While riders and dragons are trained in combat, they do not specialize in it. Jafari dragons can acquire an elemental breath or spit useful in combat, if necessary. Their ability to swim and change their scale color as camouflage is useful in evasion, though wearing messenger bags limit the effectiveness of these abilities. Intermediaries are extreme travelers, and are heavily trained and tested in Astrology and other navigation methods. Riders are preferably small-bodied and light to minimize the load their dragons bear. Some useful and sought-after traits of intermediaries and their dragons include independence, wit, efficiency, decisiveness, swiftness, organization, wisdom, responsibility, and good communication.
Communication is key for intermediaries. The class makes sure that every one of their students and mentors are as up-to-date as possible with current events and schedules. Intermediaries are able to communicate so many different things to so many different people. Information on the status of mail delivery, updates on casualties in war, missing person reports, and requests for additional back-up to be sent are only some of the incredibly useful messages that can be sent through the network of the intermediaries. Crucial messages like these are sent through an electronic alert system that is broadcast through the air by means of a particular "radio" frequency that all the Jafari are able to pick up on and share telepathically with their rider, no matter the distance from each other. It's as if each intermediary member had a built-in walkie-talkie. These messages are also displayed as text alerts on digital screens placed in certain locations in Evercrest for those who can't connect to the intermediary radio frequencies.
Every Intermediary performs these tasks when needed. Intermediaries act as messengers, escorts, and humanitarians. As messengers, they deliver mail (letters and packages) throughout Alksheist, and they transport supplies such as food, weapons, and medical aid to troops and villages in need. Escorts accopany Couriers, Crusaders, Vanguards, and Monarchy in travels when needed. They also escort trade caravans and cargo ships, acting as protectors and guides. In their role as humanitarians, Intermediaries assemble emergy response and rescue teams to aid villages in the event of a natural disaster or attack. They also organize food and clothing drives for the needy.
The Intermediary class of Evercrest advocates for a free mailing system for every denizen of Alksheist. For political reasons, Lexelle and Zann are excluded from intermediary services, but most other countries are included. All participating villages are equipped with a "post office", usually called a drop-off center. This is a small, public building where civilians can label and drop letters and packages off in their proper storage compartments on one side of the building or pick up mail on the other side.
Intermediaries run rounds, which are mail routes including several villages and cities, typically assigned by mentors and confined to one country. Duty begins with whatever village they are told to begin their rounds at. Intermediaries land at the drop-off center and begin to sort the mail according to a carefully planned out system. They take what they can carry to the next stop on the round, drop off letters, sort mail, and take what they can carry to the next stop, repeating the process until all mail has been delivered. This process is very back-and-forth and can be very overwhelming if not done with proper contemplation and organization.
Large countries are divided into several rounds named for their direction (west, southwest, south, etc.), and an effort is made to ensure that all rounds are similar in time and distance. This avoids unnecessary expenditure, and keeps everyone satisfied that they aren't being assigned the one long route. Location, however, may influence one's liking of their round, as well.
Mail is sorted and delivered first by priority, and secondly by distance. Letters and packages are marked with one of six color-coded stickers by the sender of the package. These colored stickers are plentifully stocked in every drop-off center. In order of priority:
- Black - Confidential / Fragile. It is strictly enforced that no one is allowed to open it other than the addressed receiver. Usually contains money, gems, or other fragile valuables. Rare, usually sent to and from Evercrest and/or the Monarchy.
- Red - Utmost importance, delivered before any other color (except black). Usually to and from Evercrest, the Monarchy, the army, etc.
- Orange - Packages only. Contains perishable food that will spoil if not delivered by the date written on the sticker.
- Blue - From anyone at Evercrest to anyone in or outside of Evercrest. Casual, usually to a family member.
- Green - From anyone to anyone. Casual. Villager to villager, villager to anyone in Evercrest, etc. Most common. Note: mail to be delivered to anyone at Evercrest must pass through the intermediary class head to be sorted, checked for malicious intent, then delivered by the head.
- Purple - No receiver address. A letter may be attached for the messenger to read, containing clues about where this person was last seen, description, picture, etc. For instance, if they live in the forest somewhere and are a loner. Hard to track down. Rare.
Intermediaries sort by color, then by location. For instance, red letters must be delivered first. If one has two red letters, the closest location must be travelled to first. While there, the Intermediary can drop off all other letters for that village and collect and sort the mail there. Then, the second red letter can be delivered. Villages on the way can be visited, as well. Once all red and black letters are delivered, orange marked packages must be delivered next. After that, blue letters, then green, then purple. If a red or black letter appears further down the route, these must be seen to first. Letters addressed outside of the country or not included in the messenger's assigned round, and not black, red or orange can be held onto until the round is complete. External letters can be passed off to the Intermediary assigned to that round. (This is generally coordinated via radiowave communication.) External letters marked as black, red, or orange must be immediately flown to the addressed village and dropped off. The Intermediary does not pick up any mail at locations outside of their round, however.
