It had been some months since Harold had had any letters from outside the school. Things had, more or less, been rather quiet. So it was with some surprise that one crisp morning, Harold found himself holding a rolled up scroll with a faintly glowing wax seal, embossed with an ornate letter E.
The last one had been a while ago, with some very intriguing details from a former colleague at the Ministry. This, if he was not mistaken, was a follow-up.
The travelling circus is in town. The door to the lion's cage is loose, and the ringmaster can't find the strongman to help fix it.
Meanwhile, the scholar spends his time alone, watching, waiting. It should do him some good to be about town. Take in that fresh air.
Harold examined the seal again - it was as the first he had seen, stoked with all kinds of anti-tamper charms. And there was no doubt that this was the same cursive script he had seen in the previous letter.
The question was what the devil any of it meant. It was, of course, code. The circus being in town; presumably some Unspeakables were out and about, perhaps even the head of department. The door to the lion's cage was anyone's guess, but it must have implied some kind of leak, and someone going missing. Precisely who 'the strongman' was... Harold had a few ideas but there were forces at work that were terribly unclear.
The scholar, he presumed, was a limited reference to himself; the previous letter had indicated E's desire to meet, but circumstances prevailed against that - this was more suggestive of a meeting but with no clue as to when or where.
Harold took it as a sign to watch, to wait - with a wary eye, but to be open to the idea of taking a turn outside the castle should the opportunity arise.
It hadn't gone unnoticed that Dumbledore had been more mysterious than usual, even for him. Harold wondered, as he walked back to the castle, if it were related. He really should have a conversation with Dumbledore about that, perhaps sooner rather than later.