Ulrich and Morrell stood at attention, before the gate to the hall's inner sanctum, staffs at ready. Ulrich's gaze kept going to the door, then to Morrell. "Do... do you think he'll be reasonable?"
"I don't know," said Morrell. "Probably. We have his wife and children."
Ulrich grimaced. "Well, yes, that sounds good, but first we could trust him not to get too attached to the Erl, because he was a good Lamplighter, and see how that went."
"It's new ground, Ulrich," answered Morrell flatly. "We'll have to see as we go along."
"We're doing too much of that, these days," muttered Ulrich. "And what about the Ancients? They kept telling us they had their reasons, but they still can't seem to move forward."
"It's the Ancients, Ulrich," said Morrell. "They take their time on these matters."
Ulrich stomped his feet. "This isn't a trade pact, Morrell. We do not have time. By the Holy Light if this gets out..."
"It hasn't so far," noted Morrell. "Besides, are you saying that people would be offended to learn we have returned to the bosom of the Holy Synod?"
"If it means having the Eremites or... Uriel help us, the Stylites on our streets, then yes, they would be," said Ulrich quietly. "Do you remember what we went through getting them out, Morrell? No one wants to go through that again."
"And it won't," said Morrell. "It will be different this time. They've learned their lesson."
The door opened. Grunewald stood there. "Go fetch a bottle of brandy," he said.
"So, he's agreed to take us to the Erl?" said Morrell.
"He's... leaning that way," replied Grunewald, turning back to the inner sanctum. "Hence the brandy."