Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Meetings and Conferences--Part 7

Nathan stood outside the door listening to the occasional shout and angry exclamation from within the Chamber of the Ancients.  Grunewald glanced at him, briefly, and made a fitful cough. 

"Do not fear," said Grunewald.  "The Ancients are simply in debate.  It will pass, and we will give our report."

Nathan stared at the older man quietly.  "I know that."

Grunewald nodded.  "Well, you looked nervous," he said, "I felt I should work to calm you."

"I wasn't," noted Nathan.

"Well, you looked it," said Grunewald. 

Nathan snorted.  "I doubt it."

"Are you calling me a liar, lad?" snapped Grunewald.

"Are you calling me a 'lad'?" replied Nathan.  "By the heavens, I'm a long-married man with children at home in bed, Grunewald."

"You're still younger than me," replied Grunewald.  "Anyway, you don't know how these things go.  This isn't some old drunk, knifed to death in a back-alley, or even the son of an Ancient getting a bit frisky with a freeborn girl.  This..."  He licked his lips.  "Did you ever hear of the Willigot case?"

Nathan frowned.  "It... doesn't sound familiar."

Grunewald gave a dark laugh at that.  "I suppose I should have expected that.  They buried it well, that one. It all began..."

The door to the Chamber opened.  The Keeper of the Keys regarded them for a moment.  "Master Nathan of the Lamplighters.  The Ancients call thee to speak before them."  Without another word, Nathan bowed his head and walked into the Chamber. It seemed to him that Grunewald, who had been on edge the entire time they were there, now was openly fearful, but perhaps Nathan was simply letting his own nerves get to him.  It was not every day one saw a dead body, much less a dead Nightfolk.  As he entered he saw that a copy of the Charter had been placed near the door with what looked like two strips of cloth attached to the bottom. 

"What...?" he began to whisper to the Keeper of the Keys.

"Do not ask on these matters," replied the Keeper.

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