Title: The Casting
Age-Range Category: One
Characters: Eileen, canonical characters (implied and otherwise), original house-elf
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): Attempted murder, violence.
Summary: Eileen affects a desperate, runic casting and only later takes the time to reflect upon her actions.
It was too late that Eileen realised the invitation had been a trap; her mother had not intended to receive Eileen and Severus peacefully so as to inspect her grandson: no, Mrs. Prince, her hands folded primly in her lap as she watched her daughter choke on adulterated, elf-made wine, had other plans.
"Bring it to me."
Eileen heard her mother's words dimly, as if from far away, no matter that she was separated from the witch by nothing more than a small, low table. Severus, though always a quiet baby, fussed a bit as Tessy bent over his floating, wheel-less pram.
"Shut. Your. Muggle-loving. Mouth," Mrs. Prince ground out, as Eileen began to see black velvet at the edges of her vision.
Before that curtain could close, before Eileen stopped breathing, she summoned every last ounce of her strength to lunge at Tessy and draw a figure onto Severus' forehead. Unable to speak, Eileen fervently held one shining word in her mind as she cast her spell of protection.
In the wake of the resultant, golden explosion, Severus fell from Tessy's arms back into his pram.
"Tessy is sorry! So sorry, so very sorry, Mistress! Tessy is so sorry!"
Eileen awoke but did not stir.
So, not poisoned, then.
The house-elf's distress made Eileen wonder if her runic casting had killed her mother.
I hope so.
"Tessy is so . . . so . . . very, so ver—"
Clutching her wand and staggering to her feet, Eileen surveyed the room. Tessy had fallen over the bloodied body of her mistress, and Severus . . . .
Oh, thank Merlin!
Severus was sleeping soundly in his pram.
Having ascertained that her boy was well, Eileen turned back towards her mother and Tessy. Both of them appeared to be breathing.
Mother's too much of a cunt to die, of course, Eileen thought, blinking down at her mother's overturned chair.
Its ornately carved, bloody frame featured a scene of rapine violence involving centaurs and witches.
Eileen shuddered. I . . . I need to get out of this house.
Tessy stirred, then. "Ohhh, oh, so sorr—"
"My . . . wand. Tessy, where is . . . my wand?" demanded the house-elf's mistress.
Eileen started. "Accio mother's wand!"
"You wretched, ungrateful—"
Dropping the two halves of her mother's wand, Eileen reached for Severus and ran, her mother's shrieks of rage ringing in her ears as she fled for unwarded ground.
"It was a mistake, woman. I told you."
"Yes," said Eileen, safe in Tobias' arms. "I never should have gone there, never should have thought to ask her for money. But when she answered my letter—."
"It's temporary, you'll see," interrupted Tobias. "Only a few weeks closed, the factory'll be, and then it'll be back to work for me."
"I wasn't trying to imply you couldn't provide, you know. I just wanted to help."
"There, now. Don't you cry, Eileen Snape," Tobias told her, his voice falling over her like a warm coverlet. "You're my wife, and I'll take care of you. I'll take care of both of you."
Eileen smiled. Tobias was a good, strong man. He was nothing like the weak, dissipated creature her mother had proposed she marry.
"When I ran away, I was, I was really running to you, wasn't I?" she asked Tobias.
She had not actually told him of her mother's attempt to murder her back then—or of her attempt on Severus that morning. Eileen felt it wouldn't be wise to tempt a passionate, caring man to violence.
No, not against a witch against whom he'd be without all protection.
Tobias chuckled. "You're a romantic one. I like it. How's our boy?"
"Severus is still sleeping. He's such a fretless child. I hope he remains so."
"With a mam like you, he's bound to, m'love. Now then, shall we go down the pub for tea, or . . . ?"
"Oh!" exclaimed Eileen, leaping to her feet. "Let me cook for us. I do love cooking for us."
Tobias rose and kissed her cheek. "As you wish. I'll get on those leaves in the back, then. Call me when it's time?"
You should tell him. You should tell him everything.
