Whilst James was a little unnerved by his shopping trip he wasn't the sort of man to show it. He stomped back to his hotel and, as it was clear by the look on his face that he was in no mood for business, he received relatively little hassle on the way back. The hotel was a grand affair with bell hops and a concierge at the front, a large atrium and a glass roof in the centre and floors six and seven reserved for the wizarding world at the top. He tapped impatiently on the marble reception counter.
'About time, prepare a portkey for the ministry in London, I'm sick of this place.' He snapped.
The plump lady behind the counter smiled and spoke quietly with a strongly accented singsong voice. 'Please sir, there are muggles nearby, we would not want them to overhear.'
James deflated a little, the cool marble under his hand was calming him, 'look... sorry, Chebet isn't it, yes I forgot about them, my business is completed here so I would like to check out, please arrange my transport as soon as possible'.
'Certainly sir, please sign here.' Chebet proffered a parchment receipt, James signed it and passed it back. Chebet then licked a large red stamp with a zebra on it, put it on top of James' signature, the words J. Parkinson magically appeared on the stamp in gold and looked as though it had always been there. 'Thank you sir, I will send a bell boy up with it in 5 minutes.'
Kuku inspected the table looking for the missing golden lion, it wasn't there, he checked behind the flowers and under the masks. When his mistress came back in a few minutes later Kuku gave her the money and told her Mr Parkinson had taken a golden Lion, Joanne walked across to the table and inspected the gap.
'So James took one of the three soul parts,
Not the brain of my father nor the heart,
He took the patronus, the magical core,
Without a thought of my warning, straight out the door.'
With that she walked out after him, Kuku scurried along behind, half hoping they would find the man stood out there so he could watch James get his comeuppance. Through the opening and Kuku nearly walked straight into the back of his mistress, she was scowling and looking at the sky, her tiny wand in her hand.
'What you take must you pay for, what you sow shall you reap,
I will take all your power, for so long as you keep,
The Leo patronus of Mutonyi the Seer,
And you'll leave something for me in Batik Nyeri'
And with a crack of Joanne's wand the bonfire in front of the tent burst into life, 'Bukundu bwenya beene .' She muttered up at the sky, and suddenly the red flames of the fire moved like a mane in the wind, ''INGOKHO YIYECHELA MUNWA' this she had screamed and two white eye-like lights were suddenly in the heart of the blaze. There was a deafening roar that seemed to come from every direction at once and then all was still. The fire that was so menacing a second ago now looked like a jolly bar-b-que.
'What have you done, my mistress?' Kuku asked as the witch as she panted.
'Oufwa afwa lulwe' She retorted turning back towards the tent.
'Everyone dies of his own disease? Poor fool. I suppose its time for dinner mistress, will Nyama choma and Ugali be OK?' but he was talking to himself.
A little later James clambered out of the fire place in his own front room. It was an Inglenook and his Tudor house in the village of Owlpen was a welcome relief. As it was July there was the quick patter of feet and a second later Pansy was hugging him, it felt as if she had grown again. 'You're home early Daddy!' she said squeezing him. 'Have you brought me something?' James had noticed that since Pansy turned ten a few months ago she had begun thinking like her mother.
'Hello Pan, where's your mother, is that lamb I can smell? PHAEDRA, are you here?' James walked into the hallway dragging Pansy along with him. A tall, slender Mediterranean woman came out of the dining room, her long, black hair shone and complimented the flowing, green silk dress she wore.
'James, so good you are back' she purred kissing him on the cheek, 'and in time for dinner. We have guests.'
'Anyone special?' James couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. He had been looking forward to some time alone.
'One of my cousins Dionysius Belby and his son Marcus. They are in the dining room.' Phaedra turned to the kitchen to the left, 'Oenone?'. The door slowly opened revealing a wrinkly, grey haired house elf dressed in an old piece of tasseled velvet curtain, tied at the waist with a matching pull chord.
'Yes, Mistress Parkinson' She squeaked looking up whilst keeping her head facing the floor.
'Your master is home, set his place at the table at once.' Phaedra snapped and looked back to her husband. 'Now clean yourself up dear, we will eat in a few minutes'. Turning on her heal she strode back into the dining room. James knelt down so he was face to face with his daughter.
'I've got you this,' he whispered reaching into his pocket and taking out the golden Lion.
'I knew you would get me something, Daddy' She said, she snatched the Lion out of his hand and inspected it gladly. 'Is it magical? What does it do?'
'It came from a famous witch in Kenya, you'll have to work out what it does yourself as she didn't tell me. Now, put in your room and go and sit with our guests, I'll be in a moment.'
James quickly washed, found some pressed black robes and, picking up the leather tube up as he left, strolled into the dining room. The dimly candlelit room had paneled walls which, although jinxed as directed by Gilderoy Lockhart's Guide to Household Pests, were still suffering wood worm. The Ancient cracked oak table was laid with the best family silver the centerpiece of which was an ornate soup tureen that Phaedra was serving from. James sat at the head of the table and accepted his soup.
'Of course one thing a House Elf cannot do is serve food', she was saying to Dionysius, 'The last thing anyone would want is an Elf stood on the table.'
