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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

A month felt like centuries, and it felt like minutes. It was as if David was a memory from a long time ago, and had only just left the room all at once. Adele couldn't make sense of it. She'd never grieved this completely before, never let herself care that much before. Not for someone who wasn't her family. Lauren was the only exception, and that had been so different. Neither the loss of Lauren nor David was a pain she wanted to feel again, and it hadn't taken long for her defensive modes to kick into ultra. 

Protect what she loved. Push everything else away. Caleb and baby David were never allowed more than a few steps from her, she watched Alex and Rheldor with a protectiveness that bordered on aggressive. She had become overbearing, and unbearable to be around. Caleb had wanted to practice in his room, alone, and Adele's angry insistence that he remain in eyesight had been the latest in a series of irrational conflicts in the house. Rheldor had picked up the baby, calmed Caleb down, and insisted that he take them out for a few hours.

That wasn't allowed either, but then her mother had stepped in and removed them all from the house before she could protest. Cheat. Rheldor hadn't been exactly happy with Lillian's company, but Adele knew at least that Lillian wouldn't allow any harm to come to Rheldor. Which meant protecting Caleb and baby David too. 

There was just the matter of what to do with the house to herself.

David's funeral had been a small thing, close friends and family, and plenty of alcohol. He would have liked it, she felt. Except she hadn't had a drop. She hadn't felt like it. For the first time in her life, Adele had been in too much pain to bother blocking it out. It wasn't some newfound strength she had. It wasn't even for the sake of the baby. This hurt was hers, she didn't deserve to be free from it. If she hadn't been so stupid, Dave would still be alive.

At least. She had felt that way until now. Sitting here alone, realising how controlling and awful she was being. Rheldor was right, the kids did need space, but how could she? How could she just let them out of her sight like she had with David? Adele sank against one wall, flicking the drinks cabinet door open. It was time.

But she had also made promises. And so before opening the first bottle, she took a moment to pen and send a simple note of just one word. Stuart would understand.

Drinks.

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

The past weeks had been busy, between the renewed threat of Sollozzo now that he'd struck again, keeping an eye on the family, including Del and the poor boys in her life who she wasn't letting do anything without her, and having to get more Aurors on duty around Narrie, as well as searching around the country for any hint or sign of Zane or Thomas, and then his regular work on top of all that anyway. He was feeling just a little run down. He was happy, at least that Améa seemed to be looking even better still by the day. She near resembled the teenager that he remembered and he knew that it was in part due to the company of Vladimir as well, as much as Stu felt that protective fatherly urge to make sure nothing happened that Améa would feel regretful for and harm herself with.

The man knew that Vladdy wouldn't intentionally harm Améa. But the young woman was prone to feeling guilty, and Stuart just hoped that nothing happened before she felt completely ready for something, if she ever did. This was at least one day where he'd been able to get the house to himself for a while as soon as he got home though, and it was far too quiet for Stuart's liking. He never did like a quiet house. Even Cecil was out, no doubt following Mea and Mary around at the reserve or Mary's nearby property. As he sat down with a beer though, Faireth jumped on his lap and the man gave the cat a scritch behind the ear.

At least, until his book dinged at him and he tipped his head to look over toward it for a moment before using Accio to bring it over. Still sitting, he read the single word with a raised brow and had to take a moment to decide whether she meant at the Roo or not. Deciding that she wasn't likely to be ready to drink in public just yet - hell, she'd been the only one not drinking at Dave's funeral aside from the kids - he figured she was at home.

So it was that the man pushed himself from the chair and went to the kitchen, opening a tin of tuna and emptying the contents into Faireth's bowl (he'd deny that he was the reason the cat was gaining a little weight) and then, with stubby in hand, apparated into Adele's living room, where he spied the woman already with the open liquor cabinet. Loosening his tie, he unbottoned the top of his shirt and took a few long swings of his beer to finish it off before setting the bottle on a table.

"Rhel and the kiddos manage to escape you today?" The man asked, glancing around and noticing the severe lack of other people in the house. How the old man had managed that was near a miracle, but it was about time that they got out from the ever-watchful eye of Del. "Is that the occasion?"

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"First screaming match with my father," Adele replied with a nod. "He would have lost it too, except Mother intervened. Took them all away before I could stop it." 

