jeudi 13 décembre 2007


(Same disclaimers...)

Now he was there, far across the sea and lands, staring at the woman Dumbledore had said to be right. At first he was afraid his pessimistic expectations would come true, because the old witch looked pale and frail and tired, almost exhausted. Then she, or the Translatongue, spoke : “You can light off this Charm. I speak your language.” He did as she said, heard her real voice, and wasn’t afraid any more, which was the usual reaction to Milena Horakova’s voice.
“Be very welcome, Harry Potter” she said in an incredibly melodic English, accentuated in a way he never heard, and would never heard again after her. “Please have a seat. I suppose you came for quite a long chat.”
He took place in an ancient high-backed ebony chair, and attempted to look at the room to dispel the charm of her voice. The stone walls were of a warm shade of gold, decorated with tapestries and paintings, not only enchanted ones but also Muggle motionless artworks. Harry saw the numerous books, old and new, the precious boxes, the elegant furniture: he knew little about such things, but the word of “taste” came to him. It was as if generations of witches and wizards with culture, taste, and probably money, had successively left their subtle touch to this place.
“Would you mind a little music ?” Milena asked politely, pointing at a coppery device looking like some vase full of metallic flowers shaped like brass.
He nodded, and rich sounds came from the device, piano and strings, too soft to be a disturbance but as present as if the orchestra would have been in that very room.
“Professor Dumbledore was fond of music too” he couldn’t help to say.
She smiled, but not happily : “Indeed. And that isn’t the only fondness we shared. But for that one, there are some obvious reasons. Music is a strong ally against Dark Arts. I find it more and more needed with the passing of time. Old age might be a Dark Art, too.”
And she looked old indeed, not because of wrinkles nor white hair, but for the sudden weight shadowing her shoulders. Harry had seen pictures of her in her youth, wearing strange old-fashioned robes, and she had been beautiful, tall and slender, fair-haired, with a gracious face and deep dark blue eyes. But he wasn’t able to tell if something of that beauty remained. He was too young. Or she was passed in a realm where physical beauty no longer mattered.
“You might be hungry. Or thirsty. I can offer you Russian tea and cakes, if you please.”
He nodded again, then answered, with effort : “Thank you, yes. You’re very kind. That was quite a long trip.” His voice sounded hoarse and ill-articulated after hers. But he was a polite boy, and she looks a little like some old Hogwarts’ teacher.
The tea was dark and strong. He added sugar. The cakes were good, both sweet and spicy. Mrs Weasley would have asked for the recipe. The thought of his mother-in-law helped him to feel better: she would have been perfectly at ease there, eating cakes and chatting with the old witch. The tea was probably helping, too. That was another thing Mrs Weasley knew about Defence Against Dark Arts.
So Harry was able to drink his cup, eat two cakes, and begin. Words came easily after all.
“I had a dream about Professor Dumbledore. I’m not sure that was a dream, but it took place after his death, so I have to suppose… A vision or something. We spoke of many subjects, but he said something about you.”
She was listening very attentively now, her head slightly leaned to her right.
“And you see, I had never heard about you, so I couldn’t have imagined your name.”
That sounded desperate, he thought.
But she said : “Of course you couldn’t. What did he say? What did Albus say, exactly?”
“He said you were right, after all.”
He expected something, of course, some violent reaction, some revelation. Nothing happened of that sort. She kept smiling in her neither happy nor sad way. Harry’s excitation falled off. There he was. A detail of no importance. May be a cake’s recipe after all.
She looked at him directly. Her eyes were still dark and deep, blue as an evening sky.
“And I suppose that during this conversation, you talked about both Voldemort and Grindelwald?”
Harry sustained his breath. She went on without an answer : “Of course you did. There are few questions worthy to delay a departure to the other world. Especially for someone like Albus Dumbledore. Only remorse and duty, love and death.”
We didn’t speak about love, Harry wanted to say, but he stopped. He wasn’t sure anymore. They might have had. They might have spoken exactly of the matters she had named.
“You know ? he dared. You know what he was talking about ?”
“I might. I suppose I do, yes. But that’s a long tale, in an old-womanish fashion. Are you sure you want to hear it? That is about things past and done, not even connected to you.”
Didn’t she know that anyone would listen to the longest tales, told by a voice like hers?
“I do, Harry answered gravely. I feel… I need to know more about Dumbledore, about what he was before I knew him. I came for this tale. It cannot be too long.”
Then she began, and the music from the copper vase changed, as if it was accompanying her storytelling.

