Dawn walked slowly past the barred doors every now and again Lou would stop having quiet conversations with the guards that walked down the corridors.
“This is the place that holds a few temporary inmates,” he said to Dawn “there is one permanent resident but he needs a little supervision.” Lou kept his voice low Dawn looked into the huge cell in front of them. An enormous daemon stared back at him blankly. “This charming young daemon is Balthazar he's not in for much longer.” Lou said Balthazar smiled showing crooked teeth.
“When am I getting out?” he asked casually.
“When I think you’ve learnt your lesson.” Lou said calmly.
“I have, honest” the huge daemon said “sire.” He added. Balthazar's dark eyes never left Dawn's “so who is this?”
“Time to move on” Lou said stepping towards Dawn.
“So the rumours are true?” Balthazar sneered.
“Goodbye” Lou said firmly.
“I didn’t do it” Balthazar hollered after them, Dawn jumped as a massive explosion rocked the stone corridor as the daemon threw himself against the bars of the cell.
“Well,” Lou sighed “that’s him unconscious for a sew hours.”
“Surely that wouldn’t have knocked him out.” Dawn frowned.
“The bars are spelled” Lou said “to stop certain daemons escaping” Dawn nodded.
“How often is he down here?”
“Often enough” Lou said “but never on anything serious enough to warrant a long stay. He's not really dangerous but his antics get people hurt.” Dawn looked at the cells as they passed them most were empty Lou stopped in front of one and Dawn searched for an inhabitant.
“Hello Raph.” Lou smiled Dawn frowned at the empty cell.
“Lucifer” a voice drawled. Lou reached up and flicked a switch at the side of the cell and the flickering yellow light gave way to a deep red one, Dawn saw a spindly thin figure laying on the bed.
“How are you?” Lou asked “the guards reports are good.” Dawn saw a sharp toothed smile.
“Does that mean I get my comics back?” Raph questioned Lou smiled.
“As long as you stop spitballing them at passers by”
“Why?” Raph frowned “its fun”
“I don’t doubt it” Lou said good naturedly “but it is unacceptable.” Raph’s smile vanished.
“Fine” he snarled “I’ll behave.”
“I will come back with them in a few days.”
“Now” Raph snapped.
“Later” Lou said firmly “come along” Lou said steering Dawn away from the cell.
They passed through a single thick metal door and Dawn felt the difference immediately, the atmosphere was friendlier and more welcoming. He was sure he could smell spices but didn’t know what.
“These are the voluntary inmates.” Lou smiled as he relaxed a little “hi Deacon” he greeted the first inhabitant.
“Hello sire” Deacon said putting his book down.
“How are you?” Lou asked.
“Getting there sire” Deacon sighed “it is getting less frequent though.
“What is?” Dawn frowned Deacon smiled at him.
“My visits young sire.” He said “maybe soon I wont have to come here.”
“I hope so” Lou said “I hate you being down here.” Deacon nodded.
“Lesser of two evils though sire” he said.
“True” Lou smiled “can I get you anything?”
“Some earplugs would be nice.” Deacon said “Jules is getting noisy again” Lou nodded smiling.
“Bacon for dinner?” Deacon asked Dawn laughed and Deacon grinned at him. “You definitely look better. How are you settling in?”
“Slowly” Dawn said.
“You’ll get used to it.” Deacon said he stood up and pulled a book from the shelves on the wall then bought it to the bars thrusting it through. Dawn took it and read the cover.
“A study of daemonology” Dawn read aloud.
“You’ll find it amusing at least.” Lou said. “Excuse us Deacon we have a little way to go.”
“certainly.” Deacon said settling back on the bed and picking his book up again.
“Thanks” Dawn said holding up the book. Deacon nodded then pain creased the little daemons face.
“Deacon?” Lou frowned.
“It’s okay” Deacon said holding his hand up to stop Lou entering the cell. “Just normal irritations.”
“As long as you're sure.” Lou said his hand still on the door, Deacon nodded.
“Okay, I’ll get some earplugs sent down and I’ll speak to chef later.” Deacon grinned as his body jerked.
“Thanks” he's said raising the book.
“Bye” Dawn said quietly as Lou moved down the corridor Deacon looked at him his eyes burnt into Dawn's and he smiled and raised a hand to wave.
“What's wrong with him?” Dawn whispered as they moved out of the small daemons earshot.
“He needs a full energy charge.” Lou said “but I have none to give at the moment so instead he leeches tiny amounts but it’s like giving a starving man a crumb of food each day, it slows the inevitable but doesn't help it in any way.”
“Can I help?” Dawn asked Lou smiled but shook his head.
“you need all you have while you're getting better but maybe after that if you really want to” Lou smiled properly “he does seem to like you though, which is rare for Deacon.” Dawn nodded then spun as a woman began to mumble nearby.
“That’s Jules” Lou said sadly, “she's coming here more and more often”
“What’s wrong with her?”
“Nothing really, she's a seer but her powers are growing to fast and she has days where she's not even aware of where she is”
“Can’t you help?” Dawn asked.
“I'm trying” Lou sighed rubbing his head “but she's getting worse faster than I can help her.” Dawn nodded seeing the unhappiness in Lou's face. He followed Lou to a nearby cell it was lavishly decorated, deep red paint covered the brick walls and ceiling, a red bed sat in one corner and a woman dressed in a flowing scarlet dress looked at them her black wings flexed slightly as she moved slowly to the bars. “Hello Jules.” Lou smiled.
“My lord” the stunning daemon said inclining her head. “Lovely weather.”
“Indeed.” Lou nodded “and where are we today?” he asked gently.
“We are home sire.” Jules replied Lou nodded.
“Yes we are” he turned to Dawn and beckoned him forward.
“Jules, this is Dawn” Lou introduced the smile on the woman’s face faded and she frowned putting her hand through the bars reaching out to Dawn. “Go on” Lou encouraged. Dawn nodded and limped forward leaning on his staff the painkillers were wearing off. Jules wrapped warm fingers around Dawn's hand and lifted it looking at his palm. “No theatrics please Jules” Lou said fondly. Jules looked up her brown-red eyes staring at Dawn.
“Pain bites you” she said “you have had a lot of pain and you have a lot of pain to endure.”
“I do?” Dawn frowned.
“Your friend will welcome you with open arms one more time but…” she trailed off as her eyes clouded over and she stepped back releasing Dawn's hand. Lou frowned and pulled a pen and a tiny pad of paper from his pocket.
“What’s that for?” Dawn frowned.
“Shhh” Lou said not taking his eyes off the woman in front of them. “Listen” Jules was speaking again.
“The planes are shifting, the balance of power tipping to one side, life as we know it is about to change.” Lou wrote quickly as Jules swayed back and forth her eyes boring into Dawn. “New friends and old enemies will meet and a new ruler will rise. War will come to all.”