(1939-04-08) The Power of A Pen
Details for The Power of A Pen
Summary: After sending a message to Perry Evans, Rena meets him at the Leaky Cauldron to discuss some troublesome accusations and a potential plan.
Date: 1939/04/08
Location: Leaky Cauldron - Private Room
Related: Think First

NOTE: Perry Evans was NPC'ed by Madeline.

Some place quiet, comfortable and private was just the ticket, Rena thought. After sending word to Perry Evans that she needed to meet him and discuss a matter of some urgency, it seemed best to meet on completely neutral ground. People think that she's utterly ignorant of politics, but this isn't entirely true… What she needs to discuss with Perry could become Auror business, or it could be a hill of beans; but in either case, it needs to be discussed away from the Ministry.
Waiting for the gentleman in question to arrive at the Leaky Cauldron and join her there in one of the rooms, Rena sits in a chair before a warm fire. In her hands she holds a letter and a photograph, and whatever the contents may be… she doesn't seem to be very pleased by them.

Perry doesn't keep her waiting long. When he arrives at the Cauldron, he's directed to the back room, rapping lightly before opening the door a crack. "Miss Lee - shall I come in?" he asks politely.

Rena stirs out of her reverie upon hearing the knock and the voice: "Please do, Mister Evans!" She calls out, folding the letter carefully and setting it on the table beside her chair by the fire. Already on her feet when he enters the room, she smiles warmly and offers: "If you'd like anything to eat or drink, we can ring for something, of course." She has to be a polite hostess, especially since she dragged him all the way here on less than legal-sounding business.

"I asked for a cider to be sent," Perry answers as he enters, closing the door behind her. He moves towards Rena, offering his hand for a handshake as he adds, "Though I'm curious to know what this business about and how it involves my niece. Have any of her friends been up to mischief? This isn't about that unfortunate incident with the Hart boys, is it?"

Smiling, Rena shakes Perry's hand warmly and then motions to the other chair that rests on the opposite side of the fireplace. Resuming her seat once more, she tucks her skirt carefully under her before sitting down. Pausing at the mention of the Hart boys, her face falls. "No, no… most unfortunate and very upsetting." She says, giving the understatement of the year. "The grief that their family is suffering now… I can't even imagine losing a child."
Shifting in her seat a little, Rena heaves a small, troubled sigh and takes up the piece of paper: "This is another matter entirely, though…'aving to do with that farce of a 'club'."

"Neither can I. You can imagine the fears I had to calm in my brother and his wife - and the solemn oaths we asked for from Madeline." Perry shakes his head, looking rather sad and grim as he sits.
When Rena speaks of a 'farce' of a club, though, he let's out a quiet 'ahhh.' "Headmaster Flint's pet club - the Magijugend?"

"Just so," Rena replies tersely, giving a small nod. She has no warm, fuzzy feelings for the Magijugend, obviously.

Opening the letter, she hands the photograph contained within to Perry. It shows a student proudly sporting an Eye of Truth pendant, and just as proudly displaying his wand for the photographer… The wand, oddly enough, has a strange metal ring about the shaft, just above the grip.

"What do you make of that, Mister Evans?" Rena asks, curiously watching his features to try and measure his reaction. "You and I both know that metal embellishments like that ain't standard fare. They interfere with channeling magic."

Perry studies the picture, then shakes his head wordlessly. "I'm afraid I know very little of wand lore - but I'll admit I haven't seen wands with such embellishments. Do all the students in the Magijugend have these metal bands on their wands? It does seem very odd."

"Well now, that's the thing," Rena replies thoughtfully. Tapping the letter with the back of her other hand briskly, she goes on: "This letter from an anonymous source /claims/ that all the members of the Magijugend have these rings placed on their wands. But, more importantly, the letter also claims that this isn't a mere adornment like the Eye of Truth…"
Rena's words come to an abrupt halt as their cider arrives. Bouncing up out of the chair, she meets the waitress at the door and accepts the tray with a warm smile. A tip is given, the door is closed once more, and she can settle back into their discussion.

"Where was… Oh! The rings. The letter also alleges that these rings are enchanted to contract and break the wand IF the student is foolish enough to leave or turn against the club."

Perry takes his drink from the tray, drinking from it as Rena explains the purpose of the bands. His eyebrows go up, and he looks genuinely surprised - who wouldn't be? "It /breaks/ their wand?" he asks. "That seems… dubiously legal! They're children! How can they be expected to make such oaths? And besides - the Headmaster, breaking the wands of students at a /school/? How are they to learn without their wands?"

"That's the problem, Mister Evans. It sounds very grand and extremely upsetting - but it may be just a tad too far-fetched. This could be - for all I know - some sort of slander that's been cooked up by someone wanting to drag Flint's name through the mud." Rena says, giving a bewildered shrug of her shoulders. "Merlin knows, I 'aven't any love for the man, but I can't go accusing 'im of something this dire without a shred of proof. This letter," she says, giving it a small shake, "Is nothing more than 'earsay."
Pausing to quench her thirst with a healthy sip of cider, the young woman tries to calm herself before continuing further. "I ain't even joking when I say this letter also claims that Flint 'as been forcing children to sign magical contracts that empower the rings and bind the student to the Magijugend's way. Of course, IF these contracts exist, they are in Flint's possession solely…" Falling silent, Rena places her forehead in her upraised hand and rubs her temples. "This could all be nothing more than claptrap, but it's serious enough to merit investigation."

"And what would you have Madeline do?" Perry asks, a frown crossing his features. "She isn't well liked by those in the Magijugend, as a general rule. She's what they're taught to hate. She does have /one/ friend that joined - it deeply upset her - but… Whether they boy would tell her anything about /this/, well…" He shrugs his shoulder, and shakes his head. He finds it unlikely.

