Gabriel looked at the high wall that surrounded the small village a short walk from the outside the tunnel.
“Looks more like a fortress to me.” Sylver grumbled as Gabriel hammered on the massive wooden door.
“Stay quiet” Sylver said to Dawn and Marcus as the wooden panel in the door slid aside.
“Sorry sirs” a man with a dark face said quietly “no entry after sun down”
“But we've been travelling for days” Sylver snapped outraged.
“I know our scouts sent word of you an hour ago” the man said “but rules is rules”
“That’s ridiculous” Sylver growled.
“There is a temple half a mile that way” the man scowled, pointing. “You may stay outside of there until sunup” the man said clicking the panel closed.
“Well done Sylver” Gabriel sighed.
“What?” Sylver grumbled “we wouldn’t have been allowed in anyway”
“At least we would have got a polite reception tomorrow if someone had been polite”
“Can we go to the temple?” Marcus asked Gabriel glared at him.
“You can” he snapped he hefted his pack up further and walked away from them.
“What’s wrong now?” Dawn asked tiredly.
“Don’t mention religion in front of him he gets tetchy” Sylver sighed.
“He’s always tetchy” Dawn said Sylver smiled.
“He uses the goddesses name though?” Dawn mused.
“Don’t ask me Dawn ask him” Sylver said “come on Marcus I’ll come with you I haven’t paid proper respect for days.”
Dawn watched them go then turned and followed Gabriel's path.
The prince was sat cleaning his sword e looked up as Dawn approached.
“Hi” Dawn said trying to sound cheerful. Gabriel grunted a reply and carried on with his work.
“Perhaps you can start teaching me when you're better?” Dawn said watching him. “Now it’s the only weapon I have.”
“We can get you a new staff Dawn” Gabriel's voice was clipped. “And I feel fine”
“I know sire” Dawn said laying down on the soft grass, it felt lovely after the rocky bed he'd head for the last week.
“Are you ever going to stop calling me that?” Gabriel snapped.
“Not when you’re in a mood like this” Dawn replied calmly Gabriel sighed and rubbed his head.
“Sorry” he said “and yes I’ll teach you” Dawn look at him and smiled.
“Thanks Gabriel” he said. Sylver and Marcus took an hour paying their respects to the mother goddess and the countless other deities. When they returned to the camp they found Dawn a few yards away from the bags doing endless repetitions of the same sword swings with the heavy sword but he was also being mindful of his almost healed wounds. Gabriel watched occasionally barking an order at him.
“How have you got the energy to do that?” Marcus asked Dawn.
“I have no idea” Dawn grinned his breathing was heavy.
Gabriel stood up drawing his own sword.
“Gabriel” Sylver sighed “no sparring tonight” but Gabriel didn’t listen instead he ducked around Dawn's swing and smacked the flat of his blade against the back of the tall angels leg Dawn tripped and fell landing on his back.
“That’s why I showed you how to stand” Gabriel said helping Dawn up “and Sylver's right no more tonight.” Gabriel yawned.
“But I've barely done anything” Dawn grumbled.
“Build up slowly Dawn” Gabriel said “do to much now and you'll regret it tomorrow” Dawn sighed and nodded knowing the prince was right. When he'd first began to learn the staff he'd ached for weeks.
Instead of arguing he sheathed his sword and settled down beside the newly conjured fire.
“Fancy hunting tonight?” Sylver asked.
“No” Gabriel said flatly “just cook what we have” Sylver raised his eyebrows and held up a soft potato and a bag of flour.
“Alright” Gabriel snapped standing up.
“Do you want a hand?” Dawn asked.
“No” Gabriel said “I want some time alone” he walked away into the darkness.