That evening Gabriel and Dawn were lead to the dungeons below the palace by Lou. Dorian was at the foot of the stairs waving a hand as smoke rolled out from beneath the closed door.
“Good afteroon.” he half coughed half smiled. “Just to warn you, it’s a bit smoky in there at the moment.
“What happened?” Lou asked patting the witch on the back.
“One of our experiments…” he paused still coughing slightly “I don’t think exploded is quite the right word. It's not dramatic enough.” He smiled at Lou and pushed the door open, waving at the smoke again. Gabriel saw deep red goo that oozed down the walls of the large stone chamber covering the work benches below. It dripped in great globs from the ceiling as witches ran about trying to clean it up. Gabriel looked at Dorian, wondering what the witch wanted.
“I wanted to show you something, Rega has been working on.” Dorian said distractedly.
“Well, I imagine its covered in red gunk now.” Gabriel sniffed.
“Not at all.” Dorian smiled “We’ve given Rega his own workroom, the explosions were distracting him.”
Gabriel, Dawn and Lou followed the witch as Dorian gracefully picked his way through the pools of slime.
In the small stone room Rega sat at a desk, the tiger didn’t look up as they entered.
“Rega?” Dorian frowned as a low growl issued from the tigers chest.
“Shh.” he snarled as he stirred a tiny pot using the other paw to drip a deep blue liquid into the bowl. The black liquid in the bowl soon changed to a deep royal blue. The tiger stopped, looking up at the others his rough tongue flicked out and licked his cheek. “Hello.” he smiled
“What have you got for us?” Dorian asked, Rega stood stretching luxuriously, then pulled a tiny rack of bottles from beneath the desk. All forty of the cradles held a bottle but only three of the bottles were full with a deep blue liquid.
“Elven healing tonic.” Rega purred as he cleaned one ear with a paw.
“How on Earth?” Lou frowned picking up one of the tiny bottles.
“Magick” Rega chuckled.
“No, really” Lou growled studying the bottle closely. “how did you get the ingredients?”
“I traded.” Rega sounded reluctant to speak. “With Eason”
“Eason?” Lou’s face darkened “you traded with the Gentry?”
“Its all right.” Rega said “he wanted a few things, so I traded”
“Traded what?” Dawn asked
“Iron, silver and monkshood.” Rega shrugged “Malachi filled a storage ball for them”
“Why would they trade for so little?” Lou frowned
“Because they’re in the midst of a politics war, supplies are low.” Rega smiled “and I’m persuasive.”
“As long as that’s all you gave.” Lou said.
“Sylver donated a little knowledge about the Kored Fae, that boy is a font of knowledge.” Rega used a tiny funnel to pour the liquid into another small bottle. “This stuff is damn complicated though, its taken me three days to make this little lot and you cant change the amount of ingredients or it goes bang.”
“Why iron and silver?” Gabriel asked staring at the bottles.
“ Silver weakens Fae magick and iron is poisonous to them.”
“Why is that good for politics?” Dawn frowned
“Eason, the Gentry’s king, is at war with the other kingdoms, there have been arguments among them all for years.” Lou said
“Over?” Gabriel asked.
“What is it always over?” Dorian said “Land, power and who is right and wrong. At least they vaguely agree on religion, just about.” Gabriel sat don beside Dawn on a small wooden bench, as Rega began measure more ingredients out. “Okay,” Dorian said “here is where it gets difficult.”
“Why?” Dawn asked as Dorian set his eyes on Gabriel.
“Can you remove your shirt, please?”
“Excuse me?” the vampyre growled
“I know you heard me.” Dorian’s voice was soft and pleasant.
“I did and the answer is, no.”
“Don’t you want them to heal?” Dorian asked.
“Of course I do, but it won’t work, nothing ever does.”
“Because they’re Elven origin,” Dorian said “Aura’s whip was made by the elves, she traded for it.” Dorian moved nearer to Gabriel but the vampyre stood and moved to the door. “This tonic should agree with them.”
“Gabriel,” Lou said seeing the small sparks rippling through the vampyres hair. “I know mine are almost gone, but if I do it will you?” Gabriel growled lightly as he reigned in his magick.
“Fine,” he said “but on my terms.”
“Which are?” Dorian asked smiling gratefully at Lou.
“If I say enough, then it’s final.” Gabriel said Dorian nodded “and one at a time, I’m not risking having all of them open.”
“That’s sensible.” Dorian nodded.