She looked up at him from the floor, the cabinet open but she'd stalled. This could be healthy and cathartic, or it could be the beginning of a dark spiral that would take her half a lifetime to come back from. Adele was keenly aware of her own terrible habits, how prone she was to falling off the edge. Two little boys depended on her for everything, and for once in her life she wasn't completely fucking it up---did that change if she opened that bottle? Was she going to start something that would ruin all of that?

Adele stared at the liquor bottles as though she were staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. Stuart was here so she'd at least kept her promise not to drink alone, and she wanted so badly to forget everything. Be numb for a night. Gods, she wanted it. She stared, frozen in hesitation. 

"I need to protect them," she said, her voice shaking slightly. "I can't let them down. I can't fail them like I failed Lauren and Mea. I need to keep them safe and be good for them. And I'm trying my hardest, Stuart, but I don't know how long I can keep it up. It never lasts. I always end up falling down, I---I can't afford to do that this time."

Just as she had been while she and David were separated, Adele was scared of her own failings as a mother. David had helped her find balance, moderation, they brought each other down and away from destructive spirals. Without that in place, Adele felt like she was standing on a cliff without a parachute. Eventually she would fall. Only the kids would fall with her, and two more lives would be turned bitter and sad.

"And with Alex and Cass, and they're going to have babies, and Lauren and..." it was a lot. Adele reached for a bottle, opening it. "I don't know if I can do this. I really don't."

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

"Funny, can't imagine Rhelly-boy yelling," Stuart rubbed the back of his head. It had got that bad, huh? Trust Lillian to be around though, to put a halt to that and whisk the boys off somewhere for the day. It was for the best, though he doubted that Rheldor was all that impressed that it was Lillian who had grabbed them. Still, he watched as Adele seemed to mentally flounder over the decision of whether to grab a bottle from the cabinet or not. She stepped closer and then reached over to get a couple of glasses, before then sliding down the wall to sit down beside her while he listened.

"No one expects you to have to watch everything all the time, Del," Stuart said quietly. "I know it's scary right now, but everyone's doing what they can to try and keep people safe." He then lifted his brows as she spoke about whether she could handle this, that she didn't know how long before she screwed something up, and it felt like they'd had this conversation before. Actually, he knew that they did have this conversation, and the man shook his head a little as he reached for the bottle that she'd already grabbed and taken the lid off.

"To begin with, let's stick to glasses, so that we can keep an eye on how much we drink, eh?" Stuart poured them each a glass. He knew that Del was at that point where she wanted to numb herself, but that wasn't going to do her any good in the end. The best think he could do right now was moderate how much they had, and been someone she could talk to.

"Secondly, we had a very similar discussion to this almost a year ago if you remember. Over at the Roo, I think it was just after I'd bought the share in it, and we were having our usual drinkies meet up. You said the same things then. That you weren't sure how you would be able to do it, that you were afraid of messing everything up. Do you remember what I said back then?" The man lifted a brow at Adele as he offered her a glass. "I believe there were a few things. Along the lines of 'no one can do this kind of thing alone' and 'you are not alone' and 'you are going to be alright, because even with your own pain all you think about is doing the best for your kids' and 'you can count on me, because I'm not going anywhere'. Any of that ring a bell, Delly-welly?"

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"Neither could I until he did," Adele shuddered slightly. Watching her almost-sickeningly positive father flip into a righteous rage wasn't something she wished to experience again. He'd called her by her full name. All of the middle names. Adele wondered if that would have worked when she was younger, if he'd been able to be a proper father to her. A lot of things probably would have worked back then. It was too late now, for all of that. Just too damn late.

Listening to Stuart, she knew they had been here before. It was the same issue, the same fear. Without David, Adele truly didn't believe she could do any of this. She took the glass and nodded. It was definitely best not to drink by the bottle. As for her overbearing need to keep the boys in sight, that she wasn't sure how to fix. How could she just let go knowing that Sollozzo lurked out there, waiting to hurt her again? If she could see them, at least she knew. 

