What a marvelous handful of glimpses into the lives affected by the first Riddle war, all these people we know from their later histories illumined at the start of it all. I love how deft you are at catching the little undercurrents of need and worry, the collisions between personal desire and the deadly pressure of larger responsibility. That conflict between wanting to ignore and stay safe and pretend it won't touch you versus the ethical questions of using violence to combat violence. Not to mention the inevitable truth that children are always drafted to fight these battles before they can possibly understand the complex, crushing forces that are about to take over (and in some cases, take away) their lives. It's fascinating to see the shadow lengthening, the threat just starting to become real, and how the various characters resist or accommodate that fact. Ordinary wizards already stretched thin by the demands of daily life are about to be stretched beyond their limits.
I was utterly persuaded by your precise, compassionate sketches of every character here, every little snapshot of personalities known in later, older, wearier versions. I particularly enjoyed the section with Minerva and Arabella, and Arabella's sense of not quite belonging, her ironic remark, in the midst of her fussiness, upon the irony of her brother inheriting the magic, because look what he's done with it. I also liked your skillfully-drawn miniatures of the Marauders, whom I don't much care for; but seeing them through Minerva's fond, exasperated POV made them endearing. And yes, so heartbreakingly young.
Really, there's nothing I would change about this. It's a lovely fic. The framing device of the Daily Prophet article, apparently unflattering to both sides, is cleverly done, the impact of it hinted at but never spelled out. And the ending - oh my, how perfect. It sent a chill through me, that suspended moment before the glass shatters, and Elias Mallet's courage in the face of known consequences. Because this is the beginning. Death and war are about to crash through all social restrictions. After this moment history begins, and we know where it will lead. *envies your delicate touch*