Chapter 4 : Four Salamanders
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On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Three French Parps,
And a Fwooper in a Star Tree.
Olympe and Hagrid were up early the next morning, it was the day of Beauxbaton’s annual Christmas party and there was much to be done.
Hagrid brought Olympe’s powder blue carriage, drawn by large winged horses, to the front of the house and helped Olympe inside.
The view of the French countryside was magnificent from high in the air. Though Hagrid seemed to be looking more at Olympe than at the view.
“Now ‘Agrid,” Olympe said, a serious look on her face, “You must not reveal Beauxbaton’s whereabouts to anyone, eet’s location must remain secret.”
“Don’ worry,” Hagrid replied, “Me lips are sealed.”
The carriage began descending over the Pyrenees Mountains on the French border. The horses expertly pulled the carriage through a narrow fissure in the mountainside and brought them into a hidden valley.
It was the perfect hiding place for Beauxbatons Academy, it was surrounded by mountains on every side. The castle itself was elegant in its exterior beauty. Spires and turrets reached into the sky with little blue flags, carrying the Beauxbatons coat of arms, flapping in the breeze. Tall windows lined every wall; at least half of them were made of stained glass, depicting great French witches and wizards.
The carriage landed smoothly on the perfectly manicured grounds and Hagrid helped Olympe out onto the soft green grass.
The inside of the castle was even more beautiful than the outside. The entrance hall housed a gigantic golden fountain that was three tiers high and contained a golden mermaid statue in the centre. Beautiful marble staircases ascended to the upper floors of the castle.
Olympe led the way to the hall where the Christmas party was to be taking place later that evening. The hall of Beauxbatons was slightly smaller than the Great Hall at Hogwarts, but it was much more elegant. Beautiful draperies hung from the walls and the stained glass windows reached right up to the ceiling. The ceiling was not bewitched like the ceiling in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, but several ornate candelabras hung down instead.
Soon Hagrid and Olympe were joined by several other teachers and the decorating of the hall began. Wreaths of icicles were hung from the windows, garlands of blue and silver were artistically place above each of the tables and the candelabras were bewitched to have blue flames. Each table housed a bowl of blue flames in the centre, much like the flames in the candelabras. A layer of magical snow was spread across the floor and magical snowflakes were suspended in the air giving the whole hall the appearance of a winter wonderland.
At eight o’clock that evening the students of Beauxbatons began piling into the hall, each chatting excitedly as they admired the decorations. The students had all dressed in their best robes for the occasion. Hagrid had worn his jacket made of hair and a lurid yellow tie. He had attempted to comb his hair back, but had given up on it.
“Yeh look beautiful!” He exclaimed when he first saw Olympe in her dress robes. She wore light silvery robes and a silver pendant around her neck. Her hair was loose about her shoulders, rather than up in a bun. Hagrid could not take his eyes off her.
After everyone was seated trays of food were brought into the hall by legions of fairies. Once the meal was over, students were allowed to mingle or to dance to the songs of the nymphs who sang Christmas carols on a stage made of ice.
Hagrid and Olympe remained at their table and chatted about themselves.
“Before I became ‘eadmistress, eet will interest you to know zat I taught Charms,” Olympe told Hagrid.
“I was never too good at Charms,” Hagrid admitted.
“Per’aps I could teach you sometime,” Olympe said with a warm laugh.
“I would like that,” said Hagrid, “And maybe I could teach yeh a thing or two abou’ magical creatures.”
“Like what?” Olympe asked, teasingly.
“Well, did yeh know that Salamanders love te bathe in fire?” Hagrid asked.
“I did know zat,” Olympe replied.
“Bu’ did yeh know that there were Salamanders in this fire?” Hagrid said, mysteriously, indicating the bowl of blue flames in front of them.
Olympe looked confused for a moment then directed her gaze towards the blue flames. She gasped as she noticed for the first time the small six-legged lizards crawling around in the flames.
“I put ‘em in there especially for yeh, Olympe,” Hagrid said.
Olympe watched the salamanders crawling around, enjoying the flames. She counted four altogether.
“You are always full of surprises, ‘Agrid,” Olympe said to him, “You spoil me too much. I never know what you will surprise me wis next!”
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