Mar 06, 2021 3:12 AM
giant snakes? in my magical boarding school? it's more likely than you think
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Very fair.

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Ellie will work on fitting the other books into the schedule going forward. They might turn up more or better information.

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Yeah.

The other books seem to mostly cover creatures with poorer documentation (or that are also covered by Fantastic Beasts), or that are much rarer and so hard to encounter, or that were last encountered over a thousand years ago (or have never been encountered by European mages; one book talks significantly about Mesoamerican creatures that Fantastic Beasts doesn't touch on - these ones seem to mostly fit into the 'massively terrifying to look at' category when sight matters at all, and the ones that petrify victims mostly don't seem to turn them to stone). Still, they can find a few that meet some general requirements:

-the bandersnatch (the only British Isles native with a gaze-relevant magic, though not much is known about them)

-Gorgons (women who turn anyone who sees them to stone; while seeing them isn't deadly, one could theoretically just pick up a wand)

-basilisks as a general class (deadly serpents, some that can turn prey to stone if seen indirectly, though they don't speak)

-tzitzimitl (Mesoamerican creatures which emerge only at night and speak with strange voices, only appear roughly every fifty years, aren't believed to exist by European wizards, and have a host of strange powers and should not be looked at - what happens if you look at one isn't documented)

-the marsh-whistler (which probably turns people to stone through touch, might be capable of killing, speaks, and has never been seen; still, they're not believed to be able to survive out of marshes)

-stone-calling beasts (they're said to turn enemies of the places they guard to stone, then shatter them. They're rare, possibly created, and only speak to their masters)

There's a few others meeting gradually fewer and fewer of their constraints.

And one thing they find isn't a magical creature, but in some discussions of magical creatures ways to turn existing creatures to stone through human magic are mentioned - apparently modern guardian stone creatures (like gargoyles and lion dogs) are usually carved and then enchanted, but ancient ones were transformed from flesh to intelligent, moving stone. Britain doesn't have any native traditions of this, though - the technique likely originated in China, with some spread along trade routes from there.

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Ellie summarizes their findings periodically for transmission to Professor Reynolds.

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Professor Reynolds makes comments on a few and thanks them both for their work. She's still incredibly busy, of course, but Ellie and Anathema have taken the edge off.

And then, in early December, Minister Fudge arrives with a group of Aurors and arrests Hagrid, before declaring that the culprit has been found, the case has been closed, and therefore the Department of Law Enforcement won't be lending any more help to investigations. The Daily Prophet, Britain's only remaining wizarding newspaper of note, publishes that Hagrid has been placed in Azkaban due to 'surety of guilt.' There's no mention of a trial.

Professor Reynolds seems quietly furious about the whole affair.

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Minister Fudge is incredibly incompetent and also a terrible person.

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There's a point past incompetence where you start getting in the way, too. (Deep breath.)

Well.

Nothing to do but move forward, now. Hopefully catching the actual perpetrator will set Fudge back.

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And set Hagrid free. He doesn't deserve to be jailed.

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Of course.

It's a bit farther than Fudge has openly gone before, but - sadly in line with his mode of operation. Still, it being a step farther than usual means the arrest's more precarious - and more easy to fight.

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They are fighting it, right?

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Yes, as hard as they can - Headmaster Dumbledore has the most political pull and is taking the lead on that rather strongly. The school board members are mostly lukewarm, but they originally approved hiring Hagrid - so they're interested in proving they weren't wrong about that, if nothing else.

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A step forward, at least.

(Still, the last week before winter break goes smoothly, just with some unrest - there hasn't been a second student petrified, not yet, and people are settling down. Though everyone who can goes home over the winter break, far more than last year.)

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Ellie will be staying wherever Professor Reynolds is, of course.

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And Anathema's staying with Ellie.

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She'd been planning to spend a good bit of break in Hogwarts... But it does sound nice to try and get away from all this for a portion at least. Get a bit more use out of their house.

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They could have Christmas there?

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Sounds delightful.

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They'll have to go shopping and stuff too.

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Of course. Can't have Christmas without Christmas shopping.

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It's very important.

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They'll try to find a convenient time, then.

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Should be fun.

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Certainly.

(Christmas shopping happens soon after break again - and Professor Reynolds takes them both separately, like last time. She has a better idea now, it seems, of what gifts Anathema will like than she did a year ago.)

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Ellie gets Anathema the new Nintendo kart-racing game and a collection of shiny wrist bangles.

For Fay, she owl-orders a cursebreaking book she hasn't seen on her shelves and the next offering by a fiction author she likes.

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