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PROLOGUE: Night Letters
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed
with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown
of twelve stars...
- Bible, Book of Revelation
But this is all I want to do--
tell you that up in the woods
a few night birds were calling,
the grass was cold and wet on my bare feet,
and that at one point, the moon,
looking like the top of Shakespeare's
appeared, quite unexpectedly,
illuminating a band of moving clouds.
- Billy Collins, "Night Letter to the Reader"
You silly prat.
What do you mean you didn't say goodbye to him? You've
been in love with the man since fourth year, and when he actually stumbles
upon your cottage, helpless and alone, you leave him for a bloody ISLAND.
All right, so the situation's not quite as severe as all that.
But really, Cate, what were you thinking? The man's reserve
finally begins to thaw and your response is to hightail it out of Emrys
without so much as a farewell?
Don't you think it odd that he wandered through English and Welsh
forests for weeks, yet it was you who finally took him in? You,
his long-time admirer and one of the few people in Britain able to find
him a job? (Yes, I know about his lycanthropy, dear, and you can just
pick your jaw up off the floor, thank you. It's quite unbecoming.
You're not the only one who used to spy on people from Ravenclaw Tower.)
So the romantic, clever boy of your schoolgirl fantasies stumbles
fortuitously across your path, tossed there by a benevolent-feeling Aphrodite,
no doubt. And you, ungrateful wench that you are, toss aside the
gift and dash off first chance you get to a remote island no one's been
resourceful enough to find for thousands of years.
Small wonder you've never had a beau, when you reject even the
attractive morsels Merlin sees fit to deposit neatly in your lap. What
more do you need? Directions?
Well, if instructions are what you require, my sorry friend,
here they are:
Name: Remus J. Lupin
Ingredients: 100% male, consisting of 8% reserve,
27% intelligence, 22% kindness, 4% cunning, 8% romantic warring with
9% controlled virility, 15% canine instinct, 6% wiry strength born
of malice and unfair but accepted burden. (And that's the
truth. I didn't suffer through four years of Trelawney for nothing.)
Instructions: Suitable for long riverside walks,
evening astronomical discussions, and general wickedness behind closed
doors. Goes best with tea and satin sheets. Use before marked
date of full moon on package. Wizard General's warning: Not
for public consumption. Highly addictive. May cause intolerance
for the rest of the male race.
For an attractive and intelligent woman you can be uncommonly
thickheaded sometimes. If he doesn't yet fancy you, which I think
highly unlikely considering your aforementioned attributes, avoiding
him is hardly the way to go about securing his affections.
For Merlin's sake, write the man.
I'm very sorry I didn't wake you up before I left. I had
to have all my wits about me when I left to find Atlantis, and saying
goodbye would only have unravelled me further. All the same,
it was wrong of me and I apologise. I hope you'll forgive me.
Atlantis feels like a dream. Thousands of years of practising
aestheticism have their effect on a place, and this forgotten isle is
a testament to that. The smallest things are imbued with unspeakable
beauty; the flutter of brilliant dragonfly wings, the gleam of the white
stone castle in Elysia as the noonday sun strikes it. While the
beauty is awe-inspiring and endless, there is a wisdom and strength beneath
it that reminds me of the Forest Soror. It comforts me to know
that beneath the majesty and sublimity of this foreign world there is
something drawing me in, reminding me of home.
Adolphus Nor, who you know of course is the Atlantean Archdruid,
has been very kind. He would get on marvellously with Professor
Dumbledore, I'm sure. He has a great fondness for nectarines
and his favourite pastime is playing on Muggle swings. He and
his wife, Eden, took me on a tour of the castle last week and I must confess
that I have never seen such opulence before. My chamber in the
west tower has been made comparatively spartan at my insistence, but
it would have rivalled Lucius Malfoy's bedchamber easily before it was
made habitable, I'm sure.
How are you faring? I trust that Robin isn't working
you overly hard at the Candela. I warn you that I will brook
no complaints if Ludicer somehow contrives a way to steal your robes.
I miss you.
I am writing to enquire after your progress. What are your
thoughts on the Atlantean Ministry? Do report back as soon as convenient
on what you've learned about the government. Other cultural notes
are welcome, of course.
Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic
Order of Merlin, First Class
*A/N: I am deeply indebted to Axelle for inspiring
Brighid's instructions to Cate during a little conversation concerning Oxford
men. It was she who suggested Brighid say them to Cate, and I was happy
to oblige. A nice big box of chocolate truffles (and a bottle of Evian!
hehe) for her never-failing ability to inspire plot bunnies. 5 September
Your absence from Ara Virga is what the stars' would be from
the night sky: unnatural. I miss you, too.
