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Necessary Sacrifices
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April 6th, 1889 — Ministry holding cells

Lyra was a bundle of nerves as she walked in to the Ministry that day. It had taken quite a bit of work on her part to arrange this meeting, even though on the surface it should have been quite routine. No one was particularly comfortable with the idea of allowing visitors to a prisoner accused of murder, even if formal charges hadn't been brought yet. The fact that the accused was no longer human only compounded their discomfort. No one wanted to allow a vampire to visit another vampire, although no one wanted to come right out and say that. Any reason they could have come up with would have sounded foolish when spoken aloud. Were they worried that there was some sort of vampire conspiracy? That Lyra would be able to sneak Galina some secret vampire magic? Or that the two of them — who were, even taking their vampirism into account, still just two young women — would overpower the magically-equipped guards?

Whatever the case, the appropriate authorities had eventually signed off on the meeting. Lyra had scheduled it for a weekend, when she was least likely to attract attention from the miscellaneous employees at the Ministry. She would have preferred to have kept a low profile during the entire visit, but since she hadn't ever had a reason to go to the holding cells before, she had to stop and ask the rather shaken Welcome Witch for directions.

When she was finally brought face-to-face with her, Lyra realized she didn't know where to even begin. "Galina," she said in greeting. She looked much the same as the last time she'd seen her, but then, it was difficult to gauge with vampires. It wasn't as though added stress would result in a flushed expression, or that the bags under their eyes would grow any worse through lack of sleep. At least she knew that Galina had been fed regularly; the Ministry would have ensured that much with their blood banks. Still, she couldn't say you're looking well, because it would have been a lie, and a pointless one. She could ask how the case was going, but she already knew that it had essentially ground to a halt; that was why she was here.

"You've been here too long," she said instead. Particularly given that she was being held for a crime Lyra knew she didn't commit.
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After being truss up like a partridge to be eaten by what was apparently a basic spell and then being shoved into a cell to be hopefully forgotten about (one could be cautiously optimistic, although in this case Galina was rather far from it) Galina had cooperated. Granted, she did use the term loosely. She had neither admitted nor denied being involved in the murder of one Mr. Baudelaire, whom she was quite certain had never actually crossed her path. Instead she kept her silence, biding her time during the questions to seem docile and gentile to the point that often her questioners seemed unnerved by her very presence. Likely because of her nature not because of the front she presented them.

When she had originally been brought in for questioning she had been willing to fight whatever they thought this was about. But then she had found that someone had seen her at the scene of the crime. She had also gleaned when the nature of the murder had happened and found that it most certainly could not be her. She'd been stuck in a what passed for a church in Irvingly with the insufferable Lyra Potter the entirety of the day in question. Which only left one person who might have been involved that would be mistaken for Galina's own person. Mari. It was that thought which had Galina's lips sealed. She would not give her sister up for anything - even her own life, as it was quickly appearing it would come to.

The days and nights were long in this underground prison leaving Galina with far too much time to think. She didn't even have a task to keep her hands busy. They lay still and folded in her lap as they might have at court when listening to some gentleman's pretentious argument as he preened and peacocked about the room having no idea what he was saying. She did as she had done in those days, while her hands laid still her mind spun with how this might have come about.

There were two logical reasons she might have ended up in this situation. The first, and most obvious, was that Lyra had set her up. That she had followed Galina that night not to keep watch of Galina, as Galina had first suspected, but to make sure she was out of the way to be framed. Lyra knew quite well where Galina had been and could very well have made sure that information leaked to the wizards that someone of Galina's description had been seen at the scene of the crime. But there was the lawyer to think about...

The second reason, and the one that left Galina rather shaken, was that Mari had come back to town. Mari had always despised the rules of the coven, while Galina had sought to sway the opinions and rules, Mari had openly complained about them. Always pushing against them, their hunts far from Hogsmeade had left her sister little sated. On their last trip Mari had insisted she would come back in a few weeks, but she never had. Perhaps she had returned and had either gone against the very rules, flaunting them in her anger at Galina. Or she had returned and her impulses had gotten the better of her. Mari had never been truly strong against her own urges and impulses, as such it was as plausible an explanation as any why her sister might have gotten involved. Which would mean that Mari had finally come back to Hogsmeade - a thought that calmed Galina despite the situation she found herself in.

It was hard to tell time in the cell. Galina marked it by the changing of the guards, how many voices she heard down the corridors, and the patterns of those who passed by. During the day and week it was louder, more people passing, the guards more talkative. Questioners came during the week and mainly during the day. During the nights and weekends it became quiet, subdued, sleepy. There were fewer guards and the prisoners were left to quietly rot in their cells for all the world cared. Judging by the lack of activity and nose in the halls by the cells Galina reckoned it was a weekend for it had extended past the twelve hours of quiet she attributed to the nights.

The sound of heels echoing down the hallway caught Galina's attention. Her ears perked up and she listened as they approached, echoing against stone as they made their way down the hall, the rustle of fabric and skirts indicating that it was a female. Galina didn't move, her face remained impassive even as Lyra Potter's face appeared at her cell. "Lyra." Galina dipped her head in greeting as if they were meeting in a salon parlor for an afternoon discussion of politics.

For a moment the two vampires stared at each other, neither saying a thing. She almost snorted when Lyra did speak. Ah, yes. She had. She should never have been here to start with, but Galina bit her tongue. What was it that Lyra was doing here? What was it she sought to accomplish? Keep things civil, calm and perhaps Galina might be able to get some actual answers rather than simply being asked them and remaining silent. "Is that so?" She tilted her head to the side as if merely inquiring after the health of a mutual friend, seemingly little perturbed by the woman at her door.


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#3
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Merlin, why was she already so hostile? How was Lyra supposed to accomplish anything if they were still caught up in sniping at one another? Then again, she supposed Galina had no reason to trust her. She didn't know what efforts Lyra had been making to try and secure her release from the outside. Lyra wasn't even sure whether or not August had mentioned her name when he'd offered to represent Galina. They hadn't spoken since her initial appeal to him. All of her knowledge of the case came from reading the newspaper, scouring it for the increasingly brief lines buried deeper and deeper within the pages of the Prophet.

"You have a good lawyer," Lyra remarked, trying to keep her tone passive. The fact that she and August had been betrothed before her transformation into a vampire was not a secret, but she didn't know whether or not Galina would have known. When she was a human and the younger sister of the Minister for Magic, Lyra had felt as though every eye in magical Britain was watching her; the world seemed to revolve around her romantic ups and downs. Even at the time, however, such things would have mattered very little to the vampires. Ministers came and went so frequently, especially compared to the lifespan of a vampire; why would any of them have cared about her or her life?

"It seems to me that you might have walked free by now... particularly if you told the investigators you had an alibi," she said pointedly. "They have no evidence against you. But unless you give them something, they'll hold you here forever. An innocent vampire in jail is better, as far as public opinion goes, than a murderous vampire at large."
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Ah yes, the lawyer. Galina still wasn't entirely sure why the man had offered to represent her, but he hadn't let her turn him down. Instead he'd said much the same thing as Lyra did now and constantly appeared at her jail cell door. For Lyra to know of him meant he had a reputation... or that Lyra knew him. Living over a century did make one rather astute in such things. "You know of him?" Galina asked the picture of innocence.

"I might have." Galina agreed pleasantly enough, "If someone had described me as being at the scene of the crime." Her words while placid would carry weight if Lyra had been the reason to put her behind these bars. If she hadn't, well then if she was half the smart girl she claimed to be she'd easily see who else it could have been.


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