Ritual Space

By: Viola Grace

Once she was seated with a glass of water in front of her, the captain gave her an embarrassed look. “Ms. Morrigan. I apologize for your arrest. The officers on the scene were not familiar with the restrictions of your property.”

She inclined her head and sipped at the water. “It is fine, Captain.”

“Linmoss. Captain Linmoss, Ms. Morrigan.”

“Captain Linmoss. I want to know who killed my aunt.”

He frowned and checked his report. “The preliminary report indicates it was suicide. Your aunt used a blade to cut her wrists.”

Adrea’s shock was a bolt of ice through her. “She didn’t. She was stabbed three times in the torso. What did you say she cut herself with?”

He scowled, but Mr. Grant nodded. He slid the file over, and Adrea took a look.

She didn’t have any history in law enforcement. She couldn’t tell what was legal and what was medical, but she did know her aunt. “Impossible. That can’t be the weapon if she was supposed to have killed herself.”

The detailed icons on the hilt of the knife looked like they would fit right into Neadra’s collection, but there was one little problem, it was steel. Neadra couldn’t use steel as anything other than a paperweight.

She slid the file back to the captain and smiled tightly. “Neadra couldn’t use steel. Nothing in her home was steel. Even her ornamental athame were made out of everything but steel. In her hands, steel wouldn’t cut.”

He frowned and looked like he was considering something. “How do you know that the killing blows were to the torso?”

“I felt them. The first one was to the left breast, the second just below and the third to the abdomen.” She touched her body as she mentioned it.

He nodded and made a call. Whoever it was on the other end got the directions to make a complete search of Neadra Yoder for signs of magical or extranatural interference.

Mr. Grant smiled slightly. “Now, as my client is the rightful owner of the property, she will take up residence immediately, allowing your officers to examine the grounds for clues as to who killed Madam Yoder. They will need to accompany her as the moment she introduces herself to the property, it will begin to alter itself to her nature in place of her aunt’s.”

The captain frowned. “Can’t we delay the possession?”

Adrea nodded. “Sure. If you don’t mind anything that can work a magic portal coming through the property and ripping through the weakened gates. My light connection with the walls is holding the power in check and keeping anyone from entering, but anything inside already could break right through the barrier. Ask the officers who brought us here. Something had already broken loose and is now scampering around the woods.”

The captain was alarmed. “What is it?”

Adrea shrugged. “How would I know? My aunt had been dead for four hours or so by that point, and something large enough to freak the driver out is loose and running around. There is a lot of magic in there, and it wants to have an effect on the world.”

Mr. Grant nodded. “My company has represented the owners of Ritual Space since this continent was settled. There can be no waiting in this case. She must get to the property as swiftly as possible to avoid any further leakage of magic into the surrounding area.”

The captain rubbed his face. “You are right; it is just so odd to be given an inheritance before the paperwork is ratified.”

Mr. Grant grinned, showing fangs as steely grey as the rest of his body. “I have all the paperwork. That is what took me so long. If I didn’t have to get the judges to sign the documents, I would have met Ms. Morrigan at the property. She was very quick.”

Captain Linmoss nodded. “That brings me to a technical question. Ms. Morrigan, where were you six hours ago?”

“I was two hours into my shift at Foxes Tea and Herb Shop. I had just prepared a pot of tea for a customer, and then, the pain struck. Apparently, a few hours were wasted in hospital and then I was on my way here.”

He nodded and made notes. “You had no idea that anything would happen? No premonition or any kind of magical notification?”

Adrea smirked. “I am not extranormal or extranatural. I have no magic. I want to study to be an herbalist, but as the shop owner said, it is better to leave magic to the magical. Even my aunt lived that way. She could allow doorways to Ritual Space, but she preferred folks to come through the gates.”

Mr. Grant nodded. “Now, if you assemble your investigative team, they can meet us at the property. We will all go in together. As my client was definitely not at the property and has no magical abilities, she is not the killer you are looking for.”

Adrea followed Mr. Grant’s example and got to her feet. They left the Mage Guild’s offices, and the lawyer held open the door of the passenger side of his customized vehicle. He tucked her in, closed the door and walked around to settle in the seat with a single narrow strut as the back. His wings moved gracefully to either side.

“I apologize for the wait, Ms. Morrigan. Judges are difficult to convince when the deceased person in question is of high station but low profile. They didn’t want to just hand over the property. They didn’t realize that all their secrets would be on display if they didn’t.”

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