the smuggler’s bible

Gisela

The nineclaw finds her in a clearing near the cottage with her eyes closed and the sword held straight out in front of her. He can see her arms trembling beneath her cloak.

“I made a mistake,” Gisela says, letting the point dip. “A very foolish one.”

“The only foolish mistakes are those which don’t teach us.”

“I knew better, once.”

The nineclaw shrugs. “Nobody has forgotten, lost-cub. They say you made it out by yourself—that you solved his last riddle.”

“Well, they’re right about one thing.” Gisela brings the sword up again, gritting her teeth. “I was alone.”