Enclosed are two portkeys. The feather will bring you here, the oak leaf will return you to your workplace. Stephen is quite exhausted and is sleeping quietly. He needs to rest before we return home, but I thought you would like to see him.
( PrivateCollapse )
I've found Piotr and Sergei. Glad I did, too. St. Petersburg is one of the northernmost cities in Russia, and it gets cold here at night, especially out of doors.
They're not well. Piotr has always led a very sedentary existence, so he has not exercised or built up enough stamina to do the things Sergei wants to do. It may also be that Sergei's original body was inherently stronger and tougher than Piotr's; never having seen his original body, I cannot say. As it is, I am in far better physical condition than he, at the moment. Sergei's habit of scrtching himself in his own frustration does not help.
He has in his possession a thick file of Ministry documents pertaining to his case, and they are the originals, not copies. I have charmed them against fire and water damage, keyed so that only I or Piotr/Sergei can remove them.
At the moment, Sergei seems bent on killing the perpetrators, and Piotr is desperate for me to kill them both, to prevent them from falling into Russian Ministry hands, once more.
The flaw with killing the hostage is that, in the long term, one can always find another hostage. I will not kill Piotr and Sergei to prevent that; they both have far too much to live for. There are circumstances under which I would mercy-kill if I could do nothing else to prevent further torment--Flora MacMillan's case comes to mind. But not this one. Piotr and Sergei are test subjects. The Russians will do their best to keep them alive.
( Owl to Amelia Bones, expertly wardedCollapse )
(The owl has been healed and has been imperioed (as much as an owl can be) to stay with Piotr/Sergei if not attacked and to return with a reply if one is given. Included with the letter are some trail rations and a canteen of water.)
Sergei, find me. The time for revenge has not yet come.
Piotr, I am in St. Petersburg and will get to you both as quickly as I can. I know you are tired, but keep fighting. There is more at risk here than simple murder. I will accede to your request, should it become necessary.
My love to you both,
( PrivateCollapse )
(Warded to teachers and staff, only.)
Muggles are creepy. I entered a place that appeared to be a chatroom in which one could discuss theories of artificial intelligence with other interested parties, and I met a very strange Muggle woman named Alice.
( Excerpt of ConversationCollapse )
Needless to say, I am never going in there, again!
Spoke with Isodora, this morning, then reported the information to Amelia.
It seems I might be going into Russia--again.
Thank God I won't have to deal with Yakov Ivanovich, at least.
I really need to have a talk with Amelia about certain things. Marvo Ward is not my lackey, to be conveniently left to teach my classes when I am away on these...business trips. I should either be a teacher or an operative. What would they do, if I were the only Defence professor here? We really need to talk. I am sure there must be limits to Marvo's seemingly infinite patience.
On the other hand, Amelia will probably tell me it's my own damned fault for accepting this job, instead of working at the Four Towers full-time, as I believe they intended. In that case, must speak to Marvo about assuming some of his weekend duties for a while--and make him a good meal.
Note--The meal should not be lasagna.
( To Professor Lilith DrachensteinCollapse )
( To Professor Marvo WardCollapse )
( Owl to Madam Amelia Bones, DMLECollapse )
( Owls to Isodora Radan and Seth GravesCollapse )
I did not want to inform Amelia, but I had to. I am alive today solely by her and the Wizengamot's good graces. I cannot go rogue on them, cannot hide things from them, even when I would wish to handle matters discreetly.
I hope Piotr is all right, wherever he is. But what is he doing?
Just found this. It looked interesting.
Which flock do you follow?
this quiz was made by alanna( Private, warded eyes-onlyCollapse )
( PrivateCollapse )
To First Year Students: You will be tested on the Oily Fingers Hex on Monday ane expected to suggest reasons for its use. Also be prepared to state the differences between a jinx, a curse, and a hex and under which circumstances each one of the three are appropriate for defence.
Title chosen simply because I like it.)
Note to Self: It was too soon to teach Piotr how to make homemade lasagna. This notion of 'learning together' is rubbish. Besides, Sergei got impatient with waiting for the meat sauce to be done...
The ricotta stuffing and the noddles were good, though!
Damn. It is times like this when I truly miss Giorgio Zabini. Why couldn't he have found a way to live a life of peaceful jazz playing and lasagna baking? He was at his most human when he did those things.
