(1938-09-05) The Moderate Voice
Details for The Moderate Voice
Summary: Cassius comes to visit his convalescing assistant, Rhyeline. The two drink tea and discuss politics.
Date: September 5, 1938
Location: Rhyeline's Flat
Related: Plot: Unity

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

Rhyeline's Flat

A door with stained glass window panels reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's water lilies distinguishes this red-brick flat from the others on either side.

The mudroom opens onto a foyer with stairs leading to a second floor. A long hallway runs alongside the stairs through to the back door. The foyer opens to the right onto the parlor with an adjoining dining room. From the dining room, the kitchen hides tucked into the back of the house. Upstairs, a master bedroom and a guest bedroom allow for guests or even a flat mate. Outside behind the flat, surrounded by tall brick walls, sits a small garden.

The scent of an ever crackling fireplace intermingles with that of brewing coffee and the pure white roses in the bay window facing the street. Gentle lighting lends the flat a warm and cozy atmosphere.

Rain falls from the dark summer sky, leaving the air warm and heavy. Empty streets bear lamplight reflections upon their slick surfaces. Secluded in her gently lit flat, Rhyeline has prepared tea and little cakes for a visitor and donned an elegant dress of sheer white silk. Her thick, dark hair cascades down until a ribbon gathers it at the small of her back.

Shyness shines in her warm, dark gaze as Rhyeline shows Cassius into the sitting room. The strongest she’s seemed in months, her movements possess a gentle grace, no longer slow and weak. Making an effort to speak first beyond initial pleasantries, she murmurs, “Healer Keenan said I should be well enough to leave soon.”

Cassius is dressed in his usual crisp attire, having just come from the office. From under his dark green cape, he produces a modest bouquet of various flowers. "I'm told these all promote good health, though I suspect it may have been merely a sales pitch." He gives her his broad, cheerful smile, offering the flowers. "Has there been any progress in the elimination of your curse, then?"

The warm glow brightens in Rhyeline’s eyes at the sight of the flowers. Such a gift never fails to draw delight from the shy little mouse. Holding the bouquet in both hands, she immerses herself in their scent for a moment. Half hidden behind the flowers, she peeks back up at Cassius with a soft smile of her own. “Not elimination. But, effective treatment will look a lot like complete elimination in the end. So- in a way, yes.” Drawing her wand, she vanishes half-wilted flowers from the bay window and replaces them with the fresh ones.

"I'm delighted to hear it. Whatever will make your life more manageable pleases me." Cassius hasn't made mention of his private donations to the hospital for spell damage research. He politely remains standing until Rhyeline seats herself. "Whatever they are doing, it is clearly working. You look radiant, my dear."

As if to punctuate his statement, rose-pink warmth blooms in her in her snow-white complexion. “I-“ she half stammers. “Thank you.” Supple wand still drawn, she gives an elegant flick at the tea set, causing it to come to life and serve them both. “It- it is good to see you, Cassius. I- I hope that the summaries I sent you were helpful?” With so much debate taking place both at home and abroad, keeping up with it all would have been a full time endeavor of its own.

Cassius settles back with a hot cup of tea, sipping daintily. "Frankly, I am astounded at how industrious you've been while recovering. It has been incredibly helpful. The temporary assistant I've had isn't even a shadow of your ability. I admit that I quite selfishly look forward to your return to work. That is…" He arches an eyebrow inquisitively, "…if you do intend to return to my employ."

Blushing deeper still, his words of praise heighten the warm glow in Rhyeline's eyes of dark espresso. Warming her hands against the sides of her teacup, she nods. “Yes. As soon as I can. I’d love that. Events are culminating. Soon to burst into the next chapter. You’ll- you’ll need me.” Passion fills her voice and manner. Clinging to the cup of tea, she forgets to take a sip.

Cassius nods in agreement. "That I shall." He takes no obvious notice of her abashed responses, but then he's not one to draw attention to such things unless he's trying to keep someone off-balance. "The political situation is becoming more volatile all the time. With support for Grindelwald growing, we are being pressured more and more to take a firm stance for or against him. I need people that I know I can rely on close to me."

Rhyeline smiles at Cassius and nods. Resting back in her armchair beside the fire, she gazes across at Cassius, warm and secure despite her shy manner. “You are the moderate voice for deliberative action. I’ll be there to stand with you. At your side.”