'I suppose,' Dionysius was a overly tall, dark haired man with flared nostrils and a pot belly, he always sounded put out when he spoke, regardless of the topic. 'Thank you for the invitation, James; Phaedra,' he nodded to both of them, 'I hear you have been on your travels again.'
'Yes, Africa this time, its interesting but unpleasant.' James was still annoyed at having to share his home with near strangers after being away but at the same time looking forward to showing off his new purchase, 'Business was good and, of course, you do get access to things that tourists miss out on.'
'Are you talking about the case you brought in, is it some sort of telescope?' Clearly Dionysius was the only one who had spotted it as bot the children and Phaedra looked around as he said it.
'You will see after we've eaten.' James spent the meal wondering who he would receive dinner invites from once word had spread of his excellent painting. Certainly Damocles Belby would find out and he was a most promising and respected potioneer, with influence in the ministry. There was little conversation over the roast pork diner, the children had both been brought up in strict houses so were quiet and didn't fidget. Dionysius was an uninteresting guest whose only topic was his son's first year at school.
'We were most disappointed when we heard he had only made it into Ravenclaw.' He said. At this Marcus turned pink and stared at his plate.
'Little Pansy will be starting in a few weeks.' Phaedra enthused. 'What house will you be in, do you think?'
She had aimed the question at her daughter but James cut across, 'Slytherin of course, won't you Pansy.' He said smugly. 'All us Parkinsons have been since William Perkynsone in the the thirteen nineties.'
'Did he build this... ' Dionysius looked round searching for a word, with a look of distaste on his face, 'Pile?' It was one thing for him to be disappointed in his son, but quite another for James to infer Pansy's superiority over Marcus.
'No, William Perkynsone lived from Warwickshire and besides this house is clearly Tudor so you are wrong by at least one hundred years.' James was enjoying the discomfort he could see in his guests.
The dessert of forest fruits and biscuits was served and eaten in near silence with Phaedra the only one trying to exchange family news with her cousion. All the same there was a feeling of anticipation and all at the table were surreptitiously glancing around wondering when the unveiling of whatever the tube held would happen.
'Well then,' said James after the coffee. 'I am sure you are all wondering what delights I have in here.' holding up the box he pulled his wand out 'Expecto Replum.' A glass fronted, carved picture frame appeared on the wall behind him and swung open. It was currently empty. James stood, turned his back to the table and walked to the frame opening the clasp and flap at the top of the tube as he went.
'What is it Daddy, a painting?' Squeaked Pansy.
'A very special one, dear, its called the Nyeri Batik and I have never seen one like it. All gather round.'
'Wax painting? You are making a bit of a fuss of that James.' Chimed Dionysius getting up with the others. 'I've a framed piece of tattooed Rhino skin in my den at home. Far better than any peasant art.'
James stood back having attached it to the frame and closed its glass front. 'There, now let's see what it can see.' They all peered closely.
'And what do you mean by that exactly?' Dionysius sounded indignant, as if he was worried the painting might reveal something he was keeping a secret.
'Well James?' Phaedra sounded intrigued, 'What have brought home this...' But then a loud roar rushed through the house and a hot moist gust of air blew all the candles in the room out. Pansy screamed and Marcus whimpered.
'Th-there was no need for that.' Stammered Dionysius, 'Lumos' he muttered but his hastily retrieved wand did nothing, 'LUMOS! Well what the hell's going on here? If you've broken my wand James...'
'L-l-l-umos', this time it was Marcus and I little dim light peeked out of the end of his wand.
'OENONE', yelled James, trying to maintain his cool whilst being completely shaken, 'Get in here and light these candles.' He smoothed his hair and looked up at the worried crowd. 'Wasn't expecting that I must say, and I've done nothing to your wand either.'
The door opened and they heard Oenone, scampering in, a small cracking sound and all the candles came back to life.
'So what do we see? James felt some of his bluff composure come back and they all once again looked at the painting. Inside it were three creatures, a Minotaur, a Black Sea bird and a Fox, they were on a background which looked just as if the painting was a window looking into the garden.
'And what, James, do they indicate?' Dionysius could tell that James was not the cocksure man he was a few moments ago.
'Well, in Kenya the painting showed the nearest magical creature, but these...'
'If you expect me to believe for one second that there is a minotaur within a thousand miles, or a thousand years for that matter, of this house, you are sadly mistaken. Marcus, it is time you were in bed so we should head home.' He turned to Phaedra,' Thank you for a lovely meal dear cousin, I wonder if Oenone could arrange your floo for us?'
'Yes of course Dion. Its been lovely to see you and Marcus. You must come again.'
'Of course I will maybe the next time James returns home, I look forward to inspecting whatever over priced junk he picks up in the future. So long James.'
James offered his farewells through gritted teeth and with clenched fists. After the guests had gone and the table was cleared James stoked the fire, pulled up a chair and sat it in front of the painting. The Bird looked very familiar to him, when he was training to be an Auror he had had tried to master Patronus Charm with some success he was sure the bird was the Parkinson's Petrel Patronus. His favorite relative, whom James had been named after, had discovered it whilst travelling. James pulled out his wand and tried to summon his patronus, after a few attempts he gave up even more frustrated and angry than before and went to bed.
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