Scotland really is a wonderful place, for the most part. The hills capture your eyes and hold your senses hostage. The gray rain clouds even look inviting, and on a clear day you can see clean to Edinburgh from the Wallace monument. Scotland has to be one of the most wonderful places on Earth. At least on the nice days. On the days that She isn't nice, Scotland can have a rather nasty temper.
In Saint Andrew's it gets rather balmy in the summer. The bay creates a humidity that can make a wonderful day seem like a long sit in a steam room. I know, for I spent a long time there. The ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral are only a few meters from the bay itself, and they get even hotter. Shade is not oft created by a building that hardly stands under its own support anymore. Beautiful sight though. In the fall it gets chilly there, but not overly so. One can walk about with only a jumper on. Anything heavier isn't necessary until Winter.
Edinburgh is wonderful as well. The castle is amazing, especially if you know the right places to look, but more on that later. Everything in Edinburgh speaks to you. The very age of the place speaks to you as though the age itself were incarnate in every stone, every close, and every stair. I've spent a great deal of time in the capital of Scotland. Most of my story takes place in Edinburgh, so I suggest you listen closely while I speak of it. I'm very old these days, and I will simply not waste my time telling a story that is not heard. If you will listen, actually listen, I'll tell you the story. The story is an interesting one. Ever heard of the Vaults under the South Bridge? Many people, especially Edinburgh residents have heard of the vaults, but not even many Wizards understand what is truly down there. A great number of seers will not even go near the Vaults. There was once speculation that Gringotts used them, but even Goblins will not go down there for long, if at all.
The South Bridge runs in a interesting part of town that is totally overrun with Muggles. Their dance clubs and their pubs pop up everywhere like people Apparating to the Quidditch World Cup. The only difference is in the fact that the pubs and clubs of this part of Edinburgh leave a great deal quicker than the Wizards that attend the World Cup. The entrance to the vaults is a fairly innocent looking little door between two paper stands. The long narrow stairs lead down into an area of Edinburgh that a number of people would like to forget. Those that want to remember, like Mr. Boots, are best trapped down there with those sentiments. Contrary to popular belief amongst the Muggles, Mr. Boots was a Wizard. He was a very evil Wizard that went very bad. His magic was self-taught. He impressed his contemporaries, but he scared them as well. Mr. Boots was a nasty man with a nasty soul, and he was possibly one of the worst hearted Wizards to ever walk the Earth, but I'm not here to tell his story, am I? Where was I? Ah yes!
The Vaults. The vaults smell a little dank, and they make your hair stand on end. The age of the upper streets speaks to you, but the age and the death scream at you in the Vaults. They are filled with ghosts, and some of the ghosts do not like people. The Cobbler likes people, but he's been rather scarce for a few years now. He doesn't pop in very often, and when he does it's only to keep Mr. Boots in check Most of the rest of them don't much care for living people of any sort. Nasty sort of Ghosts, really. The Hogwart's ghost, The Bloody Baron has been to the Vaults, and you can see where he decided to stay.
Getting around down there is easy enough, but you have to either know where you are going or what you are doing. Every now and then the ghosts put up a reasonable fight when you stumble on something that they don't want you to find. If you hadn't yet guessed, I stumbled on that something that the ghosts didn't want me to find. What puzzled me the most was the person that set them to guarding it. When you're in a place like that you don't pay much mind to a little passageway that the guide steers you away from. It's when you go back on your own very late at night, use the Alohamora spell and go down that passage with your wand lit that you find something disturbing. A single grave.
A single grave with a man sitting on it. A man with black, messy hair, glasses and a pained expression on his face. The grave he sits on is that of one Lily E. Potter, and this man's name is James. Don't disturb James, should you ever visit him in the vaults. He's a kindly man, but a less than kind spirit if you go disturbing the resting place of he and his wife. As far as I'm aware, James never leaves that spot. He hasn't so much as moved more than ten feet in over 5 years. The only thing he moves for is to get people away from the graves. When I found him, he knew I was a Wizard only interested in him and his story. James was willing to talk to me only because I let him do all of the talking. I only figured out who his son was mid-way through the story, and I listened while James Potter told me the story of how he came to sit on his wife's grave. He also told me the story of how they came to be buried there together. Every Wizard wants to hear stories about the Potters and the Weasleys, and I've got a good one. Sit awhile, buy me another Butterbeer, and I'll tell you the whole tale. Mind you, don't go looking for James in those Vaults to fill in pieces that I bungle up though. He still doesn't take kindly to living strangers, and what scares me out of my robes is the fact that he hardly speaks with me anymore. Says he's concentrating on something. Anyway, I've got to use the loo. Sit a spell, and I'll be right back...