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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Twelve: What A Hero Would Do, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Twelve: What A Hero Would Do, pt. 2
The first task is over, finding Beauxbatons in last place. Hogwarts is in second, and Durmstrang leads by a point, but both schools have been lectured about not rubbing it in their hosts' faces. Celia decides the next weekend that she wants a look around the ancient ruins of Ville-Sauvage, and she and James have just arrived... when something screeches a roar at them.

Since it's been a while, I'll put in a character reminder here--hopefully, all in one piece, it won't seem so long since we've seen her. On their first day, James met a rather unpleasant girl named Elodie Lejeune, who none of the Beauxbatons students seem to like, and it seems to be quite mutual.

Table of Contents So Far

James had barely had time to draw his wand--and he was a fairly quick draw--before a heavy blast of magic pushed him backward, and a huge shadow fell over him. "Stay back," Madame Maxime said in English--quite calmly, given that there was a large, six-legged, dragon-like creature behind her, with a lion's head, protected by a turtle's shell, and...

"Is that a tarasque?" Celia asked.

"It is," Madame Maxime said. "And it is not a creature you will find a need to master, my dear."

The tarasque scurried toward the far end of the clearing, where a young witch had jumped up onto one of the stones.

"Remember the story!" Madame Maxime called in French. "Remember your songs."

James squinted. The girl was Elodie Lejeune, and she was, to his astonishment, wandless. "Hey!" he called. "Take my wand!"

"I have my own!" she yelled back. "I'm not using it!"

The tarasque apparently didn't care for yelling, as it bellowed and charged at the rock. Elodie held on for dear life, and managed to stay on her perch. She sang, none too melodically, "Louez de la terre l'Eternel; louez-le, baleines, et tous les abîmes..." The tarasque took a swing at her, and she swatted its paw away with a swift kick. She kept singing. James thought it was a Psalm, but he didn't know which one.

He looked at Celia. She was watching it, dumbfounded.

Madame Maxime was watching with the attitude of a teacher, though why on Earth she'd be teaching someone to sing at a dragon was beyond James's grasp.

But it was working.

The tarasque was looking drowsy, swaying on its mismatched legs. Finally, it sat down, and looked up lovingly at Elodie.

Madame Maxime clapped. "Very good, Elodie, very good. We have visitors."

Elodie patted the tarasque's nose, and climbed down, leading it to Madame Maxime, who opened a paddock and sent it in.

"I noticed them," Elodie said. "They almost got me killed."

"They were trying to help."

"They thought I was so stupid that I forgot about my wand."

"I thought you might have lost it in the fight," James said. "Remind me not to help you again."

"Don't help me again."

"What are you doing out there without a wand? Are you crazy?" Celia asked, and James quite agreed. His grandfather had died because he'd opened the front door without a wand in his hand... deliberately going up against a dangerous creature without one was mad.

Elodie looked down her nose, then said, "I see les gentils have come."

"The good guys?" James translated tentatively, then repeated the question in a more literal French.

"They certainly thought so."

"Elodie, that is enough," Madame Maxime said, then explained to James and Celia, "In France, Grindelwald's men called themselves by that name. They portrayed themselves as fighting against a society where not everyone seemed to have a place."

"And believe me," Elodie said, "when they told you what your place was to be, you were expected to take it."

Celia frowned, then stood back, looking a little annoyed. "You're a Crassonist?"

"That is a derogatory term. I am an Abstentionniste."

James, who had no idea what they were talking about, decided to stay out of it.

Celia shook her head. "What are you doing in a magic school?"

"All Abstentionnistes learn magic. That way, we can more assiduously guard against accidentally using it."

"You put in for the tournament."

"Had I been chosen, I would have fought without magic." Elodie picked up her wand, which had been left in a box near the edge of the clearing, and left without saying goodbye.

Madame Maxime raised an eyebrow. "I see you know your history, Miss Dean."

Celia shrugged. "Sure. Why wouldn't I?"

"So few do, now." Madame Maxime shook her head. "Please excuse Elodie. She has had a difficult time here."

