks her once they are underway.
Kit shakes her head, "Not really, this is only the second time. My Arabic is very rusty, phrasebook level. My ancient Egyptian even worse. Most of my work has been in and around what was the Hellenistic empire." Despite the height difference between them she keeps pace with Magnus and his longer legs as the follow the guide." What about you? I thought you worked for Gringotts. "
"Well see, good thing you've got me around. I read ancient Egyptian and speak Egyptain Arabic," Magnus tells her with a grin. "I'm here rather often though. Always seems to be new curses to break in this country." He gives a little nod, listening to her. "I do, but in cursebreaking. So I go where the curses are and more specifically where the treasure is. Our jobs are probably rather similar, actually, " he tells her with a grin.
She nods her dark head, "There are definite similarities between what we do. Most I freelance, but from time to time I work for the ministry." Kit waves away merchants who try to shove goods in her face. "
Magnus gives a nod once more. "Yeah, we contract with the Ministry as well sometimes. Sometimes Mungos if they get someone really badly cursed in." He ducks around one of the merchants who tries to convince him to buy a statue.
Although they are not near the big souk there are always merchants trying to sell bargains, many that are too good to be true, to Western tourists heading towards Giza. Kit and Magnus are heading in the opposite direction, moving north. By the time they have reached their port key the entourage has amassed food and other supplies enough for a few days.
Magnus follows along mostly in silence, sometimes chatting. “Alright,” he says once they’ve stopped. “Ready when you are.” He looks to Kit with a slightly boyish grin. He is clearly excited to get started.
The port key they all take hold of is shaped like a water pitcher decorated with the tacky tourist hieroglyphs. Once grabbed onto the port key transports them miles outside the city to what is clearly a dig site. Port keys can be disorienting but those with more experience using them know to start walking while in the air. Kit does this as does the guide. When her booted feet land on the sandy ground she moves towards the pit they have dug. A good deal of excavation has been done to reveal the doorway that masses of scorpions crawl around. The normally nocturnal creatures are behaving abnormally.
Magnus follows Kit easily, landing lightly on his feet and striding off. He stops when they make it to the site, furrowing his brow at the scorpions wandering around. He drops his pack to the ground, opening it and pulling out a small device. “Anything rose I should know or mind if I start playing around?”
She shakes her head, "This is how far we've got. The scorpions arrived when we tried a simple opening spell." Kit sets her things aside and moves out of the way so that Magnus can work. "I'll be here just in case," wand at the ready she waits. There seems to be no discernable pattern to the movement of the scorpions. The door they are guarding has hieroglyphs on it, partially obscured by more sand.
“Alrighty then,” Magnus replies. “Wish me luck.” He leaves his pack with Kit, taking his wand and the device with him as he heads closer. He stops a few feet away from the scorpions, eyeing the situation for a moment before casting a spell. The spell causes a visible shield to appear over the entrance, creatures included. He sets the device against it, fiddling with it. He’s muttering to himself just a bit as he reads whatever the device says. After he casts another few spells. He’s busy for a solid half hour, going on 45 minutes casting different spells and muttering different enchantments before he returns to Kit. “Okay. I think I can get rid of the scorpions. But I’m not sure what we’ll find at the door after that. Want me to go for it? Maybe just take cover,” he suggests.
While Magnus has worked and Kit has kept watch over him the rest of the team began arriving. Some of the team were a bit nosy and stopped to see what he was doing or to ask Kit a question but most disappeared under a shimmering tent that is enchanted to be invisible to Muggles. From inside the large tent come the sounds of people working and chatting as they process the context finds from the site. When Magnus speaks to her Kit just nods at first then realised he is looking away from her. "I'll warn them to beware and then we can go for it. Back in a flash." She jogs over to the tent to warn the others then returns to standing guard not far from Magnus, albeit now behind a bit of cover behind which she calls out, "Ready for go!"
Magnus nods, waiting for Kit to return. Once she gives the go ahead though he heads back over taking out his wand. He starts casting a string of rather intricate spells, trying to lift the curse with the scorpion. Something begins to rumble and he keeps his muttering up, casting a stream of red at the source. It’s about another 15 minutes before the rumbling ceases and his efforts are rewarded with a small explosion. The explosion though is localized, the scorpions all exploding and sending their guts and bits flying. Magnus gets a nice layer on him which he casually wipes off his face when he’s done before turning to walk back to Kit. “Well scorpions are gone,” he tells her with a grin before using his wand to clean himself up a bit.
