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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Seven: The Curse of Cedric Diggory, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Seven: The Curse of Cedric Diggory, pt. 1
I decided to split this chapter into two parts, leaving the title for this part--so chapter seven is "The Curse of Cedric Diggory." Chapter 6 has been changed to "A New Track." Madame Maxime greeting them is too clear a break to just continue an overlong chapter.

I noticed a lot of new anon posts on the last one--welcome! And I'm guessing a couple may have been thinking that their comments didn't post, and then posted again. I don't know why, but for some reason, LJ is screening all anon comments. I pretty much unscreen anything that's not spam or an accidental duplicate, but I have to check in and find it first! :D So don't worry if it doesn't show right up.

Anyway, James et al have arrived at Beauxbatons, where they, along with the Durmstrang contingent, have just been welcomed by Madame Maxime. They are standing at the edge of a path lined with Beauxbatons students, some of them, in pairs, sending up arches made of golden fireworks.

(French speakers, please French-check. I'll be switching to all English soon enough, as everyone will be speaking French--that makes more sense in my head than it does in words--but James is still hearing a different language for the moment, and I'm leaning Google Translate!)


Table of Contents So Far




James had never felt quite so conspicuous in his life, even when he was walking along in Diagon Alley with Dad and tourists pointed at them. Then, it was just for a moment before they turned back to each other and whispered.

Here, every Beauxbatons student lining the path was giving undivided attention to the visitors. James felt insanely sure that they could tell that he hadn't blown his nose before getting out of the carriage. It also occurred to him that his robes were too short by about half an inch, and his trainers had mismatched laces--one was flat, and the other was tube-shaped. He'd broken a lace at Quidditch practice and borrowed one from Michael.

The Beauxbatons students, on the other hand, seemed quite perfect. They wore robes of a stunning shade of blue, made from what looked like silk, given how it fluttered in the very light breeze. The were all perfectly coiffed--some girls with long, shining loose hair like Aunt Fleur's, others with intricate updos; the boys all wearing their hair universally well-trimmed and of respectable length--making James think about Aunt Fleur's annoyance when Marie went through her tomboy phase and went about with scraped knees under cut-off shorts. James didn't even see anyone with a bad case of spots; they must have had a monumental supply of bubotuber pus.

"I feel like I should have done something with my hair," Celia whispered under a tight smile as they walked.

James didn't answer, but he quite sympathized, and was glad he was the only one among his siblings not to have inherited Dad's mad hair (though Lily had learned to deal with it better than Al had). It was a bit longer than Nana Weasley liked it, but at least it behaved itself.

Two boys ran up to flank Madame Maxime, walking backward beside her as they approached the castle. The one on her right side spoke in English. The one on her left, James couldn't hear. He supposed it was a spell, and the boy was translating into German or Russian or whatever the language of instruction was at Durmstrang.

"We're 'appy to 'ave you 'ere," the boy speaking English said. "As you 'ave seen, we 'ave made a garden just for our guests, but you are, of course, welcome to all of the grounds. The Sentinelle forms our eastern boundary. The garden wall is to the south. The mountains embrace us to the north and west. You will have noticed the path coming down from the mountains to your north. This is Ville-Sauvage, the ruins of an ancient wizarding village which lie entirely within our grounds." The translator paused, and laughed at something Madame Maxime said, then went on. "Madame Maxime reminds Beauxbatons students as well as telling our guests that Ville-Sauvage is not to be visited without teachers. There are many dangers."

The group approached a row of marble arches, and when they came through it, James was looking at a vast, round complex of formal gardens that stretched from the palace to the gate. The path curved around toward the front of the palace.

Madame Maxime and the translators stopped at the door. She smiled brightly and said something--James realized that he couldn't hear her, either, just her translator, who said, "We 'ave a fine lunch waiting for everyone, and after we 'ave eaten, the Tournament will open."

The spell broken, and Madame Maxime called out, "Élèves de Beauxbâtons, vous pouvez maintenant accueillir nos invités!"

The students relaxed, and formed an informal crowd around the visiting delegations, urging them inside with nudges.

The round entrance hall of Beauxbatons was bright white, with gold trimming. James looked up to see a mural on the ceiling, showing a pair of witches dressed, for some reason, like Greek goddesses. Their arms encircled the rotunda, their hands clasped. Each set of clasped hands held a wand, and the wands cast a light spell that climbed up to the top of the rotunda, where it burst into a chandelier shape of free-floating, candle-sized flames. Life-sized marble statues stood in niches around the hall; James looked behind himself and found a strangely beguiling, small witch whose plaque identified her as Fanfreluche.

Although he was hardly the only one looking around, the press of Beauxbatons students, who were undoubtedly accustomed to this, pushed them forward into the dining chamber.

