(1939-08-23) Everything is Politics
Details for Everything is Politics
Summary: A meeting of the Malfoys in which matters political are discussed, Abraxas learns some important lessons, and overtures of alliance are made.
Date: 23 August 1939
Location: Berylwood
Related: Drinking with the Commonfolk

At most times, the Berylwood fireplace has magical protections against someone arriving by floo network. But, the barriers are down in preparation for Abraxas Malfoy's visit. Little Rhyeline stands waiting with the staff to greet the young Malfoy heir.

As Abraxas steps onto the gleaming black marble, the mouse of a girl steps forward and dips into a small curtsy. "Good evening, A-Abraxas… I… Cassius sent word that- that he has been delayed at- at the Ministry." On a Sunday? The work of a prominent barrister and controversial politician never stops.

Abraxas steps out of the floo network, the gleam of his polished black boots matching that of the marble. He flicks a bit of ash off the cuff of his robes and nods, "I'm sure my Cousin will attend presently. He always has been a very busy man. I suppose in the meanwhile, you and I may keep each other company, mmm, Mlle.?" He steps out of the fireplace and snaps at one of the servants, "A lemonade. The floo always makes me thirsty." He straightens both the robes and his back, giving the distinct impression of a boy trying to play the role of the Malfoy man. Or growing into it. And the very large robes that come with it. Can a silver-and-black walking stick be far behind?

The servants bow and move at once to comply with the young Malfoy's request. Rhyeline glances from the departing servants to the teenager, hesitating. "Em… Would- would you care to- to take your lemonade in the solar?" No doubt Abraxas has spent time at Berylwood before and knows of its gardens, library, music room, indoor swimming pool, and of course, the solar.

"Of course, Mademoiselle. I think that you and I should speak anyway. If you are engaged to my Cousin, and have aspirations of joining the family, after all, then we will be very close." Abraxas gives a chill, and quite adult, smile. Then he falls in next to her and starts to walk towards the Solar. "How did you happen to meet my Cousin? Word has it that you worked for Magnus Troy. Interesting, that. Were you his mistress?" Ah. Subtle, too. Like a sledgehammer.

To the Solar. Rhyeline clasps her hands behind her back as she walks with him through Berlywood's halls of gleaming marble. At the mention of Magnus Troy, she peeks up at the young man with a cautious, guarded look. She blinks at such a question. "No, monsier… Your cousin is the first to ever court me. And- and I met Cassius one afternoon when- when sat down at his table… at Cafe Tasseo… to ask him questions about- about the Unity movement."

Abraxus picks an armchair to sit down in, pushing his robes back and then settles into the chair, legs crossed, back straight, hands folded in his lap, intelligent eyes focused on the woman who he already towers over, well on his way to that tall, slim Malfoy look. He regards her for just a moment before motioning to a chair next to him in invitation - or order - to sit. "Court. That is a quaint and lovely word to apply to it, Mlle. Diderot." He switches to carry on the conversation in French, apparently content to practice, lest he meet any Beauxbatons girls that he wishes to flirt with, "Malfoys, Cassius included, tend to go after what they want and take it, rather than playing around the issue. So, I think that you give my Cousin's approach a subtlty that it probably does not deserve. But, the overarching question is why. Why would he choose /you/. I mean, the long hair, the pretty face, you are attractive, no doubt. But what more is there."

Rhyeline pauses as he indicates for her to take the chair beside him. She glances to the approaching servant bearing a silver tray of two iced lemonade. The little one eases into the chair with a slow, careful grace before accepting her glass with murmured appreciation. She keeps her gaze lowered as she listens, taking a small sip of lemonade. As the young man switches to French, she peeks up at him, even has her head remains slightly bowed. The subtle blush in her cheeks grows more and more noticeable as Abraxas continues. "He… he has always told me that- that he values my insights. I… I believe that- that he wanted someone… someone clever… that he could trust… as his wife," she murmurs in delicate, flawless French.

