Lily got out of the car slowly. She was nervous. She had never been in a place like WarLOCK and didn't know what to expect. "Do you want me to go in with you dear?" her Aunt Rosafer asked.
Since she saw what may or may not have been a look of pleasure in her aunt's eyes the day before, she couldn't quite shake the feeling that something was wrong--really wrong.. "No, it's okay. I want to do this alone."
"Alright then, dear. Good luck."
Lily didn't look back as she entered the rusty gates of the prison. Mostly because she wanted to keep her eyes on the intimidating wizards that were guarding the place. They looked at her with malice, though Lily couldn't even fathom why. Now, traveling at a brisk walk, she made her way to the entrance where she was promptly searched.
A young man, not much older than she, escorted her to the cells. They walked down a leaky hall lined with bars. Something dropped on her left shoulder--it was thick and dusty blue, a substance that she had never come into contact with before. "That's what keeps the inmates from using magic," her escort said with a bored tone. "Inhibere Magica potion. Potent."
Her surroundings looked more like the dungeon of a medival castle than a prison. She felt a strong pang for the people within, though most of them were actually criminals, unlike her mother. The prisoners within the cells all looked pitiful. Dirty, angry, and wet. Some of them had blue hair, some of them had pointed ears or fingernails, and some of them looked completely unhuman. Finally she came across someone so familar and missed that she almost burst into tears immediately.
"Mom," Lily breathed when she reached her. Her mother came to the bars dressed in the plain white t-shirt and stretch pants that everyone else had on. She stuck her hands through the bars and grabbed Lily's hands, pulling them through and kissing them. Her red nail polish had chipped off along with most of her nails. She had a biting habit. The circles under her eyes were black and purple and much deeper than before.
"Lily. I've missed you. How have you been?" she said, her voice raspy.
"How have I been? How have you been? You're the one who's been in jail all this time! Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Lily. I'm fine. You shouldn't worry about me. Has Rosafer been taking care of you? I was worried that she might--"
"Mom, it's been great, really. But I have to tell you something... I found the uh, automatic writing of yours in the shop," her voice lowered to a whisper. "Do you think that it has anything to do with...this?"
Her mother sighed. "That's what I've feared. If it is," she shook her head. "I don't think I have much hope, Lily. But-but Magister Andros is someone I've known for years. He'll believe me."
Lily could feel tears forcing their way to the surface so she kept talking to stall them. "How could they have even found out about that? Did you tell anyone? Please tell me you didn't--"
"Well, that's just the thing, Lily. I didn't tell anyone. Except Rosafer, of course, but I still don't understand how they could have found out."
"You told Aunt Rosafer?" Lily asked, her eyes narrowing in suspicioun. "Do you and Aunt Rosafer have any...bad blood? I don't mean to suggest that she would sell you out but it's just strange that she's the only one who knew and then--"
"No-no, she wouldn't do that to me. She's my sister, Lily. We're blood."
"Times up," the escort said as he walked back down the hall to meet her.
Lily groaned. "I'll come back, mom. And I'm going to get to the bottom of this. I promise. I love you."
"I love you too, Lily. But don't do anything reckless, please. It won't do me any good if you get hurt."
Lily promised her mother that she wouldn't do anything stupid. But some promises are meant to be broken.
"Lily, I'm going out, darling. I'll be back in a few hours. If you need anything, just call, alright?" Rosafer called as she headed out the door.
"Sure thing, Rosafer." The door shut behind her. Lily listened for the hum of a car and then the sound of it pulling out of the driveway. She ran to the window just in time to watch Rosafer pull out of the drive down the road.
As soon as she knew that she was completely alone with no chance of interruption, she ran up the stairs straight to her aunt's bedroom. She flicked the light on but visiblity was still poor because the light was dim and the walls were painted black and it was completely void of windows.
Lily's eyes grazed over every surface for something out of the ordinary--something that could help her mother. When nothing jumped out, she went to the drawers. First, the nightstands. Those mostly held magazines like Witch Weekly and Household Spells for the Busy Witch and pouches of lavender and other herbs.
She went to her aunt's dresser next. Nothing but clothes were held within. She scoured the bookcases for strange books but there wasn't anything that they didn't already sell in Shaman Sense. As a last resort, Lily looked in Rosafer's closet. She parted the clothes and there, in the back of the closet, was a box, as black as night, with a red lock on it shaped like an anatomical heart. Lily pulled it out and placed it on the bed.
She remembered seeing a key in one of the nightstands so she tried that one out in the lock. Nothing. She felt under the mattress for another. Nothing. She checked the pockets of every piece of clothing she could find. Nothing. And just as Lily was about to give up, she noticed her aunt's dragon claw amulet on the dresser. The one she never took off.
Picking it up, she realized that one of the long scaly fingers matched the hole on the padlock. She inserted it, listening as it clicked into place, and then turned it. Sure enough, it opened. Breathing a sigh of relief, Lily opened the box. But nothing, nothing could have prepared her for the content within.
Dozens of pictures were stacked, along with letters that littered the bottom. Everyone one of them had something in common: Magister Andros. There were pictures of him by himself, pictures of him with other witches and wizards, and pictures of him with Rosafer. They were cuddling in one of them, kissing in the other. She sat in his lap as a teenager and held his hand as a middle aged woman. And one of them had a face missing from it. Three people stood side by side, Magister Andros, Rosafer, and a woman whose face had been crudely cut out--that didn't stop Lily from recognizing her immediately.
It was her mother.
Lily's hand found her mouth as she read the greeting on one of the letters, My Dearest Beloved. She took it out and unfolded it. It was dated just a week before.
I am so elated that you thought to tell me of your sister's prophecy. This is the information I was talking about, Rosafer. Please know that your sister is a threat to our government. I don't mean offense when I say that she is a menace to our society.
As you well know, she is actively against our philosophies. And if this prophecy is brought to the public's attention, who knows what nutcases will stand up and defy us, creating unnessary confrontation and strife.
I do hope you understand, my sweet, that this is for the good of our world. I only have your best interest at heart.
Love always, Andros.
Hot, angry tears spilled onto Lily's face. How dare she. How dare he. They were out to get her mother just because she has information that exposes the truth. What kind of person would betray their own sister because of a guy? And why were they hiding their relationship?
There were so many questions bouncing around in Lily's head but one surfaced and stayed: How was she going to get her mother out of WarLOCK and cleared of the Necromancy charges? The answer wasn't something that was going to come right away but she knew one thing, it was going to have something to do with that prophecy.