the smuggler’s bible


Perceval and Ector de Maris have been whaling on each other all day. Like, really vicious stuff. Just brutal.

"Dude, you are kicking my ass," Perceval says, finally.

"Yeah, you too, man."

"Well, great job because I’m pretty sure you killed me, and now I don’t get to complete my quest."

"Impossible, for it is I who am slain. Don’t tell my brother it was you or he’s gonna—"

Perceval shakes his head. "No. Quit hogging my death scene."

"Whatever," Ector says, voice muffled because of how he’s lying with his face in the dirt. "Big talk from a murderer."


Agravaine pours the wine and leans back in his chair with his boots near the fire. Someone has neglected to clean the chimney properly. Tendrils of smoke slither into the room, making Gawaine’s eyes watery and red.

“He had my back when it mattered,” Gawaine says, grabbing a cup. “He had yours, too.”

“Sure. He’s still an asshole. It’s shameful.”

“Shameful is spreading rumors.”

“No, it’s worse than you realize. I’ve seen—”

Gawaine hurls the wine cup into the fireplace with a clatter and squelching hiss. “Remember the kind deeds,” he says. “Forget all the rest. Keep it to yourself.”


He watches as they come through the city in high spirits, waving their spears and boasting. The crowd shuffles behind them into the tournament ground with a great deal of heavy sighing and melancholy expressions.

Palomides spits into the dirt. “You the guys?” he says.

“We’re the guys.”


Two on one is a chump’s game. Palomides kills Helake on the first pass before the brothers are ready. This leaves him in the less complicated (but arguably tougher) position of having a fair fight against a man who hates him. Thus and so, they start in on the sword work.


They waste a whole day slugging each other senseless before the other guy taps out.

“Fine,” he says, panting. “Fine. You can do the quest. Whatever.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

“Hey, you’re pretty good, though. Lemme guess, you must be, uhm, Lancelot? Maybe Lamorak.” He starts ticking off fingers. “Or else—wait, who’s the other one?”

“I’m Palomides,” Palomides says.

“Oh, okay. Cool. I mean you’re up there too, you know.”

“Thanks.” They stand awkwardly. “Would you mind telling the murderers that I’m here to fight them?”

“Who?” Helius and Helake say in unison. “You’re sure it wasn’t Lancelot?”