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Mortimer House



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Old August 26th, 2012, 6:45 pm
Sinistra_Furze  Undisclosed.gif Sinistra_Furze is offline
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Mortimer House

This is a little interlude featuring Siggy Whetstone, a student at Hogwarts post DH. He has gone to stay with a classmate, Noxious Blaxenhall at his family home in the winter break.

It consists of a series of letters between Siggy and Professor Snape. Morpheus is Siggy's familiar, a part-kneazle.



Professor Snape

Iím having a great time at Noxiousí home. They call it Mortimer House, but it really is a castle with towers and secret staircases and locked doors all over the place. We have been practicing our unlocking spells. I never thought they would be so useful.

There is an Armoury full of Muggle weapons that look horrible. Maces with spikes on, spears, swords and explosive powder-fuelled pistols too. Truly gruesome, Sir!

The main Hall has a line of portraits of the ancestors on the wall. Each morning on the way to breakfast they say ďGood morningĒ and we have to bow politely and say ďGood morning, SirĒ back to them.

There are big stone gargoyles by the front door. Noxious can get them to talk. They are supposed to talk about the weather but they like to tell..well filthy jokes too. They are rude about Mr Blaxenhall II, Noxiousí father and I have to try hard not to laugh too loud. They call him ďMr B2Ē but it sounds like ďbeetleĒ.

The only thing, Sir, is itís a bit chilly. Itís been snowing all week. The windows and doors let in a lot of draughts and itís tiring to keep renewing my warming charms. Good thing I brought the woolly jumper Prof Granger knitted for me. Noxious has been eyeing it longingly.

Something that puzzles me, Sir. Iíve never seen a House Elf. There must be some but they are silent and unseen. Iím going to find out.

I hope you have had a restful week with all the students gone home from the School.

Yours faithfully


Siggy Whetstone

--- --- --- ---

Mr Whetstone

The School is blissfully quiet. Prof Flitwick finds the silence at mealtimes troubling and has moved a painting of a former School choir to the Great Hall to sing to us as we eat. This is the time of year the School Elves try out new recipes. Prof Granger has created a chart for each of the staff to complete giving marks for flavour, texture, presentation and originality for each dish. We are supposed to fill them out and return them to the Elves before the start of next term. I seem to have mislaid mine, about the time I needed blotting paper to mop up the mess when Morpheusí attempted to capture an ice mouse on my desk. Oh well.
I am sorry to hear you are feeling the cold at Mortimer House. This book on Charms might be of use to you.

Prof Snape


--- --- ---


Hello again, Sir

Iíve been exploring with Noxious, in between doing my homework of course. There's an enchanted wood at the bottom of the hill and a big lake that is supposed to have magical creatures in it, but Noxious says heís never seen anything.

The views from the balcony at the top of the House are lovely. You can see the countryside spread out and the lights of the nearby Muggle town sparkle at night in the distance. Iíve brought my camera, Sir, to take some pictures to show you when we get back.

There arenít any Wizardís shops round here so I ordered some things from the Hogsmeade Yule seasonal catalogue. I bought a book for Professor Granger, itís called ďThe Wizards book of recordsĒ and it has all kinds of interesting facts like the most potent poisons and the longest quidditch matches ever! I hope she likes it. I ordered Noxie a woolly jumper. I know heíll like that. I hope you donít mind but I got something for you too. Itís the parcel this owl has got.

I found out about the House Elves. There are some here, but they only work at night, they are nocturnal says Mr B2. Apparently they prepare the food at night and put it under charmed warming dishes which the (Squib) servant brings to the table at mealtimes. The thing is the charms arenít very good and the food is sometimes a bit cool. Iím nervous about trying to secretly cast a warming charm at the table because Mr B2 might be annoyed if he sees me. Besides, re-heated food isnít as nice. I miss the School food. Noxious told me I can ask the Elves for anything by writing a note on special green paper and leaving it on the plate on the table by the kitchen door.
But I have heard the Elves, Sir! Last night I stayed up late and I heard their feet go slap, slap, slap on the stone floor as they ran about doing their work.

What are you doing in the Holidays, Sir? Do you make experiments at the School or do you visit your friendsí houses? I think you would like it here.

Best wishes

Siggy

PS thanks for sending the charms book. Noxious and I have been making good use of the chapter on warming charms. I can nearly do them non-verbally now.

--- --- ---


Mr Whetstone

I generally travel in the summer and attend to business matters in the winter holidays. There are supplies for my private potions projects to gather or buy and of course time to rest after a demanding school term trying to persuade young students to think for themselves instead of asking idiotic questions or acting like sponges, absorbing but not understanding.