"Yes, yes, he says that. Perhaps it has something to do with his plans to put us out in front of the Muggles, so they can leer while they jibber like apes at one of their zoos and point and try to steal our magic like the mudbloods do." the younger Malfoy says, all of it in French save the slurs - though perhaps French wizards have a word similar to 'mudblood'. He rubs his chin for a moment, and says, "Or perhaps he is taken by your intoxicating perfume and the image of your fine Parisian lingerie. You keep him happy, in that regard, I expect. You seem suitably obedient."

Rhyeline's cheeks burn with warmth as she lowers her gaze, hiding behind her glass. She can't help but shift uncomfortably in her seat. The servants on hand maintain smooth, detached expressions. Those standing out of sight wear frowns. "I… I am certain that- that Cassius… he wouldn't- wouldn't make such an important choice based on- on such things." She pauses for a sip of lemonade, still not meeting Abraxas' gaze. "I see what others don't notice… I listen when others overlook. Cassius means to accomplish great things and- and believes I am the partner that- that will help him…"

Abraxas snorts, "My cousin is a clever man. I said those things only to make you blush, because I am sure that whatever his reason /is/, it is not solely that." He tilts his head, and says, with a sincere-looking smile, "I am sorry for having made you uncomfortable. If you make my Cousin happy, then let us be friends, hrm?"

Rhyeline peeks up at Abraxas with quiet caution, but manages to offer him a faint, shy smile. "I… I'd like that. And… I understand. The- the fact that- that Cassius wishes me to be his wife… it does not involve only us. If I am to be his wife… I am to be your cousin… his father's daughter in law… This matter concerns everyone… and I understand your interest and- and concern. You… you have been most patient and- and kind."

"It is ultimately not my decision, though my father is The Malfoy, and I'm sure my opinion will be of value to him. Whether his brother my Uncle decides, well…" He holds up his hands, palm up, as if to say it's not up to him, "Still, I think a few kind words would go a long way, don't you agree. Perhaps we could help each other?"

Rhyeline tilts her head, watching Abraxas with a kitten's curiosity.

"In six months, I will be a man. There are things they do not teach us at Hogwarts. Politics and the like. And I will need to know those things as I launch my career. I will need to choose an apprenticeship at the end of the year, and decide what classes to take next year, for example. Perhaps we could get to know each other as you tutor me in the things a man needs to know." He smiles again. What is it they say about the smiles of serpents? "Meanwhile, if you are to be a Malfoy, well, there will be certain expectations in dress and action. Look at my mother." A trophy wife, if ever there was one.

Rhyeline blinks, her surprise growing with each statement. She parts her lips to speak, but for a moment no words come. She brings her glass to her lips, taking a small sip as she seems to consider his request. "I… I see," she murmurs at last. "I… I have observed the world of- of politics for- for some time… and… and I know well the ways of powerful men." Though she obviously isn't actually one of them. "I would- would be honored to- to teach you whatever I- I can… of political workings within the Ministry and- and abroad… if you wish." As for her dress, the little one is wearing a rather elegant dress of embroidered silks. The ladies at Twilfit and Tattings love dressing the doll of a young woman in the latest witch's fashions.

And no doubt, whether she admits it or not, there is French silk lingerie involved. The Malfoys have high standards. But Abraxas just nods and says, "Good. I turn sixteen in six months, so I have three years left. We can get well acquainted in that time, provided you and my cousin haven't married by then. I'll mention it to him. I'm actually considering either Wizengamot Services or IMC."

Rhyeline blinks, tilting her head with interest when Abraxas mentions his career interests. "The Wizengamot Services? You wish perhaps to undertake administrative and clerical duties for the Wizengamot? I am familiar with such tasks… but perhaps… you mean to serve on the Wizengamot itself? There… I would recommend a path more similar to what Cassius has taken… as the Wizengamot serves as judges, approving new laws and such…"

"I'm aware. The Ministry's lawyers are, if I recall correctly, under Wizengamot services. The eventual path would be onto the body itself, and then, perhaps, to the International Confederation, though I am not sure that I could stand being in a room with so many foreigners." Abraxus admits, though his eyes remain on her kitten heels and legs and then move slowly upward.

