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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Eight: Safety Concerns, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Eight: Safety Concerns, pt. 3
Classes at Beauxbatons have started, and James has started to make some friends. He and Celia play some pick-up Quidditch with a handful of Beauxbatons students (they weren't keen on Celia at first, but they dealt with it), then to their surprise, they run into Nate Blondin, whose construction crew is there working on the first task. He's sworn to not tell anyone anything, but does manage to sneak Celia a copy of the Odyssey, which she deduces is a clue. She and James try to figure out what it might be.

Meanwhile, the incident after the Goblet chose champions, with the blood coming out of it, has been declared a bit of sabotage, with the blood being conjured, but that hasn't stopped people from speculating about it. Some think it's Amos. Some are still on Cedric. A few other names have come up.

Table of Contents So Far

On Monday morning, James had his first History of Beauxbatons class with Madame Laurent. He was looking forward to it. He liked Hogwarts history, and had enjoyed what he'd read about the history of San Cipriano de los Magos when he'd been learning about Dani. Schools were interesting places.

Everyone else seemed to think it would be deadly dull, despite assurances from Beauxbatons students that they couldn't have a better teacher, as Madame Laurent's own family had been in the Resistance during Grindelwald's war. Everyone was still envisioning a younger, prettier Binns. Well, everyone except Scops, who seemed to know a lot about other continental schools--even Durmstrang, which was famous for keeping itself to itself--and was already full of tales about Beauxbatons and the Revolution.

"That's when pretty much everyone came here," he said as they left the dining chamber after breakfast. "The Muggles got to thinking of witches and wizards as parts of old fairy tales, and they were from the court, and things from the court tended to get their heads cut off. It's not quite as easy to get away from a guillotine as it is to sneak out of a fire."

"Why not?" Sybil asked. "Just make the blade soft."

"That's the thing! They weren't entirely stupid. Everyone got searched for weapons--including wands--before they ended up there. So you went there and you could barely use magic!" Scops looked like he was getting warmed up to talk about heads rolling around a square in Paris, but they'd reached the corridor of classrooms where they were headed, and Madame Laurent was standing in a doorway, smiling.

"I see you 'ave learned some 'istory already," she said in English. "Come in, come in."

They settled into the classroom, where carefully crafted, blue velvet padded chairs were ranged around a square of polished dark wood tables.

"This building," Madame Laurent said, "was built just before the time you were talking about. There 'ad been an earlier Beauxbatons, in Paris proper, and zis was built as a country retreat. When ze Revolution came, we--"

"Retreated?" Scops said.

"Just so," Madame Laurent said. "Zis is when we made ze 'ole area Unplottable. Zey didn't want us, and it was quite mutual." She smiled. "But it 'as got better, you know. We 'ave an Unplottable wing at the Louvre now. Leonardo's magical work is quite divine."

After this, she went into her lecture, which was an overview of topics they'd cover through the year. She talked about the founding of the original school--not the Paris building, but a convent that had been founded by two witches in the middle ages. Mother Emelot had a vision of gathering pious witches and creating a convent where they would be free to practice within the bounds of their faith and its ethics. ("You must remember," Madame Laurent said, "zat at zees time, a convent was ze best place for women to be free.") Sister Theophania had been her first initiate, and later became her successor, and together, they built the school. By the time of Theophania's death, over fifty young witches were studying there under fifteen teachers who were members of Emelot's new order. (It wasn't said, but James deduced that Theophania and Emelot were the two witches in the rotunda. He wondered how they'd feel about being painted as Greek goddesses.) Seeing that a good school was keeping young witches from the temptations of their power, a wizard priest had been sent to start a school for young wizards, to use the same philosophy. The schools had eventually drifted somewhat from their religious mandate, and after about four hundred years of operating separately, had formally merged in France's first co-educational boarding school at around the same time Hogwarts had been founded. The remains of Emelot's order continued to run the school until the mid-1500s, but the Reformation was making it difficult to keep the magical community together under any religious auspices. They'd got an order to remove Protestant students, and instead of following it, became secular.

"And then the Revolution!" Scops put in.

"Well, zere were a few stops between, but not too terribly many. One of zem was building the palace you are sitting in now."

Celia looked around. "They must have been making a bit of gold to do this, once they decided they didn't need a vow of poverty."

"Beauxbatons 'as always 'ad generous donors," Madame Laurent said. "This land was given by a Muggle-born nobleman, 'o wanted to build us a palace for the ages. 'E unfortunately did not come 'ere when his kinsmen were gathered for the guillotine."

The Revolution appeared to be more or less as Scops had related it, though Madame Laurent didn't seem inclined to dwell on it. After it, the magical community, particularly with the help of Muggle-borns, had re-integrated somewhat into French society, though traditions sprang up even before the Statute of Secrecy that magic ought to be kept out of Muggle view.

Witches and wizards from Beauxbatons had been heavily--if secretly--involved in the Muggle life of France until the Great War, when young wizards had rushed off into the Muggle battles, leaving a generation of widows. It had hardly been surprising that there'd been an urge to retreat again after that, and unfortunately, according to Madame Laurent, it had left a lot of people sympathetic to Grindelwald's notions of everyone having a proper place to serve the Greater Good, which emphatically did not include going to war with Germany again.

At least until Hitler's Muggle war broke through the barriers and occupied France. Grindelwald had come along like a vulture in Hitler's wake, picking up the scraps left in the hidden magical world. The witches and wizards in the Vichy government, whether through belief or cravenness, had turned over the "undesirables" in their own community to the Nazis, and started the process of bringing the "pure" witches and wizards in line with Grindelwald's views.