*snort* Why couldn't I have found a way? I really do miss him. We had some good conversations together.
Anyway...Piotr looks much more his normal self now, with his hair trimmed and wearing some clothing that doesn't scream 'conservative, middle-aged man.'
( Owl to Lilith DrachensteinCollapse )
Take the test, by Emily.
I do like this sonata rather a lot, along with his piano concerti.
Excellent Defence session with Miss Radan, last night. We worked on curses and counter-curses and her patronus. It is much better developed, now.
Isodora tells me that she had an argument with her parents over the weekend and also spent some time with Seth. I really should have taught that boy to carouse more. 'Always there when you need him' is how she describes him. Admirable trait, but in a young man his age? I believe that translates to 'Borrrring!' in the language of teenagers.
Well, there is nothing I can do about it, now. Either he will find a young woman who considers him interesting, or he will go to his grave being very proper and likely single. Erm. Or Miss Ivanovich could return, but that seems less and less likely, with the passage of time.
I do wonder about her. What is she doing while in the past? What would I do? I suppose that would depend upon which of my ancestors I leapt into.
Piotr is improving. We decided to postpone his haircut until the full moon is over, as it seems to cause his hair to grow rather luxuriantly during the three days. No sense startling the barbers. Thomason intends to file a suit against Walden McNair on Piotr's behalf this week. It may be that McNair has finally played out enough rope to hang himself with.
I have used the weekend here with Piotr to continue the research into different means of temporary power enhancement that I began over the summer. I am finding little in the literature; even Four Towers has not been very helpful--but then, its books are capricious. They may or may not directly present a customer with the knowledge he seeks; sometimes, they require a person to investigate along tangents before he can arrive at an answer. I should have remembered this when Mary Elizabeth came in. She may very well have needed only one sentence out of the book she bought; only the books know, and they tend not to discuss things with the staff.
It was interesting, teaching Piotr how to make scrambled eggs, this morning. There must have been a lot of Sergei in him, even at breakfast, because he seemed as eager as a child to learn how to cook. Not that I am all that great a teacher, but at least scrambled eggs are easy. God help me, if he had asked for his eggs to be sunny side up. I always overcook them, and the yolks end up solid instead of liquidy, so you can't dip your toast in them. Most annoying.
I am due back at the school soon to give Isodora Defence tutoring. I intend to bring up the cuts on her arm, if I can maneouvre a reason for her to roll her sleeves up.
The moon will be up in a couple of hours. I have strengthened the Butleigh estates boundary wards so Piotr can safely roam here. He assures me that he can control the Sergei part of himself for at least the length of time that I am away tutoring Isodora. Still, I have given him a portkey to Hogwarts, should there be any difficulties, and I have also asked the House Elves to keep a circumspect eye on him. They can at least stun him, if necessary.
I suspect Isodora will want to see Piotr before the next week is out, but I don't know how comfortable Lilith would be with her coming over here, given the situation between Lilith and me. We can discuss it later.
Damn, now I am craving sunny side up eggs and buttered toast.
I have Piotr home at Butleigh, at last. Thank God.
He is quite thin and malnourished. I really would like for a Healer to have a look at him, but that might seem too much of a physical intrusion to Piotr, right now. For the moment, I'm having him take Muggle multivitamins.
Once he feels up to it, I'll see if he'd like a haircut, and then we can find some clothing for him. Right now, he's wearing some of mine. I could wish we had access to my closet back at Gravesend, but I'm sure Mother has donated most of my clothes to charity, by now--not that I could ask her for them, anyway.
Piotr is staying in Anna's Room, a bedroom that faces the back gardens and is done up in light green and oak.
He has written to Isodora. I am glad she at least knows he has been released. I'd really like for him to get more of his strength back before he sees her, let some of the chafing from the shackles heal, and so forth. That fever he had still concerns me.
We can worry about his work situation in a few days. I understand Pince is still holding the library position open for him. I hope he will take it, if there is nothing else he would prefer to do more. I know he eventually wants to teach, and I would be glad to see him do that. But for now, let him get back on his feet and learn to live this new life that is his, now.
And I used to think that one obstreporous little boy named Seth was a handful. Hah!
Dear Professor McGonagall,
I apologise for the inconvenience and short notice, but I must take a week's leave of absence from the school to care for my ward, Piotr Rachinov, who has just been released from Azkaban Prison.
