(1937-12-12) A Sympathetic Ear
Details for A Sympathetic Ear
Summary: Rhyeline is invited to sit with the infamous gossip columnist, Eupraxia Pyrites. However, the woman proves rather sympathetic with the girl's situation and promises to not mention the matter of St. Mungo's in her column unless it proves necessary to defend what truly took place.
Date: Wednesday, December 12, 1937
Location: Cafe Tasseo

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

Cafe Tasseo
Named for the art of Tasseomancy (Tea Leaf Reading), the posh Cafe Tasseo offers complimentary tea leaf reading to its customers. The cafe has a sort of French elegance to it, but it is much less flagrant, which makes it pure British. The chairs are all padded dining chairs of mahogany and golden embossed fabric one would expect to find in a Louis XIV style without all the pomp of leaves and flanges, just smooth curvaceous lines of mahogany. The use of mahogany, gold and pristine white is throughout the spacious room.
The ceiling is a floral mosaic of white and gold with chandeliers and light fixtures dangling from the mosaic in appropriate places. The gold gilding continues into the walls, accenting raised relief panels on the columns between the windows. The panels share the floral motif of the ceiling, intricately crafted down to the last detail. The windows themselves are just as magnificently turned out; the top quarter is draped in gold shades, the bottom half covered by white sheers, allowing the patrons privacy yet letting ample light through the uncovered section of glass.

It's bright and early. Most are just leaving their homes to head to work, while some have been out and about already. Still more are sleeping. The Cafe is just beginning operations for the breakfast time crowd. Eupraxia is sitting comfortably at a table by the window, with a bowl of porridge close at hand. Right now, the overly attired woman is sipping at tea as she watches people come and go. Nearby, too, sits a notepad and her quill.

As Rhyeline slips into Café Tasseo, there is a weariness to her manner that suggests she has not yet been to bed after burning the midnight oil. The host takes in the sight of her without surprise. Approaching, he gently helps her out of her heavy winter cloak and says, “Good morning, Ms. Diderot. Long night, I take it?” It seems this girl is a regular. The little gamine offers the mustachioed host a soft smile and nods. In a voice as soft as one might expect from the look of her, she answers “Yes, sir. So much to do.” The host nods. “Well, I will bring you a fresh cup of coffee. And perhaps a cinnamon roll? They are coming fresh out of the oven in just a few moments.” Rhyeline nods, still smiling up at him. “Yes, please. That sounds lovely.”

An eyebrow rises slightly at the girl that enters. Either her age, her appearance, or… something else. Eupraxia is clearly freshly up, herself. Her makeup, potions, and outfit are all in fresh condition. The woman finishes her one tea, beginning to pour a fresh cup. She gestures with a spoon to the other chair at her table. "Would you like to join me?"

Rhyeline pauses and looks over to Eupraxia. Recognition flickers in her dark, steady gaze. Though the girl’s manner is quite reserved, a woman with such a nose for gossip will surely perceive the subtle caution in the young one’s eyes. But then with a small nod, Rhyeline murmurs, “Thank you. That is most kind.” The host then places a light touch to her elbow and conducts her to sit across from the elegant gossip columnist from the Daily Prophet. “My name is Rhyeline Diderot.”

"I thought that might be you," Eupraxia says, voice cheerful. Always so. "You've been in the paper quite a bit recently. Nasty business at St. Mungo's, that." Eupraxia effects a shudder. The emotion is genuine, but the gesture perhaps a bit over done. She finishes preparing her new cup of tea and settles the saucer square before herself. "I'm Eupraxia Pyrites. I don't often deal with such… grisly matters, but I do like to keep tabs on those mentioned. It's so easy to be mentioned in such news and swiftly forgotten." It's as if she can't comprehend the concept that a person may /want/ to be forgotten.

Rhyeline keeps her features neutral as Eupraxia does in fact recognize her. Not for nothing has she been working as a diplomat’s assistant for the last two years. A waiter pours a cup of coffee for the girl, and after nodding in thanks, she takes it up and warms her delicate hands against its sides. “I wish it were easier. It isn’t an experience I like to be reminded of.”

"I can only imagine," Eupraxia says, her voice kept low and gentle. She hasn't made any move for that notepad and there's already scribbles of ideas upon it. Mostly fashion notes. She's just taking advantage of a situation, perhaps. "Are you doing well? I've heard that the Ambassador is being charged, but he acted to protect you. I'm sure you're hoping the courts will understand his actions?" She lifts her tea, blowing softly on the surface. "You must be quite the talented assistant, to have the man you work for risk himself on your behalf."

Though her tone is reassuring and soft, the little one still keeps her guarded reserve. “I’m alright. But yes, I hope very much that the courts understand the situation.” Rhyeline’s features are quite pale, but now the most subtle pink warmth has begun to emerge in her cheeks. “If it hadn’t been for him, I don’t think either of us, myself or my dear friend Annie who was there as well would have been alright.” The girl’s voice wavers at the last moment. Falling silent, she lowers her gaze and slowly sips her cup of coffee. It seems the incident is still very difficult for her to speak of.

"So he saved not only his assistance, but another young woman? Goodness. I'm sure the fine people of the courts and the Ministry will understand the Ambassador acted in defense of others." Eupraxia takes another sip of her tea, letting silence reign for a moment. She sets it down, moving smoothly to another topic. "How are you keeping yourself? I do hope they haven't rushed you back into your duties."

“Keeping busy helps. The Ambassador offered to give me some time off, but I didn’t want it. Besides. There is too much that needs to be done. Even though the Ambassador has been forced to return to London, the situation in Europe requires his attention. He is doing all he can from here.” And then the cinnamon roll arrives. Again, the girl offers a nod of thanks to the waiter before taking up her fork to cut off a steamy golden piece.