You are correct in thinking that performing warming charms on the food at the dinner table is frowned upon in polite society, therefore it would be best to perfect your non-verbal skills before attempting the charm at table. Pay attention to your manners and enjoy yourself.

Prof Granger would like you to write a diary during your stay, but you can say I forgot to tell you.
You were right in thinking Prof Granger would like her book. She sat with her nose in it all through breakfast ignoring everyone. She didnít notice her coffee getting cold until she took a mouthful and spat it out rather gracelessly! Itís a good thing the students werenít here to witness such bad manners!

Thank you for the book ďKnow your Kneazle Ė a guide to magical catsĒ. Itís exactly the thing I needed. It will be a great help to me with the kitten and in trying to persuade Morpheus that my rooms are not his playground.


Prof Snape


--- --- ---

Prof Snape, Sir

Thank you for writing back to me. Iím so glad you liked the present. I spent ages trying to decide.

We were allowed into the Library yesterday! Itís amazing. Itís also very dusty. I think itís used more to impress visitors than to learn from, some of the dust is inches deep. I was sneezing all day after retrieving a volume on duelling techniques.

Noxious and I were practicing in one of the unused rooms on the second floor, but when we went to use it today it was locked and we couldnít get in. Noxious says the Elves must have done it. We had to leave a note asking them to open it again.

I left a note for them asking for my favourite teatime meal but they must have misread it because when I got to the dining table Mr B2 asked me why I wanted a greasy light fixture at the table. I explained I had asked for buttered scones but he didnít know what they were. I could ask the Elves to make some so he can try them. Do you think he would like that? I wonder if the School Elves have a good recipe they would share.

I can see why you would appreciate the peace and quiet of an empty School, Sir, now you mention it. But itís awfully quiet here. Sometimes I could do with an explosion or a noisy common room to cheer me up. Weíd go out flying but itís too windy. The House Owl was a bit reluctant to take my letter to you yesterday, I donít think he likes blustery weather.

About the Elves, Sir. I intend to try to talk to them tonight. I wrote a note asking one of them to visit my rooms at midnight. Iíll let you know what happens, Sir.

Noxious sends his polite regards, Sir and hopes you enjoy your Holidays too.

Siggy


--- --- ---

Prof Snape

Itís so exciting, Sir. I found out about the House Elves. I talked to one of them last night.
They have served the Blaxenhall family for many generations but Noxiousí Grandmother caused a fuss. She got a bit eccentric and tried to make the House Elves wear woolly socks because the noise of their feet on the stone floors annoyed her. But they didnít like that because they slipped on the stone floors and because the socks were itchy. What happened after was the Elves all refused to come out during the day anymore and now only communicate by notes with the family. You have to be very precise about what you tell them to do or awful things can happen by mistake. Mr B2 doesnít know the name of the charm used on the warming dishes so he canít tell them to renew it. I donít think Mr B2 is as clever as Noxious, Sir.
The House Elves say a lot of the maintenance charms are failing too. Thatís why they closed the second floor room, because they were afraid the roof would fall in.

I wonder what can be done, Sir. I donít want to upset my hosts, but I donít want the roof to fall on my head either.

Today we finally got out on our brooms. It was brilliant! We raced each other across the grounds and flew as low as we could over the lake, just like we saw in the Duelling tournament. I went so close my cloak trailed in the water and youíd never guess what happened, Sir. A Merperson jumped out of the water and tried to grab the tail of my broom. Good thing they missed. Iíd have gone splash headfirst into the water otherwise. Noxious was well pleased. He said he knew there was something there but no-one would believe him. We went back later with my camera to see if we could get a picture, but nothing happened. Have you any idea why they would want my broom, Sir. I never heard of that before?

Hope to hear from you soon, Sir

Siggy

--- --- ---

Mr Whetstone

I must ask you and Noxious not to go near the lake again. This is important. I have spoken to the Headmaster and he thinks it is not safe.

Promise me by return owl you understand me and will obey.

I know itís quite exciting for you to stay there, but I would prefer if you come back to the School. I will collect you tomorrow morning at ten oíclock. Iím sorry to interrupt your holiday, but you need to prepare for the new term.

Oh, and the School Elves have perfected their scones. They make plain, cheese and fruit scones which I can tell you are all delicious, having tested them thoroughly.

I will explain further tomorrow

Prof Snape


--- --- ---


Prof Snape

I really donít want to come back to School so soon. There is so much exploring to do, and Iím sure the roof isnít going to fall in. Besides, the Elves will make sure no-one gets hurt if it does.

