Sep. 1st, 2015 04:31 pm
alt_sinistra: (sinistra)
AURORA SINISTRA continues as Astronomy professor at Hogwarts, eventually taking over as head of Hufflepuff. In the first years, she works all the time, with occasional and often awkward visits with a small number of close friends and her family. She focuses on documenting the locational magics of the war and quietly finding ways to support students in becoming their best selves.

After Evelyn, she takes on the occasional apprentice (mostly people interested in teaching wizarding astronomy at other schools) and contributes to her Guild. She refuses to let them make her Guild Master for the same reasons she'd refuse to be Headmistress if anyone offered it to her: she will never give up teaching. (Privately, she does not trust herself to do it right, to not be tainted.)

While she'll talk with Charlie for his project (she's especially interested in Chloe and Dominic's story getting told well), she avoids talking about the Protectorate era without excellent reason. She is at every memorial that involves any of her former students, always, if she's in the country, but otherwise avoids Order gatherings.

She spends her summers travelling, combinations of lectures and discussions with astronomers in other places, anything to distract her from anniversaries. In 2009, while lecturing in New Zealand, she meets a Muggleborn woman, a doctor who'd served with various relief efforts in other war-torn places who then emigrates to Albion.

They don't ever actually marry (their pasts have convinced them both that something horrible will happen if they do), and their lives and work often keep them apart for days or weeks at a time, but they don't make a secret of each other, either. Siz wears the engagement and wedding rings Raz gave her until she dies, but she eventually has to retire the wand holster that saved her life at Barra.

They do not have children, though late one night Siz does confess that she had once thought about adopting Arista and Hector, to give them a home with someone who understood loving a Death Eater. Instead, they wind up opening their cottage near Siz's family to a string of Siz's former students and Zoë's colleagues who need company for the holidays or a place to stay between flats or jobs. Linus was only the first.

While travelling the summer after the war, she arranges a roundabout set of owl forwarding services to deliver Tosha's prayer books to him in Cairo, and after that, they have a lifelong but erratic correspondence, the timing dictated for years by when she can get someone to send an owl from Vienna or America or some other place. She never tells him anything about anyone or anything in Albion (unless they ask, but who would?) but in 2013, she and Zoë do visit him briefly in Cairo. Mostly she writes about her research, occasionally about Raz, and always about books.

After her death, a complete copy of their correspondence from when they first met, with annotations, is found in a Gringotts vault in her name outside Albion, along with Siz's own notes about her views of the war. They make it clear she never made peace with Tosha's choices during the war, her own failure to predict the notice-me-not disappearing in Ireland (and the subsequent deaths there), or her decision to write to Tosha afterwards. Since that kind of peace wasn't on offer anyway, she decided to detail the process of wrestling with it, complete with occasional allusions to angels at fords, the nature of good and evil in Neo-Platonic philosophy, and one cryptic mention of the fact that Ursa Major is the constellation of Set in Egyptian mythology.
alt_sinistra: Blonde woman, hair pulled back, leaning her chin on her hand (thinking serious thoughts)
It seems entirely unreal, that we are, in fact, able to look ahead to a new school year, after so many changes and losses.

Those of you returning to Hogwarts, we'll have a lot to talk about, but please know that the Astronomy Tower is open for conversation, snacks, and the comfort of a cat, should you need any of those. (Or a quiet place to read and think and not be bothered if you need that instead.)

Those of you coming to Hogwarts for the first time, I am so very much looking forward to getting to know you, and helping you learn all the things you want to learn. There is no place in the world like Hogwarts, even when she's a bit battered.

For everyone else, we need so many different skills and talents and experiences and ideas to rebuild, and I am looking forward to seeing how that goes, whatever it means.