"You'll tell me, yeah?" she asked after a long moment, taking a sip of the drink he'd poured her. "If I ever stop doing what's best for them. Smack me around until I see sense again, or... whatever needs to be done. So they have a good life and I can't hurt them. You'd do that, right?" A dark line of thought, but a reassurance she wanted. Lillian wouldn't lift a finger unless it served her own purposes, and the boys to her were minor details in a broader plan. Adele didn't want any of that to happen, but if she fell... if she didn't have the ability to recognise and correct her own behaviour, something would need to happen.

A safety net for them. 

The alcohol burned as it went down. A good feeling. A cleansing feeling. Adele closed her eyes.

"Father's decided he wants to find his sister. Wants to go exploring the world to track her down. I think part of the reason he got so upset was I forbid it, I just---we can't keep protection on him when he's so far away. And besides," Adele frowned. "He might find her."

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

Trying to imagine Rheldor flipping out was tough, but Stuart was pretty sure it was something that he wouldn't want to see either. The man was even more ripped than he was, and for all the smiles and jovial spirit he seemed to show, there had to be a decent temper below that when he was prodded. Still, that wasn't the issue here was here to support Del with. He knew her fears, especially the one she held regarding falling back into her old patterns and doing the wrong thing by her children. While he didn't believe that she would actually do that anymore, not after all the years and experience she'd had with her children - and especially with Lauren being back - he also knew that it was a legitimate concern for her to have. He knew he couldn't convince her otherwise, so all he could do was give the support she needed until she could see it.

"Without hesitation," Came the man's easy reply, followed by a light cheeky grin, "Maybe without the smacking. You might enjoy that, which would defeat the purpose of trying to pull you back into line." The man snickered and then chuckled, before wrapping an arm over Adele's shoulders and tugging her against his side in a half hug. He'd never be able to literally smack a woman around, not even someone as indestructible as Adele, but he would surely do whatever he had to in order to set her straight again. Even if it meant having to take her kids off her until she came good again, though he doubted it would ever come anywhere near to that.

Taking a drink form his own glass, Stuart then listened as she spoke about her father and his desire to look for his sister, a small frown forming on his features, not only of Adele's fear for the man, but also because... where would he even know to begin? Going out without direction wasn't the smartest of plans.

"I mean, I can understand why he wants to look for her but..." Stuart scratched his cheek with his forefinger in thought, "It seems a little foolish to just go looking with no idea where to start. Maybe you two could compromise on that, perhaps get him to wait until you've dug up some kind of clue as to her location. I mean, I can try to help with that, she'd have to leave some kind of trail somewhere." He then looked at Del, "I can get why you don't want her found... but she is his sister, and he's probably not going to drop the idea until he's at lease seen her or has some clue as to her situation. Closure type thing."

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Adele leaned in toward the arm that wrapped around her shoulders, glass held in both hands. The promise given, she knew Stuart would stop at nothing to make sure the kids had a good life. He would do what was right, if she wasn't able to. It was enough, for now, to quell a little of the anxiety that plagued her. Lauren's return had only made her even more aware of how terrible she had been, and what depths she could still fall to if she wasn't careful. The boys deserved better, gods---they all deserved better. But Adele could only be sorry for the mistakes she'd already made, and promise to keep learning. 

It wasn't as if she'd had any particularly good examples to model herself on. Not an excuse, but it did make things significantly harder.

"He's got a bit of wanderlust," she added with a frown. "Not that you can blame him, being stuck in one place for... I don't know. My whole life. Long time. He's got this whole romantic idea in his head that he'll just strike out, see the world and find her at the same time. If she's out there, and I don't know if she is." Adele shrugged, unsure of how to feel on this topic herself. If Ameliana was alive, that meant she'd made no attempt at all to find her in the years that had gone by. Part of Adele even hoped that Ameliana had been abducted that day, dragged off against her will---rather than having walked out and not come back. 

"It's not like I haven't tried. I would have found something, so either her story came to an end, or..." Adele sighed. "She just doesn't want to be found. Before I found my way back home, I imagined that maybe she had found a way back. I don't know, Stuart. She could be anywhere on the planet. Last I saw her was in New Orleans, about thirty... forty years ago? Something like that."

The alcohol was going down easy now. What would she do if they did find the woman? And what did Adele want from her? An apology? 

