Somehow it seemed right to post both these chapters together as this is a short one too.
"Herzog Von Frettchen knows of no records, Herr Snape" squeaked Fritti "And he was telling the truth; he said he searched the castle for documents but found nothing but decaying books in a library that he took into his own collection; and he has promised to restore them to the heir here."
Severus nodded, and turned to Walther and Hunnic.
"There's BEEN a library boss" said Walther "But all the books is gone. It was open to the sky."
"Thank you" said Severus "Well, Siegfried, if Von Frettchen has your father's books, that at least will be something for you; but I'm afraid otherwise you're heir to a pile of stones and that's about it. Your vassals here may as well work the land on a running estate; are they wizards or muggles?"
"They're only muggles, sir, but one still has a duty of care."
"Then they will be happier with a community of cured werewolves, some of whom are muggles too" said Severus. "An ex werewolf has many lands and he has given over one of his estates for their use. In time we shall see them educated to take their place in the community but for now at least they have a haven. Having knowledgeable farm hands will help. We shall revive them next."
One of the labourers did not survive the revival process; the other two were much shocked, but soothed by the presence of their overlord's son telling them to trust Herr Snape and let him arrange things.
The earliest werewolves were roused next; except of course the unfortunate one who had died of unconscious starvation.
They were, not unnaturally disoriented; and one sobbed quietly that he was blind. He was not the only one who could not see. One sat staring into thin air, his mind so badly damaged that he was unable to grasp what was going on; and one held his ears, screaming that every noise hurt.
Krait had 'gone unicorn' in preparation for just such eventualities; and each of the afflicted was given a sip of unicorn blood.
The result was, as always, immediate and miraculous.
"Herr Snape, excuse me asking, but where have you gained this?" asked Siegfried accusingly.
"My wife is a metamorphagus" said Severus "Capable of taking on the form of magical beasts; and she has donated this."
"You can also create it from blood freely given by chanting" said Jade "Done it."
"Though I doubt you could have done had you not, yourself, tried unicorn form and studied the blood yourself" said Severus absently "It's about the most tricky transformation there is and needs a lot of personal knowledge."
"Am I or am I not Triwizard champion?" she asked.
"That still occurs? You are VERY good Frau Baronin" said Siegfried with respect.
"Oh the Triwizard was recently revived too; there's been three in the current era" said Jade. "But the unicorn blood is not improperly obtained. Which is what you wanted to know."
The Medieval werewolves – who accounted for about half – were delighted to be cured. They had taken the risky option of the draught of living death in the hopes of being left in peace; to fight for their protector at need, and to hope in their secret hearts that one day attitudes would be more enlightened.
"We never in sooth, any of us, dared to hope for a full cure, good Master Snape" said one "You are without doubt the greatest potioneer in the world; and we all venerate you most fully."
"Then teach any offspring you have in the future to be tolerant of those less fortunate than themselves and to work hard to fulfil the potential you have had stripped from you" said Severus "We shall try to give education to those who had theirs interrupted."
"Good master, most of us be not of a class that had education" said the spokesman, a lean rangy man named Edwin of Cologne. "I was an apprentice, hoping soon to be journeyman, and meantime running errands for my master, who was a maker of wands. As I travelled one evening, with little thought for the state of the moon save that it was not a good night to delay for a little poaching, I was leaped upon by a werewolf; and were it not for other travellers who drove him off, should have been killed. My master tried to keep me on, being a kindly man; but the neighbours talked and he had to let me go or lose all his custom."
"A sad tale" said Severus "As I do not doubt all of you have sad tales. You, Edwin, I can find then a job for; my cousin virtually runs the manufacturing side of wands for England's top wand seller; you might continue your education in making wands and act as a shop assistant to Ollivander – the proprietor. Willow – my cousin – has been hoping for an assistant so she might spend more time with her children. That will please everyone!"
"Ar, Ollivander's of England has always been famed" said Edwin "There is still an Ollivander after all this time that is too long for me to fully comprehend?"
"He is the last; but if you prove worthy I think it not unlikely that he may ask you to take his name that the tradition continues" said Severus. "Very well, I think we shall take all these people now to the Nachtigalls; and return for the more recent. Siegfried, will you stay here as castellan to help us sort those who came after you, or would you like to go and take rest? If the latter I shall take you to our castle where the school is."
"I feel it should be my duty to remain; but I am very tired" said Siegfried "Though that most illogical seems when one considers I have slept for so long!"
"Your body is exhausted from the strains on it my poor child" said Severus "I will take you to the castle; you are just turned eleven? You have not been to school yet?"
"No sir; one went at fourteen. But I am not long turned er, four hundred and eleven."
