(1939-01-06) Weighing Options
Details for Weighing Options
Summary: Following the horrific events at the Sykes Gala, Rhyeline lays out the various options that the Unity Party still has.
Date: Monday, January 6, 1939
Location: Berylwood
Related: Holiday Horror

Through the night, Rhyeline never once let go of Cassius' hand. Nor did she sleep much. Not only were there a number of visitors that came to make sure either Cassius or the girl herself were safe, but the healers kept coming to check on Cassius.

Not until Cassius was safe and sound at Berylwood could Rhyeline find peace. In the silence of the library, she sits dozing in his arms.

Though the Healers confirmed that Cassius has suffered no physical injury, the Dark magic that ravaged his nervous system has left him weak and sore, and the pain-relief potions have him rather groggy. He has been largely at Rhyeline's mercy, and more than happy to relax and cuddle with her. When his eyes finally crack open from his latest nap, all sense of time is lost in the dim room, the heavy curtains drawn after an earlier complaint that the light was hurting his eyes. He stirs slightly, groaning as his sore muscles protest.

Rhyeline lifts her head when he first begins to stir. It is fortunate that the girl weighs so little. She sits facing him in his lap, with her legs on either side of his. Her arms are folded between them, hands clinging lightly to his loose white shirt.

Upon first arriving home, Rhyeline has guided her beloved upstairs to the bathroom. There she helped wash away the scent of the smoke and fear clinging to them both. Once dressed in fresh, clean clothes, she guided him to the library where breakfast was waiting for them on the coffee table.

A soft smile touches Rhyeline's lips as she gazes into Cassius' eyes. Her own dark gaze shines with such love, such relief to have Cassius safe and sound in her arms. She tucks a loose strand of his hair behind his ear. "Still safe, my love…" she whispers.

Cassius nods slowly, letting out a quiet sigh. His arms rest limply at his sides, and his face is drawn and looking like it's aged five years overnight. "How long…what time is it?" With some effort, he lifts his hand to rubs at his eyes.

"I'm… not sure… but… they haven't brought us dinner yet," murmurs Rhyeline. As ever, the girl's voice is gentle enough not to disturb one with even the worst of headaches. Drawing closer, she places a feather-light kiss against the left corner of his lips.

Cassius's groan is lighter at the kiss; a more pleasant sound than a protest of pain. "You…weren't hurt, were you? No, you told me that already. I'm sorry, my love. These potions…they do play havoc with the mind." He manages to lift his other hand to rest against her lower back.

Rhyeline's lower back curves into a subtle arch beneath his gentle touch. "Not hurt," she murmurs before pressing a gentle kiss to his lips. "My father… he held me back… kept me safe…"

Cassius nods, returning the kiss, so softly. "Good. Bless him. He did the right thing." He strokes his thumb along her spine affectionately. "I love you. If anything had happened to you…it would have destroyed me."

Rhyeline's eyes flutter shut, lips parted, as the gentle stroke makes her arch a bit more for him. Biting her lower lip, she peeks back up at Cassius. "I wanted to get to you… I tried. I tried so hard… I got you down, but- but then he wouldn't let me go to you…" Lowering her gaze, she hesitates a moment before adding, "But when the fires started, he did go and help you up… got you out of there…"

Cassius shuts his eyes for a moment, nodding. "I remember. I owe you both my life. Darling…I know you would put yourself in harm's way for me. But…I beg of you, be cautious. Especially now. Enemies are appearing where we didn't know they existed."

"The storm has begun… the riots in Diagon Alley were only rumbles of thunder in the distance compared to this," murmurs Rhyeline. Lifting her gaze once more, she once more strokes her fingertips through his smooth, pale blond hair. "I will be cautious." But of course, now that she has stepped into the spotlight, it is no longer so easy for her to move unnoticed in the shadows.

Cassius tilts his head into the touch of her fingertips. "It will become even more necessary. This attack…it tells me that we are out of time. We must take a stand, either for or against Grindelwald. But we can no longer afford to hedge our bets."

Rhyeline nods slowly, looking thoughtful as she continues to stroke through Cassius' hair. "There are those who would support you. But. After this… I think there will be too much momentum in favor of Grindelwald… And to be divided at such a time is the most dangerous of all. Amidst such a clamor, I don't think calling people to a third course of action would be wise. Instead… best to take hold of the reigns of this run-away movement and try to steer it in the right direction…"

Cassius furrows his brow in confusion, perhaps brought on by the potions addling his brain. "Explain. What run-away movement are you referring to?

