who in October1979asked,
"Have you readThieves' Worldyet ?"
"You NEED A dagger, caravan master," said the stranger to Samlor hil Samt as he began to bring a
weapon slowly out from under his cloak.
The man hadn't spoken loudly, but there were key words which rang in the air of the Vulgar Unicorn.
Weapon words were almost as sure a way to get attention in this bar as the mention of money.
Conversation stopped or dropped into a lower key; eyes shifted over beer mugs and dice cups.
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Samlor was already in the state of tension which gripped any sane man when he walked into this bar in
the heart of Sanctuary's Maze district. More than the word "dagger" shocked him now, so that his right
hand slipped to the brass pommel and hilt—of nondescript hardwood, plain and serviceable like the man
who carried it—of the long fighting knife in his belt sheath.
At the same time, Samlor's left arm swept behind him to locate and hold his seven-year-old niece Star.
She was with him in this place because there was no place safer for her than beside her mother's
brother… which was almost another way of saying that there is no safety at all in this life.
Almost: because for forty-three years, Samlor hil Samt had managed to do what he thought he had to
do, be damned to the price he paid or the cost to whatever stood between him and duty.
The stranger shouldn't have called him "caravan master."That's what he was, what he had been ever
since he had determined to lift his family from poverty, despite the scorn all his kin heaped on him for
dishonoring Cirdonian nobility by going into trade. But no one in Sanctuary should have recognized
Samlor; and if they did, he and Star were in trouble much deeper than the general miasma of danger
permeating this place.
There were people in Sanctuary who actively wished Samlor dead. That was unusual; not because he'd
lived a life free