Swamped Chapter 36 Page 8

“It is a curse,” you say.

“A curse?”

“How can I put this… our wizards, they sell their magic to the wealthy. Sometimes they offer to destroy a rival. Sometimes they merely make threats. But their ‘magic’, it is not the real thing, not what is in the stories of your wizards. It is the ‘magic’ of having people who will do your bidding silently.”

“Crime bosses, then.”

“That is a way to look at it, yes. And this, this is a curse. A warning. It says that misfortune will come to the person who received the letter, unless the wizard receives his due.”

“A protection racket,” Razor muses. “But one involving a country across the seas. How on earth did they get involved in this…”

“One more thing. Each wizard has a sigil. It is what identifies them, so that the client may pay them without knowing their true name. And so each letter is marked with it.”

You hold it up and point to the scorchmarks where the sigil should be.

Razor scowls.

“So we can’t identify the wizard?”

“More than that. Legend has it that defying the wizard will cause him to burn the sigil. Every wizard I have known has had no such power, of course…”

“But maybe one is the real thing,” Razor says, finishing the thought for you.

“It is hard for me to believe, but…”

“Not for me. Not for anyone on this continent over the age of thirty. We’ve seen real magic with our own eyes.” He pauses. “Thank you for your time, Stinger. You may leave now.”

You consider just leaving. But, this meeting has left you curious about a few things.

Of course, Razor doesn’t much like answering questions. You’ll have to think carefully about what to ask.

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Did they get away? They said they’re starting moonity tomorrow!