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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Eight: All Ye Know On Earth, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Eight: All Ye Know On Earth, pt. 1
After a month and a half of moping over his broken wing, Dapple decides to fly again, giving Teddy a ride around the grounds. Teddy is doing some moping of his own as Victory Day approaches and everything in his mind is bent toward his parents' deaths. In the midst of that, he's supposed to go to the DoM for his evaluation in Beauty.

No cliffhanger this time. The chapter's pretty continuous.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy arrived at the Ministry on Saturday morning to find a bit of a clamor, as the new fountain with its abstract shapes had turned into the old fountain, showing different parts of the magical culture, with witches and wizards as the pinnacle of civilization. Older Ministry denizens seemed to be reminiscing fondly about dropping in donations for St. Mungo's; younger ones were griping about the horrendous symbolism. Teddy himself just blinked at it owlishly. He'd had a long, pleasant dream, from the time he fell asleep until the time he woke up, of simply flying over the countryside and the ocean with Dapple. He'd believed in the dream that Sirius was somewhere nearby on Buckbeak, but they couldn't see each other. He'd woken up feeling tired, like he really had been flying all night. It produced a strange sort of calm that the appearance of a fountain that had been bits of rubble for eighteen years just couldn't seem to break.

"How long has it been here?" he asked Maddie when she made her way through the crowd to him.

"Yesterday," she said. "A bit of a mishap with your Maze. Davies tried to magically seal it and it... er... didn't care to be sealed."

"Has it been spilling a lot?"

"Oh, little things, like I showed you the first time you came up. Silly things. It sent a pulse around that changed the Minister's desk. That was when we first brought it in. And it gave a bit of a scare to the Werewolf Registry, when they came up and found three people in a cage after the last moon. Two of them disappeared."

"Were any of them--?"

"No. At any rate, nearly everything that appears disappears on its own in a day or two at most. Most of them are much quicker."

"Oh." Teddy followed her away from the fountain and toward the lifts.

As the lift descended, Maddie looked at him cautiously. "How are you, Teddy?"

"I'm all right. I flew on a hippogriff."

"Really?" Maddie smiled. "That sounds nice."

"It was."

She bit her lip, looked like she was about to bring something up (Teddy was willing to bet that it was Victory Day), then shook her head and apparently decided not to. "I like working in the Beauty department sometimes," she said. "It's always nice in there. What are you going to work on today?"

"Probably what everyone else does," Teddy said. "How beauty and ugliness change the way we act."

"Actually, most people go for what beauty and ugliness are."

"Oh. Should I do that?"

"You should ask the questions that occur to you, Teddy. Let them lead you."

The lift came to a stop at the bottom. They got out and followed the narrow corridor to the unmarked door of the Department of Mysteries. Teddy went ahead to open it for Maddie, then followed her in. The doors were already spinning.

"Beauty!" Maddie called.

The doors stopped, and the soft, golden light of the Beauty division spilled out into the black room. Teddy went in first.

The ghost Helen was hovering near the far wall, and through her, Teddy could see a rip in a mural of the Muses. She turned, seeming vexed. "Madam Apcarne," she said, "this... violation... recurred a few moments ago."

"And it will unoccur a moment from now," Maddie said.

"What happened?" Teddy asked.

"Some shadow of that horrid woman was here and destroyed this, as she did before." Helen shook her head and turned to Teddy. "I asked for it to be repaired many years ago, but there were other things to do--"

"Helen, it was repaired," Maddie said.

"--and now it seems to be destroyed nearly every day. It's intolerable to see!"

"What horrid woman?" Teddy asked.

Maddie hissed sharply, and said, "Bellatrix. She destroyed the mural for sport the night that Harry broke in."

"The night Sirius died," Teddy said.

Helen looked untroubled by talk of death or battles. She went back to fretting over the spoiled artwork.

Teddy turned to Maddie. "Bellatrix has been here?"

"A phantasm. She doesn't know she's here, and we can't do anything about her, and she can't do anything about us. Though I'll admit, I threw a flame spell at her when I caught a glimpse last week. Purely in the interest of research, of course."

"Did she burn?"

"No. Unfortunately."

Teddy started to say that he hoped he'd get a chance to try it, but then he thought of Greyback, crowned in flames, staggering out into the Shrieking Shack, and of Uncle Harry saying, sarcastically, Oh, I'm sure you'd have done much better on your own. There must have been something you could have burnt down.

He looked at his feet, which barely looked like his own in the shiny new shoes Uncle Harry had got him for his Ministry visits, and tried to think of some quick penance for the angry thought. Unable to think of anything else, he went to the torn mural and began to examine the frayed edges.

Helen hovered beside him. "Why would someone do such a thing?"

"I don't know. She hated everything."