The Ministry wish his release to be kept quiet, so I would appreciate it if my absence could be explained as being due to illness. Should you need to reach me, Piotr and I will be at the home of Professor Drachenstein in Somerset.
No smart remarks, Minerva!
Barring unforseen complications, I should return to Hogwarts on Monday the 13th or sooner.
Professor Gareth Adams
The Ministry have released Piotr. With your permission, I would like to take him to Butleigh, so he can recover there from his ordeal in peace and quiet. It seems the Ministry want this kept quiet, as well.
I expect I shall need to take off for a few days to care for him. As the students already think I'm ill, it can be explained away as sick leave.
You have been a pillar of strength to me during all of this. I cannot even say how grateful I am for it. I love you.
I present to you all today's Evil Quiz:
( Dragonriders of Pern QuizCollapse )
I must say, I was rather surprised at the result.
( PrivateCollapse )
Viewable by Lilith
Classes are not much better, this morning. I didn't start a crying jag or faint, thank goodness, but I feel hollow, gutted, inside.
And I am not feeling very patient with the students. I nearly bit my nephew Gabriel's head off this morning for a stupid shielding mistake that could have gotten him killed, if he'd been in a real combat. All I could think was, You could have died! Your father taught you better than this! and so forth. My sense of equilibrium is simply shattered.
Well, the problem will not vanish overnight. And the students' performances will not improve if I snarl at them. Snarling feels good, though. It reminds me of a time when I felt as if I had some control over myself, instead of feeling like broken eggshells, inside. I would a thousand times rather feel enraged than terrified.
Still, not good. Save it for the sword.
I nearly fainted in first period this morning. I stood in front of the class to begin the lecture, I looked at them all--and I did not know for a moment whether I would faint or burst into tears. I wanted to collapse onto the floor and weep until I was senseless.
Fortunately, I got to the men's loo and let it happen there. I don't know what came over me--a wave of I can't bear to do this.
It is about the students we lost, last June. I remember thinking, just before this happened, How can I presume to teach all of you Defence, when I couldn't even defend your older classmates?
Are any of you feeling like this? How are you getting through the day? I am dreading tomorrow; the mere thought of facing all of those students makes me ill.
'Strings,' Thomason says.
I do not feel at all as if I have strings. It is horrifying to realise that, frightened as I was while being in the Death-Eaters, I at least did not feel paralysed while with them. It was a shadowy life, but I could still get things done.
If nothing else, I could bloody well Avada McNair.
I am angry enough at him that I could easily do it, right now, with not a shred of remorse--but I must not. I gave my word that I would not be a threat to society if released into it, that I would abide by the law. I promised myself and Lilith an even deeper thing. I committed myself to the path I know is right, and no one ever promised that that path would be easy.
( Owl to The Wizengamot, care of The Honourable Justice Albus DumbledoreCollapse )
29th August, 1998
Arodene Road, London
I was unaware but am pleased to have discovered that you are permitted to send and receive correspondence.
We do not know each other well, and perhaps that is a good thing, if it will mean that letters from me might cause you to lose less of yourself than if you received letters from people dearer to you; I don't know. But I do know that Azkaban is a dreadful place, and if you wish it, I offer distraction, however brief.
I have spent the last few days before the resumption of classes in Somerset, at the home of Professor Lilith Drachenstein, a colleague of mine at Hogwarts. It has been a welcome chance to spend time with her away from students and coursework. I have had little contact with the rest of the faculty over the summer, and I wonder how they all are, after the attack we went through at the graduation party last June. Even those who were not chaperones, I am certain, must feel the loss.I am almost thankful that they have graduated. I do not think I could bear to see the empty chairs in classes or in the Great Hall.
I do not know whether the following will be of any help to you. It might be impossible for you to have any religious experience until you are released from Azkaban; as far as I hae ever seen, the Dementors' presence precludes it. This is not a devotional to your deity, but I do find these words of great help, at times.
From the Blessed Angela of Foligno:
God presents himself in the inmost depths of my soul. I understand not only that he is present, but also how he is present in every creature and in everything that has being, in a devil and a good angel, in heaven and hell, in good deeds and in adultery or homicide, in all things, finally, which exist or have some degree of being, whether beautiful or ugly. I also understand that he is no less present in a devil than a good angel. Therefore, while I am in this truth, I take no less delight in seeing or understanding his presence in a devil or in an act of adultery than I do in a good angel or in a good deed.
