(note: the Messengers overtly deliver messages, and covertly are a vast intelligence operation. My assumption is that I was never told "hey, the Messengers want you to spy on people" or "the Messengers are ensuring that certain political machinations work out exactly as they intended", so certain parts of what happened are left a little vague under the assumption that Zivilyn didn't "need to know", and as a result he is missing some details)
From the Journal of Zivilyn, Windling Magician: Mawwwwiage
As an adept, some days it is your job to go into some stinking hole and cleanse every abomination in it and just hope you don't get swallowed up in the filth yourself. And some days, you get a job like this one.
Moe, my Illusionist friend, and Icarus, an Adept recently of my acquaintance (I met him at the conclusion of the siege on Grakor) had been asked to provide some extra protection for a marriage of political significance; one that would increase the strength of the ties between House Syrtis, of the T'skrang, and a Niall that had sheltered within Throal. One of Moe's relatives was the groom, which I presume is how he got the assignment. Joining us would be Reyis, who I had also met relatively recently (we traded spells), and Rose, who I have not travelled with in some time. Apparently they wanted some added protection without drawing too much attention to the fact that we were there as hired muscle (figuratively speaking), which means that we were required to enjoy ourselves during the festivities. And we would be getting paid to do it. It really pays to make a few friends in the right place, is all I can say.
Of particular concern for some reason were the flowers. I'm really not too clear on that, but apparently the flowers were really important. Well, at the end of the day, the Shivalahala of Syrtis picked a bouquet for herself right off the ship, so I guess that was something? Maybe T'skrang place some special ritual significance on them or something, which would be pretty nice. Well, anyways, keep an eye out for anyone messing with the flowers, deal with anyone dumb enough to attack the wedding party, and keep an eye out for troublemakers in the wedding party, that was the job.
From the moment we set out, Moe and Icarus seemed to be pretty much expecting someone in the wedding party would be making trouble. We'd barely even left before they started compiling a list of anyone who had recently been added to the hired help. They immediately started getting friendly with the various workers, and found a few people were very recent additions, there was one of the cooks, a couple of hired caravan workers, the assistant to the caravan's supply master, and an alchemist who provided entertainment in the form of sparkling light crystals that he would throw up into the air and then they shattered into pieces to make an interesting scene. Seems like they were taking this pretty seriously, so I figured maybe don't get super drunk. Icarus seems to have thought the opposite, but I'm starting to get the impression that he pretty much runs on alcohol.
Early suspiscions fell on the assistant caravan manager and the alchemist, after I noticed that the caravan manager (Orveni?) was skulking around the camp, and I decided to follow her (discreetly, of course; that's the job, after all). She was headed for where all the cargo was being stored for the night, and ran across the alchemist (Candour?) and they started searching everything in sight. I was thinking of how I might best break this up, when it turns out that Moe and Rose had both been following the alchemist, and made their presence known... there was this creepy, ghostly fog that I think Rose created, that seemed to really set the pair of conspirators on edge. Then Moe came out with some story about hearing something and suspecting bandits. He got in a bit of a squabble with them, insisting that their behaviour was unacceptable (I can't recall what excuse he used off the top of my head, but it was pretty flimsy). They claimed that the alchemist had some of his stuff stolen, and they were looking for it. In the storage area. At midnight. With no lights. And without bringing anything up to any of the guards about any such thing having happened.
Well, Moe suggested that maybe the alchemist should put all his stuff in a tent and he and his friends would guard it (a few of the people around camp knew we were semi-famous Adepts), and when they suggested he go with the alchemist for that, Rose "conveniently" showed up asking about what was going on and offered to help the alchemist get everything settled once he "learned" about what was going on. Meanwhile, Moe insisted that the event planner be told of what was going on (he had befriended the fellow already, otherwise I suspect he wouldn't have felt so strongly about it), and lost his excuse for sticking around when he had to go tell her boss. That was my cue to step in, of course. I conjured up a Moonglow spell and showed up asking what all the ruckus was about, that I had heard someone saying something about bandits, etc. I'm not sure if she was buying it, but honestly, by the time I had shown up, there *was* a ruckus. Of course, being *ever* so helpful, I volunteered to help her look for the alchemist's missing stuff. She sent me off a little ways, but I just checked a few boxes that weren't going to have any stolen alchemical supplies (because I was quite sure there was no such thing) before coming back and saying there were no alchemical supplies, at which point she probably felt like she was being watched (which she was) and decided to go off to bed.
At this point, it was brought up that there was apparently something hidden somewhere in the caravan, and Candour and Orveni were probably searching for it with plans to... well, Moe and Icarus weren't super clear on that, either. Just that it was important that it not happen. Lucky for them they brought along some Windlings. You want to drive someone batty with tricks and distractions? You have come to the right person for the job, friend. Nobody will even think there's anything unusual going on, because everyone "knows" that Windlings are always playing tricks on people. We kept an eye on our suspects and they seemed to be unwilling to skulk around much more, considering how much attention they got the last time they tried it. Moe talked to the event planner (Suvelin?) and got the alchemist replaced (the light show was pretty neat the first time. Less exciting the eighth time. And conveniently, there was a Journeyman Illusionist right there, willing to entertain!), but Orveni was sticking around if he couldn't find a replacement because she was pretty necessary. It might have saved us some trouble if she had been replaced, but that didn't work out for us. Oh well, it turned out quite well for us later on anyways.
