Nathan fidgeted awkwardly. "So... When I went home... three of my fellows were there, and..."
Sacripant yawned. "Let me guess. These killings... there's something that goes to the very top, isn't there? The Council of Old Guys, or whatever you call it?"
"Ancients, and how did...?" began Nathan.
"Oh, at a certain point, you start picking up on patterns, and figuring that the easiest answers are right," said the Erl. "Quite a few high-ranking Talossians have died recently in odd 'suicides'. Which suggests that whatever the hell all this is, it goes straight to the top. And that's what I've noticed about all you Talossans... you really believe in your rag-tag system. When your Guilds say 'jump', you all say 'how high?'."
"So, what made you sure something was going on?" asked Nathan.
"I've been given the runaround on a simple inquiry on a man's death," said Sacripant. "Once the assassins showed up, I started figuring that folks around here really, really didn't want me finding it." He spread his hands. "After that, it wasn't too much effort to figure that there was a lot of trouble going on, and that it was all connected."
Nathan stared for a moment, and then looked away. "So why are you telling me all this? I'm a Talossan after all. I do what my Guild says."
"First, of all, I like you," said Sacripant. "But the other reason--I've gotten to know you. You're a decent man. I'm betting you love your Guild, yes, but you love it for bigger reasons. I'm betting that when they gather you all together, and you say that oath, or motto, or whatever it is..."
"An oath," muttered Nathan. "It... we say it at formal meetings, on hoy days..."
"Right, well, I'm certain you tear up, with memories of your old man, and all the honor and traditions of you Lamplighters, that he taught you, and all the times he hefted you up on his shoulders so you could see... oh, whatever fancy thing you Lamplighters do..." continued Sacripant.
"He never did anything like that," said Nathan defensively. "He just always made sure we'd be at the front of the Mummer's Parade on..." He stared at the Erl desperately. "How do you know all this?"
"People are people all over, Nathan," said the Erl with a shrug. "You think fisherman in Valse don't do things like that? Only thing we live for." Sacripant smiled at him. "So, you want to help me get our friend out of here, and start the next bit of planning to deal with this trouble, or not?"
Nathan was silent for a moment, and then managed a rough nod.