I have not yet attained this lady's degree of wisdom, but I believe in it. It is the only way, I sometimes think, that forgiveness of one's self and of others is possible. You are a good man, Lukas. You may have done dreadful things, but you are a good man, and I hope you will find the strength in yourself to stay sane in there and show the world your worth, once you get out.
I should go now; I have rambled on for long enough. I will think of you Monday night, and I believe others will, too.
A sprinkling of fragrant rose petals and a box of mint chocolates beside her, with a note:
For the absolutely wonderful woman I am married to!
Prexisely who did I think I was kidding?
Being a Death-Eater has nothing to do with it. It's...It's...damn!
Had I truly been given the Kiss, Piotr's cell would have been a sensible place to put me--small, dark, able to be forgotten by everyone. I would not have cared about the darkness, the lack of space, the filth. I could have died in a place like that cell, and no one need have been the wiser.
But to put someone who is cognizant, frightened already, and not in the least a hardened criminal, into such a room simply to indulge in petty revenge, exceeds all reason.
Ah well; I am to meet with Thomason, Seth, and Isodora tomorrow afternoon. It is possible that Lilith might come with me.
Piotr broke down and cried while I was in there with him, and I did, too. It hit me with no warning at all, how much I miss being a parent. I feel that I did such a rubbish job of it. I know that is absurd; Seth is a fine young man. But I should have done so much better by him. For those moments in that cell, though, I desperately nneded to feel like a father to Piotr--even though I don't deserve to be anyone's father, after all I have taken from others.
How does one achieve a balance when it comes to guilt? I am here at Butleigh, with Lilith--the home I left to her because I wanted her to have a place she loved after I was executed. But then they didn't execute me, and here I am. Part of me is joyous, the other part believes that I have no business being here. It feels in some horrid way as if I have arranged things very nicely for myself. I never intended that. I never thought to see Lilith or this home again, after I was taken into Ministry custody.
So...the guilt. To feel none would be an even worse crime than the ones I have committed. But flagellating myself with it accomplishes nothing. I must move forward, even though I suspect these feelings will never entirely dissipate, nor should they.
People tell me I am a kind man, but I find it hard to believe. I am only just beginning to learn kindness, I sometimes think.
Isodora Radan's trial was held today in Rome. The Italian Wizengamot will sentence her tomorrow, depending on whether they believe Piotr Rachinov's testimony. I have to admit, he spins a good tale. I am not certain whether I would have believed it, were I one of the judges. He is so desperate to assume culpability for everything. At times, I wanted to shake him!
I stayed with Lilith Friday and Saturday nights. If I hadn't, I think I would have gone to pieces by now. She saw me off to Rome this morning, and I am not comfortable with the prospect of sleeping by myself, tonight.
Stupid, as if Azkaban has not already wrung every drop of shame out of me. A year ago, I took Millicent Bulstrode's mother from her. It is not the sort of thing for which I can simply say to myself, "Stop beating yourself up with it!"
I wish I knew how Millicent is doing, now. I hope she is safe. I hope all of them are, though I fear they are not.
The DE have been very quiet, lately; I have not even seen much of them in Four Towers. I suppose they are training their newest recruits--if recruits they are. I do not know whether Millicent is among them or not. Please, God, let her shields hold. Let them hold even against me. There have been enough deaths; I don't want hers added to the number. She had the courage to attempt to leave them; most don't.
I do not doubt they will strike again. They failed to catch Harry or his two best friends, and they suffered casualties. Right now, our job is to find out how they were able to enhance their power so. We no longer have Millicent, and I am frankly relieved. If she does not actively aid us, she might be in less danger. She might survive.
Yes...It is time we got off our arses, got over the shock and grief, and started acting like the opposition we are.
( The Flavour of My AngstCollapse )
I looked up the weather in England last night, then apparated to a place where there were storms. I walked, and walked, and walked for hours, until I was exhausted. I feel...a little better, though I didn't want to crawl out of bed, this morning. Idiot that I am, I shall probably come down with a cold before the week is out.