Celia said nothing; James arranged his face in what he hoped was a pleasing impression of magnanimity.

"And now," Madame Maxime said, "I do need to remind you--you are not meant to be in Ville-Sauvage. The tarasque is not the only danger."

"We didn't realize we were this close," Celia said.

"Of course you didn't. Yet, you are. And you should return to the train, unless you would care to join the others for their excursion after all."

Thus dismissed, James and Celia turned and headed back down the river. About halfway there, James asked, "What's an Abstentionniste?"

"A fully capable witch or wizard who won't use magic because she thinks it's a 'moral hazard.' Followed some bloody preacher named Crasson, out of Belgium." Celia ground her teeth. "I'd say it was a bigger moral hazard when they capitulated to Fenrir Greyback, and let him hide with them between the wars."

"Why would they do that?"

"He threatened to take their children if they didn't. But he was a weak wizard! All of them together could have taken him if they'd just used magic!"

"Why would she call us what they called Grindelwald's people?"

Celia stopped and looked out over the Sentinelle. "Grindelwald thought they were mocking their proper place in society. He used to force them to use magic."


"Torture, mostly. Torment them until the accidental magic started to come back. Then, when they were broken, he would force them to use wands. Usually against the Squibs he kept around for experiments--which probably included Greyback's mother, which is another reason they'd have taken him in. Guilt."

James started walking toward the train again. "I've never heard of them."

"There aren't many, and they're mostly in Belgium and France still. I only know about them because of the Greyback business. Mum Viv wanted to find out where he'd been all the years between the first war and when he re-surfaced."

They didn't talk much more the rest of the way back, and when they did, the subject shifted to the clue in the silver skull. Celia thought there might be writing hidden in the fine lines that crept around it, but two hours of searching revealed nothing. When they'd finished, Celia went to the girls' dormitory to do her homework, and James wandered around the boys' for a bit, wishing for some of the usual noise and chaos, but they'd all gone up into the hills. Finally, he came out to the portraits.

"You look thoughtful," Granddad said.

"Do you think the Abstentionnistes should have used magic against Greyback?"

Granddad looked over his shoulder--James guessed he was looking to see if Lupin and Sirius were back from their other portrait yet--then said, "I would have. But using magic would cost me less, since I didn't have any objection to it."

"Oh, bloody..." Talitha sidled over from her portrait, and leaned against the motorcycle. (In the real world, this would have got her white, flouncy garden party dress dirty, but here, it never picked up a speck of anything.) "Of course you would have used it. That's what heroes do."

"They also stand up for what they believe in," James said.

Granddad nodded. "There is that." He leaned against the portrait frame. "My aunt fought in that war. She rescued a good few of them. She always respected them. Thought they were quite mad, but a Potter never held that against anyone."

"Bloody Gryffindors," Talitha said. "They could have contacted authorities. Nothing says they couldn't do that."

"Talitha, you didn't live through Grindelwald. He was after your time."

"And before yours."

"But I grew up in the shadow of it. And it was a big shadow--even in England, where they barely made any headway, other than a few curses dropped on bombs during the Blitz. I can't even imagine what it means here, where they actually took over."

"I guess I never thought about much before Voldemort," James said.

"Trust me," Granddad said, "there were Dark wizards before Voldemort. Why do you think there aren't a lot of Potters wandering around anymore? At least for now. And there'll be more Dark wizards. We never seem to run out of them."

Talitha made a show of yawning. "I think I'll go back to my swing and hang myself," she said. "The pair of you are completely killing my good mood."

"We never seem to run out of the good sort, either," James offered her hopefully.

Granddad deliberately changed his mood, striking a heroic pose. "Yes, when times are trying, there is always the spirit of Gryffindor, to charge bravely at the evildoers of the world."

Talitha made a gagging noise, but smiled. They started sniping at one another about their respective Houses, and the subject of Grindelwald and his horrible war fell away. James was glad to let it drop... but it didn't leave his mind as the afternoon wore on, and the others came back. It stayed with him as he and Scops lazily built a tower out of grooming supplies, and as he enjoyed supper with a handful of Beauxbatons acquaintances. When his eye happened on the dark corner where Elodie Lejeune was glaring at her food, it came back again. What had the Grindelwald war done to this place?

