(1937-11-30) Collecting Stories
Details for Collecting Stories
Summary: Having written an article in the Daily Prophet about the recent St. Mungo's events, Phil was keeping an eye out for those involved. Upon noticing Rhye sitting alone at the Leaky Tavern in the middle of its busiest hour, she immediately joined the girl and started drawing out her story.
Date: Friday, November 30, 1937
Location: Leaky Cauldron

It is a fall night. The weather is warm and drizzling.

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'.

Dusk has fallen over Diagon Alley as the rain continues to drizzle endlessly from the darkening grey sky. The Leaky Cauldron is full to bursting with the evening dinner crowd. At the bar sit several Ministry wizards and witches howling with laughter at a new joke. Gathered all around at the tables, merry folk participate in spirited debates or friendly discussions of the day's events and morrow's plans.

But off by herself in a corner of the tavern, Rhyeline sits with a small plate of dinner and a cup of coffee. Roast chicken, grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes with chives. The portions seem smaller than those on most plates, but such seems fitting with how small the girl herself is. Taking a small sip of coffee, the gamine gazes out across the tavern, content to listen to the din of chatter and laughter and not participate herself.

Depending on the day Phil either bursts into the pub or slips in unobtrusively; today it is the latter. She reaches up with her gloved hands and pushes back the hood of her velvet cloak as she weaves her way through the crowded pub. Upon reaching the middle of the room Phil stops and looks around, her wide-eyed gaze flitting from table to table as if she were searching for someone. From within her cloak pocket she draws out a small notepad and peers at it before looking around again. One hand snakes out to touch the arm of a passing bar wench. "Tea, Earl Grey, with lemon. I will be sitting over there." She nods in the direction of Rhyeline then moves that way. Phil clearly communicates her arrival, looking straight at the younger witch, a soft smile playing over her lips. "You are Miss Diderot, are you not?"

Rhyeline blinks and watches hesitantly as an unfamiliar young woman points in her direction. Holding her cup of coffee carefully in both hands she watches as the reporter approaches. The girl seems surprised to have been recognized, but nodding slowly she says, “Yes, I am she. May I help you?”

Phil lowers herself into the chair and sets her notepad on the table. "I am Phil Rowle. I asked around for a description of you." The top page does, indeed carry vague discription of Rhyeline. "I wanted to check up on you if I ever managed to spot you, especially after all the things Annie said." She reaches over and offers a hand to Rhyeline. "I have got the correct person, haven't I? You are friends with Annie Moody?"

“Y-yes… I am. You spoke with Annie?” asks Rhyeline. Hesitation and a touch of nervousness register in the girl’s features. Though there are no signs of lingering injury upon her, the girl’s complexion is unusually pale. Her body appears quite delicate.

Phil lowers her hand and nods. "Yes. I graduated a few years earlier. You likely don't remember me. Annie told me a bit about what happened to you - at the hospital." She shrugs off her cloak and looks to be settling down for a comfortable stay. "It inspired my article actually, her worry about you and what happened to her. I don't imagine you read it, what with recovering and all." She overs a soft smile.

Rhyeline’s pale features warm with a subtle blush. Her gaze lowers to the cup of coffee in her hands. “No, I read it.” Peeking up at Phil, she adds, “And I remember you. You were in Ravenclaw… but much older than us at the time, yes?”

Phil nods, but doesn't say anything as her tea arrives. She pays the bar girl a few coins then looks over at Rhyeline again. "Yes, that's right, about three years." The tea is poured from the small pot into the cup and a squeeze of lemon juice is added. The pot is returned to the table, the lemon slice to the plate and the tea stirred before Phil says anything else. This clearly is a ritual she performs regularly. "I am glad to see you are out and about. It must have been quite terrifying at the time." She lifts the cup from the saucer and with her little finger out tilts her wrist to bring the cup to her lips so that she can drink from it.

Rhyeline watches Phil in silence for a time. A subtle haunted look flickers in her eyes as the young woman brings up the events at the hospital. Lowering her gaze, she takes a moment to slowly sip her coffee. Then looking back up at Phil, she nods. “Terrifying, yes. I was lucky I was not alone.”

Phil looks over the rim of her cup at Rhyeline for a moment as she drinks then lowers the cup back to the saucer. "Thankfully it is all behind you and you have good friends like Annie to help you with your emotional recovery. If you ever wish to discuss what happened, as part of your recovery I am a good listener. I am also rather good at being impartial." She shifts slightly in her chair, crossing her legs beneath the table. "Why are you sat here alone and not over there," she gestures towards the other ministry employees at the bar.