Not much has happened since I spoke with Isodora Radan's solicitor and visited Piotr Rachinov on the 11th. The store continues its business. Subsequent to the attack on the students, DE activity has once more slowed to a trickle. I don't even see many of them coming into the bookshop.
I feel restless, tonight, as if I want to leave London entirely and go walk someplace where it is storming. I want lightning, and thunder, and wind. I want to stir up something, ride a horse or a broom very fast. Walk through the worst part of London and have to deal with ten or twenty thugs--without magic. Without mercy.
I want to do something that takes every last shred of my concentration to do.
I would go mad, if I had to work in Four Towers, all my life--stark, raving mad.
( Warded specifically to LilithCollapse )
They are holding Piotr at Dangerous Creatures Headquarters. Dangerous Creatures Headquarters? Bloody hell!
This is my fault. I should have downplayed the threat assessment, done something. Damn it all!
Yet I had to write it exactly as I did. In the end, I was not writing about Piotr alone, but about the threat posed by others of his kind. Doesn't make me any happier, though.
Sometimes, I miss the days when I could order a thing, and it would be done.
Dear Seth and Mr. Thomason,
As requested in Piotr Rachinov's recent letter, I am prepared to explain to you what his current physical and mental state is.
I am not certain what happened--either through a potion or a spell designed to induce twinning, but Piotr Rachinov was twinned at age ten by his grandfather, Alexei Varvara. Please do not ask me to explain the incongruence of this with Newton's laws of physics, for I cannot. Simply take it as given that it occurred. My supposition is that Piotr was twinned as a boy and that the twin who came to be called Sergei was trained to become an animagus and was then allowed to be bitten by a werewolf. Or it may have occurred in some other order; I am not sure.
The two boys were raised separately, Piotr in human form and Sergei told that he was trapped in the werewolf form. They lived in this way for ten years. The end goal of this experimentation is classified, but I believe the original goal was for Varvara to create a werewolf who could not hide his nature. The man was a werewolf hunter of some fame and apparently wanted to rid the world of them.
Varvara has brought about a dangerous combination, of which Piotr is well aware. For this reason and because he is culpable in his grandfather's death, Piotr has given himself over to Ministry custody.
Between us, I am not happy about the situation, at all. Piotr needs healing right now, and he seems determined to subject himself to the worst possible place for that. I do not know what will come of this.
I hope this letter has helped explain some of what has been going on. Should you have any further questions or concerns, please owl me.
Even after having spent nearly all of Tuesday with Piotr, I remain mystified as to what the bloody hell the Russian Ministry thought they were doing. And I remain convinced that a marksman with a good Muggle sniper rifle would be just as effective and far less expensive to create and develop--in lieu of simply casting Avada Kedavra, of course. I swear, if that man Varvara were alive today, I'd want to throttle him.
I read up on Varvara; it is amazing what the Wizarding Internet can produce. It is a small thing yet, but growing. It seems Alexei Varvara was the last of a line of werewolf hunters. I agree with Piotr; Varvara probably began this line of rewearch to create a strain of werewolves who could not hide their nature. There is no way of knowing whether Varvara is the one who devised the werewolf animagus idea or if that came from someone else.
If you ask me, it could provide a very neat solution to the 'beast or being?' question. As an animagus, a werewolf would be in control of his mental faculties during his Change and would also be in control of the Change, itself, though I don't know whether the animagus aspect could override the werewolf aspect during the full moon. I suppose this question shall have to wait until Mr. Rachinov experiences his first full moon.
It would mean that werecreatures could be made safe and/or tried as intelligent beings rather than killed, should they attack. Granted, they could attack more often, but I believe most werecreatures are normal people and would not choose to harm others, could they possibly avoid it.
It seems such a waste to me that the Russian Ministry apparently never gave this idea any thought.
They have Piotr in custody now, under that bastard McNair. If he learns what Piotr was meant to be...if the DE latch onto this mad idea...Dear God, we will have an even bigger mess on our hands than we can conceive of, now.
Piotr, I hope you are holding together, wherever you are.
( Owl to Mr. Thomas T. Thomason, AttorneyCollapse )
A bouquet of red roses, honeysuckle, and jonquil, with a linden sprig
I have given you my heart and cherish yours in equal measure.
Though we may live apart, in love we walk together.
Though fearsome times and troubles may ensure,
I will brave them all, to spend my life with you.