Kit nods in agreement with Magnus and his proclamation even as she reaches up to flick dead scorpion off her head. "That they are." She moves forward, dropping down into the test pit to move to the door. Along with the scorpions a good deal of the sand has also shifted and from inside her pocket Kit removes a brush that she then uses to gently brush more sand off the hieroglyphs. " Does any of this give you a clue as to what we'll find d inside?"
That the dead are not being forthcoming should be Kit's professional warning to her clients, she sees this far too often. "Okay, so we catalogue it and then find a way in. Do you want to stick around and see what is behind door number one?" Already members of the team are taking photos of the newly exposed hieroglyphs on the door and taking sand samples, this leaves Kit to fit down a way through it. "While we could blast our way through I don't like to work that way, I try to leave things as close as possible to how I found them. It does mean things can take longer." Using her tools she clears away more of the hard sand near the edges of the door, working quietly. This gives Magnus time to decide and to check out the site or to watch. Once uncovered the lock is worked with magic and they are all greeted by the sound of heavy stone sliding against heavy stone. "Lumos," says Kit as she pushes the tip of her wand into the darkness.
“Of course. Plus, not sure you’re done with me just yet,” Magnus tells her with a grin. “I’ll help,” he tells her. Because cursebreakers also have to do a lot of the dig work on their projects. The man though has a nicely perfected charm he uses though, instead of a brush. But it has the same effect. Once the door is open he lights his wand as well, stepping in through the entrance.
The light from Kit's wand illuminates the area immediately surrounding it, she raises the level of light as it becomes clear nothing is going to leap out at them (it's happened before). The room is small, no more than a modestly decorated ante-chamber but it provides a few clues. The hieroglyphs are indecipherable to Kit, what she is looking for is all-together different. "The Egyptian ministry asked for first dibs on anything we find, unless it doesn't happen to be Egyptian. They're pretty tired of European wizards coming in and laying claim to their national treasures it seems. Guess you'd know far more about that than me." As she moves deeper into the chamber she finds the next door, "They were a very linear people weren't they? One way in, one way out. Makes a change from the Greeks."
Magnus doesn’t comment about taking Egyptian treasures, just winks at Kit by way of response. He follows her through after a good look around. “Much more creative with their curses though. I’ve also found that a lot of the tombs here, when it comes to the magical artifacts, they tend to be much better disguised.” As they hit the door though he reaches for his wand, casting a spell that sends a whispy blue smoke from the tip of his wand. It floats towards the door making its way over it before turning red. “Hmm. Nasty trap on this door. Shall I?”
Kit nods and steps aside, this is why she asked Magnus to come today and it is why she will be paying him for his time. "Work your magic," she says with a grin and turns her attention to looking at the few containers in the room. Even more mundane items have value to someone. The pair of them have been followed in by a few others from Kit's team; the Egyptians set to work clearing, cataloguing and making sure whatever else she is doing it isn't going to piss off the ministry. From inside her pocket Kit pulls out a folded piece of paper, using the light from the lanterns the crew have set up she peers at the drawing on the paper. "I think there is another larger ante-chamber after this and then the main room we are looking for, " Kit tells Magnus.
Magnus gets to work on the door, muttering several spells that seem to be working on whatever curse sits there waiting. He pulls out his device again, peering through it, though he doesn't get too close to the door just yet. He lifts his wand again, casting another series of charms, and when the charms hit the door, the unbroken line of magic causes his arm to shake, a warm feeling shooting into it which makes him wince. He doesn't stop though and finally there is a click and the entire door crumbles, disintegrating before their eyes. He is about to turn to Kit when the wind picks up inside the room, pulling towards them, almost like a vacuum trying to suck them in. He turns back, giving a fast flick of his wand to try to tether them to the room they're in.(edited)
The whirlwind created by the vacuum threatens to pull them all in. It is the lifting of her hair that first alerts Kit. As she scrambles for purchase the drawing is sucked out of her hand, "Dammit!" She tries to scramble after it only to collide with one of the Egyptians, a small dark-haired man who begins to panic. Magnus' spell lands, anchoring him to a stone wall while debris flies past him, battering against him and anyone who gets in the way. Kit manages to grab onto Magnus' foot and stop her momentum but the paper is beyond her reach and her sight.
