Roland Miller took a deep breath and walked into the council chamber. To his surprise, the council were all there, looking rather tired and anxious. Usually a call to discuss ‘urgent business’ early in the morning saw up to half the council staying home and sleeping. They really were worried about this, he realized.
“Well,” asked Industriousness-Pleases-The-Holy-Light Smith, “how have your talks with the Sacristans gone?”
“Surprisingly well,” said Roland. “The Preceptor understands our concerns, and is of course, quite willing to pledge the peace.”
“Pretty words,” said Njal Hammerhand. “But is he willing to back them?”
Roland nodded. “Indeed he is.” He clapped his hands together. Two Sacristans entered the room. “I’d like you to meet Arcadius Pi, and Edward Delta. They’re here to hammer out an arrangement with the village. Afterwards, Arcadius will be returning to the Chateau, where he is serving as Acting-Chancellor, but Sir Delta will remain here as liaison. I am certain that…”
The Smiths glared at the pair. “If you think this will settle things…” said Blessed-Be-Those-Who-Follow-The-Precepts.
“On the contrary, I am certain it will not,” said Edward Delta. “That is why I am here.” He glanced around the room sincerely. “We know that you all have many reasons to distrust us. We know that we must earn your trust, and keep on earning it, if we are to live here for a while. And we are willing to do this, if only we are given a chance.”
The speech was met with sullen silence.
Arcadius Pi coughed, and produced a large jug. “I’ve brought some fine Tintagelian White so that we can begin this new era on a promising note.” He began to set bowls before the Council.
The Smiths continued to glare. “Your fools if you imagine we can be bribed with liquor,” said Industriousness-Pleases-The-Holy-Light.
“Now, now, Smith, don’t be hasty,” said Gahaltine Clark, as Arcadius poured his wine. “No reason to be rude to the man.”
Roland Miller sat back and watched, quietly pleased that for once the guiding rule of his father’s life seemed to be working.
For a little while at least.