(1938-08-11) Number Four, Umber Alley
Details for Number Four, Umber Alley
Summary: Graham investigates Number Four, Umber Alley, and gets a few surprises.
Date: August 11, 1938
Location: Number Four, Umber Alley
Related: Plot: Forgotten Shadows

It's a particularly cold day, which is rather annoying, since one of the buttons of Graham's cloak popped off a few weeks ago. Surely it could have been repaired some time ago, but the Auror has had other pressing matters on his mind.

"I hate coming here," complains fellow Auror Esmeralda Abbott as she walks down Umber Alley beside Graham. The tall, blonde woman had been assigned at the last minute to assist Auror Cohen, by her own request. It seems she was a good friend of Natalie Simmons, one of the Aurors that was critically injured when the mysterious cargo of the Mysteries department was stolen. "Pretty much everything around Knockturn Alley gives me the jitters."

Graham looks to the other as they walk, his cloak is wrapped around him the best it can be at least. He looks to his side as the other walks along with him. It's good not to be investigating purely alone, but also means he will be extra careful. "It's not my favorite place either i'll admit, but may be just what's needed this time." he says trying to reassure that it is a necessary risk after all. He is still looking around them as they walk to get an idea of their surroundings.

Being a residential neighborhood, Umber Alley doesn't have quite as much foot traffic as Knockturn Alley. Still, those that do pass the Aurors on the street all have a certain shady look about them. Dingy clothes, suspicious glances, even one dark-eyed gentleman carrying a pro-Grindelwald poster to be hung somewhere.

It doesn't take long for the pair to reach their destination. Number Four, Umber Alley is a tall, but narrow townhouse — sort of squished between the adjoining residences. The door is ajar, creaking ominously when the breeze moves it slightly. A small piece of parchment clings to the door, held on by some invisible force. Scribbled in rather poor penmanship are the words: Gone to Leeky Caldron.

The auror sighs internally as they walk down the street he's sure to take at least a single glance at those they pass not wanting someone he should be aware of to slip by them. The door being open gets an arched eyebrow, but it's not really time to turn back he gives a silent nod to the other auror as he makes his way up the steps, he'll try not to disturb the door at all if it can be helped as he slips inside. His hand only than going to his sleeve where his wand is, safety first it's removed he'll try and cast the Homenum Revelio spell wordlessly to see if they are truly alone.

Esmeralda draws her own wand as Graham casts his spell. The magic spreads out invisibly from his wand, and a glowing marker appears over Esmeralda, though it is visible only to Graham's sight. She ducks a little as she feels the spell mark her. "That was you, right?" She whispers. Similar markers appear over other passers-by, even identifying a few occupants through the walls of nearby homes. But none can be seen through the walls of Number Four.

Graham nods though he doesn't detect anything in the house he still speaks lowly in return "Yes, no trace of others in the house so far." he says before trying to decide where he should start investigating. He is trying to go off memory and a vision which he saw and was also explained to get the idea of where things took place. He'll take a moment to allow his eyes to adjust to the room before he begins to search out for the location he seeks. His wand still held ready in front of him.

Number Four, Umber Alley is a small, cozy townhouse. Rather, it would be cozy, save for the state of disrepair it is found in. Cracks mar the walls, bits of debris are littered all about, and a number of unidentifiable stains speak to many years of neglect. Nevertheless, the home does show recent signs of habitation. There are trails trudged through the thick layers of dust. A few pieces of furniture remain, including a kitchen table, with dirty dishes still waiting upon it.

The downstairs entry hall branches off to four other rooms. To the right is the largest; the living room, which the kitchen is simply an extension of. Two bedrooms are on the left, with a tiny bathroom at the very end of the hall. A narrow stairway leads up to the second level.

"This place stinks." Esmeralda lifts the sleeve of her robe to cover her nose and mouth. "What is it you're hoping to find after all this time?"

It does indeed stink in the place but the young man is trying to remain focused. "That's yet to be seen. Someone is still living here just gotta find out who. Help me look for clues as to who's staying here." he answers her question about if the place is what he expected. Graham continues to look around for any clues to answer this question firstly before he moves on to where the vision had taken place. "It can't be random that this place would be a meeting place." he whispers more to himself than the other auror.

"Well, whoever they are, seems they've gone to the 'lee-kee kal-dron'." Esmeralda smirks, poking fun at the spelling of the note on the door. "Lumos," she incants, lighting up her wand to get a better look into the various rooms. "Just a few crap bits of furniture and some food that a rat would turns its nose up at. You keep poking around. I want to check upstairs."

Graham looks about though a smirk returned at the others words. He's not finding anything immediate which would indicate who's here. The hardest part of being an auror for this young man allowing others to be in danger even possible danger "I'm not sure if we should split up." he voices his concern though looking apologetic he isn't saying she cant handle it but more that he's urging caution.

