the smuggler’s bible

Helle

After dinner she sits near the fire with a drink, stirring and stirring, waiting for the lavender powder to dissolve. Then a drip of honey. A sip to check the temperature.

The window faces west, out over the forest that chokes the low country between river and mountain. She imagines she can see goblin fires among the trees. Too far, of course. Must be the potion working. She sets the empty cup aside, leans back.

Nearly asleep when the wards trip out front. She hears a cough, and a soft knock. A voice stage whispers, “Oh, damn. Were those runes?”