The next morning, he set out to find Madame Laurent.
24 comments or Leave a comment
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: February 23rd, 2012 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, oh, I love the history you are setting up here!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: February 23rd, 2012 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I love thinking how things like that might work out in Rowling's rules. :D
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: February 24th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
That we, we can --> That way, we can

I'm so happy with this story so far, because of that element: magical places outside of what we see in the books. It's not something I see very often in fics, but it's always something I LOVE.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 23rd, 2012 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Judging by Ariana and some other things, I think wizards and witches still need to have a way to "drain" off magic. I suppose there should be a way to do that without focusing the magin into a use (my ongoing anger about Ariana is that I think she was salvagable, a large part of her insanity seems to have been from effects of her bottled up magic messing with her brain. So, I'd naturally assume anyone against using magic would have to find a way).

Not sure how I feel about the not using magic group, especially given their history with Greyback. Given the troubles wizards like Voldemort cause, I can see why some people probably would go that way.

Personally, I think it's a little like pacifism. I know what some pacifists have endured because of their beliefs and what some of them have accomplished. I have a lot of admiration for them.

But I also believe there are times you're morally bound to fight for some things.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 23rd, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoops. The above is Ellen. Forgot to say that.

By the way, Fern, just to go totally random, have you watched the show Once Upon a Time? If you had, I was wondering what you thought about their Beauty and the Beast episode?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I watched a couple of episodes, but wasn't impressed enough to remember to keep watching after it took a week off.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 24th, 2012 06:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I was rather so-so on it. I liked the idea and wound up watching a few episodes.

Then, along came episode 12, Skin Deep, and found myself spilling over into major fandom. The show can be a complete disaster from this point on, and this episode justified its entire existance for me.

Er, I don't expect everyone else to share that opinion. Although I would like to know I'm not the only crazy person in the room, so to speak.

A further comment on the story:

Initially, I thought Elodie was upset at James because she knew the correct procedure to control the monster, knew how to do it, and knew she was CAPABLE of doing it - if only some guy who'd just walked in and knew nothing about what was going on or how to handle it hadn't kept INTERRUPTING her with his wrongheaded attempts to help.

It would be rather like being a trainee lion tamer who knows she can handle the lion if neither she nor the lion get upset - and along comes some kid who knows nothing about lions, yelling at the top of his lungs and trying to throw weapons to her while telling her to shoot the lion she is trying to calm down.

So, I wouldn't have realized she was purposely NOT using magic if she hadn't said so. I just thought that was how you did this. I also thought she had some reasonable grounds for being upset at James.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC) (Link)
It is something like that, I think, and I tend to agree that there are times you need to fight (and when a murderous monster decides to settle in, that would be one of those times).
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 23rd, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)


Well, that explains alot. (It raises more questions, of course, but it explains alot about the weird vibe around Elodie.)

Looking forward to seeing more of how this plays out!

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Fascinating

Me, too--it's totally not on my outline. ;p
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: February 23rd, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you read the Frontier Magic series by Patricia C Wrede? She has a group of people w a similar moral problem w using magic and commitment to proving it isn't needed. V interesting (and fun books).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)
No, I haven't. Hmm. There are also people in OSC's Alvin Maker series who believe the shouldn't use their knacks, though they're not exactly treated sympathetically. I guess my thought is that, if there's a talent in the world, someone somewhere is saying, "You shouldn't do that."
willowbough From: willowbough Date: February 23rd, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting take on Elodie's issues--and I'm intrigued that Madame Maxime is helping her learn in her particular way, even if she might not believe in it herself. Looking forward to seeing how this particular twist comes into play during the rest of the story.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I am, too. I just re-did Elodie's entire story in my head.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: February 23rd, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

??? i'm really confused-also slightly annoyed.

so Elodie belongs to some kind of "cult" who think Wizards and witches shouldnt use magic At all ? because it's dangerous. or because they shouldn't for some grand scheme of things?

