The abbot shook his head. There really was nothing to say: he led the seekers to the door. And the he would wait, for an hour, or two in the corridor outside. Then he would go back in, and remove the remains of the seeker from the shrine, and inter it in the vaults. And sometimes, which was worse, they would not be dead, although you could not call what was left of them alive, and those unfortunates the Black Friars cared for as best as they could.
“Right,” said Richard. And he smiled, unconvincingly, and added, “Well, lead on, Macduff.”
Brother Fuliginous pulled back the bolts on the door. They opened with a crash, like twin gunshots. He pulled the door open. Richard stepped through it. Brother Fuliginous pushed the door closed behind him, and swung the bolts back into place. He led the abbot back to his chair and placed the cup of tea back in the old man’s hand. The abbot sipped his tea, in silence. And then he said, with honest regret in his voice, “It’s ‘lay on, Macduff,’ actually. But I hadn’t the heart to correct him. He sounded like such a nice young man.””