JAKE STRIKER WAS the owner of a successful law firm and an equally profitable private investigation company. He was tall, at six feet three inches with an impressive, athletic build that was the result of working out three time a week; he preferred iron. His female employees thought he was extremely handsome, with light brown hair and storm gray eyes. However, they never mentioned his rugged good looks when his hot-tempered wife was around. The Grand Regent described Jake’s wife, Mei, as a wildcat; while Lama Namsray used the term spitfire to describe her. Mei was as beautiful as Jake was handsome, only more volatile. She was born on the Mongolian steppes and could ride and shoot as well as any of the lamasery soldiers. Tall for a Mongolian woman, five feet, six inches, with almond eyes that hinted Chinese DNA lurked in her bloodline. Her raven hair hung to her waist, often worn in a French braid when riding a Mongolian stallion. The Captain of Lamasery Steppe Soldiers swore she was born on the back of a raging mare.
Jake was tied to the clandestine Chang Jai Lamasery by an invisible umbilical cord. He was their attorney of record in the United States and also represented the shadowy Tu Tung; the ancient Chinese Order of Assassins that protected the lamasery. It was ten in the morning and the Great Lord of the Tu Tung had just called Jake at his office.
“Mr. Striker, it’s been almost a year since we last talked. I should have called and thanked you for helping two of our soldiers with their legal problems.” His voice sounded ancient and radiated the wisdom of the ages.
“The pleasure was mine and I realize how busy you are.”
“Never too busy to call a friend. I received a communication from the Grand Regent. He says he is in need of your services.”
Jake frowned and asked, “Legal services?”
“No, far more dangerous. As he describes it, a General is looking diligently for the source of the gold. As I understand it, this General was a friend of the rogue General that your former wife had to…to neutralize. While the two were drinking, the General who was blackmailing the lamasery hinted at a source of gold that kept him rich enough to afford his Russian mistress. Apparently, he never got drunk enough to disclose the actual source, only that it was far to the south.”
Jake replied with a frown, “That could turn into a dangerous situation.”
“That’s why the Grand Regent needs your services.”
“I may not be able to get a quick flight directly into Ulan Bator, but I can probably get a flight tomorrow to Beijing and then take a commuter flight to Ulan Bator.”
The Great Lord asked, “Will you need money?”
“No, I should be alright. If it becomes a problem, I can always contact Lama Namsray.”
“Do you need me to send some of my soldiers with you?”
Jake declared, “I don’t think I’ll need them. Deleger’s father has eight or ten men he uses to guard the caravans headed for the valley. His men are all armed with AK 47s and fearless. His cousin, Chakhun, has access to weapons and contacts with certain bandit groups. They’ll be able to get any weapons I’ll need.”
“I assume your wife will be going with you.”
Jake predicted, “There’ll be no stopping her. She’ll want to see her parents. On top of that her Mongolian is better than mine. It’d help a great deal if the Grand Regent could have his contacts in Ulan Bator have a four-wheel drive SUV waiting for me.” Even being the attorney for both groups, he still had no idea how they communicated.
“I’ll pass that on to the Grand Regent. If you discover that this greedy General has more assets than we know about, have the Grand Regent contact me and I’ll send soldiers.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, Sir. Once I get to the frontier, I’ll be out of contact.”
“I understand. The Grand Regent and I both have great faith in you. Two ancient orders are depending upon you.”
“I’ll get it accomplished, Sir.”
Jake made reservations for the following morning on a United flight for Beijing. After two more important calls, he left work early to tell Mei and get ready for tomorrow’s flight. The mention by the Great Lord of Jake’s former wife was the only woman that did not cause Mei to flare. Jake had met Mei’s sister when he first went to Mongolia, attempting to locate the child Grand Lama. He and Chandaa had married and returned to Los Angeles. Chandaa was killed by a drunk driver and since the mail only gets to Kariaganh once each month, Jake decided to tell her parents in person.
Once at her parent’s ger, Mei determined that Jake needed to be kept in the family and ended up marrying him, with Jake having very little say in the matter. Now that Mei had an American last name, people had difficulty guessing her point or origin. She was an incredible mixture of Mongolian and Chinese, blended to perfection.
“The Great Lord called me this morning. The Grand Regent wants to see me.”
Mei countered, “No, the Grand Regent wants to see us.”
“I assumed you’d want to go with me.”
“Of course, do I look stupid? With all those young widows running around Jirgalangtu, looking for a husband. Be serious. Now, why does the Grand Regent need us?”