(1938-12-16) Talking While Saying Nothing
Details for Talking While Saying Nothing
Summary: Variel finds Esther sitting in a private corner in the library. It becomes much noisier when Lucretia joins them with a shock confession, while Madeline and and Lucinda begin to study. Angelus joins the fun, and Lucinda ends up facing the barbed end of Esther's tongue however, when her casual cruelty goes awry. The scene ends with Variel and Esther discussing some of their true beliefs.
Date: 1938-12-16
Location: Library, Hogwarts Castle — Armor Corridor, Hogwarts Castle
Related: A Kind Word and a Smoke - Catalyst Event. Friend Shipwrecked - Immediately following Catalyst Event.

Clouds have rolled in. It's later in the afternoon, now, after dinner. And with a few of the library lamps strategically dimmed, Esther has found where she wants to spend the evening. She'll have to return to her house eventually, sure… But that'll be a brief endeavour, sleeping for an hour or two and then up to burn the midnight oil. She's found enough light to read by in the corner of the library, seated with her legs sideways upon her cloak, which has been turned into a blanket beneath her. A book rests beside her, and she's slowly flicking through it. Living Images, a book that always brings her some measure of peace.

"Where… son of an elf, where's that Charms study guide?" Variel rounds his way into one of the aisles leading back to Esther's hiding spot, moving slowly as he scans the shelves for the book he wants. He gets most of the way down the aisle before realizing there's company. He stops and turns towards Esther, then offers a smile. "Hey. Things a little better now?"

"Somewhat." Esther answers simply. Although it's obvious this little nook has been created as a hiding spot. She's not too annoyed by Variel though… He's not one of the people who has earned her wrath today, although it feels like lately she's at war with her entire house. "I'm not certain what help I can be with charms, but if you're in need I can offer."

Variel picks a spot on the wall beside Esther and leans. "I'd like the break, honestly. Room on that lovely floor sofa for another? We can talk about something completely unrelated to what's bugging either of us."

Its not long after Variel enters this section of the library, that Lucretia also arrives. Hair pulled back in a neat ponytail with a silver ribbon tying it off, she hesitates when she sees the two in front of her. "Oh. Hello…" A small lift of her chin and her eyes switch between the pair, not approaching though not disappearing either. "Was just looking for a book. Did you want quiet?" This last to Esther, the girls shoulders lifting slightly as she asks that question.

Variel leans against the wall beside her, while she speaks. "It sounds ideal, actually. Although I care, Variel, tonight I think it's best if we keep your mind off whatever, and we keep my mind off—" Esther looks up. "Black." How apt. "Hello, Lucretia. It's a library; quiet is it's nature. But we've committed to talking while saying nothing. Would you like to join?" The girl is… Good at this kind of strange talking.

Cinda, as she is often known to friends and relatives, walks into the library some five to seven minutes after everyone gathered has had the chance to arrive. The young Slughorn has a large potions book clasped to her chest but her eyes wander around the room as if she'd never been there before… or perhaps she just got lost easily. The girls pauses, puffing a large fluffy strand of blonde hair that managed to escape her interesting updo out of her face with a hearty upward exhale. She rolled her eyes, then wrinkled her nose and looked left… robes flick around her graceful steps with an interesting ease. Lucinda, Cinda, walked off into the stacks and uhhh'd with an empty cast to her pretty blue eyes as she disappeared.

Madeline has been here - but she's been wandering the aisles, slowly collecting a stack of books. She now has one so large that she's starting to struggle under the weight as she makes her way to a table, and much to the little first year's embarrassment and chagrin, she doesn't quite make it. The books tumble from her arms as she accidentally bumps into the edge of a shelf, one landing flatly on the floor with a loud SLAP that causes her to freeze in place, before looking around apologetically.

Variel looks up at the sudden SLAP of book on floor, reflexively lifting his wand. He considers where he is, then swishes his wand in that direction, frowning vaguely when nothing happens. Another twitch, and the book on the floor floats up and over on top of Madeline's pile of books. His eyes flick over to Lucretia as she arrives and grins out of the side of his mouth at her. Lucinda's wanderings haven't quite put her in view yet.