Rhyeline is too lost in thought to notice the hormonal Malfoy's eyes travelling up her delicate form. "Yes… I do see what you mean. I have not seen for myself very much of the inner workings of the Wizengamot services… but of the I.M.C., I am well acquainted. It often involves many years living abroad… but in the realm of international politics… the power you would wield is much farther reaching than anything in domestif affairs."

Having not been caught, he does what all teenagers do and continues to enjoy looking. "I'm not certain that living abroad is exactly what is in my future. Though the idea of greater power is, of course, attractive. Another possiblity is a position on the Minister's staff. I'm sure that could be made to happen, but most of what happens in the Central Ministry is dreadfully mundane, except for directly in the Office of the Minister. Or so father says. I've no desire to be an apprentice to the Owl Post." A snort.

Rhyeline nods absently, still considering the matter of how she might help him. "Perhaps… I could teach you some spells I picked up while working for the Ambassador. The parchment-sealing spell… or- or the secret message charm… The first will seal your parchment so tight that no one except its intended reader will be able to open it without tearing. The secret message charm is- is much more advanced… but it will actually conceal your writing from view until one uses a special password to reveal it."

"That sounds like it would be very handy." the young Malfoy admits, in what is probably the most sincere statement that he has yet made. "Politics is also of use, and I'm sure there are other things I will need to know. Perhaps you can show me why my cousin considers you to be so… useful." Beyond what's going through his mind on a more… hormonal basis.

Rhyeline smiles, pleased at the appreciation that Abraxas shows for her suggestion. But at what follows, warmth returns to her cheeks. "I… I will do my best. But… When would- would I be able to- to tutor you? On… on the days that you go to Hogsmeade?"

Abraxas seems to be getting to know Rhyeline, and there is talk of the Wizengamot and Office of International Magical Cooperation and Abraxas's career choices. "Then and school breaks would be the only possible times, yes. Visitors aren't permitted on school grounds. Unless you happen to know Professor Dippet very well."

Cassius's arrival can be seen from the solar, as his black carriage, emblazoned with a stylized Malfoy "M", rolls up the driveway. His long legs take him quickly to the door, where he is greeting as he is every day by the butler, who fills him in on the day's events around the estate. Naturally, the presence of his cousin Abraxas is foremost, and soon Cassius is appearing in the entry way of the solar, smiling pleasantly. "Abraxas! Delighted to see you, cousin. I cannot remember when you last graced Berylwood. What has it been? Four years? I hadn't been here long, I'm fairly certain. I think you were just about to start at Hogwarts at the time."

Rhyeline's smile brightens as she catches sight of Cassius' carriage. "Ah… Cassius has- has arrived." The girl sets aside her glass of lemonade, but remains seated. Her eyes shine luminous with adoration as Cassius appears in the entry-way. The tension in her shoulders eases.

"Hello, Cousin." Abraxas says, as he does stand, "This is a much more pleasant surrounding than that horrid tavern, filled with wizards who don't deserve the name. It's enough to make me think we should start reclaiming Warlock as a title for /real/ wizards." He tilts his head towards Rhyeline, "I was just meeting your charming afianced. Quite the delicate flower. And she doesn't look much older than me. Though I suppose that runs in the family, too." His mother being very much younger than his father. "Anyway, we were discussing some tutoring. In the sort of things that I will need to know when I'm a man in another few months. Never too early to take an interest, wouldn't you agree?"

Cassius leans down to place a chaste kiss on Rhyeline's forehead, than takes a seat in the armchair beside hers. "She is quite the treasure, isn't she? So, tutoring. Colour me intrigued. What areas do you find yourself needing tutoring in? Isn't that Magijugend club of yours providing some additional education?"

