the smuggler’s bible


There’s an old bridge that crosses the river way up where the walls of the canyon are so steep that the only things that grow are wilting flowers. The water is a pale blue ribbon down in the mist. Three people can walk abreast. Three!

Unless, by chance, it’s two people and both of them are sword-monks of the Schola Lichtenauer. In that case, only one will cross.

Hofstetter watches the other man’s face. Small muscles twitch—eye, lip, jaw. He draws into a high guard—much too slow—and wonders if he’ll live long enough to hear the splash.