Anyway, we plan to go into the woods tomorrow to explore since the weather has improved. Do you think we might see some hippogriffs there? Mr B2 has spelled the brooms so we canít go past the estate boundaries. He says itís to make sure the local Muggles donít see us but I think he doesnít want Noxious going hunting for dragons. Itís rotten luck, being so close and not being able to visit them. Uncle Ambrose used to say I could try to steal some dragon eggs when my flying was a bit better, but now I think Iíd rather watch the dragons than steal their eggs.

Anyway, I promise not to go swimming in the lake, not that any sensible person would want to at this time of year!

How is Morpheus, Sir? I am missing him.

Siggy

--- --- ---

Mr Whetstone

You appear to be under the misapprehension that your position is negotiable. Be ready to depart tomorrow morning after making your thanks to your host, Mr Blaxenhall II.

Prof Snape


--- --- ---

Professor Snape, Sir

You donít have to come tomorrow. I really like it here! Besides, I was talking to the House Elves last night and we have come up with a solution to the family problem. Instead of itchy socks they want proper tabards to wear with the Family crest on them so they feel like they are serving an important family again.

At breakfast I told Mr B2 Iíd been talking to the elves and I thought he might be cross, but when I said the elves would work in the day again he grabbed some parchment and wrote to Madam Malkin straight away. I think everything is going to be sorted out now, so we wonít have to worry about the roof falling in or stuff. So I can stay a bit longer, canít I Sir?

Yours respectfully

Siggy

--- --- ---

Mr Whetstone

I am not concerned about Mr Blaxenhallís trouble with his elves. I am concerned that the Merpeople attempted to seize you as you flew over the lake. It is not normal behaviour and may well be related to your escapade last year. It is possible the Merpeople think you owe them a favour and wish to claim it. Such matters are best left to the Headmaster to negotiate on your behalf or you may end upÖ. Well, we can speak of this later.

Suffice it to say, you will be returning to the School with me so you better pack your bags ready for departure. I will speak with Mr Blaxenhall tomorrow and thank him for his hospitality.

Prof Snape


--- --- ---


Professor Snape,

Iím really dreadfully sorry about the gargoyles. They have become uncontrollable over the last few years, but since we donít have many visitors it hasnít been a problem until now. They have never actually attacked a visitor before; normally they stick to colourful insults. I certainly didnít expect them to chase you all the way up the drive.
I can only think they were being protective towards Mr Whetstone who is terribly reluctant to leave. It has been a pleasure having the lad stay here. Polite, cheerful and good company for my boy who doesnít bring many friends from School. I could have done without them sliding down the great stairs on my best silver platters, but boys will play!

Having read your message I understand why he must go back to the School. I hope you are able to come to an arrangement with the Merpeople. If I can be of any help you need only ask.

I will have the boy ready for you to collect tomorrow morning at ten am at the top of the drive.

Sincerely

Noxious Blaxenhall II


--- --- ---


Professor Snape, Sir

I will do as Mr B2 says.
I look forward to seeing Morpheus again and Iíll be able to tell Prof Granger all about my time here.

Noxie says I can come here again in the summer if the Headmaster says itís alright.

S Whetstone

--- --- ---


Mr Whetstone

I regret your holiday at Mortimer House has to be cut short but Mr Blaxenhall II was deeply concerned that you might be in some danger and agrees wholeheartedly that you should return to the School for the present.

I hope you have the maturity to understand this is for your own good and not an attempt to prevent you from enjoying your holiday. Having braved snowstorms, dragons and grumpy gargoyles in attempting to reach you by broom I have decided to return to the School by floo.

The School elves are interested in learning new recipes from the Mortimer House elves and have begged you to intercede on their behalf. I hope you will be able to assist in this matter.

I suggest you make the most of your last day with Noxious, as I will not be returning to the Hall until tomorrow as I require time to recuperate. Besides, the food at the village Inn is excellent and the whisky lives up to its reputation of being the best in Scotland.

Prof Snape


--- --- ---

Prof Snape, Sir!

Dragons! Did you say dragons! What sort were they, did they get really close and how many were there? Noxious is beside himself with envy. To fight off dragons in a snow storm! Thatís impressive, Sir. I canít wait to hear more about it.

Iíve been saying goodbye to the portraits this afternoon. Noxie was a bit sad, but I lent him my woolly jumper until he gets back to School and that cheered him up a bit.

See you tomorrow, Sir

Siggy Whetstone


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