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"Lines of Descent" prequel fic for kaluptein - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
"Lines of Descent" prequel fic for kaluptein
Oh, no, this is the last on the "Challenge me" thread! (sjepstein sent me a Han/Obi-Wan challenge by e-mail, which I have still to do, and last night's gave me a Mehadi Patil bunny, but then... eek, back to thinking up my own challenges! The horrors!)

At any rate, in "Lines of Descent," Elizabeth mentions that she was bitten on her honeymoon, and kaluptein wanted to know about the honeymoon itself. (I just remembered, for any Elizabeth fans, I did a meme on two of my OCs, Elizabeth and Daj Orti from Family Portrait, which lists a whole bunch of a little details.)

This isn't a normal time for me to write, but they're running a marathon outside my place of business, ergo there's no work today, ergo I need to find some other excuse not to do housework. So, a challenge.

Start 2:36 (plus five minutes for very minimal research)



Germany. The Black Forest. 1945.

Elizabeth Hodgkiss--Phelan! she reminded herself--Apparated in the quiet glade and looked around with delight. Small white flowers dotted the forest floor, and the trees arched prettily above her. Oh, the shadows were deep enough, almost as deep as she'd imagined them as a girl hearing stories, but the overwhelming sense was that of reprieve, of respite. She could smell a stream nearby, and hear it gurgling over its rocks. Small animals scurried around in the underbrush.

It was like the Forbidden Forest back at Hogwarts, but it went on for miles and miles.

There was a small pop, and she turned to find Maddoc, glancing around with appreciation. She ran to him and kissed him.

"It's perfect!" she said. "Oh, I don't know why I didn't recognize the coordinates the second you told me! I've always wanted to come here!"

"I remember." He took her hand. "The war's over. Finally. No more Grindelwald. So I thought--why not Germany? Why not the Forest?"

"That's why I love you," Elizabeth said. "Any other husband would think Paris, or the Riviera. Or maybe out of Europe entirely. But you choose this." She sniffed the air deeply. "Oh, Maddoc, I've read stories about this place since I was a child! Dwarves helping people, deep magic..."

"Well, I haven't heard much of the dwarves. But the magic is deep enough here. This part of the forest is unplottable. It's a preserve for the magical creatures."

"Really?"

"Really."

She took his other hand and kissed him again, then waggled her eyebrows. "Shall we be a couple of magical creatures, right here in the open air?"

Maddoc's eyes shot open. "My goodness, Elizabeth... I think we should move here." He grinned. "Unfortunately, we're about sixty feet from a ranger's hut. It's a well-traveled path. Perhaps we should wait until we reach our campsite."

"All right," she said, feigning disappointment. "If we must. It's a full moon tonight, though. It should be... beautiful."

He nibbled her ear for a moment. "It's always beautiful," he said. "You're always beautiful."

"Mmmm.... campsite. Ranger's hut."

"Right."

They clasped hands and followed a path that appeared as soon as they moved from their Apparition point. It was lined with tangled briar roses, and followed a curved route to a an open garden, bursting with late summer blooms. A clutch of white flowers nestled by the door of a picturesque hut, with ivy growing wildly on the walls. Elizabeth frowned at them.

"What is it?" Maddoc asked.

"Moonflowers," she said. "I studied them for my Herbology NEWT, but I never saw one before. They're restricted in England."

"Why?"

"Something about lycanthropy," she said. "Muggles believed that they caused it, which is poppycock, but there was something..." She shook her head. "Well, we're in a magical preserve. I suppose everything is allowed here."

"And protected."

"Yes."

Maddoc knocked on the door, and a small, tired-looking woman opened it. She was chewing nervously on her lip. "May I help you?" she asked in very stilted English.

"The Phelans," Maddoc told her. "We reserved a campsite."

"Yes, yes. Of course. Come in."

Elizabeth followed her inside, Maddoc a few steps behind. This hut was almost too much like the stories. Elizabeth found herself expecting a creature of some sort to jump out from behind the sofa.

Oh, it's just for tourists like me, she told herself. Trying to recapture those spooky old tales.

But it wasn't, not entirely. There were children in the room--six of them--so quiet that Elizabeth hadn't noticed them at all. Three small, dirty boys were playing with a bouncing rubber ball. An older brother and sister--twins, she guessed--seemed to be speaking, but they'd done a charm so that no one could hear the oldest, a girl of perhaps thirteen years, sat alone, sullenly staring at the fire. Surely, children were not engaged in this.

Elizabeth wanted very badly to get to the campsite. The Forest was lovely, and she wanted to be back out in it, not here, with this overbearing strangeness.

The woman checked a long scroll on the kitchen table and started to write out Apparition coordinates. Suddenly, she stopped, her hand going so tight that it snapped the spine of her quill.

Elizabeth turned.

A man was standing behind her--huge and unpleasant looking. He had bushy eyebrows and twisted musles, and he was carrying an armful of moonflowers. They didn't soften his appearance.

"Herr Dengler?" Maddoc said. "We corresponded.

"Yes. Honeymoon. Your site is ready." His voice was gruff, but his English nearly unaccented.

"Thank you."

The woman handed Maddoc the slip with the coordinates on it, and he paid her for the lodging.

"Just go to the back," she said. "You paid, so you Apparate from there."

"Right." Elizabeth tugged on Maddoc's arm, wanting to be out of there.