"Even Mother lost track of her. So. He's probably just going to end up chasing his tail for years, and... is that really worth it?"

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

"Don't worry, Del. I got your back, and I already promised a year ago that I'd help make sure Caleb and the new bub would have a good life," The man gave her another small squeeze, almost able to read exactly what she was thinking without having to be told. He knew enough of her fears and anxieties, a lot of their drinkies nights spent simply talking about life in general and those fears that crept in. He'd been told about Adele's life growing up, and of the woman that her father now sought to find. He especially understood her fear now that David was truly gone, and not just taken off because of one of their spats. But he had made a promise and intended to keep it. It had already taken a long enough time to get Caleb used to the fact that he was going to stick around close to their family and had no intention of abandoning them. Even if the boy was still wary, he at least seemed to be used to Stu's presence. And boy did he seem to love Mary, almost as much as Améa did (whether she admitted it or not).

Listening as she spoke about Rheldor, however, Stuart sipped on his drink while he considered from the man's point of view. He honestly couldn't really blame him for wanting to be out there in the world, especially after having spent so long in one place, and not even knowing that he had children who were alive and had families of their own. There was no doubt that the Contiki Tour that he'd gone on would have woken up that wanderlust some more as well, seeing just a fraction of the wonders that the world had to offer.

"Honestly? He probably knows that he has Buckley's hope of finding her just by wandering around, he's not so naive as to believe he will simply find her. It sounds like he more just wants to be able to enjoy the freedom that he has now, and kind of just hopes that he might cross her path in doing so. Can't really blame him, like you said. If I'd been stuck in one place for years, then I'd just want to travel for the rest of my days, I think. You're not worried that he's going to disappear and you won't hear from him again, are you?" Stu tilted his head as he looked at Adele. He would understand completely if she did have that fear. She'd been basically abandoned so much in her life already, that it was only natural to expect that it would keep happening. But he'd got to know Rheldor enough to know that the man cherished his family if nothing else. "You know he'd be dropping by regularly, to check in on you and Alex, and all the kids. I know a proud father and grandfather when I see one," Stuart nodded lightly.

"If it's just Sollozzo that worries you, well... we're doubling the efforts in search for him. And I have a feeling your mother would be watching over Rheldor anyway. As much as she says she shouldn't interfere and whatnot, do you really think she'd let someone harm a man that she's spent your whole lifetime protecting?" The man's brows rose. Lillian could be as aloof as she wanted, but it was very clear that she loved Rheldor, as skewed as her actions regarding that care were. No doubt the man would have a guardian angel so long as there was danger, and even if there was none.

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"Little bit," Adele admitted. 

It was all anyone seemed to do. Stick around long enough until she relied on them, and then vanish into the wind. Rheldor had a taste for the world outside Narrie now, and Adele could see in his eyes that he wanted to explore. That in itself stung a bit. The world was more fascinating and intriguing to him, than staying here with her? Adele knew it was unfair to draw that comparison, and nothing Rheldor had done or said suggested that he truly wanted to leave. There was no good reason why he couldn't have both.

"Mother would probably save him before any of the rest of us," Adele muttered with only half a smile. She understood it now, that pathalogical need to protect at any cost. No wonder Rheldor had become so upset when it seemed Adele was following down that same track, and then Adele had to wonder how Lillian would react if Rheldor was in real danger. Would she take him away, and hide him again? If she did, would they be able to find him? Adele frowned.

"She would do whatever it took to keep him alive," she said. "Even if that meant taking him away from us." She'd done it once, she would do it again. Adele wasn't so naive as to not realise that Lillian had been protecting Rheldor from her as much as anything. Not without reason either, Adele's lifestyle had always been a destructive one. He'd only been back such a short while, and from that very day they had been on high alert for danger. How long before Lillian decided enough was enough?

"I just want this to end," Adele's shoulders fell, desperate and tired. "And I mean properly. Not some jail he can escape from, I want him dead. Burned. Scattered to the winds and dissolved in oceans. I want to take from him what he took from me, I want... Stuart, I don't want him arrested. I know I should let justice take its course, but there is no justice while he breathes. I wouldn't... I wouldn't ask you to go with me. But if you get a lead on him before I do..."

