Dinner at the Malfoys
Dinner at the MalfoysDisclaimer: See previous chapters
As soon as Narcissa Malfoy met Mrs. Stormosi face to face, she realized something: This is going to be awkward.
There was a reason why Narcissa and other Blacks have considered themselves to be genealogically superior to the other British wizarding families, and that was because they were. They could trace their genealogy back to that shaman of the great tribe of Black Celts, who even crossed paths with Merlin himself on occasion... and lived to tell the tale. This sort of thing can be very impressive to the magic-users, and thus Blacks reaped the respect of being one of the oldest magical families in Britain in stride.
Of course, there were rivals – the Weasley family for one, Alastor Moody for another – but they were known quantities or entities, however you looked. This woman, Mrs. Stormosi, clearly was not, and there was something in her stance, something that painfully reminded Narcissa of her gone and decisively unlamented aunt, Walburga, something that suggested that her genealogy might be as old as the Blacks’ was. And that could easily lead to a very uncomfortable discussion or an argument, something that Narcissa was afraid of ever since she was a little girl, and her parents and older relatives argued often and explosively.
But then Mrs. Stormosi did something unexpected: she looked sheepishly and asked if she could go to the garden to help the girls out of a mess that they have made.
For her part, Narcissa couldn’t help but look incredulous: sure, the girls probably were in the garden (both Tara and Nymphadora loved to play outside more so than in Tara’s room), but how much trouble could they get into?
Plenty, as she was about the find out.* * *
The Malfoy family garden was still a relatively tidy affair (Tara herself was naturally neat, and so was Nymphadora, to a certain extent – she was clumsy rather than messy, though sometimes it was hard to tell), but right now, with either a rather small whirlwind or a rather big dust devil hovering in its middle, it wasn’t so.
To make things worse, Narcissa was almost certain that the whirlwind had a face in it: a monstrous, misshapen face with a pair of wings in place of ears. “Work! I need work!”
“Get the water from the fountain and water the plants over there,” Mrs. Stormosi said calmly, before either Tara or Serena (both of whom looked actually quite small, scared and lost) could. “Gently, mind you, and then you can return from where you came!”
“Granted!” came the babbling reply, and before the eyes of four witches the whirlwind raced over to the fountain, drew water out of it, spread it all over the plants, and then dissipated with-out a trace.
“Serena,” Mrs. Stormosi then said sternly. “What did your father and I told you about showing-off before your friends?”
“Not showing off without you or father to be on hand,” Serena replied quietly, “sorry, Mother. I was just-“
“I know, child, I know,” Mrs. Stormosi said gently, “but the spirits of nature – they just don’t care about those things.”
“Um, when I talk to spirits of the earth and plants and the like, they seem nice,” Tara piped up suddenly.
“Ah, and are you trying to make them do things that they don’t want?” Mrs. Stormosi replied.
“Well, I’m guessing that my daughter tried to show off, here, and the spirits – they don’t like it when people try to show off using them,” Mrs. Stormosi said with a certain finality that really killed the rest of the argument dead. “So please don’t do this alone in the future, would you? Now, if you excuse me, Mrs. Malfoy and I were in the middle of the conversation.”
“You and your cards,” Serena muttered crossly. “Come on, Tara, let’s play something else – please?”
“Sure,” Tara nodded eagerly and the two girls were off.
“Cards?” Narcissa asked, raising one eyebrow.
“There are few entertainments available to a young woman of a pure-blooded family that has fallen down on its luck,” Mrs. Stormosi explained, more defensively than before. “Divination is one thing. Less...magical...games of card-related nature are another. Cards were very popular in Naples even before my ancestors returned there from their exile, you know?”
Now there was a conversation hook if Narcissa had heard any, and she was very eager to take it – she had a few tales to tell and a daughter to compare and contrast, in a friendly way, of course, over a small game of cards.
“Let’s go to the veranda,” she said calmly. “The men will be in Lucius’ office, going over the papers, but it’s a lovely day outside today, what do you say we make it an outside event? Maybe even play a small game of cards or two?”
“You’re on,” Mrs. Stormosi smiled brightly. “I’ve got a feeling, Mrs. Malfoy, that the two of us will get along just fine.”TBC