(1938-11-16) Deciphering the Past
Details for Deciphering the Past
Summary: While clearing things out Ranjit found something left behind by her ex-husband, she has asked for Aidan's help in deciphering it.
Date: 16 November 1938
Location: Visitor's Tearoom, St Mungo's
Related:
Characters
Ranjit

The premise was pretty simple truth be told. While doing rotations with the junior apprentices Ranjit happened to overhear one of them mention how her boyfriend is something of a relic hunting cursebreaker. It took little effort to gather the name of the young man and send off a letter. The letter was brief, inviting Aidan to meet Ranjit at the visitor's tearoom in St Mungos with the hint that there might be a job in it for him. Ranjit is fairly easy to spot, being the only Indian witch in the room wearing lime green robes. She has a pot of tea and a little book in front of her.

Of course, lately, Aidan's been doing all he can for work. SO, when a letter shows up from a prospective client… Well, of course he'll jump at the opportunity. Having dressed as well as could be expected, and having cleaned up, Aidan arrives at the appointed time just a minute or so early, entering the Tearoom and pausing to scan the room for a moment. An odd place to be meeting, mind - but still, it is what it is. As he walks on in, he looks toward Ranjit, and tilts his head at her appearance. For a moment, it crosses his mind - this is one of Diana's co-workers. He needs to show the utmost respect. So, as he approaches, he straightens his poise, and smiles, bowing his head just slightly. "Healer Jadu?" he asks lightly, his brogue accent standing out only so slightly… Living in London had taken a toll on his original Irish accent. "S'a pleasure. I'm Aidan Donnelly." A pause, and he tilts his head again. "I'm t'understand y'may have something that requires a certain… set of skills?"

Accents are funny things. When one looks at Ranjit, that rarity of ethnicity that she is, they expect a certain kind of accent but when she opens her mouth it becomes obvious she is from Birmingham. The witch rises to her feet and offers Aidan a hand the colour of milky tea. "A pleasure. Your Diana speaks very highly of you. She is a keen student and seemed to enjoy her rotation in midwifery." Of course it will take Aidan's girlfriend six years of studying to get anywhere near the skill level of the woman he is speaking to now, but it will undoubtedly happen some day. After they shake hands Ranjit invites him to sit and pours tea into a cup that she had waiting for him. The delicate china cup sits on a pretty floral china saucer. "I have, what I hope, will be a promising opportunity for both of us. I was clearing out some things the other day and came across something my ex-husband left behind." Ranjit slides the book across to him.

The book is old and the pages are a little brittle, it appears to be in a code of some sort. If Aidan were to look closely he'd get the idea that with some study he could decipher the code. There are also maps included, but not ones as ancient was would be expected for the condition of the book. Some even have notations for sewers and gasworks made by muggles.

When he's complimented so well, Aidan can't help but smile a little. "Diana's an amazing woman," he remarks softly, "and the fact she enjoyed her Midwifery rotation is strangely… not so surprising to me." He recalls the summer of 1937, and he smiles a little bit… Simpler times. However, it's down to business. Once the tea is poured, he accepts it graciously, as-is, and sips at it gingerly as he listens to the older woman speak. Once the artifact in question is put out for display, however… his attention goes to it immediately. He gently places his tea back down on the table in front of them, and he reaches out for the book. He's careful; gloved hands open the tome, and he carefully works at the pages. "A journal, maybe?… Passed down, o'course." He studies a couple of the maps, furrowing his eyebrows some. "Odd thing t'find in a book like this," he remarks, holding up carefully to indicate one of the sewage maps. "Could be… Etruscan in origin?" He studies the text for a moment, furrowing his eyebrows… examining the spine of the book as well. "It's a modified version, if an'thing. I'll have t'do some more pickin' at it…" A pause, and he licks his lips, looking toward Ranjit. "Ahm assuming that we're going to be deciphering this for study?"

Ranjit sips her own cup of Darjeeling. "My ex-husband likely stole it or won it in a high stakes game. He's that sort. He's muggle born so he won't have come by it naturally." She sets the cup down on its matching saucer. "I have no idea what it is, other than it will be worth something because of the fact he hid it so well." The healer doesn't elaborate on where she found it or how it was hidden. "I recognise some of the maps from Muggle Studies." She reaches over to carefully take the book from Aidan and flip to one of the maps. "This is part of the original Underground station. The very first. The date matches too." She taps the date on the Victorian map. "The muggles did a lot of excavating when making the Underground. Maybe they unearthed something."

"That was going to be my next question. Good note," Aidan responds softly, considering the book again. He gingerly passes the book back to her when her intent is clear, and he blinks when she turns the page… furrowing his eyebrows, he studies it carefully, looking to the date. "That in itself's a pretty valuable piece of his—" He pauses. He's got to remember he's not talking to a regular Muggle. Let alone someone who walks between the Wizarding community and the world of the Muggles. He wets his lips slightly, considering the map, lips pursed. "It's not impossible. Even t'day, artifacts are still being unearthed all over the world. Some across the Pond in the 'States, some here, some in rural parts of Ireland…" He pauses, shaking his head. "So, what are you wantin' me t'do, Healer Jadu? I assume, as I said… a translation. But I feel like you're looking for something more." She had mentioned the possibility of something having been unearthed, after all.

"Jonah clearly never found what this book eludes to or he'd have got rid of the evidence. I'd like you to translate it and if possible see if you can find whatever is there. I am hoping it is of some value and we can both earn a few bob." Ranjit readily interjects muggle terminology into her speech in a manner of someone used to straddling both worlds. "I can't offer you much, the bastard cleaned me out, but I can offer you something." From inside her robes she withdraws a small envelope which jingles with the sounds of coins and slides it over to the young wizard. "I thought twenty sickles might cover the translation." Twenty sickles is enough to eat off of for a few more weeks if they are frugal and Diana is nothing if not frugal.

"Well, I gotta say. To a collector the maps themselves will fetch a good price. 'Specially to someone who collects muggle artifacts - on either side. There's probably not that many of these floatin' around out there, I'd venture to say." Aidan lightly taps the book, then he looks back down toward it, nodding slowly. As the talk turns to money, though, he pauses, and he looks to the envelope. He nods, and reaches out, accepting the payment. "Twenty sickles," he remarks softly, "will be a gracious payment for the translation work. I'd say…" He pauses, looking back to the book. "Give me a week? A week and a half? I may be selling myself a little highly here," he remarks, "but I think I can probably figure the cipher out in no time, and probably have the written word transcribed by then." A pause, and he smiles a little bit. "As for this artifact?… We'll see when it comes to pass," he tells her lightly.

"Whatever money we can get out of it I'm happy to share with you," promises Ranjit. "I appreciate you agreeing to help me." She reaches over and offers her hand to Aidan again. "You can reach me here at the hospital if you need anything or have discovered anything of use to us both."

Smiling, Aidan nods. "When I get this translation done, hopefully it'll shed some light on it." A pause, and as she begins to reach out toward him, he extends his own hand - taking it and shaking it carefully, as a gentleman should. "Thank you, Healer Jadu, for the opportunity. I promise you won't regret it." With that, he carefully takes the book, closing it… and he holds it carefully in both hands. "If you'll excuse me, I'll be heading back t'm'flat t'start workin'." He's on the ball, he is.

Ranjit nods and reaches for her tea, she still has a bit of time left before heading back upstairs. "I'll be seeing you."

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