Hopukanga sharpened his dagger. The action was more habit than necessity. The blade was already so sharp it could split parchment, but the methodical scraping of the whetstone focused his thoughts. Seated near him were three others, all performing similar rituals. Less experienced individuals might have filled this time with idle chatter to ease the tension. But less experienced individuals would never have been chosen for this.
Testing the edge on his fingertip, Hopukanga was satisfied with his work, and slid the dagger into a fur lined sheath on his arm. Two other such daggers were concealed on his person, each sheath’s lining coated with deadly poison. Wordlessly the others began to don their armaments as well. An early stage of the plan had involved using smuggled weapons from the invaders to frame the colonists for the deed. But that was quickly abandoned. This was about tradition, and even implying one of the invaders would make it to Kotahitanga was a heinous misdeed.
Signaling to each other that they were all ready, the four assassins adjusted their uniforms: the honor guard of the Chieftan. It had been nerve wracking these past few months playing the part, and if he was honest with himself, Hopukanga was looking forward to being done with it all. He flexed his wings one last time and strode out onto the balcony. In front of them, Nanakia was overlooking the town, preparing to make her grand address.