Esmeralda pinches her lips, looking like she's about to argue. But Chief Worthington's instructions were clear: Cohen is in charge, and she's just here to assist. Surely a blow to the ego of a senior Auror, to be taking orders from an Auror Initiate. With a sigh, she nods. "Alright. Lead the way, boss."

Not really the way to start a new investigation in the slightest but still likely a better end result. Graham does wish to go to the second floor guessing from what he remembers that it's there that that any clue or hint of the past will be if anything. It's to the stairs that he heads now though still looking about to hopefully not miss too much or anything important as he begins to head up the stairs.

The upstairs is all one large loft — essentially an attic. The dust is heavier here, though there are still signs of recent traffic, and relatively clean spaces where objects clearly once sat. The only items in the room are two pieces of a parchment, torn in half, laying in the middle of the floor.

Esmeralda lingers at the top of the stairs, and casts her wand about, lighting up the darkened corners. "It's clear."

Graham nods as he follows the wand light to see nothing so far which could be good or bad really. He lights the tip of his wand as well as he reaches the doorway. "This is the room, i'm sure of it." he whispers as he looks about spotting the parchment, it's a long shot that anything as careless as that but he does move to see if he can see what's written on both pieces if he places them together.

The writing on this paper is much clearer than the note on the door. Written is a professional-looking script, it's an eviction notice. The occupant being evicted is listed as "Rolo Gastley". The date of eviction was two days ago. Then something else catches Graham's eye. On the floor, previously covered by one of the halves of the parchment, is a button, such as the type sewn into a cloak or jacket.

"It's an eviction notice." he whispers back to the other Auror before the glint catches his eye. Graham moves carefully forward to bend down and pick the button up before realizing as he looks down to his cloak that it matches the one missing on his coat. "The button from my cloak, someone placed it here for me to find or else knew I was coming." he's a bit more startled about this than he leads on as he looks back to the other Auror to see what she will say.

Esmeralda narrows her eyes curiously, aiming her wand at the button to illuminate it. "Why would someone steal your button and leave it here for you?"

As Graham holds the button, feeling the shape of it, the light weight, the texture of the face…thoughts flash unbidden in his mind. A hole in the attic wall…the sharp features of a man's face…a teenaged girl…a struggle…snippets of a conversation. The man and the woman are talking. Furthermore, a powerful sense that he has been here before…witnessing all of this.

Graham starts to speak in return "I'm not sur." but it's cut off by the feeling which comes from the button he's forced to concentrate on the thoughts which suddenly flood over him as he holds the button in his hand. The odd sensation of having been here before and seen this moment. He will have to wait till they subside but he will most certainly be checking or recreating the hole he's seen it has to add up somehow.

Esmeralda tilts her head, eyeing Graham with uncertainty. "Cohen? Are you alright? You look a little…off."

He is able to gather himself properly together nodding to the other auror. "Yes, but when I grabbed the button I saw and heard things from the past. I mean just as if i'd been there." Graham explains he begins tracing along the wall for where the hole was in his thoughts "There should be a hole here." he says beginning to look for a way in unless it's sealed where he'll have to blast his way through.

As Graham searches along the wall, there is a sense of familiarity. Though there are no seams where he imagines the circular hole should be, there is a knothole in the wood at the center of the space.

"Remembering?" Esmeralda sighs. "Bollocks. Look, I'm really sorry about this, Cohen…but drop your wand. Please don't try to be a hero." Though she stands behind him, the angle of the light from her wand-tip makes it quite evident that she's aiming it at his back.

The young man is caught off guard it would seem by the others words "What?" but he doesn't really need the answer as he sees the wand pointed at his back. His mind moves quickly as he decides what to do though dropping his wand seems to him not a good idea. Graham forms a plan the wands light shows not only where her wand is pointed but where she is. He'll move compliant the wand in his hand moving down to his side and than back as if he will drop it before at the last moment it's given a sharp jab an attempt to silently stun her before she can respond. Either way he'll move to turn around at least if he's going to duel it can be proper.

She has the drop on him, but Graham is no slouch in a magical duel. Seeing his sudden movement, Esmeralda shouts "Stupefy!" A jet of red light streaks toward the other Auror. But his reflexes are quick, and her shot strikes the wall behind where he was. His own spell slams into her sending her to the floor in a crumpled heap, unconscious.

Graham is luckily or fast in either case he is able not to be hit and the other goes down hit by his spell. He's not off scotch free however the blast at the wall spatters him with a bit of debris likely he'll have a cut or two to deal with later. He moves over to where the other lays firstly kicking her wand away. "Why?" he asks though he wont get an answer of course. He flicks his wand "Incarcerous." he says this time wishing to be certain she wont be further bother other than hauling her back to the ministry that is. He ponders a moment before remembering her wishing to come up stairs first he'll search through her person to see if she has anything on her of use.

