the smuggler’s bible

Gisela

The hit sends Gisela tumbling, leaving a furrow in the snow streaked with red.

“Nine,” she gasps. “How do we kill this thing?”

The nineclaw snarls and darts in under the troll’s arm, raking his claws across the creature’s flank. Sparks fly from the pebbled flesh and hiss and steam where they land in the snow.

“The beast is clever,” he calls out, “and has hidden its vital point well, but—”

“But it has to have one,” Gisela says, standing. She tries to get both hands on the sword, but her left arm is numb. “It’s in the rules.”