It happens at a private meal.
The royal family is entertaining Lord Lannister and things have just become incredibly tense, what with the king having rejected the Lannister Lord's offer of his daughter's hand. Not that the little lady knows the response yet; she's away with her twin, undoubtedly exploring the castle. Jaime Lannister has potential, Arthur will admit it. However, he's not worried about that. Not right now.
Instead, he stares at the empty seat, at the seat Rhaegar had been occupying but a breath ago. In some state of shock, Arthur looks to King, looks around the room, looks to Sir Whent. The blank faces, the sudden silence of the room; it all points to one thing. That none of them have seen Rhaegar get up and leave, that Arthur hasn't missed a few moments of time by zoning out.
All signs indicate that one moment Rhaegar had been sitting beside them. Then, the next moment, he was gone. Is gone.
There's no sign of the Prince of Dragonstone and Arthur feels his heart drop.
That's when the chaos starts.
"Oh! You're awake!"
Eyes sticky with sleep, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen winces at the harsh strike of light, fingers brushing across the bed's surface as he desperately tried to figure out if he has heard this voice before. Female, light, but not recognisable.
In some state of dazed panic, he pushes up into a sitting position, bedsheets pooling around his waist as he moves. He's in an unfamiliar room; high ceilings, great big windows, several other beds occupied by men and women he's never seen before, people dressed in ways he's never seen them before.
His head feels as if it is going to split in two and he cannot see his sword nor feel the concealed dagger that usually resides within the hidden pocket of his pants. Indeed, these don't even feel like his pants at all. Unconsciousness has left him vulnerable and someone has dared to strip him and dress him in… whatever this outfit is. Admittedly, the fabric is incredibly soft, smooth like silk, yet gentle as cotton. Slowly running his fingers across the hem, Rhaegar turns his eyes upon the source of the voice.
A young woman, perhaps a handful of years his elder, stares back at him with the slightest flush to her cheeks. She's comely in a strange sort of way, with features the likes of which he's never seen before. There are no creases to her eyelids, hair straighter than any he's ever seen before just as her face appears… flatter? Is this it then? Has he been kidnapped by foreigners who have designs on his father's kingdom?
"Welcome back to the land of the living, you're currently within St Mungo's and have been unconscious for sixteen days. Harr- ah, you were brought in when you were found passed out just off someone's property line." The young woman smiles, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she turns her attention to a clipboard. It is in this moment that Rhaegar registers the full extent of her appearance; the clothing that can be nothing other a uniform, the strange stick that is strapped to her forearm, the small not-quite medal pinned to her shirt that boasts a small portrait of her.
Only, Rhaegar realises with some alarm, it is not a portrait at all. For the image is moving, smiling up at him before looking to the left, only to look back and repeat that same smile. Trapped in some strange type of cycle of smile, look left and repeat. Written beside it, in the most uniform example of lettering he has ever seen, is 'Healer Chang'. A title, perhaps even a name. Healer… could be a Maester of sorts?
"I have never heard of a 'St Mungo's', my lady," Rhaegar says, slow and cautious as he digests the rest of her words. He was found on a property line, by somebody else's land? Impossible. The last he can recall, he had been dining with his father and Lord Lannister and, while he has vague memories of wishing to be whisked away from the awkward atmosphere… this hadn't been what he wanted. Alas, this 'Healer Chang' has also given him another clue, this 'Harr-' is clearly the beginning of a name, perhaps of the who found him. A lead to follow… once he can figure out if he is being held prisoner or not.
"Oh! W-well, you're not a muggle, we check for magical potential with every patient. For potion efficiency, you see?" Healer Chang blushes, coyly curling another lock behind her ear. She is pretty in a foreign, strange way. But Rhaegar has had many a pretty woman paraded before him during his tenure as Crown Prince; he shall not allow it to distract him from his hunt for information. He is beaten, however, as Healer Chang flicks a sheet of fine parchment over the board and pulls out a quill.
"If I could confirm your basic details, please?"
