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Ruth Champlin

Finding the Road to Revelation

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Ruth Champlin

The familiar scent of aged parchment filled the air as Ruth Champlin walked to her desk that day. This time last year she would’ve imagined her life to have become so much more glorious by now; perhaps actually getting the opportunity to get out and do more than question terrified shopkeepers. But no; that wasn’t meant to be. Instead, the twenty nine year old witch was destined instead to shift though form after form after form, filing away the important ones and discarding the rest into a rather infamous ‘trash’ pile. Occasionally she might get to go outside too, to meet the ever-cheerful public and complaints of theft and questionable strangers, but even those events were rarely come by.

 

No. Most of her time was spent right there, in her ‘cubical’, documenting and reading and note-taking. It’d become so routine that the brunette almost set her coffee mug down upon a file with the word ‘URGENT’ scrawled across the front in large, red lettering. The hot bottom was mere inches from it before Ruth took notice, and then her arm stopped and hovered over the new arrival as she properly looked it over. “What’s this…” she muttered to herself while she went to set her mug down at the opposite end of her desk. She plucked the thing up not a second after, pulling a sheet of parchment from it and holding it up to her nose.

 

A fake ad; she’d heard about that. For a split second her hopes rose, thinking she might’ve just been handed a real investigation, before they fell and were burned in a pile of ash. Of course it was she and the other newer recruits who were to be left out of any real investigation. Instead, they were left the job of pretending from home. A sigh fell from the woman’s lips as she read on to fully grasp the details of her assignment, and then she stood to roam across the space and over to the desks of her co-workers.

 

“Been a while since I’ve done something like this’” Ruth announced to the others. “But suppose it does make life a tad more interesting... you lot ready? Haven’t got anything better to do, have you…?”

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Alex Sanders

Even though Alex had been an auror for going on three years now, it felt like he'd spent most of his time behind a desk, working on paperwork that the senior aurors had no interest in, going on coffee runs, and not much else. He couldn't really complain, given that he was sure that Shane was relieved that he wasn't being put in danger on a daily basis, and that he was bringing home significantly more money than he did when he was working any of the odd jobs he'd worked since graduation, but honestly, he still felt like complaining. He'd fought tooth and nail to get through the auror academy, taking an extended leave to take care of his family, and then making sacrifices when he went back, because he was determined to achieve something--and yet, it felt like he really hadn't achieved very much at all.

 

The file that came across his desk that morning didn't immediately catch his notice. Not until he tossed it on top of the others that were marked "URGENT" because it seemed like everything was marked "URGENT", even when it wasn't. But when he tossed the file, everything fell out of it, and he was forced to wade through the investigation notes. And once he did, his eyes widened.

 

"Have you read all of this?" Alex asked Ruth as she wandered by his cubicle. "Like really read it? This is like five times as complicated as Kneen's death threats."

 

He held out a photo of Thaddeus Roseclaw, smiling in front of a conference audience in Hogsmeade. "He's apparently been on the ministry's radar before because of this book he published on the dangers of wolfsbane. Something about it being 'poisonous' to werewolves."

 

He set the picture down, before continuing, "And there's a report in here of two werewolves who have been reported missing from the Taith Coch Werewolf Reserve. And an inquest into The Daily Prophet for publishing an advertisement in the paper with an unknown origin. There's a note in the file saying that this matter has been forwarded to the auror office because there could be a connection between all of them."

 

His mind was going a mile a minute trying to put the three of them together. He looked up at Ruth. "Do you even have to ask? I'm still on coffee duty," he shook his head. "Carina, what do you think?"

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Carina Wynter-Downing

She had always felt blessed with her acceptance into the auror academy. The letter had arrived during a point of her life she needed a change. It was for this reason she never complained about the amount of paperwork she had completed since her graduation. There was a system in place – anything completed at work was left there the moment she got home. Carina knew that she was slowly working towards a safer home for her twins even if all she completed during a day was filed parchment or read through documents.

 

“Urgent?”

 

Carina muttered to herself as she placed down her steaming cup onto her desk. The word caught her attention straight away, she picked up the file and opened it straight away. A few words pricked her attention. Werewolves. Identity. False advertisement. As Ruth and Alex spoke, she did not pay that much attention. Her focus was on the words until she heard her name being uttered by her colleague.

 

Brown eyes moved from the file to her fellow aurors as she thought about the impact. “Coffee duty? I’m still tasked with patrolling around the primary school in Hogsmeade.” She said finally. As much as she adored her own children, it was becoming a little tedious. “If there is a connection this could lead to a serious investigation. Relations between the wizarding society and werewolves have never been wonderful. The death threats to Kneen proves that there are those who wish to cause friction.”

 

She wanted to know more about the ads. She wanted to know more about the book that had been published in relation to wolfsbane.

 

“Clifford Benbow’s disappearance is certainly a factor here. There are so many questions from that alone. Has he fled because something has happened? Was he forced out by those close to him?”

 

It wasn’t a glamourous task that would allow her to be seen by the senior aurors, however, it was an investigation all the same.

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Ruth Champlin

Neither counterpart even needed to answer for her to know that both would jump at the opportunity to take on this case, even if the assignment didn’t initially require their presence anywhere. It seemed that the most any of them had done since their hiring was small, mundane tasks, managing all those things the senior staff detested while they instead went off to do the important work. But, Ruth had to remind herself; important work would come for them too in time. Perhaps had come already; quietly disguised as an inquiry into a student pen pal program.  The woman stood aside and listened quietly as Alex reviewed the materials. She had to admit that the information provided was curious, but it was in her honest opinion a stretch to believe that anything regarding the events at the Taith Coch Reserve were connected here.