"Is he able to do much from here?" Eupraxia glances to the roll, but instead shifts attention to her porridge. It's got some kind of fruits and perhaps maple in it, at least. "I know much of his line of work requires direct, personal interaction. How is he able to make up for that when working remotely as he is?" A pause and she looks quite concerned, leaning in slightly, "Are the charges against him affecting his work ill at all? I've heard Germany, especially, is quite tricky to deal with."

“Unfortunately the situation in Germany had become such that the risk staying in Berlin became too great. Though the storm brewing over Europe is most grave, not all has been said or done,” murmurs the girl softly before nibbling at her cinnamon bun. “I wouldn’t have thought such news interested you though. Your columns are generally concerned with Quidditch captains and the latest scandal.”

There's a slow smile from Eupraxia, over-long lashes falling to brush over her cheeks as she stirs her porridge. She eats a couple of small bites. "What I write and what interests me are not always the same, Miss Diderot. Yes, my columns are my passion, but I still care greatly what happens in the world in general. Politics can affect fashion, sports, or the upper crust afterall. Best to keep my eyes open for anything."

“I believe that if there is any hope for salvaging the diplomatic situation in Europe, Ambassador Troy will be the one to do it. I hope that should you print anything regarding the issue, you will emphasize that he most certainly acted in defense. The intent of the invisible ones was… was all too clear.” Rhyeline’s hands tighten a bit upon her coffee cup and she needs to pause to keep her voice steady. “The things they said. The way they touched me. Dragged me away and to the ground…” Rhyeline’s eyes start to glisten and she has to stop. Swallowing, she murmurs, “If he were punished for what he did to protect us, it would be the most great injustice.”

"Oh dear," Eupraxia says after a moment, her eyes gone wide. She clutches at her tea now, watching Rhyeline across the table. "I had never considered anything else. A man should /never/ find himself punished for protecting the life and sensibilities of a lady."

Rhyeline nods and lowers her gaze to her coffee. Of course the Ambassador will most likely be cleared of all charges. But the young one still seems worried. “Forgive me. I did not mean to lose my composure.” Peeking up at Eupraxia, she murmurs, “In truth, gossip is so easy to misinterpret. I hope you will take great care with your pen. You have the power to draw out the darkness of corruption and bring it into the sunlight. Perhaps… unless there is a miscarriage of justice… you would be so kind as to remain silent on the matter? I’d… I’d rather it not be so well known… what happened that night. Unless it needs to be.”

"Of course, Miss Diderot, of course." Eupraxia frowns a bit now, casting a sudden glance to her notepad. She doesn't say anything, however. She spends a moment stirring at her porridge. "However, I will have to provide something as people will have surely seen us talking. Maybe you can tell me how you're getting along after the ordeal? Settling back in to work, home life… Do you have any plans for the Christmas holiday? We don't need to discuss the events that evening at all."

“There isn’t much to tell. I am continuing my work as I did before. Keeping busy. My family is not particularly close, so I don’t expect to do much for the holidays. I live alone. Except for my work, my life is very quiet. I am sure if you chose not to print anything about me after speaking to me, it is because there was little of interest. Your readers trust that you would not falter should there be some scandal to bring to light. And hopefully justice will prevail, and there won’t be.”

Eyebrows rise somewhat and Eupraxia gives herself over to some soft laughter. "Well, you certainly do your Ambassador a justice," she says finally, setting her tea cup down. "But it is a shame, such a pretty young thing as yourself… No plans for the holidays? Dear, I do hope some ball invites come your way. They are the more pleasant way to spend the holidays, I find."

At last a soft smile touches the young one’s lips. “I prefer quiet, cozy evenings alone, curled up with a mocha and a book. But perhaps my father will seek to invite me to something.” Of course, her father is Dillorous Diderot, a famous author, perhaps someone Eupraxia herself has met at some highbrow social function. “This is the first year that I have not been at Hogwarts, or away in Germany, so I’m not sure what will happen.”

"Well, no big balls or soirees then," Eupraxia says brightly. Spending the holidays along with books?! It's clear she has no issues with spending time along and relaxed, but to do so during the holidays… "But perhaps I should see about getting word out for a few dinner parties. You deserve it, especially young as you are."

Rhyeline isn’t too sure what being young has to do with anything, but she offers a polite nod of thanks. “You are most kind Miss Pyrites. It has been lovely to meet you. And… and if… if it seems that there might be a need to take pre-emptive action in ensuring that justice prevails… I will be sure to contact you. To… to tell you everything. But… but for now… you have my deepest gratitude. Truly.”

"Of course," Eupraxia says, finishing her tea and placing the spoon across the saucer. She places out the coins to pay for her meal. "I would be honored if you would let me know. Until then, I will listen and keep an eye out. Chivalrous men are so rare at times, we must praise a man willing to risk life and livelihood." She may very well be genuine in what she's saying, too.

Rhyeline nods, smiling up at Eupraxia with a shy warmth. “Thank you so much, Miss Pyrites. I truly appreciate it. I hope there will be no need for us to meet again, but that we still will. For now, I should head home. I hope you have a pleasant day.”

"Rest up, Miss Diderot," Eupraxia tells the girl, getting to her feet to gather up her cloak. "You look like you've barely slept." It is actually a warm and kind thing to say and still, genuine. There's little of the snoop in place right now. She gathers up her notepad and quill, tucking them away. "You have a wonderful holiday if we do not cross paths again before the new year."

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