Althalus doesn't like the other side having fireworks.
Eliar asks Bheid if the Wektis have any army, and Bheid's assessment is less than stellar to say the least:
“Wekti’s a land of sheep, Eliar,” Bheid said. “That’s the domain of the white-robed priests, and the White Robes have elevated ‘meek’ to an art form. The Wekti won’t defend themselves. The apostate White Robes have seen to that.”Wow. Way to dismiss an entire race based on your own internal religious feudes. Also, please note, the White Robes? Are basically a branch of Bheid's church. We're not even talking Baptists and Methodists here. We're talking Jesuits vs Opus Dei.
...so actually this part is absolutely correct.
The ruler of Wekti gets similar short shift:
He’s a pudgy, balding man of middle years with a mind uncontaminated by thought. He never leaves the palace, and neither do any of his ‘Royal Proclamations.’ The sycophants in his court all tell him how important he is.Speaking of which, that "mind uncontaminated by thought" is another Eddings C&P. It appears AT LEAST once a book.
Bheid continues that the preisthood is as lazy as the king, the population are poetic wimps, and that said poetry really sucks eggs. Eliar, of course, rouses to the idea of protecting the weak and helpless and--
“Do we really have to get involved with these people, Emmy?” Eliar asked, turning to Dweia. “It doesn’t seem to me that they’re worth the trouble.”Our heroes, boys and girls. They leave vulnurable populations to Demon Gods precisely because they are vulnurable.
Dweia insists they rescue the Wektis...because leaving Wekti to Ghend, Daeva and Gelta means leaving their really important places open for attack.
I'm beginning to suspect that Eddings doesn't have issues with women. He has issues with all of humanity. The ones with women just manifest more.
Finally, Althalus and company decide on the scam they're going to use to get the leader (AKA Excharch) of the White Robes to agree to get help: they're going to impersonate a religious personage. Specifically, one of Bheid's group's upper level members. And Bheid is going to do the impersonation because...why the fuck not, he hasn't accomplished anything yet.
They go to the capital, which is compared to another capital that I don't really remember very well. Bheid asks Althalus for help in how to con properly, and Althalus says "Be an asshole."
Okay, actually that IS really good advice, but it's not like Althalus behaves any other way...
Bheid, however, points out that he's a religious man and he doesn't like lying. And just when you thought Al couldn't dig the asshole pit any deeper, he breaks out the shovel:
“When you get right down to it, this lie comes dangerously close to the real truth of the matter. We actually are offering aid, and this upcoming war is a struggle between good and evil. All I’m suggesting is that you forget to mention a few things that Yeudon’s probably incapable of understanding.Al would make a great politician.
So they head into the temple--which gets no description whatsoever, and of course Bheid is being holy and beyond reproach and I'm not actually fooling any of you, am I? Yeah, Bheid has no problem being a flaming ass:
“If this fool doesn’t get to his feet immediately, I want you to kill him, Eliar,” Bheid said flatly.Because death threats are perfectly fine as long as you don't actually mean them.
The Excharch of the White Robes (I will now call him "White Guy" because in another few chapters that will probably be hilarious) invites Bheid in and remains polite and civil. Bheid does to, and gives their mark the pitch: Invading Ansus, Gelta, Ghend, Daeva, lots of Arums in our back pocket. Basically, the only thing he lies about is who is actually coming to their rescue, which so far is like saying "We're the human society, of COURSE we'll help adopt your kitten" when you're actually from PETA.
White Guy swallows it whole. Bheid continues to hold forth about how much more wonderful his side of their religion is:
“We’re the oldest of the orders, your Eminence,” Bheid said rather sadly, “and we’ve had more experience in the real world than the White Robes or the Brown Robes. Your orders are innocent of the innate corruptibility of most of mankind. We Black Robes lost all our illusions eons ago, and a world without illusions is a very bleak place. We see the world as it really is, not as we’d like it to be. Our motives are ultimately as pure as yours, but our methods are sometimes a bit cynical. We’ll use whatever it takes to achieve our goals in an imperfect world.”...these are supposed to be the good guys.
Anyway, White Guy says he'd like to take lessons in lying from them. Althalus literally says he'll give the White Guys a discount for the privelage. End of chapter.