In due time we arrived in Sosanopa, where a small fleet of ships awaited us. Our clever leaders quickly decided to pretend like there was something important in places where there was nothing of importance. They made a big fuss about the groom's wedding robe (which the groom insisted had been made too small after he got measured... or, you know, he put on a little weight as a result of constant celebrations. One of those two things probably happened). Anyways, while getting the fit adjusted, they embroidered the hem to look like there was an important message in it (there wasn't, of course), and made like they didn't want Orveni to see it. I parked myself in a convenient corner of the servant's ship (where all the stuff was stored) and pretended to guard a random piece of cargo (chosen for its prime location), where I had an excuse to stay because I had brought Howler with me (which just goes to show you that it was *not* a bad idea to bring a horse-sized wolf to a wedding party). Conveniently, that also meant that Reyis could stick around, and Icarus stuck around too (I suspect he wanted to stay close to the beer kegs, but I didn't *see* him getting drunk). This allowed us to keep an eye on the assistant supply master who, of course, being the assistant, was doing the work while her boss (who I am told only got the job as a result of nepotism) was enjoying the party.
I was told the important thing was on the middle ship, so when Orveni went there and started searching, I suggested to Icarus that it was the perfect time for his (frankly terrible) plan to seduce Orveni. Fortunately, it didn't matter if he succeeded or not, because wow, he was really not good at it. Thankfully, all we really cared about was that he had an excuse to be near her, and when she shot him down and then stormed off, that made it pretty awkward for her to come back and start searching the ship for... well, whatever it was (still not entirely clear on that). The next day, she was searching rooms on the front ship, so maybe the plan with the robe worked out, and the crates I was busy pretending to pretend I wasn't not guarding... or... ermm.. well, whatever, the completely unimportant crates I was sitting near had been disturbed while I was attending a party. I made a point of noticing that they had been disturbed, and skipped a dinner party to watch them, just so she could feel like there was something important there that she had missed. I got lots of practice in basketweaving, which was pretty relaxing seeing as how I hadn't really had to do much except go to the occasional party and keep Howler from biting anyone (a steady diet of leftovers helped with that, although I do worry he'll put on weight if he spends too much time lounging around a riverboat all day).
At some point, it seems that Orveni got desperate (which meant she wasn't finding what she needed). We got to a particular part of the river where she had arranged for us to get attacked by pirates when she lit off a signal using one of the alchemist's sparkly light things, a special one that he had been saving for "the grand finale". It had gone missing earlier, and we unfortunately hadn't been able to track it down. We could've just sent it back to the alchemist no problem if we'd spotted it, since he of course had been let go back in Sosanopa, but I guess they had planned this in an act of desperation. Apparently she was planning to search all three ships while everyone was busy fending off a pirate attack. This was, of course, a terrible plan; all the noncombatants went below decks, for one thing, which makes it hard to not be noticed searching for something when everyone is around you, and let's face it, a small band of pirates were not going to do much against a small fleet of riverboats guarded by Adepts (I say small meaning in comparison to three ship's crews worth of boatsmen, to be clear). The pirates had stretched a chain across the part of the river we were passing through, and pulled it up to stop us in our tracks. Then a bunch of them swam out to attack.
We Adepts held the centre, which is where their leaders charged, while the ship crews fended off the rest of the pirates. The fight was not very long, but quite decisive (I don't know how she planned to search everything in under a minute; I did say it was a terrible plan). I didn't much enjoy the arrow the pirate's archers put in me, and there was a close moment where a huge T'skrang that didn't seem to be much for words nearly squished Reyis before Moe dazed him into next week, but as they were climbing I was able to Invoke a pair of Leopard Spirits to knock two of them back into the water, where they spent a while trying to get to another ship to jump across to ours, and the remaining one got chewed and chopped badly enough that he decided to go for a nice, long, deep, icky swim in the water. In fairness, he certainly figured out the best way to escape; no way was I about the chase him into *that* unless I absolutely had to, and we already had two captives who I was quite certain would be willing to give up their co-conspirator (I mean, we already knew who it was, but it helps to have proof). Orveni was captured while trying to find the important thing in all the wrong places, we brought along the captured pirates to Syrtis and collected a bounty (part of it, that is; obviously, the ships weren't ours, but they did appreciate the help), I am told the pirates we brought in got ransomed back to their Niall, and Orveni gets to spend lots and lots and lots of time working off her fine for piracy, since she doesn't have anyone with deep pockets to ransom her back.
It seems that the troublemakers were from some group that believes Throal should be isolationist. What a bunch of rubbish. Trade and cooperation are how Namegivers work. We form communities so that we can exchange our skills and abilities, forming a combined work that is greater than its parts. A basket made with only one reed could never hold much of anything, but a basket made from many reeds can hold all kinds of useful things, and is a useful tool for making life easier. Even the mighty dragons profit from the exchange of things, although certainly not on the same level or for the same goods as a carpenter or a brewer might. It is this very exchange that Orveni's own vocation depends on, and the exchange of ideas is as important as any other exchange to keep us strong. Throal is strong, but it can be so much stronger if it draws from the well of ideas and talents and skills it is surrounded by.
well, she can learn to appreciate the T'skrang while she's stuck there working off her fine. Perhaps when she comes back, she'll find that she has been changed by her time in the cliff city, and the isolationist fools she spent all her time around will reject her for being too "other". It would serve her right.
(this is the end of the portion that was submitted to the Great Library)
Oh, yes, and serendipitously, while we went ashore to deal with the chain the pirates had drawn up in front of us, I spotted a very fancy amulet gleaming in the grass. One of the pirates must have dropped it when they turned tail and ran. A quick glance in the astral revealed that it is a thread item; what luck! I quickly threw it in my backpack for later investigation. I could definitely use a few more jobs like this; good food, entertainment, getting paid to prank someone until they want to rip their hair out in frustration, *and* a thread item? It can't get much better than that.