(1938-11-13) The Very First Attempts
Details for The Very First Attempts
Summary: Frid and Astoria meet at Astoria's home for legilimency training.
Date: November 13, 1938
Location: Glumorose House
Related: A Horrible Mistake.

Frid has been invited, by letter, to Astoria's home in Umber Alley. It is not a pleasant place. The street is narrow, the houses cramped, the air stale, and there is little sun or light to guide the way. The house itself has seen better days, but it is in much better condition than many of the homes on the street - its gate works, for one, and the outside has undergone a few recent repairs. After Frid knocks upon the door, locks turn, slide, clank, and separate until the front door opens with a low whine. There, standing just inside the doorway, is a house elf wearing an ancient suit that has become quite tattered. A monocle adorns his right eye, and his right leg is a rather knotted, wooden peg. "Sir," he says with a croak, and a rather spindly-fingered hand gestures for Frid to enter.

Frid clears his throat quietly, giving the house elf a short bow as he enters. "Ah. Thank you. Sir." There's an awkward pause, then an embarrassed smile before he finally steps over the threshold. "Miss Bletchley?"

The house elf's ears twitch when he is addressed so highly, and he frowns deeply after the bow. He makes no verbal complaint, however; he shuts the door with a snap, and the many locks proceed to close on their own accord. "She has prepared an adequate space in her lounge for your comfort, sir," he explains. "This way." The elf snaps, which causes several lights to turn on, and leads Frid down a short hallway. On the right is a small doorway, and on the left is an old staircase. The home is not very large, and is plagued by shadows that never seen to disappear, no matter how many lights there are. Once at the doorway, the elf gestures to his right.

Astoria stands inside the room, and has managed to pile several pillows onto a sofa. Just in front of the sofa is a table with a tray, and on the tray is tea, a slice of cake, sugar, lemons, and cream. Beside it is a small towel, a small pillow, and several bars of chocolate.

Again with the short bow. Despite being in less formal wear than usual, Frid is still in a well tailored grey suit and tie, his hat tucked under his arm when he made it inside. "What a lovely home you have," he insists.

Astoria turns with a flick of hair and spots Frid. She smiles slightly before tucking her hair behind her ear. "You are too kind. It's a dump, really. It is an old family home, but after my father passed - he was the only one to stay in it - it went into disrepair. I don't think my mother much cares for it, but it suits my needs quite well. Please, won't you sit?" She looks to the elf, and adds, "That will be all, Rumples."

The elf clutches his heart at the mention of 'dump' and grits his teeth. He inhales sharply, using a wall to steady himself, until he is dismissed. Rumples doesn't linger; he disappears with a sharp CRACK.

Frid winces at that crack, flinching just a little before shaking his head, clearing it. "Ah, thank you, Miss Bletchley," he allows, taking a moment to settle himself into the seat, hat resting on his knee. "Well, I hope I can be of use to you today."

Astoria waits for Frid to be seated before sitting down in a chair, too. She crosses one leg over the other with a smile. "I think you will be! I've been rather anxious. Well, let's go over a few things. The first is this: in the beginning, I won't have much control over the spell. It is best if you think of pleasant things, or something inconsequential. Opening and closing a desk drawer, for instance, or lighting a candle. I should be unable to detach myself from anything you are presently thinking of," Astoria explains. "The tea and chocolate will help calm you, if you prefer to be calmed. I have read it is a great boon during this process. Any questions?"

Frid shakes his head, nervously tapping the brim of his hat with one finger. "So far, none, ma'am," he confesses, although he does briefly pay attention to her crossing her legs. Well, he's only human. "So I should just think about something ordinary for you? I think I can manage that." He gives her a very slight, anxious smile. "Would you like some tea?"

"I need my wits, but afterwards, yes," Astoria explains with a brief smile. She stretches her fingers, nodding slowly, and adds, "But you should feel free to indulge before I begin. Do let me know when you have prepared yourself."

"If I were to indulge, ma'am, I'd have brought a hip flask," Frid notes, just a tiny hint of humour in his tone. "Very well. As ready as I'll ever be. Should I tell you what I'm thinking?"