Magnus is not panicking, in fact the man has become more serious than most have probably ever seen him. His wand is moving very rapidly and when Kit grabs his foot he presses more weight onto that leg to give her something stable to hold onto. One of the spells he shoots off is aimed at immobilizing the debris flying through the air, one to create a barrier to make sure Kit stays where she is, though the rest seem to be focused on the vacuum itself, trying to diffuse it.
Feeling more secure thanks to Magnus' aid, Kit too makes use of her wand and spells that she knows. The others, not all are wizards some are squibs, try and help. With a combined effort they get things under control. The whirlwind is pushed back further and further until it dissipates leaving gravity to take control. A few groans are heard from the squib Egyptians but the others are quicker to recover. With her hair sticking up every which way, Kit climbs to her feet, using a fistful of Magnus' belt to get her upright, "Sorry," she mutters and then charges forward into the newly opened chamber to see if she can find her paper. "That stupid drawing was a map of sorts. Proof that my guy had been here." Unlike the last ante-chamber this one has torches and they light themselves as Kit walks into the room. Far more elaborately decorated the torchlight glistens off of colourful hieroglyphs and golden tools and containers on what looks to be a work table made of marble. "Is this common, "she asks Magnus, being the Egyptian expert.
"If you wanted into my pants, you just had to ask," Magnus jokes, trying to lighten the mood as she grabs onto his belt. He does reach down to place a hand under her arm though and help get her steadied on her feet. He rakes his fingers through his curls, taming them after the whirlwind. "It probably isn't gone. Wind like that, it'll have been contained most likely…" he mutters, eyeing the new room as they walk into it. He nods though, walking around the room to explore a little. "Sometimes. It isn't the first I've seen that is this elaborate or fancy. This is rather well preserved though. Effect of the magic, most likely."
His joking does draw a smirk from Kit but not a comment, she is too intent on seeing if she can find the paper. "It is pretty remote out here too. If I'd not been given near exact coordinates I would never have found it." She leans over and carefully looks at a small golden crucible before touching it. "It is as if the wizard using this just stepped out, there isn't even dust. No dust in a desert, that is some good magic." The room looks like it doesn't go anywhere – at first. As Kit looks around she starts to grin broadly, "Look Magnus," she points to the smoke from the torches, the smoke from those closest to the door is drawn that way but the ones furthest away from the door are drawn towards a hidden draft. "What do you see?"
Magnus presses his lips together for a moment, concentrating as he looks around. He lifts his wand once more, casting a silent summoning charm for the paper. It's not a normal summoning charm exactly, but modified for the curse. He's busy with this while Kit is talking, but finally finishes and turns towards her while waiting to see if his spell works. "Well lookey there," he comments, grinning at her. "Must be where they are hiding the good stuff."
What is left of the paper comes floating and flitting Magnus' way as if dancing on a wind. So intent is Kit on how to find the opening that she doesn't realise what Magnus has done. She raises her wand and casts a revealing charm on the wall where the draft seems to be coming from. "Maybe we'll get lucky and we all can find something useful." As if weighing up the potential danger she hesistates for a moment and looks back to where her team have hovered just outside the room, "Farad," she calls for the head of the dig team and his dark head appears in the doorway, "just to be safe keep everyone back. I don't know what will happen when this door opens…in fact maybe wait outside. You know what to do if we don't make it back." Farad nods and starts speaking to the others, getting them to fall back to the entrance.
Magnus reaches a hand into the air as the paper comes floating through, wrapping his fingers around what is left of it. "Here," he says casually, handing the paper remnants to Kit and raising his own wand towards the door, ready for whatever might come.
