(1938-03-22) Love's Labours Lost
Details for Love's Labours Lost
Summary: Chief of Mysteries, Walter St. Cloud, tasks Endira with locating the missing Heart of Gold.
Date: March 22, 1938
Location: Department of Mysteries
Related: Forgotten Shadows

The Department of Mysteries can be difficult to navigate, at best. Locating the office of the Chief of Mysteries is a mind-teaser, unto itself. The right doors must be opened at the right time in the right order. Whether this was intentional, or the result of the magic strange forms of magic saturating the department is a matter of debate. But it seems to suit most of the Chiefs of Mysteries, including the current Chief, Walter St. Cloud.

As he awaits his next appointment, Chief St. Cloud sits quietly at his desk, which rather resembles an enormous puzzle box, with drawers and cabinets that sometimes require reconfiguring a section of the desk to access. A file folder is open in his hands, and he taps his pursed lips idly as he peruses the contents.

For someone who's always working, Endira is rarely to be found at the Ministry, but she's spent more time than is usual in her office of late. She navigates the maze with grace and poise and not a single misstep, slipping into the Chief's office with a rap of knuckles on the doorframe. "Good afternoon, Sir." There's a file folder tucked under one arm, but she does nothing to call attention to it.

St. Cloud glances up, greeting Endira with a cheery smile. "Endira," he says in his usual informal way. "Do come in. Sit, sit." He half-rises, gestures to the chair opposite him. It's a plush, comfortable thing, its fabric patterned with a series of stars and moons. "I have an assignment for you."

Smiling warmly at the Chief Unspeakable, Endira steps toward the chair, settling into it gracefully enough. "An assignment?" She tilts her head in a gesture of curiosity, glancing at the folder in his hands. "Does it, by chance, have something to do with the Heart of Gold?"

St. Cloud beams proudly, like a grandfather whose granddaughter just recited the Runic alphabet for the first time. "I knew you were right for this," he chuckles in his deep, slightly lisped voice. "As you have clearly surmised, the property we lost to those Dark wizards was the Heart of Gold. We believe the Aurors may be on the trail of the attackers. Commissioner Ogden has granted my request to permit the Mysteries department to take part in the investigation."

Endira doesn't explain how she knew the artifact was missing, but then she shouldn't really have to. Mysteries are, after all, part of the job description. She inclines her head in recognition of the compliment he's paid her, then quirks a brow. "Is there a specific team involved in the investigation?"

"I am told that one of the Aurors that was part of the Heart's escort to Gringotts has been put onto the case." St. Cloud looks down to his folder. "Auror Initiate Graham Cohen. Apparently a bright young man. He's received authorization to enter Hogwarts to investigate a possible connection. You may have heard about a strange message that appeared in every mirror at the school a few weeks ago. I believe it is connected to the theft of the Heart of Gold."

"Fascinating." Endira looks thoughtful. "I'm acquainted with Graham, as it happens, though I've not had an opportunity to observe him at work. He seems capable enough at being discreet, however. I'd heard about the mirrors, though not the precise message. My contacts at Hogwarts are few and far between."

St. Cloud slides up a square foot block of his desk, turns it, and slides it back down into place before opening a drawer that was previously inaccessible. From within, he produces a clear vial filled with a whispy white substance. "Professor Merrythought sent us this memory. She saw the message in the mirror. In fact, she is responsible for the message in the first place. Cohen should be able to explain more, but in short, she used her own magic mirror to display another memory, and it has the unforeseen effect of transmitting the message to every mirror in Hogwarts. Take this to the Pensieve in the Thought Division and you'll see what she saw." He reaches over the desk to offer the vial to Endira.

The puzzle-box desk is an endless curiosity for Endira, and she watches the process quite intently. Leaning forward, she accepts the vial, palming it in her hand. "Is there someone looking into the oddity with the mirrors? I've never heard of one being used to display a memory, but surely it bears looking into."

"Oh that. Nothing to worry about." Walter waves a hand dismissively. "Galatea's mirror is simply a device she uses in her classroom. Normally it captures images and displays them on command. It isn't designed to display memories. I suspect it was merely a magical glitch. I want you focused on the content of the message."

