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Thu, Oct. 21st, 2004, 10:29 am
almostaurorhg: Late a few nights ago in the Hogsmeade library.

Hermione had spent every night since she discovered that body in the same seat of the library. Despite the disturbing circumstances that brought her here, she couldn't help but feel like life was getting a tiny mit more normal with each hour spent inhaling the smell of old books. She had neglected the library as of late, and blamed part of her recent depression on it. She was by no means happy, but this was much better for her than sitting at home with her pets. She caught her mind wandering and forced it back onto task with a few sips of alertness draught before opening yet another book and looking for Andris Kráslavas. There had to be information on him somewhere.

Fri, Oct. 22nd, 2004 10:22 am (UTC)

Hermione's efforts seemed fruitless for many hours, until she came across a mention in one of the more recent history books. Or at least those books that purported to be history, but were more akin to sensationalist journalism. This was a moderately sized volume written in 1987, and seemed to mostly consist of loosely strung together conspiracy theories. In a convoluted and clumsy attempt to tie Voldemort's Death Eaters in to the resurgence of wizarding Thugee cults and illegal necromantic rings in Latvia, a name of a family, connected to all this somehow. A Latvian name: Kráslavas.

The book claimed that the Kráslavas family were the movers and shakers in the Slavic world when it came to the calling of the dead, and other of the more distasteful arts, just skirting the Dark ones. Perhaps not much to go on, but a start, at least. A direction for research instead of seeking a name almost at random.

Fri, Oct. 22nd, 2004 03:15 pm (UTC)

Though she didn't want to put much faith in a book like this, it was the only lead she had. Grudgingly, she grabbed any modern books on Thugee cults, notable necromancers, Latvian wizarding families, and a Latvian dictionary because it might come in handy. Looking over her pile of books, she sighed. This had better lead to something or she would curse that stupid book. It was hardly worth believing a bloody thing in it, but she was desperate after days of searching.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004 10:56 am (UTC)

The Thugee cults prove to be a dead end. A fascinating one, but nevertheless, useless. The Latvian histories and biographies, however, are a bit more murky, at least those translated into English.

Necromancy seems to be a long supressed art in Latvia, despite the prevalence of open use of the Dark Arts. It is difficult to understand why - most of the books footnote or reference maddeningly few other volumes that have been translated. The
Kráslavas name recurs often in these accounts, however. A pureblood line that traces its history back at least eight hundred years. Not one of the premier families in Latvia themselves, they are nevertheless often mentioned with the more powerful. A Grigori Kráslavas is mentioned as a notorious Dark wizard in the 14th century, but past that, the family seems to have faded from prominence.

Unfortunately, none of these books include any recent history. The Kráslavas family is barely touched on in the 20th century. But then, a look at the Prophet's stacks might be helpful, and the smaller library at Diagon Alley has an extensive back catalog of news publications from around the world.

Fri, Nov. 12th, 2004 05:04 am (UTC)

After copying down anything that might be useful from the necromancy books, Hermione rushed back home to get a few hours of sleep before tackling the Diagon library.
Oddly, she had never been to this library, which could be exciting but also make the searching a bit harder. In case it was structured differently, she arrived as soon as it opened to give herself the whole day to look. With a bit of a sigh, she walked over to the catalogues to start pulling any English language papers that mention Kráslavas in any way. It would be a long day.
(Deleted comment)

Sat, Nov. 20th, 2004 08:32 pm (UTC)

She wrote down outlines of the articles from what little she could get with the Latvian dictionary and persistence, spending hours on the Jelena Kráslavas article alone, trying to understand her main point and the work itself.
"A Death Eater?," Hermione mumbled to herself. Was she working on the wrong side? Was Antonin not Hatherly's friend but a suspect or was Hatherly not what he seemed? Suddenly, Hermione wasn't sure she should have taken the job, but she did and would have to go through with this. She might just be jumping to conclusions, after all.
In order to resolve all this, there seemed to be only one thing to do: Find Charlotta Ingersknoll. However, she'd of course research her first. For all Hermione knew, Ingersknoll was a Death Eater too. Sighing, she wondered for a brief moment if she in over head... if she was too ambitious and young for whatever this was leading to.

Thu, Nov. 25th, 2004 11:44 am (UTC)

The research into Charlotta Ingersknoll is both easier and more difficult than the previous had been on the Kráslavas family. For one, the woman is clearly an English speaker, and from her writer, most likely English herself. And it is through her writing that Hermione first learns about her ...

