(1937-11-18) The Leaky Cauldron’s Lawrence of Arabia
Details for The Leaky Cauldron’s Lawrence of Arabia
Summary: In a chance encounter at the Leaky Cauldron, Rhyeline and Cyril discuss matters pertaining to the Near East and international politics.
Date: Sunday, November 18, 1937
Location: Leaky Cauldron

It is a fall morning. The weather is cool and clear.

The Leaky Cauldron – London

This cramped, angular room is the taproom of the Leaky Cauldron. A long bar runs along one side of the room, plain wooden stools set out before it. Smoke from pipes and candles fills the air. The patrons of this curious little bar, many of them elderly, sit hunched over their mugs at the tables. Waitresses sometimes coined 'Wenches' bustle back and forth bearing trays of food and mugs of ale. Many of the people seem strangely out of place, dressed in cloaks and floppy hats, as if they stumbled out of another century. Notably absent is any modern muggle devices or electric lighting, or any sign of electricity at all. Still, the occasional muggle does find their way in here, usually declaring it to be 'quaint' and 'atmospheric'.

Cyril Marius Malfoy is not the kind of person who enjoys staying in a hotel, but after being denied access to his brother's estate the day before, it's what he was reduced to. He sits at a table in The Cauldron with a book in his hand and a scowl on his lips. Occassionally he'll reach over to pick up his glass of scotch to take a sip, but for now it seems he's quite lost in the book.

At this time of morning, with most having finished breakfast and off to work, the Leaky Cauldron is rather quiet. Just perfect in this little mouse’s opinion. Hugging a small book bound in faded crimson cloth, Rhyeline slips quietly into the tavern and looks around. While the girl might or might not draw the man’s gaze, her book may certainly catch his attention. The title is printed in the gold, using the graceful Arabic script. Beneath in smaller letters is the beginning of an English translation, but her arms, folded across it, are blocking it from view. Standing near the door, she vacillates, trying to decide where to sit.

Cyril looks up from his own book and claps it closed, setting it down on the table. He scratches at his jaw and observes the new arrival and her book. "Interested in the Ottomans?" he says offhandedly. After all, a Malfoy is entitled to conversation.

Rhyeline has just started for a little table in the corner when she hears the Malfoy’s voice. Stopping abruptly, she gazes at him a moment, but then with a soft, shy smile she nods and in a voice as soft as might be expected, she murmurs, “Yes, sir. Their empire was vast and what remains is fascinating.”

Cyril nods to her and takes up his glass of scotch to sip, observing her over the rim. "Fascinating indeed. I've spent a good amount of time in the Fertile Crescent, so that's where my interest arises. Why are you so intrigued?"

Rhyeline continues to cling tight to the book as the man engages her in conversation. It is only through her fascination in the subject that so many words come at once. Lowering her gaze a moment, she then peeks up at him and murmurs, “The coming storm will not be confined to Europe alone. I believe that aspects of it will play out in the near east as well.”

Cyril smirks and slides a chair out for her with his feet, "Oh, my dear, the storm is already there. It's been there since Biblical times, and I'm afraid it won't ever leave." He sips his scotch again and sets it back down on the table, saying, "Why are you so nervous?"

Rhyeline pauses at his question. Lowering her book and holding it loosely against her lap, she nods apologetically and says, “Forgive me. I do not mean to give that impression.” Then, dipping into a little curtsy, she offers him a small smile and says, “My name is Rhyeline Diderot. I am an assistant to Ambassador Troy.”

Cyril smirks and says, "I do not know who that is, and I don't exactly care. Have a seat." He leans back in his chair and drums his fingers along the surface of the table, saying, "I am Cyril Malfoy. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Diderot."

The faintest pink hue warms her rather pale features at the sight of the smirk. Rhyeline lowers his gaze, but when he suddenly invites her to sit, she blinks, peeking up at him in surprise. After a moment of hesitation, she nods and obediently approaches. “The pleasure is mine, Mr. Malfoy. You seem to know so much of the region I am trying to study. How long did you live there?”

As he pulls a cigarette case from his pocket he remarks, "Overall? About six or seven years. I make period trips back to London every now and then, so I've lost track of the time. Have you ever been?"