A puzzle

Aug. 17th, 2015 06:29 pm
alt_sinistra: (bw - considering)
s m a i s m r m i l m e p o e t a l e u m i b u n e n u g t t a u i r a s

(various notes follow)

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Aug. 10th, 2015 03:40 pm
alt_sinistra: (bw - in the far distance)
The Moons are dead. Linus's whole immediate family. Father, mother. Horace and Olivia (twins, they would have been fourth years, in Gryffindor). Vinca, who was only nine.

His owls kept coming back, and I gather he asked Ron to find out if anything was wrong. Thank you, Ron, for taking him seriously. And for how you told him. From what he said, it's clear it was Barty.

He's absolutely overset, but he is rather wanting to know if his sister Karo knows, or if we can pass it on.

If someone could tell Lavender, privately, that might also be a kindness. They appear to have broken things off, last night, from what he told me then.

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Aug. 9th, 2015 07:47 pm
alt_sinistra: (bw - in the far distance)
I still had the notifico on for Tosha

Just now, there's a message from Antonin Dolohov's journal. To Bellatrix and Barty.

If he writes me - I wrote after he - anyway, I'll tell you.

My head hurts. Still.

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Aug. 8th, 2015 08:53 am
alt_sinistra: (bw - listening)
Good news:
The wards are entirely under our control.

The 83 wards transferred beautifully to the Octoboros wards, and we are now back to the coordinates in use before 1983 (for floo, portkey, etc.) That in a very real way makes us part of the larger world again. We have vastly reduced the chance of another Atlantis or another Ys, and all sorts of other very bad things. We are not at risk of the 83 wards crumbling without notice, and if the other side tries to manipulate the wards, the Octoboros system is very robust.

Not ideal news:
The transfer flow was much stronger than we'd expected - that's part of why the light show all night. It is also settling at a much slower rate than anticipated. Until the magic disperses fully into the ley lines, we will not be able to open additional entry points to the country (such as to Ireland) or be able to take the Octoboros wards down entirely. That will be at least a month or two, maybe a lot longer. We should have better estimates of time within the fortnight. Magic near the major leys and Octoboros points may be unpredictably strong in the meantime: I will have maps later today.

Also, because the flow was much stronger than expected, it was exceedingly obvious to the other side, and there were a number of effects on people and places that we didn't anticipate. I'm so sorry about that. We're still not sure about some of the effects in Ireland, nor a number of other things, so there's a lot of work yet to do.

I'm on my way back to Hogwarts, but I desperately need some sleep before I try to do anything else.

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Aug. 7th, 2015 06:45 pm
alt_sinistra: (bw - determined)
Reminder that we'll be doing the wards work at 7:56 tonight. I'd strongly suggest avoiding any kind of complex magic for about 10 minutes starting at 7:50. Just in case.

We're not sure the magnitude of effects, but it's possible there will be flares of magic, especially along ley lines or in aligned places, and there may be earthquakes or odd weather bursts. We've warned the regional healing and other spaces, and Lee's had vague comments out about this evening, and avoiding the floo and portkeys tonight all day.

We sincerely hope this will settle things and reduce the risks of any further problems from the wards entirely, but we won't know for sure until we get to the other side of the changes. I'll update when we know more.
alt_sinistra: black and white image of woman with short blond hair looking out of the image. (Default)
I write these words in sincere hopes that though their form is broken, their intent will hold.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us, now and forever, to the end of time, amen. Blessed are the Gods, always, now and forever, now and to the end of time, amen. To the souls of your departed servant, Antonin Nikolaevich Dolohov, called Antosha, called Tosha, called Toshenka, give rest where there is no pain, no suffering, but life everlasting, abiding there forever without corruption, now and forever, now and to the end of time, amen.

Though bearing the scars of so many transgressions, let his way be opened to the halls of Osiris, let the underworld be opened to him, let him be established as a dweller in the halls of the shining ones. Unclose the ways and open the roads to the souls of Toshenka who has now entered in the house of Osiris. Let him enter boldly and come forth in peace at the house of Osiris, without hindrance and without rejec refu repulse. Let his souls enter at his pleasure and go forth at his will.

