the smuggler’s bible

Balan le Savage

“So I’ve got my boot on this guy’s chest, fists around the lance, trying to twist the stubborn fucker out of his rib-cage.”

“Uh huh.”

“When his girlfriend runs out of the woods and—no kidding—doesn’t look around for two seconds before slicing herself open.”

“You mean on purpose?”

“On purpose!” Balin says. He tips his helmet back and shrugs. “What a mess. I swear to god some days the bodies just won’t quit piling up.”

Balan gives his brother a hug. “Cheer up, buddy,” he says. “And tell me about this new look. Two swords?”

“Pretty bitchin’, right?”

Lanceor, knight of Ireland

Lanceor hits the road hard and catches up with Balin just before sundown. He finds the traitor waiting at the crest of a hill.

“You should have stayed home, kid. Plenty of guys get killed doing what they think is right.”

Lanceor spits and drops his visor. “Stop talking and put your shield up—or don’t. Doesn’t matter either way.”

“Killing me won’t bring her back,” Balin says, sighing.

“Ain’t that a damn shame.” Lanceor swings his spear around and gives his horse a kick. The rush of blood in his ears marks the first of his last six heartbeats.

Balin le Savage

Balin is the last to give it a shot, but he pulls the sword out of the scabbard and he makes it look easy. It’s amazing the things some people consider witchcraft these days.

“I guess I kinda didn’t expect anybody to get it,” the dame running the show says.

“Yeah, it’s just a trick. You gotta draw it with your left—”

“I know how it works. Now, give it back before life unpacks some serious consequences.”

“Lady, is that a threat?” Balin says.

He keeps the sword, and he lives long enough to regret it—but only just.