What follows is a set of questions ranging from simple (what is your full name?) to the occult (how long was Cornelius Fudge's term as Minster of Magic?). With each one, the Healer hums, taking quick but short notes on her paper. At one point, she abandons him for but a moment to soothe the occupant of his neighbouring bed and, much to Rhaegar shock, the board and quill remain floating in the air. That in itself is the final nail in the coffin, the confirmation that he is so very far away from home. Magic… magic died out years ago. Yet, the two items that resided in the air shatter those perceptions. Having decided it is within his best interests to remain silent on his… confusion with what appears to be the norm within this place, Rhaegar had nodded stoically as Healer Chang said, in lieu of contacting his relatives (that they do not have on record), she would be willing to contact the person who found him, to see if she wishes to come and speak with him. Before her departure, the woman had offered him a 'newspaper', which Rhaegar had accepted. What had been handed to him however…
Fingers tracing over the uniform words of black ink, the Prince of Dragonstone rapidly devours the text before him, mind whirling.
He has never heard of the land of Eng, or England, as they call it. It is pure luck that one of the… articles, refers to this land by name. There are names within the passages are unfamiliar to Rhaegar yet hold a great deal of weight given the context they are used in. Perhaps the strangest thing to wrap his head around is the idea of an 'elected official' running the country. Unless he has interpreted in the text wrong and 'elected' means something different in this land.
By far the most impressive thing, however, is the existence of magic. No, not the mere existence, but it's role within everyday life here.
He watches with rapt interest as another Healer gives a wave of a stick and proceeds to repair a laceration that would have condemned a man to death in his own land. The sheer potential in healing alone from the miniscule amount he has seen is astounding.
Reclining back into the comforts of his bed (a standard bed within a ward for those injured and unconscious yet more comfortable than any he has sampled expect, perhaps, his own), Rhaegar flicks through the newspaper once more, even though he has already devoured all its contents. There is even a section where readers can write in for help with their love life, he's blankly amused to notice. In Westeros, this would not be possible. However, here…
"Oh, hey. You're awake."
Looking up, Rhaegar's eyes land on the young woman that Healer Chang is leading over. She's the first person he's seen to not be wearing the healer uniform or the patient's clothing. A worn red shirt a size too large covers her frame, the fabric a cotton so finely woven it's difficult to perceive as anything but one large block of colour. He's started to realise her legs are clad individually, not in a skirt but trousers the likes of which he's never seen before. A dark blue, the material appears tougher than aged wool and twice as expensive as silk. A woman, in trousers, unscored by those she passes by; that is certainly a first.
During the interval between Healer Chang's absence and her return, Rhaegar had been taking careful note of the people who share this room with him; the array of hair-styles, the way in which they speak and behave, he'd done his best to absorb it all. Thankfully, he'd had the forethought to not admit himself a prince to the Healer; despite how kind she could be, he has no idea if the ignorance of his own land is reflected in that of the land of Eng. Who is to say they are unaware of Westeros? Who is to say they do not hold any form of grudge against his people? Perhaps, in this land enthralled with magic, the Valyrians of old visited. For all he knows, these people once warred with his ancestors long ago, with records lost in the Doom. It is a lucky thing that Rhaegar is quick of mind; it should make him capable of passing off as one of them, albeit someone who is vastly confused. A blow to the head, he shall claim.
"Now I am, yes," Rhaegar agrees softly, watching the other woman. She's taller than Healer Chang, with hair the same dark shade but the texture wild, all loose waves sheared to just kiss at her collarbones. Unlike Healer Chang, her eyes are bright, vibrant but, from their current distance, he cannot quite tell the colour. Perhaps the most noticeable feature is the fine white scar that resides upon her forehead, made all the more blatant by her tanned skin.
"Mr Targaryen, this is Hariel Potter. She found you unconscious on the board of her property. Harrie, this is Rhaegar Targaryen. We're suspecting blunt force trauma to the head at present, but memory charms haven't been ruled out." While unsure what a 'memory charm' is, Rhaegar can read the underlying implications that such a thing would have been undesirable to experience; Hariel Potter's lips have thinned, paling with the pressure she puts under them.
"I see. Do you have anywhere to stay, Mr Targaryen?"