Grant him eternal rest and may he rest in peace. May his souls and the souls of all the many beloved departed, through the mercy of the Gods and all the sacred powers, rest in peace.

Toshenka, chosen brother. I remember you with apples and with honey wine, at the dawn of the day and the sight of the first star. I will tell stories about you to the few to those who will listen, and I will remember you, all the days of my life. You have been teacher and brother and most of all, friend. You have saved my life and the life of those I love, and though you are dead and though you have done so many horrible things, I do remember the good you chose. These things I tell to the sky and the land and the lake and the bees.

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Aug. 2nd, 2015 11:27 am
alt_sinistra: (bw - in the far distance)
The Ireland rite. It worked. Sean Finnigan's recovering.

Lots more work to do before the 7th, but we need a day to find our feet.

Augustus Rookwood is dead. Didn't recover his notes.

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Aug. 1st, 2015 07:20 pm
alt_sinistra: (bw - intent)
We are going ahead with Barra and the Ireland rite tonight. We're leaving shortly, sunset's at 9:45, and we hope to have the location fully secure well before then.

I want to remind everyone that floo and other locational magics are likely to stop working, as we've noted. We should be able to adjust once things settle down after the ward shifts. If you see other odd magical effects, please tell me or one of the other committee (preferably in writing, it's much easier to track). Anything might be relevant.

The whole ritual takes until tomorrow at dawn (which is 5:22), and we'll be back a bit after that, if when everything goes smoothly.

Alice, Remus: I've turned off notifico for my journal for everyone but you two and Linus. (He's at Hogwarts to coordinate communication and take measurements, and someone will also be up in the workroom all night to monitor.) If anything comes up elsewhere (like last night), we may be able to spare a few wands, but we won't know until we've seen how things are there. Jeremy's offered to come along to help on site.

A great deal of thanks is due to everyone on the committee, and especially to Irma for analysis and research, and Evelyn, Linus, Septima, and Jeremy for modelling effects and doing a great many calculations.

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Jul. 18th, 2015 03:33 pm
alt_sinistra: (bw - determined)
The Wards and Odd Magic committee has made progress on several fronts.

Wards: We believe that removing the Irish wards soon is both possible and desireable. Ideally, we'd like to remove the Irish wards no later than August 3rd, and make some adjustments to the 83 wards and Octoboros wards on astrological Lughnassadh, August 7th.

(I am sparing you all a lot of detail about why this timing, the relative power of the folkloric date for Lughnassadh versus the astrological one, the calculations for ritual magics, and so on. If you're curious, come find me in the workroom and I can show you charts and models.)

Alice, obviously, opening up Ireland has all sorts of other implications for everyone, but the timing is much better soon than it will be again for about a year, and I am very unhappy with the most recent readings from the 83 wards. Charlie, there will be some stress on the dragons, but less than most of Rookwood's plans. Possible we might lose one or two, but equally possible we won't lose any.

Notes below about what we'd need from other people to make this work, but it's basically security to do the ritual, some potions and other supplies, and the presence of at least one Healer, preferably two.

Odd magic: We've made some progress on something we think should work as an anti-polyjuice measure, at least eventually. It still needs a lot of testing to be effective, and it throws a lot of false positives right now. We're fairly sure we can refine it once someone has time to do extensive testing, and someone outside our committee can do that, so please let me know if you're interested.

Our progress so far is thanks to some excellent research from Irma, my reading something in a particular frame of sleep deprivation that turned out to be actually useful, a few people asking questions they thought were stupid but were exceedingly helpful, some extended modelling from Evelyn, Katrina Fitzgibbon, and Linus, and some of the notes from Albus on the altered Fidelius. Also sheer dumb luck.

Floo and other transport: Undoing the effect of the Ireland Dark Rite will almost certainly affect the floo and other coordinate based magics. The shift to the Octoboros will affect things as well, so more reason to do them close together.