Lucretia gives a nod of her head to the Esther, a smile warming her face at the older girl's invitation. Innured to how much her cousin manages to upset certain people, or simply oblivious, Variel is also included in that smile as she finds herself a spot next to Esther into which to drop herself. Even here in this quieter spot, books occasionally sail through the air and one of these is snagged in her right hand as she lowers herself to the floor. Mindful not to dump her derriere on Esther's cloak, she folds her legs neatly indian-style in front of her and opens the book, resting it in the cradle of her lap. Whether or not its interesting is suddenly negated by the loud BANG of Madeline's book hitting the deck, her head shooting up. "Nice save," she mouths his way, a return grin given him.

"Mercy Merlin!" Mutters Cinda the moment that Madeline's book makes contact with the floor. Mmm, she jumps. Turning back to see what the sharp sound was, maybe for a laugh? Lucinda walks out of the stack back toward where the girl has spilled her books around the table. She does not stride right out, does not offer to help the other girl- instead Cinda watches with a judgemental stare for a long vapid moment as she realized the sound which made her jump was some first year with too much ambition. She watches the book float back up with the same cast to her features and then turns to walk away again. The whip thin girl keeps her shy gaze on a shelf examining spines for the next five minutes.
One day, Variel will get himself caught by a prefect. Esther smiles to Lucretia, patting a little on her cloak for the girl to join her. Sure, she's only wearing her blouse, and it's thin, but there's little enough to be ashamed or proud of and no-one worth really concealing herself from right now. "So, let's start with Lu'." Esther seems to think the SMACK has been justly taken care of. "What's something unexpected you've had happen today, young Miss?" She refuses to call the girl 'Black'. But considering the intensity of the dispute with her cousin… Well, it makes sense.

"Sorry," Madeline mumbles quietly - her embarrassment turning to surprise as the book floats back into place. Her eyes find Variel with his wand drawn - and she gives her fellow Gryffindor a greatful smile, before turning a dubious look on Lucretia. Well… it doesn't matter.
She moves to a nearby empty table, carefully unloading her large stack of books, and starts sifting through them, frowning in thought as she tries to decide where to look first.

Lucinda lingers close enough to eavesdrop the conversation but whether that's her intent or not is unclear. She seems wrapped up in her own moment. A large bag hangs from her shoulder and eventually she found the book she must have been searching the stacks for! Cinda this new book and the one she came in with to a table in the corner. It's in ear and eyeshot of where Variel and the others lingered. She doesn't face them though, putting the gathering to her side from half way across the room. Cinda starts to unload parchment and quills on to the table, a smart red talon hawk quill comes out of a hard case. She cracks the two potions books and quietly goes about taking notes.

Variel returns Madeline's grin as he takes the spot offered opposite Lucretia- next to Esther on her cloak. "Something unexpected," he murmurs quietly. "That should make for an interesting story." He lets his eyes wander, resting noplace overlong, unless someone's talking, regardless of the relative propriety- or lack- of where his eyes are landing.

The particular spots to which Variel's eyes might flick despite propriety now and then could be deduced from context and previous poses, but he's doing a good job hiding them! He's a gentlemanly lech, trying not to embarass anyone.

"There's a furrowing of Lulu's forehead at Esther's question, the book in her lap all but forgotten. "Unexpected? Oh. I'm not sure. I finished the violin piece that I was composing and sent it home for my father to look at. I wasn't expecting to do that this week, but I don't suppose that that's the sort of unexpected that you mean, is it?" A small pause punctuates her thoughts, a breath drawn as a blush suddenly paints her cheeks. "Oh. Oh there was something a little unexpected, but I shouldn't really talk about it. I could our house some housepoints if someone found out and snitched on me." Sucking her lower lip in over her teeth, she glances sideways and, at the invitation to sit on Esther's cloak with her, shifts herself closer. There's something not quite right with Lu today, something off kilter that shows in her quieter manner.