At that, Rhaegar blinks once, staring up at the two women. What a novel experience, to find himself with no money to his name and not a place to rest his head. No bannermen to rely upon, no one who recognises him as Crown Prince. Stranded in a land that is not his own and not a single familiar face.
"Not that I recall, no. May I enquire as to my options from here?" Rhaegar requests, watching the two women for movement. Despite her title as 'healer', Healer Chang defers to the other woman. A higher social standing? While her clothes indicate quality and the money to afford such a thing, they are clearly not designed to impress. From the grass stains that smear the knees, he would assume they are for nothing more than the everyday wear and tear of life.
"Well, option one is that we hand your case over the Aurors and let them see where they can take it, all the while you're put up in Ministry funded accommodations, most likely the Leaky, as they stumble through an investigation. I won't lie, given how we are still recovering from the war, you won't be a priority. You'd be looking at several months of wait time, most likely." Several months. That is-
His father, mad and descending deeper into the clutches of insanity with every passing day. His suffering mother, no longer with a full-grown son to distract the King. Viserys, now the sole focus of Aerys attentions given Rhaegar's misplacement. It all bleeds behind his eyes.
"The second option, does it offer a quicker solution?" He cannot be indisposed for months of end. He simply cannot. His mother, his brother, the whole kingdom shall suffer for it.
Perhaps his voice holds a ration of his panic is instilled against his consent, for the two women share a look. When Hariel Potter returns her eyes to him, it is with consideration in her gaze, head tilting ever so minutely to a side.
"Option two is we sweep this thing all under the rug, check you out of St Mungo's and I'll put you up for a bit. You can research to your heart's content, I'll call in some favours people owe me, and hopefully you get back quicker. While that might not seem as efficient as handing you over to the government…"
"Our government may be better than it was a year ago but, given how it was ruled by a madman bent on committing genocide, it's not a great improvement," Healer Chang finishes, adjusting her hold on the clipboard in her arms almost nervously. There's a deep sorrow in her eyes as she speaks; this woman has lost someone to the madman, that much is evident. "Harrie is probably your best bet, in truth."
In short, his options are that of a government recovering from war that will put the needs of its own country and people before his desire to return home, and that of the woman that found him.
"If it makes your decision any easier, Harrie is owed favours by most of the government; anything that isn't covered in a favour, she could probably still get anyway." Hariel 'Harrie' Potter frowns but doesn't deny her companions words. From what he has managed to deduce so far, Hariel Potter is clearly well-respected, independent enough to own property despite her youth, and a woman to be respected. Many of the nearby occupants are staring at her; given the scar upon her brow and the ones half-exposed by the sleeves of her shirt, the indication that she fought within this recently finalised war is clear enough. His choices are a war hero, or a recovering government.
It is the thought of his father, a madman at the helm of the kingdoms, the conciliates his decision.
"I think then, I would like to place myself within your capable hands, Lady Potter."
The process of removing him from the ward's register is simple enough. Healer Chang scribbles down a few notes, draws a thin stick and, with a wave, sends the now folded parchment off out into the corridor. It disappears around the stone wall, its written word carried off in the form of a bird's wings.
Rhaegar watches it go with something like wonder settling in his stomach. Is this how the Valyrian Empire of Esteros had been run? Had magic come as easily, as fluidly to them as the people here seem to bask within its greatness? He's handed a bag far too small for its contents (everything you were found with is contained within this bag; this alone boggles the mind) and then allowed to rise from the bed.
It is at this point that Rhaegar realises even his boots have been stripped from him. His feet are bare, pale skin exposed and uncovered. Yet, as he glances at the floor, he can see why this is of little issue. The surface is smooth, devoid of any potential for injury. No broke stones, no wooden splints broken off from worn arrows or bows, nothing unsavoury he pay yet step in. As his soles meet the strange surface of the floor, he finds it pleasantly warm, the texture neither stone nor wood.
"We'll take the Knight Bus to Grimmauld," Hariel Potter decides, taking the quill from Healer Chang to scribble something down on the document she's signed. Whatever it is, it's evidentially something he has no need to know of, for no explanation is offered.
