Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Six: A New Track, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Six: A New Track, pt. 3
Okay, part 3, for once, isn't the end of the chapter. (Though I'm starting to think I may split this into two chapters in final form; I'm not going to worry about it at present!)

James and co are on the way to France on an enchanted train which has just gone through what is essentially a big Floo (same principle, anyway) that was set up just beyond Hogsmeade Station, and is now hurtling toward the unknown. They are currently in an observation deck on top of the main car. Below them are the girls' and boys' dormitories, where the beds, once chosen, took on their house colors. Scops has picked the bed nearest James and started asking family questions, mostly to be friendly, before they all had to go up to join Robards on the deck.

My French was corrected--as is necessary, as I speak not a word outside of counting to ten and singing Frère Jacques--so the name of the unplottable wizarding department in France is now "Alpes Fantômes" (I will have to memorize the alt-code for the "ô"--ALT0244!). I rather expect that will, er, happen a lot. ;p In fact, a brief moment of French dialogue and the name of a town probably need checking here, and are subject to sudden changes."

In my desperate need to goof around, I made a Map of Beauxbatons.

Table of Contents So Far

With a screech of metal on metal, the train found tracks again, and the bright green flames blazed once more, then faded. The train was now barreling along a high mountain track, cut into the living rock. Behind him, James could see an archway like the one they'd left in Scotland. The flames had already died.

The train was slowing as it approached an open-air station, beyond which a village glittered in the bright sunlight. On the far side of the village, a wide blue river sparkled, and beyond the river, the mountains rose up again. In the distance, James could see the range curving around. The map Aunt Fleur had given him showed Beauxbatons there, at the point of the mountains' embrace.

"Welcome to Ste.-Marthe-sur-Sentinelle," Robards said. "It's the prefecture of the department of Alpes-Fantômes. We won't stop long, but as Beauxbatons isn't normally served by rail, arrangements need to be completed."

"How do they get to school?" Sybil Horowitz wondered aloud.

Robards checked a guidebook he was carrying, then said, "Looks like most of the wizarding population lives either here in Alpes-Fantômes or in and around Paris. They send the carriages around Alpes-Fantômes, and there's a direct link from the wizarding district in Paris to Ste. Marthe. The handful who live outside those areas don't cause any more questions than they normally would trying to get to one place or the other on the first day of school."

Celia stood up and peered out the front windows. She pointed toward the mountains and looked at James. "See the middle peak? That's where the sanctuary village is. We almost never come down here, though. I think Neil got his wand here, but I went to Ollivander's." She added this last fiercely, as though someone had accused her of buying a French wand.

The train pulled into the little station and stopped, and burly witches and wizards with scattered burns on their bare arms ran out onto the track, pulling switches and casting spells.

"Your papers have already been approved," Robards said. "You are welcome guests of France for the year, as students."

"Papers!" Darcy Lynch exclaimed. "I've never traveled with papers!"

"Well, the usual Muggle government business becomes a bit silly when people can Disapparate in and out of the country without a barrier," Robards told her, "so we don't typically bother with it in the magical community. However, you'll be staying here for the better part of the year. That's a rather different situation. Each of you is magically recognizable with a simple spell, so there's no need to carry anything around within the magical world. Should you venture into the Muggle world, we will need to arrange for proper documents."

A bell sounded, and Robards tapped the wall of the carriage with his wand. A second later, one of the rail workers appeared with a pop. "Tout est prêt," he said, then, with a heavy accent, translated, "Everything eez ready."

Robards nodded and said, with an even worse accent on his French, "Merci. Que devons-nous faire?"

The worker smiled forgivingly and said, "Seet tight. Eez fast from 'ere. Eez ready for you. Good luck." He gave an encouraging sort of look to the students, pointed off to the side of the tracks for some reason. James couldn't see anything, but he noticed with some alarm that the engine was now subtly pointed in that direction.

The worker Disapparated and appeared on the ground, waving.

The engine blew its whistle, and James felt the wheels begin to move, heading off the track.

With a blaze of steel in the sunlight, tracks began to lay themselves out magically in front of the engine, snapping into place even as the train raced toward them, forming a new, clean line that was reaching toward the river.