Esther is hardly embarassed. Anyone who wants to waste their time staring at her chest clearly hasn't examined her classmates. "Lucretia, you seem hesitant. We're friends here - I've no interest to turn you in, and Variel is a third party who wouldn't use anything against anyone." She reaches over to place a gentle hand on the young Black's shoulder. "We're better than running from what we've done, Lucretia. It's what we do - Accept our mistakes at their full value, and make our best recompense. I'm sure it's not as bad as you're thinking." She smiles kindly at the young girl.

Cinda continues to take notes on the stacks of dull gray parchment that she had produced from her bag. The long auburn-amber colored quill is dipped into a Quick Dry Ink in a shade of emerald. She doesn't bother to glance over at the folks talking library quiet nearby. Instead she idly flips the pages of her large library books and stops every few minutes to read a passage. At one point she remains on the same page for some time. Every so often she blows on the ink to help set it, soon a second page is started… this one she writes with her right hand. Working with one hand and then another but never both at the same time, she turns between books and work stations with a comfortable familiarity to the technique. Her second quill is a small white dove feather good for short and quicker notation.

Madeline looks back and forth between two books - one a rather heavy tome, and the other much more reasonable reading for a little first year. With a sigh, she selects the thinner book, flicking through it quickly as she obviously searches for something in particular. It's /got/ to be in here, right…?

"I won't say anything, Lulu. Y'know I won't. Betraying your trust'd be pointless, foolish, and besides which, you'd be mad. I do -try- not to make my friends proper… mad." Variel'd had another word in mind, but chooses to pass it over for the more politick "mad." He keeps an eye on the two young ones down the stacks- when he's not keeping his eye on his speaking companions or another sort of "stacks" altogether.

Lucretia tucks a stray wisp of hair back behind one ear, a glance given her book before she folds it shut without even a word having been read. She looks at Esther, then at Variel, then back to Esther once more. Lowering her voice so that it won't carry to the ears of anyone beyond her immediate two companions, she pretty much whispers her response to Esther's encouragement. "I tried a cigarette," she says, a small chew given the inside of her cheek. "And it was horrible. I don't see what the fuss about smoking is, except they make a person look terribly elegant and superior. Honestly, I thought I might be sick so only managed a puff or two." There's a grimace. "Don't tell anyone that either though; it'd be bad enough to lose housepoints, worse to have people laughing at me."

Esther allows herself a gentle laugh. "Oh, Lucretia." She smiles, her hand continuing to offer comfort. "So, you saw Douglas? Or Medusa, I'm guessing." The hair chuckles to herself, and responds. "I've had a few, Lucretia. They're not terribly fun, although I find they give me a time to think and some small stress relief. All told though, they're not worth the points they'll cost should they find you smoking." Medusa's name is just tossed out quite casually. Their heir? A rulebreaker? "It's not a secret that I'll be sharing, Lucretia. Just be a good girl and stay away from them, alright?"

Apparently this witch is ambidexterous because she has two different pots of ink set up on a table. She all but dominates the space with two large books, two piles of parchment, two pots of quick dry ink and two very different quills. One was a red amber color, a hawk feather used for formal writing- likely homework. The second is the one she uses with her right hand, a small dove feather perfect for quick notation. Potion formula, short hand. Lucinda never wrote with both hands at the same time. That'd be crazy, but she did alternate between work stations with a calm steady patience. The green ink flowing and the pages filling at a steady pace as she kept her eyes affixed on the potions books atop her table.

"Ah!" Madeline lets out with quiet excitement as she finds what she's looking for. Merpeople! She leans in close to the page - as if that will help her absorb the knowledge faster, or more thoroughly, her eyes scanning the words hurriedly. She knew they had to be in here!

