In a hidden alleyway in one of the many corners of Diagon Alley, there is a quiet, but rather elegant establishment with a red painted door. The renowned enterprise is called, "Madam Zenarie's, Emporium of Fine Delicacies, Treats, and the Exotic." It was a very well-known establishment and frequented by those belonging to the upper crust of the wizarding world or with great wealth. Because only those with money were allowed inside as even a single night with the cheapest of Madam Zenarie's flowers was at least one hundred galleons, never mind the more expensive flowers, and the most popular, and rarest of them all.
More than a few dozen fortunes had cunningly made their way into Madam Zenarie's hands through her carefully cultivated flowers. Not that Madam Zenarie treated her flowers badly as she was a rather good Madam to have and had once herself been one of the most famous flowers of London in her younger years. Not that she wasn't a looker, but despite her age she still turned many a man's heads. It was simply the fact that she longer took coin when taking a man into her bed, but rather simply for her own enjoyment.
The classy establishment is filled with many voices, some belonging gorgeous young woman in silk gowns that so very easily charm and capture the patron's attention. Still, there are more than a few herbs about as well in elegant robes and suits. Some of the herbs are like flowers, pretty and feminine, others strong, attractive, and muscular. Overall a wide variety of flowers and herbs to choose from, it was all for the patron's sake, really.
More than a few patrons merely lounge about chatting as they rest in chaises and catch up with old friends or acquaintances. While others are led upstairs to the private bedrooms to be serviced by their favorite flower or herb of the day. And there was plenty more to choose from as a is always garden filled with a variety of flowers and herbs that need to be tended to by the gardeners in order to stay active and continue to flourish.
Excluding those that already selected a flower or herb for the evening, there is a chandelier-lit dining hall filled with fine food, and exotic delicacies for the patrons to enjoy a meal, before or after the main course. There are even a select group of patrons that solely attended Madam Zenarie's Emporium for the cuisine and not even for viewing nor partaking of the many flowers or herbs that resided in her establishment. Though rarer in number, these patrons were a large enough group that she hired only the best of cooks that the wizarding world had to offer. More than a few squibs, retired flowers, and herbs were openly employed in her kitchens and were cherished as the most valuable commodity that they in fact were.
Emerging from one of the private rooms used for business rather than pleasure, Madam Zenarie carefully closed the door behind her, and made her way down the hall. Despite having brought her freedom and paid her outstanding debts many years ago, she still owed one outstanding debt to the Potentate of London. Thankfully, her debtor did not wish to be paid in coin, but rather in information, and a highly secure facility which was to be used in setting up transactions. It was a settlement which she had gladly accepted, and still upheld to this day.
And besides it paid well to be on the correct side of the Potentate of London and had ensured his protection from the rest of the underworld, the purebloods, and the vampires. For more than a few purebloods had tried by to forcibly remove her from power and assume the position of ownership of her hard-won establishment. Despite her establishment being a house of assignation in the oldest of professions, she took great pride in treating her flowers and herbs right and properly ensuring their health. Many of her flowers and herbs would eventually retire with a tidy nest egg able to see them through for the rest of their lives.
There were plenty of other House of Vice that did not take such good care of their flowers and herbs nor were as scrupulous as she was. And despite knowing that the vampire owned bordellos generally treated their girls right, she could not help but feel fear for the girls serving in said vampire owned establishment. For the vampires were not necessarily carefully taking care of their employees, but rather they viewed it as caring for livestock, their next meal so to speak.
Shrugging off such unpleasant thoughts from her mind, Madam Zenarie paused in front of a tastefully placed mirror to peer at her reflection. She was greeted by a lovely visage of cream skinned, beautiful middle-aged woman in a silk burgundy gown. Her kohl-lined eyes glow thanks to her light-colored eyes paired with exotic almost styled makeup, and lush, plump lips.
