(1938-11-21) Let It Glowe
Details for Let It Glowe
Summary: Esther has all but finished Medusa's painting, but she wants a little bit of advice in exchange for her hard word. While ambition is no dark secret, just what is Esther working on?
Date: 1938-11-21
Location: Slytherin Common Room

The house is almost quiet. Aside from the flickering firelight, Esther would be all alone, at least she thinks, having set up her in the cornereasel as the last of the students beat curfew, and then undressing - Well, really just removing her robe. The canvas is nearly finished, and most people could identify it as the Owlery tower, but only three could possibly pick the exact where and when. A few light traces of black paint have marred Esther's blouse, but she's busy - Adding tiny bits of definition, ensuring that everything is just right, on her first 'comission'. Her robe is rolled up into a delicate little bundle, protectively cradling something. She seems so wide awake - But lately, the girl hasn't really been sleeping well. Most reports have her coming straight back from classes, sleeping, and then burning the midnight oil.

Just as curfew sets Medusa strolls into the Common Room, her arm ladened with study materials. Judging by the names of the books she appears to have been studying potions, likely in the classroom. Having swapped her usual ankle boots for flats her footfall is silent but the creaking sound of the door closing behind her gives away her arrival. Taking her things over to a table she then walks over to Esther, but stops so that she sees the girl and not the painting. "May I look?" This is Esther's creation afterall.

Esther doesn't hear the door. She's focusing on her painting, and making sure every last detail is in place. It's not the exact scene, certain things needed… Balancing, in color, but it's pretty close to what she remembers. She doesn't seem shocked though, to have Medusa disturb her - The way the woman's voice could make her jump also seems to pacify her remarkably easily. "It's yours, isn't it?" She invites kindly, placing her brush down upon the base of the easel, and taking a slow step back. "Is it to your liking, Medusa?"

Many would say that Medusa's voice, with its flawless Home Counties accent and perfect ellocution, is soothing. She is silent however as she steps to the side so that the might view the painting. Having grown up in a house with priceless works of art her's is a critical eye, but one which is also accepting of the skill of the artist hired for this particular commission. "Remember to add your signature, Esther. That way when you are a famous artist Mr and Mrs Macmillan can say they have an original Esther Lowe." She looks away from the painting to the artist. "I like the composition, how you have provided nuances of light and shadow using the crossbeams of the rafters and shown the personalities - if one can use such a word for non-persons - of the birds."

"That depends on what Esther Lowe decides to be… But I thank you, truly." Esther responds, with a little bit of doubt in her voice. "I'll sign it in a moment - And then it's yours - Proud creator though I am. Have you got time, Medusa?" She seems a little bit… Well, young and needy isn't the right term. "I need some advice." She bites her lower lip firmly. She wanted to bribe the older student with alcohol, but that just doesn't seem right. Thinking, she leans in - And applies her signature to the raw canvas, that will eventually be tucked away.

"Either way it is really good, so I thank you." Medusa nods her pale head. "I have time." She looks around and then uses her wand to levitate a heavy chair over so she can sit and speak to Esther while the girl works. "What can I do for you?"

"I have… Three questions." Esther might normally clean her brush magically, but this time, it's rinsed, and laid aside for further cleaning. She turns, standing beside her painting, to ask. "… Firstly… I have had some personal issues with Alphard," She blushes faintly, not wanting to seem like she's telling on him. "… And their resolution necessitates that I do something… Cruel to another student. I wanted to know if you had any opinions… Or advice, on the matter." It's hard to tell what she wants in the way of answer, either.

Medusa blinks. "Cruel? Why do you have to do something cruel and who to?" She knew there was tension between the two cousins, not everyone can get along as well as she and Beatrice do or ignore one another as well as she and Aphraxas do.

"… I am in a position of great debt to Alphard… He has requested I resolve it by humiliating a fourth year in Ravenclaw." Esther glosses over the details. And looks at the floor. And puts her hands together. Every single sign of great shame is visible in the younger woman, as well as the slightest bit of fear. For someone other than Medusa, no less. (Who even after holding her hair in the bathroom, is still terrifying when enraged.)

"I see," says Medusa, although she suspects a good deal of the story is missing from Esther's explanation. "Who is the Ravenclaw?" Her mind ticks over the possiblities, running through the fourth year Eagles that she knows of.

"Gage Hart. A muggleborn." Esther bites her lower lip for a moment. "I… I do not understand how he earned Alphard's disdain, but it was… Made clear to me that this was the only way to resolve the debt." Whether she wants absolution for her actions, or Medusa to take a more personal involvement is hard to tell. "He… Also suggested that I join the Magijugend." When that's added to her statement, it might make it that much better… Or that much worse.