Adele took a long sip, hoping Stuart understood. She wanted enough time to find Sollozzo, leave a corpse for the Ministry to find instead. It was the only solution she could think of, the only way to really give her family peace. Adele was not a violent person, she was not someone who believed that it was right to take a life---no matter what they did. But Sollozzo was an exception. The only exception. 

"I need to, Stuart. It's the only way."

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

"As scary as it is, I think you just need to trust in the man to come visit. Anyone can see that he wishes he hadn't missed so much of yours and Alex's lives, and with all the extended family and even more grandkids on the way, you know he will be around, and would drop anything to come back if he was needed," And even if Adele had trouble having faith in that, Stuart would just keep reminding her, because he'd spoken with the other man a few times about how much life could pass by, and how quickly families grew up. He wouldn't be surprised if Lillian did choose to save the man over the rest of them though, to be honest. She'd invested so many years in keeping him protected, that she wouldn't simply be able to just stop and let him to whatever fate could be in store. He glanced at Adele as she spoke again, though, and offered another light reassuring squeeze.

"Then we'd just have to find him again. Not that I believe for a moment that he'd put up with that kind of situation. He knows you and Alex now, and would want to be part of your lives, whether your mother wished it or not," And at some point, even Lillian would have to give in to the wishes of the man that she loved. Even if she didn't like or agree with it. She may have been powerful, but Rheldor had her heart. There was only so long one could continue to be a cause of pain or hurt for someone they loved. Listening to Adele continue on, as they spoke about Sollozzo, however, Stuart understood her point of view. Hells, he wanted it to end. It was his family too who were under threat.

"I know, Del," The man murmured, before taking a long drink from his own glass, and then sitting it down so that he could pour himself a bit of a refill, offering to top up her glass a little as well. "I honestly don't want to see him live long enough to make it to a cell either. I want him gone, removed completely from the equation, it's the only way that anyone's ever going to be safe. If he's arrested, I know we'll all still be looking over our shoulders, waiting for something." As much as he knew with his position that he should be leaning toward justice, Stuart knew all too well that there were some people who simply didn't deserve any. Where was the justice in giving someone a slap on the wrist and locking them up, when you knew that they would torture entire families again if given the smallest chance? If they held no remorse for the things they did? "You shouldn't have to do anything alone, Del..." The man began. He knew that she wasn't a violent type, but he was a combatant, and certainly wouldn't flinch.

"I am knowing how you can defeat Sollozzo for good, and not either of you need be the one to take his life," The voice had spoken from the entrance to the room, causing Stuart's head to jerk upward and stare at the girl in the Tally Sturt uniform. Had she walked all the way here? Should that be his main concern right now? He shook his head to clear his thoughts, wondering if he'd heard right. Lorelei appeared as serious as she ever was when she was speaking about something that she seemed to know, however, and that worried him. How could she possibly know?

"Lei, what are you doing here? And... what do you mean you know how to defeat him?" Stuart asked, his voice a little gruff for a brief moment, before his expression softened at the girl's slight wince to the fact that she may have angered her grandparents. He sighed softly, setting his drink down for a moment so that he could run a hand over his face. This was going to be another of those nights. It bothered him on so many levels that his granddaughter could know anything, but if she really did, then they were one step closer to putting an end to it, right?

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"... but if it comes to light, you'll pay a much higher price than I would," Adele reminded him. It would be the end of his career, of his freedom. Justified as it would be, Stuart would still be a murderer. He would be punished as one, and Adele... could always run. Take the family, go home, out of reach of the outside law. She had an alternate life she could go back to, and the ability to change herself if she wanted to come back. Adele had thought about this.

Obsessively.

She had felt Lorelei's approach, her gaze levelled at the doorway before the girl even reached it. Her lips thinned, fingers tapping along the outside of the glass as she listened to Lorelei speak. This was not where the girl was supposed to be, nor were these matters that she was supposed to be involved in. More things that Sollozzo had taken from them: Lei's ability to just be a child

"If you're thinking you might go finish this yourself, you can think again, Lorelei," Adele said firmly. "You're far too young to start living with those consequences. I'll have Mother strip you of whatever magic she left you with before I allow you to do that. Are we clear?" it occurred to Adele only after her lecture that if Lorelei was coming to them, she probably wasn't planning on running off alone. Still, Adele knew the weight of a life was a heavy one, a curse she didn't want any of her children or grandchildren to have to carry.

