Founding Home: Diary One (Part 1)

New Orleans, March 1827

After years of studying, I cannot believe that I am here. I have finally reached a place within my research to keep a journal of my experiments and track the best elements of new incantations. Because inspiration emerges from many sources, I will record the conversations I have along with my observations.

This diary will be a compilation of the magical methods I studied here in New Orleans as part of the Creole and Saint-Domingue communities, concepts shared with me during my time at Uagadou School of Magic, and what I learn from the local Chitimachan community. Honestly, it is refreshing to have a central location for all of this knowledge, instead of the multiple scraps, sheets, and scrolls of paper I have accumulated over all this time.

To be entirely truthful, my utmost hope for keeping record of my work is to use it to instruct students of magik. New Orleans has always been different than the rest of the States in its ‘strange institution’ of enslaving my people, with plantation holders giving Africans a small chance to ‘buy’ their freedom — an opportunity my family benefitted from. Lately, it seems this system is being challenged and free Colored communities are in danger. Even here in Treme — home to generations of free peoples — we hear stirrings of plantations where the last owner was lax about enslaved people reading and writing behind closed doors, and the new owner sets people to whippings and worse for the same acts.

These changes make me feel like something big is coming, and it’s only a matter of time before someone I love is hurt. This fear is even deeper for those of us who hold magik. While non-Colored people paid little attention to us as we read from our eple scrolls when I learned magic, they are now scrutinizing anyone Colored who dares hold parchment in public.

I am not the only one who holds these fears for magik children. I have been speaking with Treme elders, wizards and Pégik alike, and we have concluded that the safest place for us to instruct young wizards is in the swampland. So, for the past six months Francis Guillory, my closest friend and travel companion, and I have examined some of the old Maroon settlements searching for ways to make the swamp secure and habitable. This past month we decided on two possible locations and are ready to embark on the next step, gathering instructors of magik.

With this last thought written, Helene Larieux let out a low sigh and stretched. Seeing the words laid out in her hand reminded her that today was the day.

“Oh Bondye,” she muttered as she took stock of where she was in her morning routine before she had decided to write in her diary, exasperated with herself for sitting at her desk in her dressing gown.

She hurriedly snatched a faded moss green dress from her wardrobe and put it on. Turning to her vanity, she grabbed a small jar of kohl and tiny eyebrush to line her eyelids. Wiping her hands on the hand towel dangling from the end of her vanity, she moved to open the medium-sized bottle of castor oil she kept there.

After spreading a dime sized amount onto her fingers, she selected the braids she’d done in the front of her head the night before and undid them. Satisfied with how they looked in the mirror, she selected a tigon similar in color to her dress, wrapped it around the braids in the back - obscuring them from view - and flattening the folds in the middle. When she finished, the curls in the front looked springy and light, held in place by a fold that rested at her crown.

Hearing a knock at her bedroom door, she went to open it and found her mother’s bemused face. A tall and very attractive woman, with flawless wheat complexioned skin two shades paler than her own and a curvy silhouette that Helene sometimes envied, her mother held a regal bearing that often made it seem as if she were more serious than she actually was.

“Taking your time, as usual, are we?” she said with a smile, “You do realize that Francis knocked on our door ten minutes ago, non?”

“Did he now?” Helene asked, distracted as she put an agate ring on the ring finger of her right hand. “Would you let him know I’ll join y’all in the main room shortly?”

“Hmm, I…” Helene’s mother paused in her response after spying Helene’s diary lying open on her desk. Walking over to examine it closer, she said, “This is remarkably like the leatherwork done by someone I once knew.”

The haunted look in her mother’s eyes told Helene everything she needed to know. Her mother, Carlota, had been born on the Destrehan plantation and had been able to ‘buy her freedom’ due to the assistance of Helene’s father, George, and his Cajun friend, Jean Claude. This had all transpired before Helene was born, but she’d long realized that when her mother had a faraway tone she was remembering a past that she never wanted to talk about.

“Oh, yes, Francis gave me that — maybe you could ask him about it?” Helene suggested quietly.

Her mom snapped out of her reverie at the sound of her voice, “Ah, yes, maybe I should.” She took a last, lingering look at the diary, and walked out of Helene’s room.

