The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 9: Quiet Corners in Long Shade

Athonos 15-21

Even as you read over your Revision material, your actual thoughts linger over Oan’s Trees of Knowledge and your failure earlier at helping the pirates against the buccaneers. Clearly if you are going to be any use to anyone, you’ll need to train. But where could you do it? Asking around the college for tips is too time-consuming, since you spend half the time just looking for a good trainer. A library would be a good way to find books and resources to train any number of skills, but the Venalicium itself is too busy with students (and, more importantly, professors) for you to be seen studying anything but your classload.

Drat. You just can’t think of a good place to train. You’ll just have to hope that some place or another reveals itself to you before too long.

As you leave the library, you come across an argument.

Come on, Leopold, you just have to tell me where you’re from! Did you know nobody knows yet? It’ll make a great scoop for Rikildis’ new newsletter! Or…wait, did you want a cut of my profits? I mean, it’s not like we’re doing this for the money or anything, but I suppose I could—
I don’t care about your newsletter, or your pims! Can’t a guy, you know, just live in the moment? Why does it matter where I’m from so much?

Already familiar with being on the receiving end of one of Grainne’s rumor-generating sessions, you decide to take pity on poor Leopold and intervene on his behalf.

Why? Why?! Listen, buster, if you don’t tell me right now, I’ll go around and tell everyone you’re from—
Hey, Grainne, I just heard that Joana Lio y Rossollo is going to confess her crush on Philippe Marchant at dinner today. If you hurry, you might get there in time to see it.

Suddenly conflicted, Grainne glances at you, then back to Leopold, and then back to you again. She thinks hard for a moment, then apparently decides she can’t afford to miss out on dinner in case your made-up rumor is true. Rushing away, Grainne slows long enough to turn and point to Leopold, mouthing the words “not over” as she disappears down an adjoining hallway.

For his part, Leopold looks appropriately grateful for what you’ve done. He gives you his heartfelt thanks, and the two of you then part ways.

Passing by the Rimbal field on your way back to Aranaz, something suddenly tugs at your robe. You look down and see a small book-spirit, about twelve inches high, hovering next to your knee. It’s shaped vaguely like a human book, or perhaps a book-like human. It is staring upat you with big dark eyes. You realize then that it must have followed you all the way from the library.

You attempt to shake off the odd-looking creature, but it doesn’t seem to budge. As you try to walk away, the book spirit simply follows you and only speeds up as you attempt to run away.

It would not be wise to simply ignore it since you have no clue as to what powers it might wield. You have no idea what it wants, but you know you must do something about this odd-looking book spirit before continuing.

Sounds like Magical Appraisal would be the most direct solution, and it looks like it’s our best chance of success, too. Too bad they’re all still red, though.

You try to read the book, but it’s very thick. It’s tremendously complicated and uses words in a style you’re unaccustomed to. In fact, you can’t even comprehend the first sentence. Meanwhile, the book spirit begins to fuss in your hands. It doesn’t seem to like how you’re holding it.

As you set the book spirit back on the ground, it occurs to you that you still haven’t done anything about the odd-looking thing. However, before you manage to stand up after letting the spirit go, it snaps at your hands, leaving an instant bruise. It then skitters away through the field, heading back to its home in the library. Glancing at your injured hand, you decide to consider it a reminder that you can never be too cautious when dealing with wild spirits.

You’ve spent so much time at the Venalicium these past few days that you’re starting to wonder why all your classes don’t just tell you to pick out a few books and skip all that lecture nonsense altogether.

Well, no, never mind. You suppose that getting good grades is probably the only reason why anyone would be willing to read such boring, dry books. At least you have one of the crazier students to keep you company today.

Look, how is it crazy that I don’t want to eat any poor, defenseless animals? It’s just plain cruel! And it’s not like we have to; I’ve lived on fruit and vegetables alone for years now. And wizards have even less of an excuse than anyone! Not only can we warp reality and make any plant edible, but powerful mages can live on magic itself.
Yeah, really! Have you ever heard of Wizard Kennevy? He figured it out. I’ll just do the same thing.
I thought Kennevy was just a legend.
Well if he is, then I’ll just have to be the first. You can do just about anything with magic, so why shouldn’t I be able to live on it?
I guess that kind of makes sense.
Right, you know what I’m saying! People shouldn’t kill others just to live, even if those others are “lesser beasts” who still understand pain just as well as you or me. And as wizards, it’s just that much more important.
Sure, okay.
Thanks for the talk, Iliana. I’m glad at least someone here understands me. Did you know even the other Morvidus students eat meat? It’s like they don’t really love animals at all! Anyway, I have to go now. See you around, maybe.

