the smuggler’s bible


He sends the others downstream along the crumbling road and starts up the path alone. The stairs are dug into the hillside, rough-hewn and uneven. He finds it easier in places to hunch forward and crawl like an animal. When he looks up finally after panting and scrabbling at moss, he sees smoke above the ridgeline. Then a chimney, gable and thick roof timbers.

Byrhtnoth climbs the last steps slowly, to regain his wind, and with the sword Skulltwister in his hand. The old stories say these kinds of things generally end with fighting or begging—and unhappily either way.