After finding and putting on her tiger’s eye necklace that she used for scrolling, Helene added the diary, along with a few other items, to her travel bag before walking out of her room and into the main room.

Walking into the sunlit space, she took in the place she’d always loved yet had also taken for granted. After being home for the past eight months, the novelty of being somewhere she belonged unequivocally still wasn’t lost to her. Perhaps it was just witnessing her mother remember her past, or it could be that the man that she’d just spent most of her time abroad with was standing in front of her, but in that moment, Helene was suspended in sentimental thought.

“Hello, Helene,” Francis greeted her with humor in his eyes, “Nice of you to have dressed up for me.”

Helene followed his gaze down to her feet, where she’d slipped on her tan, lace-up boots that she reserved specifically for traipsing through the woods and swamp land. Looking across to Francis’ feet, Helene noticed he wore his own dusty boots and grinned.

“Well, you know I do my best to coordinate with your laissez-faire attitude towards dressing,” she responded.

Helene’s papa, shaking his head at the pair, brokered, “So I hear you’re making the trip to Bayou Teche today?”

“Yes, Papa,” Helene answered, “Francis has a few contacts within the Chitimachan township there who could be interested in teaching their ways of magik. Maybe even assist us with the school construction project.”

“Oh,” her papa said as he sipped from his cup of tea and settled with it on the sofa.

“Yes,” said Francis, his brown eyes gleaming with a hint of mystery and mischief, “I made friends there during a few of my papa’s work trips and have always admired how they teach magik.”

“You know our healer community here in Treme is excellent in teaching new healers every year…” Helene’s father began.

“This again,” sighed Helene under her breath.

Her father was a gifted healer and something of an anomaly within this traditionally woman-led sphere of magik. When he’d first come to Treme as a teenager, he worked hard to assure other healers that he had no intentions of usurping their clients, only stepping in when his expertise was requested. He’d done well enough to afford helping Manman out of bondage at the Destrehan’s and set up a modest household in Treme by combining his healing and her seamstress earnings.

It was, in fact, his great prowess and pride of being a gifted healer that led him to push his only child, a daughter at that, to pursue healing since she was young. Initially, Helene had been open to it. She had been a young, curious girl who enjoyed helping others and making adults proud. Yet, by the time she began her formal training in magik at the Guillorys at age 11, it was clear she had neither the head nor the stomach for healing.

Now and again her father would bring up the possibility, as if reintroducing the idea would make her change her mind, as he was now.

“And,” her father continued, “I would be more than happy to find a suitable candidate to help with your school endeavor.”

“Oh…” started Helene, who was taken aback, “that would actually be very helpful.”

As her father nodded Helene’s mother, who had caught the end of the exchange as she walked into the room, gave him a wink.

“How about the Pégik elders that you both spoke with, were they any help?” her manman asked.

“Well,” Francis began, “They showed us how they are keeping the schools for Pégik children hidden, and have given us some school supplies they can spare, like slate, chalk, pencils, and the like.”

“That’s useful, right?” asked Helene’s manman hopefully.

“It is, indeed,” added Helene, “Especially because the Pégik elders we spoke to were familiar with the construction of the Maroon settlements before they were destroyed. Many elements of our plan hinge on their insight.”

Helene regretted that they couldn’t involve the Pégik in their plans more directly, particularly because she wished her mother could feel just as useful to her plans as anyone with magik. This was a dynamic that Helene had been navigating for her entire life.

Growing up as a child of a Saint-Domingue wizard father and a mulatto Pégik mother came with its own set of problems, even when living in a free Colored community with a mix of magik and Pégik families. Helene’s mother was so used to seeing magik practiced in secret within the slave quarters of her youth that she had very little reservations about courting and marrying a wizard, but at times Helene felt as if her manman resented being the only Pégik within their household. It didn’t help that within the Treme community the family called home, Helene’s father was in constant demand by wizard leadership and often had to keep his involvement discreet while most of Helene’s closest friends were the wizards she had gone to school with. And what was more, Francis’ mother was one of the two teachers at their small wizarding school, leaving her mother feeling alienated even in building a close relationship with the mother of Helene’s best friend.