Cassius tilts his head, observing her quietly for a moment. "And if I choose to take the party a less moderate direction? I'd like to know your opinion on the matter, Rhyeline. Would you rather see Unity standing beside Grindelwald's movement, or against it?"

Rhyeline brings her cup at last to her lips and takes a small sip, gazing at Cassius. Resting it in her lap, she murmurs, “Should you chose to join Grindlewald’s movement, I have faith your voice would have positive influence. And to believe that great social change can come about without displacement would be naïve. Conflict is inevitable, but my hope would be that it can be minimized.”

Cassius nods solemnly. "It is an unfortunate reality. Whether we were to join forces with Grindelwald or not, what we hope to achieve is going to be a fight in some form or another. To be honest, I am surprised that we have not yet received overtures from his people. His supporters here on the Isles have made calls to join forces, but I would have suspected that his movement would have reached out to us by now."

“Soon. A culmination is at hand,” Rhyeline murmurs with a nod. Looking off into space, in thought, she adds, “More voices are speaking up. They grow louder. Pressures and passions are building, soon to burst…” Blinking, she returns and looks to Cassius. “A pre-emptive strike to join may increase your leverage to guide the discourse.”

Cassius sighs, allowing a furrow of concern to form on his brow. "Perhaps. I've considered the ramifications of that course of action. You're right, it might buy influence. But done too soon or too late, and it might shake loose potential supporters here at home. That is, of course, assuming that joining with them would be beneficial at all. Thus far, Grindelwald's movement is focused on the mainland. If he succeeds there and builds a strong enough power base, he will eventually turn his eyes upon the Isles. But if we have done the same thing here, and become a dominant force, we will be in a much better position to enforce our own terms in a negotiation."

“To influence the implementation methods of our proposed policy, we must be a dominant force. However, to ensure implementation at all, we must join forces. With well-timed action and well-chosen words, both can be achieved.” Rhyeline’s dark gaze shines in the warm light of the oil lamps. She watches Cassius with a subtle intensity that matches her words.

Cassius's eyes sparkle with suddenly ignited interest. "So, you believe that we must join out strength to his if we are to succeed at all? Forgive me, I want to be certain I am understanding you correctly."

Though Rhyeline’s voice remains soft, her gaze is unwavering. “How can a unity movement succeed when its champions stand divided? International cooperation will be much easier to achieve if our voices resonate for the cause of unity. Your voice of moderation may temper calls for more radical action.”

"Are you not concerned that my voice will be drowned out amidst a crowd of radicals? From my own platform, I am a symbol. But there can be no question that Grindelwald is a larger icon on the world stage." Cassius has that twinkle in his eye that he gets when he's blatantly enjoying the verbal dance with an intellectual equal.

Rhyeline takes a small sip of tea. Canting her head to the side, her soft smile reflects his own enjoyment. “Why would I need to be concerned? Are tactics and strategy not your forte? Perhaps you need me even more than I thought.” Her dark gaze gleams with subtle mirth as her trust in his cunning lends humor to her words.

Cassius laughs aloud, letting his amusement shine through. "Perhaps I do. But then, that's why we're having this conversation, isn't it? I value your opinion. This is strategic planning in action. I'll have to give this considerable thought. I must consult with Eden as well. One way or the other, we'll need to start planning for an event. Grindelwald has taken the stage, and we have been in his shadow since Durmstrang. It is time for us to emerge once more, with a stronger message than ever before…whatever we decide that must be." His chuckles linger as he sips his tea.

Rhyeline grins as Cassius’ laughter fills her little flat. Despite the lingering shyness of her manner, her words flow with ease and rare warmth shines in her eyes as she speaks. “I’m sure you will be able to tip the scales in your favor. Perhaps a personal publicist can lend insight into how to take a larger portion of the stage. Until I can return to stand at your side, I will continue summarizing all that is being said. I’ll find the hidden meanings and motivating incentives so your words and actions will be best informed.”

"Knowing that you are once more on the job lifts a considerable weight from my shoulders." Cassius lifts his teacup toward her. "To the future of Unity."

Adjusting her teacup, Rhyeline lifts it in return. “To the unity of all mankind, be we magic or muggle.” Smiling, she brings it to her lips and drinks deep.

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