The woman has written quite a few articles for the Prophet over the years, always as a "special" reporter, never as one of the staff writers. She's not prolific, but spread over twenty years, there's still quite a bit of material. The Death Eater trials seem to be the period of her greatest output, and she published about eight articles in two years. Her field of interest appears to be genealogy and bloodlines, and her articles often trace connections between Death Eaters and their families in dizzying detail; the woman is expert on the subject.

The name Ingersknoll is apparently a bastardization of Inkersall, a very old family indeed, from Derbyshire. They can trace their line back to 1321, a Roger de Hynkersul. Charlotta appears to have the role of a family historian of sorts. The family is no longer wealthy enough to allow her to be idle rich, and she was employed, at least some five years ago, as a librarian and genealogical researcher through the Nott family, who have an extensive and valuable collection. An owl address is provided.

One picture can be found of her, in which she is talking to a friend. Charlotta, the paler haired woman, glances across at Hermione, and flaps her hand dismissively, before returning her attention to her friend, who talks avidly, occasionally glancing out of the picture's frame.

Charlotta and friend

Fri, Nov. 26th, 2004 08:51 am (UTC)

Hermione stared at the picture for some moments, debating how best to approach this woman. With all of this pureblood research, there was a distinct possibility that Ms. Ingersknoll would refuse to talk to a muggleborn at all. Not that she would advertise that she wasn't a pureblood, but it seemed that this woman would know instantly. Still, Ms. Ingersknoll's extensive knowledge and researching skills were highly admirable.

After being waved away a few more times by the image, Hermione took out some parchment and wrote a letter in carefully crafted script.
"Dear Ms. Ingersknoll,
I have come upon your work for The Daily Prophet during my recent research into certain families' bloodlines. I was hoping that you would allow me to arrange an appointment with you at your convenience, of course. My research still has some missing information that I trust you can, with your extensive knowledge, provide if you are willing to do so.
Thank you for your time,
Hermione Granger"

Unceremoniously slipping all of her notes back into her bag, she hurried home and sent Cassiopeia off with the letter. If Charlotta wouldn't meet with her, she'd be at another dead end. If she would, how could the information Hermione needed be nonchalantly acquired. Clearly, she had lots of planning to do.

Thu, Nov. 25th, 2004 05:09 am (UTC)

((OOC: Name changed.))

It was, indeed, a long day. Maybe if wizarding filing systems weren't so haphazard, so anti-intuitive, it might have been easier. But the wizarding world was not known for its organizational acumen ...

Maddeningly, many of her leads bring her back to non-English papers. Again and again, Kráslavas is mentioned in reference to something else ... but the name does appear in the international magical journals, the professional ones. Once again, linked to necromancy. A Jelena Kráslavas is cited multiple times as a primary source, and appears to have written a few articles of her own, though only one can be found translated wholly. It is a highly technical piece, difficult to understand for those outside the field. The language of the article is unclear, and some words remain untranslated. But it seems to be on the preservation of the soul or spirit in a decrepit or dead body. She uses several words for this: dvēsele and persona, both of which mean soul. The Latvian dictionary don't provide the nuance she seems to use these terms with. She also speaks often of the problem of samazinâties. The dictionary only renders this as diminishing, lessening.

The other bits of her writings, preserved as quotations and sources in other works, often refer back to this subject. The woman seems to be something of a philosopher on the nature of humanity, its essence.

It takes a great deal more time to find this woman's relation to Andris Kráslavas, partially because he was apparently not always a Kráslavas. Jelena is his mother, and while she publishes under her family name, she took her husband's. Andris, her youngest son, was at first a Bezlepkin, a Russian name. He changed his name back later in life, apparently.

And finally, here is where the man himself begins to appear in English speaking papers. Perhaps not surprisingly, at this point, among the names of accused Death Eaters. He is mentioned several times in their ranks, if not prominently, but it appears he was never brought to trial. The Prophet offers no more explanation for this, remaining mysteriously quiet on Andris Bezlepkin's fate. Whether this is because no more was known or a more sinister silencing took place is unclear.

The interest in the Death Eater trials at the time was huge, but only a few writers covered it for the Prophet. In fact, most of the articles mentioning Bezlepkin/Kráslavas are by one woman: Charlotta Ingersknoll, who is by-lined as "A Special To The Prophet".