Adele had brought him into their lives. She would have to take him out. It seemed only right that way.

"What do you know?" she asked finally, her voice a little quieter. A little softer.

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Sturt ☆ Family Busybody★ LilyCat
15* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

The teenager looked between the pair of them, a moment of curiosity as she studied the obvious comfort on display and wondered if either even realised it. It was not a time to comment on such things, however. She was here for a reason, and there was a very small window of opportunity here. Even with the leveled gazes of her grandparents, she didn't appear to falter aside from a small momentary pout over the clear lack of trust they had for her. If she had wanted to take care of things on her own, then she wouldn't have come here at all. She would already be miles away, making contact with Zane to get the plan underway already. It was only momentary though, before a flash of defiance and anger at the accusation.

"The plan was never for I to face him alone either, nor to be the one to take his life. If it were, then I would not have come to seek permission, nor would Lillian have left me with even a small piece of magic," Lorelei said, before then inhaling deeply and breathing out slow. The adjustment to the aged body was something she was still trying to get used to. She had freaked out only the other day because she was bleeding, and her mother had to sit her down and explain that to her. And now she was being accused of trying to do something that was always going to be someone else's job.

"Zane will be the one," The girl finally said, quickly stepping forward a little to continue before the questions could begin. Already she could see Stuart's anger, and the questions. What did she mean? What did she know about Zane? Why should they believe that he would kill Sollozzo when he was clearly working with him? "All has not been as it seems," Lorelei began, "When I was... separate from my body. I sought to find and haunt him for his wickedness, and instead I witnessed truths. Zane has been under the Imperious Curse, Thomas' Imperious Curse, ever since the night he went home to tell his mother about a girl he'd met that he was fond of. He did not know that his Uncle knew her, or of the history of he and you, Grandmiere. He has been used all this time. All the harm he has caused has been Sollozzo." She paused again, rubbing her arm, before continuing.

"So I visited Zane in his subconscious. Near broken, he didn't believe he could fight his Uncle's control, he cried over what he had done to me. And so I offered to assist him in learning to strengthen himself against it, and had been doing so in those months I was without body, so that we may catch Sollozzo by surprise at a moment where he is most vulnerable, when he believes himself victorious. And it is that time now. Zane has been ordered to lure you to meet with him, a trap so that his Uncle can capture you. It is a small window, Sollozzo's impatience was what led to David's death," The girl took a breath, knowing she'd said a lot, but it was all important. They had to understand, Zane had been a victim as much as the rest of them.

"When you meet with him, when Sollozzo thinks he is about to have you, Zane will strike," Lorelei said finally, pausing briefly before adding more, "He... made me promise not to tell Ruella all this, he doesn't wish her to suffer more than she has already."

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

Stuart almost felt like he needed to pour another drink when Lorelei started to speak, though he would have choked on it if he had been drinking when she mentioned Zane. Him?! Of all people?! He was the one who'd cast the spell which had ultimately done... what it had, to Lorelei herself! He was about to start asking questions, incredulous over the entire iea of working with the man's nephew, but Lorelei kept talking and he could only grind his teeth in annoyance, before then frowning deeply as she explained the apparent situation that the young man had found himself in.

The problem was that Stuart wasn't certain whether to believe it. He certainly knew what the Curse could do, but he still wanted to ask whether Lorelei might have been tricked by him into thinking that he was a victim. The only problem with that was the fact that she was talking about going into subconsciousness and visiting people in their mind and things that he couldn't even begin to understand, let alone want to accept as something his granddaughter could do. Even if she had returned to her proper age, she couldn't be a child with the knowledge that she had, with how much she understood of the world and things that were out of this world. He drank down the rest of his glass and then topped it up.

He didn't like the plan. It showed on his features as well as he looked between Lorelei and Adele.

"You're not really considering this, are you?" Stuart asked Adele, and then looked between she and Lorelei, "If you know where he'd going to be, then you should be calling in Aurors to take him out. What makes you think Zane will even be able to do it? That's even if it's all true, and if he isn't somehow still struck by the curse!" The man lifted a hand to ruffle at his own hair in frustration. The problem was that if this really was all legit, then it might actually work. But at the same time it was a hell of a risk to take.

