|Full name||Elspeth "Elsie" Arianne Throckmorton|
|Born||11 December 1929|
|Residence||Westen Cottage, Derbyshire, England|
|Education||Cavendish School for Girls (1934-1937)|
|Parents||Angus Throckmorton and Patience Canterbury|
|Other Family Members||The Throckmorton Family, The Mercier Family (adopted)|
She was seven when she left the city, she and her brother. Francis was older by two years but it did not make him better, even if Elsie cried more than he did. She could hardly help it. Fathers did not just disappear but theirs apparently had, and they were told together that he was gone-- poof, like that.
She doubted the existence of magic, because if he was really gone-- poof, like that-- there were spells that could find him. There were. But they weren't even trying.
The air had crackled the day they left, she remembered. Crisp, in the way only Decembers could be, and the tears had left a cold trail against her cheeks, touched by freezing wind and dried into a film of ice.
Elsie made no noise, because it was unladylike to cry out in the first place.
When they arrived in the country it was snowing. The cottage was full when they entered, ushered in by Aunt Anthea and clucked over by Uncle Dario and Uncle Roth and Aunt Holiday. The pale faces of their cousins, hers and Francis', peeked through the tines of the railings overhead like ghosts, expressionless but pitiful.
"It's true, then?" Aunt Holiday's voice was distant and hollow, like the voices on papa's old radio. "Angus is dead?"
Aunt Anthea had clutched Elsie's shoulders then and Elsie felt her nod.
Francis' eyes were on the floor but Elsie turned slowly to look up at Aunt Anthea, because she was lying and lying was a sin.
"You're a liar. Take me home. I have to go back to school tomorrow."
"Darling girl," was all her aunt replied, and her voice sounded like tears. Hands clutched Elsie more tightly, and that made her angry. "Darling girl."
Francis called her an idiot and that was when Elsie wrenched out of Aunt Anthea's claw-hands and pushed him as hard as she could. He stumbled, into the wall, but Elsie did not see; she had made for the door in a frenzied dash and burst out into the snow, coat unbuttoned and shoes seeping.
Her fine clothes were not meant for this sort of weather and maybe she heard voices calling to her from the little cottage but Elsie did not turn to listen. She could not hear, ice in her hair and lacing through her eyelashes, air blue and freezing.
Mother had always been dead and that was simply a fact. Elsie did not feel sad about her mother because she did not remember her. Sometimes Francis described her but for Elsie it was good as a fairy story, and that did no good at all.
If she remembered back, very far back, she could remember a grand house in the woods with stone walls and carved railings but she had grown up in London, with Francis and papa and no mother, down the street from her academy and very close to where papa worked at the Ministry.
But she did not live there anymore, and hadn't for several years.
Her first three nights at the little cottage were fitful and tired but eventually she allowed herself to be tamed, and though she remained adamant that Aunt Anthea was lying about the whereabouts of her papa he still did not turn up to take she and Francis back to London, and so Elsie resigned to protest.
Life at the cottage (Westen, they called it) was peaceful, and quiet. Uncle Roth and Aunt Holiday lived over the crest, through the straw-field, and sometimes Aunt Anthea took the children there for picnics in the summer, Cousin Leigh and Cousin Jude trailing along behind their mother and chattering like thrushes.
Elsie preferred not to talk. She went a week once without saying a word and Uncle Dario thought she must have been hexed; but the truth was she simply had nothing to say.
That was when she was eight, and papa still had not returned. By the time she was nine, and then ten, her posture was perfect and her penmanship passable and Francis had already been to Hogwarts for two years. Gryffindor, he wrote, was the best house of them all, though that's where Leigh was too and she was so annoying, at least there's Cousin Cillian to keep me company.
Papa was dead and that was simply a fact that Elsie accepted. Seasons came and went and Decembers froze and thawed and that was that.