I haven't forgiven you, however. I'm still pondering
your punishment. Forty days and nights tied to the side of Gladys
Popinjay? Or a year apprenticing as potion sampler for Severus
Snape? No penance is too great.
Ludicer sends his love. At least, that's what I interpreted
two blinks and a hop to mean, but I could be mistaken. He might
actually have been asking if there are any attractive female Delphic
Descrying Shrubs your side of the Mediterranean.
P.S. How do you know what Lucius Malfoy's bedchamber looks like?
No dangerous beast sightings thus far. I'm continually
on the lookout, so stop pestering me. I can and will send you a
Pora for Christmas if you can't find something else to nag me about, and
then we'll see what becomes of you.
I have not yet been in Atlantis long enough to make any concrete
judgements about its government, I'm afraid. I will get back to
you when I have something of import to relate, rest assured.
If I may be so bold as to correct you, sir, the Atlantean government
is called the Druidic Council and its foremost leader is called the Archdruid.
I'm sure you already knew this, but I don't wish for there to be
any inadvertent faux pas made if they can be avoided.
My punishment options sound horrifying indeed. But does my
offence truly warrant such drastic action? I'm not opposed to grovelling,
P.S. I don't know what it looks like. It was a metaphor.
You will be pleased to know that I have owled Remus and received
an owl from him in return.
He is threatening to force me to imbibe all of Snape's potions creations
for the next year.
Now what do you advise, oh enlightened one?
Minister, Archdruid, it's all the same in the end.
Many thanks for your prompt reply. I will be expecting a preliminary
report in the near future.
Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic
Order of Merlin, First Class
I can and will send Remus a pithy note explaining your
undying devotion for him, Cate, for Christmas if you don't stop whining.
Your offence certainly does warrant such 'drastic action,' as you
put it. Crushing the tender heart and sensibilities of the trusted
guardian of Ara Virga, the Forest Soror, and Ludicer (in that order)
is a grave offence indeed.
How does mucking the Care of Magical Creatures paddocks for a half
year sound? I hear the seventh-years are studying dragons this year.
Dragon excrement is supposed to be particularly aromatic.
P.S. You couldn't think of another metaphor to use? Why Lucius
P.P.S. You will be pleased to know that not only does your favourite
pet enjoy threatening to abscond with his guardian's robes (although he
has not yet succeeded in that particular endeavour), but he is also apparently
able to read. He is not very pleased with my proposed treatment
I wasn't expecting him to have quite that reaction, Cate.
Your first lovers' quarrel! How sweet. . .
I hope you don't find an old man's enquiring after your affairs
too vexing. I was very proud to learn that you had been chosen
as Head Scholar for this Atlantean project, and even more so when you
were appointed British emissary to that mysterious isle. You are
a bright, dedicated young woman who demonstrated your resourcefulness
and compassion over and over again while at Hogwarts, and I'm very happy
to see you situated in a place so pleasing to your interests. Adolphus
has waxed poetical about your many virtues, so it seems you have made just
as favourable an impression there.
I have heard that a certain ward of yours that goes by the name
of Ludicer has been making Mr Lupin's life very interesting indeed. I
have always said that one should never underestimate the loyalty of a
It would please your old headmaster greatly if you sent word of
your adventures on occasion. It is always a good idea to have more
than just one side of the story, whatever happens. Not to mention
the fact that I would enjoy hearing from you.
Please give my regards to Horatius and Antonia Parius.
Warmly, Albus Dumbledore
What has he done, Remus? - Cate
P.S. Because I was trying to think of something opulent, and that
was the first thing that sprang to mind.
I was delighted to receive your letter. I was not aware that
you were acquainted with the Archdruid and the Pariuses, but I do not
find it surprising that you are. I am not the only resourceful graduate
of Hogwarts, it seems.
Thank you for your words of praise. They mean much to me,
especially coming from a wizard I esteem so greatly. Unfortunately
I've had no adventures as of yet, as I've told the Minister, but I've
no doubt that I will sometime in the near future. Even in the Forest
Soror I could not lead a perfectly quiet life. Adventure and quests
have a way of finding me.
Horatius Parius wishes me to inform you that you should be expecting
a book of his soon, to be transported by Alata. Antonia says that
they will be in Britain for Christmas this year and that they hope to see
I hope this year's students have not been causing you too many headaches.
I suppose, however, that between the Marauders (and my small circle
of friends) safely out of the castle and the war over that anything would
seem quiet in comparison.
Somehow I've managed to wring dire threats against
my person from both Remus and Aidan within a fortnight of leaving Ara
Virga. I'm beginning to wonder about the effect I have on the males
of my acquaintance.
Cornelius Fudge has also been annoyingly persistent in his owls
for information on Atlantis. The man couldn't even be bothered
to differentiate between 'Minister' and 'Archdruid.' All my work
here will be for naught if our Minister refuses to observe even the formalities.
