After the awkwardness of the autumn and all his conversations with Sid, Harold had sent a few discreet enquiries to former colleagues at the Ministry on the nature of what had happened to Sylvia. Most had gone unanswered, some had even been returned unopened. Secrecy was certainly not unheard of in the Department of Mysteries.
In the depths of the winter, though, a curious scroll wrapped and sealed with a stamped wax circle arrived for Harold. The stamp in the wax was an oddly ornate, stylised letter E. It had settled almost perfectly evenly around the stamp, almost intricately like some kind of rosette, far more than an average scroll deserved; it looked styled that way.
Harold found the scroll in his professorial letterbox in the Owlery early one morning, and took it back to his room to read it. It seemed like the sort of thing that shouldn't be read just any old where.
It was written in a rather ornate copperplate handwriting, elegant, measured.
I trust this reaches you in prime condition, old chap. You needn't worry about anyone else reading this or having tampered with it, my seal is enchanted against such things.
Your owls did reach the Ministry members you sent them to - even the ones that did not open them - but there is a blanket instruction to deny anything and everything. Department of Mysteries SOP, of course.
I have it on the very best authority that your wife is alive and well, and that she is not the unfortunate result of some experiment gone awry. Trust me on this, you would do better to put her behind you and move on with your life.
I cannot say more at this time; even sending this scrap of parchment such as it is was at considerable risk to myself. I should have preferred to speak in person, but you know how it is at the Circus, especially with this anti muggle business.
Stand firm, old chap,
The Circus? That was unusually apt; it was one of the codenames used by insiders in certain governmental functions to describe some of the functioning departments that oversaw others. Both the muggle and magical governments had a department knowing internally and informally as the Circus; the muggle SIS department used it, and so did the Department of Mysteries, not that many outside the Ministry would have known it. It made for a convenient codename.
But this had a sense of authenticity about it. It must have clearly been someone he had worked with at the Ministry, someone he'd known quite well. A few names came to mind but for obvious reasons he wasn't going to be more selective without further details. There was too much at stake, not least his hopes.
Hope. There was a marginally unfamiliar feeling. He'd have to figure out some way to talk to Rose - he was still avoiding the library, and while he had that beautiful book from Sid over Christmas, he'd been unwary of using any tracing magic to find Sylvia in case he found answers he wasn't prepared for. It seemed that his instinct in the matter may well have been wrong: he now knew with relative certainty, if the letter could be trusted, that he would not find the answers he had hoped for, but that he might at least receive some closure.
Perhaps now was a time to set up some pretence for school activity that would give him something to do while waiting for E's next missive... he had often thought of Shakespeare and wondered if a theatre club might be an interesting venture for the school. Something to take up with Albus if nothing else.