"Magical glitch or design flaw, it's still curious." Endira's shoulders lift in a shrug. "Not in my realm of expertise, of course, but even the smallest of details should never be overlooked." She looks thoughtful again for a moment. "How widespread is the knowledge that we're consulting with Magical Law Enforcement? I gather Graham will need to be brought into the loop, but is there anyone else I should be aware of?"

St. Cloud shakes his head. "Even Graham is on a need-to-know basis only, when it comes to the Mysteries. All he needs to know right now is that we are trying to find our missing cargo. If you deem it necessary to tell him more, see that he understands that his memories will require altering when this case is done. Use an Unbreakable Vow, if you must. But the secrets of the Mysteries must be protected." He sighs heavily, as if the matter is beginning to weigh more heavily upon him. "As for others, there are some witnesses, but I'll let Cohen fill you in on the details."

"Graham is currently unaware that I work for Mysteries at all." Endira's identity is fairly well-protected, due in no small part to her own talents for deflecting questions when people ask her what it is she does. "Still, given the sensitive nature of the cargo, it may be expedient to disclose at least some of the nature of it. His clearance isn't nearly high enough for that information, but it can be extracted once the Heart has been recovered."

The Chief chuckles. "He doesn't even know that you're an Unspeakable? My, you do play it close to the chest, Endira." His eyes twinkle, saying this with an endearing tone. "As for the cargo, no. At this point, it is better if he doesn't know. If we can recover it without anyone learning about it, we must do so. If things change…well, you have your instructions on how to handle that. For now, find out what you can about these Dark wizard, and what they could possibly want with the Heart of Gold. Actually, this brings me to the last piece of information you need. Have you spent much time in the Hall of Prophecy lately?"

"There's a certain reputation that surrounds those of us who work in Mysteries." Endira finds it useful when she needs to go through official channels for something, but that's about it. "I've found it to be more useful not to be identified as an Unspeakable, the better to conduct my work without people wondering what it is I'm really doing." She sobers and gives a nod about the details of her assignment, then shakes her head in response to the question. "I haven't, no. Is there something going on there that I should be aware of?"

St. Cloud nods. "The night of the theft — in fact, the very moment of it — nearly every seer in Britain experienced the same prophecy, including one of the students involved in this matter at Hogwarts. In every one, a golden heart was touched by a dark hand, and the heart tarnished and turned black and cold. This is easily assumed to symbolize the Heart of Gold. But there was a second part that leaves us baffled. An armored knight battling his way to a large box, which he opens, releasing horrors and shadows upon the world like the vessel of Pandora."

Endira is silent for a few moments after he's finished speaking, her expression shifting to something rather difficult to read. "I'll give it some thought, of course, but my priority will be recovering the Heart. It may be that I'll find something during the investigation that will help unlock the rest of the puzzle, in which case I'll be certain to report it."

"Of course," Walter agrees. "Cohen will likely already know about the prophecy. Especially seeing as he has likely interviewed the student that experienced it. That much we can't keep under wraps. Naturally, recovering the Heart is your first priority. But consider deciphering the prophecy to be your second. You may want to recruit some help from the Hall of Prophecy on this one."

"Of course." Endira's not going to argue the point, even though fate and prophecies aren't really her area of expertise. "Maudlin Huntington would be my first choice, and she has access to resources that I don't. Particularly since the investigation must be conducted in the field, rather than from the safety of the office."

"Maudlin would be an excellent choice. Make it happen. I'll have the Auror Office inform Cohen to expect you. Make your first stop the Thought Division and have a look at that memory. Unless you have any other questions, this investigation is now in your hands."

Rising from the chair, Endira nods and then smiles again at St. Cloud. "I'll head to the Thought Division straight away, then drop by Maudlin's office before I leave." She untucks the file folder from under her arm and offers it. "I took the liberty of making a copy of my notes on the Heart of Gold. Some of them aren't in the official file, and I thought perhaps you might find them useful."

St. Cloud smiles approvingly, taking the file. "I look forward to perusing it. Good work, Endira." He rises from his seat, giving her a slight bow at the waist.

"Thank you, Sir." Endira's smile brightens at the praise, and she inclines her head in a gesture of respect before turning toward the door.

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