So Carlota, who had taught young Helene her letters and numbers while also taking on seamstress jobs, occasionally seemed to deflate when conversations around her became solely about magik. Helene had always tried to keep her mother from feeling as if she’d been replaced, but felt that she’d failed her in some way by making the creation of a magical institution the center of her own ambitions. She knew it was foolish to think this way — this was the same woman who had taken on extra jobs in order to help Helene fund her trip to Uagadou and was just as excited as she was each time she made a magical breakthrough. Yet, she couldn’t help but worry.

Almost as if she’d heard Helene’s thoughts, Helene’s mother probed, “What has come of your studies in Uagadou?”

Helene’s father sat up, interested in her answer. While she had been back home for the past eight months, most of her time had been spent testing out different magical techniques gathered during her time abroad, in collaboration with her eple notebooks from school — which had actually been a small hut on the back of the Guillory property. The remainder of her time back had been spent navigating the politics of obtaining council from wizard and Pégik elders, meaning she spent very little time explaining everything to her parents.

As Helene sat, deciding where to begin a discussion about her time in Uagadou and what she’d learned, Francis filled in for her, “Truthfully, it may be easier to explain what we didn’t learn in Uagadou. During our first month there we were exposed to much more than the main four subjects we were taught here.”

“Do they not spend much time covering eple crafting, healing, potions, and illusion there?” asked Helene’s father, intrigued at the notion.

“Their institution is enormous and old, so while they cover those four subjects thoroughly, students could easily pick four other subjects to advance in and spend little time on those at all,” answered Francis eagerly.

“We were lucky enough to befriend a professor around our age, Kizza Nalule, who specializes in animal transformations,” Helene stated.

“You didn’t!” exclaimed Helene’s mother.

“I’m afraid we did,” Francis smiled with no apology in his voice.

“Well,” Helene’s father calmly ventured, “What are your animal forms?”

“An osprey,” Helene answered quietly.

“A Black bear,” Francis stated proudly.

“I’ll be…” Helene’s manman started before drifting into some choice French words.

“We, um, hate to leave the conversation here, but we have to head to the square before we go to the Bayou,” Francis transitioned.

“Like enfer you do!” said Helene’s mother, ready to interrogate them further.

“Now, Carlota, they’ll be back later and we’ll be in a better, clearer space then, non?” said Helene’s father.

From the look her mother gave her father, then she and Francis, Helene knew there was a very small chance, if any, that her mother would be any less upset the next time they spoke about her becoming an Animagus. But as was typical of her mother when she felt betrayed by her family, she left the room, head held high, went into the kitchen and began cleaning.

“Er, sorry to cut the conversation there, sir,” Francis said, this time with an actual apology in his voice.

Helene’s father sighed, “Yes, not the best way to introduce this change to us, but I suspect she’ll be in a better mood if you bring her something when you return later.”

“We’ll do that,” Helene smiled brightly as she hugged her father goodbye and blew a kiss to her mother, starting out of the front door.

“Good luck you two!” shouted her father amid the sounds of banging pots and pans.

After she and Francis had safely made it down the street and rounded the corner towards Congo Square, Helene finally let go of the breath she’d been holding since deciding to bring up animal transformation only a few minutes ago.

“Well, you’re in prime form,” stated Francis.

“Argh, you know I’ve been struggling with the idea of telling them about becoming Animagi.”

“Of course I did, but I still don’t understand why you didn’t tell them during one of your locket discussions while we were still in Uganda, as I did with my parents.”

“You don’t understand because both of your parents come from Creole wizard families. They understand the prestige that comes with becoming an Animagus, despite the danger.”

“Yes, well my papa is still Pégik and prestige or not, I doubt he wanted yet another reminder of how his family, and his middle son no less, surpassed him in magik,” said Francis, bitterness tinging his tongue.