A faint smile curls up one corner of Medusa's mouth. "Him? That is easily enough done. The boy is thick. You will need to get him away from his twin, but it isn't difficult as he likes to wander around and hide in cubby holes. The type of humilation wasn't specified?" She shifts, tucking her legs beneath her on the chair. "The thing with Alphard is you often find the easiest thing to do is to do what he says but only exactly that. No more. No less. Just precisely what he says. This usually ends up showing him that he didn't think things through properly, often because he doesn't go into specifics." Her shoulder lifts in a shrug, "You might not get in. Flint decides who is worthy or not."

"I feel that it might smooth things over between us if I applied, either way." Esther suggests. "Thank you for the advice, though…" She blushes a little bit again. She's never been deliberately malicious, this should be a new experience for her. "My last question… Is simpler." She's so obviously shy. "I've been talking with Douglas — As a… Well, not as a friend. Associate. I just wanted to make sure that you knew… No feminine wiles," Not that she has any, "No taking him away. I feel 'nothing' for him… In that way. But I will stop speaking with him immediately, if you would rather."

"Look, the kid is thick as pig shite but maybe he'll help. He seems to have some unnatural fear of Slytherins. I've never heard of anything being done to him but maybe it slipped past me." Highly unlikely, but it can happen on occassion. Medusa reaches up to tug her tie a bit looser. "Ask Ria Sykes to do your interview. Flint is more likely to accept it from her I suspect. She's the daughter of his closest friend." Mention of Douglas has her laughing quietly. "Esther, honestly you can speak to him. It doesn't bother me. I know he doesn't fancy you. There are a lot of insecure girls who will stab you with a fork if you so much as glance in the direction of their boyfriends, but I am not one of those girls. I'm not jealous or posessive. Furthermore, I trust Douglas and he trusts me." She yawns a little and gives the girl a kind smile, "You will understand what it is like to have a deeper connection to someone, someday."

"I'm learning." Esther answers, her words just laden with promise. "But… Thank you for that. I thought that it was only fair that I ask you though… I wouldn't want you to think less of me." Although that she's bringing all of this up just might do that. "I'm sorry for distracting you with this, Medusa. I just…" She pauses. "Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. It's… It's good to have someone to ask for advice."

Medusa nods. "Everybody gets that way. I probably haven't done you any favours. I thought offering you my protection would be helpful, keep people from bothering you. Maybe it has had the opposite effect and drawn their attention." She yawns a little behind her hand. "You just…you need to find your own niche, Esther. And, I'm sorry but your cousin Myrus is wierd. Maybe give him a bit of space to outgrow that wierdness. He has this sort of creepy intensity, which evidently spectacle wearing Ravenclaw girls find attractive but most normal people find a tad bit off putting."

"It… It has been appreciated, Medusa." Esther smiles faintly, "I would rather people be aware, and avoid me, than target me. While I'm sure that love may play a big role in your life… I have yet to find out what it really wants from me, or when it wants it. But sufficit to say it'll come when and where it will." The talk of her cousin does lead her to blush violently, biting her lower lip suddenly, almost firmly enough to draw blood. "Myrus… Is a lovable idiot. He's too forward, no idea of subtlety. But he's blood," And the only person who will tolerate her regular company. No comment for the Ravenclaw girl.

"I suppose we all must have on idiot cousin to bear." Goodness knows her own cousin Beatrice can be a challenge, mainly because the girl is a bit dippy. How the seventh year managed to pass her OWLs is still a mystery to all who know her. "I know Alphard is worried about you, even if he is a pain in the arse sometimes. He said to me that he's worried you will end up like Janette. Part of being a Slytherin is knowing you need to choose your friends wisely, Esther."

"I'll… I'll prove it to you, Medusa." Esther promises, whether or not that's what she was after. "I promise you. I'll show you that I know what it means to be a Slytherin. It's taken me a few years to learn, but… I think I've got it." Considering on more than one occasion she's fantasised about being in Ravenclaw, or any one of the other houses. "But I cannot choose my family. I only hope there's some who'll understand that. Besides, idiot cousin or not… He's really all I've got." Her smile is sheepish, and a little self-depricating.

Lifting an arm Medusa gestures to the common room, "It isn't me you have to prove it to Esther. It is everyone. I have friends who are half-bloods, good friends even. But I don't date them. I don't hang around with muggle born, although I have been known to speak with them or even joke around with them." Her gaze flicks to some of the portraits in the room before returning to Esther's face. "There are unwritten rules in our house. Seventh years always get the best seats at meal times, first years the worst. Don't date anyone but pure-bloods. Don't take the side of an outsider over one of our own." She pauses but makes it sound as if there are more unwritten rules. "Loyalty is not only important to Gryffindors you know."