“No, sir. I have not yet had the opportunity. I have only been able to travel to France and Germany so far, but I would love very much to visit that region.” Rhyeline looks young enough to perhaps still even be at Hogwarts so it shouldn’t be surprising that she hasn’t travelled much yet despite her interests. “If I may ask, what were you doing for seven years or so there?” Despite her shyness, she gazes up at him with a powerful curiosity.

Cyril pulls a cigarette out of the case and holds it out in offering as he says, "I'm a mercenary. It's my intention to bring a little bit of stability to the land." Of course he left out the part about being a devious treasure hunter and thrillseeker who uses Muggles as a toy army, but that's a conversation for a later date.

And her fascination only deepens. Hugging the book once more to her chest Rhyeline says, “Truly? A mercenary? But. But how? Did you serve muggle rulers? They didn’t know what you were, of course, yes?”

Cyril pulls the offered cigarette back and lights it up, taking a drag. He exhales it slowly and says, "They only knew that I had an uncanny ability to win battles others would find impossible."

“I see.” Rhyeline gazes at him with quiet awe as she considers his words. “I have wondered if perhaps that is the true answer to recent matters. You have heard, perhaps, of the talk regarding the Statute of Secrecy?”

Cyril smirks and says, "My brother is Cassius Malfoy. Of course I've heard the talks. I can barely get away from it. The media thinks that because there's blood there that I give a damn about his agenda."

“Ah.” Rhyeline hesitates. “Then, I suppose you aren’t particularly interested then…” Her gaze flickers away before peeking back up at him. “Forgive me, I did not wish to offend.” Just then, the barkeeper arrives and with an air of gentleness, sets down a cup of coffee before the girl on the table. Looking up at him, she offers him a warm smile of appreciation and nods. “Thank you.”

Cyril shakes his head and says, "You did not offend. I merely offered up my opinion on the matter so that you would not continue the line of conversation." He takes another drag of his cigarette and says, "So, who is this Troy fellow?"

Rhyeline nods apologetically once more and lets the matter rest. “Through the Department of International Magical Cooperation, he served in Germany until recently as our Ambassador, trying to negotiate some sort of agreement and hold off the oncoming storm. Unfortunately, he has been forced to return to London for the time being.”

Cyril nods and says, "Sounds like he could not handle the heat, if you ask me. But I do not know him, so I will reserve further judgement." He rubs at his stubble and says, "He get run out of town by those goosestepping thugs?"

Lowering her gaze, Rhyeline murmurs, “I do not believe it was his decision to leave. That was for the Ministry to decide. And I suppose after I was caught in the crossfire of the fifth attempt on his life, they decided that matters could not be salvaged.” This might explain the gamine seems so pale and fragile.

Cyril takes a long drag of his cigarette and exhales it slowly as his golden eyes dance around her form. He clears his throat and says, "Sounds like someone is not a fan of Mister Troy. He must be doing something right."

Rhyeline nods, looking to him with a soft smile. “Matters of international importance. Unlike the petty squabbles of domestic affairs, it is not unexpected when those rise up who are willing to kill for their interests. Or die for them.” Lowering her gaze, she brings her warm cup of coffee to her lips. As she slowly sips, she peeks up at him from over the brim.

Cyril smirks and says, "I've found that those who would rise up violently are best when they're rounded up and put down by a firing squad. At least, that's how I've always handled it. But then again, I'm no politician."

“Nor diplomat,” she murmurs with a subtle mirth in her gaze. “Such might be a solution in more simple matters, when there is a clear aggressor that might be isolated from those not involved. But the coming storm has roots that go deep and are widespread beyond what we can measure yet. Even if the outspoken ruler and all of his officers and soldiers were put to death, would that solve the troubles that precipitated his rise to power in the first place?”

Cyril takes a final drag from his cigarette and says, "Perhaps not, but I imagine it would be a hell of a good start." He offers up a deviant smirk and finishes off his scotch, saying, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a gate to crash."

Rhyeline nods. After taking a short sip of her coffee, she offers him a warm, if shy smile and murmurs, “Of course. It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Malfoy. I hope we might speak again sometime.”

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