Astoria chuckles slightly. "No, do nothing of the sort. That is the challenge," Astoria notes. With a wink, she pulls out her wand and stands. The wand looks less like a piece of wood and more like a sharp piece of bone. It is pale, jagged, and looks rather painful to grip. Astoria does it anyway. "One the count of three, then," Astoria says. "One. Two. Three - Legilimens!." The spell casts no colourful effect, or sound when it is announced.

That doesn't stop Frid from wincing and tensing up as the word is cast, eyes firmly closing. There's a brief flicker of something, circles, calmness, black and white.

Astoria blinks several times when the spell is concluded. She rubs her forehead, frowning, and is silent for several moments. "I think I may have seen something," she admits at last. "It was round, and black and white. But, I do not recall anything more." She focuses on Frid, and adds, "Oh, Merlin's beard. You are quite well, aren't you? How do you feel?"

Frid opens his eyes, taking a deep breath. "I… well, I didn't feel a thing, ma'am," he admits, perhaps with a little surprise. "Black and white? Round? Well… it's not exactly what I was thinking about. Are you sure of this?"

"Oh, well that's wonderful," Astoria says with a nod. "I shouldn't like it at all if you felt discomfort," she explains. A moment later she lowers her wand and twists her lips, perhaps in thought. "Well, it is all I remember. It was rather brief, really. I will try again if you think of the same thing as before."

Frid actually smiles a little at that, giving an agreeable nod. "Same again, ma'am. I can do that." Once more he closes his eyes, taking a long, deep breath and seeming to relax a little more.

"Very well. Prepare yourself:" Astoria says, raising the bone-white wand once more. "Three. Two. One. Legilimens!" she concludes. And, as before, the spell has no visual effect, and makes no noise.

Frid still flinches from the expected effects of the spell, shoulders hunching up for a moment before he's able to relax again. That image comes once more, movement in circles, small circles, of white on a shiny black surface.

Astoria lowers her wand again with a gentle frown. "I remember more this time," she admits. "Let's see. Circles moving, small and white, on a black surface," she explains with a scrunch of her brow. Her brows narrow considerably while she thinks, and her features become quite narrowed. "They aren't glasses on a bar, are they?" she wonders.

Frid looks up at her with quiet amusement, shaking his head. "No, ma'am. But I can see where you're coming from. I was shining shoes, in my head. The cloth is white," he explains. "Do you mind if I have a cup of tea?"

"Oh, excellent!" Astoria says with a nod. "That was very clever, Frid. Of course, it makes sense. I never realized it would be so, I don't know - vague." After Frid's question she says, "Why, yes, of course," with several nods. "Try the chocolate. It will perk you up a bit, too," she explains while seating herself.

If anything, Frid looks more relieved as she claims it to be vague, reaching to neatly pour himself a cup of tea. A dot of milk and sugar, and he lifts it to his lips, enjoying the flavour. "I'm British, ma'am. If a good cup of tea won't perk me up, nothing will. So it's mostly just colours you can see, madam?"

"Well, true," Astoria says with a mild chuckle. She reclined in her chair and crosses one leg over the other. "Colors and motions, it seems, but it wasn't very clear. Oh, and some shapes. But very few. Surprisingly, really - I thought it would be much more clear." A pause. "Had I seen the boots, for instance, I might have known immediately."

"I think, perhaps, I didn't help matters," Frid admits. "One hardly polishes the whole boot at a time, after all, so it was a very small portion I had in my head. Just the toe."

"Ah," Astoria says with several nods. "Well, at the very least the spell worked. That alone is a success. And without dire consequences, too," she notes with a gentle smile. "Oh, how is the tea?" she asks.

Frid nods quickly. "Oh, lovely, lovely, thank you, ma'am. You're very kind." He flicks a small smile. "And thank you for managing not to blow me up with your mind, or worse. At least thus far."

"Oh," Astoria says with a chuckle while she reaches forward to pour a cup for herself. "I doubt it would happen quite so horribly. I have only managed to injure a few people, you know. And I was quite cross at the time. I think you are perfectly safe from explosion." She leans back with her cup and takes a sip.

"I feel so reassured," Frid responds, deadpan, eyeing her. "If it's all the same to you, exploding would ruin my suit."

Astoria chuckles again. "I think you are quite safe, as I shouldn't like to endure such a catastrophe." She takes a long sip of tea before adding, "So, how have you been? It has been a few days since I have had time to travel up to Hogsmeade. Work is terribly busy with the recent catastrophe."