It's seriously giving me Ariana deja vu, except Ariana didn't do what she did (not using magic) willingly. it was after a trauma when her magic was still new and she couldn't control it. and the trauma made her not Want to use magic.

but people like elodie seem to come across as high horsed "oh we dont need magic! we can do things without magic!"
which of course they can, they're humans after all, and one would think wizards and witches Are capable of doing stuff without magic (I mean even purebloods dont use magic to walk, or use the loo or.....)

alright other than those I admit I'm drawing a blank on what they Dont Use magic for.

but there are exceptions, like Hermione (well at the beginning of the series that is ) but still, Hermione was able to balance out doing magic and doing things without magic.

and then there is the option of, of course, going and live with the muggles. if people like elodie hate using magic so much, why dont they go live with muggles?

but even then they Have to realize that living without magic isn't such a paradise either. I mean Muggles Do have a lot more diseases that can kill them than wizards/witches- like cancer, obesity, brain tumors, diabetes, lung cancer, HIV...

not to mention disabilities- like not having an arm- damaged organs, being wheelchair bound, blind....

has no one told these uppity people about Those Drawbacks?

sight. I guess the reason why it irks me is the ever present people criticizing group of people for doing such and such but then if they're So against this or that, why dont they goand live their ideals somewhere else instead of living among that they hate, and looking down at people that have absolutely no problem with this or that.

i mean in our muggle world there are the buddhist monks who leave in complete isolation, or the amish.... and they managed to find their nitch away from the things they disagree with, without bothering the rest of civilization or civilization bothering them. (at least I think so, I could be wrong but there hasn't been Any HUGE backlash of budhist monks or amish people against modern civilization)

it would be better than people like Elodie "enduring" living in a magic using comunity like some self appointed martyr, and making everyone else annoyed by their protests.

(the people that Grindewald tortured and then Forced to do magic is Different, I do feel awful for them because they didn't Really had a choice. Grindewald forced them to do magic, tortured then and then being a sadistic bastard gave them wands to add insult to injury, and they couldn't go away to avoid it. )

I mean I know the idea is probably to feel bad for Elodie, and I do, A tiny bit.

but it's hard to muster A lot of sympathy for someone who is being obnoxious,and antagonistic, instead of finding a peaceful non-confrontational solution.

Edited at 2012-02-23 05:33 pm (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: ??? i'm really confused-also slightly annoyed.

Basically, they don't use magic at all. They live as Muggles inside the magical community, much as the Amish live plain right among their neighbors... and yes, their neighbors take it as a rebuke. I think they probably don't think of it much differently than recovering alcoholics think of liquor, except that think it's universally true, rather than just true for an addicted subset.

Elodie can be a little bitch, and she's not helping herself by being abrasive and annoying. I don't know how good a representative sample of the group she is.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 23rd, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, wouldn't you know... Not being familiar with Scripture, I was going to make a confused comment about the Psalm Elodie sings, mainly about how the "whales" in there sounded weird to me, and I was just about to berate Google Translation -- when I discovered I was wrong and this Psalm does exist. Consider me abashed.

Aside from that, like other reviewers above, I'm really interested in the wizarding history you're making up for France and Beauxbatons. Can't wait to know more...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
The nice thing about using the Bible was that I could get a real translation at the click of a mouse button, rather than going for the google, so I could search psalms about wild animals in English, then just find the same psalm in French.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: February 23rd, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uuuh. I remember a discussion here once, about Puritan witches and wizards and whether or not they would abstain from magic- it's so interesting to see something like this!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I was a comparative religion major in college, so religious history interests me, and I figure there's a sect for every random thought out there somewhere.
reannanshaw From: reannanshaw Date: February 25th, 2012 08:23 am (UTC) (Link)
How peculiar. I wonder what exactly those people think magic will lead them to if they use it. No wonder people don't like her, though, since she rejects everything the school stands for, apparently.

Um, did you stop spelling the dialogue phonetically for the non-English people?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 25th, 2012 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, they're pretty much speaking French most of the time now, and James has stopped hearing the accent in any serious way.
24 comments or Leave a comment