Her brows raise in surprise and Kit grins, "Thanks," she says as she takes the paper. Her gaze drops down to it, "Okay, it's not all there but I remember some of what is missing. On the otherside of this wall there should be a library of some sorts." The paper is carefully tucked away before Kit inches closer to the wall. Thanks to her spell it is now possible to see the elaborate locking mechanism. It will require each of them to work on it from a different side, not so much a curse as a puzzle. Yet Magnus' spider senses are still undoubtedly tingling. "All of this had better be worth it," mutters Kit. "I don't want to go through it for something my kid brother could knock out with his Play-Doh set."
"Well whoever put it there went through quite a bit of work to make sure no one got to it," Magnus tells her, eyeing the lock before getting to work. "I don't think we should go through first. If we get this open, find a rock or something and throw it through first," he tells her before focusing on his spells once more. He looks a bit on edge, not nervous, but just…ready for whatever is coming next because he has a feeling it's been easy until now.
"Better safe than sorry," agrees Kit. She starts to work on her end, watching Magnus to make sure they are not working at a different pace. "There must be something more than what I'm after. All I want is a step to the next place. This makes me wonder just who this wizard was. He clearly had something to hide being so far from civilisation." With the pair of them working together the locking mechanism begins to move slowly, grinding to a halt twice the tempermental metal eventually is unlocked with a loud grinding sound. Kit pauses, listening, her eyes wide. From somewhere beneath them a sound of a chain on a type of pulley can be heard. "Ah…Magnus…" The wall slides open and reveals a light room filled with furniture, moisaics and shelf upon shelf of scrolls and ancient tomes.
As the door slides open Magnus bends down to grab some of the debris that had been flying around earlier, eyes never leaving the door. His wand is also still out. Once he has the piece of debris in his hand she flings it through the door, watching it roll onto the floor there. It bounces a little and then falls still, causing Magnus to frown. "I'll go first," he suggests, stepping towards the door.
Kit was preparing herself for there to be more but when there doesn't seem to be she releases a breath she hadn't realised she was holding. Magnus' statement draws a nod from her. She waits, watching until he crosses the threshold before doing so herself. "The relic I am after shouldn't be here really, but if it is then it is about the size of a shoe and shaped like a minotaur." Wand at the ready she stands watching, waiting in case anything happens to Magnus. When he makes it across the threshold without incident she starts in after him.
Once inside the room it is clear that the light is coming down from the ceiling and a hole far above them, it is as if the hole were there for smoke to escape from when the firepit in the centre of the room was lit. Despite the age of the furnishings and everything else they have discovered it is in remarkably good condition. For Magnus, who can read the words on the sides of the scroll racks the room is a veritable library of ancient knowledge but it also becomes clearer that there are very strong anti-trespassing wards and curses on each rack. Off to one side as if it had been forgotten lies a broom made of little more than wood and papyri.
"Well this is fun," Magnus says sarcastically as he scans the room with a spell. "It's going to be like finding the needle in a haystack to get all these curses broken. He gives a shake of his head though, lowering his wand for a moment as he studies the writing. "But there is some great stuff here. Mind if I take some photos before we go? I want to study some of these once I'm back." He looks back over at Kit, "Ready? This is not going to be pretty if you want to touch anything in here."
She looks over at him and nods, "Go for it – the photos I mean. " Kit comes to a stop near an embossed wooden chaise and crouches down to look at the decorations on it. "Remember that what I am after is not Egyptian but Roman or Greek, which should make it stick out a bit more than a needle." She takes the paper from her pocket and holds it up again then rises to her feet and looks up, squinting. Nodding to herself in answer to an internalised question, Kit uses her wand to determine the points on a compass then starts to count her paces until she reaches the next item of furniture, this time it is a small side table.
Magnus goes for his pack, grabbing a magical camera and snapping photos here and there. Once he has what he wants he tucks it away, reaching for his wand so he can start breaking what he hopes is the last round of curses. He seems to be making progress, the curses breaking down. Though there is a particularly nasty one that sends a shot of fire at him, scorching a hole through his shirt and some of his arm hairs, which causes a string of curses to escape him. "I think your thing might be here," he hisses.
