Dear Readers,

I don't know exactly how I am the one Dorky managed to rope into doing this, but there you have it. Next time I shall take my chances with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

Elvendork Nigellus is my cousin. (We call him Dorky in the family.) By now, I'm sure the more nearly perspicacious amongst you have divined that he is not likely to finish this little story. (He was always a flighty boy – but he gets that from his mother's side. Ravenclaws, you know.) I am far too busy with important matters to have read this folderol, but I am sure that it is very amusing to the lower orders. As a child, Dorky used to delight the house elves with stories, so he has demonstrated an affinity with your sort.

Several years ago, after a nasty Dementor attack, poor Dorky had to submit to a course of innovative Cheering Draughts. The treatment, you will be happy to know, was most successful. After all, I designed it myself. However, it had a most unusual side effect. It gradually withered and ultimately suppressed his capacity to do any creative writing at all, a disability that remained with him for some time, even after he completed the treatment. This is a very interesting phenomenon, and Dorky is not the only one to have experienced it. I shall not trouble you with the details here, but you can read all about it in the article I published last autumn in The Alkahest.

When, at length, his unfortunate proclivity for frivolity and nonsense began to come back, his thoughts naturally returned to this story and to you, his beloved readers. He sincerely hoped to finish writing it, and so he postponed making any sort of explanation for his long absence. Even now, he is too cowardly to address you himself, and so he has fobbed the task off on me. All this, for a few innocent experiments….

So, I am instructed to inform you that Dorky has found it quite impossible to continue this story at present for the following reasons:

- The potions he was taking at the beginning of his course of treatment seemed to have addled his brain, and Dorky simply cannot place himself back in the frame of mind with which he wrote the last several chapters.

- Dorky's personal life had become something of a shambles. I have no wish to bore you, but he was a Mess. Things have improved markedly, but poor Dorky is still very much a Work in Progress.

- It is far less fun to write about wicked old bigots with hearts of gold when the sort of real-life bigotry one had thought safely buried is popping up everywhere. (I haven't a clue what he could mean by this, unless he is talking about Albus Dumbledore, though I have never considered him to have a heart of gold, or any other precious substance.)

- Pottermore.

This last, I am told, is the principal reason. Dorky could see no point in putting forth the sort of effort it takes to write something like this only to be contradicted by Ministry misinformation a day after. In particular, our family will never forgive them for giving dear James to that hair potion confidence man and his simpering little wife. Poor Dorea would have been crushed. She worshipped that scalawag.(Personally, I blame the Muggle-spawn who run Pottermore. Such things would never have been permitted when my brother was Chief Warlock.)

Now, unfortunately, Dorky has very little time to write, and what time he has is dedicated to work on a project that is destined for actual publication. Consequently, he cannot at present devote the time needed to rework this story to a place where he would feel able to pick it up again.

For those of you who have asked about where the story might be headed, Dorky is, alas, still too wedded to the idea of finishing this one day to tell all. Nonetheless, he has left these thoughts for your consideration:

- Marius and Clytemnestra are far more important than you might think.

- Sirius has an unfortunate tendency to take over everything. He has such a large personality. But this isn't his story.

- He Who Must Not Be Named is a terrible nuisance, as are Snape and Dumbledore. This story would be much more interesting to write without them.

- Dorky rather likes the idea of feeding them all to an earnest young dragon.

- I should have done better to have killed Remus Lupin instead of Obliviating him.

- Poor Poll would have done better to have left dear Sirius in prison.

- Sweet Bella left no descendants behind her.

- The most important character in Growing Up Black is and has always been my miscreant nephew, Castor Black.

Perhaps we shall meet again one day, but, in the meantime, kindly accept my cousin's sincere gratitude and best wishes for all your future endeavours.

Yours, etc.

Cassiopeia Black