If pressed to make a guess about the appearance of the dining chamber before arriving there, James would have assumed it to be something like the Great Hall at Hogwarts. He was aware from conversations with Aunt Fleur that Beauxbatons didn't have anything like the Hogwarts house system, but he'd still half-expected long tables, lined up and pointing to a high table at the front.

There was a high table--beautifully appointed and sitting on a dais at the far end of the room--but beyond that, nothing was as James would have expected from his experience at Hogwarts. The room was taken up by at least fifty little round tables, each decorated and beribonned for the occasion with symbols of all the schools, and of the Tournament. (Each seat, in fact, had a miniature goblet of fire, stuffed with orange and red wrapped sweets, as a party favor.) A buffet table went the full length of one wall. Opposite it were several stations where one might get any drink one fancied (within limits, James presumed).

At the high table, the other two Triwizard judges were already seated. Dani Villanueva was looking around with great interest. Denis Laurent was chatting with a nicely dressed older witch. Aunt Fleur's sister, Gabrielle DuLac, was at the end of the table, and she waved cheerfully to James and Celia. James waved back, as students flowed around him.

The Beauxbatons students made their way to what James assumed were their usual tables, which held a dozen easily, though they didn't seem to be filling up entirely.

"Where do we sit?" Abby Carrow whispered loudly to Robards.

"Er..."

Madame Maxime apparently heard, because she said, "Our guests may sit where they please!" She added, in French, to the Beauxbatons students, "I hope you will all show hospitality. NOW."

With that, there was a rush of activity, as the Beauxbatons students realized that they'd left their guests standing alone at the door. James found himself swept off to a table near the drink stations (closest to a wine bar), and was glad he spoke French, as the boy who had grabbed his arm didn't seem to speak English very well. He'd got as far as, "Seet on zeez tablet" before James said, "Merci," and began speaking to him in French, which made him more relaxed.

"You are from Hogwarts, then?" he asked. "I've read all about the last tournament. Is there still a maze?"

"No," James said. "That was taken down. It was on our Quidditch pitch. I'm James, by the way."

"Valentin Blanc. They closed your Quidditch? Oh, yes. I read that. They aren't playing our Quidditch, either, but I don't think they'll turn the pitch into anything."

A few others sat down, including a red-headed girl and a boy with the first imperfection James had spotted: A pair of thick specs.

"Are we meant to go to the buffet table?" James asked, wondering if there would suddenly be a line.

"I'm not sure," the girl said. "Usually, it's full, but it's a special feast, isn't it?"

She introduced herself as Marine Faure, and the new boy as Yanis Morel. By the time she'd finished, more people were there, including a girl dragging along a Durmstrang boy. There was only one seat left, and suddenly, Marine kicked it away. James looked up to see a girl in blue robes that looked like she'd just got out of a bad day in Potions. She had quite a cute face, and her hair was as perfectly done as anyone's, but her clothes were in bad shape, and her wand, which was half-raised, was splintery. She turned up her nose and walked away, as though she was the one deliberately snubbing James's table. James watched her progress to a few other tables, going through the same pantomime, until she happened upon one at the same time Madame Maxime was looking her way. She sat down at it.

"Who is that?" he asked.

"Elodie Lejeune," Yanis said. "Watch out for her--she's got a mean streak. Put Valentin in hospital for a week last year."

Valentin leaned conspiratorially toward James. "They say you have a werewolf with your contingent. A letter went out. Which is it?"

James, who was beginning to wish someone else had chosen him for the table, said, "It's hard to tell, isn't it?"

This didn't seem to impress them, and they began guessing. Obviously, Celia's name had been in the letter, as they didn't guess at any boys. Abby Carrow seemed the popular choice, with her uneven, prominent teeth. They guessed properly, though, when they looked over at the table that had chosen Celia, and saw that everyone sitting there was suddenly looking quite awkward. Celia caught James looking in her direction and shook her head extravagantly. Finally, another girl seemed to work up her courage and pull Celia into a conversation. From the looks of it, it was about boys, as the other girl had a frantically cheerful look as she pointed out several of her classmates.

Looking around, everyone else seemed to be settling in well. Scops Malfoy had quite a crowd of younger students around him, and looked both alarmed and delighted by it. Electa Campbell was having what looked like an intense conversation with a girl who had beaded black hair. Simon Frobisher appeared to be asking Elodie Lejeune about something, and getting a surprised-looking response. The Durmstrang students were doing just as well.

Madame Maxime, now at the high table between Robards and Shevchenko, stood and raised her glass. "To new friends," she said, first in French, then in English, then in German. Everyone raised a glass in return. She nodded. "Then the feast shall begin."
18 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2011 08:57 am (UTC) (Link)
A bit of a French-check here:
Fanferluche should be Fanfreluche, please (I like the name btw :))

"Élèves de Beauxbâtons, vous êtes à l'aise pour accueillir nos invités!" I’m not entirely sure what you meant here. Is it "you are now free to welcome our guests"? If so, I suggest "vous pouvez maintenant accueillir nos invités!"