Instead, Hariel Potter hands the quill back and thrusts one hand into what he assumes is a pocket in her trousers. The material is so tight that he can see the outline of the knuckles she has buried, the slight swell of the one ring she wears evident in the fabric.
"You might want to dig your shoes out of that bag."
Rhaegar digs his shoes out of the bag.
Walking through the halls of this building, it's obvious this is not his land; the portraits, much like Healer Chang's own, move. Move and speak. They greet Hariel as she strides purposefully down the corridor, all 'Miss Potter', barring one who addresses her as 'the Woman Who Conquered'. While the man within portrait is treated to a stern look, Rhaegar's companion does not refute the name which is... telling. Clearly he has imposed upon someone of note. Once again, he sweeps his eyes over his companion, assessing everything he can. Despite the fact he is missing some key components, it's clear that Hariel Potter is someone who holds a great deal of wealth; her clothes are well-made despite the slight wear to them, her ears housing not just a single stud each, but tree that ascend around the shell of her ear. Each one is a fine ruby, cradled within a golden hold that disappears behind flesh. Well respected with clear connections to the… healers. And that title…
"My Lady, I must confess-"
"Not here," Hariel Potter cuts him off, a novel experience for one such as himself. Barring his father, no other person has ever interrupted Rhaegar when he is speaking. "The portraits don't just talk, they listen too." Ah, of course. That's relatively ominous. Additionally, it also confirms his suspicion that Hariel Potter has a more on an inkling as to his presence here than she informed Healer Chang of.
"May I at least enquire as to our destination?"
Cocking her head over her shoulder, the woman studies him for a moment, eyes appraising. Her strides, quick and purposeful that they have been, slow until they walk side by side. It is unusual to be led around an unfamiliar place like this, especially without all the usual pomp the Lords like to indulge in.
"Grimmauld Place. It's where I live and where you appeared."
"I see… will there not be any repercussions to inviting me into your home?"
The look that Hariel Potter graces him with suggest that she believes Rhaegar is just a little touched in the head. Suspicion and confusion is evident upon her face; it's expressive in a way no one would allow themselves to be in the Red Keep. Expression showcased weakness and weakness put you at a disadvantage. Weakness got you killed. This place… it is unrestrained in regards to that. The very portraits on the wall had shouted and cooed, had cheered and celebrated Lady Potter as she walked past them.
"I don't have any adults overseeing me, if that's what you're worried about anyway," she says, voice teasing and her eyebrows wiggling mockingly. Unaccustomedly, a hot flush graces the back of Rhaegar's neck and his eyes dart away from Lady Potter. No one so unfamiliar had ever been so bold as to tease him in such a manner.
Swallowing around the lump in his throat, Rhaegar in lieu turns his attentions upon the multitude of people that pass them by. They all wear a variety of robes, each swath of fabric as exotically bright or patterned as the one before it. The hairstyles are much unlike anything he has ever seen before, cuts that are severe of just downright impossible to exist without some form of supernatural aid; one person has shaved the sides of their heads but great big spikes remain down the centre of their skull, like a trail of horns. He doesn't have the slightest glimmer as to how that is possible other than to explain it away with magic.
Additionally, if this society is so steeped in magic that they can waste its powers to style the very hair atop their heads, what else are they capable of? He worries over this for a moment, worries how they would treat him should he confess himself a foreign prince. There is no royalty among these people from what he has been able to gather. The parchment of news (such an incredible idea, it truly is a shame his own people are not yet capable of such a thing) had only spoken of an elected Minister. Do these people have a distaste for royalty? Potentially so. He shan't risk it. Not yet.
"Hey, how old are you anyway?" The casual manner in which Lady Potter speaks is strange, a constant reminder that he is not where he is supposed to be. Where he doesn't belong.
"I am seven and ten, my nameday was three months prior."
"Seven and ten... seventeen? Well, I guess you're an adult by magical standards. We'll just have to be careful who we mention that to if we go muggle at any point." Muggle? Rhaegar bottles up his confusion, committing the strange word to memory in order to research it later. If his circumstances allow for it.