On a lighter note, I think I'm falling in love with Atlantis.
Even though this island and its civilisation are thousands of years
old, it's still sparsely populated; the only city is its capital, Elysia.
Most of the island is still heavily forested, and there is an ancient
darkness in the grey mountains, the formidable expanses of trees. It
isn't an evil darkness, or even a negative one; history and magic are locked
away in each stone, each flower, and they darken with that knowledge.
I haven't moved much in Atlantean society yet, as it's draining
simply acclimating, but the company I have been keeping is certainly mixed.
Eris Blanceflour, the daughter of a wealthy family who holds much
influence in court, could give Cesara Viridian a run for her money any day.
Boreas Vortigern seems respectable enough as one of the chancellors
of the Druidic Council, but the hair on the back of my neck stands on end
when he comes near. He seems. . . attracted to me. On the other
hand, Evander Pendragon (a junior member of the Druidic Council) and Delphinia
Bulfinch (a young witch who lives in a cottage quite near the castle) have
been all that is charming and helpful these past few weeks. Horatius
and Antonia Parius, close friends of the Archdruid and his wife, are a
very sweet, erudite old couple.
The Nors and all the other kind people I've met here cannot compare
with you, Aidan, Brighid, and Remus, however. I miss you all.
A- You wouldn't dare. -C
Lovers' quarrel?!?! Your imagination rivals that of Aidan, Brighid.
Lovers' quarrel, indeed. . . - Cate
To my bewilderment, Aidan and Remus have taken it upon themselves
to threaten me with punishments dire and painful for piddling "offences"
against them. Any ideas on how I can stave them off? Or better
yet, avenge myself?
Let's see. I have come back from forays into the woods to
find all my texts concerning my Candela assignments mysteriously misplaced.
Although I have since been careful to place my robes on the top shelf
of the armoire, before I became appropriately wary I found thorns strangely
appear in their hems. Although he hasn't yet done anything to me
in my sleep (I believe he does not want to cause harm to anything belonging
to you, and I am sleeping in your bed after all), I sleep in terror of what
awaits me in the morning.
I fear I will have to punish you for Ludicer's transgressions in
addition to your own, for I can't very well punish a ward that I'm supposed
to be protecting, now can I?
P.S. The first thing that sprang to mind when thinking of opulence
was Lucius Malfoy's bedroom?
I'm glad you're finding Atlantis so enchanting and (most of) the
people so hospitable. This Boreas Vortigern fellow sounds like quite
a character. Keep an eye on him, dear.
Work here at the Ministry is the same as usual. I'm sorry
that you seem to be falling afoul of Fudge as well. He's a perfectly
nice man if one doesn't know him.
What exactly did you do to provoke Aidan and Remus? I'm sure
your row with Aidan will blow over shortly (his temper is about as long-winded
as a Slytherin's thoughts of altruism), but Remus always struck me as
the unflappable type. You haven't succumbed to the wiles of some
dashing young charmer and owled him all the provocative details, have
Come to think of it, perhaps a letter of just that nature--but altered
so that includes your wishes concerning him, not some Atlantean lothario--might
be just the trick to put you back into his good graces.
What do you think? - Iris
You are too funny, Cate. I could see you sputtering as
you wrote that last letter.
Why is it so improbable that Remus should return your feelings?
that to me.
You can reduce Moravian Biting Vines to docile lapdogs and leave
everything that's familiar to you for a hidden island that's suspicious
of anything foreign, but you can't fend off a couple of overgrown schoolboys?
Aidan's been traipsing around dangerous territory for years. It
was only a matter of time before all that living on the edge went to
his head and he started bringing others down to his level.
I thought Lupin too much the gentleman to threaten a lady, but what
am I thinking? Chivalry died out centuries ago. You're observant
enough to have realised by now what your most powerful weapon against
him is. And Merlin knows I'm hardly the one to be advising you about
that. Good luck, my girl.
You horrible, horrible man, Remus.
Does my long and devoted care of you mean nothing? I was hoping
to appeal to your forgiving nature, but apparently that has been superseded
by your unnatural quest for vengeance.
Dear Remus. Can't we just be friends and put all this behind
us? I still miss you. . .
P.S. Good grief, it was just a figure of speech. As in, figurative,
C- Wanna bet? I'll wager 16 galleons and an Erumpent
claw that I'll do just what I threatened if you call my bluff. -A
Iris! I'm shocked and appalled that you would even
suggest such a thing!
Do you think it would work? Not that I would try it, of course.
A big holiday stocking of gratitude for Seldes Katne as well for making
me giggle with all of her invaluable (but never dry) comments and advice.
Continued in Chapter 1: Out to the Undiscovered Ends