"That's… not nearly so bad as it mighta been. Okay. I mean, Esther's right, Lulu- avoid those things, they don't smell very good and I don't care what they say, inhaling smoke can't be good for you." Variel double-takes at Lucinda when he realizes she's taking notes AND doing work with sepearate hands. Impressive! Madeline's "AH!" coaxes him to take a moment to try to spot the title of her book…

Lulu nosecrinkles. "I really can't say who I saw," she replies loyally, setting the book aside so she can pull her legs up, arms wrapped about her shins. Resting chin on knees, there's the smallest of nods given Esther's advice. "Oh no. I don't think I'll be trying them again, at least not for a while. The thing is, its very difficult to have an honest opinion on something if you've not even tried it. That'd be like saying you don't like haggis, when you really might." A breath. "I don't like haggis, it tastes disgusting." At Variel's 'ah' she finally pulls herself up enough out of her funk to see where he's looking. Her eyes fall on Madeline. "Ah." She parrots his words, though for perhaps an entirely different reason.

A soft, sweet chuckle. "Oh, that sounds just like Douglas." Esther sounds so wonderfully understanding of it too. She's also wonderfully able to ignore the other two witches. "Although I wouldn't necessarily put it past Medusa, either, with some of her choices lately." The words are on par with treason, and they're spoken and passed by without a second thought. "I wouldn't believe that, Lucretia. There are many things out there I've never tried and have no desire to. Others that I never could, but dearly wish to. Haggis is a prime example. The idea of the food makes me sick - So I'll have no part of it. Even if it were to taste of ambrosia, I couldn't move past what it /is/. Although it smells vaguely like cat sick."

Lucinda loved to be noticed but she also loved to ignore it. That was why she did such things as public displays of note taking prowess; even if it often proved a terrible study tactic. The girl is focused all the same. Cind sits and reads and just ignores those who might glance in her direction. She sighs into her work but manages to get her homework done and stretch her show off muscles. It just takes her full attention.

Madeline reads to the end of the page, turns it - and then frowns. What, is that it? She turns back to the page she had been reading, and then back to the page before that - nothing there, either. She lets out an exasperated, "ugh." Just one page? Lifting both sides of the book, she slaps it closed - the spine read, 'An Overview of Magical Species.' Worthless.

Variel squints as he catches the title of Madeline's current interest, and- on a hunch- flicks his wand at the… book? More like booklet, almost. It flits suddenly away from her and over into Variel's hand. Presuming the poor first year follows the book's path, he murmurs, just loud enough to be heard, "You need to stay -out- of the lake, Evans. Don't tempt yourself." Having lived in Scotland his whole life, Variel abstains from commenting on haggis.

Angelus doesn't plan on leaving school with anything incomplete; he's been working hard on getting everything done. The blonde youth has decided to swing by the library, stepping inside and carrying his book strap. He dips his head politely to the librarian as he enters, greeting her respectfully as he carries on to the tables. His royal blue eyes flick over the tables, looking around as he approaches the tables slowly. A delightful smile flashes across his face as his eyes wander over various students to land on his year mate. "Black, always a pleasant surprise to run into you," he greets as he approaches Lucretia.

Lucretia can't help but giggle when Esther refers to haggis as smelling like cat sick. She's thirteen. Its allowed. "I suppose so," she says, head dipping reflexively to one side as Madeline's book zips past her nose and into Variel's hand. "Though, to be fair, words can't always convey what our own senses experience." She speaks her words with such conviction that it'd be hard to fault her logic, and its perhaps lucky that Angelus appears right at that moment, his greeting preventing her espousing further on it. "Eibon. Yes, I seem to have managed to completely miss you of late. Its very nice to see you now though." Probably her greeting of Angelus is more sincere and honest than ever, a warm smile melting over her face at his appearance.

"I say go in the lake," Calls Lucinda with a somber cast to her tone. She seemed serious as she swiveled around in her seat to face the first year across the room. "Let her find the merpeople," The smarmy Cinda declared as she gripped the back of her chair and gave her two cents to the situation. "Don't you lot encourage all that brave quest non sense any how…" The vapid, willowly Cinda wonders with a bold dismissive gesture as she greeted the Gryffindors and invited herself into the conversation. She shrugged.

