Gravedust and Sepulchre stared into the flickering white flame on the table before them. "We are here as you have said, Grandmaster," said Gravedust.
"Good, good," came Grandmaster Radiance's voice. "All must be readied. Things move quickly--faster than we wished. Prepare the sword--the Prince will likely have need of it... soon."
"The Prince is rapidly losing his usefulness," said Sepulchre. "How long must we continue to prop him up?"
The flame burned low for a moment. "What is the first law of the Knights of the Tower, Sepulchre?"
The Stylite bowed his head. "It is obediance, Grandmaster."
"Exactly," stated Radiance. "Amfortas is finished when I say he is. Until then, we use him."
Gravedust shifted uncomfortably. "Sepulchre did not mean insult, Grandmaster. The Prince... he has always been unpredictable, but now he seems to have be losing what little stability he possessed. He grows crueler and more erratic..."
"Do you think I do not know this, Gravedust?" hissed Radiance. "I mark it. I mark all. But whatever he is now, Amfortas is still a prince, and in the eyes of half of Leonais, their rightful ruler. To abandon him is to give up Leonais for lost, when we still have need of it." The flame dimmed to a flicker again. "This will not last forever. Still--his use must be prolonged for now. Am I understood?"
"Yes, Grandmaster," said the Stylites in unison.
"Good." The flame twirled even though there was no breeze. "You will not be alone in this. I am sending aid. Nitre comes to assist you."
There was an awkward silence for a moment. "Nitre," said Gravedust at last.
"He is one of our most skilled members," said the Grandmaster.
"No one disputes that," noted Sepulchre.
"You are fortunate to have him coming to aid you," continued Radiance. The Stylites gave a dull nod. "I must be off. There are other matters I must attend to." The flame flickered out.
The Stylites stood there for a moment. "Nitre?" said Gravedust.
"Let's go prepare the sword," said Sepulchre.
"But... Nitre!" continued Gravedust.
Sepulchre headed to the door. "Complaining won't change the fact that he's coming."