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Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce the numair ChroniCles Tempests and Slaughter ? triCkster's duet Trickster's Choice Trickster's Queen ? ProteCtor of the small Quartet First Test Page Squire Lady Knight ? beka CooPer trilogy Terrier Bloodhound Mastiff ? the immortals Quartet Wild Magic Wolf-Speaker Emperor Mage The Realms of the Gods ? the song of the lioness Quartet Alanna: The First Adventure In the Hand of the Goddess The Woman Who Rides Like a Man Lioness Rampant ? Tortall: A Spy's Guide Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales
with Julie holderman, timothy liebe, and megan messinger illustrations by eva widermann Random House New York
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Text copyright ? 2017 by Tamora Pierce LLC Cover art copyright ? 2017 by Velvet Spectrum Interior illustrations copyright ? 2017 by Eva Widermann Map copyright ? 2017 by Isidre Mones All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House Children's Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Random House and the colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC. Visit us on the Web! randomhouseteens.com Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at RHTeachersLibrarians.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request. ISBN 978-0-375-86767-5 (trade) ? ISBN 978-0-375-96767-2 (lib. bdg.) ISBN 978-0-375-89849-5 (ebook) MANUFACTURED IN CHINA 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 First Edition Random House Children's Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.
To Julie, Tim, Megan, Lisa, Judy Gerjuoy (reading this from the Summerlands), Chelsea, Mallory, and the residents of Tortall and its neighbors: my heartfelt thanks and devotion eternal 'T.P. To Tammy, who gave me the opportunity; my fellow writers, who gave me the ride of my life; and my parents, Steve and Evelyn, who taught me I could do whatever I wanted as long as I was willing to work for it 'J.H. To Tamora Pierce, who always asks 'Are you writing'? And in memory of Judy Gerjuoy 'T.L. For Mom and Dad, my first and best reading buddies; Joey, my favorite brother (and not just because it's only the two of us!); and, most of all, everything here is for you, Tammy'there are not words for how you have lifted me up 'M.M.
GTortall reetings, old friends and newcomers to the backstreets of the universe! As the author of eighteen books and quite a few short stories set in the fantasy realm of Tortall and its neighbors, I have been working in this setting since 1976. Fans and friends have often mentioned how much more I know about the universe than I include in my published work. With that in mind, some friends and I have pulled together a Tortallan spy's guide and a mass of notes, as well as bits and pieces of daily life. With the assistance of the editors and artists at Random House Children's Books, we offer you one of the realm's most useful inside views. It provides a very behind-the-scenes look at Tortall's inner workings, in addition to a much-demanded timeline. I hope you have as much fun reading this as we did creating it! So here is Tortall: A Spy's Guide, the contents of a crate that spymaster George Cooper began sorting through on the day he realized he needed the room beside his office for . . . well, you'll see soon enough. It's a never-before-seen look at profiles of people of interest, letters alerting the spymasters to strange goings-on, correspondence, teaching materials, and family papers. With my goodwill and that of my companions,
Letters from the Cooper Family Archives
Coded for the eyes of the Whisper Man ONLY October 14, 466 H.E. From the Sign of the Sheaves, Arenaver Dearest George, Do you remember that time we had together in Blue Harbor back in May? You said we carried on like youngsters. I told you in April I'd fought a mage who guarded a smuggler's crew. He lobbed some manner of sticky magic at me. It got under my armor'you saw the burns on my neck and chest. My ember-stone seemed undamaged, as was that other, special charm I wear, remember? The one I said I should just give up with my Change of Life dancing around me, but we both knew I jested? Then after that battle, as we were shipping the smugglers off to justice, a storm blew up and I forgot the whole thing. I hied myself off to Blue Harbor and you once I got the chance. Right now you are frowning and telling me to stop fluttering and spit out the crab that has got hold of my tongue. I'm pregnant, laddybuck. When I started puking, I looked up Neal, who serves as healer
for Lady Kel at New Haven. (She and Neal send greetings to you.) Neal said I might do as I please with my charm, for it was useless for preventing a pregnancy. That mage had stripped its spell. My ember-stone is unchanged'nothing can touch the Goddess's power. So now I wear my no-fertility charm in that second right-ear piercing you don't like. I think it makes me look piratical. Now pregnantly piratical. I bade farewell to the north. In two days, I will be in Corus. There I have arranged an audience with Their Majesties, where I mean to offer my resignation as King's Champion. Dearest, I am serious this time. When I said I was thinking about it back in May, you laughed, but I was telling the truth. On damp days I need winches in my shoulders so I can get a sword over my head. I love the modified jousting saddle that you had made for me, as it braces my hips and lower back for a long day of riding. But truth to tell, my work needs someone who doesn't creak so much. Now the Goddess gives me as clear a sign as a woman could want. It is time for me to place my sword before Jonathan and Thayet and tell them to find a new Champion. I have no replacement to
