The last few days had been a strange ride. Sid was still looking for answers, but they were heard to come by. Dumbledore had kindly agreed to letting him take a few days off in the wake of what had happened with Callum and Vanora Emslie-Clarke. Rather than staying at Hogwarts, Sid had returned home, to the village of Castle Combe. After the relative austerity of living at the school, it was strange to be back in his massive country estate with every conceivable luxury. He'd once treasured it, now it felt ostentatious. Not for the first time he thought that it was rather lonely too. Ever since his wife Bonnie had passed away the halls had felt painfully empty. Worse, every corner still reminded him of her.
Normally, the memories were unwelcome. His mixed feelings about his wife's passing had never fully resolved. It was difficult to decide if he wanted to be sad about her loss or angry about it. The reality was somewhere in-between and difficult to admit to. What kind of widower resented his dead wife? He'd thought he'd finally managed to move on as well, except then Vanora had called via the floo opening old wounds and pulling him into a new mystery. It really started with the question of who Vanora even was. She looked so much like Bonnie it made his heart ache.
Sid had learned in conversation that Vanora was a "niece" of Bonnie's, but he wasn't sure that he believed that story. Vanora claimed that she didn't remember her parents and had in fact been raised by her grandparents. Sid thought that bit rang true, but of course it didn't really answer any of his questions. The older generation Clarke's had long since since passed, preventing him from asking them. The most promising place to look appeared to be Bonnie's old study and diaries. So here he was, trying to find out something. Many other question still stood in the room. Did she really suffer from the same malediction as his wife? How had she ended up embroiled with Death Eaters?
Probably, he should call his mother. Being a seer there was a chance that she would have an easy way of finding out more. However, the mere thought of his mother's sanctimonious attitude stopped him from doing so. No doubt, he'd get another lecture that marrying Bonnie Clarke had been the worst decision he'd ever made in his life. Even now that Bonnie was gone her speeches didn't become any easier to listen to. Wasn't mourning her for the last 20 years enough punishment already?
The weather had brought a warm October to England. Noon approached and Sid found himself taking his reading material outside. Somewhere in these diaries there had to be mention of Vanora and where she came from. Surely, Bonnie had left a hint for him somewhere.
And thus the picture that presented itself was a rather strange one. Here he was, dressed in traditional thawb and bisht, reading amidst a quintessentially English garden of late-blooming roses, lupines, larkspur and mallows kept alive a little longer than would be natural by the diligent spell work of his gardener. White marble statues, fancy wrought iron garden furniture, fragrant cinnamon tea, dates and honey - the perfect blend of Kuwaiti roots and English upbringing.
Just about to start a new diary, Sid was interrupted by one of his house elves.
"A Mr Rynne for you, Sir. Says he is with the ministry."
Sid nodded. He'd been expecting this visit. In fact, it had taken the ministry a little longer than he would have anticipated. Maybe, that was good news. He hoped they had found something in Inverness that would start to explain what had happened. Hopefully, Mr Rynne came with more than just questions. Sid wanted answers.
"Alright. Please bring him here. We're also going to need another tea set. Maybe some biscuits?"
Elf dismissed he waited for Mr Rynne to brought to the garden.