Feb 26, 2021 10:16 AM
giant snakes? in my magical boarding school? it's more likely than you think
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They will see what they can make of it.

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Yeah.

They still have their afternoon class... But they can get the books from the library before that, and start going through them tonight, maybe?

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She'll have to verify that with the day planner. This investigation is throwing off her schedules.

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Yeah... They've been staying caught up on homework and studying, though, even with History being harder to do on their own.

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Probably one night won't hurt.

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Nod.

Though there's a lot of these books, so it might take a bit to get through all of them... Probably they'll have to break it up over multiple days.

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She'll work on fitting extra sessions in.

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Ellie's always the most organized.

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Otherwise she'd never get anything done! There's just Too Much.

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Very sensible.

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Too Much Sense!

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Laugh.

No such thing, at least not when Ellie's doing it.

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Ellie does it right.

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She does everything right, really.

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Her talents are indeed multifarious.

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Yeah.

Anathema figures they should probably skim through the Fantastic Beasts book, first? It seems to have the most information and the best indexes out of all of these, and it's the only one that's really an overview of well known or common magical creatures...

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Also seems to be the most accessibly-written.

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Probably why it's their textbook and not the others - they also each have a copy of it, too, so they can split it in half to skim through.

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Sounds like a plan.

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To the books!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them doesn't actually describe many things that can petrify people, with or without gazes being involved, or that can kill with a glance. The Gorgons are the most notable of these, being a race apparently entirely composed of women (judging by their voices, and their shapes under full-body coverings). Even just seeing one turns most other creatures, including humans, to stone - they can keep the company of each other, the blind, and a few immune creatures alone. They're reclusive, having in the past fought with human mages, though Newt Scamander managed an interview with one enclave (location undisclosed), which was accomplished with safety by virtue of a screen between them, the Gorgon veiled, and Newt blind folded. The Gorgons are believed to have bred the first basilisks, which weren't documented until the early A.D. in Roman writings after some escaped. Gorgon-type basilisks were never longer than three feet, but (apparently to the surprise of the Gorgons) they killed everything not Gorgon-made that they touched or that met their gaze. No one's exactly sure how the Gorgon-type basilisks are bred, but humans, being humans, quickly tried to recreate the system. The earliest human-made basilisks were created in early medieval times, usually through witch-like traditions, and they have a tremendous variety of traits depending on how exactly they were made. They definitionally share a few traits - they cannot speak, are not beings, are reptilian, are immensely venomous, and have lethal gazes. Anyone creating a basilisk is usually its first victim, though one Swiss city was for a time protected by basilisks created by a local wizard. They're varyingly difficult to kill - one method innovated in English witchcraft starting in the 800s produced basilisks that could grow to dozens of feet long and had spell-turning hides like a dragon. These are the classic image of 'a basilisk' in English thought - an enormous snake, often with a crimson plume on its head. None have been documented in England since the 16th century, and none in the world since the 17th, and all methods of making them (save perhaps for the Gorgons, who wouldn't answer Newt Scamander about whether they still keep basilisks as pets) are believed lost.

There's also the bandersnatch, a reclusive and vicious creature believed to be native to the British Isles which has since spread throughout woodlands at the same latitudes. Its gaze usually just causes dizziness and confusion, though there's rumors of old, powerful ones causing death with just a glance. No one's sure if they can speak or use magic, or how intelligent they are (Newt Scamander believed them to be exceptionally cunning but not at all social).

Anathema also finds a few creatures that can turn others to stone with methods other than a gaze - venom or touch, usually - and a bunch that can cause fear or confusion or madness if looked at. Only one of the non-gaze petrifying creatures speaks, and it is described as having a smooth, deep voice, usually living in secluded marshlands, though no one's sure what they look like. Newt Scamander's notes include musings about whether it's linked to less well documented creatures known to petrify their victims (which aren't discussed in the book). There's also a bunch that cause paralysis, through gaze, touch, or venom, though the paralysis described is really different from what the victims they're concerned with suffered.

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...It's a start, anyway. They do seem to be collecting those. Ellie's leaning towards the thing being something native to the British Isles, given Slytherin's political leanings.

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Or some kind of snake - he was a known Parselmouth, and he used a lot of snakes in his heraldry and stuff.

Assuming it was even made by Slytherin, and not imported by someone else...

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The Chamber connection seems a bit tenuous otherwise. If, as Malfoy suggests, it is considered a crackpot conspiracy theory, why bother?

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Political reasons, maybe? She thinks pureblood supremacists might buy into the Chamber a lot more than other people...

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Could be. Not that she really wants to talk to pureblood supremacists to confirm one way or the other...

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