Frid pauses, running his tongue over his teeth. "Ah, quite well, ma'am, quite well. Recent catastrophe, ma'am? The issues in Diagon Alley?"

"It's called the Crystal Night," Astoria explains. "Germany has begun what I term a "soft genocide." It is where one group of people, typically a race, eradicates another by expelling them from their homes under threat of death. While not technically genocide, it is nevertheless a destruction of a culture, with the threat of actually killing them. In this case, the Germans are expelling a group of people called Jews." She exhales quietly, and her eyes close.

"I'm familiar with the Jews, madam," Frid notes, running his tongue over his teeth. "I was at Cable Street in '36. That Mosley fellow is utterly insane, if you ask me. And the same goes for the Hun with the mustache."

"Oh, excellent," Astoria replies. "I had no idea you had an interest in such matters, although my own interest in fairly recent, if I may be so blunt. I lived abroad for several years, so I am afraid I have little idea of who this Mosley fellow is. I assume he is a racist politician?" Astoria asks.

"Oswald Mosley," Frid informs her, settling back in his seat. "He runs the British Union of Fascists." He pauses, explaining, "Muggles are… in general… less accepting of people who don't precisely fit into their own mould. The Jews are often a target. The Jews, the queers, the negroes. It's been on one hand rather pleasant to return to wizarding society and freedom from judgement in the matter. It certainly makes my work much easier."

"Oh, him," Astoria remarks with a nod. "Yes, I had noticed. Really, they do seem to enjoy being angry with one another," Astoria notes with a stroke of her chin. Her features narrow considerably while she is silent, but the expression is interrupted when she sips her tea. "Why would muggles be prejudice towards you, Frid?" she asks. "Or do you mean, prejudice - in general?"

"I assure you I'm neither Jewish, queer, nor negro," Frid informs her with a very slight smile. "I had meant more in general. Although I do have certain sympathies with the communist party, which occasionally cause me issues among my peers. But I'm sure you don't want to hear about muggle politics, ma'am. I worry about Germany, though. I fought in the last war. I fear for another."

"Muggle politics does interest me, but only passively. I have so many other topics I must keep atop of," Astoria explains with a sigh. An eyebrow arches when Frid admits to being a veteran. "Did you? I had no idea," Astoria remarks. "I - well, I do not think I have ever met a veteran before. I'm in shock, really." Astoria clears her throat. "I should thank you, shouldn't I? For your service."

Frid just shakes his head. "Just remember the rest of them, ma'am. Most of us never came home." He clears his throat, taking another sip of tea. "Germany are pushing it too far. France and Britain will have to step in, and it'll back to the mud, the guns and the rain. Chamberlain is doing everything he can to stop it, but… I worry. I don't know how far I'd go to make sure war never happened again. I don't know how far Chamberlain will, either."

"Germany has gone too far," Astoria argues. "In truth, I cannot believe it has come to war, yet. I felt horribly for Germany, of course, when the depression began. Of course the muggle governments were too harsh on them, but this. No, it should not be allowed. Although, when it comes to war - as you say, I have no idea, either, how long a peace can last. It's terrible, really. I do not understand why this Nazi party has gone so far."

"Everyone needs somebody to blame," Frid opines, brows furrowing. "The Jews have money, ergo the Jews are to blame that other people do not."

"Oh, is that it?" Astoria says with a frown. "How appalling," she notes with a harumph. Astoria sets her tea aside and crosses her arms in front of herself. After a short pause, Astoria adds, "I've become a little cross, and we were having such a lovely time. Do excuse me, Frid. It is a habit of mine. I should think we should plan for a future meeting. When might I see you next?"

"I apologize for bringing politics into it, madam," Frid insists, dipping his head. "I occasionally forget myself."

"Oh, no, it is not your fault at all," Astoria assures Frid. "But I should like to know when we can meet next."

"Perhaps tomorrow, ma'am?" Frid suggests, "Or during the morning on Friday?"

"Either time will work," Astoria says with a nod. "I will have everything prepared for Friday morning, and we can have a nice brunch afterward," she explains with a nod. "Very well, then. Thank you so much, Frid. If there is aught I might do, don't hesitate to ask."

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