Thank the gods, you thought he would never leave. You feel somewhat worried that maybe he might like you since you didn’t fend him off with a stick, but hopefully he already has some actual friends who don’t mind him talking endlessly about vegetarianism. Or maybe he can actually talk about other things on occasion; you wouldn’t know.

On your way out of the library, one of the librarians gets your attention. When you come over, he says, “You know, I’ve seen you poking around the quieter corners of the library. I wonder, have you maybe been looking for a spot where you won’t be interrupted by a professor checking up on your studies or a student looking to chat over a book?”

When you nod, he continues. “You know, there are other libraries on the campus. You might try looking for the Library of Longshade; it’s a lot older than the Venalicium, but almost no one bothers using it anymore. Too disorganized. Still, if you can manage to make sense of the old system, you’ll have all the peace and quiet you could want.”

You can’t help but smile as you head back to Aranaz. A secret library where you can practice all sorts of techniques while hidden from public view? Things are certainly looking your way. You’ll have to take a look at this Library of Longshade tomorrow.

Finally. There are so many places to train skills that also do other things that the basic Train action is terribly inefficient by comparison. The Library of Longshade is unlocked by reaching Library Knowledge 3 (Library Knowledge being a subskill of Research, and thus raised by Studying at the Venalicium), but there’s a bit of a problem: see, to even use the Longshade, I’ll have to pass an Insight/Filing check against 10. Luckily, Filing is also a subskill of Research, and savescumming to raise only Filing at Venalicium isn’t too hard.

There are other libraries you can unlock with Library Knowledge—ones without a skill barrier, even—and while these other libraries are more focused than the Longshade, I still like the latter the best. Not only would I say that random skill gains can be more useful down the road (never know what those adventures are going to test, after all), but it also trains up Concentration, which is a tough skill to raise with a pretty awesome ability waiting at level 9.

But first, there’s this little problem of tidying up…

Your first sensation upon entering the Library of Longshade is one of scent. Taking a deep breath, you can smell all the dust, the ancient wood, the mildew, and of course, the musty, comforting scent of aging books. And—yes, you’re fairly sure of it now—animal droppings. That’ll have to be the first thing you deal with, and appraising the size of the library, it’s not something you’re looking forward to.

The Library of Longshade could more accurately be called the Warehouse of Longshade; not only is it larger than most actual warehouses you’ve been in, but it looks as though the caretakers had about as much respect for the books as teamsters have for their cargo. The shelves aren’t arranged in neat rows so much as assembled helter-skelter into a winding maze. In some cases, the bookshelves have collapsed under the weight of their contents, spilling the books and scrolls into a jumbled mess; in others, the lack of splintered wood leads you to believe a mess is how it started.

Tending to this library will be a long and dirty job, but thinking about the reward of peace and endless reference material makes you square your shoulders and wade in. You begin by going around the perimeter and plugging all the rat holes with broken shelving material and some of the less valuable-looking scrolls, then melting it into the walls with your basic Revision knowledge. You imagine the rats and other critters will get in again eventually, but hopefully your magic skills will have improved enough to deal with them permanently by then.

Next, you spend some time kicking around the book piles, scaring out the rats and voles who have made them into dens. Most of the texts seem to be intact, despite their rough treatment, but those who hosted vermin have been chewed entirely too much to be readable, and you take some time to separate the useless tomes from the rest.

Returning to the front door, you suddenly notice several rats scurrying around some of the piles you were sure were rodent-free when you checked earlier. However, it’s not until you watch a small gray mouse scratching at a plugged hole that you realize you probably should have done things in the opposite order.

At least you learned a few things about organizing libraries today.

Another day, another study session at the Venalicium Library. While you’d rather be back in the Library of Longshade, you figure you’ll learn just as much about filing here as there, plus here you can get ahead in your studies.

Sure enough, though, someone soon joins your attempts at reading. This time, it’s that hyper girl from Aranaz, Vrenelle Bonvin. You’re almost curious as to how she can stand to sit down long enough to read from a book, but you find out the answer when she conscripts you into helping her study Calligraphy.

In fact, it turns out Vrenelle can’t sit still long enough to read a book; instead, she spends her time rushing from one aisle to the next, keeping one eye on the book in her hand and the other on the shelves, hunting for the next one to pick up. You wind up “assisting” her by putting the used books back where she found them: “The librarians always yell at me when I put them where I find the next one since I always forget to go back and fix things, but they also yell at me when I drop them on the floor, even though it’s completely clear that it needs to be put back wherever it is I got it. I say they should put out tables to drop off books when you’re done with them, but do they listen to me? So I figured maybe I could get you to help me out by putting them back where they belong and everyone’s happy. You even learn where to go to find all the good books on Calligraphy, too! It’s a total time saver!”