recommend, but I am sure the king has been turning possibilities over in his mind for the past decade. Also, I am sure Her Majesty will not object to a change. She's been hinting that I need to retire. Kindly, of course, but she has noticed my winces. Whoever my replacement is, I wish him well. I know it will be a 'him,' but there's naught I can do about that. Lady Kel has made it clear that she is too sane for the work that I have done, and the more recent girls have yet to obtain their shields. Once that is over, I will come home to my patient, forbearing lover and have our child. And this time I mean to stay home. I won't do as I did with the twins and Thom, leaving them to you and our servants to raise. I mean to help with this one. (The midwife promises it's only one this time.) That's fair. It was my carelessness in not examining my charm that has presented us with this newest token of the Goddess's favor. I do not know how long Their Majesties intend to keep me in the capital. Not very long, I think. And then I will make my way to you somehow. I would like to say I will ride, but the way things are going, I believe any healers I talk to will order me to take ship to the Swoop. Pray for good
weather, I beg. It is so unromantic to come home while puking over the rail. I would apologize for the new token of our affection, but I remember how you always teased that you would be happy for more children. I also remember that when you tease you often speak the truth. So here I come, my belly leading the way, to fulfill your wish just a little. With all my love, and a new hatchling in my nest, Alanna
November 20, 466 H.E. To Thom of Trebond School of Mages The Royal University Corus, Tortall From George Cooper, Baron Pirate's Swoop Tortall Dear Thom, I am glad to read that you will be coming home for Midwinter Festival. It will cheer your mother, who is already starting to show her condition. I've also invited your grandfather and grandmother to stay, so we shall manage to amuse ourselves pretty well, I think. In fact, since they are coming, why don't you ride with them? They will be journeying with other travelers through the Royal Forest, but I know they will enjoy your company, and you will be safer. You would also be doing your parents a favor if you would buy a pound or two of orange and anise tea, which your mother is drinking by the bucket, and candied oranges and limes, which she yearns for and we cannot get. Ask your grandfather for decoded
sufficient coin and tell him I will repay him when I see him. Buy yourself a good meal or two while you are about it. Do you remember the room next to my office? The one where you children stayed when you were small, so I could mind you while your nurse helped about the fief? You told me it was a danger of fire with all the crates of old papers I stored in there once you three got too big for it. I think that your ma's vow to stay home with this baby will last as long as winter, and I'll need the old room again. I've been cleaning it out and reading some of what's in those crates. Strange to find so many reminders of how it was in those first days, when Their Majesties were deciding how they should rule and your grandfather Myles, John Juggler, and I were thrashing out the beginnings of the Shadow Service. Should I save the lessons you boys and your sister wrote, to show your children one day? Your mother and I look forward to seeing you and hearing about your studies. Remember to wrap up well on your way through the forest. The winter there is a harsh one. Your loving father, George
Becoming a Spy
Marked for Fast Passage To the Whisper Man September 21, 448 To the Whisper Man From Evin Larse / Callum Larse The village of Dowling Falls, near Fief Sinthya Sir, Forgive me for stealing my dad's spy device, but I've been writing code for him to send you since I was ten, so I knew that much of your business already. The thing is, I think there's a problem here, and Da says I have too much imagination, even though he's the one that taught me a Player can't have too much imagination. Company Larse & Quill has been playing the Whitethorn Valley all summer. Mostly business is good, and there's been plenty of coin in the cap, if not so much tasty news to send along to you. Presently we're settled here in Dowling Falls. It serves two good-sized temples, a big market, and it's a crossroads to the fiefdoms of Sinthya, Nond, Fickle Lynn, and Ketan, as well as the Great Roads East and West. There's something going on at Sinthya. More decoded
10 merchants? wagons take the road there than to any of the other fiefs. (My da says they could be bound for Ketan or Fickle Lynn, but I follow as many of them as I can, and they all go through Sinthya's gate.) And when the road is muddy these wagons sink deep. I was curious and had a look. The baskets hide locked wooden boxes. Some of them are magicked, too. Men are taking the road to Sinthya as well, with the wagons or on horseback. They're hard types who drink little, keep to themselves, and ride armed. Some wear chain vests or leather jerkins with metal rings sewn to them. Almost all of them have sword or knife scars. Da says I make a whole loaf from pigeon crumbs. I think Sinthya plots war with his neighbors, or rebellion. Tell me what I must do, please. Evin Larse 1) Put in a word with Thayet and Sarge to have a spot kept open for Evin Larse in next year's recruit class for the Queen's Riders. See how the lad does with them. 2) Write young Evin and tell him to continue to report on events at Fief Sinthya. 3) Write Callum Larse and ask him to remain in the area for the winter, keeping eyes and ears open. Send him a decentsized purse so he and his people don't lose by it. 4) Have our Nursemaid in Dowling Falls bribe both temples to have the Players perform over the winter holidays. 5) Advise the army to have troops ready to move in the spring.
