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Julius Scrimgeour for Bella Scrimgeour.
The answer to the question "What happens when your family's reputation is a disaster?"
Her niece's humility was an admirable thing and had the added advantage of leaving Temperance feeling as though she was constantly rendering Blythe dumb with her words of wisdom and encouragement.Temperance Fairchild in Messiah
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The Sign of the Cross
#1
See Inside 
Almost Sunrise, February 1st — Near The Back Entrance to the Church of St. Fergus

It wasn't really Lyra's job to police the other vampires who lived in the caverns, and she knew that no one would appreciate her efforts if she tried. Even so, in situations like this, she just couldn't help it. She couldn't just sit back and wait around while some people carelessly threw away everything that she was working towards, every chance of ever winning the trust of the wizarding community or being seen as respectable members of society.

It wasn't the first time that she and Galina had disagreed on something, but it had been clear from the start that their views on the world were fundamentally different. Lyra had mostly avoided her since then, to be honest. She didn't feel that her position — either in the vampire community or in magical England as a whole — was secure enough yet to allow her to go picking fights, particularly with vampires who had a century of experience on her.

She'd followed her on a hunch tonight, through the pitch-dark forest under the new moon, but it appeared her suspicions were correct. They were approaching Irvingly. There weren't shops that catered to their kind this far from Hogsmeade. Vampires weren't even allowed to openly walk through the streets of Irvingly, so whatever Galina thought she was doing here, it certainly wasn't anything respectable.

The lack of moon had left her unsure of the passage of time, so she had no idea how close it was to sunrise when she finally decided to intervene. She'd remained undetected so far (most likely because the older vampire wasn't expecting to be followed, not because Lyra had any superior powers of stealth), but she wasn't going to let the other vampire approach the town without stepping forward.

"Planning a visit?" she asked coolly. If Galina did plan to visit Irvingly, it could be reasonably assumed that no one had invited her.

@Galina first, later open to anyone who might have a reason to be in the church on a Friday.
#2
Months had passed since Mari had disappeared and Galina’s initial concern had only intensified. The two of them had not been separated for this long in well over a century. The only thing that Galina could fathom would keep Mari from attempting to come back eventually, despite her reservations about staying in the forest, would be if she found herself in trouble.

At the news of a vampire killing near the edge of the forest Galina had begun to suspect that Mari had come back but was keeping her distance from Galina. Likely to save herself a lecture or any form of logic that might interfere with her own desires. As such Galina had begun to look for Mari closer to the forest. Irvingly she had not yet ventured too, knowing that they did not accept vampires. But her concern could not keep her from looking for Mari there any longer.

Nearing the edge of town Galina kept her eyes peeled for the golden haired girl, trying to hear any movement nearby, only to realize someone was following her - much later than she should have, her thoughts distracting her.

Galina spun around, her dark cloak billowing around her ankles before coming to a swaying stop against the frozen ground. None other than MIss Lyra Potter stood behind her. Did the girl know nothing of keeping her own business? Galina’s annoyance leaked into her thoughts. Clearly Miss Potter’s ideals had given the young vampire the idea that she should appoint herself a vigilante.

While Galina often allowed the suppositions of humans to be true, she did not hold the same code with her fellow vampires. “In a manner of speaking.” She replied coolly, the cool moonlight turning Lyra’s pale features into marble against the late night sky.


[Image: xKclfq.png]
an amazing bee work of art
#3
Of course she couldn't have expected Galina to be anything like forthcoming with her answers when Lyra finally approached her, but even so, the lack of real response irked her somewhat. It was quite obvious what she was doing here, because there was only one thing she could be doing here, so why keep up the pretense or pretend to be coy about it?

"I doubt you'll be invited in," she continued with a level tone. "Since it's illegal for vampires to even be here in Irvingly — but I'm sure you knew that already."

Murder was illegal, too, but that didn't seem to stop some vampires from doing as they pleased, carelessly throwing away lives to slake their thirst. Coming to Irvingly was even worse than hunting in general, though, in Lyra's opinion. There was no reason to venture so far unless she was on the prowl for a Muggle — in other words, someone who was utterly defenseless against a vampire, unlike the average witch or wizard. Plenty of vampires did that, of course, because it was safer. Still, coming to Irvingly seemed like it was even more of a betrayal to what Lyra was working towards than just picking off criminals in the back streets of London. The people of Irvingly knew what magic was — and knew what vampires were. This had all the cowardice of avoiding the magical population, but with the potential to do all the damage of the recent attacks in Hogsmeade. She had no respect for someone who would come out here seeking blood.
#4
When were vampires ever invited in, Galina couldn’t help but wonder with bitter amusement. They were creatures of nightmares, doors barred against them, surely Lyra’s ideals couldn’t keep her from that realization. Unfortunately Galina was fairly certain they did.

The girl’s tone was infuriating, implying layers of things that she knew nothing of. Galina gave her a sharp smile that told her she entirely planned to disregard whatever Lyra might have to say. Her reasons were her own. Besides, it would not be the first place she was banned and had ventured. Her entire existence was banned, her very travels had been a danger to her. Now they might be a danger to Mari and she wasn’t about to let the stone go unturned so to speak.

