The village was quiet even at daybreak. Gabriel hadn’t spoken since they left the camp half an hour before. They walked together into a small inn.
The Travelling Bard was surprisingly full as they headed to the bar.
“Two rooms” Sylver said to the small barwoman.
“I'm afraid not” she said.
“Why not?” Marcus asked. The woman looked at him scathingly.
“We only have the one room left and its only for any passing gentry.” Gabriel growled and stepped forward the woman watched him carefully.
“We are taking that room” he growled.
“I'm sorry sir I can’t.” Gabriel's hand slammed down on the bar and she jumped along with Gabriel's companions. He moved his hand to reveal a small pile of gold coins.
“We are taking the room” he said slowly. “And for this price we are having at least two double beds and something to eat.”
“Esme” a deep female voice said an older angel rested a hand on her shoulder, “its okay. “This way my lords.” The woman said stepping out from behind the bar.
“There was no need for that” Sylver snapped at Gabriel as they walked up the stairs Gabriel glared at him.
“I'm Victoria” the woman said as she showed them into a large room holding the door open for them. “I must apologize for my daughter, she has manners but little common sense.”
“Don’t worry about it milady” Sylver smiled Victoria nodded and closed the door then she turned to them.
“I don’t know if I should do this but I feel it’s my duty,” she paused and Sylver frowned seeing the turmoil visible in her face.
“What is it?” he asked.
“You cannot stay” she said quickly.
“What?” Gabriel growled.
“Not beyond tonight.”
“Why not?” Marcus said.
“There is a price on your heads” Victoria said “five hundred gold pieces.”
“Really?” Sylver said.
“yes” Victoria sighed I must admit I need the money but my loyalty to the crown exceeds that.” Gabriel frowned.
“How do you know us?” he asked.
“You disguises are good but rumours have circulated.”
“What rumours?” Gabriel growled.
“This side of the mountains lord Aim is in charge, and with her majesty away he's ordered that you're arrested on sight.”
“How does he know?” Gabriel was getting tired of asking questions.
“I don’t know” Victoria admitted “but while you're here you put my family in danger.” Gabriel nodded calming down slightly.
“We need a way out” Sylver said.
“Today” Victoria said “you stay people notice if gentry leave quickly. Change your spells I can assist if necessary.”
“No need” Sylver said pulling down his hood the glamour spell shut down.
“Very well” the woman smiled sadly. “I can provide horses if you require them.”
“We’ll get away faster on foot.” Gabriel said thinking about the rocky terrain outside, as he pulled his own cloak off his silver hair appearing.
“Your highness please understand” Gabriel raised a hand and she stopped.
“Don’t.” he said “I understand the importance of keeping family safe.”
“Is there anything I can get for you?” she asked.
“Well we won’t be needing the other bed.” Gabriel smiled looking longingly at the large double bed, “but something to eat wouldn’t go amiss.” Victoria smiled.
“Anything in particular?”
“Anything but rabbit.” Gabriel said.
“Our meal today is fish pie.” Victoria said Gabriel grinned and the woman couldn’t help the laugh that escaped her.
“sounds good” he said.
“Yes sir” she smiled.
Gabriel managed not to groan as four large plates of fish pie with chipped potatoes were bought in but Victoria and Esme the two women left smiling and Gabriel frowned slightly as Sylver sniffed his.
“That’s rude.” He growled. “I think I'm going to ask mother to put you though etiquette lessons again”
“What if they’ve drugged it?” Sylver said he watched a strange look come over Gabriel. “What?”
“I'm a moron” Gabriel said slowly he stood up and went to his pack.
“What?” Sylver growled.
“I'm so stupid.” Gabriel said as he dug through his bag.
“What is he talking about?” Sylver asked Dawn who shrugged.
“Remind me to kiss Lewis when we get home.” Gabriel said pulling a thin chain out of his bag a tiny vial swung on the end of it.
“Why?” Sylver said chuckling.
“He gave it to me in the market.” Gabriel said pulling the wax seal from the vial. “Barren dew.” He smiled Sylver eyes widened.
“Where on earth did he get that?”
“No idea” Gabriel said letting a drop fall onto his meal Dawn watched waiting for something to happen.
“What is it?” Marcus asked as Gabriel passed the vial to Sylver and began to eat.
“It detects tampering” Sylver said testing Marcus and Dawn's plate. “If something’s been done to it, it lets out purple smoke. It’s very rare.