Her figure still caused many a man to flush with desire despite her age. She was still slim and properly curved in all the right places showcasing her taut flesh. There are light silver tracks in her wheat-colored hair, but her face nary had a wrinkle nor blemish regardless of her age. Not that it hadn't cost her a pretty galleon to maintain, but it was well worth the exorbitant price to maintain her youth. Still, it had been ridiculously expensive that she still cringed at the very thought of the ridiculous price she had paid to the sorcerer called, The Rain Man.
Having satisfied her vanity, for the time being, Madam Zenarie nods at her reflection in satisfaction, before gracefully sashaying away. Madam Zenarie makes her way down the hall into the front hall and begins to greet and mingle with the patrons of her establishment. With trained ease she smoothly navigates the various currents of power found within wizarding society as she moves from patron to patron.
A small, portly young man with rumbled hair wearing a lime-green bowler hat, pinstriped cloak with a scarlet tie, and pointed purple boots catches her attention. The young man in his late twenties is bright red and keeps wildly glancing about as if unsure what to do. Not wanting to lose the chance to acquire a potential permanent customer, she calmly makes her way over despite not recognizing at first glance the outlandishly dressed young man.
Almost to the young man, Madam Zenarie's eyes widen in recognition at seeing the familiar visage resembling of a frequent client in her youth, Clyde Fudge. A rather pompous, fussy member of the Ministry of Magic. But he had been able to pay, and she hadn't been required to serve him more than five minutes at a time. It hadn't been a too terrible trade-off in the end, and she had, had worse clients than Clyde Fudge to service at a time.
Madam Zenarie delicately coughs and says, "Welcome, Mr. Fudge, it is a pleasure to have you're here today in my humble establishment."
Cornelius Fudge draws himself nervously to his full height, which isn't much, to be frank, and says, "Madam, your establishment is anything but humble!"
"Mm, well I have a select clientele which enjoys such visiting such a fine premise," Madam Zenarie calmly said. "And how is your father, Mr. Fudge? I have not seen him for many years since he retired from the Ministry."
"He's ill at present," Cornelius stiffly replied uncertainly as to why he had yet to leave. He didn't particularly like what the Madam was insinuating about his father. And he especially did not want to think further on the matter!
But a potential ally within the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes had invited him to attend with him. And if he wanted to become the youngest, Junior Minister within the department in the next seven years, he'd have to gain connections, powerful ones to boot! He just couldn't well leave, but what would the rest of the Ministry say if they ever found out?!
"Calm yourself, Mr. Fudge," Madam Zenarie said. "There is no need to panic nor force yourself to pick one of my flowers. Why many a patron comes to my establishment simply to enjoy the ambiance and the cuisine. I have it on fine authority that my kitchens are one of the best in the country. Please I invite you to see for yourself and partake of what my establishment has to offer."
"Er, I suppose I could," Cornelius said with a bit of relief. "If you wouldn't mind pointing out the direction of the dining hall, I would be very much obliged."
"Nonsense," Madam Zenarie smoothly replied with a cunning sheen in her eyes, before turning to a perky young woman standing nearby with wheat-colored hair, a large bosom, and a cheery smile. "Katelyn, please show Mr. Fudge to our fine dining faculties."
"Er, I don't mean to impose, Madam!" Cornelius lamely protested as his eyes couldn't help but be drawn to lovely ample chest was drawing closer to him.
"Why not all, Mr. Fudge," Katelyn warmly said as if they were lifetime friends. "It would be my pleasure to accompany you, sir, I insist," and intertwined her hand into the crook of his arm without so much as asking.
Licking his lips, Cornelius flushes in embarrassment and feels that his shirt collar is suddenly tight, and rather hot. "I suppose that will be fine, Miss Katelyn," Cornelius weakly said as he found himself being led away by the young woman towards the dining hall.
Madam Zenarie curls her lips in triumph. The young man would be utterly besotted with Katelyn by the end of the evening and would surely return again. The boy was exactly like his father and would become a faithful patron to Katelyn.
Satisfied that she had made a prudent choice, Madam Zenarie makes her way towards another guest when a loud piercing scream makes its way from upstairs, before abruptly cutting off. In an instant, the entire atmosphere of the hall had changed. Something terrible must have surely occurred, but what?