Helene knew Francis’ papa was a sore subject for him. Shortly before they’d left for Uagadou two years ago, Francis had learned that his father had fathered a child by a Pégik woman, a fact he’d held onto their entire time in Uganda. Francis’ father had always seemed insecure about having no magical ability yet devoted most of his time to carpentry and glowed with pride when speaking about his family. Helene suspected that much of Francis’ anger came from thinking his father wanted another Pégik in his family so he wouldn’t feel so lonely. While she couldn’t hold this thought against Francis, as she often felt the same way about her own mother, she knew talking with him about it would leave him seething.

Deciding to change the conversation to a safer topic, Helene asked, “So, what are we picking up for your Chitimachan friends?”

Francis shook his head as if trying to shake away the dark thoughts that’d consumed him during their walk to the marketplace, “When I last visited, they mentioned needing some work gloves for basket weaving.”

“Hmm, I believe Miss Ella’s stall is on the other side of the square,” added Helene, “She’s the best at keeping labor supplies on hand.”

As the pair made their way across Congo Square, Helene glanced up at Francis, taking in how fine a figure he was. He was tall, at least a head taller than she was — and she was basically a tree sapling with a couple of curves. They were similar in skin tone, what her mother called ‘caramel-complexioned’ but where she was slender he was broad-shouldered and muscular. When they’d finished wizarding school at 18, their families had been sure Francis would ask Helene’s father to begin a formal courtship, given the way they had flirted with each other ceaselessly since they were 16. But graduation came and went, Francis continued to flirt with young women wherever he went and Helene was courted by one of their classmates, Frederick, off and on for a year before breaking it off.

Then Helene and Francis decided on a scheme to develop their own set of eples, at first for fun and experimentation until they found they had a knack for combining eples in useful ways. One of their favorite creations was an eple that coded any letter they wrote to become indecipherable unless read by the intended recipient. After sharing this discovery with a council of elders, it was decided that the two should travel to Uganda to expand their magical training and bring their newfound knowledge to others. While Helene’s primary interest in going to Uagadou had been to read and learn as much as she possibly could, she’d be lying if she didn’t admit that she’d also hoped that the two of them being abroad together would lead to them becoming more than friends. These hopes were dashed almost immediately after they’d arrived, however, as Francis proved to be just as big a flirt there as he was at home. To make matters worse, it seemed his anger at his father meant he was even more focused on magical advancement than he was occupied with thoughts about Helene. That wasn’t to say that he’d never indicated interest in her. They’d shared a kiss at 17, and while they were at Uagadou, Francis had a very heated conversation with a paramour of hers that seemed to be brought on by jealousy.

Just when Helene thought she might ask Francis to give her a better explanation about this confrontation, she noticed a small face she knew.

“Hey, Francis, why don’t you go on to Miss Ella’s stall,” she suggested, “I see Marie at her dad’s metalwork stall and want to say hello.”

Francis followed the direction of Helene’s head gesture, waved at Marie, then promised to meet Helene there after taking care of his business with Miss Ella.

As Helene walked up to Mr. Louis’ stall, she noticed he was in deep conversation with a customer and gave him a slight nod. Moving to the side where Marie sat, Helene signed ‘hello’.

“How are you?” Marie signed back.

“Pretty good, considering,” said Helene, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you two.”

It had indeed been a while. The last time Helene had seen Marie she was 10 and still held some childlike chubbiness. The Marie she currently stood in front of had grown several inches and showed some signs of early pubescence.

“Yes, I’ve missed you,” Marie gestured, “It’s been lonely having so few people around who know how to sign and use magik.”

Helene felt guilty. Here she was trying to build a magical institution, yet she hadn’t bothered visit one of the magik children she was closest to since her return to New Orleans. To be fair, she’d spent most of her first month back sleeping and accompanying her parents on their various work trips. After that she and Francis had returned to their eple work with the councils.

All of this didn’t make up for the time she could’ve stopped in to check in on Marie, however. Sighing with regret, Helene answered, “Yes, I’ve missed you too. Not visiting is entirely my fault. How have you been?”

“Still working in magik sessions with Mrs. Guillory,” said Marie. “Sometimes it’s hard to not turn word signs into magik signs.”

