15 March: Marital goals Who: Rodolphus and Bellatrix Lestrange What: Rodolphus is given a missive from Arlo and knows better than to move without Bellatrix. When: Friday 15 March, evening Where: Bellatrix’s studio, The Lestrange Park Warnings: Quite tame overall, brief discussion of character death
Patience was an old friend, but even Rodolphus grew restless. The Ministry was in chaos and many were busy celebrating. It seemed like a ripe time to strike. Only nothing came. There was only so long they could hold. At least that Bellatrix was content enough now to keep to her studio on the promise of future action.
Six weeks and finally the triad moved first. Arlo Mulciber invited him for drinks. A harmless gesture with a command, but Rodolphus knew the maneuvers in this procedure. Arlo was playing a game here and he didn’t want Rodolphus to have all the pieces. However, Arlo placed the wrong bet on Rodolphus thinking he would be selfishly ambitious or keen to simply fall in line. Many of the elders doubted him, they forgot who he was, but his father knew. So did Rosier. Now both dead, and there was an opening. One that he intended to take for himself, and bring Bellatrix along with him. He had chosen her long ago and knew better than to leave his wife wanting or in the dark for too long. No, she did better with light fueled by glorious purpose.
This little missive wasn’t quite that, but it was something.
“I just had a rather fascinating conversation with Arlo.” Rodolphus undid his tie, gliding into the studio toward the small little corner he thought of his own this week. He conceded this whole house as Bella’s and she gracefully allowed him a place -- as long he wasn’t too bothersome or unwanted.
Bella had just tossed her third half-finished painting for the day into a pile in the corner and was debating whether they would be more improved by slashes or flames when the sound of footsteps behind her brought welcome distraction. There were very few who could intrude on her space without retribution, but only one she actually liked being there.
She turned slowly, hands fisted in the skirt of her robes, and gave him a once-over. There was something there, under the sarcasm of his words. Anticipation fairly vibrated through her at the sight, and one corner of her mouth turned up the tiniest bit as she slunk across to him. She reached for his unfastened tie, one end in each hand, to pull him down for a kiss. "More or less fascinating than the usual conversation with Arlo?"
Rodolphus smiled into the kiss. She was in a good mood. Perhaps he might even make it better. He considered an idle remark about a charity for Mungo’s or being a more sophisticated owl between Mulciber and his mother. But that didn’t suit the moment. “I have been asked to locate an item of undisclosed significance that the Dark Lord left in my father’s possession.” Although that wasn’t much better than being messenger -- a human summoning charm.
“A chalice, specifically, that is ‘of great importance’ to the cause.” Those words he believed from Arlo, just as he knew the it led to a greater story. And he so disliked the vagueness.
Bellatrix ran her fingers along his lapel as she considered this information. "A chalice? I don't recall the Dark Lord ever mentioning a chalice. How does Arlo know about it if it was given to your father for safekeeping?"
He gave her a long look, parsing through words and pithy comments. He had asked a similar question in the overt quest for motivation. “Apparently, the Dark Lord might had had contingencies in place, stored with only his most trusted of allies, so that he could be brought back should his body be otherwise destroyed.” Rodolphus was paraphrasing now, and far kinder than Mulciber deserved with his crude orchestra. “I’m honestly not sure Arlo knows much of anything, but they all did attend school together, so there is quite a history.”
"'A way to cheat death,'" Bellatrix quoted automatically. She'd spent several hours skimming through Corvus Lestrange's journals of his school days when she'd been recovering from her recent injuries, and while most of it had been nonsensical adolescent stupidity, there were a few passages of interest. "That's because Arlo doesn't know much of anything. He's all pretty words with little action. If the Dark Lord trusted a Lestrange to keep it, then a Lestrange should keep it. Don't you think?"
Rodolphus raised a brow. To cheat death seemed like school boy fantasy, or busy work to keep the Death Eaters focused while the triad attempted to reign. “Well, Arlo is a healer and has a certain reputation to maintain.” All pomp and no circumstance. “And needless to say not one that I trust or care for when it comes to him furthering the cause.” Throughout history, the Lestrange family were king makers and men behind the curtain. They kept those in power, and for whatever feelings Rodolphus had for his father, he did have worth. The Dark Lord knew that.
“So, no I do not intend to simply hand over anything to Mulciber. Or Avery and Nott for that matter. I will to figure exactly what we up against, and how I might leverage it.” There were few people welcome to his honest thoughts, really just two, and even then only when it would be helpful.
"Convenient, when there's action that needs to be taken." Bellatrix refrained from rolling her eyes, but only barely. She'd never cared much for her father-in-law, either, but at least he'd never claimed to be something he wasn't. She'd never had much sympathy or respect for those who'd come along on tails the Dark Lord's robes, but there was no need to say it aloud.
She smiled slyly up at Rodolphus, because there was nothing indolent about his approach. "We've a chalice to find, then? What would you have me do?"
He grinned. “How you feel about a trip to Paris?” It was a common enough venture for the family. Rodolphus had been a half dozen times since the funeral. While the British and French branches of the family had forged their own paths they were still interwoven. More importantly, the Lestrange Mausoleum was one most secure places that he knew. He also hadn’t come across a chalice in his father’s British holdings, although he would perform his due diligence there as well.
"As a matter of fact, I do need to visit Angélique to discuss a custom paint order," she said, with a smile that matched his. Even not knowing the details of his reasoning or his plan, that anticipation that had been bubbling under her skin had now become a sizzle. "And you did promise me a a few days away once things calmed down. I've been so overwhelmed by it all, you know." She schooled her face into her most innocent expression.
“We might be expected to bring a few guests along with us.” If he could manage it, a few of the younger ones to test their allegiance and then sway them when the moment came. The realm was an uneasy place. As fun as a holiday would be, this would be work. “But I suppose we could make the most of it.” Rodolphus pulled her closer again. “I have been terribly remiss in my husbandly duties.” Teasing, he tugged up her hand to kiss her knuckles. It left them pressed together. “Perhaps I can start making it that up to you?”
Any face she might have pulled at the idea of company on the trip vanished as she leaned into him. If Rodolphus thought it was needed, then it was needed. It would simply mean keeping their secrets closer. "Terribly remiss," Bellatrix said, managing to keep her guileless expression for a second before it dissolved into something decidedly more wicked. "You can try."
“With pleasure, Mrs Lestrange, for as long as you’ll have me.”