The Knife-Grinders glanced at the Grand Master. "So," whispered one, "should we go in?"
"The first man who goes in will probably die," said the Grand Master. "You remember what the Erl can do." The group shuffled about, hands feeling bruises and aches from their last beating. The Grand Master gave a satisfied nod. "So we wait here. The Erl maybe good, but even he knows the danger of taking on so many at once, when we're ready for him."
The Knife-Grinders all shifted nervously. They all had their doubts about this, but given the Grand Master's tendency to have people who debated with killed, it didn't seem wise to mention them.
"Oy!" came a cry from across the street. Morrell exited from the Lamplighter Guildhall, and made his way across the street. He waved at the Knife-Grinders. "I've been sent to discuss terms."
The Grand Master glared at him. "How'd you recognize us?"
"You're all wearing the same outfit," answered the Lamplighter. "You do it all the time. Everyone in Talossa knows it. We just don't talk about it, because... well, it's best not to offend you."
"Ahh," said the Grand Master, looking piqued. "So... terms. Go on. Name them."
Morrell coughed. "Yyy-es... the terms were of your surrender."
"Has the Erl and his cronies gone mad?" shouted the Grand Master. "We hold every advantage. We have Nathan's wife and children."
"No, we had them," said Morrell. "That ended rather recently. Nathan's probably brought them back home right now..."
"And we have numbers," said the Grand Master.
"Didn't help you much last time," said Morrell.
The Grand Master snarled. "Listen, you pathetic Lamplighter, we will not sur--" And then he gasped and slumped over. The Knife-Grinder who'd stabbed him watched him expire with a rather satisified air.
"Tell them we are intrigued by their deal, and wish to discuss it further," he said.
"Hey," said another. "Why are you speaking for us? You were a prentice yesterday."
"And now I'm an Acting Grand Master, a remarkable and meteoric rise that demonstrates my competence," he replied, readying his knife. "Do any of you wish to debate this with me?"
"No, no," said the man who'd spoken out, wincing. "On further examination, you have a strong case."