Helene laughed at the mischief in Marie’s eyes as she signed this. Marie was Marie as always. When Helene began babysitting her, she was a quiet, yet precocious five year old who tried hard to remain settled as her father worked, but couldn’t help but to get into things. Helene had been deemed a responsible enough girl at 17, so the grown ups suggested she watch Marie. Because Helene was more bookish than she was outgoing, initially she’d been afraid that Marie wouldn’t take to her, but she soon found out Marie shared her curiosity for magik and the two became fast friends.

It wasn’t until later, when Helene overheard her parents talk late one night, that Helene learned how Louis and his daughter ended up in Treme with no wife or mother. Apparently Marie’s mother had died in childbirth while enslaved. Louis, who was an accomplished metalworker on the same Mississippi plantation, hoped that his skill would keep the owners from forcing his hearing impaired daughter into the fields. But as soon as Marie turned four, he’d received notice from the overseer that she was to join the others, and was expected to work just as hard, hearing or no. Louis seized his chance to escape as soon as he could and had landed in New Orleans. When Helene had first met him she thought he seemed a bit desperate and on edge, but as time went on it seemed the fear of being discovered had subsided. Even now, Louis sold his wares openly on market days, but only on days he felt safest, usually after there had been a raid.

Helene had always been slightly suspicious of his desperation, but her love for Marie had outweighed her suspicion — how could someone awful have such a great child? For the most part Louis had always been nice to her and had even given her a little coin before her trip to Uganda in thanks for taking care of Marie for all these years.

“How are your lessons going?” she asked Marie.

Marie shrugged, “Well enough, I feel like I can always do more, but Mrs. Guillory says I need to stick to the plan.”

Helene nodded, “She is a stickler for rules. What would you like to do instead?”

“My fingers are itching to work with soil and plants,” Marie answered, “Papa says there’s no more room for plants in our place and I’ve done all I can with our small garden.”

“Oh!” Helene signed with excitement, “I’ve just remembered that I have a few plants that I’ve not been able to nurse back to their fullness since returning. Maybe you could stop by my house later?”

“Really?” asked Marie happy at the thought, “When?”

“How about when Francis and I return from our trip? I’ll come back to the market to pick you up.”

“Yes, I’ll ask Papa!”

“Great!” Helene signed as she spotted Francis heading their way, “See you in a few hours.”

Marie and Louis waved Helene and Francis goodbye as they walked away from the stall.

“So, was your trip to Miss Ella’s successful?” asked Helene.

“Very. I found work gloves in multiple sizes and had enough time to visit the jewelry stall to get you this,” answered Francis, handing Helene a small pouch.

Helene opened it and found a black choker with a cameo image of a woman with curly hair tied in a tigon, much like hers.

“Oh my, thank you,” Helene said with a smile and a hug, “This was completely unexpected. What’s the occasion?”

Francis returned her smile and shrugged, “No real occasion. I just saw it and it reminded me of you. I thought after spending all this time in the swamps you may like something nice. Can’t have you only associating me with mud and sweat.”

Helene laughed and put the cameo in her bag, deciding she would wear it on her next day out somewhere nice. Could it be that Francis returned her feelings after all?

When she looked up again, Francis’ face held a frown. She looked around but couldn’t see anything that would make him unhappy. Shrugging, she joked, “I know what this is about. Your birthday is in a couple of weeks. You’re angling to get a nice birthday gift from me.”

His smile didn’t meet his eyes when he answered, “Nah, but now I’m expecting something grand.”

He walked a little faster than her now, making it to the clearing in the park up ahead. Had she made him angry? How? They were just smiling and hugging. Pushing these thoughts back, she met him at the Apparition point — an old magnolia tree that some wizard had designated far enough from nearby vantage points to be safe enough to travel from.

“Ready?” Francis asked tersely as he held his hands out for side-along Apparition.

“Yes,” Helene started, “Are we—?” but before she could finish her question they were off.

And with a rush, they were standing beside a sign that stated: “WELCOME, Chitimacha Indian Reservation.”

Helene stumbled a little, letting her feet catch up to the ground here. Francis, who had led the side-along Apparition since he’d been here so frequently, seemed to have landed with no difficulty.

After watching Helene to ascertain whether she needed any help, Francis began walking past the sign and into the reservation. Helene caught up with him and together they made their way to the scout post.