11 A Workbook for a Young Spy For my dearest daughter, Aly, here is the answer to all those questions you've been asking! Now that you are entering my service, you must learn to obey me as your chief. Only ask spying questions when no one else will hear, just as you swore in your oath to me. 'Da, the Whisper Man A warrior walks so everyone knows she is there. No one knows the spy is there. A warrior seems to do everything. A spy seems to do nothing. A warrior fights whenever she can. A spy fights only as a last resort. A warrior wins fame. A spy who wins fame is dead.
12 Appearance Disguises are overrated. They encourage a spy to skulk, which draws attention. Folk notice a person who tries to be sneaky. Walk and act like you belong. Changing your walk or the way you stand is often a better disguise than a wig and an eye patch. Put something in your shoe, like a pebble. Yes, it will hurt. It will also give you a limp and make you favor that foot as you stand. It will change your entire shape. Folk might look at you and say, 'Well, she resembles that lass or that lad, but it's not her.' A pebble in the mouth changes the shape of the cheek in the same way. Remember how it feels to have an aching tooth. Favor that side. Keep a hand to it, or a scarf. That will redden your face. Folk will think you're someone else. Put snarls and dirt or grease in your hair. Be sure your nails are dirty. Grime in your teeth, or black wax, is helpful. Smear dirt or soot on face and hands. Grab a basket or armful of folded laundry, or a bottle of polish and smelly rags, and you become nearly invisible. A servant's clothes or the clothes of someone desperately poor are the best disguises in most places. Folk don't like to look at the truly poor, and servants are for ordering about. If you're clothed cheap, put on cheap shoes or take yours off. In such disguises, answer all those better dressed than you as 'sir? or 'my lord? or 'mistress? or 'my lady? and look at the ground. Those that have no coin don't meet the eyes of those as do. Don't talk. Take orders even if those giving them have no right to give them,
13 and scuttle off right quick. Never argue. The robes of novices are good disguises for the same reason'folk only see the robe'but I don't like them. The first priestess you encounter will want to know your temple and she'll quiz you on the rites. You will be wanted to do the things your order requires, and others of that order will know you aren't truly one of theirs. It's too risky. Also, there's the chance the god will take offense. Poor folk and servants don't walk the center of the way like they own it. They walk to the sides. They slouch unless they are upper servants, who imitate their masters. Practice your slouch with a milkmaid's yoke on your shoulders, or the yoke used by stable lads and kitchen servants as they fetch water. Fetch milk and water while you are at it. Practice is good for you. Remember, do not wear a disguise. Be it. You are not dressed up as a Player. You are a Player. You live three-quarters of the year on the road, bathe in streams, go barefoot, pass the hat, mend costumes, and do what your elders tell you. Know the names of your family, the company you travel with, and the towns and fiefdoms you've performed at. Speak with Evin Larse and the Players who visit us. If your disguise is that of a one-eyed fisher girl seeking work in a small village, think yourself into believing you see naught with that eye. Busy yourself with boning fish and mending nets. Let the folk in our own fishing village teach you how it's done. Memorize the kinds of fish, the folk of the village, the headman's name, and
14 the names of the lord and his family. If you've a story? you're a runaway, a farmer, a palace maid, you're from Blue Harbor'make sure it's a whole one, with all the details close to hand. It's the difference between a successful lie and getting caught. Make as much of it the truth as possible. That way there's less for you to remember. Know it all like it's yours, for your very life may depend on it. A beggar's disguise is best for all-around usefulness. Except for the richest neighborhoods, beggars go everywhere. Even in the richest places they can be seen at the rear gates. A bit of damp bread mashed with honey set like boils on the face, legs, and arms to draw flies, as well as filthy rags, a battered crutch and a bandaged leg (also good to hide an extra blade, or a silver coin or two for bribes), a bowl or cup, and you can wander and sit anywhere without anyone to look at you twice. (The nastier the boils, the less they'll look, even as they toss a coin in your bowl.) You'll have to pay the Rogue's chief for the area where you set up, and be sure to give half your earnings to Somal, the beggar's god, for the families of them that are truly hurt. Somal is kind as long as real beggars benefit.