Rena sits bolt upright and motions vigorously with her hands: "No no, absolutely not. I do NOT want Madeline asking /any/ questions whatsoever. We're dealing with something that could potentially cause a scandal that would rock the whole wizarding world. That means people are playing for high stakes if it's true. Mind you, I keep saying IF…because we don't know."
Stopping for breath, Rena calms herself: "Right now, what I need is to gather proof by tiny degrees, and without detection. I can't enter the school under any circumstances, so I can't do this myself. I need a trustworthy pair of eyes on the school grounds. I need her ONLY to passively observe and tell me if it's true that Magijugend members /are/ sporting these rings on their wands. I don't want her to ask questions about them or to draw unwanted attention to 'erself. Because, you see… if these rings don't exist, then, this has all been nothing but a hoax and we can drop the whole caper. The /first/ step is proving that they exist at all."

Perry nods his head. He didn't like the thought of his niece playing spy - but this at least seemed a manageable task. "Your trick would be convincing /her/ that she shouldn't be doing more than simply observing," her remarks in a dry tone. "Have you heard her go on about some of her grandious plans? Now 'world class spy' is going to get added to the list - just you wait and see."

Rena chuckles and smiles a bit wryly: "I know, sir - and I dislike using a student in this way. I believe that children should not be mixed up in adult matters… ever." Sighing again, she brushes a curl of red hair back from her face. "I wanted to ask you if you thought it better for me to keep details from her… so that she's largely in the dark? I don't want it weighing on 'er mind that this is /serious/. I'd almost rather she feel it was more of a game. But, I doubt my ability to convince 'er of that." She admits fully. "Of course, all of this completely 'inges on whether you and 'er parents will give your consent to 'er doing this at all."

Perry lets out a sigh, and lapses into a thoughtful silence. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't want Flint gone from Hogwarts. I hate to think how much he could be poisoning Madeline's education, and her introduction to the wizarding world. But naturally I worry about involving her. She's only twelve." He frowns, his cider held in his hands, forgotten for the moment. "/How/ would you make it into a game? What would you plan on telling her?"

"'Ell if I know, sir," Rena says after a moment, looking fairly helpless. "I don't know much about 'andling kids, and that's a fact. I'd far rather just keep as much information as possible from 'er so that it doesn't /worry/ 'er… but still tell 'er the truth as much as I can. I don't like to lie."
"I dislike Flint as passionately as anybody else, Mister Evans," Rena continues after a moment in a quiet voice. "But, as I said earlier, this could be a lot of nonsense cooked up by someone wanting to smear 'is name. If I don't investigate and prove things one way or another, this person who wrote the letter may try another venue to get noticed. It could cause a scandal the size of the abdication of Edward."

"And wasn't /that/ a mess," Perry agrees with a sigh. "Well. Unfortunately, if we don't tell her enough, she'll ask questions. If we don't emphasis the seriousness - and /dangerousness/ - of this task… she'll ask questions. I can't think of anyway to do it but to be very straight with her. And once we tell her - whether she reacts and responds in a reassuring way or not - it's too late. It'll be implanted in her head, and the only to get it out again and stop her would be oblivation. She's… a stubborn creature."

"That really doesn't leave us with much choice beyond being straight, as you say, sir," Rena admits, looking slightly troubled by the prospect. "But, if that's the way it must be… it must be."
Remembering the delicious cider sitting on the table beside her, Rena takes up the mug once more. Raising it to Perry, she offers an uncertain half-smile: "Well, 'ere's 'oping I can work my wiles and convince 'er of the importance of being quiet about the whole thing. Maybe I can say that I'm enlisting 'er as an honorary Auror."

"Oh, by all that's- She'll ask you for a badge, you realize that?" Perry asks, shaking his head before taking a drink of his cider. "I'll speak to my brother and his wife - but I honestly can't tell you how they'll answer. They're unnerved, after what happened to the Hart boys - and what parent wouldn't be?"

Rena finishes a long, satisfying drink of the cool cider. "Naturally. But I do 'ope that you'll emphasize to them that I only want 'er to do one thing. And that's very important. Observe and see if these rings exist. If they do, she is NOT to ask questions or draw attention to them /or/ 'erself. That's all I need 'er to do… and I'd much rather I didn't 'ave to ask in the first place. But I'm unfamiliar with any other students in school… and as I 'aven't any family with children attending, my options are limited, and the situation /could/ be dire."

"Oh, I will," Perry promises. "But if they say no…" Then naturally that will have to be the end of the discussion. "I wish I knew some older students I could recommend, myself, but I'm afraid not. And none of your colleagues of children at Hogwarts?"

"I'm afraid not," Rena admits with some sadness in her tone. "Law Enforcement isn't all that conducive to 'aving children, truth be told…" Why this seems to be an especially troubling thought to the young woman is hard to say.
"If they say no, then the answer is no." Rena says with a faint smile. "I should make very clear the fact that this is NOT official Auror work. It isn't even an investigation, per se. That's why I want to keep this as an unofficial observation by a neutral party for now. And the sooner we manage to find evidence of whether or not these rings exist, the sooner I can move things into gear for an actual investigation sanctioned by the Ministry…" a pause here. "Or else disprove these statements as outright lies and clear Flint of any charges. Either way, we need to know."

"And a known source goes much further than an anonymous one," Perry agrees. He lets out a sigh. "I won't lie - I wish you had another child to play the spy, but I will agree that this is important. I'm not sure if I want this report to be true or not. If it's true - it's horrible. But it could also help us get rid of this club, and possibly the Headmaster, and stop them from poisoning the school and our community against people like Madeline and myself." He takes another, deeper drink from his cider. He does not look forward to this conversation with Cecil.

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