Chapter Sixty-Two: Confusion "You thought you knew her. Do you really?" Confusion filled the air as everyone seemed to stare at everyone else in the room. All of the ogres held various misshapen forms of grins, growls and snarls. The woman at the makeshift throne had a white-toothed smile and her long elf ears twitched in amusement watching over the newcomers. The heroes, except for Shayliss, readied their own weapons and watched the movements of the ogres. Shayliss stared directly at Valtyra, confusion clear on her face. Valtyra, did not look back. In fact, it seemed like she did not notice anything about the room at all. Her face was contemplative and smiling. Like a cat on the lap of a favorite owner.
Chapter Sixty-One: War Room "Where else would a war take place?" As soon as the gate was shut, Lotho was kneeling over Shayliss's face. HIs expression was neutral, emotionless, as he looked over her body. Those eyes saw more than it seemed and she could practically see his mind writing down notes.
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.