the smuggler’s bible


“You’re a highwayman. It’s dishonorable to hold such an advantage over somebody, especially in their time of need.”

“I resent the accusation.”

“Any piece you take diminishes the whole pie,” Snake-in-the-Grass says, waving his arms in exasperation. “And this payoff already ranks as extremely dubious.”

“My dear boy, I don’t want any money. I just want to meet whomever concocted this delightful magical formula.” Branbildon gives the flask a little shake and watches the color swirl.

“Oh my god,” Bloodtooth says, cradling his head in his hands near the fire. “Oh my god, she is going to be so pissed.”


Snake-in-the-Grass peeks at the bundled form by the fire, then plucks at the musty little wizard’s robes and draws him over behind one of the stalagmites.

“Listen, doc,” he whispers, “I’ve got plenty invested in this mess. What if you just sorta gave me the goods so I could get a head start on things?”

“I understand completely,” Branbildon says, pulling a shimmering purple flask from deep inside a sleeve, “but, of course, I couldn’t possibly hand this over except to a primary signatory on the original quest documentation.”

“Ah, yes,” Snake-in-the-Grass says glumly, “I suppose I see your point.”

Branbildon the Wise-Head

The change in the air is nearly imperceptible. But only nearly. A wizard of Branbildon the Wise-Head’s caliber could pick out the scent immediately—and so he does. He hitches up his robes and begins to trot along the corridor with one hand on his hat and the other frantically tapping at his sabretache.

“Wake up! What are they hiding down here? Goodness, it must be wonderful. Can you feel that?”

The dagger says something Branbildon can’t quite make out so he begins tugging at the pouch straps.

“What? Repeat yourself!”

“It’s bait,” the dagger says, quivering, “you old fool.”

Branbildon the Wise-Head

Branbildon the Wise-Head sits cross-legged on the damp dungeon floor for fifteen minutes considering the dagger that fell out of the goblin’s pack when the rest of it evaporated in his fireball. He thinks he can detect a faint blue glow coming from the blade. And then there’s the matter of the runes.

At least Branbildon figures the black smudges are runes. The light is really terrible down there.

He reaches out a hand, stops and draws it back.

“Hmmm,” he says. “Maybe with the proper grounding…”

“Oh, my god,” the dagger chimes petulantly. “You are the slowest goddamn wizard.”