This process is the quickest and most efficient employed by the Intermediaries, but it does not have to be strictly followed. Rounds can last from five to seven days, depending on the messenger. Distances between villages are generally kept at two hour flights, but the back and forth of mail delivery takes time. "Break" time is calculated in this estimate as well. Rounds are not expected to take more than seven days, unless the messanger is inexperienced, lost, or interrupted by an event or attack (or spending too much time on "break").
Messengers are required to "check-in" via radiowave and document the time of arrival in every drop-off center. This allows mentors to track their students and make sure they are safe and on schedule. Messenger rounds are not complete until all bags are empty of letters addressed to their round. A final check of each location must be made to ensure that all mail has been picked up and delivered.
After a round has officially been completed, the intermediary and Jafare are usually allowed one week to relax and recover at the School. These people who have completed their mail duty are the primary choice for more exciting tasks such as humanitarian work and accompanying other classes on missions, should the need arise. Very rarely are intermediaries on mail-duty pulled from their jobs. Another intermediary will be scheduled to take up that round a couple days after the last messenger finished it, and the new messenger would be someone who barely ended their one-week break from their own previous mail duties.
While on mail duty, an Intermediary rider adorns a backpack containing a sort of filing space for letters and other small flat packages. This white and tan colored backpack, like all intermediary bags, is waterproof (if completely zipped closed), fireproof, and very difficult to tear open considering that it is woven from a strong burlap-like material and Drow hair. The rider must wear the backpack at all times while on mail duty. Letters and the like are stored in this backpack before stored in their dragon's bags. Once the rider's backpack is full, then the dragon's rear bags can store additional letters and packages.
An Intermediary's Jafare is equipped with four different baggage areas while on mail duty. The first bag is attached to the saddle and rests on the dragon's back between its wings and within arm's reach of the rider. This bag is used only for food and other supplies the pair would need on their mail-delivering journey. If there is an unusual and excessive amount of packages and letters to deliver, this bag may hold some of those items. This saddle bag is slightly larger than the rider's backpack. The second and third messenger bags strapped to the Jafare are the same size as the saddle bag, and are placed on each of the dragon's hindquarters on each side of the base of its tail. They are strapped together around the dragon's belly and its back, as well as onto the base of its tail. These two bags are for letters and small packages if the rider's backpack becomes full, which it often does.
The final bag is a large long pouch that usually is only used when transporting aid to troops and villages in dire times. It was created during the Necromancer Revolution. It hugs the Jafare's underbelly, fastened on with straps that reach up and around the dragon's shoulders, collar-line, and waist. The storage area within this pouch spans from between their very front legs to between their very rear legs, with strong tapered fabric on each end that attaches to the straps. There are stiff flaps within the pouch that serve as compartments for sorting packages of food from weapon bundles and the like. This bag is sealed with an air-tight zipper that runs along the left side of the pouch. Even when brimming with supplies the pouch is formed to fit the dragon's body, and appears as a slight extension of the dragon's underbelly, as if it was full from a hefty meal.
Upon request, and request only, an intermediary may accompany another class member on a task or mission. This happens occasionally because of their communication abilities with other intermediaries and Evercrest itself. If a mission didn't go well, the other class member would be able to immediately inform their mentor back at Evercrest through his intermediary companion. Intermediaries also are very skilled navigators and are trained to never become lost, a good asset for another less-knowledgeable student. Very little fighting is expected of intermediaries on these missions. They are more encouraged to support the other class member and be a source of back-up and communication than a combatant comrade. If needed, they may be useful in posing as a distraction to an enemy, with their quick flight and camouflage skills.
Also upon request, either by a courier, the monarchy, or a trade merchant, intermediaries may be asked to escort wagons and ships carrying goods or other large items that couldn't be delivered by any other means. Again, this is for navigation and communication. If protection is specifically needed, another class would accompany the intermediary on this sort of task.
Since the Necromancer Revolution, the Intermediaries have assumed a secondary responsibility of being humanitarians. They have continued aiding villages recovering from devastation, famine, and injury over the past one hundred years. The Jafari's ability to pick up on most radio frequencies aid them in detecting if a town is sending out a distress call, and they can easily relay it through the network of the Intermediaries to send the help that the village needs.
The constant arrival of mail-delivering intermediaries to cities and villages also ensures that villages are well-watched over. Regardless if a village is in dire need of aid or not, the intermediaries always maintain the flow and coordination of donations through their food and clothing drives. Certain cities have bins for these items that are collected whenever a messenger arrives in town. When there is excess items that have been donated by the good samaritans of Alksheist, the items are shared among the intermediary class while on their mail duty journeys.
Class symbol and identifying apparel
The intermediary class symbol consists of a triangle resting within another triangle sprouting simplistic angelic wings. After being accepted into the class at their examinations, an intermediary is given a light blue strip of silky drow hair fabric with the class symbol boldly embroidered in white on each end of both sides. White trim also dangles slightly off each end. Some people wear it as a scarf, and others as a sash across their stomach. Their dragons, once hatched, are given similar sashes, which can be worn around their neck, waist, tail, or feet. Mentors and class heads have slightly more intricate embroidery along the edges of these sashes.