They pass beneath a large archway, words carved into the stones that he cannot comprehend. Suddenly, there is a blast of noise, as if stepping across the threshold has transported him further than merely moving from inside to out.
Before him is a street like none he has ever seen before. The building stretch tall, taller than trees, taller than the keeps and towers. One of the buildings he swears could be as tall as The Wall itself. Uniform windows decorate the fronts, merchandise the likes of which he has never seen displayed within them. Shops, Rhaegar thinks in stupefied wonder. He is looking at what passes as shops within this place. Soon enough, his attention is draw elsewhere. He wishes to have several thousand eyes as, for the first time in his life, he is unsure of where to begin. Metal contraptions pulled by neither horse nor man rumble down the road with a mighty roar at terrifying speeds. A strange, immobile kind of bird traverses the sky high above him, leaving a cloud-like wisp in its wake. Slender, sole trunks of iron rise from the ground, each with a single branch cut short hanging over what Rhaegar believes to be a road, cradling a glass cage of some kind that looks down upon the earth. People are bustling about, dressed even stranger than those within the confines of the building he has just left.
"Whoa there!" Hariel Potter's hand is suddenly upon his arm, the other cradling his wrist. Oh, it seems he has lifted his arm before him, as if to ward off sudden onslaught of influx of input from the world. "Take a breath, just breathe. I get that some of it's a lot to take in, but you're fine, alright? It's a damn good thing I put some notice-me-nots up," the latter is whispered, passing beneath her breath as if an afterthought. The physical touch, though not something he is used to, grounds Rhaegar, roots him to the spot and allows him to just… exist.
This is not his land. It is not his kingdom. He has heard tales of Essos. This is not Essos. It cannot be part of the Known World. It is just too- too- advanced. It's advanced, far beyond what his people would be capable of. He cannot even being to name the majority of the things around him and Rhaegar is far from unlearned.
"It is- w-where am I?" He is being terribly rude. He has not addressed Lady Potter by a title, has not addressed her by name at all. Perhaps, Rhaegar considers, this is an extreme case of shock. He has been taken aback before, but never to the point where he is unable to hide it. Never to the point where he is almost catatonic from it.
"London, this is London. It's the capital city of England and a primary hot-spot for Wizarding kind."
"Wizarding?" Rhaegar croaks, watching Hariel Potter's face crumple slightly. The hand around his wrist releases its grip, retreating to the woman's wild hair. Her pale fingers run through it, peeling the strands back form her face. A light dusting of sweat brackets her hairline, brought about by the sun residing above their heads or the stress of the situation, Rhaegar cannot even begin to deduce.
"Look, let's get to Grimmauld, then you can ask away to your heart's content without a breakdown in the middle of the street." Yes, yes that makes sense. It's a wonder people haven't already began to glance their way, curious as to what is going on. Not one person appears to be of the common-folk, all far too free and at ease with their movements. There is not the traditional wariness to their features, the slight hunch to their back. What is this place?
He tenses as Lady Potter reaches into her pocket; he need not worry, for it is a polished stick the emerges within her grasp. The almighty bang, as if thunder has struck, startles Rhaegar. His head reaches for a sword that is not present, even as he moves to put Hariel Potter behind him. Then, it registers what, in fact, caused the noise.
"Don't worry too much, it scared the life out of me the first time too." One of the many metal contraptions stands before him, tall as the average keep's walls. A royal purple in shade, it houses a multitude of windows, more glass than people within. A woman stands at the threshold, a flap hat of kind planted upon her head and another metal construct hanging from her neck by a thick strap of leather.
"Oh! Harrie Potter! It's an honour!" She bows, clumsily and with an eagerness Rhaegar has never seen upon any face that has bowed to another. Beside him, Lady Potter (is Harrie perhaps how she is known to the world? A shortening of her true name to make for ease of speech?) smiles in return; hers is a brittle thing, however.
"Hello. Can I get a ride for two to Grimmauld Place, please?"
