the smuggler’s bible


The secret to defeating the shield-wall is this: You must strike from the flanks. Hiro leaves his candle burning beside a stick of mistletoe, then moves through the connecting door and listens to the sounds from the hallway.

They step in unison, which makes it harder, but he counts six. In one action he draws, pushes the door open and cuts. Bone separates from bone under ragged scraps of chainmail. The creature is silent as its shield arm falls away—the spear in its other hand already moving to where Hiro stood.

But, like the candle’s flicker, he is gone.