(1939-03-20) Politics and Show Business
Details for Politics and Show Business
Summary: Rena, Rhyeline, and Cassius discuss their strategy for Rena's role in the Unity Party.
Date: 20 March, 1939
Location: Berylwood Estate, London
Plot: Unity

A dark little crup sits at Rhyeline's feet as the girl stands waiting for her guest beneath the crystal chandelier of the reception hall. The butler pulls back the door to let Rena step onto the gleaming black marble. The little one lingers at Cassius' side as she smiles over at her friend. "Hello, Rena…" she murmurs with a shy warmth.

Cassius smiles warmly, stepping forward with Rhyeline to greet their guest. "Auror Lee, welcome once again to Berylwood. It is such a pleasure to have you here."

The man of the house is in residence this time, and Rena knows better than to be on anything but her best behavior. She always tends to feel slightly off-put by the higher classes, but she does her best to not show it in her demeanor.

Bright as a springtime sun, Rena flashes that confident smile of hers as she steps in the door. Being admitted by a butler is always a little daunting, but she takes it in stride: "Hullo luv, and Mister Malfoy - pleasure is mine, I'm sure," she says cheerily. Pausing in the foyer, however, she brushes at the snowflakes stuck to her coat, murmuring self-consciously: "Beg pardon. Winter doesn't seem to want to let off yet."

Rhyeline moves to Rena's side and gently tries to half-hug her arm. The little crup immediately follows like a shadow, wagging its tail. "It's nice and warm in the solar… there is tea waiting… or coffee, if you'd prefer it. I thought it might be a- a nice and- and quiet place to talk." She pauses and peeks over at Cassius. "Shall we?" And of course they shall.

Once the three are settled at a small table by a magnificent set of windows that overlook the sprawling gardens, Rhyeline leans forward to pour the tea. "I… I told Cassius about- about how brave you were… lifting your voice to- to call attention to the dangers Grindelwald and his followers posed… And… I've told him about- about how… you are wanting to speak more… to speak on the wireless and before larger, more official gatherings…" She places a cup of tea before her friend. "This is… still true, yes?"

Cassius lets Rhyeline take the lead, as she is clearly more familiar with Rena. He sits with one leg crossed over the other, hands folded until tea is put into them. For the time, he keeps his silence, listening and waiting for Rena's take on things.

Nice and quiet… these are two qualities that are not well-known in Rena Lee - not to people who know her, at least. But, for the sake of present company, she can behave herself and be a lady.

The young woman can scarcely be blamed for craning her neck momentarily to take in the distracting scope of things while seated and waiting for her tea. In fact, she jumps a little upon realizing that she ought to reply after a moment of silence. "Oh! Erm, yes - not that I'm foolish enough to believe no trouble will come of it. That little dust-up in Diagon Alley was just a taste of what the rest of the /world/ will be like if I take my words to a larger stage. But, as I always say about all this, ignorance and fear are the worst enemies we've got to deal with right now. They're responsible for so much un'appiness going 'round Europe at the moment. We need to fight back."

Rhyeline warms her hands against the sides of her own teacup and listens to Rena with a soft, encouraging smile. Nodding, she murmurs, "Yes… And… we need to act… there is no time for words that don't bring about movement… I… I am hoping your words will spark such action."

Cassius nods as he sips his tea, then sets it down with a light clink. "Miss Lee, you certainly have a knack for inciting action. But we must be careful. We cannot be perceived as rabble-rousers. If our words cause others to react to us poorly, we maintain our moral superiority. But if our message is wielded by those instigating violence, we will be lumped in with the Army of Truth. The action we must inspire is political action — a movement of thoughts and ideas."

At first, Rena lowers her gaze and appears to be somewhat abashed and taken aback by Cassius' words. However, she rallies within herself after a moment and brings her dark eyes around to meet his again. Her gaze is neither proud nor defiant, but she does have that stubborn, argumentative look about her.

"Sir, with all due respect - that's all well and good for the people who 'ad a good education. For high minded individuals who don't spend their lives wondering where their next meal will come from, or whether there will be food to put on the table for their children next week when their jobs may dry up." Pausing a moment, her glance flicks between Cassius and Rhyeline uncertainly. "I'm sorry to tell you that there's a good deal of pain and poverty out there amongst Muggles. And I ain't calling them ignorant, but a good many people who would otherwise be good souls were never exposed to soft speaking, cautious diplomacy. They understand action when it's paired with strong words they can comprehend…"

Sighing to herself, Rena sinks back in her chair and waits to be scolded again. However, she does add lowly: "Maybe I am too brash. But unless you know 'ow to find a middle road to satisfy both sides, we're at a bit of an impasse."