"O' course you can! Free of charge. Can't possibly ask you to pay the fare after everything you've done. Ernie'll agree, right, Ernie?" The woman twists around to look upon a man perched high atop a chair. With his wild white hair, leathery wrinkles and the strange, moon-like glass worn before each eye, this 'Ernie' could be likened more to an owl than a human. He's short and at an age one would be considered 'outstandingly lucky' to reach in Westeros. He says nothing, instead gesturing for Lady Potter and Rhaegar to board this… method of transportation. That must be what this is; a fare implies passageway must be bought and all the other things alike this he has seen passing by have had a person residing within their cavity. Admittedly, they had not been as tall as the one that stands before him, but perhaps the height is a sign of wealth. For all that those on board do not appear to be… refined.
"See, Ernie agrees. Hop on board! Would you like a hot-chocolate?"
"No thank you. A paper bag might be a good idea," Hariel Potter replies, gesturing to Rhaegar as she continues, "for my friend here."
"Right, can do, can do. Take a seat and we'll be off in a jiffy! Grimmauld will be our third stop." The woman, who has still yet to introduce herself, bounces up the steps, a strange, bubbling energy to her as she moves. Hariel Potter climbs up first, one hand grasping at a railing that is far too polished to have ever been considered for the job in Rhaegar's home. Flattened, the metal would make a fine mirror for a minor noble. Still, he runs his hand along the unusually smooth surface, climbing up after his guide.
Hariel Potter has already seated herself on a plush bench, one of the many that are placed within the cavity of this contraption. What was it that she had called it- ah, a 'Knight Bus'. Tentatively seating himself, Rhaegar glances up when he hears a multitude of charms and he finds his eyes widening in surprise. A chandelier, elegant and clear, resides above their heads, the thin sheets of glass clinking against one another with leftover momentum.
"You may want to hang on to your armrest and, if you're going to be sick, be sick into the bag." Lady Potter presents him with the aforementioned bag which appears to be made of a parchment so thin it goes by a different name. Rhaegar accepts it tentatively, voicing a quiet thank you as he mulls over the first piece of advice. From the corner of his eye, he notices two young women (more girls really, each perhaps ten and two) clinging to the sides of their seats and chatting animatedly. Every so often, one or the other will twist to stare at him. He catches the eyes of the next one and she squeaks, much like a mouse, spinning back around in an instant. The tips of her ears are red, Rhaegar notes with a slight curl of amusement.
Then, then the outside world begins moving and he suddenly understands exactly why he has been told to hold on. It is not a moment later that the paper bag is in use.
The 'Knight Bus' grinds to a halt for the third time and not a moment too soon, for it feels as if there is nothing left in Rhaegar's stomach for him to regurgitate. His limbs shake with the effort though, astonishingly, there is no foul odour wafting up from the contents that now reside within the 'paper bag'. Hariel Potter had not said a word the first time he had been sick, though by the third, one of her small hands had begun rubbing gentle circles into his back, face awash with sympathy. Yet, even the exhibit of his weak stomach has not stopped the two girls across the way from continuing to overtly stare at him. He hopes they believe they are being covert with their observations.
"Come on, Rhaegar. We're here."
He doesn't jolt at the casual use of his name if only because any unexpected movement threatens to send his stomach rolling. It is with caution that he rises, the 'paper bag' still clutched within one hand. He is quite lost on what to do with it; there is no desire within him to keep hold of it, but to leave it upon the 'Knight Bus', no matter how horrendous the experience has been, seems incredibly rude.
"Let me get that for you!" The woman from before chimes, pulling free a polished stick, if not alike Hariel Potter's then similar. She waves it and, just like that, the bag is gone from his hands. Disappeared; as if it had never existed in the first place. He stares at his hand for single moment, then turns his gaze upon the woman.
"My thanks," he states with a dip of his head, trailing off when he realises he has no name with which to address her. She does not hear his unasked question, does not read the cue, and instead bops her head forwards in a mockery of a nod. All the while, she fans her face excessively with one hand and glances towards the two young woman.
"Not a problem in the slightest," she chimes and both girls giggle as some kind of understanding passes beneath them.