Esther nods slowly. "I…" These are things she already knows, but they're driven into her again. The second rule has her swallow just a little bit nervously, her eyes glancing around the room, but she forces herself to swallow it. "Yes, Medusa. I… I've been needing to re-evaluate my priorities lately…" Ever since her fight with Alphard, it seems.

"There is no rule which says being a Slytherin means you have to be nasty or conniving or beat up Hufflepuffs." Some just have interpreted things that way. "There are plenty of nice boys in this house. Gresham Ollivander. Silas Meliflua. What about Zayn Shafiq? He's a pacifist." And somehow Medusa manages to get through speaking of Zayn without pulling a face. Somehow. "He's also friends with Andromena Rowle."

"Is isn't that I feel I need to be like that." Esther shakes her head slowly. "It's that.. I've never decided what I was going to do with my life. Short of finish Hogwarts and get the hell out of home." The Lowe family estate musn't be the bliss the Malfoy's experience. "And I hope that a change of heart and mind might make my remaining time here more pleasant. If nothing else, it might help yours, to be able to make use of me." She clarifies by gesturing the the painting. Not naything else, like vomit-assistant.

Medusa nods slowly as realisation dawns. "At sixteen you are an adult, Esther. You can leave scool after your OWLs but depending on what you want to do that can make getting a job difficult. Not everyone is meant to be an auror or a healer or an unspeakable. Some are perfectly content to be shop clerks or secretaries." Not her, judging by the fact she is doing five NEWTs, the most a student is allowed to do. Clearly Medusa can't be that stupid if she managed to get into the most difficult subjects, well and herbology. "I didn't know what I wanted to do until recently. Not everyone is like your cousins and knows from early on."

"I'm not…" Esther struggles, turning bright red, seeming as if she could get angry at the problem to solve it. Her logical mind steps in, and she sits rather heavily upon a couch instead. "I'm not content. I'm not. I'm not happy with being at the bottom of the ladder, over and over again. S'just so hard to get anywhere once you've been on the bottom for so long." She looks to Medusa - Help me, please?

"Which ladder do you want to climb? There are many different ones, Esther." Medusa turns her chair so she can better see the other girl, its wooden feet scraping against the stone floor. "Being at the top of the social ladder is hard. I'm not sure someone as delicate as you is cut out for it. But that doesn't mean you can't do like I said and carve out a niche for yourself."

Esther lacks many of the great qualities of leaders. She's not patient, not manipulative, and lacks the secondary gender-based attributes for control. "… I want it all." She admits, biting her lower lip again. "I… There's nothing like being at the bottom to make you want what's higher up. And I know it's there… And I want to get it." Social, educational, influential. Esther wants the whole package. Ambitious.

Medusa tries to sugar coat it a little, "You can't. You have the desire, but everybody has the desire." Leaning forwards a little she says, "Being what I am, takes a lot of work. Years of building. I started planning for this in my first year. I worked the system, learned things. Traded things. Made myself indispensible to the right people." A little shake of her head and she says, "You aren't me Esther. You…don't have it in you to be me. What you do have is something worthwhile, however. After me someone else will take the throne. Make yourself indispensible to them. Become - it's like this. Do you know who my brother Cassius is?" Assuming Esther doesn't Medusa carries on. "He's the leader of the Unity Movement, which is fairly important. A powerful figure. He has lieutenants. People who know his secrets and work with him, help him. Who are his right hand, well with him it is usually woman not man. That is what you are, Esther. You are that kind of person. The enabler. The keeper of secrets."

Esther tries not to take the word 'can't' too seriously. But it does hurt, tasting bitter on the tip of her tongue as she's told that she's not capable of being the big fish. She always new it, but still. "I… I understand." She thinks. A pause. "I… I think I understand. Well… In which case, if there's anything you need from me… I'll be happy to oblige." She states simply. It's only slightly deflated. Right hand of the great ones is significantly better than bottom rung.

"I don't operate that way. But start ingratiating yourself to the sixth years. Maybe Meliflua. He has it in him to be me." Medusa rises to her feet. "Just plan your moves. Ask yourself, 'What would Medusa do?'" Then she starts to walk way only to turn back. "Remember that once you show your hand you can never take it back. Reveal little bits of your plan at a time. That is how you lure people in. The truth will always take you further than a lie. Good night, Esther. The painting is wonderful."

Esther nods slowly, listening attentively. "I will bear it all in mind, Medusa. Thank you." The conversation ends almost as abruptly as it has begun, and Esther turns to sit and look at her painting. It isn't until the sound of Medusa going to bed has left that the slender Slytherin girl cracks the beginnings of a genuine smile.


Today was a good day.

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