You feel pretty exhausted by the time Vrenelle is finished, and you really don’t think you picked up any more of an understanding of Calligraphy than you could have on your own. Still, Vrenelle owes you a favor now, and that might prove useful further down the line.

Today may be a day off, but that just means more time for your own self-appointed task. Soon after breakfast, you head back to the Library of Longshade to begin again. This time you’ve come armed: you brought a whistle to scare away the rodents, some rat traps quietly borrowed from the kitchen, and a small bucket of plaster to seal off the holes in the wall.

Sure enough, as you inspect the perimeter, you see that, in spite of your spells and your stuffing, the vermin have chewed open several of the old holes. This time you start your assault on the creatures inside the library, knocking over piles and blowing your whistle to scare them out of the building. Once you’ve been through the length of the library, you begin to set the rat traps near the biggest dens, where you expect the bravest of rats are still hiding away.

Finally satisfied that the building is free of book-eating critters, you move back to the wall and start refilling the holes. Once each hole has been covered, you apply a liberal coating of plaster to seal it shut. Fearing that may not be enough, you also cast a minor Revision spell to change the plaster’s flavor to something absolutely horrible, a spell you…discovered only recently when trying to spruce up your evening meal.

With that dull task completed, you turn to the similarly dull task of rearranging all the books into some semblance of order. Glancing at the book titles in various rows, you quickly realize that sorting all the books in the Library of Longshade to match the Venalicium’s system would be an effort of Sisyphean futility. Instead, you attempt to discover what sort of obscure system might already be present.

Unfortunately, after discovering a self-help scroll, an Artifice textbook, and an animal bestiary shelved side by side, you realize you’re making no headway and decide to quit for the day. Still, you did find an interesting book you’ve decided to take with you. From the little you glanced through, it looks to be quite the adventure story.

After lunch, your professors urge you and your classmates to explore the streets of Mineta and absorb the sights and sounds of the guild festivals that mark the celebration of Workshop Day. Brightly colored tents dot the packed streets, and jugglers, dancers, and magicians try to capture the crowd’s attention.

You’re passing by the blacksmiths’ booths, admiring the sharp axes and jeweled swords, when you hear shouts and screams coming from nearby. Your mind immediately leaps to the unpleasant thought of a brawl. This day is known for clashing guilds, after all. But isn’t it still a bit early in the day? Curiosity gets the better of you, and you follow to where the sounds of conflict are emanating.

Yep, it’s a fight all right—between magicians and wizards! You recognize Zorzi Galea and Philippe Marchant trading insults with the entertainers.

We don’t need to draw phemes to manipulate the environment, nor gain insight into the human mind! We practice a more refined, natural magic.
You don’t need to draw phemes? More like you can’t! And what’s exactly so impressive about card tricks?
Phemes are the shortcuts for weak minds.

Just when you start to consider whether to intervene or to sneak away quietly, Philippe spots you peeking from around the corner.

Hey, Iliana. Come on, help us show these magicians how wrong they are.

Uh oh. Like it or not, you’ve been drawn into this fight!

While Iliana may not be the type to play nice with her enemies, she’s at least realistic enough to realize that three inexperienced First Years might not be enough against several practiced magicians, regardless of how much nonsense their spells may be.

You regret investigating; you want to explore the rest of the festival, not argue with magicians.

All eyes are on you, and there is no way you are going to exacerbate this conflict. Maybe you can calm down both sides by making them see reason.

Please just calm down, everyone. We are all reasonable people here, right? And reasonable people know that there are many different kinds of magic, and many kinds of magic-users. And while our means may be different, it’s important to remember that all magic, however it’s reached, is created equal.
But it’s not even real ma—

A swift and subtle kick silences Zorzi. The magicians give you a curt nod, and you drag your classmates away.

After getting your fill of the festival, you decide to stop by the Forum of Naxum to hear what they’re debating today.

