Gold walked past the line of slaves. So many coming through her land from the wars to the far north, heading south, to the "Barbaric" lands there. Most of them women, sold to pay for arms and equipment. Diamond had often found mages among such, and used them to expand his power.

Gold shook her head, this place made her uneasy. Then something caught her eye. A woman in a cage, her hair braided and beaded like the Plainswomen. dead eyes looking out the bars. One of the slavers was yelling at her, "Do you understand a WORD I am saying bitch?"

The woman nodded, "Hai, Wakarimashita."

The Slaver struck then, striking the woman with the whip in his hand, "Tari, woman, not Plains-speach, speak in Tari."

The woman's eyes flashed angrily "IIE!" She screamed at the slaver. "Hitogoroshi! Koroshiya! Houtteoite!"

Gold frowned, trying to remember what little of the Plainsmen's tongue she learned. She know that iie ment no. it was Hitogoroshi that troubled her. it was something bad. Then it hit her, Koroshiya, it ment one who killed for pay. Gold felt anger flair in her heart for the woman. Gold had lost her mother and father to such men, paid killers, assassins.

"SHUT UP YOU STUPID BITCH!" The slaver struck again, dangerously close to an eye. Without thinking Gold grabbed his wrist. Spinning him to face her.

Gold met his eyes calmly even as the slaver started to raise his whip, "Raise that and I'll have you exicuted. How much for the plainswoman?"

The Slaver looked at Gold, then at the guards that had already moved up to protect their queen. Then he sneered, "If you want her, you can have her. She's nearly worthless anyways."

Gold growled low, "Then let her out of the cage."

The slaver complied, shoving the woman at the Queen's feet. Gold nelt down and said softly, "Namae wa nan desu ka?"

The woman looked up at Gold, "Insei, Touji."

Gold nodded, "Will you speak Tari?"

Insei nodded, "If I must."

Gold nodded, the woman's Tari was better than even HERS, and she was a queen, educated by the best tutors, and this woman spoke the tongue like it was native. Tari being the linqua-franca of all Nivia. "Can you speak Torbin and Antari as well?"

The Woman nodded again, "Almost as well as I speak Tari and Kokugo, Touji."

"That is well, I have use for you then." Gold looked over the woman then saw something hanging from her neck and asked a question, "Nisou?"

The woman answered with one word, "Hai."

Gold smiled then, "You are going to be my new healer, Plains-priestess. Is this agreeable?"

The woman looked at Gold, then nodded, "It is. I have nothing to return to in my homeland."

Gold nodded back to the woman. This was PERFECT, someone completely alien to the court, one who owed her a debt. And she knew the plainsfolk, they were honorable, loyal, and most importantly, their priests and priestesses were strong mages. She would have a valuable secret ally in her court.

"What to call you woman. Insei is obviously a name of the plains. It will not suit in my court." Gold pondered, looking at the woman's eyes, watching them shift colors as the woman listened, "Mica. That is what I'll call you Mica."

Insei nodded, "If that is what you wish Touji. You are Touji, your word is law to a slave."

Gold shook her head, "If you serve me well, you will not be a slave for long Mica. On that I give my word."

Insei, now called Mica nodded, "Yes Touji."

Gold turned then. Thinking that she had found herself a perfect ally. And who knew what might happen in the future. Her own Father's best friend and closest secret advisor had been a slave. Maybe it would be the same for her. Maybe. But first, "You need to call me Mistress or Magesty."

"Yes Mistress. I understand."

The woman was quick. Gold motions for her to fall in step behind her, then sought out Diamond.