“I love that angel.” Gabriel said smiling.
“Don’t talk with food in your mouth.” Sylver smiled “I do want to know where he got it from though”
“He’s a trader” Gabriel said.
“On the black market this stuff costs more than I make in a year.” Sylver said beginning to eat. He recapped the vial and passed it back to Gabriel.
They had almost finished eating when Dawn frowned.
“Why does it make you stupid?” he asked Gabriel.
“Because of the hare.” A voice said from the bed Gabriel spun around standing up. “Ah young princeling if your sword didn’t hurt me, I don’t think that fork will” Lou laughed sitting up.
“What hare?” Sylver asked.
“The one I accused him of poisoning.” Gabriel muttered putting his fork down.
“Can you stop calling me that?” Gabriel growled “especially here.”
“Worried?” Lou asked
“No” Gabriel snapped “wary”
“There’s a difference?” Lou stood up and walked over to them his boots making no sound on the bare wooden floor.
“Lou?” Sylver smiled as Gabriel growled. “Now we’re in a slightly more civilized atmosphere, may I ask you something?”
“You’re wondering where and what I am?” Lou stated.
“Yes” Sylver frowned slightly surprised.
“Now is not the right time to tell you.” Lou said.
“Why not?” Gabriel asked.
“Because youngling I am not what you would expect.” Lou sighed "haven’t I given you enough to trust me?”
“No” Gabriel said.
“What do you need?”
“What you are” Gabriel said.
“In a sense I am an angel.” Lou said.
“Where are your wings?” Dawn asked Lou's eyebrows rose.
“You of all people, young one, shouldn’t judge on what’s there and what’s not.” Dawn flushed a deep red Gabriel rounded on Lou.
“Don’t you dare” He snarled Lou smiled.
“Calm down” Lou said “I am an angel but I no longer live in Paradise.”
“You fell?” Gabriel frowned.
“Technically I died.” Lou said.
“Technically?” Sylver asked.
“I no longer need to eat or sustain myself as you do”
“You’re a daemon” Sylver accused Lou's smile widened.
“Yes, I am.” He said “but I have no need or want to hurt any of you.”
“But you're a daemon.” Gabriel said.
“Yes princeling I am”
“Then what do you want?” Sylver asked.
“For you to succeed.” Lou said he sighed and sat back down on the bed. “To be honest I want Lord Aim I've been wanting him for a long time.”
“How come?” Dawn asked Lou looked at him for a moment.
“Because he started the war not me” Gabriel snorted in disbelief. “I was the ideas man he initiated it and lied to your mothers face when we went to trial.” Gabriel looked closely at Lou.
“I think I remember you.” He said Lou smiled.
“Don’t try and remember too much princeling” he said Gabriel growled at the nickname. “The magick won’t let you.”
“What magick?” Gabriel asked. Lou stood again and walked to Gabriel he stood a full foot taller than the prince.
“Gabriel,” Lou said he raised his hand and Gabriel tensed but Lou only brushed the silver rings in his ear. “How did you get your second mark?”
“I…” Gabriel stopped “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“You don’t remember” Lou stated he looked at Sylver. “Do you?” Sylver looked blank.
“No” he said.
“No” Lou repeated sadly. “you remember only the things she wishes you too and even then she's not accurate in leaving everything else in tact.” He moved his hand slightly and gently tugged the third hoop. “And this one?” Gabriel shook his head slowly.
“No” he growled.
“I was your mothers man at arms, princeling” Lou said “she trusted me with everything and I passed it on”
“So you deserved your punishment?” Sylver said “for being a grass.”
“We are not playing preschool games Sylver” Lou said “yes, I deserved it, did you though?”
“What?” Sylver asked.
“Do you deserve to have your minds altered and filled with lies by the woman who is supposed to love and protect you?” Gabriel looked at the floor then he walked to the window looking out into the streets below.
“This isn’t real” he said.
“Think on it princeling.” Lou said. “You too” he looked at Sylver who nodded slowly.
“So what now?” Gabriel asked turning to look at them.
“Now it’s up to you” Lou said.
“We can’t go up against mother.” Gabriel said.
“No” Lou said “on no account must she know I've told you about this.” Gabriel frowned as he took a step forward.
“Gabriel?” Dawn frowned as the princes eyes flicked down blood blossoming out over his chest soaking his tunic, Lou caught him as he fell just avoiding the black hunting arrow that sprouted from the princes back.