Around them, the sun-drenched world of Alpes-Fantômes spread itself out like an enchanted playground--which, James supposed, it was in some ways. They passed vineyards and gardens, chateaus and cottages. A large statue of a tarasque, a dragon-like creature with a turtle shell, raised its head lazily from its perch just outside Ste. Marthe, seeming surprised at this intrusion. As the train picked up speed, it was harder to catch things--tiny images flitted by like phantoms themselves: a pretty witch surrounded by a halo of grapes she was Levitating somewhere, a group of small children playing Quidditch on a distant farm, stately gardens rolling up toward a great manor. After forty minutes, the tracks began to turn, finally going parallel to the river as they went north, toward the curve of the mountains.

"There it is!" Scops shouted suddenly as they followed a bend in the river. He was pointing to a gleaming white castle that rose up on a hill behind beautifully crafted walls. James couldn't see much of the grounds from here, but before another curve changed their angle, he saw the glint of water. He wished he'd brought the map Aunt Fleur had given him--he remembered there being a fountain there, in the center of their gardens, but he couldn't remember the name.

To James's surprise, the tracks didn't turn toward what seemed to be the main gate. "Professor Robards--we're passing it!"

Robards laughed. "Beauxbatons is excited to have a train, but they didn't want the tracks to go right through their gardens. They've built a bridge gate further ahead for us to enter... ah, I see Durmstrang beat us here!"

James looked ahead as he felt the train slowing. The first thing he saw was a quaint-looking bridge across the Sentinelle, the river that guarded the east boundary of Beauxbatons (as well as providing the taproot for the power of Alpes-Fantômes itself). Then, just beyond it, he saw the black mast of a ship that was anchored in the water. The river shouldn't have been deep enough to navigate in a boat that size, but of course, Durmstrang's navigation didn't have very strict requirements of its routes. In the crow's nest was a thin-faced girl with black hair. She saluted the Hogwarts train, then started to climb down, presumably to tell the others.

The train chugged across the bridge at a much slower pace, and a white gate topped with a giant crossed stone wands loomed ahead of them. It opened, and the Hogwarts train entered Beauxbatons Academy.

The tracks went around a wide arc, forming a large half-circle bordered by the river. This seemed to have been a planned area, as hedges had already been planted along the path the tracks were building, and a new-looking fountain, showing a witch with flowing hair flanked by two brave-looking wizard companions, had been erected at the center. They were standing atop a stylized stone version of the Triwizard cup, whose brim overflowed with water that sparkled in the afternoon sunlight. The train finally came to a stop facing the Durmstrang ship. The engine detached itself, and, with a burst of green sparks that came from its stack, disappeared.

"Well, here we are," Robards said. "Clean up, get your robes on, and assemble outside in five minutes to meet our hosts."

There was a great rush then, as everyone pushed to get down the spiral staircase to the dormitories. James grabbed his best set of school robes and put them on and glanced in a mirror to make sure he wasn't entirely disheveled from traveling ("You'll be fine!" it said bracingly). He was the first out of the boys' dormitory, though Celia and Electa were both done from the girls. They went downstairs and outside together. It was almost unpleasantly warm, though James imagined he'd get used to it pretty quickly. A round area abutting the hedge, covered with flagstones, seemed to be the gathering point. The air had a rich, flowery scent that was drifting over from the walled gardens he could see beyond the hedge to the south. To the north, where the mountain came down toward the river, their was a forbidding looking path that disappeared into a tunnel partway up.

"It is varm, no?" someone said.

James turned to see a girl he thought may have been the one in the crow's nest of the Durmstrang ship earlier. She looked older than he was, probably of age, though she wore her hair in a bouncy pony tail just like Lily sometimes did. Her face was thin and narrow, and her eyes were very dark and large. She was pulling at the collar of her scarlet robes.

"It's definitely warm," James said. "I'm James Potter. Er... Hogwarts. Obviously."

"Veronika Horvat," she said. "Durmstrang." Her nervous smile shook a bit, and she added, "I say always that Durmstrang robes are too heavy. I do not vare at home in Croatia."

James shrugged. "I, er... I don't wear school robes at home in London, either, but... well, it's just because I don't."

Veronika Horvat nodded happily, and James wasn't sure if it was because she was glad to hear that someone else didn't wear school robes at home, or because she'd managed to conduct a conversation in English.