Esmeralda is helpless to evade his spell, and her stunned form is bound tightly in Graham's summoned ropes. What could have possessed a veteran Auror to turn against him like that? A search of her person reveals only typically personal belongings.

Graham frowns as he doesn't find the key he'd been hoping for perhaps beyond hope that it will work, he turns towards the shelf slightly raising his wand deciding when all else fails it's back to the basics. "Alohomora." he says though decidedly he's not expecting it to be that simple.

Katherine is in the processes of peering quizzically at the note on the door when she catches the flashes out of the corner of her eye and hears the THUD that follows. Drawing her wand she rushes up the stairs in a half crouch and spins around the doorway she has guessed the lights came from, scanning the room for the cause of the commotion, "Everything alright here?"

The young man turns back quickly perhaps startled by the voice, but it's familiar to him enough that he can respond. "Ah, miss Sykes, yes well more or less." Graham doesn't explain very well continuing quickly "When you couldn't make it they ministry sent auror Abbott with me, while my back was turned to the wall she drew her wand on me and told me to drop mine. I luckily was able to stun her first which i'm guessing is what drew you up here so fast." he can only wait for her response.

Katherine's eyes flit from Graham to Abbott and back a couple of times as she quickly sifts through the information she's been given. After she points her wand at Abbott casting a rennervate spell on her she lowers her wand, willing to give Graham the benefit of the doubt. "OK, someone give me a few more details. This looks pretty bad no matter what angle I come at it from. Why are Auror's attacking each other?"

Esmeralda groans as the red light envelopes her, awakening her from the effects of Graham's stunner. "Whaaa-…" She blinks, focusing her eyes as she takes in the scene as best she can from her prone, bound position. She struggles for a moment against the ropes, her eyes widening as she realizes she's truly immobilized. "Sykes! He's gone rogue! Put him down!"

Graham has a few cuts on his face from debris which have a line of blood not much but will need to be fixed of course. He watches silently as she other awakens the other auror he can expect the words from her lips even before she breaths them. "I didn't get to ask why Kat, all I know is I turned my back after having a strange sensation come through me like I was in the past and found that there is a hole behind this wall when I was assaulted." he looks back towards the auror "If I'd gone Dark why would I simply disarm you, and tie you up?" he asks.

Katherine scans the floor and spots Abbotts wand off to the side which makes her eyebrow inch up as she returns her gaze to the bound woman. "Well. He's saying the same thing about you. You clearly had your wand out when he stunned you. And I've worked with Graham before so I'm leaning towards trusting him right now, especially since he didn't attack me on sight." No need to mention she came in with her wand already draw and at the ready… "So. Why should I believe that he's gone rogue?"

Esmeralda glowers, "Because I'm tied up on the floor and I'm your senior officer, for Merlin's sake. I'm ordering you to arrest him, Initiate!" Again she struggles, finding it to be of no use. For the moment, she watches the two of them with a hawk-like gaze.

"I know it wont help right now, but i'm willing to be taken back to the ministry and given Veritaserum as long as she remains bound while we go. If I am the culprit i'll be fired and arrested." Graham makes the offer and even to make his point he slowly turns his wand where the point is towards him an offer of it in case Katherine will take it.

Katherine squats for a moment and looks Abbott straight in the eyes, while still keeping Graham in her peripheral vision. After a moment's consideration she nods her head in a decisive way and smiles in a bit of a predatory way at her superior. "You know? You're absolutely right. This is way over my pay grade and I need some advice." Standing up she holds her hand out to Graham, "If I could have your wand please? But I really don't want to interrupt the investigation either so I'll wait until you're ready to go and then I'll escort you both back to headquarters to get some instructions on how to sort this out." After taking Graham's wand she points her own at Abbott's and makes a flicking motion, "Accio!" Once she catches the wand she tucks both of them into her coat's pocket and turns her wand on Esmeralda, "Mobilicorpus!" shifting her around so she's sitting against a wall in a relatively comfortable position.

Esmeralda grumbles as she is righted magically. "Look…I get that you're confused. Fine, hold onto my wand. But untie me, for Merlin's sake. I'm at his mercy like this." She squints her eyes at Katherine. "Unless…you're in on it." Suddenly she looks a bit more concerned at the situation.

Since he was already offering his wand it's not a big deal for her to take it from him. Graham nods at her words about the investigation "I'm afraid unless I can find the key or unless you want to blast a small contained hole in this wall i'm at a stopping point, I was hoping she'd have the key but I searched her already. Since earlier she wanted to come up here alone." he explains he looks back to the other auror afraid she'll win her freedom this way. "Please don't untie her. I'd rather you bound me as well if it'd help ease the worry." he says and he's sincere in his words.