I doubt so.” Galina replied evenly, turning back to the town to continue on her way. Lyra was not her problem. She was not allowed to be here either and yet here she was.


[Image: xKclfq.png]
an amazing bee work of art
#5
She couldn't stop her, Lyra realized with a sinking feeling as the vampire smiled at her. Galina wasn't going to be reasoned with, and Lyra wasn't sure she could physically stop her, if it came down to that. Was she even going to try, if it really came down to it? She wasn't sure. Getting into an actual fight with another vampire, someone she might be dealing with for years if not decades to come, could do more harm to her cause than good. On the other hand, the life of one Muggle in Irvingly...

No, she couldn't allow herself to think like that. That sort of thinking would lead her into the same sort of ambivalence that so many of her kind dwelt in. That was a trap. They didn't need to just settle for good enough as far as morality was concerned; they were better than that. She was better than that.

"Galina, wait," she called out as the other vampire turned to go, moving to follow her.
#6
Did this girl not realize that she could not control Galina? Her faults were many, but even Galina did not think Lyra would be that foolish as to think she could keep Galina from her course. With an inward sigh Galina turned and looked at Lyra not bothering to mask the exasperation from her features. “Yes?” Galina drawled in annoyance. The girl had her attention now, for all she was wasting Galina’s time, but Galina knew how to play with the others - something that Lyra really needed to learn.


[Image: xKclfq.png]
an amazing bee work of art
#7
Lyra hadn't thought of what she would say to stop the other vampire. She wasn't even really sure she expected Galina to heed her call in the first place. Luckily, she was saved from having to improvise a speech by the realization that while they'd been talking, the sky had begun to lighten in one corner.

Unfortunately, they were a good deal away from the cover of the nearest trees at this point. Lyra might be able to make it before the sun started to push over the treetops, but Galina might not. The church was much closer for both of them, but where would they go from there? They couldn't apparate away. Maybe they could find something in the church to use as cover to sneak out beneath, but would they even be able to get inside? Lyra had never tried to enter a church since her transformation. She didn't know if they were private enough that her presence there would require an invitation, or if there was anything to that Muggle story about churches repelling vampires. To say nothing of locks on the door.

*The sun," she pointed out, not sure what to do but knowing they had a very limited time to do it.
#8
Lyra’s features were lightening by the second, heralded by her words. It surprised Galina that Lyra would even bother to concern herself with warning Galina of the sun’s impending arrival. And yet she had. Galina had been so set on her course and then her annoyance with the girl that she hadn’t even realized the predicament she was about to find herself in. She had been just as foolish as the girl.

A quick glance around showed that there were few spots in which they could take refuge. The line of trees was much too far away to make before the sun could damage them and there was only one building near them.

The white church sat near them, beckoning safety with an ironic twist. Of course a holy house was the only refuge the damned could find in such a situation. Galina had avoiding them since she had changed, her own belief in religion strongly skeptical to begin with and almost gone since then.

Damn Lyra for taking her time and attention away from the search. Galina silently cursed, realizing that there best option was the very place she would avoid. She started for the door of the church, at least it wasn’t a home. There was no one to ask permission to enter in, for God welcomed all. Or so she hoped, she had never really tested the theory.

It took her a moment to realize she didn’t hear Lyra’s footsteps and sweep of her skirts on the grass behind her. Galina turned and looked at the young vampire, “Well? What are you waiting for?” Galina gave her an impatient and almost hostile glance and looked back at the church. “You don’t want to burn, do you?


[Image: xKclfq.png]
an amazing bee work of art
#9
Of course she didn't want to burn, and Galina's harsh words brought her back to reality quickly. She didn't have time to wonder about the intricacies of vampires entering churches; she had to get into the shadow of the building at once. If they couldn't get the door open — well, they'd have to cross that bridge when they came to it. At least they'd had an hour or so to find a way out, before the sun rose high enough to chase the shadows around the building away.

She hurried to the building, and found herself at the door before the other woman. She'd been closer to the entrance when they'd both noticed the sunrise, which had resulted in her reaching it first even after having to take a moment to break from the shock of her predicament. Much to her relief, the door opened when she pushed it. She wouldn't have known what to do if it had been locked. There wasn't any sort of reaction, magical or otherwise, when she took a step across the threshold. So it seemed they had their sanctuary.

Lyra looked around the large area with something akin to awe. She didn't think she'd ever seen an empty church before. The Potters' attendance at any sort of service had been sporadic at best, so she had only ever seen halls like this with full pews, bustling aisles, and chattering echoes filling the vaulted ceiling. Now, the silence seemed almost oppressive.

"I guess we'll have to wait," she speculated, crossing the church to draw the shudders on the eastward facing windows shut before the sun could filter in through them. "At least it isn't Sunday."
#10
The hesitation in the younger vampire seemed to vanish as she rushed ahead. Galina followed, her steps swift but purposeful. Once inside the cool shadows of the building embraced her. It wasn’t particularly how she had intended to spend her day, but given the situation it would have to do.