Kit looks up from studying the third piece of furniture, they are laid out at cardinal points and she is facing south at present and looking over a wooden chair. "Jesus, Magnus, are you okay?" As she rises to her feet her attention is caught not by the scroll case which Magnus has been working on opening but on something that looks to be etched onto it. "Wait!" Kit rushes over and gets down on her hands and knees. "I know this symbol, it is the mark of a wizard named Claestus. If this was his place it explains so much." She looks up at Magnus, rushing to explain, "Claestus wasn't just an ordinary Roman wizard but one that was paranoid about his work being stolen. He had a fixation on traps and seemingly implausible escapes. He liked hiding things in places ordinary wizards never dared to look. So we need to think out side the…scroll case as it were. Is there a way you can get above it?" The case is tall, well above Magnus' own height and does not look as if it would take his weight.
Magnus casts some sort of spell on his burning arm to at least stop the pain until he can get it patched up. "Fucking brilliant," he tells her by way of response, but he gives her a tight grin. He is about to continue when she tells him to stop, pulling his wand back. "Claestus? I've heard that name," he murmurs, lifting his eyebrows. "Hmm, we haven't got a broom have we? Otherwise, can you levitate me up there? That could work…"
There was a broom in the room, a very old broom but a broom nonetheless. Kit looks around and then points, "There!" She rushes over to the broom and grabs it without thinking. A low rumbling begins and Kit turns, wide-eyed, to look at Magnus. "I think we might be in trouble," she says just as the door they came through slides shut. The rumbling grows louder and the floor begins to tremble beneath their feet. The trembling gets stronger as the floor starts rolling and roiling beneath them. Kit struggles as she runs towards Magnus, still clutching the broom.
More cursing escapes Magnus, a very colorful string of words as the rumbling begins. His wand is out and he starts casting something but it doesn't seem to be effective. As Kit comes towards him he steps forward, reaching out an arm to pull her towards him and behind him. "Don't let go of me," he hisses, planting his feet wide apart so that he can try to stand as the floor starts rolling. And then he starts again with spells, casting them continuously across the room trying to stabilize the room.
"No, Magnus think," Kit nudges him with the broom, speaking very loudly to be heard over the sound of the room. "We can go up," she jerks her free hand up over his head, pointing at the hole in the ceiling. Kit wraps a leg around the broom and kicks off, lifting up off the wildly shaking and rolling floor. She holds a hand out to him, "Trust me, I can do this." While Kit might never have wanted to be the professional quidditch player her father and brother are she can fly decently. "Claestus left the broom, right? He knew this would be the way out, what we are after has to be on top of that rack. You'll have to grab it."
"But…all the other stuff…" Magnus starts to say, looking around longingly at all the things still behind curses. But as another rumble rattles him he reaches for her and pulls himself onto the old broom. "Alright, alright," he mutters once he's on the broom. He's still got his wand out and his left hand is already out stretched to grab whatever he might find on top of the rack.
"We can come back," Kit promises, "but we have to survive first." The broom is not the best she has ever flown and it struggles under both of their weight. As they rise up the other racks begin swaying violently, the very floor beneath them drawn down into a spiralised sinkhole. On the broom they jutter and move slowly but slow on a broom is still a lot faster than on foot and soon Magnus is having to grab a wooden box as they go past, soaring higher and higher towards the exit.
Magnus leans over and swipes the box once they are close enough. He pulls it in close so he's holding it tightly against him. "Got it, go on, get out of here then," he tells Kit, glancing down as the floor below starts disappearing.
It is going to be a tight squeeze, it would have been tighter had Kit not got her wand out and cast an enlargening spell, widening the portal. Once they are free the broom starts to jerk around and Kit loses control sending them towards the sandy expanse below. Thankfully that sandy expanse is only a dozen or so feet beneath them. What becomes clear is the absence of sound from the hole as if the minute they were out of it the spell stopped. Kit coughs, having been surprised by the landing and looks over at Magnus. "Now that was a curse," she says with some admiration.
Magnus rolls to the side when they land in the sand, giving himself a moment before sitting up, dusting the sand off himself. He winces a bit as his hand runs across the burn. "Definitely quite a curse. All that stuff better still be in there." He says as he gets to his feet, passing the box over to Kit. "Your prize, madam."