"No Aurors, if Thomas picks up on any then the plan will be off and he will know something is not right," Lorelei said quietly, though she continued to look at Adele, "I will be near, but only to try to offer Grandmiere backup from afar and hidden. Zane wishes not for me to be directly in Thomas' scope." 

"Then I'm going," Stuart said flatly, his anger a calm thing, which was much worse than his more fiery moments, "Because I sure as hell don't want you anywhere near there, Lorelei. You should be at school, and that's exactly where you're going after this. And I'm going to make sure that there's someone checking in on your dorm and classes regularly as well over the next few days, to make sure you stay there. I've got plenty of tricks up my own sleeve to stay undetected." He then added, before anyone could argue against him going as backup. Just because he wasn't a Sorceror, or was Minister of Magic, didn't mean he'd forgotten any of his Spencer arsenal for sneaking around.

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"Zane has been ordered to lure me toward Sollozo, and your grand plan is that I should go?" Adele's eyebrow raised in disbelief. None of this sounded very wise to her. She had no doubt that Lorelei truly believed what she had seen, and what she had been told, but Adele could not take it so easily at face value. There was no guarantee that Zane, even subconscious, was being truthful about his situation. Lorelei was a clever girl, of that there was no doubt, but she was still young. Still terribly optimistic, inexperienced with a brutal world that had caused Adele to question everything.

"It's certainly not outside of Sollozzo's abilities to give us a false sense of security, belief that we have an ally in Zane, and lead us into a trap in our desperation for this to be over," she said, but gods that was what she wanted. One thing that she knew was true: Sollozzo would vanish the moment he sensed anyone outside of herself was present. Sending Aurors would only end in the same story of escape and further terror, and who knew when they would be able to locate him again? Adele pressed her lips together. Trap or no trap, it was an opportunity.

If Lorelei was right, it could be the end. If she was wrong---Adele would end up in Sollozzo's hands. Would that be so bad? Her family would be able to locate her, and possibly him wherever she was, they would know far more than they knew right now. She might even get a chance to end him while in captivity. It would mean time away from the boys, but it would also mean that Sollozzo had no reason to go after them.

"I don't trust Zane, or his plan," Adele said slowly. "But this may be our best shot. If Zane does not follow through, I don't---I don't want back up. Let Sollozzo take me. If anyone else interferes, he will leave and he will take his vengeance out on all of you. If he takes me, you can at least use me to locate him. It'll be an advantage for us." And there was nothing he could do to her that she hadn't already lived through, right? Adele tipped back the rest of her drink.

She turned her head slightly to watch Stuart, and consider his words. There was no real point in saying he couldn't go, and she had no rank over him--either as family or leader--to expect that he would obey her. He was a good ally to have, but he was mortal and that made her anxious. If he revealed himself and Sollozzo struck out, could she live with herself? How could she face the kids if she led Stuart to his death? It was his decision, she just had a few requests first.

"As long as you come back, even if I can't," she said firmly. "Help Father look after the boys. Make sure they know I'm going to be doing everything I can to get back to them. I won't give up. Okay?" she gave him a small smile. Adele didn't plan on being a sacrifice. Not if she could help it, but there were no guarantees here. Even her mother couldn't track Sollozzo, the powerful ability limited to others of their kind. So if Adele was with him... Adele turned her focus back to Lorelei.

"When do we do this?"

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Sturt ☆ Family Busybody★ LilyCat
15* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"Sollozzo could not know that I would even be able to visit to see the cruelties he performed on Zane, nor could Zane know that I had the ability to visit his subconscious. So do explain how they would set up falsities for me to witness," Lorelei found herself annoyed by the assumptions that her grandparents made, her expression forming a deep frown. There was no way that Sollozzo or Zane could predict her being able to see anything. As far as they knew, she was dead because of absorbing the curse. She found herself incredulous over the idea that they could plan a whole trickery if they didn't even know that they were being watched. No, it was all too real, the cruelty, the suffering.She didn't like having to place Adele in danger either, but what else could they do? It was the only chance of Thomas coming out of hiding.