A few conversations with people in my Guild who've done consulting work on Floo network issues make me think that if we can secure the Floo Monitoring station in the Forest of Bowland, we can make the necessary adjustments, arrange portkeys again, and so on. I have people willing to help with that part, we just need to get them in there. (Rather large 'just', I know.)

Notes on specifics below, making them so you can all see, in case there's other useful comment, and so we can keep discussion of different pieces together.
alt_sinistra: (bw - watching more than stars)
Sorry. Just realised I should pass this along more usefully than trying to remember to catch any of you at a meal.

We've been head down in trying to sort out the wards, but we are not planning on taking any substantial new step for the solstice tomorrow.

I'm not at all happy with some of what Rookwood's proposing, not without a lot better idea of what it might do. Or what it might do to the dragons, in specific.

And we're still not entirely confident with how to undo the dark rite. We're a lot closer than we were, but there's a lot of risk if we try something and get it wrong. Irma's digging up some more resources for us, things that give us a framework for the rite to undo the Ireland wards.

We have taken some steps to better shift the energy tomorrow, circulate it, in the Octoboros. It's probably not at all safe - safe from whoever they've got patrolling, I mean, not the stones themselves - to get near the seven stones we don't control. But we'll have people closely observing at Dover and at the 9th point, and taking measurements from dawn until sunset, and if there is some way to get someone near the other stones, I can pass along what observations would be useful.

There is some risk in not relieving the pressure, but it's not a risk we can predict easily. I do think we'll be able to do something much more solidly useful before next solstice - maybe even within the next month or two.

Just not tomorrow.
alt_sinistra: (bw - in the far distance)
I'm still angry at you. I suspect you're still quite angry at me.

But I also can't forget how much you did for me. A year ago today, and the months after. When I couldn't do for myself. Couldn't think. Couldn't anything.

I can't forget that it was choices you made that ended up saving my life. Choices you made that ended up saving other lives. Even while other choices you made

Well. You know me. I will be fair, to the furthest reaches I have in me. I wish

I thank you - again, always - for the choices that turned out well. And I wish so many things were different.

I keep looking at the ones who are alive because of you, and being glad, even while I think of all the ones who aren't.

(That there is a Linus who is now discovering Muggle poetry is perhaps something of a trial at times, but decidedly preferable to a Linus who would have charged into a fight he could never survive for the glory of it.)

I miss you
alt_sinistra: (bw - watching more than stars)
I have some additional information from Stornoway and they are also allowing some additional observations in the next few days. Details I can share now:

1) Your people are safe, and are being treated well, but are being kept in custody and without their journals for the indefinite future. That is not a matter they are willing to negotiate. It is possible they may allow written letters to family or something of the kind, with supervision.

2) Dragons.

They had 25 on the preserve (plus additional wild dragons who were tracked when spotted, but are, well, wild.) before last winter solstice. 4 died then. They lost an additional 11 in the first twenty-four hours after the relevant death, and 3 more since. 2 from injury, and 1 whose death is a mystery, but that they suspect may be related to the wards.

I am told that only 5 were part of the initial ward: the other 7 have all died since.

3) Plans.

They are tentatively willing to discuss plans that would strain their remaining dragons, but insist on knowing the precise details and risk to their dragons (and what steps, if any, can be taken to mitigate that stress) before committing to a particular course of action. Along with calculations that can be verified by a neutral third party. We are in discussion about how to locate such a person.

They have no desire for Atlantis either.

I will be able to pass on comments until sometime on Saturday morning, and then unavailable until Monday.

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May. 27th, 2015 05:37 pm
alt_sinistra: (bw - watching more than stars)
Alice, others, can we come up with some suitably obscure name that does not make it obvious that we have a committee for wards and the other arcane magical idiocies we keep finding? Or who's on it. "Private message to the work group using the first Astronomy Tower workroom" lacks something, but it's about all I can think of that might work.