Tobias didn't know that she'd been raised in a wealthy home. He knew she'd been educated, but he put that down to, as he referred to it, her "delicate state." It was true she'd been a bit twitchy when they'd met, but that had everything to do with having been driven from her home at wandpoint and not having any idea how to look after herself.
She looked into the reflective glass over the sink. In the fading light, she supposed she did have something of an elfin appearance—if one could forgive her nose as she'd never been able to do.
Tobias doesn't mind it.
It hadn't quite been true, her love of cooking, but she'd developed some decent skills working in the factory's canteen, and she did enjoy keeping Tobias happy.
And he's happiest with a full stomach.
They were living on his savings. Tobias had told her not to fear it.
"The factory closes every now and again. You've nothing to fear."
But Eileen was afraid. There was no other money. Her husband wouldn't hear of her working anywhere, not with a baby to care for. And it was because she had a son that Eileen had dared to hope that her mother would forgive her. Severus gave her hope.
I had to try, she thought, starting her soup to simmer.
She sat down and watched the rising steam of the pot, wondering why she'd selected Uruz while Severus slept away the dying afternoon in the warmest corner of the kitchen.
Uruz was a rune of protection and power, but not any kind of easily governable power; no, one couldn't cast it and hope for any specific outcome other than, in a moment of crisis, basic survival. Eileen had been so frightened for Severus that it was a natural choice in a moment of terror. Her casting had been sound.
But what does it mean for the boy's future?
It wasn't a rune one engraved on an amulet, Eileen well remembered that from Ancient Runes. While it had served her well in the moment, she realised, while it would gift her boy with endurance and strength, it also had the potential to be destructive if its energies weren't carefully crafted, carefully bent to one's will.
And my Severus is too young to know what to do with such magic.
Eileen rose. She smoothed down her dress. She stirred the pot. She paced.
I should take him to someone. I should make sure that—
"What are you dreaming about, love?" Tobias asked.
Eileen forced a thin smile. "A silly little game from childhood. Runes."
"Runes? How do you play that?"
"Oh, you throw them, read them, divine your future with them. At a fair, I once even had a reading."
Tobias took Eileen into his arms and kissed her forehead. "You're too serious to believe in gypsy fortune telling."
"Certainly not!" Eileen agreed. "But witches might know a bit more than gypsies."
Snorting, Tobias took himself to the sink to wash. "It all smells good. Soup and cheese and bread, I see. I can't wait—but what's for dessert?" he asked, peering over his shoulder.
Eileen's stomach flipped.
"Are you, do you think, ready again to have 'dessert'?"
The way he rolled his syllables in his rich, dark tone made Eileen shiver. "Soon. The Hea—doctor says soon, Toby."
"Good, 'cause I'm very hungry, Eileen."
Tobias loved her, and Severus was safe. Eileen was certain that she was worrying too much about her casting. But it had felt so primal, so complete. Once Tobias had gone to sleep, she'd done some reading up.
I don't like what this says, she thought, reading from her old textbook.
Cast as a protection spell, Uruz may open one's inner mind to the beauties of the creative magics, allowing the wizard to become adept at spell creation and shaping his own destiny through sheer force of will. Caution must be taken, however, for such magical exploration . . .No, I don't like it at all.
Uruz was the representation of a young warrior. It represented, not domesticated cattle, but wild, bovine creatures, and it was to do with untamed creativity. By casting Uruz upon Severus, Eileen had, perhaps, opened up a tremendous well of creativity from which he might draw—but such energy, without guidance, could flourish in harmful ways.
Without careful guidance, without the careful application of such a gift, a wizard might become so involved in the pursuit of his creations as to neglect himself, perhaps even to harm himself or others.
And that's the gift I gave my boy. How can Severus hope to control such magic?
There was nothing for it, Eileen decided. Tobias had to be told. It was time. In fact, it was well past time that she told her husband he was married to a witch.
But he'll understand, especially when he knows what I did to save his son. And then he'll agree that Severus needs to see a Healer, just to be sure I've not done our son a mischief, as he'd put it. Surely he'll forgive me when he knows everything.
Eileen turned and brushed Tobias' cheek. "You'll understand everything. Of course you will."