Later that afternoon a lavender and vervain paste was heating in the small pot that hung over the fire. Dawn sat beside the bed with a brand new fighting staff sat against the wall and a book that he held open carefully trying not to bend the spine. Beside him Gabriel tossed and turned in his sleep the fever had lessened slightly since the morning but even so every time the prince groaned or moved Dawn looked up to check on him but when Gabriel spoke Dawn jumped.

“Good book?” his voice was gentle, Dawn nodded. “What is it?”

“Beginners guide to magick” Dawn said showing him the cover Gabriel nodded. “I thought about what you said a few days ago”

“I'm glad” Gabriel smiled “what else did you get?”

“Lavender, vervain, sea salt, saffron and a bag of mixed healing herbs” Dawn said “it came to three…” Dawn stopped as Gabriel raised his hand.

“I don’t care.” He said “and that?” he pointed at the staff that sat near the bedroom door the black steel caps at each end shone in the light from the fire.

“You suggested I get a weapon sire” Gabriel sat up.

“So I did” he smiled. “Can I see?” Dawn stood and retrieved the mahogany staff handing the six foot weapon to the prince. Gabriel sat examining it carefully.

“You have a good eye” Gabriel said passing it back Dawn smiled. “Will you engrave the caps?”

“I have nothing to put on them” Dawn sighed “I don’t know my family crest”

“Then you get my seal on it” Gabriel said matter-of-factly “if you want it”

“I can?” Dawn asked hopefully.

“of course” Gabriel smiled “and I will put it on before it goes into battle its bad luck to have no symbol or badge on a weapon” Dawn looked at the plain caps a lump in his throat Gabriel put a too hot hand on Dawn's face, lifting his chin. “And you are my man at arms its you're right”

“In training” Dawn said.

“No you have the job”

“But I haven’t done anything to deserve that”

“You did today” Gabriel said letting him go “you looked after me under considerable protest and I trusted you with a years wages of a worker and you came back with more than I expected. You have a weapon you're familiar with and a means of   beginning to better yourself” Dawn still didn’t speak instead he nodded and looked at his staff.

“The herbs are ready” he muttered.

“For what?” Gabriel frowned “I don’t want tea”

“No, I asked at the local healers and said a friend of mine had an infected wound they wanted me to bring you in but I said no. so they asked a few questions about your health in general and gave me instructions on how to make a paste that’s applied then bandaged.”

“Very well” Gabriel smiled “you really go all out don’t you?”

“It was nothing sire”

“Dawn please use my name”

“Sorry Gabriel, it’s a habit” Dawn said busying himself at the fire after placing his staff against the wall again. “I always had to address the seniors at the orphanage like that and old habits and all that” Gabriel nodded.

“Okay” he said “I’ll do you a deal try and stop but don’t worry too much but stop apologizing and stop thinking that I'm going to bite your head of if you say what's on your mind.” Dawn looked up at him forgetting that he'd just lifted the pot off the fire, the heat travelled swiftly through the cloth around his hand and he yelped and dropped it the few inches to the floor. He clutched his burnt hand swearing quietly.

“Are you okay?” Gabriel asked worriedly, he swung his legs out of bed and stood up the world lurched and he sat back down again is vision swimming.

“I'm fine” Dawn said looking at the swiftly reddening welt across his palm. “You?”

“A bit light-headed” Gabriel said gripping the edge of the bed.

“Lets get this done” Dawn said spooning the green-brown pulp from the pot onto a clean piece of linen. Standing up he moved to the bed.

“It’ll be easier if you were laying on your front sire.” 

The End

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