The Secret Witness
"Willingly," said the other, rising. "Do not my people serve God as they choose? For you, if you like, the Holy Roman Empire reconstituted with you as its titular head, the sovereignty of central Europe intact--all the half formulated experiments of the West, at the point of the sword. This is your mission--and mine!"
The two men faced each other, eye to eye, but the smaller dominated.
"A pact, my brother," said the man in the hunting-suit, extending his hand.
The Archduke hesitated but a moment longer, and then thrust forward. The hands clasped, while beside the two, the tall man stood like a Viking, his great head bent forward, his forked beard wagging over the table.
"A pact," repeated the Archduke, "which only Death may disrupt."
They stood thus in a long moment of tension. It was he they called Majestät who first relaxed.
"Death?" he smiled. "Who knows? God defends the Empire. It lives on in my sons and yours.