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"Do you know this, my Lady?" Mapes asked.

"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."

Now we see which way the decision tips, she thought.

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.

Now we see which way the decision tips, she thought.

"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"

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

"It's a crysknife," she said.

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

"You speak of the legend and seek answers," Jessica said. "Beware the answers you may find. I know you came prepared for violence with a weapon in your bodice."

"You speak of the legend and seek answers," Jessica said. "Beware the answers you may find. I know you came prepared for violence with a weapon in your bodice."

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.

And Jessica wondered: Why do I play out this sham? But the Bene Gesserit ways were devious and compelling.

"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.

"It's a crysknife," she said.

"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 -"

Mapes took a backward step, appeared poised to flee.

"It's a crysknife," she said.

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

"You speak of the legend and seek answers," Jessica said. "Beware the answers you may find. I know you came prepared for violence with a weapon in your bodice."

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.

"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.

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.

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

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