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datatime: 2022-11-29 01:44:04 Author:iYOjFree

"I know the Dark Things and the ways of the Great Mother," Jessica said. She read the more obvious signs in Mapes' actions and appearance, the petit betrayals. "Miseces prejia," she said in the Chakobsa tongue. "Andral t're pera Trada cik buscakri miseces perakri -"

"There's a remote possibility you could draw my life's blood," Jessica said, "but in so doing you'd bring down more ruin than your wildest fears could imagine. There are worse things than dying, you know - even for an entire people."

"My Lady" Mapes pleaded. She appeared about to fall to her knees. "The weapon was sent as a gift to you should you prove to be the One."

It could only be one thing, Jessica knew, the fabled crysknife of Arrakis, the blade that had never been taken off the planet, and was known only by rumor and wild gossip.

In a low voice, Mapes said: "I meant no offense, my Lady."

Slowly, Mapes reached into the neck of her dress, brought out a dark sheath. A black handle with deep finger ridges protruded from it. She took sheath in one hand and handle in the other, withdrew a milk-white blade, held it up. The blade seemed to shine and glitter with a light of its own. It was double-edged like a kindjal and the blade was perhaps twenty centimeters long.

"My Lady" Mapes pleaded. She appeared about to fall to her knees. "The weapon was sent as a gift to you should you prove to be the One."

"What is that?" Jessica asked. "I heard it several times as we drove through the streets this morning."

"You know the ancient tongues then?" Mapes asked, and she waited with an odd intensity.

Mapes nodded. "Just as the legend says."

A weird cry sounded from the road outside the house. It was repeated: "Soo-soo-Sook" Then: "Ikhut-eigh" And again: "Soo-soo-Sook"

"My Lady" Mapes pleaded. She appeared about to fall to her knees. "The weapon was sent as a gift to you should you prove to be the One."

"Only a water-seller, my Lady. But you've no need to interest yourself in such as they. The cistern here holds fifty thousand liters and it's always kept full." She glanced down at her dress. "Why, you know, my Lady, I don't even have to wear my stillsuit here?" She cackled. "And me not even dead"

"And as the means of my death should I prove otherwise," Jessica said. She waited in the seeming relaxation that made the Bene Gesserit-trained so terrifying in combat.

"My Lady, I"

"My husband told me of your title, Shadout," Jessica said. "I recognized the word. It's a very ancient word."

It could only be one thing, Jessica knew, the fabled crysknife of Arrakis, the blade that had never been taken off the planet, and was known only by rumor and wild gossip.

And Jessica thought: There was an edge to that question. Here's the reason this Fremen has taken service with me, to ask that one question. My answer could precipitate violence orwhat? She seeks an answer from me: the meaning of a knife. She's called the Shadow in the Chakobsa tongue. Knife, that's "Death Maker" in Chakobsa. She's getting restive. I must answer now. Delay is as dangerous as the wrong answer.

And Jessica thought: There was an edge to that question. Here's the reason this Fremen has taken service with me, to ask that one question. My answer could precipitate violence orwhat? She seeks an answer from me: the meaning of a knife. She's called the Shadow in the Chakobsa tongue. Knife, that's "Death Maker" in Chakobsa. She's getting restive. I must answer now. Delay is as dangerous as the wrong answer.

Slowly, Mapes reached into the neck of her dress, brought out a dark sheath. A black handle with deep finger ridges protruded from it. She took sheath in one hand and handle in the other, withdrew a milk-white blade, held it up. The blade seemed to shine and glitter with a light of its own. It was double-edged like a kindjal and the blade was perhaps twenty centimeters long.

Mapes took a backward step, appeared poised to flee.

Mapes nodded. "Just as the legend says."

"My Lady, I"

"My Lady" Mapes pleaded. She appeared about to fall to her knees. "The weapon was sent as a gift to you should you prove to be the One."

"I know the Dark Things and the ways of the Great Mother," Jessica said. She read the more obvious signs in Mapes' actions and appearance, the petit betrayals. "Miseces prejia," she said in the Chakobsa tongue. "Andral t're pera Trada cik buscakri miseces perakri -"

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