15 At night no one in the cheap drinking houses will blink if you put down a coin for a bowl of soup or pay a lad to fetch you one from a better food seller. While you nurse your meal, all around you will talk. So will those who see you every day. Shopkeepers and their folk are often glad of a listening ear. Servants wanting a rest will ask for the day's news. Ask the right questions of such folk and you have informants soon enough. Talk and Informants Know the accent and the words that go with your disguise. If your guise comes from Frasrlund, don't talk as if you come from Port Caynn. The two don't sound the same. Don't claim to be a Bazhir if you can't speak their tongue well. Best of all, talk as little as you can. Being in the Shadow Service of spies, you know all manner of secret things. You can't get in trouble when you hold your tongue. Good listeners live longer and learn a great deal. True, it's hard to keep quiet when you know more than the folk you're with! Keep quiet anyway. No one expects a woman busy at her chores to pay attention to what's being said around her. Never mind if a man's mother and sisters show they heard everything while they stitched or kneaded. He'll still think a woman saves all her thought for work. You're a far better spy mopping the floor than clanking with daggers. In Carthak and the west beyond Maren, there is no
16 better informant than a slave. No one notices them. They may go anywhere and look into anything if they are careful. Disguised as a slave, you may ask questions that would be suspicious coming from others. Everyone believes a slave is stupid, even given evidence he is not. At court, listen to how folk talk to Their Majesties and to each other. Nobles shower royalty with compliments, asking after the princes and princesses and praising Their Majesties on the fine work they do for the kingdom. Then listen to the way your quarry speaks of Their Majesties to their friends. I will wager you a month's allowance that they do not speak of Their Majesties and Their Highnesses in nearly the same way as when they are facing them. This is true of most folk who want to keep their positions, and their heads. We listen to servants and to nobles alike. Then we decide what is simply malice and what is danger to the realm. Folk will always try to make themselves look wise or clever to a newcomer or a pretty girl. They will pretend to be important by giving away secrets if a spy asks the right questions. Rascals will tell you all manner of fine things to get you to give them kisses and more. There's many a fellow who will try to bed a lass who appears interested as she gets him to talk. And mind yourself carefully, as any woman spy must. The least of us can make a slip of our own in the arms of a lover. Best not to take one. There will be times when you will hear things that you don't like. Things offensive to Their Majesties, who
17 are your godsparents, to your ma or da, or to your friends. Ignore the offense if you wish to enter the Shadow Service. Should you ever give away to strangers that you've been eavesdropping, I shall be forced to drop you from my roll of young spies. A good one never shows that she's heard anything. Talk it over with me, if you like. I'm your spymaster, after all. But you can't be losing your temper over what you hear, or you'll never be good at this. Suspicious Folk You have the Sight. It shows you when someone is lying, but don't rely on it. Learn the signs of a liar. Does that person blink or look away as he talks? He's lying. Even folk who don't know what they're looking at sense it when people are being dodgy. The twitch at the corner of the mouth and a look-away glance serve as alarm bells. That's why it's important for you to meet someone's gaze, unless you play the servant and need to look down. Another giveaway is too many protests that the speaker is dishing out the truth. The saying 'the truth speaks for itself? means just that. Folk who tell the truth don't think they must keep repeating it. It's the truth'it's obvious. Only liars tell it over and over, trying to hammer their lie into others? minds. I'll say it until your ears turn blue. Silence is better than talk. If you don't listen, you can't hear the little breaks in the voice that could mean a lie, a sorrow, or something left out. If you don't listen, you won't hear
