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(Part 29) For a complete list of this series, please go here.

Aly stumbled back to the inn after several hours of enjoying Ratchet's night life.  She hummed as she trudged up the stairs to her room.  She slipped into her room, and froze.  Something didn't feel right.  Her heart thumped loudly in her chest as she mentally took inventory of where all of her weapons were.

“No need to panic, Alynedarra,” came a deep voice from the shadows of her room.

She blinked rapidly, her eyes quickly adjusting to the darkness.  She could make out the outline of a hooded figure in the corner near her bed.  She knew that voice…

“Please, sit.  We must discuss your assignment.”

Aly leaned back against the door, sliding to the floor.  What was her boss doing here? Was she taking too long? Was he about to collect on her?

“It's proven more difficult than most of my assignments, it seems,” she answered cautiously.

His cloak and robes rustled in the darkness, “So it appears.  You must tell me what you've learned.  The contractor is getting a bit… edgey.”

“Information has been hard to come by.  She is either dead or really good at hiding, sir,” she said evenly.

A low chuckle rumbled from his throat.  “But difficult information is what I pay you for.  You have yet to fail me.”

Aly bristled at the thought of what failure to deliver on this contract could mean for her.  “My apologies, sir.  I was provided false information and led astray.  That problem as been corrected.  I'm changing my approach.  Do we know where she was last seen?”

“Ah, yes, I think I heard of your problem.  It seems he fell overboard with a rope around his neck while working the docks at Booty Bay.”  He paused, letting his statement sink in.  Aly swallowed hard.  The knowledge this man acquired both terrified and amazed her.  “From what I understand from the contractor, she was from just outside of Silvermoon City.  Like you, I had suspected that she would have distanced herself far from there.”

Aly chewed at her bottom lip.  “Likely to be disorientated…” she said quietly, mulling it over in her head.  A thought came to her, and she spoke up to her boss.  “The assignment stated this woman would be likely to be disorientated.  Perhaps she hasn't gone too far from familiar comforts afterall.”

A soft, greenish glow appeared between his hands, illuminating his eyes as they peered out from under his hood.  “For your sake – and mine – let's hope so.”  And with that, he was gone from the room, having recalled himself to his home by way of his hearthstone.

Aly slumped against the door, letting out an exasperated breath.  Prior to this assignment – this contract – she never had direct contact with her boss in the past 2 years that she's worked for him.  But now, this was the second time in the span of a couple months that he had contacted her in person.

She wasn't liking this one bit.  And his final words? It sounded as though her neck wasn't the only one at risk if she couldn't deliver.  It was times like these that she wished she was still nothing but a freelance mercenary for hire.  He was right though, her specialty always had been information gathering, and she rarely failed to fulfill an assignment.  And in this line of work, one does not merely get fired if their performance slips.

Quickly, Aly sprang up off the floor and began pawing through her room.  She checked her belongings, finding everything accounted for.  She clutched her chest, feeling relieved that she hadn't been stripped of her weapons.  Digging through her pack she located the original orders, rereading them several times.

“I must make my way towards Silvermoon City,” she declared into the night.  It was time for more aggressive searching.  If the contractor said this elven woman was from near there, someone was bound to recognize her, which would make Aly's snooping around that much more risky and dangerous.

A smile crept across Aly's lips.

Risky and dangerous was just the way she liked to work.

* * *

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We are a family of gamers. Mom (Darcy/Syrana) and Dad (Brian/Sideshow) have been gaming for as long as they can remember back when you only had a joystick to use and saved your games to cassette tapes.

They've been gaming together since they met in 2002. Sometime after 2006, they both started playing World of Warcraft and did that for many years. They started this blog, originally called Sideshow & Syrana which has now transitioned to the new Stay-At-Home Gamers site, while keeping all of the original content.

Starting in 2010, two more gamers came along (now known as Princess Boo and Mr. X) and they are now old enough where they both enjoy playing games and watching others play games. They are both excited to have others to watch them play their favorite games. Come along with us and let's enjoy these games together!