As Lyra crossed to the windows Galina stood a seat on a bench, looking around at the quaint church. It had been a long time since she had entered the halls of any sort of religious building. Compared to what she had once been used to this could hardly even count itself among their number. The elaborate cathedrals that she had once half heartedly worshipped in were gilded in gold and paintings. It almost made it seem as if this church were simply an empty building.

Small blessings.” Galina murmured at Lyra’s assessment. It would be harder to blend in on a Sunday and she was quite sure they would have needed to find a better place to spend the day if that had been the case.


[Image: xKclfq.png]
an amazing bee work of art
#11
Lyra finished drawing the shutters closed on the eastward windows, then crossed to the opposite side and shut the westward windows for good measure as well. The sun would be on that side of the sky in six hours or so. They could have left them open and watched the world outside, but that would make them more likely to draw attention to themselves in the church. The last thing she wanted was any well-meaning parson coming to investigate who had holed up in the little chapel. It would mean trouble regardless, since they weren't supposed to be in Irvingly in the first place, but it could also be placing whoever came to check in danger. Lyra didn't know that Galina would attack someone in order to keep herself hidden for the day, but she didn't know that she wouldn't, either. Given the fact that they were trapped and more or less at the mercy of the Muggles if they were discovered, who could decide to burn the church down around them if they chose, Lyra couldn't even really say she would have blamed Galina for the impulse.

"I doubt anyone would visit on a Friday," she remarked, looking around the barren room with its simple Christian decorations. "But if they do... we should hide. Anything else would... get messy," she said, hoping that Galina could see the logic in that, at least. One Muggle's life in exchange for both of theirs might not give her pause, but if a man went into the Church and didn't come out, someone else might follow to investigate, and things could quickly spiral out of control.
#12
There were those in the world who were religious, Galina had certainly met many in her years in this world. Those who were overly religious were two things; one, devoted and prone to worshipping when the rest of the world forgot to and two, scared - especially of the unknown and supernatural such as Galina and Lyra. “Never underestimate the religious.” Galina cautioned Lyra with a slight smile that indicated she very much believed the church would have at least one visitor that day.

Stuck in this building with Lyra was going to make it a long day. It was clear that Lyra did not trust herself - or her words - around Galina from that statement. Messy. That was one way to look at it. “Yes, perhaps there is a bit less conspicuous if one of the devoted came calling.” Galina agreed, lingering on the word ‘devoted’ as if she thought less of them. Which to some degree was very much the truth.


[Image: xKclfq.png]
an amazing bee work of art
#13
At least they agreed on that, which was a relief. Lyra didn't care to address the disrespect in Galina's tone when she referred to the potential visitors they may have that day. While she didn't think it was helpful to be so dismissive of beliefs that some held so dear (particularly not if one was trying to foster a spirit of cooperation and trust in the community, like Lyra was), so had never been particularly religious herself, so she couldn't take personal offense. Her family had gone through enough church services to appear appropriate, particularly after Darcy had made his bid for political office, but she had always had her head too full of other things to get very much involved in the ideology. She'd gone from her love-obsessed rebellion phase to her political rebellion phase — through love-obsessed once more after she'd gotten to know August. And then she'd been dead, which wasn't the ideal time to try and find religion.

"It's a nice little chapel," she remarked passively as she glanced around the open room. "Considering it was built by Muggles."

The situation was less than ideal, but at least they could have been spending the day in a worse place, she supposed.
#14
Little and chapel certainly described the building better than church, Galina silently agreed, frowning at the dismissal of muggles in Lyra’s tone. She had been born a muggle, had seen great buildings made by muggles, unlike Lyra she didn’t intend to dismiss what muggles could accomplish. To some degree the statement surprised Galina, for a woman who tried to mend ties between vampires and wizards - however, foolish that notion was - she was quick to dismiss the same idea for muggles.

It is. Although you’d be surprised what can be accomplished without magic.” Galina kept her tone light, but her mind wandered to the city she had grown up in. The palaces and buildings she had seen. Lyra had wandered the world far less than Galina and it was showing.

Although small might pose a problem. Did you see if there was a cellar?” Galina stood up, her skirts swishing around her legs. If she was going to be stuck here all day she certainly didn’t intend to crouch behind the pulpit should a visitor come in.


[Image: xKclfq.png]
an amazing bee work of art
#15
"No," she admitted, glancing around the space. She didn't imagine that it would have much of anything in the way of amenities, meager as it was, but it had to at least have a back room, didn't it? It had been a long time since Lyra had attended any sort of church service, but she thought there were usually... props, for lack of a better term, and she didn't see anything that might be used during a sermon left lying about. They'd have to have at least a broom closet, too, since the place wasn't covered in dust. Why not a cellar?

"I'll take a look around," she offered. It was better than staying in the main room and trying to make conversation with Galina. Though their circumstance may have forced them into a temporary truce, it was quite clear that they had nothing in common. The less time spent in conversation, the better, as far as surviving the day together.


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