She takes the prize and sets it aside, more concerned for him and his arm. Voices start carrying on the breeze that ruffles their hair and soon her crew are visible rounding a corner. "Bring the potions kit!" she shouts over to them. As Kit rises to her feet the ancient broom jerks and twitches until it takes to the skies and does a spectacular dive back down through the hole to the protected chamber below. With a laugh Kit says to Magnus, "I really did not see that coming." It seems the best thing she can do to give him what was left of the map so he can return and find out what else there was below especially as the box contains the small figurine of the minotaur she has spend months hunting. "Thank you, for everything Magnus."
Magnus eyes the broom as it heads back in, shaking his head a bit. He takes the map with a small thanks to Kit, tucking it safely away. "Guess I'm going back in later," he tells her with a grin. When the others arrive with the potion kit he lets them fix up his arm. He waits until they're done before looking back at Kit. "My pleasure. Was good working with you. You heading back? Or around for a few more days? We should grab dinner."
The box held in her hands Kit looks at it, carefully turning it over. "I could eat," she agrees. "Come on, it's late and we have a good set up here. Let me feed you before you run off. I still have cataloguing and context refilling to do so I'll be another day yet." She grins at Magnus, "Omar makes a mean lamb kofta and we have beer." When Kit works there is always beer on site. She glances over at the hole and muses, "Maybe after dinner you can figure out how to go in the back door," before walking off in the direction of the tent.
"Sounds perfect," Magnus says, his stomach growling as if on cue. "And I could definitely use a beer after that." He pats the pocket the map is in. "Yeah, I'll take a look at that over breakfast I think. Come back tomorrow or the day after depending on how my work goes." He follows her towards the tent, settling himself in as dinner starts getting prepared. He yawns lightly as he flops into a chair, inhaling the smell of lamb as it is coked. "So, you were in my sister's year then, I think we established? Lola, she was in Slytherin."
Kit sits at the scratched wooden table and turns the box over in her hands in between sips of beer from the bottle she is given. The beer is freely handed out and the chatter is much more relaxed than it would have been had Magnus not helped get them through the day. "Yeah, and you were on the team with my brother," says Kit with a nod. She reaches up and pushes her hair off her forehead. "You probably knew my ex too. He was in your year I think. Rupert. Rupert Ashby. He was in Ravenclaw though." And Rupert Ashby, like Kit, works as a magical archaeologist although his reputation is not quite as stellar as her's.
"I was," Magnus agrees with a nod. "We always got on well." It's all he says about Linc though since he's already offered condolences before. "Rupert? Ah yeah, of course. We had Ancient Runes together. I didn't know him well though. When did you separate, if you don't mind me asking?" The man sips at the beer he has been given as they chat, thanking the man from the crew freely doling it out.
"Linc got on well with everyone, especially if they had boobs," says Kit fondly. She swigs her beer and then takes a breath, "I guess you could say Rupert and I split up long before the divorce but we got divorced around this time last year. Last I heard he was in Austria somewhere, trying to sweet talk his way across the Iron Curtain. What is your sister up to these days?" Kit lifts the box and turns it over again, a puzzled frown on her face.
Magnus laughs, "My type of guy. He got married, didn't he? A Slytherin? Also played quidditch I think…well at school?" He nods a bit as she explains. "Sorry to hear that. Seeing anyone these days?" he asks right after before taking another sip of his beer. "Lola? Oh, she's fine. Working in fashion or something. Pain in my arse usually." He eyes her though as she looks at the box. "What? Something else there?"
"Yeah, Blaire. She's a great witch. Works at the Cauldron. You've probably met her." Kit takes another pull off the bottle. "My divorce wasn't bad, just didn't want to be married to him anymore or him me. At least he agreed anyway, if he felt any different he didn't say. We grew apart, you know that way people do. Probably shouldn't have got married so young. How many divorcees do you now under 25?" She shakes her head, "No, not seeing anyone. Just taking it day by day, but you know the way you keep asking Magnus…" Kit laughs, her mouth twitching with amusement before the box draws her attention again. She hefts the small box up and lobs it over to him with one hand. "That feel heavier than it should to you? I got the statue out so it should be just the inlaid wood, which can be a bit heavy but that bottom feels too heavy to me."