"Grindelwald sent teachers 'ere. Some were from the government in Vichy. Men and women who had turned their own over to be murdered. Some even brought their stolen treasures. But we resisted in the end. We were told to close ze school if we would not comply, so we pretended to close it. But all along, ze students fought. Zey stayed 'ere on the grounds and made battle. My own grandfazzer led a cell of the Resistance from Ville-Sauvage. Grindelwald's people tried to destroy it, but when ze dust cleared, my grandfazzer stood zere, 'is wand raised, and told zem that they 'ad lost. Zat the world moved on and zey were no longer in it." She smiled. "It is a proud Beauxbatons story. Ze school resumed after it. My grandfazzer was 'Eadmaster, until my grandmuzzer died. 'E would be so pleased to see guests 'ere for ze tournament."

The bell rang.

"Well, zat is all we 'ave time for today," Madame Laurent said. "On Wednesday, we shall begin to look wis more depth."

"That's quite the head-full," Celia said thoughtfully. "I knew they'd fought in the war, of course, but I didn't know how much."

"She must be really proud of her grandfather," James said.

"Yeah..." Celia sighed as they reached the rotunda. "Well, I'm off to Potions. Aren't you in Magizoology?"


"See if you can hear water sloshing around in that paddock."

"You're still thinking about Scylla and Charybdis?"

"It's the Odyssey. The whole thing happens on the water, doesn't it?"


Without further discussion, James turned toward the main door, and Celia went up the stairs toward Potions.

Outside, the day seemed very bright, and everything seemed as in order as ever. James wondered how much of it had been destroyed when Grindelwald came through.

He joined the Beauxbatons fourth years near the Magizoological gardens, and walked with them back to the barns, where Madame Girard was trying to get a Runespoor to stop attacking itself. James was surprised that Hagrid hadn't acquired one of these yet. The Runespoor cage was near the walled paddock, and James took a few (hopefully unobtrusive) steps over. Things ought to have been visible through the slats--they were closely placed, but not airtight--but when he pressed his eye to the seam, everything beyond it was misty. He guessed it was a spell. Taking a few steps back, he noticed that he wasn't the only one who'd been looking. A single footprint had been pressed deep in the mud, and he guessed it was a broomstick kick-off, as there was a loose broom twig lying in the grass behind it. It was--

"Mr. Potter?" Madame Girard said. "Would you care to join the class?"

"Er... yeah," he said.

"Now, what are the functions of the Runespoor's three heads?"

Luckily, James knew that one--one was for planning, one for dreaming, and one for criticizing; Mum said that he, Al, and Lily were sometimes like a Runespoor--and he got easily back to class.

The rest of the day's classes were easy and uneventful, and when he got back to the train that evening, everyone was a in a good mood except for Scops. The third years had also been doing a Silencing Solution, and he'd been bad enough at it that Madame DuLac had given him extra homework. Unfortunately, his potion had bubbled and spit, and he was currently deaf in one ear. James helped him gather things up and set the potion to simmer on its own before the went to sleep, opening the windows to let the fumes out.

The flames were still flickering under it when he woke up again, but the sun wasn't coming through the windows. Instead, it was just the soft moonlight, and the most beautiful music James had ever heard.
12 comments or Leave a comment
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: October 1st, 2011 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I know what the hidden magical creature is! :D My years of studying classics had to be good for something . . . ;)

I'm really enjoying your story and always look forward to the next update. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2011 12:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Yeah, that mystery didn't last long...
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 1st, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Enjoyed reading about the confluence of the Muggle and magical worlds during major historical events. You must be having fun world-building. Beautiful music? I'm going to hold on to my initial theory about sirens.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2011 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I do enjoy world-building, and poking around in history. I did not know until I read an article on the ancien regime that France was referred to as "the eldest daughter of the Church." (Weirdly, the only thing I remember about French history--beyond the stuff everyone learns in school--is that my grandmother's great-grandmother's school taught in French in the morning and German in the afternoon. How's that for useless trivia?)
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 1st, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

now I really want to go to beauxbaton....

if only for their History of Magic class. that was such a brilliant, fascinating lesson.

and i admit, it got me misty eyed (both the bad- the poor wizards who died by guillotine or battles, and the good- the way beauxbaton defied both hitler and grindewald.)

From: (Anonymous) Date: October 1st, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

I agree with the motion....

Beauxbaton history of magic is way better taughted about that Hogwart's history of magic.

that was quite a treat to read

~Alex Wells
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2011 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I agree with the motion....

Glad you enjoyed!
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 1st, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

another thing that made me go all smiles

it was the fact it stated as a convent- had religious roots. that made me smile.

(there are still religious people in beauxbaton right?- I mean with the sanctuary and father alderman so close by..)

I think you said Fleur follows the rites? talks to father alderman or something similar...

or is it just like Hogwarts- as in there might be a handful of people but they do not make themselves stand out...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2011 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: another thing that made me go all smiles

I see all the schools as essentially reflecting the religious make-up of the country, which would mean current France is largely secular, but with a Catholic heritage and certainly a healthy number of practicing Catholics remaining. The school is no longer run by a Catholic order, though.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 1st, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

last thing- following everyone's guessing game....

if it Does turn out to be Sirens...

will they be just like the mermaids at hogwarts? aka often protraited as very pretty- but with only a few exceptions in other parts of europe- they're in reality super ugly?

starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 1st, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

okay sorry- one more thing- i'm wondering on Scops...

and why he seems so fascinated by the, kind of gory history? (such as The Revolution)

should we worry that he inherited something from great Aunt Bellatrix?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2011 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: okay sorry- one more thing- i'm wondering on Scops...

I believe that can be chalked up to, "He is a thirteen year old." I'd add "boy," but with a teen council full of 13-year-old girls who like to hit things and talk gruesome history, I don't think that distinction needs to be made.
12 comments or Leave a comment