“Perfect armor?” Honestly, there can be no such thing!
Nonsense, I’ve already discussed how there are perfect Forms of every object and ideal—
And I have already gone at length to disprove them! Whatever “Perfect Forms” there may be in this invisible world of yours are unreachable by design, and therefore perfectly useless to those of us stuck living here!
The Forms are there as goals to be strived for, even if they cannot be reached. Setting that argument aside, armor can certainly be brought to perfection. For example, I have today seen a set of armor that consists of steel plates that cover the body—
But plates of steel are cumbersome and heavy. Besides, a steel sword or pike thrust with force can easily cut into a plate—
Ah, but the cunning shape of the plates force a weapon that is not perfectly placed to sheer off and miss, while the plates are carefully articulated to leave space for the human joints to work.
And what of the wizard opponent? Any spellcaster with even a passing knowledge of metallurgy would realize that steel is an excellent conductor of fire and lightning; what then of your perfect armor?
A coat of non-conducting material would help against such problems. A lacquer, or gloss, perhaps…

It seems like they could go on like this all day. You didn’t realize there was so much to know about armor before today, and you’re certain you don’t know any more than what you started with.

Noting that it’s been a while, you decide you owe the spirits of the Cold Room a status update. Like last time, they cease their duel just as you enter.

Ah! Look who’s back, Vincenzo.
A pleasure to see you again, young lady.
Have you finally come to say whose name appears in the history books? Or are you merely back for another lesson in proper behavior?
Well, the last one, I guess. I’m making some progress, though! I’ve found this really good library, really old and full of books; the librarian called it the Library of Longshade—
It’s been a while since that name’s come up, hasn’t it? Why, I remember going there in my youth…it really is quite an exceptional place to learn from.
Quite, indeed. Not used much, though, as I recall.
No, it was never terribly kept up in our time—I can only imagine the state it must be in now. Vincenzo, do you recall if the Venalicium Library became the chief library before or after our time?
Can’t say as I recall.
A shame. Still, exciting to think my name may be in the Longshade now, eh?
Your name! I say! You really must excuse him his ego. Now, my dear, all this talk of libraries has led me to recall a certain small kitchen I used to sneak into for snacks between study sessions. It was only used to feed the Academagia guards back in my day, and if you’re lucky, it may well be abandoned by now. Lucky indeed, since it has its own magical refrigerator! Now where was it, exactly…

Friday sees you back in the Venalicium, taking further notes on the sorting system used by the librarians and putting some more effort into your Dialectics class.

To your surprise, you see Emilia Strolin has come in today. This time, she doesn’t spend nearly as long hesitating before she comes over to your table, and before long, the two of you are discussing the finer points of debate. Eventually, you ask her a question:

So I’ve told you a little about myself; why don’t you take a turn this time?
Oh, I’m really pretty boring. I’m sure you’d want to talk about something else.
No way! Remember what I said before? Hidden depths! Like, what are your interests? What do you like to do?
Well, mostly I’ve spent a lot of time studying for classes lately. Sometimes I like to practice sneaking around, since I feel safer when I can see others and they can’t see me. Every now and then I go and wrestle…
Yeah, they’ve got a place you can do that out on the Athletic Fields. Sometimes when I’m wrestling I like to think my opponent is Suzie Lubloss or one of the other girls back home who used to tease me. I’d pull them into a full nelson and they’d be crying and shouting “Uncle!” and tapping their leg, but I’d just say, “Who’s got stringy hair now, Suzie?! Who’s the crybaby, huh?! You gonna put worms in my lunch now?! ARE YOU!?

…But then I think about all the trouble I’d get into if I actually did that, and I tell myself to stop thinking that. Plus I usually lose the matches anyway.
No, no, it’s good that you want to get back at your bullies! You just need help with making sure your revenge can’t be traced back to you. But keep up with the wrestling; they won’t be expecting that.
Well…no one right now, but there will be. You always make enemies on your way to the top.

Now that was unexpected. Perhaps Emilia will be less of the pliable minion than you’d hoped, but it turns out she may be a more valuable friend for all that.

You decide to bring Emilia in on your Longshade project, and it turns out she’s picked up a bit of filing knowledge from her own studies in the library. You agree on Saturday as the big day.

You have never spent a day so simultaneously boring and exciting as this. You and Emilia spend most of the day in the Venalicium Library, taking turns pulling books out of shelves and handing them to each other to be placed back on the shelves. While you start the day trading single copies, by the end you’re shelving a dozen books in one go, and the shape of the library is a clear map in your head. With some trepidation, you decide it’s now or never and head over to the Library of Longshade.

Once there, your confidence quickly drains as you are again presented with the monumental task ahead of you. The librarians of the Venalicium would never have allowed such a mess to accrue, and you wind up spending all your time looking through every shelf for related material to separate into several piles. While this would be helpful ordinarily, the immense size of the library means that you can only clean a small fraction of it for every hour spent sorting. You absolutely have to figure out why these books are sorted like they are!

You and Emilia are just about to give up for the night when it finally hits you.