Maddie cleared her throat. "Teddy, let it be. It's not a real tear, and the mending we've already done will come back."

Teddy nodded and forced himself to look away. "Do you have the Maze here?"

"Yes," Maddie said, "but I'll give you a choice. The Beauty Room has its own devices, if you'd like to use them instead."

"Like the brains?"

"More pleasant."

Teddy thought about it, then shook his head. "I'd best use the Maze. I want to see more."

"All right," Maddie said, and produced the new Maze. "Have at it, then."

Teddy put himself into the Maze, and it was certainly one of his better experiences in it. Victoire was his Guide for a good part of it, showing him through magnificent seashores, dappled forests, and grand palaces. She became Ruthless, and took him through the highlands and the austere northern islands, then she became Daniel, who led him through faraway lands where beauty fought through the ugliness of plagues, forming quiet, hallowed spots where the mind could recover. Maurice showed him the lonely beauty of the remote South Atlantic, and Donzo led him through crystal clear caves of music. Finally--to his delight--James appeared, and they looked into the wildly colored islands of Teddy's own imagination, with the deep blue sea and the impossibly huge sky above. None of it really showed the impact of ugliness, but through it all, he saw the way people responded to beauty--the slight raise of the shoulders, the deep breaths, the way troubles seemed to flow away from them as they entered places that resonated with their souls.

So why tear it down? Was it always simply hatred, as it had been with Bellatrix? Did Geoffrey truly destroy out of pure hate, or did he just not want people to relax and feel at peace? The latter seemed to fit his rants about complacency. Teddy supposed that being surrounded by things that calmed the soul might lead to just accepting things that oughtn't be accepted. But that didn't seem enough of an explanation for attempts to deface any useless thing that existed only for beauty.

He came out of the Maze an hour after going in, feeling like he was waking up from another dream. The rip in the mural had repaired itself again, and now Helen was just humming to herself as she examined a lifelike landscape that was playing itself out on another wall.

Maddie was reading a shiny looking new book--Teddy noticed with no great surprise that it had been written by the werewolf Martin Hamilton, though this one didn't seem to feature werewolves on the cover (it was a stoic looking wizard in a gray robe, under the inscrutable title The Brilliant Glow of Shadows). She didn't have any trouble putting it down to ask him about his Maze session, or lead him back to Mind to enter his memories into the tank. Something about them caught her interest (she didn't say what), and this time, she stored them in one of the brains.

"This wouldn't be a bad match for you, Teddy," she said. "Will you do me a favor and write up a report on what you saw?"

"A report?"

"I'll show you the form we use for initial reports. I'm not talking about anything long and tedious. Just... what you saw and what you're concluding." She frowned. "This may be a bit more coaching than I ought to give, but I'd like you to look at it in terms of what you saw in Faith a few weeks ago."

"How do you mean?"

"Teddy, telling you what to cross-reference it with is already more interference than I should give someone else's study. Let it lead where it will."

Teddy thought about the hours of O.W.L. revision he still had to do, and essays due for Trelawney, Flitwick, Morse, and Robards. But his mind was already trying to put together the pieces Maddie had asked him for. He nodded, and hoped that the form she was talking about really was short.

It turned out to be as short as she promised--a two page questionnaire, which left room for perhaps two hundred words in each answer. He worked on it in the library, during the plague sessions. Frankie read it over his shoulder. He didn't comment on the content, but he did ask if he might read more of the stories Teddy wrote for James.
27 comments or Leave a comment
rotae From: rotae Date: October 17th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
with the deep blue see and the impossibly huge sky above

EEEEEEE!! I can't wait to see how this all comes together :D

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Ah, homophones.
rotae From: rotae Date: October 17th, 2008 07:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Hahaha, IKR? And they're shit because they're a) not picked up in spellcheck and b) not picked up if you get the computer to say it back to you! XDDDD

amamama From: amamama Date: October 17th, 2008 08:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Great! Oh what a wonderful question. Instead of the endless discussions about what beauty and ugliness ARE, go for how they make us behave, what they do to us. Why do we react the way we do? Very good, Teddy. Of course, I think the question about what makes something beautiful or ugly is very interesting too, but I really enjoyed this twist. Not that I got any answer, LOL. I did enjoy the different guides and how they link to what these persons mean to Teddy. So of course I wonder, when will he understand about Victoire?

And now I need to hop back a bit to find out what it was he saw in Faith, because I do of course not remember... Actually - have we seen his DoM-Maze journey through Faith, or only his correspondance with Alderman? I can't find it and now I wonder if my memory isn't that bad after all - or if it's worse than I thought, LOL.