A blush of warmth lingers in Rhyeline's cheeks as she bows her head to accept Cassius' gentle kiss. She shifts in her seat to lean slightly in Cassius' direction. Taking up her lemonade, she takes a small silent sip as she looks once more to Abraxas.

"More on the politics end of things, cousin. And besides, as I said, it's an opportunity for myself and Mlle. Diderot to get to know each other. And you know as well as I do that there are many subjects that are important for a Malfoy to know that aren't on the Hogwarts curriculum." Abraxas is trying very hard to play the adult, but his voice cracks at an inconvenient time, leading to a cough and a pause for lemonade. "Though the Magijugend probably brings me to the subject that we really need to talk about. Father taught me that the Malfoys never fight in front of the plebs, but cousin… really? Mr. Grindlewald says that we should only be teaching Magic to purebloods."

Cassius nods deeply in agreement. "When it comes to politics, Hogwarts may not teach the subject, but you might find that it is fertile ground for honing your skills. Where do you think I learned to play the game?" He pauses to sip for tea, and for effect. "As for Grindelwald and his Army of Truth, I think I have made my stance publically clear. Any similarities between the philosophies of Gellert Grindelwald and myself end with the desire to the wizarding and Muggle worlds united. Beyond that, I'm afraid we are simply incompatible. Conquest will achieve nothing but revolution. Politics and diplomacy are the key, young man. If you wish to learn politics, you must first learn diplomacy."

Rhyeline listens to the conversation with great interest from behind her glass of lemonade, taking a long, slow sip. A drop of red slides from her forefinger, down her wrist. Rhyeline flinches with a soft gasp and quickly sets aside the glass while pulling a handkerchief from her pocket with her other hand. A few drops of… blood(?) stain her dress before she hides her fingertips within the handkerchief. "E-excuse me… I… it has been lovely speaking with you, but- but I must… em… yes…" She rises, but already crimson tendrils are snaking their way up her arms beneath her soft, snow-white flesh. Her cheeks burn with an incarnadine blush.

"Diplomacy is wasted on the muggles. They are brutish and violent. Look at how they treat each other. And you want to throw open the sewer drains and let them into our world, where we will be swamped under a tide of them, who want our magic for themselves." Abraxas's spine is up, and his fingers tighten on the lemonade glass. But he doesn't have to censor himself now. "We will become curiosities. Magical blood will be diluted, weakened, lost. Our place, especially our family's place, is at the head of a society of Wizards. I refuse to answer to a /muggle/. I am Abraxas Malfoy, not some conjurer of cheap tricks!" He's just about finished venting when Rhyeline seems to, err, start bleeding? He leaps up and takes two steps back with a 'saywha?' expression.

Cassius rises, lifting his hands in a calming gesture. "Worry not, cousin. All is well. Clarice?" he calls to a maid. "See the lady to a bath, and send an owl to my father." He moves to Rhyeline's side, putting a hand to her back to escort her from the solar, murmuring softly to her. "I think it is time to try something new. This is no way for you to live."

"That… that is horrible." Abraxus says, "Does that happen often? What if it happens when you're together. She'd bleed all over you. Disgusting." He shudders and moves back towards his seat.

Once Rhyeline is away with Clarice, Cassius returns to his seat, giving Abraxas a piercing look. "Decorum, cousin. That is my fiancee you're speaking of. You leap to conclusions. It wasn't blood, it was ink." But before the subject can continue, he shifts back to the previous topic. "It is interesting to me that you say Muggles are so violent. Are they so much more violent than we are? Grindelwald advocates forceful domination of the Muggles. Think you that won't involve massive casualties? He calls his followers an Army. This so-called Army of Truth has been responsible for more than it's share of bloodshed and destruction even here in London. Let us dispense with the notion that Muggles are any more or less violent than we are. That is not what makes them dangerous. Ignorance is."