Francis stopped and introduced Helene to the guard, Charles, explaining they were here to give someone named Rosalie the gloves she’d requested. The guard gestured them forward and they continued their path towards a tall house made of plaster and thatch that Francis pointed out five yards away.

As they walked the path uphill, Helene noticed that Francis seemed to have shaken off whatever had been bothering him, after speaking with the guard. In fact, the usual spring in his step was back. Perhaps returning to the primary mission put him in a better mood?

They made it to the front yard and could hear little voices laughing in the back. Francis knocked on the front door, and a few moments later someone tall, with long dark brown hair, wearing a loose-fitted red tunic with fine blue embroidery and leather leggings answered the door.

“Hello, Boaz,” Francis greeted them, “We’re here to see Rosalie. She should be expecting me.”

Boaz nodded and looked at Helene in askance, “Is this your friend who wants to start a school?”

“Hi, yes, I’m Helene,” said Helene holding out her hand, “Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” demurred Boaz, shaking her hand, “Come and have a seat. I’ll let Rosalie know her guests have arrived.”

Helene and Francis walked into the room they had gestured towards, Francis heading directly to a seat in the corner. Helene followed his actions and took a seat on the bench in the center of the room. As they waited, Helene took in the room. Each wall had been painted a landscape painting with animals moving in the distance. To the side of where they sat, there lay a few sleeping mats, woven rugs, and blankets in a range of colors and patterns.

Helene was thinking through the best way to make her appeal to Rosalie about joining the school, when she walked into the room.

Rosalie was a short woman, with long brown hair, bright brown eyes, and a dimpled smile. She seemed to be the same age as Helene and Francis. She walked up to Francis gave him a hug, then walked over to Helene to shake her hand. She smoothed her long, blue patterned ribbon skirt before taking a seat on the side of the bench closest to Francis.

“It’s nice to see you,” she started looking at Francis, “And to meet you,” she added, nodding in Helene’s direction.

Before Helene could respond in kind, Rosalie continued, “Any luck fetching those gloves I requested?”

“Yes,” answered Francis, smiling as he pulled them out of his bag, “I got them in an assortment of sizes. I hope there are enough small ones for your youngest pupils.”

Rosalie smiled back while taking the gloves out of his hands, her hands lingering on his, “You’re always so thoughtful.”

Helene felt her gut tighten and tried as hard as possible to make her face appear emotionless.

Francis laughed, blushing a little, “It was no problem.” He slowly moved his hands back to his sides.

Helene tried to clear her head, and voice, as much as she could before mustering, while gesturing towards the backyard where they could hear children talking, “It seems you have a lot of practice in teaching children. What magik do you teach?”

Rosalie followed Helene’s gesture and nodded, “Myself, Boaz, and a few others teach all the magic we know. My specialty being potion-making.”

“Is that so?” asked Helene interested, “My father is a healer and he’s always looking for a potion master who knows their stuff.”

“Is he now?” said Rosalie with an eyebrow raised, “A male healer? May your father be George Larieux, by any chance?”

“Yes, do you know him?”

“By reputation,” stated Rosalie with respect in her voice, “He helped our best healer recover from a bad sickness. We thought we might lose her.”

“Oh,” said Helene, thinking she may be making some inroads with Rosalie after all, “I’m glad he could help.”

“Quite,” said Rosalie, as she turned towards Francis, “Do you mind explaining this project you wanted to speak to me about?”

“Sure,” Francis stated, giving Helene a brief glance before beginning, “As we’ve discussed in the past, the non-Colored seem to be enforcing greater restrictions on Colored populations and wizards are becoming worried that the security measures that worked when there was little scrutiny will completely fail during a crack down on Colored communities.”

“You must have heard about the militias who destroyed the Maroon settlements all those years back?” added Helene.

“I have, but that was quite a while ago and a few of your fellow freedmen assisted, no?” said Rosalie.

“Well...yes, but—” Helene started.

“...our elders believe that soon enough similar measures will be taken due to the visions a few of them have had — but this time these actions will include the destruction of free Colored communities as well,” Francis ended.