Rhyeline remains half hidden behind her cup of tea as listens, taking slow sips. Her dark gaze flits to Cassius before she peeks back over at Rena, biting her lower lip. "I… I think that Cassius is simply cautious that our call to action does not result in the same violence that Grindelwald advocates… You aren't at all too brash. We simply need to be clear that- that our message is away from violence and /towards/ greater cooperation and… well… unity."

Cassius nods solemnly to Rhyeline's words. "Absolutely. Our position as an alternative to violence is the most fundamental of what sets us apart. We must never condone it. We are idealists, it's true, and some will find that unrealistic. But even if we achieve only a fraction of our goals, the world will be better off than it was, and we just might avert outright war."

The young redhead's fiery temper has had her pretty wound up for days. Ever since the near-incident that happened, she's been somewhat on the defensive… and now, she feels embarrassed, realizing her words were a good deal too strong.

Blushing hotly, Rena sinks in her chair a little, looking as though she might wish to be swallowed whole by the seat cushions. However, as there is no hope of that happening, she murmurs: "I'm sorry, sir. I'm out of line - and you know that I feel the same way, surely. Things got 'eated in the moment, what with Grindelwald supporters showing up and all. I've got to keep a better 'andle on my temper though. Violence is the last thing we want or need. It goes against everything I stand for, personally."

There is a moment's pause, and Rena hesitates to say more; but she sets down her cup on the table and reaches for her bag: "Speaking of violence and ideals clashing, though, I've got something I really ought to show you two. I need your advice…" A black letter is brought from within the purse bearing the red wax seal of "Cauldron Talk" on the outside. She offers it toward Cassius.

Rhyeline watches Rena's embarrassment with such heartfelt empathy. She looks so much like she wants nothing more than to hug Rena tightly. But the letter catches her attention and makes her pause. She watches as it gets handed over. While Cassius peruses it, she looks once more to Rena and tries to take her hand gently in hers. "Rena… I hope that- that you know how much we- we admire your courage and- and the passionate words you summon to sway hearts… Please… don't be- be scared… not here. You are- are appreciated here…" she murmurs in a rather soft tone.

Cassius reaches for the letter, eyes narrowing slightly at the wax seal. Without hesitation, he opens it and unfolds and opens it to read.

The letter reads…

Dear Auror Lee,

I would like to first personally thank you too your dedication and service to the Wizarding Community, through your work with M.L.E. If you recall I have mentioned you on my show a few times, I was wondering if you would be willing to appear on Cauldron Talk and give your account of the situation last week. You may have noticed I haven't touched on this topic, as I would prefer to have the story straight and who better then you! Please accept this invasion and I will be sure my assistant makes all the possible arrangement and ensure you are comfortable when you visit us here at W.W.N.

Yours Truly, Brad Moody.

Cassius's expression doesn't change as his eyes track through Brad Moody's words. He glances to Rhyeline, offering the letter to her. "You realise, of course, that he is trying to trap you. He wants to paint you as the instigator and villain."

Rena offers a weak, but truly grateful smile toward Rhyeline. She appreciates her quiet kindness and support, and her words do help to quell her inner discomfort and worries for the moment. Her eyes flit anxiously over to Cassius, however, as he reads. The letter has cause her no small amount of sick-making terror since its arrival. But she's too stubborn to let the fear show through… any more than necessary.

"Oh, I know what he's trying to do, alright. He's been baiting me for months - whenever he gets a chance." Rena replies solemnly. "But, I don't want to miss the opportunity to stand up for the cause and prove him wrong." Of course, she might just make a fool of herself. It's a calculated risk, and one that she knows will hold dire consequences. Failure really isn't an option at this juncture.

Rhyeline squeezes Rena's hand gently and doesn't let go as Cassius hands the letter to her. It takes but a mere glance for the little one to take in what it says. "He will try to twist your words… to trap you into saying what you did not mean. It would be a great risk to engage with him… And… I am not certain if those who most often listen might be swayed by the rhetoric. However, there are those who might listen specifically to /this/ conversation… and should you prove persuasive even in the face of one such as Brad Moody, it might solidify a great deal of support…"

"I once nearly allowed myself to be interviewed on his programme as well," Cassius admits. "But since then, I've thought better of it. He is a demagogue, and his audience consists of willful sheep. The majority of them are not interested in another viewpoint. They want to be reassured that their ignorant notions are correct, and so they turn their ears to this man with his impassioned vitriol and hollow rhetoric so that they can feel justified in their own self-delusion. There is no merit in debating him on his own ground. But a more neutral forum will draw the attention of the undecided, and those are the people we must curry favour with."