Edited at 2008-10-17 08:58 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
It'll take a while for him to really understand how much Victoire is a calming and peaceful influence on him. Mostly because she drives everyone else crazy. ;p
carlinpaddy From: carlinpaddy Date: October 17th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I could use a trip through beauty right now if it's going to show me calming places that just make you sigh in appreciation. I'd like to see a forest grove surrounding a clearing, with possibly a safe place for a campfire in case I stay late enough it gets cold. And I want my dog to be there with my cats perfectly healthy and still breathing. Can you send me a little maze just for that? Your writting is so good it makes me remember with perfect clarity...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds nice. I think the Maze is kind of a helper tool for beginners. Longtime fiction readers can probably get places without one. ;p
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 17th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmmm, I could use a trip to beauty. The deep breaths sound temptating.

I think Teddy's question was WAY more interesting. I was expecting for Bella to appear there and cause major angst moment, but it was nice that this was kept on the beauty alone. No need to remember her. In the interest of research *snorts*. I like Maddie.

Very nice!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I think if I saw Bella, I'd be doing a whole lot of "research" myself.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 17th, 2008 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm no expert, just someone who reads way too much.

But I hope you know your writing is very good: good enough to be published when you write that "original work". You are excellent writing dialog and creating characters. Your plots and storylines are intriguing.

I look forward to purchasing! (And I usually just wait for the library.)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I think I may have found my way into a story. I may even be able to use a werewolf in it.
golden_d From: golden_d Date: October 17th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay Keats references! :) I can't wait to read more.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I love that poem. I didn't like it until one day I sat down and really thought about it.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 17th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
A visit to Beauty sounds like a pick-me-up everyone could use at times, and it seems to have cheered up Teddy a bit as well. Enjoyed Helen's cameo appearance--it's nice to see that she's less solipsistic in ghost form. Cool title too--I'm fond of Keats.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
A pick-me-up in Beauty is really necessary sometimes, isn't it? That's why I sometimes cough up the money to take the tram up the mountain here. Not much beautiful man-made in this part of the world, but the mountain is amazing. And calming.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 17th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really, really liked this part. If I had had to guess which divisions would interest Teddy, beauty would probably have been the last thing on my ind. But reading this, it makes so much sense that he would be drawn to it. Teddy's background make him aware of the pain and loss inherent in all experience, which I think gives people a more profound conception of the beautiful. The use of Keats was really nice in this regard as well.

The description of the various place he saw, and who guided him to each of them, was particularly nice.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I knew I wanted to poke around beauty a little bit. I'm interested in it. But Teddy does seem to work well with it, I think.
milaya36 From: milaya36 Date: October 17th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for this. Teddy's trip through beauty was amazingly relaxing, the reference in the title makes me happy, and I was actually fairly amused at The Brilliant Glow of Shadows. True crime-style expose of dark wizards? Overwrought fantasy novel? Overwrought non-fantasy novel? I want to know!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it's probably a "book club book"--literary and serious, though of course, being written within the wizarding world, it includes magic. I believe it's about a disillusioned wizard in his late twenties or early thirties, who tried to make some money for himself and ended up accidentally causing horrible suffering. He puts himself into exile in an impoverished Muggle village and there rediscovers his own self-worth by helping a local widow keep up her apple orchard.
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: October 17th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Victoire was his Beauty guide. How fitting. :D

I would like to read more of Teddy and James's stories too; they sound horribly adorable.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm in the mood for them, too. I imagine them as sort of a cross between The Goonies and Indiana Jones.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 18th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
This isn't really a quibble, because I'm really enjoying the story (thank you for sharing!) but isn't Teddy being a little 'speakable' about the Department of Mysteries' secrets, sharing his experiences with his classmates? Or he just not deep enough in for them to worry about it? (the maze being a "beginners" tool and all)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I think a lot of the Unspeakableness is literal inability to speak of what they're doing, more than secretiveness, though of course, that will come later. I'm sure there are things they do that Maddie hasn't mentioned to Teddy.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: October 18th, 2008 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Very cool, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Pipes!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: October 18th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like his questions on beauty. What beauty or ugliness is doesn't actually seem to be of much help- but if you see how people react or act because of them you understand why we need to make and preserve beauty, which is the more important act(s).
I am interested to see what Teddy wrote and also why it would make Frankie ask to read his and James' stories! I would be equally interested to see what Victoire would think of his report, though I doubt she'll see it in the first place...
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 24th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Long-time reader, first-time commenter

I'm usually just a lurker, here, and have been for a couple years. I really enjoy your stories. As someone whose avocation is inter-religious dialogue, I am always amazed at how effortlessly you work religion & spirituality into your stories. It's never forced or contrived, and one of the main reasons I keep coming back to your work.
Incidentally, I never imagined that the Department of Mysteries would have paperwork. It made me chuckle. I guess I always assumed those who worked among the "big" questions of life were somehow "above" such mundane office drudgery. I guess not.
27 comments or Leave a comment