18 those few words from the quiet folk who know more than all the braggarts. If someone joins your group who's jolly and friendly, always has coin to buy others food or a drink, or friends who can find just the right weapon, spell, or horse in a pinch? The kind of lad or lass that you just want to trust and confide your secrets to? Get rid of him. Like as not, that's the one hired by your enemies. That one will get inside your group and turn you all in to the magistrate once they've gathered'or planted'enough evidence to put a noose around your necks. If you're asked to join a conspiracy that's run by someone like this? Run. That conspiracy is set up by a spymaster to be used against his enemies, sometimes to build a conspiracy where none existed before. To prove a king has enemies in order that his magistrates may lay down harsh laws or put a popular noble's head on the chopping block. False conspiracies can be used to justify higher taxes and civil wars. And again, keep your eye on those quiet ones who are overlooked by the rest. They see more than they tell, and they think more than they talk. You want them for your friends, in case they've noticed something you haven't. You don't want them asking questions about you. Danger'Magic Essence spells are the main things we spies must worry about. We carry our essences everywhere, in our
19 skin, hair, and nails. All we touch picks up some of our essence. The longer we touch things, the more essence we place on them. This is also true if our feelings are on the boil, if we're ill, or if we're hurt'anything that makes us sweat. This is why spies and Provost's Guards alike value things like clothing someone has worn. Mages can use that clothing to draw the essence out and work a spell. Wear the silk gloves and stockings I gave you'they will hold your essence inside them. If you don't have them about you, pick items up with a bit of cloth. Leave nothing behind. If you can't take something with your essence on it, burn the thing or sink it in deep water. That will carry your essence away. Luckily essence mages are rare, but there's no use in taking chances. Magic draws magic. Wear no charms or amulets unless they've been given to you by a god. If that happens, mages will notice you have it and try to find you by tracking it, but it's to be hoped the god will help look after you. Sneaking Before you enter a room, look at the doorsill (or windowsills if you go that way). Suspicious folk often place a line of chalk or flour where someone might step or place a hand, to reveal that someone has entered the room. Do not disturb it. Check the doorframe for hairs placed across the crack or splinters of wood stuck inside it. (Canny folk who know the game may use two or three splinters of
20 wood.) Put these things back just where you found them when you leave. Use them in your own rooms, on doorand windowsills. Such precautions can gain a spy hours? or days? worth of time to escape pursuers. Check also for places to hide. Look behind curtains and tapestries for nooks, window embrasures, and balconies. Don't hide beneath a desk. Oftentimes when folk come into a room, one of them will sit there. Find a second way out, and a third. If you have no rope and might need to leave through a window, see if you can readily cut or tear curtains or tapestries to provide yourself with one. Remember the servants? stair in a castle, a costly house, or an expensive inn. Remember the city's rooftops. Southern cities, with their flat roofs, are a spy's dream. Remember castle privies, which empty into the moats. The smell is not so pleasant, nor the feel, but better that than torture and death. In a chase, always keep in mind, folk seldom look up. You are better off in a tree or on a roof than in a shed or behind a woodpile. Fools say that if you run up or down the waters of a stream, hounds cannot track you. This is claptrap. Hounds, particularly good ones, can catch your scent above water. You're better off on stone or finding a river or lake you can swim. If you're in a thick wood, get into the boughs and go from tree to tree. Scent rises, a mage once told me. A hound may track you to a tree, but if you are ten or twenty trees away, he cannot follow. Stop as soon as you are able and wait. Your pursuers may return to where they lost you to cast about again.