"Well if you can retain a sense of humour, you'll do very well! You'll start school then in September; it is now July. There are two who live in or near the castle who will start with you, and the boy is also an ex werewolf. When you have rested and eaten again Wolfram and Birgitta shall make themselves known to you."
"You are very good sir" said Siegfried,
"I swore an oath to protect werewolves who do not want to be" said Severus simply "One of my own best friends, who I was at school with, was a werewolf; there was then no potion to allow him to retain some control at full moon, as was later invented. His best friends became animagi to go out with him and protect him; they formed a club called the marauders. There are marauders in my school and in others who are sworn to protect and serve; and I should not be surprised to see you invited to maraud one day."
"But the name – it implies banditry?"
"The name was chosen by small boys with a sense of the dramatic who wanted to have fun and mischief; and to see that their werewolf friend also had fun and got to have a childhood. Modern marauders get into mischief to hone their skills to fight any threat."
"Like those who send dementors and werewolves against children" said Siegfried.
"Exactly" said Severus "You'll learn more as we go along. You will find it hard; you have, essentially, a medieval outlook. But allowances will be made. And you will choose if you want the school to know about your long sleep or not."
"Methinks a school you run, sir, will have pupils inclined to look upon it as a challenge to help me overcome difficulties, not be a point on which to try to torment me. I should like them to know; that if I am not conversant and cognisant with something that should be obvious they will then know I am not perverse in my lack of understanding."
"Thus then it will be" said Severus "Sirri will take you to the castle; she is my second wife and you will give her respect due to that and her position of castle chatelaine."
"It is common in this era to have more than one wife?" asked Siegfried.
"No son; that I have three is frowned on by some. I don't really care" said Severus "As all parties within the arrangement are happy, it is nobody else's business."
"So long as the ladies are happy, no man should interfere" said Siegfried gravely and chivalrously, bowing from the waist at Sirri from his sitting position.
Sirri whisked him away to bed and fed him cocoa with a spoonful of complan mixed in it and left him to sleep it off, whereupon she brought him soft boiled egg and toast and jam.
Sirri liked having someone to mother and spoil a little.
Severus wakened the other werewolves one or two at a time; and found only one ready to bewail his loss of lycanthropy and that only because he did not know any other profession then as an enforcer with unusual powers. Most were poor creatures from the first batch; being werewolves in a world torn apart by religious war, the thirty years war surrounding the reformation and counter reformation in Europe, they had had every man's hand against them, even more than normal wizards. Where heresy was bad, witchcraft was worse and werewolves were the worst of all, they had, for the most part, come to this castle where rumour had it that the family was kindly to werewolves. The draught of living death may not have been what they had hoped for; but it was a better choice than trying to survive in a world where muggles were turned into predators too for being as desperate as any.
It had been, of course, the religious wars and the collapse of any tolerance towards those who were different that had lead to the statute of secrecy in the latter part of the seventeenth century, 1692. This had heralded what the muggles called the 'Age of Reason' where nobody who counted believed in magic any longer and science and technology were pursued with vigour.
After this bewildered group had been sent on their way, assured of protection and employment, Severus turned to the seven foot giant of a young man.
He came round, cycled through the change and back to human, and sat up with a start.
"It's all right" said Severus "There is no emergency; merely that it was time to revive you all now a cure has been found for lycanthropy. You are cured."
"I am cured? Thank God!" said the young man "I may then return to my regiment?"
"Ah…. There is a slight catch" said Severus.
"I think there always is with you wizards" said the young man resentfully.
"Not the fault of wizards, as such" said Severus "But a question of the inexorable march of time; you have slept near on three hundred years if I have your costume correctly; I know little of muggle garb such as you wear. The year is 2006."
"The world did not end on the millenium? So much for almanacs!" said the man. "Then – tell me, did Frederick the Great's drive to breed a tall army succeed?"
"No" said Severus "He did not understand that when two people of exceptional characteristic have offspring, nature tends towards a norm in most cases. Had he continued over five or six generations, he and his successors, something might have come of it. But he did not understand the laws of heritance that muggles – you are a muggle? – have since discovered. What is your name?"
"Peter Schmidt; a plain name but it suits me" said Schmidt.
"I am Severus Snape; and I will advise you to go with others who have been revived to a place where you may learn about how the world has changed; and ultimately retrain for a career, since you are young. If you wish to return to the muggle community you will need papers; nobody exists in the muggle world without papers and records of when they were born, to whom, where, what school they attended, who takes care of their teeth, what number they have been assigned for a work permit, what number they have been assigned to claim medical care and so on. You may find staying in the wizarding world with other muggle ex werewolves less stressful. There are, after all, more opportunities these days, for muggles within the wizarding world."
Peter Schmidt stared.