mardi 11 décembre 2007


Avertissement (à mes lecteurs non anglophones) : Je suis navrée, vraiment, mais cette histoire m'est venue en anglais. Ce n'est de toute façon qu'une petite fan-fiction à ma façon, née d'un rêve et de quelques livres, pas seulement Harry Potter.
Disclaimer (to my English-speakers readers) : Sorry about the laughable mistakes I probably did. It came in English. It happens to me sometimes. I may dream that, in a distant future, I'll be able to write properly in this language.

Long quests usually begin with the shortest sentences. Sometimes even with a single word. That is because quests have to deal with untold things, secrets hidden behind words and names. Many quests begin with no more than a name.
In our present case, it began with a very short sentence muttered by the late Professor Dumbledore in a dream, or a delirium, or at King’s Cross Station : "Milena was right after all."
And now Harry was searching for this woman he had never heard about, who might have been right about a question he ignored.
He was not only motivated by an obsessive curiosity about Albus Dumbledore’s past, whatever his friends were pretending. No, he felt that quest was an utmost necessity, his only chance to prove he had really talked with Dumbledore, not only imagined it.
At end, after weeks and months, tedious files’ reading and disturbing meetings with too-old-wizards, after a long trip through rain, wind and snow, and no less than three magic visas hanging from his broom, he was standing in a distant city, looking at the door of the woman called Milena, and trying to reason himself. Because — he thought — she was probably a too-old-witch herself, and her conversation would be as frustrating as his previous chats with Dumbledore’s old acquaintances. Because the late Professor had a strange way of thinking, and Milena could possibly be right about some candy’s recipe or some chamber music’s score. Because Harry was in the way to become wise, and knew that people are disappointingly less fascinating than their names.
But it was growing dark, and he just had a hard journey, and he felt slightly uneasy in the cold, shadowy street. So he climbed up the stairs and knocked. Both stairs and door were Charmed, he could feel it, something not unlike Legilimancy, unless his heart, and not his mind, was scanned. That was unusual, and disturbing, but not aggressive. The shiver of a familiar ghost, or the touch of a Pensieve. He realised how little he knew about foreign magic. He should have come with a guide, Viktor Krum would have come, had he asked for. He hadn’t, and it was now very late. The door opened.
A young girl, fair-haired like Fleur, was looking at him with curiosity. She spoke, and Harry activated the Translatongue Charm he had borrowed from Hermione.
“… never saw you before”, he understood, except that he was listening to the harmonious mature tones of the Translatongue, and not to a child voice.
“Er, he began, I’m a foreigner…” The same voice began to speak through his lips in a strange melodious language. He tried to stay focused. “From Britain. I came to talk with Milena Horakova.” He should have sent a letter, he should have asked a recommendation from the Department of International Cooperation… Harry wondered if the Translatongue would vocalize these thoughts, too. Hermione had warned him about that, it happened sometimes and was told to have caused some diplomatic crisis between wizards. “Could she possibly see me ?” he asked, almost desperately. Perhaps even hoped that she wouldn't. Such things happen, when you’re close of the end.
The girl stared at him for a while, with dreamy blue eyes not unlike Luna’s. She was too young to practice some high magic upon him, but he was feeling uneasy anyway.
Then she smiled, and the Translatongue covered her voice with a brief “Of course !”