So that explains the lockbox and what the rustlers picked up there. I suppose if Roka and company had been at the top of their game, they would have entertained the thought that weaponry might have been there. But it made sense to me that (a) they were looking at this run at face value and thus weren’t on particularly high alert, and (b) they were distracted by the argument between Roka and Bennesaud at the time.

That was deliberate on my part. I wanted to focus on the lockbox as little as possible in that scene; just enough to plant the seed but not enough to call much attention to it. I thought if I jumped right into a big argument between the main characters, that would be compelling and hopefully distract readers from trying to guess what might be in the box.

And for the record, I just love these little moments between Ril and Cember.