EIGHT In the world of espionage, a solid cover story is the most important defense an operative has at their disposal. James Bond's main cover was a businessman for Universal Exports, a reasonable profession for someone jetting all over the world. George Smiley, when not pulling strings in the shadows, was known to have taught university courses on his beloved German literature as he looked for potential recruits. Real-life spies have posed as everything from students to doctors, engineers to farmhands. It's far easier -and safer- to obtain information when the person doing the inquiry appears as though they belong. Baroness had always found education and writing to be the most useful of cover stories, and it wasn't exactly a lie. She was a university student during her first, short-lived forays into intelligence, and she did, on occasion, still teach, although since RivalCast had expanded to full-time operations that mantle had been mostly passed to her able protege and assistant editor, Miggnor. And of course, her writing work was well-established. Whatever story she said she was covering, she did actually write, which helped tremendously with her credibility. It allowed for reasonable access to the widest range of targets, without having to come up with special reasons. "I'm writing an article about X and was hoping to get some expert input" was usually enough to get her in the door, and if not, she found a little charm went a long way.
Chapter Sixty: Gate "They must not pass!" The courtyard smelled worse than it looked. Burning orge met with various other smells to create a wall of odor that Shayliss only thought possible in barn fires. While Sandpoint was not quite farmland, she had lived near the stables long enough to get an idea of what that kind of situation would smell like.
Chapter Fifty-Nine: Fort Rannick "The fort may be broken, but it still stands. We just have to take it back." The fort had been severely damaged in the ogre's attack on it. A gigantic hole was smashed in the south wall, debris piled all over the area ignored for about a month. The towers were unoccupied and various walls of the multi-story fort itself were bashed in. Shadows crossed through these walls, shown by the candles and torches lighting the rooms. But the worst of what could be seen was in the courtyard.
SEVEN (Part 1) "Vampy, meeting in ten," Varyar said as he poked his head into her office. "'Kay. I might be a minute." Buried in catalogs and busily scribbling notes, Vampy glanced up at the clock on her wall. It read exactly ten minutes to nine. "Wait, since when do you show up to meetings before 9:08?"