Rena gives Rhyeline's hand a quick squeeze, and she smiles at her remarks regarding Brad. She makes her feel a bit hopeful about the whole thing… But, of course, Cassius has a point too. Even if he does have to bring her back down to earth with a jerk on the balloon string. Naturally, her face falls.

Silence ensues for a moment or two before Rena begins to rally within herself: "But, sir -" she says in an uncharacteristically quiet voice, "Every sheep matters to me. A hundred, a thousand might not listen, but one of them just might. That solitary person matters. The chance matters…"

Rhyeline sets down the letter, she nods a bit at Rena's words. "Those who have chosen to believe Brad Moody's truth will refuse to accept the one you offer. But… if the debate with Brad Moody were to take place on neutral ground, it would attract attention from all sides… And perhaps those who are /searching/ for truth will find it."

"I do not disagree, Miss Lee," Cassius says softly. "It is important to try to reach everyone with our message. But changing public opinion requires strategy. A person is more likely to believe a thing when surrounded by it. We must strengthen and expand our following. Through them, we stand a chance of reaching some of those that have close their minds to all but the message of the likes of Moody."

"What would you suggest as neutral ground?" Rena asks Rhyeline, curiously. The community forum was a grand one-off affair. The likelihood of such an event happening again is very slim.

Pausing a beat, her gaze flicks between Cassius and Rhyeline uncertainly: "If you can think of a way to negotiate this so that it's on our own terms, please tell me. Because I think it'd be disastrous to completely decline an invitation like this. That man'll leap on a flat refusal and use it against us, anyway."

"There are many different possible venues…" murmurs Rhyeline in reply to Rena's question, but she looks to Cassius for further input.

"When the Unity Movement first began," Cassius explains, "those that would go on to form the Preservation Society tried to challenge me to a public debate. Sadly, it quickly became obvious that the so-called 'debate' was little more than a staged performance intended to belittle our cause. But if we counter his invitation with a challenge for a genuine, moderated debate, he has little to use against us. Surely he'll try, but again, he is preaching to those that wish to be reaffirmed. Any listener seeking truth will see through such a ploy with ease."

The young, outspoken woman listens intently to Cassius, fixing her gaze on him. It's almost as though she's studying the man for the moment. Her brow remains furrowed for only a short time. Slowly, it begins to arch and her dark eyes widen as she comes to understand his meaning. After a moment, she smiles: "That's brilliant, that is!" Now the brightness returns. "If we do it that way, we're meeting 'im on equal ground and stand a much better chance at beating 'im at his own game!"

Excitedly, Rena turns toward Rhyeline: "You're a much more eloquent writer than I am, to be sure. Can you help me answer 'is letter?"

Rhyeline blinks a bit at the request from behind her cup of tea. She lingers for a moment, sipping slowly before she sets it back down. "Of course… I- I appreciate the- the opportunity to help in- in any way that I can."

Cassius smiles at Rena's understanding and growing excitement. But he lifts a hand in pause. "There is just one thing, and I pray you do not take umbrage with what I have to say, Miss Lee. It is about how you speak When I heard the broadcast of the community forum, when you spoke up so passionately, you seemed to speak with greater clarity and elocution. But tonight I am noting more colloquial intonation. It is something that listeners, and men like Moody, will take note of and play upon. Are you able to speak more precisely when you wish it?"

Once more, Rena wishes that the seat cushions could swallow her up. She isn't angry at Cassius for pointing out her "ain'ts" and random H-droppings. She knows very well that she tends to butcher the English language if she isn't careful.

"I… do better when I try h-hard, sir. When I'm talking like this, I tend to forget myself and sound very…stupid. I'm sorry." Again, her cheeks tinge with a blush and her gaze drops away from the others. "I'll practice. I'll make good. I promise. I won't be an embarrassment to you."

"Rena… you don't sound stupid… And- and it doesn't embarrass… It is- is simply something that- that we don't want Moody to- to try and use against you." Rhyeline bites her lower lip before adding with a faint smile, "I can- can barely speak a single phrase without…hesitation. You have- have no need to be ashamed of- of how you speak."

Cassius shakes his head firmly. "Miss Lee, in no way are you an embarrassment. In fact, there will be times that your mode of speech will be an asset. But in the public forum, the sad truth is that the masses tend to equate elocution with intelligence. The message is only as strong as the form in which it is presented. I would be a fool not to take advantage of your passion. So let us do what we can to hone the steel of your fervor into a fine blade. I would like you to see a tutor, who will help you to refine your speech."

