Nathan set down his glass, and rose unsteadily from his chair.
"You ready then?" asked Grunewald.
"In a little while, a little while," muttered Nathan as he walked towards the window. He opened it, and took a deep breath. After a moment, he turned to his old friend. "I... I'm honestly surprised you didn't just track them down if you knew where I was..."
"Well, first of all, we didn't," answered Grunewald with a shrug. "We cast a wide net. You've a lot of friends in odd places, Nathan. We sent the word out to them to find you." He spread his hands wide. "And it worked, even if it took a while. And secondly... well, you're a clever man. We all know that. Even if we could find you--briefly--you could probably go to ground again and hide the Erl and Knife-Grinders elsewhere." He smiled at Nathan. "You're a man to be respected, Nathan."
"This is an odd way to show it," snapped Nathan, turning away from the window.
"Well, you forced our hand in this matter," said Grunewald. "We never wanted it to come to this, Nathan. You have to believe that."
Nathan glared at the man. "Do I? Really? Because if that were the case, it would seem to me the obvious thing to do would be to do your duty as Lamplighters to keep Talossa safe from harm. Not kidnap the family of a member of good standing to make him betray everything he believes in..."
"For the good of Talossa, Nathan!" shouted Grunewald. "What would you have us do? Turn on the Ancients? Destroy the foundations that this very city rests on?"
"The foundations of this city are its people, and the fellowships they make," said Nathan quietly. "The Ancients' duty is to advise them."
Grunewald sighed. "Nathan, now is not the time for discussion of... theories of government."
"No," agreed Nathan. "No it isn't. I believe you want me to lead you to the Erl now..." There was a crash as Fenwater leapt through the open window and landed on the floor before Grunewald. Nathan shrugged. "See? Bargain fulfilled."