He nodded and led her through. The set up was the same as it was at any other wizarding campsite Elizabeth had visited--and she'd visited quite a few--Apparition to the individual sites was blocked from public areas. It could only be accessed through the paid area, the Gateway. She was glad to step into it.

Herr Dengler followed them out, his arms still full of moonflowers. Behind him, his oldest daughter tentatively sidled into the clearing.

Dengler smiled, the forced smile of a man who was trying to be pleasant when he was unused to being around people. He held out a flower. "For the new-married lady," he said. "They only grow here, now."

Elizabeth took it. "Thank you, Herr Dengler."

"You should wear it. The scent of moonflowers beneath the moon... " His smile became mischievous. "I think you will both enjoy it. It is... good for much energy."

"Well, er... thank you," Maddoc said awkwardly.

Elizabeth sniffed the flower. It was a heady scent--not entirely pleasant, but rich and intoxicating.

The daughter came forward, staring at the flower. Her father gave her one, tucking it behind her ear, and kissed her cheek. She looked at him mutely, then looked at Elizabeth, at the flower, at her hands.

"Go inside, Rillie," Dengler said.

Rillie looked somberly at Elizabeth. "No... English... moon..."

"That's right," Dengler told her in English. "It's their honeymoon. So you leave them be."

Rillie started to say something else, but scurried back inside instead.

"Teenage girls," he said. "The world is always ending."

"Yes. I remember," Elizabeth said, and tried on a smile. She was being unfair--quiet children were not ominous. What would she do if she ever got a quiet child of her own? Assume he was under an evil spell? "Thank you for the gift," she said, and tucked the flower behind her ear.

A moment later, they Disapparated, and Apparated in a secluded grove of trees. A small wooden house with briar roses twisting along the windows sat amid the trees.

Elizabeth's sense of disquiet disappeared. "It's perfect!" she said. "Maddoc, it's just like a storybook!"

He laughed. "Shall we do some living happily ever after?"

She gave him her wickedest grin, and beckoned him inside.




Darkness fell in green shadows shifting to black, and Elizabeth snuggled closer to Maddoc, now asleep and snoring lightly. She herself was pleasantly tired, but not at all sleepy. The moonflower had fallen from her hair at some point in the afternoon, and was on the floor beside the bed. She let her arm drift down and scoop it up.

Lovely scent, really. Amazing scent. She would have to thank Herr Dengler for it in the morning. He seemed less strange in retrospect, really--a family man, probably the only one who spoke English well enough to speak to customers in that language, and the others were simply nervous about that.

She got out of bed carefully, so as not to wake Maddoc, but couldn't resist kissing the curve of his shoulder. He smiled in his sleep and rolled over.

She thought about waking him up, but didn't. He was lovely in the moonlight.

Instead, she went to the window, to look out across the silvery forest. She could see the rustling of the trees as creatures moved in them, and somewhere, she heard the soft cry of a distant bird. She went outside, and sat on the steps leading to the door, enjoying the feel of the night breeze rippling her silk nightgown, running its fingers through her loose hair.

"...Nicht wieder..."

Elizabeth's back straightened and she frowned.

The voice had carried on the breeze, soft and frightened. Elizabeth didn't speak German, but the words seemed desperately sad.

She looked over her shoulder, thought briefly of waking Maddoc up, but decided not to. It was a young girl speaking to the wind, and a girl might not want a man to hear such a thing.

"...nicht mehr..."

"Hello?" Elizabeth called.

"...Ich kann nicht..."

She took a step out away from the cabin, and another briar rose path opened out. She followed it.

It led up a small hill, lit brilliantly by the rising moon. Animals crept to either side.

"...nicht mehr..."

The voice was changing, deeping.

She emerged into a clearing at the top of the hill, and broke into a run.

There was a tree standing in the middle of the clearing, one long branch extending over a drop. Rillie Dengler was standing on it, a rope twisted about her neck, the other end wrapped around the branch.

"Rillie, no!" Elizabeth cried.

Rillie jumped.

Elizabeth heard the crack of her neck just before the branch cracked, but she couldn't think of anything to do other than keep on running. She reached the girl only seconds later, but her eyes were glassy, empty and...

The hair on the back of Elizabeth's neck prickled. Rillie's face was mostly what it had been earlier. But her eyes had gone yellow. And her mouth had... lengthened. Sharp teeth pushed down against her lips. Hair had sprouted on her arms, and bloody claws pushed through the ends of her fingers.

Around her neck, unbroken by the rope, was a chain of moonflowers.

"Oh, my Lord..."

Then, only a few feet behind her, she heard the growl.



End 3:51, extra two minutes for Babel-fishing for German.

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Comments
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: April 19th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
*whimpers*
kaluptein From: kaluptein Date: April 19th, 2004 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
o.O

And you're just going to leave it at that? Shame!


;) Wonderful, wonderful ficlet.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: April 20th, 2004 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow. Are you going to compile all these eventually? Wondering if I should be saving them as they appear.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2004 06:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I should at least be backing them up, I guess...

I may actually polish a couple of these up and get them in shape; the epilogue may be attached to the original LoD story. Some of them are too short to really put anywhere but here, though.
azaelia_culnamo From: azaelia_culnamo Date: September 19th, 2004 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow.... that's scary. Did Rillie get bitten by her father?
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