Helene sat back, surprised that Francis would share the contents of a vision with Rosalie. They had been entrusted with this information by the elders, who’d expected them to keep it quiet lest the details of the vision lead to a mass exodus. Neither Helene nor Francis had shared this information with their parents.

If Rosalie noticed Helene’s reaction, she didn’t acknowledge it. Instead, she nodded saying, “This matches some of our concerns. One of our elders had a vision of settlers pushing us further out of our land soon.”

The three sat in silence for a beat, each trying to decipher what it meant that elders from two different communities shared similarly foreboding visions.

“And you’re suggesting the answer to this forthcoming violence is what? Teaching?” said Rosalie with light sarcasm.

“But you see, the location is central to this plan,” started Helene.

“What? In swampland?” asked Rosalie in a near sneer, “As you can see, we live a good deal away from settler eyes and can practice magic without being devoured by mosquitoes. Why would I leave my students here to go teach in a lagoon?”

Francis caught Rosalie’s gaze, “Rosalie, that’s a bit unfair. We would never ask you to leave your students.”

“No? You’d have me ask their parents permission to uproot them from the family and home they know because of a few visions and your friend’s ‘brilliant’ plan?” she finished, no longer containing her barbed speech.

“That’s it. It’s fine.” said Helene angrily standing up, “You can keep your students and your teaching and your potions here. I don’t want help from anyone more worried about mosquitoes than they are about protecting their people.”

Francis quickly stood up and moved between the two women. “I don’t think we’ll have any progress in conversation here today. Rosalie, if you don’t like the idea of helping us build the school, would you at least consider coming out a couple of times a week? We could really use a potions master of your caliber,” he said with a strained smile.

Rosalie gave an imperceptible incline of the head, while waving them away.

Francis led Helene out of the door, with only a slight glance back on their way out. Helene grumpily moved out of his arm span and stomped her way towards the reservation entrance, not sure who she was most angry with at the moment.

While halfway down the hill, Helene felt the presence of another person and glanced back to find Boaz following them. When she stopped and turned in Boaz’ direction, Francis caught up with Helene and then waited as well.

Boaz stopped in front the couple and said, “I heard what you said to my sister. I want to help you.”

Helene, who had been braced for round two of the argument they’d just left with Rosalie, was unprepared for this interaction, “Pardon me?”

“I want to help you build your school and help teach people,” Boaz repeated, “You may find my gifts better suited to your goals than Rosalie’s anyway.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, I’m a weaver and builder.”

“May I ask,” Helene inquired, “Why you’d like to help us, after I just had a row with your sister?”

Boaz’ face remained diplomatic, but even so Helene could see a twinkle in their eyes, “My sister often has rows. What matters here are the visions you spoke of, you see, the elder Rosalie mentioned is my grandmother.”

Francis gasped, “Mrs. Sennet had that vision?”

“Yes,” Boaz answered, “And she told me that when your friend came, I was to assist. I’ll await your next correspondence by osprey.” Then with a nod to Francis and Helene, Boaz trekked back up the hill.

Helene and Francis looked at each other in stunned silence for a minute or so, before turning to continue their way back to the reservation’s Apparition point.

Francis stopped Helene before she turned to Apparate back to the park on her own. “That wasn’t how I expected this to go, but I think it’s safe to call this trip a success, right?”

Helene gave him a small shrug before turning on the spot, just before she pictured her destination, she thought triumphantly, “We did it!”

*********************************************************************************

Eple Creation

  1. Before drafting an eple, or spell as it is said in English, you must first sequester yourself to a location at a great distance from others. While simply thinking of an incantation isn’t sufficient to conjure a spell with one's hands, if one isn’t careful you may find yourself absentmindedly muttering different spells as you work through an incantation.

  2. The simplest eples are created by using the prefix of one spell and the suffix of another. For example, if taking the prefix ‘levi’ from the incantations — Levicorpus or Wingardum Leviosa — then adding the suffix ‘me’ from the incantation – Point Me — one would find themselves hovering in the direction of the item they seek.

  3. Eples are best created by wizards who have a wide range of incantations under their belt because they know how each eple feels when spoken and achieved. It is for this reason that eple creation is not taught to students until they have shown mastery of non-verbal eples.

*********************************************************************************