By Andre Norton
Cruelly solid out of an order of spies, assassins, and bodyguards, Jofre is compelled out into an unusual international, the place he encounters an obsessed alien archaeologist and a stunning, lethal rival. Reprint.
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He also sported a wide belt from which hung, close to hand, a blaster sheath. Jofre's second move had taken him crabwise, so that he was now in a position to defend the Zacathan from both this newcomer and that bush screen behind which his alert senses told him there was at least one more lurker. Slowly the uniformed man smiled. "You are to be commended, Learned One, on the alertness of your guard. Harse"—the bush in the pots shook a fraction—"come out, man. We have no quarrel with the Learned One.
As for him, there was no choice. He was oathed and if that took him into space, so be it. He would move into this new world as he would move into an unknown strip of territory, with every sense alert, even though what he might have to face would not yield to any weapon he knew. He again wondered at the Zacathan's seemingly inexhaustible funds. Jofre's passage had been promptly paid. In fact Zurzal had opened for him an interplanetary account and showed him how one could draw upon it. Into that his wages would be fed automatically every quarter.
In a Lair tower to the north at that same hour, which was near midnight, a Shagga priest bent his shaven head over a brazier which gave forth a trickle of reddish smoke, drawing that deeply into his lungs. His eyes were shut and he rocked his body back and forth in a rhythm which matched the words he mouthed in a hissing whisper. He was going deeper perhaps than was prudent. Hate had set him on this road in the beginning; now there was a touch of fear. The contempt he had earlier felt had diminished; this adversary was stronger than he had ever conceived he would be.