Again, Rhyeline's reassuring presence and her gentle way of putting things is much appreciated… but Rena still feels about two inches high right now. There was a reason she clammed up in school and made few friends. Her blood status caused problems enough, but her mode of speech caused even more.

But then, Cassius snaps Rena out of her reverie, and her head snaps to attention just as quickly: "A… a tutor?" She asks in a small voice, swallowing once and looking rather scared. "I…mean, if you think it's for the best, sir. I'll do it. I'd do anything for the cause."

Poor, foolish girl.

"I'm sure you will make what sacrifices are needed… not simply anything… But… this sacrifice is needed. But… but don't worry. It is simply a tutor… to help you. To refine and sharpen your strengths," murmurs Rhyeline with soft, warm smile.

Cassius nods. "Think of it as no different than your Auror training. It is a tool for achieving your aims. Our aims. A means toward creating a better world for our children."

Rena is still somewhat burdened by something weighing on her mind. However, she doesn't voice it. The others are making good sense, and she knows that they are right. Her abilities need to be honed - especially those in the speech department.

"If only my old strengths were useful, now." She remarks to herself wryly, somewhat under her breath. "They were certainly crowd pleaser material." Self-deprecating humor, of sorts…

"Well then," Rena says, flashing an uncertain smile and deflecting the subject a bit: "I'll be ready to begin training whenever you say. And I'll do my level best to not let either of you down."

Rhyeline nods in agreement with how Cassius frames the training. "I'm sure you will do well. Already you can- can speak clearly if- if you make an effort. With training it- your clarity will come with greater ease. And you will be even more fearless." Again, the little one squeezes Rena's hand before releasing it at last. "I'm so pleased you could come and- and speak with us… with us both." She glances to Cassius with a soft, shy smile.

Cassius smiles warmly, nodding to Rhyeline, then to Rena. "Indeed. I am more and more encouraged with every moment spent with you, Miss Lee. We need people like you — true believers in a better world. Tell me, I'm curious — you mentioned old strengths. Crowd pleasing material. What were you referring to?"

Until now, Rena had rudely forgotten her tea. Now that it is no longer piping hot, it should be quite easy to drink. Unfortunately for her, Cassius asks what she meant by her comment earlier. Her breath catches without realizing it, and she chokes on the tea briefly. It takes her a moment to recover herself before saying: "N-nothing, really… I-I used to be on stage," she stammers, helplessly flustered and blushing hotly. "Much of my younger life, in fact - and during 'olidays from school. S-showgirl, mostly when I got older, though. Crowds are easier to please, the less clothing you wear."

Rena's eyes shift furtively between Rhyeline and Cassius. It's painfully obvious that she's telling the truth, but not the whole truth. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Rhyeline glances to Cassius when he poses his question and then looks to Rena with a quiet curiosity. However at the mention of pleasing crowds with little clothing, she blinks a bit and just hides behind her cup of tea. Silent, she peeks over at Cassius a bit hesitantly.

Cassius smiles subtly, nodding. "In a sense, those strengths might still aid you. Perhaps not the particulars, but politics and show business have much in common. This is why men like Brad Moody can do what they do. He offers a similar spectacle, with his naked aggression and untethered rhetoric. It is simply time to reorient the sensational aspects into your words. You can still have them tantalised, but this time with ideas."

Rhyeline watches Cassius in silence as he speaks such words of encouragement to Rena. Peeking back over at the witch, Rhyeline nods in quiet agreement. "What seem as weaknesses, in truth are sources of strength…"

Without realizing, Rena leans her head down and into her hand so that she can rub the bridge of her nose in a slightly pained way. Why did Cassius have to use the word Naked when describing Brad's tactics?

"Thank you, both, for having me over and talking like this. We'll sort out Mister Moody's reply soon, and in the meantime… I suppose I'll be learning proper English." A weak smile is flashed here as Rena rises to her feet. She wants to retreat out into the cold. A walk would be welcome just now. She's in need of some fresh air after all she's just been through. But, at least things are still looking up for Unity. There's some comfort in that.

Rhyeline sets down her cup of tea and rises after Rena does. "Thank you for coming… and for your courage and devotion to such- such important work. I… I am so pleased to- to have you with us in this." The little one steps closer and tries to give Rena a gentle, reassuring hug. "I'm… I'm sure you will be brilliant," she murmurs.

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