21 Many a runaway has been caught when he came down from his tree too soon. Speaking of hounds, if you enter the grounds of house or temple, bring a treat for them. If you like dogs, and I know you do, dose your treat with a sleep potion instead of poison. Most shops that sell to dog owners carry potions to keep a dog in slumber when his thrashing might put a wound or broken bone in danger. If you work with one who dislikes dogs, remind him there's more than one god that likes them and will take it poorly if he uses poison. Worse, at least in Tortall, there's the Wildmage. She's not as reasonable as most gods. Stay clear of chickens and geese. Both are noisy and, as you know all too well, geese will attack. Think how red your face will be when you must tell your spymaster you were driven off by geese. Wear dark clothes and soft shoes when you search a sleeping house. Darken your skin. Step on stone or rugs where you can. Take care at each joining of corridors to listen for movement. Retreat before you go ahead if you are
22 in doubt. Remember a spy's first task, to go unseen and unheard. Protecting Yourself Get in the habit of making your room secure, preparing it for your safety. Arrange your weapons so that they are between you and the windows and the doors. Start with blades beneath your pillow and your bed. Don't forget to add any weapons that came with the room. If there are weapons on the walls, make sure right off if you can pull them from the walls and out of any sheaths they may have. Even if it's dull as ditch water, a blade can be used as a club. Be sure you can reach all of your weapons easily in the dark. When traveling, try to get a room that grants escape through a window. To make a room safer, move any heavy furniture to block the door, even if you must use your bed. Pile things before the window so any who enter there will make enough noise to wake you. If you are offered a room with no window, consider sleeping in the stables. If your mask is that of a beggar, stable or barn is the only place you will be allowed to sleep anyway. Never take wine or anything that will make you sleep soundly in a place that is not Pirate's Swoop. Wherever you are, make it a habit to spot the things you can use as weapons. Indoors you have furniture, metalware, stoneware, and hangings to throw over an
23 attacker's head. Outdoors stones are almost always at hand. On town streets, the sticks used to prop awnings can serve as staffs. If a gang comes after you, is there a cartload of vegetables or barrels you can push into its way? Herds of animals and folk on horseback are good distractions. Ropes can entangle pursuers or be used to tie them up. In a marketplace, if you sense you are followed, find a seller of bright-polished silver or brassware, or a seller of well-polished swords and daggers. Angle the polished metal so that, in appearing to admire it, you will see what is over your shoulder reflected in the blade. Does someone eye you? Does someone too quickly pretend to be looking over a seller's goods? Did someone duck into a shop? Walk on a way and check behind you again to see if that person is still there. To lose a follower, know that every shop, stable, eating house, guard station, temple, warehouse, and tavern has more than one door. Enter there, duck down through the crowd, and escape through the back way. Tell the muscle lads who guard the tavern, the Provost's Guards on watch, or any clutch of brave sailors that a pursuer has frightened you, and point him out. Or, if you are working, tuck yourself into a back-alley doorway with blade in hand, single out a likely-looking pursuer, let him go by just a little bit, get your arm around his neck, tickle his ribs with the blade, and ask what he means by dogging you. Do not pop out right off if you don't see him when you expect
24 to. Listen. He might be breathing just on the other side of your doorframe. If you are in a place for more than a day, I expect you to know the best spots to dodge pursuit, eye anyone suspicious, and get information on them. Fighting Don't ever let your poor old da hear of you trying to fight straight up with a knight, a soldier, even an ordinary tavern brawler, or I'll be forced to disown you. Fighting is not a spy's job. We listen. We read documents. We code and break code. We run. We collect and pass on information. We need to be alive to do that. When we fight, unless it's to escape, we betray our duty to our spymasters. So. If you're cornered by a big muscly fellow with a grin on his face, you throw dirt, perfume, or vinegar in his eyes and you run. Of course, it's not always so easy. Remember the main targets on an enemy. Eye. Throat. Manhood, unless you deal with a woman. She won't like a blow there, either. If you wear boots or shoes with heels, strike the foot. The arch is best, but those tiny toes break well, too. And then, when your foe
25 is on his knees? Kick him down and run. It doesn't matter if you can beat him to a pulp right then or no. An injured spy'and you'll get hurt in a fight'is no good to anyone, so no fighting more than you must! Practice running. Other Tender Spots Should an enemy seize you and fail to let go: Grip a finger'any will do, but the little finger is best'and bend it back. Your captor should scream in pain and release you before you break it. If he doesn't free you, break it. He'll release you. Run. See the pale half-moon'the Mother's Mark'at the base of most people's fingernails? Take your thumbnail (this is why mine are my thickest and strongest nails) and thrust it into your foe's Mother's Mark until your captor screams in pain and releases you. Run. Seize your captor's hand, and bend it forward on his wrist as far as it will go. Grip it in that position so he cannot free himself. You can force him to his knees in this manner. Make him swear'before you cripple the arm for life'on his soul, by Mithros, not to chase you. If he breaks that oath, he'll have worse problems in this world than catching you. Run. Seize your foe's arm. Twist it behind his back. Grip the elbow and thrust it up along his back toward his neck. This puts hard pressure on his wrist, if you still hold it, and his elbow. If you push hard, you can break the arm.