 

The published advertisement could’ve just as easily been crafted by a very successful prankster. And wouldn’t they have a laugh if or when they found out it’d gone all the way up to the ministry…

 

“Relations have been always been tense, yes, but if anything that proves that this ad could’ve come from anyone,” Ruth quietly replied, “Someone searching to cause more rift, perhaps? Or lessen it.” But then, that made the whole Thaddeus Roseclaw mention that much more curious. Was there a connection there?

 

Maybe there was more to this after all. Maybe it really would lead to a real case.  Her hopes were starting to lift again, at any rate, even if the woman was still wary of being led awry.

 

“So many questions… suppose we should get to work then and try to answer some of them, aye?” Withdrawing her wand, Ruth went and summoned forward a stack of blank parchment, some quills, and multiple colors of ink wells. They all landed onto Alex’s desk with a steady clank. “Hope you both remember how to write as children or this is bound to get... challenging…”

 

Especially so as they navigated the task of writing as children and withdrawing the needed information at the same time… all while trying to avoid rising any suspicions or concerns.

 

Ruth quirked an eyebrow, “Let the fun begin?”  

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Alex Sanders

Carina definitely was onto something, Alex thought. "Not to mention the fact that he was basically replaced overnight by Thaddeus Roseclaw," Alex added, shaking his head. "That bloke got his own file after he published that book on wolfsbane being poisonous. How he even got that book published to begin with is beyond me." 

 

Both Ruth and Carina were making excellent points about the strained relationships between the werewolf and wizard communities. "It's definitely a concern," he mused, though he supposed that was putting it lightly. Werewolves hadn't exactly always been on the side of good, though there had been a great many good werewolves. "Is someone out there trying to capitalize on fear or is something actually happening?" 

 

There were a couple of other opinion pieces that had been clipped from The Prophet, but Alex ignored them in favor of the ink, quills, and parchment that Ruth had set down on his desk. The assignment had been pretty clear--respond to the ad that The Prophet claimed to be a fake--but it didn't mean that he felt all that confident about the method that they were being asked to use. He'd never actually gone undercover before, after all.

 

Still, it was better than coffee duty.

 

"I guess we should write to the pen pal program to sign up," Alex continued, picking up a piece of parchment that had the contact information on it. "Establish a connection, and maybe we can get someone to investigate the address in the fake ad? The ad might be fake, but the address could be real, and there could be a clue to what this all means." 

 

He hummed and tapped his quill against the parchment. "Who are you guys going to be? We should make sure we have good fake names." There was probably a sheet in the file somewhere with fake identities mapped out for them already, but he wanted to entertain a few options on his own. It was definitely more fun than waiting on the senior aurors. 

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Carina Wynter-Downing

It was an actual investigation.

 

They were not being forced to complete paperwork from senior aurors. They were not being forced to complete coffee runs or look through old files from before they were even at school. Carina had wanted to find something to fill her time, it would allow them to finally show that they were capable off. Even if all they were about to complete was writing letters to a fake advertisement, from the comfort of the auror headquarters in the ministry. They were being trusted, so they needed to ensure they completed their parts with full attention.

 

“I need to remember how to write as an older child…” Carina said with a small smile. “…I’ve read so many toddler books recently I can only thing about the basics. I had to rewrite a report last week after I found myself writing a poem, I read to my twins instead of the actual statement.”

 

She looked down at the file once more as ideas were batted around. She tried not to roll her eyes at the suggestion of fake names. Instead, she just picked up her quill and scribbled a couple of words on the parchment. Surely, they needed to come up with an actual plan instead of half an idea before that came up? Still, she had always wished to be named something that people did not mangle when pronouncing.

 

“Establishing a connection is the best step forward. It maybe best to wait a little for each of us though. We do not know how many people may have seen the advert and actually sent a message before the redaction. If they receive three letters at once they could find it disconcerting.”

 

Start small, work up, then hopefully they would get the answers they required.

 

“Then whomever hasn’t sent the letter straight away can research the address.”

 

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Ruth Champlin

Pulling a sheet out from the pile for herself, the woman situated it in front of her before reaching for a quill and dipping it delicately into one of the ink wells.  Her hand stopped and hovered over it while Carina spoke however, her attention temporarily caught. “….good thinking” Ruth replied after a moment, “It very well could be suspicious if they go from having no responses to suddenly three. We can each write our letters now, but it’d be best to space them out some. Send one now, another a few days later, and then the last in a week or so? It’ll be interesting to see then how the responses match up. And if anything of interest comes to rise, we’ll have time to formulate a plan of action…”

 

A plan of action, an investigation, a real investigation. It was perhaps wrong of her to wish something to really come of this; especially when it involved the safety of children, but their jobs up until now had been so idle, so dull. It’d be nice to finally have a change of pace.
 

A drip of ink fell back into the well before Ruth made the motion to start her own letter of interest. She could remember back to a time when she might’ve too been curious of something like this; after Will’s graduation she could’ve easily been lured to seek comfort in another outcast, even if a stranger. And she tried to key into that younger voice as she wrote, drawing out an innocent enough curiosity to come across as both young and eager. When it seemed finished, she signed the letter ‘Clair Hunt’ and then returned her attention to the others. “So… which should we send first then? Volunteers, anyone?”

 

--

 

Their days in the office seemed to return back to the regular routine after that. Shifting through papers and looking to find anything, anything at all, that might pinpoint to a current or past use for the address provided to them. It was difficult to find anything of true substance at first, every little bit of information they seemed to come by very disjointed. Then an interesting photo was discovered; of an aged facility, and even more curious still…

 

A letter, addressed to Ms. Clair Hunt, from 1267 Main Street  .

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