"It sounds most unpleasant!" he said "Why do people stand for it?"
"One might as well ask, why did you stand for having to fetch water from a pump perhaps shared by several families" he said "It is what you are used to and what you grew up with; and so you do not question. Muggles today sigh over paperwork and put up with it. It is impossible to live without papers. If you want to be part of a modern muggle community, papers will be made out for you; wizards are very good at forgeries. If not, you need not bother. You will have all the time you need to make up your mind. How came you to be a werewolf?"
"I had gone on leave; the King did not like us going once he had collected his outsize soldiers but he could not really detain us. I had been to see my mother and as I walked back through the forest, this thing jumped on me and mauled me. I managed to shoot it; and though it did not seem badly hurt it backed off. I had no more ball but I loaded the musket with my ring, which was pewter. I fired again, and this time it was dead. I was bleeding badly but I patched myself up, and returned to the palace, and recounted my experiences and my friends teased me that I had been attacked by a werewolf. Which I did not at that time for a moment believe."
"The pewter in the ring contained enough silver then to counteract the magical protection of lycanthropy" said Severus.
"So I understand – now" said Schmidt. "The next thing I know is that full moon has come round again; I feel a little queer; and when I come to myself hours later, I alone am alive, tasting blood in my mouth and my companions have been ripped to shreds. I realised that I had done this; and fled in horror. Next full moon I feel the strangeness; and then in pain I am forced back into human form by a man in a robe with a wand – a wizard. I beg him to help me; and he brings me to this castle. So here I am. A killer of my friends but wanting desperately to live."
"For what it's worth" said Severus "By killing a wizarding werewolf, it is possible you saved more lives than you took. And for knowing the secret of firearms and how to use silver bullets, you will probably get a job as bodyguard in a wizarding family, if that suits you."
"Aye, sir, that suits me grand" he said.
Severus reflected that the man might also get a part time job in the muggle world as an adviser to re-enactors and producers of historical drama and documentary on costume of the Prussian Army of the period. That however would only confuse the poor fellow for now.
The rest came in dribs and drabs over the intervening centuries, mostly poor folk who took the opportunity not to be outcasts with humble gratitude. The most recent was a wizard of the nineteen sixties.
"I was fleeing from Fenrir Greyback, pops" he said "I had no desire to be some wand fodder for this English Grindelwald type, y'know daddio?"
"I quite appreciate the sentiments" said Severus dryly. "Don't call me daddio. Not only was I not born when you went to sleep, but also it's just sufficiently out of date to make you sound really er, square. Besides, I was involved in killing Fenrir and his wand fodder and our er, English Grindelwald – as well as YOUR successor to him."
"Sheesh, sorry I'm sure!" said the hippy wizard.
Severus took him, as part of the last batch to Friedolf Nachtigall's place, together with the mild-mannered late Victorian schoolmaster, who would be invaluable in basic teaching, the pre-unification white hound handler for nogtail-control and the buck-teethed farm boy.
Well, they would catch up what had happened sooner or later from the modern era ex-werewolves; who had themselves, for the most part, had to have the world of politics explained to them, for having been confined in the compound. The medieval wizards would find it hardest in some respects; not being able to claim their status as wizards any longer openly. Still, at least they were now free from what had been even then the stigma of being werewolves; and coming from a time when alchemy and potioneering marched almost hand in hand and there was hope for a brighter future, they might at that even adapt better than the poor sods from the seventeenth century and all its miseries.
Severus and his team returned to the castle of Prince Peak to find Birgitta and Wolfram showing Siegfried around with help from those residents now in the school and Tarquin and Sevvy. Two months would make a lot of difference to Siegfried's emaciated frame; though he must be treated as delicate probably for the year round. Well, the school was no stranger to delicate children!
Severus had only to write to Horace Slughorn thanking him for his co-operation, and letting him know that the outcome had been, by and large, successful. It was only polite after all! And perhaps a small personal note to all those who had taken part in the NEWT thanking them for their care that saved the lives of those who had been forgotten about for centuries and only recently discovered in a ruined castle on the continent. There was no need to be too specific; but a little more information, and thanks, were owed to the young potioneers.
And letters to both Señor Carcano and Hagrid too.
And then he had to be in England for the big ceremony.
That would be challenging; but the blood group were powerful; and Severus had little doubt that Albus had the willpower to give life to the poor child ghost, driven to suicide by his parents for being magical.
And it would be on the anniversary of his death; that would be a very powerful arithmantic time!
And that would hopefully end a very busy year; and maybe next year would be a little less frenetic!
Now I'm anticipating a very busy couple of weeks in Real Life so I am taking a week at least off posting - sorry about that but I'll try to be back as soon as things quiet down.