The corridors in the palace were lavishly decorated and enormous some stretched from one end of the palace to the other. Gabriel led the way down a flight of stairs and Dawn followed as quickly as he could, holding his side.
“Was there no baths or laundries on the way here?” Gabriel asked
“I managed to have a wash in the river sire” Dawn said and Gabriel pulled a face.
“The Rannin?” Gabriel grimaced “no wonder you were covered in mud” he laughed, Dawn smiled.
“It was my only option” he said “I didn’t have any money”
“Didn’t?” Gabriel asked.
“Still don’t” Dawn shrugged.
“What did you eat?” Gabriel asked frowning now.
“Not a lot sire” he pulled his bag up higher on his back. “I did catch the occasional rabbit though”
“A rabbit?” Gabriel said “but they're tiny”
“I know sire” Dawn said.
“How long were you travelling for?” Gabriel stopped walking and Dawn almost collided with him”
“Eight days” Dawn said after he had regained his balance again, Gabriel stared at him for a moment.
“Eight days” he repeated thoughtfully he turned away and carried on walking a frown on his face.
“Here is the laundry room” Gabriel said pushing a small door open and stepping inside. Dawn followed him and stopped, a massive room lined with washing tubs and mangles. Angels of all ages were scrubbing clothes and sheets, some polished boots and did other small tasks. Beside Dawn an impossibly old female angel sat using a metal stamp to punch the holes into new unbuckled belts.
“Your highness” an angel moved towards them “can I help you with anything?”
“Yes thank you” Gabriel looked at Dawn whose grip tightened subconsciously on his bag.
“I…” Dawn started he didn’t know what to do this wasn’t what he'd been expecting.
“Is there a problem?” Gabriel asked moving closer to him.
“I have other things in here I need to sort them out”
“By all means” Gabriel said smiling “take your time” Dawn nodded and knelt down swinging his bag so it landed gently on the floor in front of him. Gabriel saw him pull folded but muddy clothes from his bag. Dawn pulled the drawstring closing the bag it hadn’t taken as long as he'd thought.
“Thank you sir” the washer angel said as Dawn passed the small pile to him. Dawn's face twisted into a look of surprise at being addressed like this.
“You’re welcome” he mumbled Gabriel laughed kindly and Dawn shuddered.
“Come along Dawn” Gabriel smiled.
“Where are these going after they're clean sire?” the washer angel asked Gabriel as he turned to leave.
“My rooms” Gabriel said watching Dawn's face for a reaction, he wasn’t disappointed as the angel tensed visibly his eyebrows raising. “Any problem with that Dawn?” Gabriel's smile was well hidden but showed a little.
“Sire I was wondering…” Dawn said carefully.
“Don’t wonder Dawn” Gabriel interrupted.
“But…” Dawn frowned.
“Are you willing to start an argument with me?” Gabriel asked calmly.
“No sire, but…”
“Then wait” Gabriel said smiling properly. Dawn swallowed his reply as he felt his heart speed up as anxiety, mixed with something he couldn’t quite place, washed over him. He nodded.
“Good” Gabriel said and he turned and led Dawn from the laundry room.