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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Nine: Siren Song, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Nine: Siren Song, pt. 3
After the tragic accident with the Sirens, students are cared for medically (the Hogwarts champion is out of action for a month) and the subject of the tournament itself is brought up. Madame Laurent is now saying that maybe they shouldn't hold it; it's gotten too dangerous. Her son reminds her that it's a magical contract, and the judges basically say that the tournament has always been dangerous and tended to get out of control. Robards considers it also dangerous to suggest that sabotage should lead to the perpetrator getting what he or she wants (though he doesn't phrase it exactly that way). James, who has been eavesdropping on this conversation, takes a chance to look inside when Dani Villanueva suddenly leaves the table. When needled about the subject of who might have triggered a curse by tampering with the Goblet, she finally let's loose and says to Denis Laurent, "I believe that I know who tampered with the Goblet... I saw you--I saw you do it."

Table of Contents So Far

James managed--barely--to not storm into the classroom and demand to be told what was going on. That would be a sure way to derail the conversation. Instead, he stepped away from the door and pressed himself against the wall again.

"'ow dare you?" Madame Laurent cried. "My son has been fighting for this tournament from the beginning! At my husband's side! 'ow dare you insult--?"

"It's all right, Mother," Denis Laurent said. "I'm sure Miss Villanueva saw something. Perhaps it was something she didn't understand. Nothing I did would have had the effect we saw in the dining chamber."

There was silence, then Shevchenko said, "But you did... do something?"

"Nothing zat would cause a curse."

"What," Robards said quietly, "did you do?"

"Tell them," Dani said. "I saw you with your wand in the Goblet. What was it doing there?"

"I was simply... I..." Laurent stopped, and there was a sound like a small hiss. "Ze Goblet obviously did not understand everything. It had accepted... untenable competitors."

"Meaning Celia Dean," Robards said, and James knew the tone. If he'd been Denis Laurent, he'd have run from the room right then.

Apparently, Laurent didn't realize that, because he sounded angry and frustrated, rather than frightened. "For 'eaven's sake, Robards," he said, "She cannot compete. The Second Task is the morning before a full moon! Obviously, ze Goblet's charms don't recognize ze difficulties posed by ze calendar! It is not because I believe werewolves incapable. It is only because I considered 'er a formidable choice that I 'ad to see to it that she was not chosen."

"The morning," Robards said, with even slower, more measured tones, "is not known as a dangerous time."

"And if something goes wrong? Eh? Zen what?" Something swept over the table, and James heard papers falling to the floor. "You English, you think you 'ave ze answer. You think it is nothing. But it is not nothing. You would put other students in danger."

A fist thudded on the table, then Robards said, "We are very aware of the danger, no one more so than Celia Dean. That's why the precautions are taken so seriously"--Laurent must have made some sort of dismissive gesture here, because Robards raised his voice, as if to cut off an argument and said--"Yes, seriously. Do you think any person of good will who's been attacked, as Celia was, would deliberately endanger her fellow students? She takes Wolfsbane Potion, and removes herself entirely from school grounds on the full moon. She's meticulous about it. She and Neil Overby--our head boy this year--have never put a single soul in danger. If the Goblet will consent to choose a second champion, and she is chosen, and the second task somehow takes more than ten hours--quite a feat for a task with a ninety minute time limit--then Hogwarts will withdraw and pull her from the site before moonrise. But we both know that's not going to happen."

"I know nothing of the kind. Werewolves are not safe. They are never safe."

There was a flat, smacking sound, then Dani's voice came up. "You are the dangerous one! How would you know what would happen after you meddled with the Goblet's magic?"

"Absolutely nothing happened because of what I did!" A chair scraped the floor, and James could hear heavy pacing. "Madame Maxime, she agrees with you, I can see it. But she is silent. She knows 'ow many students left after we learned who was coming."

"Against my advice," Madame Maxime said.

"And Shevchenko--you would do things no differently at Durmstrang. You 'ave rules."

"That is true," Shevchenko said. "But ve are... kvestioning our rules. Ve haff had more pressing dangers come from our studentry."