The intermediary class is the youngest class at Evercrest. It was created during the Necromancer Revolution out of necessity, pulling mostly from the vanguard and eraser classes.
The Rebellion was devastating in its guerilla tactics, destroying supply routes and damaging communication infrastructure. The fastest of each class were enlisted to carry messages from regiment to regiment, village to city. Eventually, a young vanguard named Lucretia de Vellos petitioned for a Messenger class to be put into emergency circulation. Her request was granted and she was named the first head of the Intermediaries, given a budget, and allowed to pick members that could be spared from other classes.
The intermediaries transported much needed supplies, like weapons and food, as well as medical aid. They also began organizing emergency response and rescue teams for civilians caught in the crossfire. Jafari dragons, known for their speed and dexterity in flight, began to join up in great numbers. the class dragon. Their ability to pick up the frequencies of technological transmissions became useful as well, as the newly created intermediaries could recognize, organize, and respond to tragedies quicker than any other class.
The war was devastating for the intermediaries, even as they were forged in its crucible. De Vellos met her end only four years after being named head. Her successors, an eraser named Vas Las, a warden called Yebellerus, and the courier Callum Cortezan, were all killed quickly after. The intermediaries were targeted almost immediately as the replacement for more traditional communication. They got good at plotting routes through impassable territory and dangerous terrain, all while learning to hide and evade.
The intermediaries combine some of the best assets of their source classes into a loyal, elite force concerned above all else with delivering their messages. Even at the cost of her life, Yebellerus delivered a message that saved an entire fleet from destruction. Callum Cortezan became infamous for his tricky plays, outsmarting the Necromancer forces until he met a gruesome end in an ambush.
Although the war was a trying and brutal experience, the intermediary class was born from it. After the war, in the place of the crumbling infrastructure slowly being repaired, intermediaries continued to run messages. Eventually, the class began to take on the duty of picking up and delivering mail and packages throughout the world, just as they had delivered aid in wartime. They are primarily known as mailpeople now, but it is important to remember that this class was created to serve during wars. Many of the teaching methods and programs are still derived from war exercises.
Under the direction of the newest head, Lollipop Grande, the class has begun emphasizing the skills once only used in war time, including first aid. Her attempts to strengthen the waning class and diversify their skill set has ushered in a revival era for the class.
The intermediaries are represented by the jafari and, as expected, most members of the class choose to pair with these sleek dragons. Those who return from their Journey with a different dragon tend to be assigned to non-messenger missions more often. Intermediaries do not solely work with their paired dragon, however, and both dragon and humanoid are encouraged to not rely on the other. Any dragon who is well rested can be asked to accompany any intermediary on a message run.
With this sort of class culture, very little emphasis is put on finding one’s andzkin during the Journey. Most intermediaries carry an enyi bond back, though they often form lasting relationships through the nature of the intermediary Journey.
The journey was only implemented after the war for the intermediaries. Before this time, most merely paired up with jafari dragons while their own bonded dragons remained with their previous class, assisting in the war effort. This was a product of the haste of war rather than any planning, but the detached attention to bonded pairs has continued in class culture. The detrimental effects of being away from one’s bonded partner were seen during the war, however, and the class has since corrected this by providing more time training together.
The intermediaries take the term “journey” literally. They combine this Evercrest tradition with the necessary first year training by creating a rigorous year-long exploration and aid route. New intermediaries are taken by a class dragon to a remote location where other dragons live, typically the birthplace of the class dragon, and told to negotiate for a ride with another dragon to another location. These routes are plotted out in advance and generally follow the least travelled routes at first, going through rough terrain. As time goes on, the intermediary contracts with more dragons to take them to new places, getting closer and closer to more traditional intermediary routes.
Halfway through the journey, they are instructed to begin carrying messages from village to village and point to point. Throughout the journey, they encouraged to render aid to those in need, to make maps and analyze their surroundings, and to critically evaluate their own skills. These intermediaries carry a gem studded with musimite which acts as a dowsing rod, leading them to dragons. It can even help the intermediary locate their andzkin, by using their blood as a medium. The gem is surprisingly easy to crush and, when it is, it sends a message back to Evercrest that the person is injured or in dire straits.
Most are told not to do so unless they are absolutely sure; the punishment for not finishing one’s journey is expulsion. In very rare cases, the individual could be retained, though with a demerit on their record.
At the end of the journey, the intermediary will have gone through much of the typical intermediary routes, learned more of mapmaking, survival, and first aid, and should be intimately familiar with their own shortcomings. They come back humbled, ready to build themselves up. At the end of the journey, the intermediary finds their way back to the dragon whom they most clicked with and attempts to convince them to pair up. Even if an andzkin is found on the journey, the intermediary is not allowed to stick with them through the whole route, though they may travel with the them and another dragon if they wish.