It occurred to him a moment too late to introduce Veronika to Celia and Electa; she was called to the Durmstrang group before he could do anything about it.

The rest of the Hogwarts contingent arrived, and Robards got them lined up as well as he could. On the other side of the flagstones, the Shevchenko got the Durmstrang students lined up.

The hedge suddenly rose up, creating a living, evergreen gate. On the far side of it, James could now see a path of crushed white marble, winding among olive trees toward the gardens and ultimately the palace. At the moment, the sides of it were lined with Beauxbatons students, craning their heads eagerly to see the newcomers. Pairs of older students were stationed in pairs along the way, holding up their wands and forming arches of glittering gold fireworks over the path.

Madame Maxime was waiting with a pleasant smile. "My dear friends," she said in English. "Welcome to Beauxbatons."
79 comments or Leave a comment
Page 1 of 3
[1] [2] [3]
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2011 08:13 am (UTC) (Link)
What's 'Ste.' short for?

He gave an encouraging sort of look to the students, pointed off to the side of the tracks for some reason. -- Does this mean that he pointed his encouraging look to the side, or that he gave them an encouraging look and then pointed to the side?

Seems like it would be quite scary to ride a train where the tracks were being laid just before the train reached them. But then, a lot of wizarding transportation is scarier than I'd want to try.

On the other side of the flagstones. -- What's on the other side of the flagstones from what?

I'm so excited to see how this story will go. It's already so much fun. I can't wait to see what the tasks will be. Do you have any rough idea how long this story will end up?

- Severely Lupine
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's 'Ste.' short for?

"Sainte" (feminine "saint"), like in the cities of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario and Michigan.

The little flagstone patio by the hedge where they're all gathering. At least I think I put that in. I'm now hoping that I didn't imagine going back and putting it in just so that the Durmstrang kids had the other side of something to stand on!

I have a plan that takes me to about Chapter 18, but I've already added one chapter (Marauder's Roost), and chapter 18 isn't the end... making a guess, I'd put it in the realm of thirty chapters.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay, welcome to Beauxbâtons!
On the downside, I was sad to learn almost no wizards live in my area - *pouts* (for the record, I'm from around Toulouse in the South-West) ;p

I was pleasantly surprised to see you introduce a tarasque; I had no idea that bit of French folklore was know abroad – or did you do some research? Now that you've introduced a tarasque statue, I want to see a real one!

Your French sentences were OK and the name of the village sounds good.
You did make a small mistake with the word "château" which in the plural takes an 'x', not an 's' – châteaux.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah yes--it's Unplottable, but I'm picturing the Southeast (I Google-drove around Alpes-Maritimes for looks).

I looked up legends of southern France to find the tarasque (and St. Martha). Maybe they'll have one in the Magizoological gardens!
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 17th, 2011 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)
YAY they've arrived! One of my favorite things in fics is seeing the wizarding world in places outside Britain, so this story is making me really happy by giving an extended look at French witches and wizards. :)

On the other side of the flagstones. -- This sounds kind of funny and abrupt. Should it be part of another sentence?

Pairs of older students were stationed in pairs along the way, -- Might want to take out one of those "pairs." ;)
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 17th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)

one more thing!

(I will have to memorize the alt-code for the "ô"--ALT0244!) When I was writing a lot of Tolkien stuff, I had my AutoCorrect set up to correct words with their accents. You could set "Fantomes" to be autocorrected to "Fantômes." :)
From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 17th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Should you venture into the Muggle world, we will need to arrange for proper documents.

The documentation issues is interesting. Unless they're becoming residents (I don't think you would, if you're only staying for under a year and you're not working or needing to rent a flat), they don't need anything, apart from a Muggle passport, because they're EU citizens and have an absolute right to live and work in any other EU country. (Getting the residency permit is just a matter of showing your passport and proof of address). But wouldn't they have sorted passports before they left Britain?