Laurent hissed. "Very well. We shall take the Goblet out again, and the werewolf can put 'er name in it, if the fire re-lights. But if anything 'appens, it is on your 'eads, not mine." There was another squeak from a chair, and James guessed he'd sat back down. "At any rate, there is no reason that removing a single name from the Goblet would have caused it to Conjure blood, and it certainly woulnd't trigger some sort of arcane curse. What happened last night is still better explained by sabotage. And I assure you, I would not sabotage my father's dream."

The bell rang, and James realized that he needed to get to Charms class, before someone noticed him missing. He ran the rest of the way to the classroom and apologized to the professor, but couldn't concentrate on his spell work and ended up Transfiguring his rock into a toy horse instead of making it grow legs and trot around the desk.

Magizoology was a subdued affair, with everyone's eyes constantly going to the collapsed paddock behind the barns. After a bit, Madame Girard gave up on her attempt to teach the proper care and feeding of the Demiguise and sat everyone down to answer any questions they had about sirens--yes, they would have eaten the victims, though that was simply to induce greater fear--they actually lived on the frenzy of the approach; no, they were not able to re-enter school grounds without being invited; yes, they were dark creatures, of great antiquity. "The sirens," she said, "are to desire what Dementors are to despair, or revenants to rage. And like those others, Muggles can sense their presence, though they can't see them. It's the whisper of potential that drives them mad, makes them give up the good in the belief that they might attain a great, if often empty, goal."

"Why did people talk about them more in ancient days?" Valentin asked. "If they couldn't see them, then--" He shrugged a question.

"It's my belief," Madame Girard said, "that Muggle perception may have changed over the years. They once saw a great many magical beings, but no longer can. I have no idea as to why such a thing would happen, but it does give us a much greater responsibility to understand these creatures, which can attack our neighbors without ever being perceived."

With that, she steered the class back to Magizoology, and everyone seemed more intent on understanding it.

James spent the rest of the day attending his classes, working in a non-committal way on the first chapter of the new Fake-Marauder book (Granddad was now keen to have his avatar, Jason Clay, rescue the fair Violet Owens from a siren, but James wasn't happy to write that; between them, they negotiated it down to a colony of hinkypunks), and reading the Odyssey. He told Robards that he'd overheard some of the conversation, including the bit about Celia, and lost ten of his recently gained points for eavesdropping--which didn't seem entirely fair, as Robards told the whole Hogwarts contingent that "one name" had been pulled arbitrarily and unethically, and absolutely no one had the slightest doubt whose name it had been. The good news was that, when the casket had been opened, the flames were quite definitely still burning, and a new champion could be chosen.

The choosing didn't happen until Friday night, once the judges had found a way to spin it, so that neither the French nor the various countries whose students attended Durmstrang would think that Hogwarts was, again, getting a second bite at the apple. This time, everyone was gathered in the dining chambers as the Hogwarts students again submitted their names. Robards submitted Horace's, in case he really was the one who'd been meant to compete (if he was, they'd need to forfeit). The international press was there, including Teddy's friend Honoria Atkinson, who was watching avidly. James had hoped Mum might come from the Prophet, but they'd ended up sending an apprentice for this particular job.

The flames went red.

Celia's name came out. No one pretended to be surprised.

The Hogwarts group celebrated back at the train, somewhat rudely. The Durmstrang students, in what James considered a fine example of sportsmanship, also held a party outside in the Visitors' Garden, breaking out a drink that James didn't quite think they were supposed to have, though Shevchenko and Robards were noticeably blind to it. He danced with Veronika Horvat under the light of the three-quarters moon, and spent the next two weeks thinking about her... at least until he noticed that she flirted with quite a few boys from all of the schools, none particularly less than she'd flirted with him. A few days before the first task, it became quite clear that she was going out with Anton Bogdanov.

Celia was excited, and more than a little scared--since the clue from Nate wasn't worth anything, since the Sirens were out of the picture, whatever they were going to bring was actually going to be a surprise. ("It may be a first in Triwizard history," she said. "I talked to Veronika and Titouan, and I'm pretty sure they're telling the truth when they say they don't know, either. I wonder if the judges know yet!") She always seemed upbeat now, and the Beauxbatons students had rallied around her when they realized what had happened. She didn't have the number of friends she had at Hogwarts, but suddenly, she did have a core group, all of whom made a great fuss over her when she came back after Novemeber's full moon, even making jokes about it with her. James let his attention drift back to her as well--her pretty, curly hair, the scythe-curve of her mouth when she made a joke, her deep, dark eyes...