Rhyeline draws closer to press a kiss to his neck, just beneath his earlobe. "Grindelwald's supporters here in Britain…" she whispers in a soft, soothing tone. "After such an attack, there will be a rush to join their ranks. The movement is going to gain strength at a great pace."

Cassius squints, truly bemused. "Forgive me, I may be misunderstanding in my presently elixired state. Are you actually condoning joining forces with the Army of Truth?"

"It's as you said… time has run out…" murmurs Rhyeline into his ear. "The violence has already started. You must either take what control you can in the Army of Truth… or make your own stand. There… there /are/ those who might wish to seek a third path- who would wish to rise above this violence and conflict. Because you were among those tortured, your voice will carry much weight… but as you said… there is no more time to hedge bets."

Cassius groans with dissatisfaction. "These fools have played right into Grindelwald's hands. Yes, my words will carry weight because I was attacked. But so was Donald Sykes, and Arlo Sykes house was burned. Arlo Sykes was already the preeminent Grindelwald supporter in England. Now his power is cemented. Wresting the reins away from him…it can't be done. Not now. I would have to put my support behind him, and try to influence that old goat."

"The attack was truly foolish… beyond foolish. There might be those that say the attack did not come from any true source of opposition. But rather… it came from those who would simply see the world burn. Like those who tried to undermine the Ambassador's efforts in Berlin." Rhyeline tilts her head to the side, peeking up at him. "Acts of violent retaliation are sure to come… Grindelwald's forces will soon be as sullied as his opposition… You could stand against Grindelwald without the risk of being seen to support the those who attacked you… You could offer a confused and frightened community a third option, one that would lift us all out of the violence and strife…"

"Darling…go easy on my beleaguered mind. First you say that a third option isn't viable. But now you say it is?" Cassius smiles weakly, but full of adoration. "Tell me what you believe is the correct course of action."

Rhyeline bows her head a little, looking apologetic as she peeks up at him. "Forgive me… I… The first choice was to try and take power within Grindelwald's movement, enough that you might affect its course… But… Arlo Sykes already has seized that power… and it will be difficult to influence him. In which case… the second choice becomes more viable."
Tucking a loose strand of hair behind his ear, she pauses a moment to let that settle before she explains her reasoning. "Under your control, you might have guided the movement with noble purpose… but now… there is sure to be retaliation which will further alienate those who would be most receptive to /your/ message."

Rhyeline places feather light kisses along his jaw, as she murmurs slowly, "The right course of action… holds much risk. To rise above the violence and call on the Ministry to endorse your policies is a great gamble. However… the Ministry might very much want this third route… Politically it will be dangerous for them to endorse the violence of Grindelwald's methods, or for them to oppose him and be labeled as a supporter of those who committed last night's attack.

"The Minister will do what she always does best. She will straddle the fence. She will condemn the attack, and urge nobody to seek retribution, leaving it in the hands of the Aurors. I'm sure she has already released a statement, and we've simply missed it, squirreled away as we are." Cassius sighs, wincing as he stretches out his arms. But Rhyeline's kisses along his jaw quickly return a tired smile to his face. "Any path we choose is an enormous gamble. The real question is whether or not Unity is viable any longer. Surely, the attack upon me will bring some sympathy. But the Sykeses will benefit most from this, unless the Proudmores or Rousseaus try to capitalize on their losses."

Rhyeline's kiss lingers where his neck meets his earlobe as she reflects on his words. At last, she gives a slow nod. "Theirs were the greatest losses… If they were to lend you their support, then you would have a chance at channeling momentum into your own movement. But… it will still be a gamble… is… is it a gamble you wish to make?"

"We have no choice about taking a gamble. They are all high risk gambles now." Cassius sighs, and curls both arms around her, sore muscles be damned. "Has the press started hounding us yet? I'll have to prepare a statement."

"Of course they have…" murmurs Rhyeline, shifting in his lap to nuzzle close. "I can help draft something for you, if you like… but… what will you do? Will you take the risk of trying to sway Arlo Sykes, or will you try to take your own stance?"

Cassius rubs her back tenderly, turning his face kiss her cheek as he ponders. "Call a meeting. As many of our key supporters as we can muster quickly. I cannot make this decision without further input."

Rhyeline can't help but shift beneath his gentle touch upon her back. "Yes, my love… I… I will do so at once…" she murmurs with a small nod.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License