"He-HEY!" Madeline protests as the book flits off - not that she wanted or needed it anymore. "I wasn't going to- it was an /accident/ in the first place!" She's hushed severely by the librarian - who she gives a contrite look, before looking back towards Variel - in time to see Angelus greeting Lucretia. Why /any/ Gryffindor, let alone /two/ of them would want to hang around with that- no. She shouldn't stoop to such petty thoughts. She's an /Evans/. She's better than that.
She looks to Lucinda next - and lets out a quite giggle. "See? She's got it. It's just - it's a bit /cold/ for adventuring, right now."

Esther allows herself a slow stretch. "Variel. Are you up to much for the next little while? I think maybe time's come for us to talk about what's on our minds?" Thin blouse. Stretch. Minds. A lot of people could possibly take that a long way. She's beginning to usher Lucretia off her cloak, when she finally gives Lucinda the time of day. And it's a rough one at that. "If you're determined to be an idiot, I recommend you test a flying charm off the roof. The search party is over faster." Her voice is colder than the Black Lake. She turns to smile at Lucretia, "You behave, Lucretia. If you talk, you know I'll listen fairly… But I'd much rather look for cause to be proud than reprimanding." Playing the dutiful older Slytherin.

Variel clambers up with a nod, seemingly formulating a response for Lucinda's comment- but there's Esther, making a much sharper comment than he would have, and without his needing to say anything! So, instead, he offers, "Evans, if you're going to persist in this merpeople thing, you'll wait until you've got someone proper to escort you underwater. If I can find the time, it'd be a good chance to practice Spiranabulla, anyway. I've got reading for you, next I catch you in the common room, since you're refusing to be dissuaded."

"See, now we're bonding," Lucinda croons with sarcastic intent as she turns back to her work without farewell for those departing or further guidance for the first year Gryffindor. Instead she falls back in her homework.

Lucretia clambers to her feet so that Esther can reclaim her cloak without the need to tug and pull at it. "Of course, Esther. And thank you." Quickly brushing her hands behind her rump to knock off any dust she's managed to collect whilst on the floor, her eyes dart to Variel and there's a small crinkling at the corner of them as she smiles his way. "Perhaps you'd extend your teaching of younger students to helping me a little with my duelling technique when the club next meets? I think I could use a little more tips, Lea said must be more careful with letting my feelings be too transparent whilst casting; gives away any advantage she said." And with that, her attention returns to Angelus, happily allowing her two co-conspirators to slip away to privacy.

"Ooo - reading? Thanks!" Madeline replies brightly, her expression brightening. She will devour every last word! "But like I said - it's much too cold for going /in/ the lake right now, anyways." And she has first hand knowledge of that!

"Lucinda Slughorn." Esther addresses the fourth year with all of the kindness one might show a boggart. "The only bonding that'll happen will occur between your robes and the walls of the common room via a Fixing Charm, if I hear tell of your attitude correctly." She dusts off her cloak, hanging it over one arm and staring at the girl. "Be proud. The last girl someone did that to was me." She leaves the library without further comment, expecting Variel to follow in her slender footsteps.

"Of course! I already offered. Do try to remember, you're going to make me look… less good." Variel grins at Lucretia, then peers to Angelus. "Perfect. Gentleman." His expression isn't actually serious- the impression is he'd have said it to any younger Gryffindor boy he was leaving in a similar situation, and bore nothing but playful banter towards Angelus himself. He winked at Lucretia before he made his way out, letting Esther choose where she can speak on what's been on her mind.

Lucinda looks over when Esther leaves, she almost does a double take but instead of looking away in that first instant she just narrows her eyes at the girls back with a shrew disposition. Cinda watches her leave the room and her nose wrinkles up a little but she ultimately just rolls her eyes and slumps onto an elbow amoungst all her books on the tabletop where she tried to study. She looks down to the wide shiny bat shaped ring on her hand with a quiet, introspective whisper wonders, "Why do I open my mouth.." It's candid but subtle.