He sighed to himself the night before the first task, watching her as she studied her Magizoology books, and letters from Hagrid, and advice from all the members of her pack and a good number of friends from the sanctuary village. This was where she was meant to be.

Something tapped at the window of the common room, and he looked up to see a dark owl looking in at him.

"Nyx?" he said.

The owl tapped the glass again, and sure enough, it was Al's owl, Nyx. James raised the window and let her in. She was carrying a letter and a package, but not from Al--the handwriting was Lily's.

He opened the letter.

Dear James, she'd written. Al and I have been doing a lot of work for you, you know. And Hugo and Rosie have been helping, so it's been like Dad and Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione, which is sort of fun.

was going to just give you a little summary, but then I realized--I read every one of those stories you insist on sending to me. I always have. So you can take a little bit of time to read mine. I used my diary, but don't worry, nothing's haunting it. Rosie knows how to do a duplicating charm, so you can see everything just as it happened.

But here's the summary: It's definitely not Mr. Diggory.


James opened the package curiously. It was filled with pages in Lily's round script, and topped with her idea of a "fancy" cover.


He began to read.
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sueatducksfoot From: sueatducksfoot Date: October 8th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Woot! I'm excited to read this.
From: erv2 Date: October 8th, 2011 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I didn't expect that, but I thoroughly love it, can't wait for the crime fighting. And of course great news for Hogwarts and her proper champion.
beceh From: beceh Date: October 8th, 2011 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay Celia!!

Love that cover of Lily's journal :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks--I remember being in sixth and seventh grade, and decorating your name was a big deal, along with the meaning of your name. Lily must be so disappointed that two of her three names are straight English, and the third is only a common Latin word. No deep secrets hidden there.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 8th, 2011 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Yaaay Celia :D

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 8th, 2011 12:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

*RAGE* Laurent!!! You disgusting, prejusdistic, Scum of the.... *rages*

my face was like this O_O after finishing the chaplet.

of all the things I imagined Laurent to have done to the goblet, I Did Not imagined to be that. that he would sink SO LOW as to REMOVE celia's name from the goblet.

the french newspaper was idle schoolgirl gossipping compared to HIS Level of VILE against Celia.

the level of ridiculous, closeminded prejudice (towards Celia AND the English- Laurent his true colors show now)

round of applauds to Robards and To Dani (she slapped him right? GO DANI!) and to madam maxime.

Laurent should have been one of the people incapacitated by the Sirens... he doesn't Deserve to be one of the judges! heck, he should be Arrested for what he did!

*rages on*

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *RAGE* Laurent!!! You disgusting, prejusdistic, Scum of the.... *rages*

To be fair, he genuinely is concerned about the danger if she were to be in the second task and something were to go wrong... but as Robards points out, the task is in the morning. His genuine worries stem from a completely irrational fear.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 8th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

i'm confused on the sirens explanation...

by two things madam girard says,
1. "yes, they would have eaten the victims" you mean they would have eaten the champions?! and the judges still thought it was a Good idea to have the sirens be a task?!
what does she mean by "though that was simply to induce greater fear"?

2. I really dont understand this part either- "are to desire what Dementors are to despair, or revenants to rage." they feed on love or hate? and what does she mean people "give up the good"?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: i'm confused on the sirens explanation...

They'd have eaten the people who came through that night. The same as the dragons, presumably, would have eaten people at Hogwarts if they had gotten out of their handlers' control.

I'm not sure what you're asking about the latter--the text more or less is its own explanation there.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 8th, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

on a more positive note....

My Heart Swell with pride (after it stopped being a Fan of Robards epicness- which reminds me, is Robards one of Yours people or one of the book people?) over the reactions of the students from Beauxbaton and Durstrang over Celia. Specially the Beauxbaton students giving a good name to themselves to cleanse what that slimy, despicable pompous... *ehem* of Laurent did.

AWWWW poor James Jr, Veronika was playing with him.

but oh, what do we have here?! James Jr has a Crush on Celia! *is gleeful*

but awww, I remember whom he ends up with and it makes me sad for Celia to have lost such a worthy admirer.