Rhyeline blinks and glances at the raucous crowd gathered in the Leaky Tavern. “Mm. Well, for one, I have only recently returned to London. As I’m sure you know, I am assistant to Ambassador Troy, and so no one there is known to me. But… even they did know me, I… I prefer to watch.”

"You can learn a lot by watching and listening. People don't always notice the watchers," observes Phil. "Do you think you will stay for long? Do you want to?" She takes her tea up again. "It must be odd having to follow someone around like that, to have more than one place but no set home."

“I feel very fortunate to be able to serve as Ambassador Troy’s assistant. I don’t mind following him at all. In fact, I look forward to the day when he might be able to return to his post abroad once more. Should matters improve a bit.” A subtle smile touches Rhyeline’s features. “And you’re right. Few notice the watchers. In your profession, that comes quite useful, yes?”

Phil settles the cup carefully on the saucer and flashes Rhyeline a grin. "It does come in handy. That and I have very good hearing." She looks around the pub and then back at her companion. "What is it like working for an ambassador? How did you end up in such a line of work? It isn't what you imagine people would do so soon after leaving school."

Rhyeline sets down her cup of coffee. “Well, I followed international events closely during my last years at Hogwarts. I taught myself German. I knew I wanted to help promote the establishment of a lasting peace in the world. I could see a storm was coming. No time to waste. So I applied for the open post as Ambassador Troy’s assistant in Germany. I was very lucky to be chosen.”

"You sound quite determined, not something you often get in recent graduates. Would you like to be ambassador yourself someday?" Phil tops up her tea, pouring more into the cup. "With that kind of attitude I could see you doing it. Learning a language on your own - one which you learnt enough to speak it in a professional capacity - shows tenacity and also vision to know what would be required of you."

Rhyeline seems surprised by the idea of possibly becoming an ambassador someday. Biting her lower lip, she hesitates a moment before saying softly, "Mm, well, my written German was adequate, but I struggled for the first few months before I was completely fluent. I practiced at Hogwarts with a girl that had some German, but that's different from being entirely immersed in the language. But no, I don't think I will ever be an Ambassador myself. That requires… certain qualities that… I don't feel I'll ever have."

Phil looks up at Rhyeline. "I wouldn't sell yourself short if I were you. You do not know what the future holds for you, none of us do. You might end up in ten or twelve years time or even five years time with those qualities in abundance." She adds more lemon into her tea and stirs it. "Don't sell yourself short, as the saying goes."

Rhyeline shrugs and takes up her cup of coffee once more. “Too far in the future to say. For now, I try to focus on the present.” After taking a small sip of coffee, the little witch murmurs, “I can’t imagine my stories would be very interesting for an article. Why so curious?”

Phil smiles faintly, "I collect people - collect stories. I don't use everything for work. I write little stories, fictional ones, using mixtures of people that I have met and stories I have heard. I have met ambassadors and their assistants before, but none quite like you." She pauses as if searching for the right word, "You are very serene. There is something unrushed about you. I like it."

Rhyeline’s cheeks warm once more with a subtle blush. Lowering her gaze, she murmurs, “That is kind of you to say, miss. Standing apart from the chaos, it is easier to see the full picture. Sitting still allows muddied waters to settle and become clear. I cannot imagine performing my tasks any other way.”

Phil picks up her notepad and turns the page to a blank one. She pulls a pencil from the spiral top and jots a few notes down. "I like how you phrased that. It creates a perfect mental image of you sat at your desk with chaos all around you, waiting for it to settle before you begin to pull apart the tangled weeds." She smiles at Rhyeline. "I hope you do not mind me stealing your imagery?"

Rhyeline’s blush seems to deepen just a bit and peeking up at Phil, she shakes her head and murmurs, “No, I don’t mind. Stories are… something I feel I’d like to write. I grew up on my father’s stories. But I don’t have much time to write any. When I do have time, I always have correspondence to catch up on.”

"My mother has always said that you can tell the quality of a witch by how good she is with her correspondence." Phil grins, "As you can imagine she is very good at writing letters and the like. Never misses an opportunity to send a reply slip to a formal invitation or even an informal one for that matter." She tucks her pencil and notepad away. "Perhaps sometime you will have a little holiday and can try your hand at writing."

Rhyeline smiles softly up at Phil. "I hope not. There is too much to do. A holiday would mean only bad things. But perhaps one day, I might try to make a bit of time. My father would be pleased."

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