"He's only just legal," Lady Potter suddenly snaps, looking utterly unimpressed as she stares down the woman before her sharp eyes turn on the other girls, "and he's too old for you. I do hope Hogwarts isn't slipping enough to not give you any homework over summer."
"N-no Miss Potter!" one stutters out in shock, looking ashamedly away.
Hariel Potter nods, as if this response is acceptable, and then makes for the door. Rhaegar trails after her, quite certain he's missed a step but unsure what exactly it is.
The place the Knight Bus has brought them too is both similar and dissimilar to where they boarded it. The streets are quieter here, only one miniature Knight Bus traversing the road in a fetching shade of crimson. There are lesson people too, the windows of the buildings smaller and less numerous. No wares are displayed behind them; in lieu, Rhaegar can see two children within one window, running about with some form of toy clenched in each hand, playing. Carefree in a way so few in his lands are.
"Come on, the quicker we get inside, the quicker we can get on the same page. Merlin, I wish Hermione was here."
"Of course. After you, Lady Potter." The address seems to startle her; Lady Potter flinches at his words, spinning around to stare in a manner that suggests such a form of address is far from the norm.
"Look, it's just Harrie, okay?" He hasn't the slightest idea what this 'okay' means but, at a guess, he assumes it is some kind of affirmative. So Rhaegar nods his head and follows after her. 'Just Harrie' leads him to one of the many doors into the vast building. Upon closer inspection however, Rhaegar notices that each door to the building boasts a number, this one being '12'. So, a multitude of housing from one building? It certainly would solve the housing problem in Flea Bottom but it seems like a terrible fire-hazard. If one house goes up in flames, they all will. No, of course, he's forgetting the fact the people here wield magic as if it were both a sword and quill, the answer to all of their problems. How else does that explain his current surroundings?
Using the same polished stick that had hailed the Knight Bus, Hariel Potter taps at the door itself, ignoring the ornamental silver knocker that presents itself as a twisting serpent. Silently, the entryway is revealed and it is at this point that his companion turns back to look at him.
"Whatever you do, don't make a noise until we're in the kitchen." An odd request, especially given the fact she had implied no 'adults' would be checking on her, but Rhaegar concedes to it regardless.
The innards of the building are far different from the outside. Unlike the darkened bricks that make up its exterior, the walls within are painted a light lilac, a thin strip of wood separating the bottom of the wall from lightly panelled wooden flooring. The only dark spot are the rich purple curtains on one side of the wall. They cannot possibly be hiding a window as, given their placement, it would only look into the residency next door. Hariel Potter is a ghost in all but body as she passes by this particular bit, taking the utmost care to do so with as little noise as possible. Rhaegar follows by example, heart in his throat as he wonders just what resides behind those curtains if a being of magic is so hesitant to pass by.
Rhaegar makes his way into what must be the kitchen as Hariel closes the door behind him. She slumps against the wood just after.
"Right, sorry about that but we don't want to wake Mrs Black. She'll just screech, probably have a go at you for having creature blood, what with you looking like a veela."
"I am afraid I don't understand what you mean-" Rhaegar scrambles for a form of address that won't offend and his brain offers up the young girl's words from the bus- "Miss Potter."
"Ah. This is really awkward. Wanna take a seat?"
"I'd prefer to know just what is going on," Rhaegar states, stalking down the length of the kitchen and trying not to stare to much at the assortment of, of stuff that is present within it. He recognises so very little that it is actually a relief to spot a pantry, especially one as filled as this appears to be. In the very least he shall not go hungry. If Lady Potter does not force him from her property once he is done. "I have awoken in a land that is near unrecognisable, one that I have no knowledge of existing before, while magic is prevalent here whereas in my lands it is a dead entity. You claim to have been the one to find me but, for all that I can recall, I was at a dinner with other lords before waking in your 'St Mungo's'." Halting, Rhaegar turns to look at the young woman who stands with her arms folded across her chest, no longer slouched against the door but instead leaning upon it.
