Camber stared at the door before him, and took a deep breath. He placed his hand on the handle and pushed it open swiftly.
The room was empty. Taking a relieved breath, he turned back and trudged his way back up the stairs, weighing on the one hand the fact that he was still alive, on the other this would doubtless make the Grand Master angry. And that was the bad thing. Arguably bad enough to outweigh still being alive.
When he reached the top of the stairs and looked across the street, he saw something rather interesting. His fellows had found the Erl, who was presently fighting the whole lot of them and doing rather well. As Camber watched, the mouthy prentice dived for the Erl, only to be knocked aside and left sprawling on the ground.
The Grand Master saw his subordinates fall with increasingly panicked eyes. "I warn you, Nightfolk," he said, drawing his knife, "you may think that the Knife-Grinders are nothing to fear, but our power lies in our reach, and our..."
A club struck him on the back of the head. The Lamplighter regarded the man's slumped over form in dull surprise. "I thought he'd be tougher than that."
"Most people don't react well to a heavy blow to the skull," said the Erl. "No matter what the title is."
"But he's a master assassin!" said the Lamplighter.
"Well, sure, but what sort?" asked the Erl with a shrug. "So far as I can tell, these guys more or less sneak up on people and knife them in the back, or jump in alleys. That stuff doesn't take a lot of skill, it just takes license from on high." He poked the Grand Master. "Damn. He's out cold."
"I thought that was the idea," said the Lamplighter.
"Well, yeah, but not this cold," replied the Erl. "I wanted to ask him questions. Especially as I don't think we'd get a lot of time..."
The Lamplighter looked across the street. "We could always get Peg leg over there."
Camber gulped and turned to run.
Unfortunately for him, the stairs remained as treacherous as ever.