-- Outside the Library --

Esther shrugs her cloak back on as they walk. "I can see why my housemates cannot stand her." The girl murmurs. She doesn't mention more about the use of the charm on her in years gone past. "So, Variel. Something on your mind? You kept looking at me." Probably the more innocent thing.

Variel winces, then grins, shoving a hand through his hair. "Well, do you want the polite answer you can pretend is true, or the truthful answer you already know? You'll get a sincere apology with either, so it's up to you, Esther."

"If you were staring at my chest, you won't be the first, and I'll never get why you'll not be the last." The young woman pouts, and sighs. "I swear. Next Hogsmeade weekend, I am purchasing a bustierre." She frowns at him. She'll never understand men. First they want large. Then not large. Then tall, then not tall. Then nerdy, then confident. "I swear it. What else was on your mind?'

Variel reaches out to gently catch at Esther's shoulder, just to pause her for a moment. "Esther. I'm a tailor, it's my job to think about how to show others how beautiful you are. And it's my job to know that it doesn't take much work to make you look beautiful. I was looking because you were down to your blouse and in all honesty, you've got an elegance to you that too much clothing distracts from. You're always pretty; the right outfit lets people see how beautiful you are, and when you aren't wearing too much clothing, there's other words to describe how good you look. You don't need watermelons stuck in your bra to have curves that are -really- nice to look at."

Esther's hair seems to part under aggressive hands that seek her shoulders, so it's not grabbed or pulled. There's a gentle blush - It's the same one that she always gives when she gets compliments. "That's one of the best excuses I've ever heard." She admits, pulling her cloak a little tighter around her regardless. She's watching her words, while she 'calms' from her brief outburst earlier. "You said something was troubling you, earlier. I'd know it.

Variel grins at the reception of his response, backing off nonetheless as she makes herself a little more secure. "Ehh… it's a couple of things. Part's just hating needing help. I've got Carrow and Rashley helping me with my Charms. The new stuff just doesn't click, and I'm getting worried for my NEWT. But then there's…" He shakes his head. "It's dumb political stuff, you sure you want to hear this?"

"There's nothing wrong with needing help. As far as Carrow and Rashley are concerned, I can't help but think they're not being that 'helpful' with their 'help' or it would frustrate you less. Sometimes it's more about empowering someone than teaching them." Esther offers some advice. Weird, considering how they were not so long ago. "I'm neck deep in dumb political stuff. A little more won't hurt me, Variel."

Variel grimaces. "They're helping. I think Carrow's there to stare at Rashley at make badly disguised passes at her, but he's honestly trying to help while he's there. I just-" He shakes his head. "There's charms that I -get-. They're all ones Lestrange taught me, but I -get- them, deep in. Then there's other stuff. Accio, Flagrante, I know the words but it's hard to -feel- the spells." He grits his teeth a moment. "… just aggravating to watch them rattle them off while we're practicing, and have me sitting there, failing half the time. Embarassing."

"Anyway, it's the purist thing. Rashley wants me to stop wasting my time on half-bloods and muggle-borns. I get the whole weakening the wizarding community thing, but… going at it like a society of nothing but purebloods will be inherently better just seems shortsighted. They're not going far enough, and they're yelling to strip out some of the stronger talent while they're at it. You're clever, you've seen the way some of the other purebloods act- so confident that blood will win out that they won't even do the work to develop their own talent. Or purebloods so flat-out stupid that a mudblood with half a brain can outstrip them with a little hard work. The way to make a better wizarding community is to strip out the bad wizards, not the ones we don't expect to be good. There's lousy pureblooded wizards and even a few, rare, talented muggle-born. Just yelling "blood purity!" isn't enough, and I can't get why nobody else sees it the same way."