"I've spent the past month trying to catalogue all the magical artefacts I've inherited," she starts with, pushing off from the door and prowling in his direction. Rhaegar stiffens, acutely aware he has yet to retrieve his sword from the bag (if it is even within there to begin with) while Hariel Potter is armed with that polished stick that seems to allow her to conduct her magic. Yet, she walks past him, approaching the pantry. Retrieving a collection of cured meats, cheese and bread, she places them on the table top in clear invitation, seating herself in the process.
After only a moment of deliberation, Rhaegar seats himself across from the woman.
Hariel Potter slices through the side of her bread with one of the table knives and begins to stock meat and cheese slices upon its surface. "Sixteen days ago, I came across an amulet that, when I touched it, knocked me out. When I woke up, you were there, face down and out cold. Given that I was in the loft and that this place is juiced up on enough wards to strip the skin off of intruders whenever I've got the wards up, which I did by the way, I didn't have a clue what happened. Just took you straight to Mungo's in hopes I hadn't fucked up too badly."
Rhaegar is so far gone with this tale that he does not even flinch at the vulgarity that flies so easily from the Lady's mouth.
"I've got it here. Been trying to figure out what it is or even where the hell it's come from, but the best I've got is that it's from before Phineas Black's time." The name means nothing to Rhaegar. The style of the amulet he is handed, however, is a different matter altogether.
"This is a Targaryen sigil," he breathes, turning the golden trinket over in wonder. It's old, older than much of the jewellery in the keep. Older than all of the crowns, that's for sure. If he had to take a guess, he would place it around Aegon the Conqueror's time, if not slightly before. Yet, the cut, the form, it is all far too advanced for his people. Which can only mean Hariel Potter's people had once been in contact with his own. It would certainly explain his presence here. Travel by magic (a method obviously kept secret) would make sense given Rhaegar has never heard of the Land of Eng. A land he currently stands upon.
"Targaryen, like, your last name?"
"My family, yes. It is old, I'd be hesitant to make an accurate guess, but I'd waged it to be around three-hundred years old. The dragon has not yet been depicted as having three-heads…" Rhaegar kills that spoken thought before he can mention Aegon's conquest, tongue stilling.
"Three-hundred years? That's a lot of Blacks to track back through to see where it came from." Whipping another hand through her hair in what is a clear habit, Hariel Potter eyes the amulet again, fingers of her other hand drumming a nonsensical pattern upon the table. Then, she plants the other half of the bread atop her little mountain of bread, cheese and meat before taking a bite. Hesitantly, Rhaegar begins to copy her, loading his own bread up with a small helping of what appears to be ham and a richly coloured cheese.
"Okay. Clearly this is my fault. I'll set you up with a room here and we'll have to do some research to get you back to… wherever it is you come from. How are you with books?"
"Well read; one of my favoured hobbies is reading."
"You're a strange mix of Fleur and Hermione," Hariel mutters, not to him but to herself in some sort of realisation. "You didn't arrive with a wand, so I can get you a replacement for the time being and hopefully we'll have you back home within the week."
Rhaegar matches her strained smile with a small one of his own, even as a heavy weight begins to settle within his chest. It is clear Lady Potter hasn't the slightest idea how he has ended up here and their only clue resides within the amulet that now rests upon the table between the two of them. He eyes it thoughtfully. He has not heard of such an amulet mentioned within his own reading but, given the Targaryen predilection for fire, it would not shock him to hear the text containing a passage upon is now nothing more than ash. Additionally, he also keeps his mouth shut on his ownership of a 'wand'. The implications that a 'wand' is the polished stick he has seen all magic come from so far, and that Hariel Potter is offering to acquire him one… well, even if he does not know how to use it, Rhaegar is far from oblivious. He can watch and he can learn.
"That would be gratefully appreciated, Miss Potter."
"It's just Harrie. You're only a year and a bit younger than me. Miss Potter sounds strange." What an oddly relaxed culture. Though it is discomforting to address a lady of his age by what is clearly a nickname, Rhaegar bows before her wishes.
"I shall endeavour to try, Harrie."
Whelp, back to school tomorrow. Mass updates will again slow to a trickle, so I'll leave you with this one (future chapters may be anywhere between 4,000 to 7,000 words). No more new fics unless they're oneshots until May at the earliest after this, I promise.