Similar names for other working groups might be handy, now I think about it.

I'm getting some interesting commentary out of Rookwood. (I'm playing it as 'your demands touch on my interests, and I happen to be willing to talk to you, but please do explain it from first principles', and seeing what I get.) He's confirmed several of our conclusions about the interactions, and mentioned several things we hadn't been able to confirm but seemed likely.

Along with some rather more dubious data. (You all know he's had decided ups and downs for several years at least, right? I'm fairly sure this is a coherent day but that just means he might be deliberately misleading as opposed to accidentally.)

The two I want to ask about: he mentioned that the earliest wards had something to do with a 'muggle replant function'. I've asked him about that, but no idea if he'll answer.

Also, do we know if anyone has made it between Ireland and elsewhere since December 1995 who is not of Irish descent? He said: "There was a rite performed that winter that makes it nigh impossible for those of Irish blood to travel to England. It also makes other travel between the islands difficult at best."

Wards and other magical oddities group: I've an observation to do tonight, related to this. Meeting at 1 tomorrow, when we might know a bit more? I'll post a notice in the workroom, and see if I can catch the people who can't see this before supper.
alt_sinistra: (bw - listening)
I've been asked to make myself available for conversation with you regarding the wards. I have access to the stone at Dover and can arrange communication with those in charge at Stornoway.

Our previous social encounters did not allow much chance for deeper or nuanced discussion, but my own field of astronomy does of course touch on locational magics in various forms and combinations. My first published work (now rather outdated, admittedly) was a study of the effects of strongly magical locales on benchmark charms and directional tools, though my research has gone in other directions since.

What aspects are most urgently in need of discussion from your perspective?

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May. 20th, 2015 10:40 pm
alt_sinistra: black and white image of woman with short blond hair looking out of the image. (Default)
I've just come back from the funerals for my brother and Andie.

We have a tradition, our family. Every year, someone - Mum, usually - makes a special mead. If there's deaths during the year, we share a bottle. Tell stories about them. Pour out what wasn't drunk in the new year, as a thank you we didn't need it.

And we did for Orion, and for Andie. And then Mum insisted we do it for Harry.

Someone writes down all the things people say. (A complete version, and a - well, people often say stupid things, and so there's a version with those taken out that's easier to reread later.) I have copies, if anyone wants to see what it's like. It's not supposed to be the big stories, the things everyone knows, but smaller things, the things that person just enjoyed a lot.

It doesn't help enough, but it's better than a lot of other things people do for funerals. And having a thing to read privately later, that helps some too.

It doesn't need to be a big thing, or everyone there. Just - I thought I'd pass it on, for anyone it might help.
alt_sinistra: (bw - in the far distance)
Tosha Antonin Former Headmaster Tosha

We still have missing students.

I We want to make sure there's no one hurt in the castle. Find them before more of them die.

What location spell would you recommend? Something that will tell us if they're in the castle or grounds. I don't care where they are if they've found other places to be.

We've clothing, bedding. Sometimes hair on a brush. Sometimes a bloodlocked container. I've handwriting samples for everyone.
alt_sinistra: (bw - watching more than stars)
Private messages follow.
alt_sinistra: (bw - distracted)
Part of me wishes I were at Hogwarts. Part of me is so very glad I'm not. And it's not like I could really do anything that'd be all that helpful. Probably.

Realised you might be feeling the same way.

Harry came this afternoon. He was hoping to see you too, and thought he might try to get to Dover sooner than later.

I've been trying to prep for a complicated thing tomorrow, and I'm utterly failing to keep my head sorted for more than five minutes at a time. (Five minutes is generous, actually.)

Is Dover horribly frustrating?


alt_sinistra: black and white image of woman with short blond hair looking out of the image. (Default)
Aurora Sinistra

September 2015



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