(1937-12-04) Incantations of the Desert Nights
Details for Incantations of the Desert Nights
Summary: Rhyeline visits Fox's Treatises and Rarities in search of a book for her father and is surprised when Sophia, normally so disdainful of anyone not of pure blood, invites her for tea.
Date: Tuesday, December 04, 1937
Location: Fox's Treatises and Rarities

It is a fall morning. The weather is cool and fair.

Fox's Treatises and Rarities – Diagon Alley – London

Although small and cramped, there's nothing dark or dank about this tiny bookshop. The shelves are neatly organized and always free of dust and cobwebs, featherdusters constantly making the rounds to keep them that way. None of the books are easily available in Flourish and Blott's, as the owner specializes in old, rare, and very hard to find texts. The rarest are kept behind the counter, the showpiece being a first edition copy of 'Ephemeris of Bryn yr Ellyllon,' by Gwalltafwyn Snowdon, dating back to the Sixteenth Century. Also behind the counter is a comfortable easy chair and a nice fireplace, usually kept burning during business hours, with a cauldron hook, just in case the proprietor should desire to make a cup of tea. A door there leads to the back of the shop as well.

It's late on a cool, clear December morning in London. At the moment, Sophia has just opened up the doors of her shop for business. The featherdusters are already making their rounds around the shop, and a nice, roaring fire is going in the fireplace. As for Soph herself, she's sitting in the chair behind the counter, reading at the moment, waiting for the kettle hanging over the fire to boil. She's dressed in a pretty red outfit, a dresss which comes down to just below her knees, and a short, waist length collared jacket.

Rhyeline Diderot is the daughter of a well-known half-blood author, Dillorous Diderot. While his books might not necessarily be included in this particular shop, Sophia is sure to be familiar with his work as it focuses primarily on magical History. He married a pure blood French witch and their daughter is just on the edge between pure and half. In fact, any child she might have with someone of pure blood would no longer bear the stigma of sullied blood.

Since recovering enough from her curse to venture forth once again onto the streets of Diagon Alley. Fox's Treatises and Rarities is easily Rhyeline’s favorite shop. Not only have many gifts from her father been purchased here for her, but the girl herself has often snuck in to quietly peruse the shelves until she is dizzy and has to sit down for a moment.

This morning, wearing a fur-lined winter cloak, the little mouse of a girl slips into the shop unobtrusively, as she always does. The crimson hue of Sophia’s dress snags her attention. Should the woman notice her in return, Rhyeline dips into a respectful curtsy. Though a half-blood, the girl seems to know her place and understand the importance of respect.

Sophia looks up as she hears the bell, and smiles, recognizing the newcomer. "Hello, Rhyeline," she says, not letting her normal contempt for those not pureblooded taint her speech. She recognizes the importance of a repeat customer. Standing, she moves to the counter. "How are you this morning, my dear?"

At such a greeting, Rhyeline’s quiet, dark eyes blink and her cheeks warm, ever so slightly. “I am quite well, thank you,” she murmurs, her voice as soft as one might expect. Until now, she has made her purchases in respectful silence. “And you, Miss Fox? I hope the day finds you well.”

Sophia smiles again. "Oh, it finds me quite well. I do hope it's not going to stay quite so chill, today. Is there anything I can help you find? Something for your father, perhaps?

“It should warm at last once more before we plunge into winter,” murmurs Rhyeline, politely. Clasping her hands behind her back, she nods and says, “Yes, ma’am. In his most recent letter he mentioned his difficulty in researching the ancient incantations of Arab magi for his next book. This is the only shop in England that might possibly contain such a book. I thought I might surprise him. He hasn’t already come in for such, has he?”

Sophia shakes her head. "No he hasn't. But I do believe I might be able to help you indeed." She comes out from behind the counter, her movements slightly exaggerated, in such a way that emphasizes her femininity (as is habit for her.) She leads the way to one of the shelves near the back of the store, a finger running along the spines of the books, although she has to idly push one of the feather dusters aside. "Ah… Here we are. Of the Incantations of the Desert Nights, by Abdael Al Hazred."

Hands still clasped behind her back, Rhyeline follows as Sophia sashays deeper into the store. Head bowed, the girl can’t help but peek up at her now and then, her attention snared as it was by the bright color of her dress. Rhyeline’s features brighten as Sophia pulls out exactly what she needs. “That is perfect. My father will be so pleased.” Forgetting herself for a moment, the innocent warmth of her smile is genuine and unguarded.

Sophia returns the smile, although hers is not so innocent. Chocolate brown eyes examine the younger witch, appraising her, as she takes the book from the shelf and leads the way back to the counter. "I do so hope he likes it. He's been a steady customer since I opened, and often a pleasure to talk to, all things considered." She sets the book down on the counter. "So, would you like anything else, my dear?"

Rhyeline doesn’t need to ask what she means by all things considered. Nor does she seem offended. Following her to the counter, the little one stands before her and shakes her head. “No ma’am. Thank you very much. How much do I owe you?” While she doesn’t wear particularly expensive clothes, she never seems to be short on galleons or sickles when it comes to Sophia’s books.

Sophia thinks for a moment. "Hmm. Six Galleons, dear." She gets a large piece of brown paper, and starts to wrap the book.

At the cost, the girl nods and without missing a beat, produces the necessary Galleons. Placing them on the counter, the girl waits patiently until she receives the parcel. A subtle, warm glow returns to her gaze as she hugs the book against her chest. Peeking up at Sophia with a shy smile, she dips into a little curtsy. “Thank you very much, Miss Fox. I hope you have a pleasant day.” She seems to mean it too.

Sophia smiles back. "Thank you, dear, but won't you please at least stay for some tea? I have a pot almost ready.

Rhyeline seems caught quite off guard by the invitation to tea. For a moment she gazes up at Sophia, looking a bit lost. At last, she lowers her gaze and bows her head with respect. “That is very kind of you, Miss Fox. However I do not wish to impose. I am expected soon by Ambassador Troy, and I must send this to my father before then. Perhaps… perhaps another time?”

Sophia nods, her features hard to read. "Ah, a pity. Then next time you come in, I promise you. I do enjoy your company." This last at least seems to be honest.

Rhyeline gazes up at Sophia hesitantly for a moment or two. The little one doesn't seem to know what to make of any of this at all. A subtle pink warmth touches her pale features once more as she bows her head. “If you wish, I promise to linger a bit longer next time I come. Thank you very much, Miss Fox.”

Sophia smiles. "You're very welcome, my dear. Please do return soon." She tilts her head, even as she drops the Galleons into her till.

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