(1938-10-14) Afternoon Tea
Details for Afternoon Tea
Summary: Astoria runs into a wall when trying to continue her investigation and finds a friendly healer willing to give her some help.
Date: 14 October 1938
Location: Visitor's Tearoom, St Mungo's, London

St. Mungo's Tearoom has been set up to be as relaxing and soothing a setting as possible. The walls are painted a soft pastel yellow reminiscent of buttercup blooms and the floor has a nice mosaic with butterflies of all colors and sizes gently drifting over a waving sea of grass. White wicker table and chair sets dot the middle area of the room, each and everyone of them decorated with crisp sky blue table cloths and a small vase with one ever-blooming flower cheerfully peeking out of it. Along the walls are white wicker sofas and loveseats supplied with a multitude of floral and sky blue cushions. The only exception to this is the small bar where one can order any kind of tea or coffee under the sun and even some varieties Muggles have never heard of. Regardless of the weather outside the two large picture windows in the room show a pastoral scene that's a perfect match to the mosaic on the floor and always provide the room with warm, soothing sunlight for illumination.

Afternoon tea is always popular in the visitor's tearoom at Mungos. People who aren't even visiting patients have been known to come and take tea here. Of course the small Indian woman seated alone at a table, is dressed as a healer, so she is likely on her break. Ranjit sips her tea, a nice Darjeeling and watches as the tea room fills up with people seeking cream teas; scones and jam with clotted cream.

Astoria is one of a few people who stands in line, waiting to be served. She wears matte black robes, the hems of which are somewhat weather-worn, and carries a small book in her left hand. When she reaches the register, Astoria orders a rare tea from Portugal - which they have - and steps to the side. Turning, she looks over the small group of people with narrowed, focused eyes. It does not take her long to spy Ranjit. She approaches the woman's table and clears her throat - lowly.

As she looks up Ranjit smiles, "Hullo, please sit if that is what you were about to ask." To make sure there is plenty of room for Astoria, Ranjit moves her tea pot over to her half of the table. "Your tea smells nice. Something with spice in it?" Her own, as it sits in the cup resting atop its saucer, is the same milky colour of her skin.

"Oh, thank you," Astoria says. She seats herself in a chair and sets her cup down just in front of her, followed by her book, which is placed to her left. "Yes, it is," she admits. "It is from Portugal," she explains, raising the glass to her lips. She sips it before setting it down. "It is… a unique flavor." She glances towards Ranjit's cup. "And yours?" she wonders.

Ranjit tilts her cup towards Astoria, showing her the tea, "Darjeeling. They do more exotic teas here but I loike this one the best." She smiles revealing brilliant white teeth. "I am Ranjit, it is pretty obvious whot I do. Are you here visiting someone or just here for the tea?" When she speaks her accent gives her away as being from Birmingham.

"Astoria Bletchley. I'm pleased to make your acquaintance," Astoria replies, nodding slightly. She continues swiftly, "I was hoping that I might be able to enter the hospital's private library to do some research. I'm investigating a crime. Unfortunately, I was politely told, 'No,' and that I might write letters for approval, but that it was unlikely." She smiles wryly before taking a sip of her tea.

"They are rather fussy about people using the library," agrees Ranjit. She lifts her cup to her lips and takes a sip of her tea. "I think if you get a letter from someone on the board of trustees they would loikely let you in. Probably have to." She nods politely to a passing colleague and looks back at Astoria. "I liked your article in the newspaper this morning. Is that why you were wanting to use the hospital library?"

I had no idea it was so… restrictive," Astoria replies, forcing herself to smile. She sips her tea once more. "Yes, actually. I was hoping to find more information on the spell that was used, specifically its effects and treatment possibilities." She reclines a little. "I do not know anyone on the board. Unfortunately."

Ranjit sips her tea and offers, "It is on public record. I am sure there is something in the main wizarding library. I haven't been there in years, and never needed that information but if it is anywhere it would be there." She smiles across the table at Astoria. "I can tell you a little if you like? It isn't my specialism but I did have to study general healing before becoming a specialist."

"The main library is where I will turn to next, then," Astoria says with a slight grin and a nod. After Ranjit's offer, she adds, "Why, yes, of course! May I put this on the record?" she asks. Despite the question, she doesn't reach for her quill and pad.

"Sure." Ranjit sits up straighter and smooths out her robes to try and look more professional. "I am Ranjit Jadu, by the way." With that she smiles and waits for Astoria to pepper her with questions.

"Excellent," Astoria says with a smile. She pulls her wand free from her robes. A moment later, a pad appears in front of her, as well as a quill. The quill floats in the air, whipping left, and then right, as though quite excited. The wand, which looks more like a piece of jagged bone than wood, is tucked back inside Astoria's robes. "Ranjit Jadu," Astoria repeats. "In your own words - what is the spell's function?"

Her hands curl around her cup as Ranjit begins to speak, "Memory charms are sometimes known by the actual charm word obliviate and the Ministry who teaches it calls it Obliviation. Basically the spell erases memories. It cannot actually create new memories, but does allow the mind to fill in gaps for itself." She pauses to see if Astoria has any questions so far.

"How many people, magical or muggle, would you say are treated for the misuse of the obliviate charm?" Astoria asks. The quill begins to write Ranjit's words verbatim. It scribbles along, not needing ink, while Astoria watches the other witch.

"It is fairly rare, the ministry tends to restrict teachings to the MAC. I suppose someone could learn it on their own, loike that man in the newspaper, but even still it is a hard spell to do." Ranjit sips her tea again. "I've been here for…well since 1932, what is that, six years? I have only seen a handful of cases. But then it isn't my specialty."

Astoria nods again. She glances down towards the quill before looking back up to Ranjit. "Are the effects reversable?" she asks. "Perhaps the best word is 'treatable,'" she notes a moment later, but also adds, "in the context of repairing the memories that were lost."

She considers the question. "Well as you can imagine it is difficult to detect unless someone knows they have been hit with a spell people thing they just forgot something because people forget things all the time; so unless there is a memory gap that is glaringly obvious. Add to that drink or drugs and people make excuses for themselves and others." Ranjit shakes her head, "The memories aren't lost, they are just buried. Specialists trained in charms reversal can help, but they need to be a highly trained specialist - a master healer and even then it is difficult."

"Well, that would explain why it is so heavily guarded," Astoria says with a nod. She exhales. "One more question. Are there any defenses against the spell? That you are aware of, that is. I know you are not an expert." The quill hovers in the air, doodling without touching the paper.

"Occulmency, I suppose," suggests Ranjit, albeit without conviction. "It is about strengthening your mind. But again, I am no expert." She gives Astoria a wan smile, "I'm sorry," and shakes her head, "I just cannot be sure. Questions about babies and toddlers I can be certain of."

The quill stops writing and quivers. A moment later it begins to sail off to the side, as though taking a walk. "Interesting. Well, thank you for your time! I think you've given me enough for an excellent starting place." Astoria takes a final sip of her tea and stands. She grabs her book and pad. "It was a pleasure to meet you, and thank you - again," she says with a slight, practiced smile. The quill, realizing Astoria has stood, swiftly travels to her side. Its feather shakes irritably.

Looking up at Astoria with a little bit of confusion on her face, Ranjit nods. "Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. Best of luck." She smiles at the other witch and reaches for her tea, intent on finishing it before heading back to work.

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