The Grand Master rubbed his aching skull. "So... we have lost the Erl, we have lost the Lamplighter, we have lost Lamorac, and we have lost Camber, correct?"
The Knife-Grinders nodded in unison. The Grand Master frowned at them. "So, this is an utter failure, then?"
One of the Knife-Grinders glanced at him. "Well, sir, whose fault is that? We did all this under your direction."
The Grand Master turned to the prentice. "Your examination for Journeyman is now." He gestured to the man who'd spoken. "Kill him."
"What?" said the man. "You can't do this! I have rights! I'm a Journeyman in good standing!" He looked at the others. "By the Holy Light, we don't run this way. Tell him that!" They glanced awkwardly at their feet. "What? This is... You... he'll come for you ne--"
He pitched forward, the prentice's knife in his back. "Well done, journeyman," said the Grand Master. "We'll celebrate later. For now, pitch the body back away. No need to offend anyone. Then we'll go notify the Council."
"Sir, do you think... they'll... understand?" muttered one man, staring at the corpse.
"If you mean will they not lose their tempers, they most surely will," replied the Grand Master. "But they need us. So we will be fine."
"They need us," muttered the former prentice. "Just like the Grand Master needed him."
"That's a bit rich, considering..." began one.
"Didn't see any of you moving to stop me," he noted. "Just as I don't hear any of you disagreeing with me now." He grabbed the body by its shirt. "Now come on. He had a point there, and I don't want to do this by myself." Two others followed, taking the body by the feet.