26 Finish as I suggest for the move above. Run. If you are at court, the pretty Yamani fans newly come into fashion serve as weapons. Folded, they make a fine jabbing stick. There is a special Yamani fan made of razor-sharp steel, but you need special training in its use. Also, they are made only in the Yamani Islands. I think a certain young lady will have to be very good at her work if she would like her da to get her one for Midwinter! Don't forget the pins that hold a lady's veils and hair in place, or brooch pins. They can be very discouraging to a foe. There's little room in a gown's tight-fitting sleeves for blades, though Her Majesty says that new fashions are leaning to a wider sleeve. Your ma would be happy to teach you some of what she knows, if you were to ask. It's a different way of fighting than a spy's, but she's learned some wicked tricks in her travels. Give her a chance. One More Thing Gather it all, young spy, but tell it only to your spymaster. No one else. Secrets are power. They're the only coin that matters, so let us hoard ours!
27 April 23, 459 H.E. Personal report of agent apprentice Birdsong Concerning the events of April 21, 459 H.E. In the city of Pearlmouth, Tortall At noon on the 21st of April, I was informed by my father the Whisper Man that I was to have the chance to watch a trade of money for information in a private room at a public house in this city. (I have been ordered not to write down the name or the street of the meeting place.) I put on the brown dress, white apron, and cap of a maidservant and wore it under a cloak. Then I followed the Whisper Man from the inn where we lodged to the public house at six of the clock, three hours in advance of the meeting. The Whisper Man bought a room on the same floor as the one in which our true meeting was to take place. Once there, the Whisper Man ordered a meal and a bottle of wine. When these things decoder's note: Birdsong/ Alianne of Pirate's Swoop is but 12 years of age at this writing.
28 came, he ordered the servants not to disturb us and locked our door. He then opened the window. We had already inspected the building. The outside stonework is very old, with many gaps to serve as handand toeholds. We used them to climb to the room where the Whisper Man was to meet his informants. The shutters were open, so we entered it easily. There was a main room with a table, four chairs, hearth (there was no fire in the hearth, the day being mild), and a small bedchamber. The opening to the bedroom was covered by a tapestry that reached from near the ceiling to the floor. I hid myself behind it, standing back far enough that my shoes did not show. While I waited, the Whisper Man sat at the table and wrote in his records book in code. He could hear if I fidgeted or sat to ease my aching ankles or sighed or cursed because I had to stand for so long or moved to sit on the bed. I did none of these things. I told him that I am ready to go into the field and I swore I was going to prove I was right. My biggest dream is to be a field agent! Instead of fussing, I relaxed and let my mind rest, even though my ankles and knees did ache quite fiercely.
29 The clock struck nine, the hour for the meet, yet the agent code-named Rushpipe did not come. I began to think wickedly of various tortures from my books that I might use on him in the name of my ankles. At last I heard the innkeeper's keys, and then the opening of the door. 'I have not seen another man, sir,' I heard the innkeeper say. He must have been talking to someone else. No one calls the Whisper Man 'sir? unless he wears his noble's gear. 'I am sure he will be'you! This is not your room!' 'You must forgive my little trick in changing,' the Whisper Man said. 'I am a cautious fellow.' 'It is well enough, innkeeper.' That was a stranger's voice. I supposed it belonged to Rushpipe. 'Leave us.' I heard the clink of coins and the sound of footsteps. The noises were confusing. I soon learned it was because while I heard the innkeeper go, Rushpipe had come into the room with two other fellows. The Whisper Man said, 'Rushpipe, our business is private. Send those two away.' Rushpipe answered, 'I trust my friends.' The Whisper Man said, 'I do not. They may leave.'