"Variel, I'm going to tell you a story. A story… As I see it." Esther pauses, looking amoungst the rows of dusty armor. "… Abridged. See, in years gone by, Wizards and Witches could live apart from Muggles so well, we could share their world. They could pass off miracles. We could lie our way to happiness, and live under their noses. We shared their technologies - Of glass, of bows and swords, and fine armor. Time came when it wasn't so easy. When our miracles and their religion met. They met in fire, and blood." Esther's eyes dance with fictional memories, as she recants. "We don't know how many died. Who, or where. But in many ways, the lines were drawn there. Muggles and Wizards co-existing? Surely. Co-habiting? Certainly not. We believed that we were so superior, our numbers few enough that we could make our own world. And in many ways, we did."
"A'course, peace and plenty aside, the Muggle still had issues to overcome. Things to make their lives easier. Technology moved forward in leaps and bounds with the drive of risk and reward, while Magic crept forward under the noble blanket of respect and wisdom. They still far outnumbered us, and frankly… The heart wanted, what the heart wanted, so those who had our gift - And those who stole our hearts - Were welcomed into the fold." A pause. A deep breath.
"Muggles being as they are though, they wanted more. To use their technology against their fellow man, to lay claim to what was rightfully his. Their technology lead to weapons of indescrimination, that could kill even when wielded without intent." Esther taps the armor, "Guns. Weapons of destruction that our skills, our powers weren't designed for. Our world is one we have convinced the Muggle to ignore… But when they kill without caring, our numbers began to fall once more."
"Peace broke out. Many lost lives, homes, to a war that wasn't theirs. And someone realised… That at the core of all of this problem, was the Muggle. His ignorance, his indiscremination. But there's a problem, Variel." Esther's fingers leave the armor. "Their technology moves faster than our magic. Their numbers are /far/ greater than ours. And even if some of us could accept that we're not so different from Muggles…" Her voice is nearly a whisper. "There's even less that Muggles would accept us. So they decided that the only safe way to handle him was to manipulate, to control the Muggle, to dismiss all things that are Muggle and consolidate our strength as Wizard. To prove our dominance."
Her head is shaken, sadly. "Variel. I would never call Grindlewald right. But he's a man acting out of fear. Fear for our kind. Fear of the unknown. Fear is the Muggle's Mistress. Fear drives him to risk." Her own beliefs are revealed though, as she speaks. "To me… The only thing that matters about someone is whether or not they call themselves Wizard, or Muggle… Whether they live, and respect, and learn… Or fear." She smiles sadly. "I believe that a Wizard belongs amoungst us. A muggle has no place here. Hiding may not be glamorous… But this is a war we cannot win."

Variel listens intently, standing nearby to help mitigate the chill of the evening. Every word she said was considered, and at last, when she finished, he spoke simply. "… I don't really see much to argue with. But…" He thought a moment. "… there are a lot of people fearing these days." His tone doesn't carry any judgment on her, and he stays just as near to her side. "… do you want to tell me about what's on your mind, now?"

It's a roundabout way of saying that she can deal with Muggleborns. and half-breeds. Esther sighs, and bites her lower lip nervously. "…. I thought I'd made a true friend. I shared with her everything I dared. And she used it against me. Is going to force me to humiliate myself. And expects me to smile, all for petty revenge." She sighs. "For her fucking power struggle…" A sigh, again. "The worst thing is… I was going to do it for her anyway…"

Names rattled through Variel's head as she explained, but he couldn't focus in on one from what he was told. When she hit that last point, he grimaced, and hard. A step closer, the idle, gentle presence of a friend against her side. "… you were already planning to -humiliate- yourself for someone you thought was your friend… and then they forced you into a corner to do it?" There's… an almost disbelieving echo to his voice.

Esther bites her lower lip again, looking at Variel. "… You… You don't know how things work amoungst us. But I… I trusted her." Esther sighs, and looks out at the gathering clouds. "… Curfew is soon. I have to return to the snake pit." She doesn't use the term often. "Be well."

Variel says, "… no. I don't know. Later, if you can, talk to me about this? Maybe there's a way out we can figure." He glances back towards the stairs. "Walk you far as I can- then I'll be well. And you, too.""

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