"The Secrecy Statute was passed in the first place because of what happened when muggles became aware of us. There are many more of them than there are of us, and they would fear our powers and seek to control them. The Magijugend doesn't officially require that we support the idea of Wizards guiding the muggles - though most of the members of course follow Grindelwald's philosophy." Adelphus says, and does his best to muster a piercing look of his own in return. "Don't treat me like a child, Cousin. I may be young, but I'll be an adult in six months." He switches back to the original subject, "I'm not so sure that we should give up Secrecy at all. Convince me that there's some reason I should accept the great unwashed mass of muggles and mudbloods and animals. I don't see anything redeeming in contact with them. We have enough bad blood around as it is."

Cassius shifts tactics. "So you enjoy living in fear of them? Cowering in the shadows while Muggles play the role of masters of the world? The Statute of Secrecy — which our family initially opposed, you ought to know — might have once been necessary. But it has been centuries, during which the Muggles have had a chance to grow and gain some measure of enlightenment. But we are at a dangerous crossroads. They possess weapons of such massive destruction that we will not be able to protect ourselves if war breaks out. We must prevent war, not incite it. For all of our power, the Muggles outnumber us thousands to one. They are not animals. They're children. Blind children playing with fire. It is the duty of the powerful to shepherd the weak. Would you see them, in their their glorious ignorance, become the powerful? Or would you rather that we take our rightful place as custodians of this world, and guide them before they destroy themselves, and us along with them?"

"For the greater good. NOW who's giving the Grindelwald line?" Abraxas says, with a tilt of his head, "Because that's exactly what HE says. Do you think they're really more enlightened now? With their phonomobiles and auto-graphs and other whizbangs and geegaws that the mudbloods are always going on about. They don't even BELIEVE in magic, except the few who steal magic from us and get into Hogwarts, turning the school into some sort of freak show. Maybe that's where Squibs come from, mudbloods stealing magic from /real/ magical families. Magic is for Wizards and Witches, and children of wizards and witches. Let them kill themselves. Better for us."

"Did you know that Muggles possess explosive devices of such power, that a single one can effectively wipe out a city block? Do you also know that Muggle flying machines can drop dozens of these bombs at a time?" Cassius crosses his legs as casually as if he were discussing crup breeding. "What makes you think Diagon Alley, or Berylwood, or any number of our hidden places will be safe from such devastation if the Muggles go to war? Gone are the days of Muggles tilting lances and hacking at one another with axes. If they kill themselves off, we'll die with them. Grindelwald may espouse a Greater Good, but he is hardly the first man to use those words, and I happen to disagree with his notion of what it is. I prefer survival, you see."

"And if we reveal ourselves to them, what's to stop them from using those things intentionally?" Abraxas asks, "Or trying to use them to control us. Because we can do things they cannot. It wouldn't take a muggle long to figure out that they could have a wizard army at their command. And we're just another cog in the muggle war machine." He harrumphs, and stands, clasping his hands behind him inside his robes, "So come to it, what do you want from me? I'm sure I'm not taking any position you haven't heard from the rest of the family."

"I admit, I don't expect to convince you." Cassius smiles and chuckles, spreading his hands. "But you cannot blame me for hoping to sway you. No, I hoped you would come because you seemed confused about my relationship with Rhyeline. I would not have my cousin harbour misconceptions about my intended…nor about the history of our family." Cassius furrows his brow in apparent concern. "You called Rhyeline a foreigner. Yet she is born here in England. Stranger still that it should be a concern to you. Are you unaware that our own family has roots in France?"

"Of a French mother and a half-blood father, yes, I did my research. Which led me to a conclusion as to why you were interested in her. Other than the fact that she's attractive. You're appealing to the proles, because you want to be Minister, but you'd still maintain, to a substantial degree, blood purity. Of course, to do that, you really need to impress the Wizengamot, but I'm sure you've already thought of that." Abraxas gives an airy wave, "I also considered whether she was somehow a secret bargaining weapon, but…" Another little wave, "Is she really anything other than that to you, cousin? Not that it matters to me, really. Though as I told her, I suspect my favorable opinion might make some difference to father."