"They closed your Quidditch? Oh, yes. I read that. They aren't playing our Quidditch, either, but..." Is it just me, or does that sound awkward in English? I was wondering if you’d started by making Valentin speak a broken English, before changing your mind and putting the whole conversation in French (rendered into English). Maybe I’m just understanding it wrong, never mind.
-Sylvia
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I forget exactly what I put in the hopper to get that line; I'll just replace it with yours.

That English is a little awkward. I think I was just thinking in terms of accented English, and hadn't completely made the head-switch yet!
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 19th, 2011 09:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I love James' sudden gratitude for his hair! But poor Celia, she's not having a good evening....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
No. Having some warning from Madame Maxime didn't help entirely after she's gotten so used to everybody at Hogwarts being more or less cool with her.
filigree10 From: filigree10 Date: September 19th, 2011 11:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, Elodie sounds interesting! Is she a Snape type, being picked on but able to give as good as she gets? Dying to find out how her character develops...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if she's a Snape-type yet. The other students don't like her very well and she returns the sentiment, but I don't know if her "mean streak" is a dark arts streak, or just a bit of a random temper that she's got.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2011 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)

So Exciting!

It's so wonderful to finally get to see Beauxbatons. I've been wondering what the Ville Sauvage of your title was all about. Nice to start to get a sense of it.

This all makes me wish that you would also do a story about the Tri-Wizard at Durmstrang, so we could "see" your vision of the school there.

Happy Writing!

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: So Exciting!

Well, if they go back to the every-five-years schedule, Lily would be a sixth year when that happens...
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 19th, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

aww..WOW... LOL should have guessed...

it amused me So very much how self-aware and overly conscious James Jr became, of every little thing out of place on his person, when he walked on Beauxbaton. (I don't remember if Harry waa physically self-conscious- but the attitude of feeling incredibly awkard in public because Everyone is looking at you is definitely harry- inherited. aw...)

that being said, it does not surprise me one bit, as I'm sure ANYONE would feel enormously self-conscious in comparison to any of the Beauxbaton students. they have this air of perfect greek gods, and the awkardness is very palpable.

that being said their "Great Hall" seems beautiful.

I found it.... sort of sweet that all the beauxbaton students seemed so interest in the hogwarts students- seems a nice contrast to how it happened in hogwarts (I mean I know hogwarts students Talked to people from the other schools- but there was that air of otherness- intimidating to approach thing on it when beauxbaton students and durstrang students went to hogwarts)

the girl with the bad shaped clothes- was a bit of fresh air among the impecable sea of students- but of course it then turns out she's the beauxbaton cross between a malfoy (the snobbiness and mean streak) and pansy parkinson (being a girl)

but things seem a bit better than i expected
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: aww..WOW... LOL should have guessed...

I think the whole palace is in a really ornate, rococo scheme.

Harry was known to try (unsuccessfully) to straighten his hair, but I don't think we ever saw him walk through the middle of a crowd giving him a salute. ;p
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 19th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eek! Everything and everyone looks so alarmingly perfect at Beauxbatons, so there has to be something lurking below the surface that's a bit less pretty. There must surely be more to Elodie's story than meets the eye, and I look forward to finding out what it is. Also look forward to seeing how Celia handles being an outed (not that she'd hide it herself) werewolf in France. Will she have the chance to see the cubs at all?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
She'll do her transformations up there. I think I'll see about getting some holiday time at the sanctuary village, too.
oliversgal07 From: oliversgal07 Date: September 19th, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh cafeteria politics

I have to say that their great hall is so much more of what I am used to here in the states. Rushing to get your table and whatnot.

Interesting group that we have met, and the horror of thick glasses!

Can't wait for more!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh cafeteria politics

It's more like what I remember too--with the school outcast wandering around, not welcome at any table.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 19th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Look at all those new people! I hope they get used to Celia soon, she's so nice.

Beauxbatons sounds idyllic. I can't wait to explore more of it!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's definitely beautiful there. I figure Fleur probably wasn't kidding about that.

Don't know how quickly they'll get used to Celia.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 21st, 2011 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)

that's weird....

some of my comments didn't seem to show up either.
it told me they been "screened" and waiting for approval.

i'm sure LJ has an option for comments that says "allow all comments" or something.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2011 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: that's weird....

Actually, I figured it out by accidentally turning off everyone's--there's a drop-down on screening, and I thought I was allowing all comments, but it turned out I was screening all comments, so I chose to disable it instead.
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