In practice, although you're supposed to carry a passport, most people who are in the country for an extended period don't bother, because of the risk of having it stolen. The only reason anyone would ask for your passport is if you've attracted the attention of the police (or possibly been fare-dodging on public transport), or maybe if you were being I.D'ed buying alcohol, though that would be about establishing your age, rather than anything else. I've certainly never had to show my passport anywhere in the EU, except, ironically, when re-entering Britain, because Britain isn't part of the Schengen (open borders) agreement).
From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 17th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ste. Martha is a perfect name choice, incidentally!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2011 01:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

you were really waiting for this part....

and it shows.
great, elaborate detail eveywhere in the description, it does create a very fleshed out idea of beauxbaton.

are you going to be using in the future, any of the throwaway details Fleur gave away of beauxbaton in goblet of fire- or beaubaton changed a lot since then?

keep it up this is great

~Alex wells
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: you were really waiting for this part....

I'll definitely be using some of Fleur's details around Christmas, and I'm already using her repeated annoyance about how cold Scotland is!
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 17th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wow- *swoon*

the wait for Beauxbaton was worth it!- it sounds Gorgeous! very picturesque and fairy-tale like (Versailles inspired?)

the descriptions (the statues, the lake, the vineyards and gardens...) really make me wish it was possible to visit it.

what a magnificent first impression, Bravo Fern!

can't wait to see what Inside Beauxbaton looks like. :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wow- *swoon*

There was definitely a little Versailles in it. And a villa I found a long time ago and can't remember where it is. ;p
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 17th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Forgot to mention- Good on Robard....

Maybe it was just my impression when I read that part but...
I really like that Robard took into consideration the Muggle laws governing traveling.

maybe it was just a precaution to not risk trouble with the ministry, regarding the status of secrecy....

but the way I read it, he came across as taking a leaf out of Dumbledore- Arthur Weasley's book- or of his own accord- in taking the muggle world into consideration instead of going "pffft who cares? it's too much trouble and paperwork- we'll just obliviate any muggles who see anything"

I liked that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Forgot to mention- Good on Robard....

I think that's most likely true--they don't want the kids getting into trouble that they'd have be magically extricated from.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 17th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

"...or because she'd managed to conduct a conversation in English."

Or because Our Jamie has made another conquest?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: "...or because she'd managed to conduct a conversation in English."

Eh, James is probably just a little boy to Veronika, but who knows? Maybe she doesn't realize that he's really just fifteen. (Of course, she's all of the lofty age of seventeen, so...)
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 17th, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

also maybe it's just me and i'm being nickpicky...

but that's Two international GIRLs we meet (Daniela villanueva and Veronika)
but no boys so far!

i'm sure some will show up but i just found it amusing that they seem to not be prominent so far. ;p
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: also maybe it's just me and i'm being nickpicky...

Heh, yes, they'll show up.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 17th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
New pretty castles! New people! This is so exciting!

I love that you made a map!

I've been staring at my keyboard for a while now, wondering why you don't have all the French accents and I do though I don't (normally) need them either. à ç ô
I would be very sad if I didn't have a circumflex key, though, because then I wouldn't be able to make this emoticon ^_^ and it's my favourite!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
My guess is a South American market might have some of them since Portuguese uses them, too. I imagine you have an ñ key, which would be very useful here in the southwest, but for which we have to do ALT0241 for...

Why tildes? - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)


i haven't read your fics in a long time so i decided to look again
and there's a new fic! in Beauxbaton!

i'm going to catch up on it now but it looks good.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: hi

Hope you like!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
long, long time! a new fic! yay!

when did you started this one? where can i find the first chapter? please?


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you go to the top of the post and click "Table of Contents So Far," it will take you to a page with all of the parts.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)


re-reading the previous fics you did for the next gen- i'm confused on the timeline of thiS one.

this is James 4 or 5 year?

*Betthany Anne
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: confused

James is in his fourth year. His birthday was in late September, so he's fifteen, but just in his fourth year.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really, really like Robards, he is cool. I need to read over the stuff he's in and the rest of the story, but he seems cools.
nice new headmaster just as cool as McGonagall, Dumbledore and Sprout.

is Sprout still teaching?


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sprout is retired--she was headmistress for a while--Neville taught her old subject--and now she's just living a life of leisure.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like Celia.

don't remember her a lot since i haven't read your fics in a while, but she seems really fun

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Celia is very briefly introduced in Hunter's Moon, where Vivian is forced by Greyback to bite her. Teddy didn't take much notice of her, but James is a little besotted.
79 comments or Leave a comment
Page 1 of 3
[1] [2] [3]