30 Rushpipe replied, 'They are coming with us'it will do you no good to struggle!' The Whisper Man did not cry out, but he did not have to. I heard the bang as his chair fell over. I thrust my hands through the slits in my skirt seams and drew my daggers as I peered out from behind the tapestry. My The Whisper Man struggled with two big men while a third watched. The backs of all three strangers were to me. I came out of the tapestry right behind the closest man and stabbed him in the kidneys as I had been taught. When he went down, one of the big fellows released the Whisper Man and turned on me. He had a set of shackles in his hand that he plainly meant to use on the Whisper Man. As he turned, my companion kicked his feet from under him. The shackle-bearer fell straight into the fireless hearth so hard that he cracked his head on the stones. He did not move. The third man hurled a knife at me. I dropped to the ground and rolled under the table. I cut his hamstrings, but the Whisper Man also did something to him that I didn't see. That was what finished him off. We left by climbing down the outside of the
31 public house, keeping to the shadows. We returned to the inn where we had been staying. There we gathered our belongings and horses. Disguised as a merchant and his son, we crossed the town by way of backstreets to one of the Whisper Man's safe houses. April 23, There, Da! Is that a good report? All it needs is proper coding. I thought you wouldn't want me putting in how we hugged each other and all. Aly
32 May 17, 459 H.E. By the hand and personal cypher of Baron Sir Myles of Olau To the Whisper Man George, One of my frequent correspondents from Pearlmouth wrote to me of a peculiar event that took place at his establishment on April 23: the killing of three men of Tusaine, apparently by a merchant of some kind. The merchant appears to have vanished. So too has his companion, a maidservant in her early teens. His descriptions of man and girl were very thorough. Truly, George, can you do nothing with your nose? It is unmistakable in combination with your eyes. The girl, of course, is equally identifiable to one who knows her well. What wicked god possessed you to take my only granddaughter into that situation? Even if she were not actually present when trouble broke out, what would she have done had you been captured or killed? I know that you say she has a talent for our
work, but she has not been raised in the streets as you were. To risk her well-being in a venture such as the one my innkeeper friend described to me, with three men left dead in a pool of blood . . . I am deeply distressed, George. I tremble to think what either of our wives would do if they knew of it! Certainly I shall not be daft enough to tell them. I demand that you cease to risk Aly in fieldwork at once as the price for my silence. Truly, I am furious that you showed such an appalling lack of judgment. Myles
34 May 23, 459 H.E. By the hand and personal cypher of the Whisper Man To Baron Sir Myles of Olau Myles, forgive me. Indeed, you've said naught to me that I have not already said to myself. I deserved what you say and more. My only explanation'it's no excuse, for there is none'is that I am so giddy with my girl's skills at the Great Work that I lost my head. I shall not do so again. She does not know it yet, but I mean to keep her at coding and decoding correspondence from here on out. It is a waste, but better a waste of her talent than her precious life. I swear, I had no reason to think Rushpipe had turned when I brought Aly to that cursed meeting. He was a steady source of good information for over ten years for me as thief and spy. I've had him checked, double-checked, and approved by John Juggler's Falcons every two years, according to agreed-upon procedure. Before you suggest it, I already told John Juggler to upend the Tusaine organization and inspect everyone in it from top to toe due to this. If
35 my girl hadn't been there, I would have said it was a stroke of luck that gave away the rot in that setup. Of course, if she hadn't been there, like as not I would be dead. They caught me cold, Myles. She saved my life. Be that as it may, I have been burning frankincense to Mithros, the Goddess, and Trickster that our wives never learn of this. Your rueful son-in-law, George
36 Written in a shifting-character code developed by Numair Salmal'n, from Sir Myles's office at the Chancellory of Information in the palace at Corus, to Baron George Cooper's residence at Pirate's Swoop Day After Awakening, 466 H.E. To my lord Baron George of Pirate's Swoop From Baron Myles of Barony Olau With regard to Evin Larse's Overview to the Royal Tortallan Shadow Service Guide My dear George, I have just read Evin's initial writing of the Overview, and I have some concerns. Do you not think Evin's approach is rather slapdash? Surely he ought to take a more serious approach to a business in which people easily lose their lives. Please don't misunderstand me. I like Evin. I trust him implicitly as our Chief Falcon. His style of operation works very well for those field Agents you've taken to calling Hostlers. I admit, reluctantly, that he gives them the 'dash? it needs to appeal to the kind of superior'and chance-taking'talent in
37 our ranks. A sharper Shadow Service will enable us to pull ahead of the very excellent Tyran, Marenite, and Yamani services. Until we improve the quality of our own Agents, we will continue to be the recipients of nasty surprises like the recent Carthaki invasions. However, must he be so casual? Ours is a serious business, something Evin knows perfectly well. He writes as though he's unaware that we have lost more Agents to the Marenites than we have lost knights to the Scanrans! Eleni and I send our warmest love to you, to my (again!) pregnant daughter (how in the Mother's Holy Name did you get Alanna with child at her age'), and to our grandchildren, Myles