The landscape around them was grey and featureless, Dawn looked around for a moment.
“This way.” Lou ordered striding away the others followed quickly. With no landmarks Dawn couldn’t tell how far they had gone until in the distance he saw a black speck on the grey horizon.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Our destination” Lou smiled “it’s only a few minutes away and we can rest there.” Dawn looked at the speck again it looked like it was miles away.
Lou had been right, a black city rose from the grey sand they had reached it in minutes. A glassy stone made up the buildings that towered above them.
“Follow me.” Lou smiled as Dawn turned on the spot looking at the huge towers around him. Dawn nodded slowly and followed Lou.
The city was silent and Dawn shivered as he realized that even his travelling companions were quiet.
Lou stepped purposely towards a short, squat building in the centre of the city. Inside the building the walls were the same glassy, black material. Dawn ran his fingers over the wall and jumped back as a figure covered in black appeared in the stone. It stepped forward out of the wall, the figure was shorter than Berith but as far as Dawn could tell, beneath the shapeless robe the figure was thin and most likely male. Lou bowed his head the figure bowed back and walked away Lou beckoned to the others to follow him into the next room.
Over a hundred black robed figures were kneeling on the black floor of the massive hall. Their cowled faces were turned towards a figure who stood at the head of the room. Dawn expected another faceless person as their leader turned to face the group. Instead a pair of almond shaped, brown eyes stared out over the crowd. Her hand rose and the mass of robed figures stood, quickly filing from the room. Dawn shifted uncomfortably as he realized their feet made no sound on the stone floor, no one coughed or spoke as they left, they didn’t even seem to breathe.
Berith lay her hand on Dawn's arm and he tried to smile at her. The almond eyed woman swept across the now empty hall towards them.
“My lord.” She said her voice barely audible exuded power.
“My lady,” Lou said “my companions and I require your hospitality.” Her eyes narrowed.
“You have not come this way for many a year.” She said.
“I know it is not liked” Lou said apologetically “but the unpleasantness is necessary” she nodded once.
“The Shedu will shelter you for one night, you will leave when the sun rises.”
“Of course.” Lou nodded.
“Very well” she said “you will sleep together, I will clear one of the dormitories for you. The door will be bolted from the outside until it is time for you to leave, you will not speak to any of the Shedu under any circumstances.” Lou nodded again and she turned “follow me.” Dawn kept hold of Berith's small hand as they followed the strange woman down a set of stairs at the left of the hall then she moved into a large room. Dawn saw what looked like camp beds set out a few feet from each other. “You will rest here” she said “are you in need of medical assistance?”
“No, thank you.” Lou said.
“Fine” she said she turned and left, Dawn watched her and realized the doorway had no door. He frowned as he saw her stop outside turning to face into the room she waved her right hand the wall seemed to ripple sliding across to seal the room seamlessly. Dawn sat for a moment on the bed then he panicked.
“Dawn” Lou grabbed his son as Dawn barrelled past him. “It’s safe, I promise.”
“How do we get out?” Dawn growled.
“They will let us out” Lou said.
“How can air get in?” Dawn snarled.
“Can you breathe?” Lou asked calmly. Dawn stopped and thought about this then he nodded slowly.
“Trust me,” Deacon sighed laying down “it’s safer in here then out there, I don’t like the Shedu”
“I'm not keen either” Lou sighed letting Dawn go he led him back to his bed and sat him down. “But I’d rather have them as allies.”
“Why?” Dawn asked trying to relax and not think about the fact they were sealed into the small room. Lou sat down on the bed beside Dawn.
“The Shedu are also known as the Stormbringers.” He explained “they are not permitted to speak not can they form relationships.”
“Then how do they…” Dawn frowned
“Reproduce?” Berith suggested Dawn nodded.
“They don’t.” Lou said “occasionally, I will pull a daemon from Verrine's realm that is destined to become a Shedu but its getting less and less common.”
“How come?” Dawn asked Lou shrugged.
“No idea” he said.
“So what are the ‘Stormbringers’?” Dawn asked a few bunks away Rossier snorted and Dawn glared at him.
“They control war” Lou said the three words made Dawn's blood run cold.
“No one controls war.” He said sounding less confident then he felt.
“The Shedu do” Deacon said “or they like to think they do. They watch neither one side nor the other every battlefield has its ghosts but they aren’t the fallen they are the Shedu” Dawn shivered.
“Is that all they do?” he asked “watch?”
“The side that wins,” Lou said “they lose good soldiers, the losing side lose more. The Shedu take the dead.”
“So why do they think they control it?” Dawn asked.
“They choose who they want before the fight even starts.” Lou said.
“But that’s unfair.” Dawn growled.
“Now, where did you get the idea that life is fair?” Lou smiled Dawn sighed and rubbed his head.
“I have no idea.” He said as the beginnings of a headache began to tug at his temples. He lay down and Lou looked over at him.
“The Shedu aren’t bad” he said quietly.
“Maybe not.” Dawn said closing his eyes Lou smiled.
“Then again” he said “they may not be good either.” Dawn frowned his headache spiking in his tired mind. He opened his eyes as the lights in the room began to dim.
“Where does the light come from?” he asked vaguely.
“No idea.” Lou yawned as the lights died down to a low glow just bright enough to see by. Dawn sighed again and closed his eyes as sleep pulled at him.