(Upon opening, this at first appears to be a short note from Artemisia Graves. However, once the warding determines that the reader is in fact the addressee, the letter from Artemisia fades away, revealing a different letter in its place.)
Dear Professor Snape,
This letter to you is long overdue, mainly because of my debility and the difficulty I had in adjusting to life as it is now and life as it was over two decades ago. So much has changed, and so much must remain changed from the way I know it. It was hard to countenance.
I write with two purposes in mind. The first is to thank you profoundly for the kindness you did me and my family last year. I was so angry at my son, once I understood how he had responded to my capture, that I at first thought my release more of a curse than anything else. He gave me a very mixed gift. It is painful to know that one's freedom was paid for in blood and so much suffering, so much needless suffering. He should have left me to my fate. I never dreamt Paul would do such a thing or carry out a plan like that for so long. I don't think I could have done it; it would have broken me. I don't know how it didn't break him. Or perhaps it did in ways I cannot see.
In any case, I think you for making my escape possible.
The other matter I write you about is more complex. To prevent a scientific/alchemical medical treatment from being used by one who would have done ill with it, I destroyed my body of research and obliviated the memory of that research from myself. The research, however, was valid and had potential medical benefit. I have come to think, during the intervening two decades, that it is wrong to deny many the possible benefits of this drug, merely to prevent one from misusing it. This leaves me in something of a quandary.
Knowledge can never be destroyed, only lost. At some point, the wizard who I do not care to name will return to this line of research, if he lives long enough and searches for the traces of it diligently enough. I would therefore like to resume this research, if possible, but under secured conditions. I would also need help retracing my steps, as well. As you are an alchemist and potions worker of note, I wonder if you would be interested in pursuing this with me? My family regards you quite highly, so I thought I would ask. If this does not interest you, or if you are already heavily engaged in your own lines of research, I quite understand.
Thank you for your time, sir, and I hope that I may someday be able to thaink you for other things in person.
Great news! The Lit Department has granted my request for a year's sabbatical! I'll be spending the time writing a literary analysis of fairy tales and their ties to alchemical processes. At last, I can use a tiny bit of what I learnt at Hogwarts over here. It feels almost like coming home.
It also means that for this year, at least, I'll be able to spend a lot more time with you. I would like that, Seth. I know we can't hope to catch up on eight years of me not having custody, but it would be good to be able to see you as often as I like, instead of us both being tied down to 9 to 5 jobs.
I will probably need to travel to Germany some, to gather primary sources. I need to find out when their summer holiday period is and how long it lasts. Would you be interested in going there for the holidays? I think Christmas in Germany would be fantastci!
Anyway, please write back soon. I haven't heard much from you since I saw you earlier this summer--and we both had other things on our minds then.
I finally got a free moment when I'm not having to run around the hospital like a madman.
How are you doing? I mean honestly, Lilith. If I lost six patients in one day, I'd damn-near want to kill myself. I really don't know how you and the other three teachers who were chaperones are getting through this.
I don't know that I can lessen the pain much, but I can at least listen, if you want. And it beats me getting stone-blind drunk with Anders again. (g)
I hope your summer's improving, Lil. If you want to get together, ring me up at the hospital or owl me, okay?
I am more aware than many that I could have cause to write this letter in a very distraught state of mind, and I'm very thankful that I don't have such cause.
You all and the recent graduating class have been through a traumatic experience, and so have the families of those students who have been lost.
I have been wondering if there is any way that those of us who did not lose children in the attack can help the families of those who did? I feel so useless, at the moment, but I would like to do something. Could some of us write to those parents, perhaps?
I also wondered if we might make a donation of our time, or books or otther supplies to the school in their memory? Or possibly make a donation to the school to help defray the cost of damages sustained to the rented manor during the attack?
Thank you for your time and for all that you and the faculty of Hogwarts have done over the years. That so few died is a testimony to how well they have been trained at Hogwarts and to the vigilence of your staff.
I have met those people, and it could have been so much worse.
To Megan Jones: A bouquet of borage, zinnias, and snowdrops
I hate so much that this had to happen. I wish there were some comfort I could give. Please write, sometime. --Daeren
To Padma Patil: A bouquet of borage, zinnias, snowdrops, and one white rose
I only met your sister the once, but she made a lasting impression on me, and I think the world will not be as bright a place, without her. I think she loved you very much--she was certainly very protective of you! :) Please write when you're feeling better. --Daeren Alexander
I was in surgery for 17 hours, yesterday. Spent three more hours dictating operative notes. Came home. Went to sleep. Went back to work, today.
I still don't know whether I want to cry or kill something. I'm glad my patients come to me shaved and prepped, and mostly anonymous. If I'd known which ones were Death-Eaters, I don't know if I could have done my job. I probably could have, but--damn.
WHAT KIND OF BLOODY, FUCKING BASTARDS ATTACK SCHOOL STUDENTS?!
So many students....
I'm glad Paul Graves is dead, because if he'd had any part in this, I'd have twisted his bloody head off.
You should slap me! I was making some progress notes in your file, when I noticed your birthdate. I am terribly sorry for missing it!
Enclosed is your birthday present from me. It's a couple of books in a science fiction/fantasy series by Marion Zimmer Bradley, which I think you might find interesting. The characters are descendants of colonists from Earth, who have developed a telepathic/telekinesis-based society, and then they meet people from Earth, who have found their planet.
Let me know what you think of them. Me, I want to kick Lew Alton's arse. And, even though Dyan Ardais is a scary blighter, I also find him interesting, in a way.
Some adult themes, same-sex pairings, much whining by Lew. Diotima Ridenow is way too good for him; she should have married me. (g)
(Enclosed are The Heritage of Hastur and Sharra's Exile.