the smuggler’s bible

Vortigern

The teapot sits steaming on the table. Snow colors the hillside a dirty, scuffed white, but it is rippled with shadows. Like water moving below thick ice, deep and cold. Completely removed.

“Do you remember how different things were? Foolish, I know. You needn’t answer.” Vortigern laughs. “But certainly you, of all people, also recall precisely why it all changed.”

A light blooms silently on the horizon, the soft violet of dawn creeping across the treetops. But much too early for dawn. The nineclaw whips about, claws ready.

“Well, never mind. I suppose the world can’t stay the same forever.”