Cassius's grin widens as his cousin waxes political. "Well observed, if not entirely accurate. Another history lesson about the Malfoy clan, Abraxas. We have a long history of marrying half-bloods. You have half-blood ancestors. Though I think that you will find that nearly all of them can hardly be considered 'half'. Just as is the case with Rhyeline. Any child she bears me will be a pure-blood by all standards of measuring such things. That she comes from a respectable French family is a boon, not a hindrance." He folds his hands in his lap. "But surely you don't think I would bind myself to a woman merely because she is pretty or politically advantageous. Such people are easy to come by, and while they might hold a fleeting interest to me, they are hardly anyone that I could consider an equal. Rhyeline is a unique flower, and her depths might surprise you."

Abraxas waves a hand again, "Half-bloods are not ideal. But at present, cannot be avoided. So I have to bite my tongue and focus on the more important issue of mudblood. As long as the half-bloods remain in their place, then all is well for the time being. Eventually, we will be pure again." He tilts his head curiously at the mention of a unique flower, and says bluntly, "I more noticed her legs."

Cassius chuckles, but there is no mirth in the sound. "You would be wise to aim your eyes elsewhere, dear cousin. Do not think that I am unaware of how you have spoken to my intended, either. You are a Malfoy. Heir to Malfoy Manor. As such, certain standards of behaviour are expected. Especially when you are in another man's house. Your father knows this well, and I'm sure he has passed this lesson on to you. I trust the matter is clearly understood, and needs no further discussion." The icy chill in his voice fades as a certain warmth returns to his smile. "There is a book I'd like to loan you. It is a treatise on magical politics, and includes a number of letters by various wizard diplomats and courtiers through the ages. Among then is one of our own, Lucius Malfoy. I think you might find it englightening."

Abraxas clenches and unclenches his fist for only a moment. "Thank you, that is most gracious of you, Cousin." he says, his voice sounding forced. Then he can't hold back any longer, "I am a Malfoy, and someday will be /the/ Malfoy, and a Malfoy does as he wishes, so long as he does not disgrace the family name. My father taught me that we should take our rightful place as leaders of the Wizarding world. I'm not the one who cavorts with the lower orders to grub for… votes." He almost spits the last word. Then he bites his lower lip hard, inhales and exhales deeply through his nose, his eyes closing just a moment. When he opens them, he exhales hard, and manages a strained smile. "In the interests of preserving family unity, however, I apologize for any… misunderstanding."

"Apology accepted," Cassius says calmly. "But you will learn, I hope, that no man does as he wishes merely by virtue of a name. Power is a fleeting thing, cousin. If you wish to hold onto the power that you will be granted, you must learn to use the tools and weapons that our family has employed for centuries. We have survived this long by knowing when to compromise, and when to assert ourselves. Look at me. I am the second son of a second son. Yet my wealth and influence rivals my own father. It may one day rival your father's. Don't take that as a challenge, of course. What is good for one Malfoy is good for all of us. But I present myself as an example of what one can achieve by mastering politics. Just imagine what you could do. Learn to play the game, and you would surely climb far higher than even I could hope to achieve."

Abraxas snorts, "Be Supreme Mugwump and deal with strange colonials and sour Continentals all day? I'm not so sure."

Cassius chuckles, shrugging. "Power comes in many forms. Often it is better to be the power behind the proverbial throne. But these are things you will learn in the days to come. Remember what I said. Hogwarts is fertile ground for nurturing your skill at the game."

"Something to consider when I decide where I want to seek an apprenticeship." Abraxas says, and then pulls a timepiece out of his robes to check the time, "Too late for lunch, I suppose. We'll have to do that some other time. I would like to see that book, though. Is the library still…" He points in the general direction, and the two wander off to talk politics in a less adversarial setting.

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