“Everyone’s on the alert” Lou smiled as Rossier huffed grumpily behind him.
“So the city shuts down?” Dawn asked Lou nodded.
“Wait” Amelia said looking back, Dawn and Lou looked too. Deacon was hurrying towards them a bag on his back.
“You’re late” Lou said as the small daemon skidded to a halt in front of him, breathing hard.
“Sorry” Deacon panted.
“Any reason?” Lou asked Deacon nodded and pushed a tiny package into Lou's hands.
“From Sall” he said “she said to open it in private.” Lou nodded and tucked the small packet into his jacket pocket.
“I take it you're joining us?” rosier snarled.
“Yes, I am” Deacon said looking up at the tall daemon “problem?”
“Not at all” Rossier smiled “it'll be entertaining to see who you bed first.” Deacon stared defiantly at the daemon but couldn’t help the flush that spread across his cheeks. Lou gripped Rossier by the back of his collar and lifted him from the floor the daemon choked,
“You will apologize, now” Lou growled black lines crawled over him skin. Dawn gripped Deacon's arm and pulled him away from the two daemons.
“Sorry” Rossier choked out as his collar cut off his air supply, Lou nodded and put him down.
“You are on your final warning.”
Dawn stopped at the vast stone wall that surrounded Hell Lou looked at him.
“Now what?” Dawn frowned as Lou smiled and rested his hand on the wall. The stone seemed to ripple and Lou vanished Dawn stepped back his eyes wide.
“come on” Berith smiled ushering Dawn forward he lifted his hands and copied the others the wall seemed to melt away and a blinding flash of light made Dawn screw his eyes up.
When he opened them it was dark, Lou stood nearby his hand surrounded by deep red flame.
“Stay still” the daemon said quietly his lowered voice seemed to echo in the dark Dawn looked down and felt his stomach complain as he saw blackness beneath his feet.
“Here he comes.” Iblis’ voice said tonelessly Dawn looked up and saw another light in the distance, a bright white light.
The light moved slowly towards them but to Dawn it felt like seconds as the light stopped just in front of them.
“Verrine” Lou stepped straight forward towards the light. “Follow me” Lou said calmly Dawn stepped forward and Lou gripped his hand as the ground seemed to vanish as Dawn's feet left the black floor. The others followed quickly Dawn was steered to a seat by Lou as the white light seemed to split into four smaller lights and Dawn could see that they were on a ship. The others all settled down around him acting as if this was the most normal thing in the world. Deacon sat close to Dawn and Lou.
“Verrine” Lou said again Dawn looked around but couldn’t see anyone else.
“My lord” a cold but kind voice said, Dawn jumped. “Don’t worry young Dawn” Verrine’s voice said Dawn could hear the smile.
“How do you know my name?” Dawn growled
“I know everyone.” Verrine said “but I presume you prefer your given name, your true name hasn’t been used for so long”
“I prefer Dawn” Dawn said shifting uncomfortably.
“Fine” Verrine said “and we have Berith Scylla.” Berith nodded smiling as she relaxed.
“And Abraham Van Hay, Iblis Saran, Deacon Marsters and of course Rossier Deadman.” Everyone greeted the strange disembodied voice except Rossier who snorted in distaste.
“Verrine, could you show yourself please?” Lou asked.
“I could” Verrine said Dawn felt a small breeze in the windless air.
“Please?” Lou said again Dawn heard a sigh and the four floating lights moved together thin white lines joined them together making up a face, head and shoulders.
“there.” Verrine said.
“And the rest please.” Lou smiled the strange smoky features twisted into a frown and suddenly sharpened into a solid figure with a small, sharp chin and black eyes.
“Better?” the thin mouth said, Lou smiled widely.
“Better” he agreed. “Dawn this is Verrine, ferrier of the dead.”
“The dead?” Dawn asked Verrine smiled and pointed to the edge of the ships deck. Dawn stood and walked over Lou followed slowly as Dawn's mouth opened. There was no water beneath the boat instead thousands of white shapes writhes around them.
“They don’t know where they are.” Lou said resting a hand on Lou's shoulder.
“How do you know?” Dawn frowned Lou smiled sadly.
“No daemon remembers it here.” He said.
“That doesn’t mean they don’t feel it.” Dawn said closing his eyes he turned his head away.
“perhaps.” Lou said,
“They don’t feel it.” A voice said beside him Dawn looked at Verrine.
“How can you know?” Dawn growled.
“Ask them” Verrine said Dawn moved forward and gripped the wooden rail that surrounded the deck.
“How?” he asked Verrine stepped forward making no sound on the bare boards and waved a thin, pale hand. A figure rose from the mist.
“Hello” Dawn said unsurely as she opened her eyes.
“hello.” She said in the same tone. “Why did you pull me out?”
“I wanted to ask you something.” Dawn said feeling awkward,
“Of course.” The woman said dully.
“Are you in pain?” the woman seemed to smile.
“Not anymore.” She said Dawn frowned.
“You were before?” She nodded
“Before I came here, yes.” She said.
“Do you have a name?” Dawn asked
“Not now.” She replied “can I go back now?” Dawn nodded miserably and Verrine stepped forward.
“A hopeful, sire?” he asked Lou nodded.
“definitely.” He smiled “my lady?” He addressed the female.
“Would you like a new chance at life?”
“Will it be my old life?” she asked.
“No, lady, it will be brand new, with me.” The woman paused her smoky form seeming to freeze then she nodded once.
“A new life.” She said Verrine waved his hand and red ring of smoke wrapped itself around her waist she looked down as the deep red magick blended with her skirts.
“So we can find you again.” Lou explained the woman nodded.
“I will wait.” She said calmly sinking back down into the swirling mass beneath her.
“I’ll do it.” Dawn said sharply. Lou looked at him puzzled. “If I can take some of these from here I’ll rule the new place.” Lou grinned and nodded.
“Look again Dawn.” Lou said Dawn did so and saw flashes of red beneath him “they want to leave but I cannot justify giving them a new life when I can only offer poverty.” Dawn nodded.
“I’ll take them.” He said Lou squeezed his sons shoulder, pride made the tired daemon stand straighter.