"Ah yeah? The redhead? I didn't realize that was her," Magnus says with a little look of surprise. He nods a little. "I guess that happens. Relationships have never been my strongest area, so I am just going off what people say," he tells her with a little grin. "And actually two now," he replies in relation to divorcees. He laughs. "Hey, a man can try, can't he?" He leans in a bit though when she picks up the box, curiosity piqued. He reaches out to take it, lifting his hand up and down a little to judge the weight. "Hmm, maybe." He turns it over, eyeing it carefully before tapping against the bottom.
The box doesn't sound hollow like it should but as if there were something solid in the way. Kit arches her brows as if silently saying, 'See I told you.' She watches, waiting to see what Magnus does next. Given the amount of manhandling the box has gone through it is clear the box isn't cursed but there must be some kind of puzzle or knack to opening it and getting at whatever is inside.
Magnus rolls the box over in his hand a few more times, lifting it closer to his face and giving it a small shake, listening carefully. He sets it on the table, running a finger across the seam on the bottom very slowly and then again. At one point he finally stops, pressing a finger harder against the box and trying to slide it to the side.
It takes him a good few minutes or so to find the first part of the puzzle, a piece of inlay at the side slides off. Then he works out that removing the first piece enables a second in the centre of the bottom to come out and behind that is a small lock. While he is looking and removing pieces Kit gets up and moves to sit next to Magnus. "Oh! I remember my dad getting me a box like this in Morocco when we went one year for the World Cup. I lost the key and had to use an opening spell each time I wanted to unlock or relock the box."
Magnus is fully focused on what is happening with the box, moving the pieces around and back sometimes when he moves one incorrectly. "Puzzle boxes," he murmurs with a nod. "A muggle contraption actually, though used fairly often by wizards." He finally slides the last piece loose before offering Kit the box. "Want to do the honors?" he asks, letting her be the one to actually open it.
Kit pulls her wand out of her pocket and uses a simple 'Alhomora' to try and unlock the box. Surprisingly it works – surprising given the age of the old iron lock. She grins at Magnus, that kind of grin only those who know the thrill of a hunt can share. "Go on, let's see what your prize is." His prize since she has already got what she was after.
Magnus grins, popping the box open. He reaches in carefully to pull out what is inside. A small golden broach with gemstones in it. He lifts it to the light to inspect it a bit better. "Wow," he murmurs. "This is…incredible. Look at those stones. Those are oldschool. Pre-polished gems. I've seen this…" he murmurs. "It was Claestus' I'm pretty sure…"
Her beer bottle clatters a little on the table as she sets it down heavily, so stunned is Kit by the broach. "Bloody hell." Some of the others come to look too and a glance passes between all of those present before a nod is given to Kit. "You should have it, Magnus," she tells him. "Look into it more, see what else you can discover or sell it on. Things of his have power even if they are not imbued with magical power. " Her fingers itch to hold the broach but Kit restrains herself to just pointing with one finger, "See the clasp on the back, that's got to be at least from the same period as the statue if not later, but definitely around the same time as the emergence of Roman Britain. I've seen far too many clasps like that to not recognise them."
Magnus is enthralled by the broach, turning it over in his hands for a while before looking up at Kit. "Really? Why don't we split it? If I can find someone to buy it," he suggests. "Your job afterall." He offers it out to her to hold after the explanation of the clasp. "This is really something special."
Money isn't something that drives Kit, but then she has always had the luxury of having too much if she really needed it but even so she doesn't like to insult people and their pride so she nods in agreement, "Okay, that sounds good." She looks over as dinner comes out and then starts to help clear up the table so they can eat. "I hope you're hungry. I learned the hard way that Omar seems to see how many of us there are and cooks for five times as many."
"Though, it would be a pity to part with this too," Magnus adds. When food arrives he sets the broach carefully back in the box. "Starving," he assures her. "I can eat for at least three." He'll help with the table where he can or is allowed to, helping to bring the food over once it is ready. He scoops plenty onto his plate, waiting for Kit before digging in.
They don't stand on ceremony here and everyone eats together the way a family would, Kit included. The food is hot, spicy and delicious as well as authentic. As the sky begins to darken the group shares stories, telling their version of the day's events but also days gone by. Kit joins in, sharing some of her other narrow escapes and good fortune.