“How did we miss him, Kero?” Eldan’s fists clenched. “He’s a killer – he’s an assassin – and we let him in the same room with Selenay!”
“Was an assassin,” Kerowyn said soberly. “And a damn good one, apparently. Which is how, Eldan. I’ve dealt with people in that line of work. And I’ve heard of more. One of whom – and no, I won’t tell you who – retired and joined Tale’sedrin when Tarma and Kethry opened it up. The good ones aren’t bloodthirsty. They aren’t flashy. They’re quiet, lethal, trained professionals. Who go out, do their job, come home, take care of their families, and do their best to blend in with everybody else.” She grinned wryly. “Only with that giveaway hair, Himura can’t exactly blend in. So he does the next best thing and looks like a bumbling idiot you wouldn’t trust with a butter knife. Wonder why he doesn’t just dye it?”
:Probably because it won’t stay,: Sayvel put in. :If Kenshin uses energy the way we do – and from what Sanosuke told me after his ears stopped ringing, he does – any dye would wear right out.:
“Hmm. Wonder if Thalkarsh has that problem? Or had,” Kero reflected. “We’ll have to send word south and find out if she’s still alive. And if she ever left that temple.”
“Who?” Eldan frowned.
“Demon, according to my grandmothers.” Kerowyn grinned wryly. “Got stuck in human form by a very powerful priest-mage, back when they were running around as mercenaries.”
She hadn’t thought Eldan’s eyes could get any wider. “You mean… you know that story of Himura’s….”
“Might well be fact? At least as much as the stories you have about Vanyel and Lavan Firestorm?” Kerowyn finished. “Damn straight. It’s been done.”
“Oh… gods.” Her partner cradled his head in his hands.
“According to Grandma Kethry, the priest slapped it with a geas to be stuck in their temple until it changed its ways. Something about wards not holding on a creature that wasn’t evil,” Kerowyn shrugged her shoulders, thinking. “I wonder how that worked out?”
“Eldan, Love, if you want to be worried, worry less about a maybe-demon kingdoms away and more about the fact that we haven’t heard word one from the palace Guards about sighting Kenshin,” Kerowyn pointed out. “If we can’t keep one of the best from getting out when we know he’s leaving, we’d damn well better look at our precautions to keep people from getting in.”