The teen wanted to protest against Stuart's words, but the look in his eyes halted her. She had not seen this anger in him before, and didn't wish to provoke it, and so she simply slumped her shoulders and gave a nod. She would have to place her faith in Zane being able to continue his ruse, in his strength that came from wishing to save his family, his  own daughter from any further pain cause by his Uncle. She didn't like leaving Adele in Sollozzo's hands either if all went south, but she could so nothing more. Her part was done, she had informed those who could do something. She remained quiet until asked the question.

"Zane will contact you, and the time shall be arranged then," The girl said quietly, and then with nothing else to contribute, knowing that arguing any further would probably only anger both Adele and Stuart more, she scuffed her foot a little and sniffed, "I will go back to school now. I... I am sorry for angering you. I could not say anything sooner, for fear that Sollozzo might find out." With that, the girl began to turn as though to head for the door to let herself out.

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

Stuart still wanted to argue that it could all be an elaborate trap, using her to get Adele into a false sense of security, but he couldn't answer the girl's question. He didn't know if there were any tricks or ways for Thomas or Zane to know if she would be able to do anything, or was more than simply dead. And he really didn't like the idea of leaving Del in the man's hands if things didn't work out as according to the apparent plan that had been devised between Lorelei and Zane. If it was all true, then the man knew that Zane had just as much right to revenge on his Uncle, as anyone else. But how could they know on what side the boy really fell on?

And damn Adele for reminding him of his promise to make sure that her boys would be alright. He leveled her with an unimpressed look at her request that he help her father take care of Caleb and DJ, but he had no option but to do just that. He'd made a promise... no matter what she did, he would make sure the boys had a good life. Damn it all for Lorelei's timing, as he picked up his fresh drink and drank it down easily.

"I'm not happy about any of this, just so you both know," The man stated, his voice heavy and gruff. It would almost be tempting to get an Auror to use a polyjuice potion to appear like Adele, except that the woman had one advantage that wizards didn't. She was immortal. Thomas could do a lot to hurt her, but so long as she had a reason to hold onto life, then he couldn't kill her. "If this doesn't work out as planned, you know we won't waste time in finding you, and sure as hell I'll have no issue with ridding the world of both the men," Though Stuart had a feeling he'd have to be in line. He knew well Améa's capabilities in combat since she'd been living with him, having seen her in his training room a few times. And Jezebel had been taking martial art and swordsman training ever since she was kidnapped years ago.

"You're not walking all the way back, Lei," The man said with a quiet huff, as he pushed himself slowly to his feet, "I can apparate there and back."

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Adele still wasn't convinced.

"I don't pretend to know what Thomas is, and isn't capable of," she said quietly. "Or what other allies he has at his disposal. For all we are aware, he is witness to this very conversation---to go in with the belief that we are the ones to spring the trap would be foolish. Nothing is ever that certain." It was still their best shot, and as Stuart voiced his disagreement, her hand absently moved over to his knee and squeezed it as some sort of reassurance. 

She knew. She knew it was far less than ideal, and she knew there was no way she could convince Stuart that it was a good idea. It wasn't. It was a chance not to be wasted, and while Adele really didn't like that Lorelei had been the one to organise it, she would take the opportunities where they came. 

"If I am taken, Mother will have no choice but to intervene," she added, the icing on that delicious cake. That was a fight Thomas did not want to pick. So far he had been just a troublesome nuisance in Adele's life, a phantom sniping at the edges and removing minor pieces from the game (at least in Lillian's eyes). But if he went for the queen, Lillian would no longer be able to simply watch. Adele could be hurt, miserable, at the bottom of a deep well of despair and that was acceptable---but for Adele to be deprived of her liberty and her ability to govern her home, that changed things.

"We have a plan for the worst, so we can hope for the best," she said with a sigh. "I know you'll find me. And I won't stop fighting until I come home. I promise you that." There was no way she could leave her boys for too long, even if she knew Thomas would not target them. She had plenty of reasons to keep breathing.

And no, she wasn't allowing Lorelei to walk back to the school either. She nodded as Stuart said he would apparate, and poured herself a fresh glass. 

"Me and my friend will be right here when you get back," she said, holding up the bottle.

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