Katherine's eyes gritter mischievously at Graham's suggestion. Pointing her wand at him she slowly lets a wide smile blossom on her lips to give him time to see what's coming before she makes the appropriate motions and lets an Incarcerus spell fly at him quickly followed by more flicking of her wand at an "Open Sesame!" aimed opening door Graham was working on…

Esmeralda sighs, but seems a bit less concerned now that Graham is bound. But when Katherine lets loose with the door-breaking spell, she gasps, "No, don't!"

Graham is hit with the spell and as the many before him in this predicament tries to stay on his feet over compensates and falls over with a thud and maybe a crack. He winces but rolls over to see the place where the hole should be. "It's not a lock.. just a knot-hole in the wood." he says sighing but quickly coming up with something else. "If your willing to try one other thing place my wand into the knot-hole there in the wood."

Esmeralda continues to struggle. "Don't do it! He's probably got it trapped!"

Typical Kat, she's beginning to become rather amused by the whole situation. Giving Auror Abbott the same mischievous look she gave Graham a little moment before she says, "Well, aren't you getting all desperate. That's making me really curious." Going over to Graham she uses mobilicorpus to sit him up against the same wall as Esmeralda, a few feet away from her. This task taken care of she pulls his wand out of her pocket and goes up to the knothole he was standing in front of. "If this thing blows up in my face you owe me a year of drinks, Cohen." Sticking his wand into the hole in the wall she treats it as a key, ready to jump back if anything untoward happens.

As the wand tip touches the wood, the knothole starts to expand, the wood around it seeming to "fold" back like cloth. The blemish in the wood parts, becoming a real hole, revealing a hidden cubby in the wall. Sitting inside is a glass jar, sealed with wax. Several white, wispy strands float in the jar, gently swirling around.

"Bollocks," Esmeralda grumbles. She looks down at herself, and exclaims, "Diffindo!"

But attempting a wandless Severing Charm while bound in magical ropes might not have been the most advisable course of action. Technically Esmeralda succeeded, as the ropes fly free of her in pieces. But she cries out in pain as the botched spell slices open her robes, and the flesh beneath. Blood sprays down her body, splattering on the floor, and she crumples to the ground, screaming.

Has blood on his face from the debris and probably a little from falling but he's propped up. Graham sighs as the other auror makes another bid against him. "I'll owe you way more than drinks, be careful hm?" he says watching as she moves towards the wall he cant help but be curious of what is going to be back there given the odd vision and feelings he had recently. He looks at the jar a moment before the spell is shouted "Kat!" he calls not that she needs the warning. It seems it's not needed as the spell backfires he winces even though the other would have killed him likely. "We've got to get her to St Mungo's."

Katherine doesn't have time to examine the contents of the cubby. As she hears Auror Abbott trying to cast a wandless spell she spins around and jabs her wand in the other woman's direction, calling out "Silencio!" in a loud voice… As soon as the spell is cast she puts her wand away and drops Graham's at his feet. Quickly pulling out a pocket knife she cuts Graham's bindings and then moves over to put pressure on Abbott's wounds. "Cut some strips from her robe with the knife so we can at least slow down the bleeding before we move her."

Esmeralda cries out in agony. The slash runs from her chest down to her thigh, and she's losing a lot of blood quickly. She coughs, more blood coming up from her mouth. "G-get me…to…healers…I d-don't…wanna die…"

Graham has his bonds cut and is able to grab his wand though it's shoved in his sleeve the memories forgotten for the moment even a would be villain's life is more important. He moves into action getting to his feet he does as the other says and begins making bandages when he has enough he moves over to help with attaching them to help slow the blood loss. "Got to risk it, maybe the anti-apparitition charms haven't been renewed. I'll try?" he offers.

Katherine looks over at Graham as soon as she sees how bad the wound really is and shakes her head, "There really isn't anything we can do with her here. This is too bad for first aid. I'll take her. You deal with your investigation."

Esmeralda lapses into unconsciousness, making her an easy passenger for Side-Along Apparition. Thankfully, it seems the townhouse isn't protected by an Anti-Disapparition Jinx, allowing Katherine to vanish with the senior Auror without trouble.

Graham he nods to the other auror about taking the other for help "I'll likely follow along soon enough." he says before the crack and they are gone. He moves towards the jar to collect it, not an easy thing to get this but hopefully it will be worth it, he stows it in his cloak before heading back out to leave the building probably he'll secure the jar somewhere safe so that the memories can be viewed at a later point, before himself going to St Mungo's to be looked at.

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