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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Thirteen: A Light In the Dark, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Thirteen: A Light In the Dark, pt. 1
James has gotten a history lesson from Mme. Laurent concerning the Grindelwald war and the actions of the magical Vichy government, which left him feeling a little dazed. To clear his head, he goes out to the gardens to practice his Patronus, which is frustrating him, and he is interrupted by Scops Malfoy. Scops wants to learn the Patronus even though Draco thinks it's a "trendy" spell, and James thinks it might help him learn it if he tries teaching it to someone else. But this isn't the time apparently--Scops has been sent for him, because Celia has an idea about her silver skull clue.

Table of Contents So Far

It was a pleasant day outside, especially given that it was nearly December, and when they got back to the visitors' garden, most of the Hogwarts and Durmstrang students were sitting along the riverbank or studying by the little fountain. Tatiana Volkova and Edward Flourish were sitting near the entrance, ostensibly studying Herbology, though James didn't recall anything in the subject which ought to be making them blush.

Scops put a finger to his mouth and raised his eyebrows in a command for quiet rivaled in subtlety only by a herd of rampaging erumpents, then signaled for James to follow him to the train.

"Vat is happening?" Tatiana asked.

"Clearly, nothing at all," Edward said, and playfully directed her attention back to the book.

Celia was alone in the train when they got in, pacing among the portraits in the common area. Talitha was leaning eagerly on her frame (Sirius, more casual about the business of champions, had taken over her swing and was reaching for the painted sky on it), and Granddad and Lupin were pacing in theirs.

"There you are!" Celia said.

"He was right out front," Scops said.

"Did your uncle give you anything from the shop?"


"Peruvian darkness powder," Lupin explained. "It was used in the first battle at Hogwarts." He pointed apologetically at Scops. "Er..."

"By my dad," Scops said. "I know."

"Yes, well--it was quite effective. Total darkness, except for magical light."

"Which is what we need," Celia said. "At least I think it is. Do you have any? I know he gave a lot of things to Bill's girls, so--"

"Yeah," James said. "I've got stuff. Not a lot, but I think I have some darkness powder."

"Yes!" Celia said, and pumped the air with her fist.

James didn't wait to ask what she was going to do; she'd explain it as she did it. He went to his trunk and dug around for the box from Uncle George. He rarely used Weasley products, preferring to make up his own sorts of mischief, but Uncle George supplied him anyway. He opened the box, found the darkness powder, and went back out to the common area. He handed the bag to Celia.

"Perfect," she said. She went to the little round table, where the silver skull sat in its maddening silence, and indicated that James and Scops should sit down. "Just in case," she said. "Whatever happens, it'll be better if three people are there to remember it."

"What's going to happen?" James asked.

"I'm going to prove I'm a genius," Celia said, grinning. She sat down. "I've been reading about the past tournaments, and the clues always reveal themselves in some sort of special circumstance. There was your dad's egg--underwater. And then there was one that had to be held in a wind tunnel. And another time, they had to freeze it. So I got to thinking, what would it be with a skull? And thought--skulls are dead. They're buried. Underground. But that wouldn't make sense, since I couldn't be underground with it, not in the sense of being buried, anyway, so then I thought--darkness. Total darkness. Think about it. Those crystals throw light. We've seen it. Maybe it does something you can actually make sense of if it's total darkness."

"Makes sense," James said.

"That's what I said," Talitha said from her portrait. "I think we have a chance at this tournament, if the other schools don't cheat."

"They'd better not," Celia said, "as Robards wouldn't even tell me if I was warm or cold."

James wasn't entirely sure about this--in Dad's year, Dumbledore hadn't been very helpful. Dad's help had come from Hagrid and a man he'd thought was Mad-Eye Moody. Robards seemed to have Dumbledore's attitude... and he doubted the Beauxbatons teachers would want to help the Hogwarts champion. "Well," he said, "let's see if it does anything."

"Here's hoping." Celia took the little jar of darkness powder and threw a handful up into the air.

The room went black. James could no longer see the table he was sitting at, let alone the other two people sitting at it.

"Wow," Scops said from somewhere in the black.

There was a thumping sound, and James heard the scrape of metal on wood as Celia drew in her breath, then it was still and she said, "Good, let's not knock it over..." There was another scrape--James guessed she was pulling it toward herself after accidentally pushing it away--then she said, "Lumos."

A tiny spark appeared, spreading no further than Celia's wand tip. She tapped it against something, and James briefly saw the gleam of the crystals inside the skull.

Celia hissed out a word that wasn't likely to be a useful charm.

"Oh, well," Scops said. "It was worth a try. Do you know how to stop the powder?"

"Wait," James said. "Try flames. Aunt Hermione's bluebell flames should do it--they're nice and stable."

There was quiet. James could picture her thinking about it, then he felt something warm on his wrist. Celia's hand. Judging from the sudden, surprised little sound on his left, he guessed that she was also touching Scops's wrist. "We'll try that," she said. But the pair of you do it, too. We'll get a nice little ball of flames inside the skull."

