Dagger Of Kija
"I should have turned him into a pile of dust!" Wildhair had been saying such things every since the three had passed the Nangen border. Hanna completely ignored this outburst as she had all the others, concentrating instead on seemingly watching everywhere at once. It would be unlikely that even a Master Ninja would be able to escape her vigilance. From time to time a small spell roar was heard as she openly renewed her 'hear Footsteps' spell. She made no secret of casting it, and the Elder Shaman begun referring to as 'Hear Ninja' "A very small pile of dust... which I could have blown away in a Nangen-colored cloud..."
"Now, Elder," the ancient Shaman said soothingly. "We all went through the same rough treatment at the border. I think you could better spend your time wondering why they were so thorough."
Wildhair turned to the little old lady and friend. "They were watching for Gareth, of course," she replied. "It is obvious that if Prince Kija is using a reality altering device like that Rainbow sword, then he has to protect if from the only two people in the kingdoms with experience with such things - Gareth and Pteri."
A small roar broke the silence following Wildhair's words, punctuated by a different noise that may have been Hanna clearing her throat. "This doesn't answer the most important question," she said, not pausing in her self-imposed guard duty. "Why use this device on Pteri and not on Gareth? It would be a better tactic to eliminate both threats at once."
Wildhair consider this for a moment. "Perhaps he thinks that if he controls Pteri," she guessed, "that you are controlling Gareth. He would be too afraid for her safely to act."
Hanna cleared her throat again, but didn't speak.
"I don't think the Weapons Master agrees with you," the elderly Shaman said to Wildhair. "It would seem that the one certain way to GET Gareth to act would be to threaten Pteri. They have been married for what... thirty Yuri?"
"Forty five if you believe your own diary." Wildhair smiled. "We will all have to revise our histories and our ages!"
Another spell roared from Hanna.
"Why do you bother?" Wildhair asked, irritated. "Kija certainly cannot guess that we are coming. Why would he send Ninjas?"
The Do Master did not reply, but instead slowly drew her sword from the sheath on her back. The Ee San Do was suspected to be greatest weapon in all the kingdoms, a suspicion that might forever remain unanswered, as no Do walker ever speaks of these blades. From its silver pommel nut and blue silk wrapped hilt to the tip of its delicately tapering blue blade, it was a thing of beauty, yet also an awesome killing instrument. This blade was in the hands of the finest swordsman in the kingdom of Buya.
Hanna reined in her horse, then using her blade as an extension of her index finger, she pointed to a small shrub next to the path they were on. "There," she said simply, then pointed behind them to a pile of boulders. "And there." Quickly she pointed at several other locations around the women, in front, in the trees, one spot not a spear's length from Wildhair's boot.
"And what is this about?" Wildhair asked, watching the empty spot nearest her.
"Ninjas," Hanna said simply. "Perhaps guards, perhaps sent by Kija. It doesn't really matter. There is only one Ninja in Nagnang with the training to be a threat to us. He is not among this group of novices."
Hanna slid her sword into its sheath in one fluid motion, without even a whisper of metal on metal.
"Who is this Ninja Master?" Wildhair asked, not taking her eyes off the spot she believed a Ninja to be in.
"Tomas," the elderly Shaman answered, surprising Wildhair. "Gareth told me about him. He was the teacher of that charming young lady Greyshadow, when she was in Nagnang."
"Greyshadow?" Wildhair asked. "She is that new Phoenix, isn't she? How does she figure into this?"
"Two ways that I can see." The elderly Shaman explained. "First, after she failed with the other Ninja to capture Gareth on his spy mission, she is now 'kill on sight' anywhere in the Nangen kingdom. Kija decimated the ranks of the Ninjas after that debacle in retribution."
Hanna cleared her throat.
"Except for Tomas," she added. "Even Kija fears him, though he seems loyal enough."
"And secondly?" Wildhair took her eyes off the empty space and began concentrating intently on her empty hands cupped in front of her. A small swirl of magic began to build.
"Secondly," the elderly Shaman watched the Elder curiously. "The day Gareth was banished and disappeared, so did Greyshadow."