Lina (lily-luna) letter made me giggle so hard. you got the messy, overly decorated/doodled over unreadable *it took me about 3-4 tries to understand that what Lina wrote in the middle was "crimefighting") handwriting of a 11 year old.

if that was your hand mimicking that (and not a niece) Bravo! that's impressive!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 8th, 2011 01:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hah! So Celia was supposed to be the Hogwarts champion--and Laurent should be suspended from the tournament like a corrupt Olympic judge. (Shades of the figure skating scandal of 2002.)

Now that sirens are off the board, I'm definitely curious to see what the First Task will turn out to be. And looking forward to the excerpts from Lily's journal too.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm curious about that danged first task, too. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 8th, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay, really excited about Celia as she's one of my favorite characters among your OCs! And I'm really curious about Lily's journal; it will be nice to know what's going on at Hogwarts--and to get news about Professor Potter!
Unfortunately, my curiousity will have to remain unsatisfied for a while because I'll be away for a couple of weeks. Which means that I'll leave any French-proofing to the other French speakers out there.
On the plus side, I'm sure I'll have tons of new material to read when I'm back. Can't wait!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, have a good time away (I hope). You'll probably come back to a mess of French mistakes. :P
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 8th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww, that's an adorable cover!

I'm so happy for Celia, too!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I had fun channeling my inner sixth grader. Who is shockingly not all that hard to channel.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 8th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

one last thing....Shevchenko

what did he meant when he said "But ve are... kvestioning our rules. Ve haff had more pressing dangers come from our studentry."

does he meant in the past= Grindewald?

or an omen for Another incomming storm?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: one last thing....Shevchenko

He means Grindelwald.
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: October 8th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Laurent should definitely kicked off the judges panel at the very least. At least they made it right . . .

I adore the cover of Lily's journal, especially the tiny cauldron for the O. Too cute! :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I was having a devil of a time with what to do with her last name, then I thought "pot" and figured a cauldron was rounder than a pot, but would do.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 8th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would be more sympathetic to Laurent if he reasoned that the Goblet would only pick worthy champions and, if werewolves were unworthy, no problem, ergo, no reason to interfere.

Which means he might have had the intellectual honesty to see, when she was chosen, that his ideas of worthiness might need some reworking.

Or he could have settled for voicing his concerns about her on the day of the task and received the promise that, if things had gone long, Celia would be withdrawn.

Heck, I'd even support his getting it in writing. Along with allowances for the judges to intervene if Hogwarts "fogot." It's an unnecessary promise, but unnecessary reassurances can still reassure (assuming it doesn't set some kind of legal precedent against werewolves or others . . . darn, I forgot about those. Still, assuring people you're going to behave responsibly and intelligently, even if you're not sure they're up to that standard themselves, is rarely a bad thing).

Still, I hope Goyle doesn't take his possible runner-up-ness too hard.

I am also waiting to see what Lily wrote. While I agree with her on who it ISN'T, I'm hoing her logic is as good as she thinks it is. She is young, after all.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, the legal precedents are always problematic.

I'm not sure Lily has a theory yet on who it is. She just gets to exposit for a while, and complain about Quidditch, and complain about Al, and relate the horrors of taking DADA from her Dada.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: October 8th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm thrilled that Celia was the real choice! WhooHoo! Now I'm curious what Lily, Al, Hugo, and Rosie know. Love that Lily took a page from James's own book in relaying the information.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
They do both like stories and writing--probably both of them get the writing thing from Ginny, who writes for the Prophet--so I figured, it was a good way to get the Hogwarts stuff in.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 8th, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
nicely done twist there. Didn't expected it this way, even when laurent was a git, i didn't expect him to be have such prejudice.

robards, Daniela and Maxime really Shine here as people, as do the students in supporting Celia

~alex Wells
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Dani knew exactly what she'd seen (and that it probably hadn't been what caused the "curse"), but allowed herself to be intimidated into thinking that was what grown-ups did rather than just doing something about it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 9th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)

seems Mum Viv and Alderman haven't been able to do much for werewolves if there are people as stupid as Dennis Laurent around.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)
There are always going to be people around who don't trust werewolves (read "the mentally ill")--doesn't mean they're not accomplishing much.
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