The chubby man across the table gave Justinian a broad simper of a smile. "Mmmmm," he murmured, "another delay?"
"Matters back in Castle Terribel have been... complicated," answered Justinian, hoping the ambassador didn't question his credentials, as they largely consisted of being the right man in the right place, for a very debatable quantity of 'right'.
"Well, let us hope they uncomplicate themselves," said the ambassador with a nod. "The Emperor does not like to be kept waiting."
Justinian worked hard to suppress an eyeroll at that. It was the eternal vanity of Easter Kings that they were the Holy Emperors, even if they did not possess any of the traditional capitals of the Empire, and just under half of the Empire's territory.
And, as Justinian knew from the experience of growing up in it, it wasn't the good half. "Of course, and neither does His Magnificence," explained Justinian. "But alas, sometimes he must, and so he does, with a heavy heart."
"As does his Imperial Majesty," noted the ambassador. "But still, it does not do well, all these delays. Over and over again, our two leaders approach one another, and then back away..."
"That is as much the fault of Ilarion Skarvsky as it is His Magnificence," stated Justinian flatly.
"Let us not quibble," said the ambassador. "Fault is immaterial. There are great matters to be discussed, and the discussion of them is falling to lesser figures such as you and I. Figures who can accomplish nothing in these matters."
"We can confirm that the present truce should continue," answered Justinian.
"Ahh, but will we be listened to...?" mused the ambassador.
"I can assure you..." began Justinian.
"And I admire that," said the ambassador. "Sadly I cannot. The court of the Emperor is a tangled maze, and I, its least and most humble servant can only guess as to what occurs in its inner sanctums." He smiled at Justinian. "Still, I can attempt to inform His Imperial Majesty of his assurance."
Justinian nodded. He hoped the others came back soon, because if they did not, he might attempt to strangle the man across the table from him, one of these days.