James felt a tug on his hand, and let Celia guide it to the middle of the table. He could now feel the cool sides of the skull, along with the edge of Scops's hand. Celia was standing behind and between them now, and he felt her hand skating over the skull. There was pressure on his wand, and he let her guide it.

"There," she said. "You two have the eyeholes. I have the nose hole. Cast it."

They all cast the bluebell flame charm, and suddenly, the darkness was filled with shifting, flickering light. James withdrew his wand. He could now see Scops and Celia, though they were about as far as he could see. The skull was emitting wave after wave of colored lights.

"It's pretty," Scops said. "But, er..."

"We're on the right track," Celia said. "This is the most it's done."

James looked at the skull, at the bright points of its eyes and nose. Bits of light were escaping around its teeth.

He frowned, then picked up the skull. The jaw fell open.

Something white slipped out of it, and formed itself into a scroll. Words appeared in the darkness.

Lose yourself to find yourself
in dark that never ends

The words faded, and were replaced.

And one whose name you will not guess
On your diligence depends

"The hostage," Celia said. "Could be anyone. Doesn't matter. Next."

The words faded and were replaced again.

The whispering winds will tell your fate
in ancient chambers sealed

Something about the word "whispering" stuck in James's mind as the words changed for the last time.

Your hidden strengths and secret fears
In a lonely hour shall be revealed.

The skull went dark, except for the bluebell flames at the center, which cast only a flickering light.

Celia Summoned her chair over and sat down between James and Scops. "There'll be a hostage and we'll have an hour, but we knew that from past tournaments. What else?"

"The hostage is someone whose name can't be guessed," Scops offered.

Celia frowned, the expression faintly visible in the bluebell light. "Here's hoping they're not bringing back Voldemort just so I can find him. That's the only one I can think of whose name we're not supposed to say."

"It said 'guess,' not 'say,'" James said. "Probably just means that it won't be someone you'd think of right away. Not like the thing you'd miss the most. I guess it just means that it's not anything guessable."

"Random selection," Scops said. "I'll bet they decided to just assign hostages randomly."

"That would save some embarrassment," Celia said. "What about 'lose yourself to find yourself' and all the bits about fate?"

"Whispering," James said. "That word... I can't think what, but--"

"Fate!" Celia cried. "Whispering, of course! Remember the tour? The Whispering Caves were an oracular site."

Quite suddenly, the Darkness Powder's magic ended, and the common area of the train came back into view. It was impossibly bright, and all three of them were blinking owlishly at each other.

Celia sat down, biting her lip.

"What is it?" James asked. "Sounds like you have it."

"'Lose yourself,'" Celia said dismally. "They're going to start us off in there lost."


"So, those caves go under the mountains for miles in every direction. You could starve to death in there before you figured out which way was up."

"I'm sure they wouldn't let that happen," Scops said. "They'll pull you out."

"Yeah--but I bet you lose if they have to do that." Celia chewed on her lower lip for a while, then said, "Well, we have a plan. And the first thing I need is a map of those bloody caves."
15 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 5th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooo, fun!

I'm loving having a competent champion. Poor Harry was totally in over his head; it's fun to watch someone who got into this on purpose and can be counted on to have A Plan. (And who does her own research.)

Why do I suspect that there will be Things in the caves?

malinbe From: malinbe Date: March 5th, 2012 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait... Draco thinks the Patronus is a trendy spell? *laughs*
Suuuure, Draco... just a trend...

The point-me spell Harry used for the third task would be useful! But does James remember it?
willowbough From: willowbough Date: March 5th, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! Good teamwork from the three of them. Celia's upcoming task sounds most intriguing--I'm now wondering if James is going to end up being a hostage. That would certainly get him into the thick of the action.
reannanshaw From: reannanshaw Date: March 5th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm. I wonder if they could use something like however the Marauder's Map was made. Probably not. They probably don't have time for something like that.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: March 5th, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

that was Cool

I loved the way Harry figured out the mystery of the egg, and the way they did it here gave that same Oh! feeling.

the riddle has me most intrigued too.

the prospect of them having to find their way around a cave is making both nervous and very excited.

I wish there were more triwizard tournament fics as cool as your fern
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
i don't get it.

what did the they do to make the skull work? they made it glow?

Christine Brigg
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2012 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
missed a couple of updates, but no big loss, as i get to read more in a row.

that was quite clever of celia.

~Alex Wells
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
well dumbledore did mentioned the room of requirement in passing...

oh nevermind, that helped fifth year not fouth.

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
they solved it! they solved it!

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
do they have some way for portraits to watch the tournament?

are there mirrors inside the trains cart or not?

juliet black
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
poor celia.

she isnt afraid of the dark is she?

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
poor scorpius

parents anecdotes are bad, but it-s even worse when its the dad being on the bad side.

at least scopius is breaking off with tradition

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 7th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Go Go Celia! GO!


nevrafire From: nevrafire Date: March 7th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
this is So cool! i love how celia solved it! and the second task looks so promising!
15 comments or Leave a comment