Of course! The oldest books are the ones towards the back, before the library got overcrowded! And look, Emilia, the oldest bookshelves are still lined up in even rows; you just can’t see it most of the time since the new shelves were dropped wherever they could fit!
So now we know how old the different books are? But wait, that’s still no good, since we don’t know which subjects are which.
But that’s just it, the old shelves are still in the right order, the same one used at the Venalicium! And while the latest books have been plopped wherever they could fit, most of the stuff on the new shelves is at least somewhere near the right area of the library. It’s just the new books that were throwing us off; that and how related subjects were blocked off from each other by the new shelves. We’ve figured it out, Emilia!

Unfortunately, your celebrations are cut short when Emilia suddenly realizes that she forgot to get raw materials for a potion she’s supposed to have ready for Incantation next week, and now it’s too late for her to ask one of the professors. Luckily, you remember having seen what she needs in Professor Aventyrare’s pantry, and you arrange to act as lookout while she goes in to pilfer the potion.

Sneaking back through the halls of the Academagia, you reach your Revision professor’s potion pantry and find to your luck that it’s been left unlocked. Emilia goes in and rifles through the shelves, growing more and more frantic as she searches desperately for her missing ingredient.

Looking up the hall, you suddenly see Professor Aventyrare herself approaching.

Poor Emilia is going to get in big trouble if the professor catches her in there!

I’m pretty sure this random event uses a random student, but since it’s Emilia, well, we’ve got to help her out, even if it’s a long shot.

You rush to greet the professor.

Oh, hello, Professor Aventyrare! I’ve been looking all over for you! See, I was wondering where the Battle of Zarenith took place, and I was hoping you could tell me?
Nope, sorry. Maybe you should ask Professor Viada? I really must be going, though.

She continues on her way and you can’t help but cringe as she reaches out for the pantry’s doorknob.

In less than a moment, you hear her angry voice flare up, and she comes out, dragging Emilia along with her.

You feel a pang of guilt that you weren’t able to save her. As you make a quick escape, you hope she understands that it’s best if only one of you gets in trouble.

It’s your first day with the Library of Longshade open for use, so what’s the first thing you use it for?

Why, Brute Strength, of course! You spend the day moving your pre-sorted book piles from one end of the library to the other, taking some time in between to shove aside heavy shelves to help simplify the maze. You sure hope it’s doing some good, because your arms are completely worn out by lunchtime.

Meanwhile, you found a very interesting book about rituals for venerating the saints which you read between bouts of book-carrying.

While the Longshade may have more interesting contents, the Venalicium still has all the books your professors expect you to know for your exams—plus it’s a good place to get seen by them, too.

Sure enough, while you’re deep into your Glamour texts, Professor Ringraeyer drops by. Moving quickly, you pull out a particularly boring book you found about etiquette and physical grooming. Watching her covertly as you pretend to read the book, you see her nod in approval when she glances in your direction.

Mission accomplished!

Now I don’t see why you insist on going over the basics so often.
I only do so because you seem to have so much trouble grasping them! How many times have I said that a basic fact cannot be added to an assumption until it has been rigorously tested and proven?
How can you not trust your own eyes, your own ears, your own memories? Any basic assumption I make is derived from my own experiences and the behaviors I have witnessed. You know that.
Then how can you so persistently make such incorrect assumptions? How can we come to such different conclusions if we both base them on observed evidence?
Perhaps because you disbelieve what your own senses tell you are true? What was that you were saying before, about the sky not really being blue?
Have you even seen a prism? And there are many things which our senses are inadequate at explaining; for instance, a cat may see better in poorer light conditions than a man. But the assumptions I take the greatest exception to are those regarding human nature; while I suppose self-sufficiency is a noble goal, when have you ever seen a ruling class willingly give up its luxuries…

Gains of the Week

Revision Methods increased by 1.
--Material Shaping spell learned.
The Calamities (History) increased by 1.
--Intensity pheme learned.
Studied at the Venalicium Library.
--Revision Study level at 1.
----Relationship with Leopold Rassent at 1.
--Library Knowledge increased by 1 step.
Basia used Compete; Aranaz Merit now at 42.
Unsuccessful Event.
--Vitality decreased by 1.

Forms (Calligraphy) increased by 1.
Character increased by 1.
--Camaraderie pheme learned.
Studied at the Venalicium Library.
--Rhetoric Study level at 1.
----Relationship with Girars de Periarde at 2.
--Library Knowledge increased by 1 step.
----Learned about the Library of Longshade.
Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 45.

Orthography increased by 1.
Illustration increased by 1.
Calligraphy increased by 1.
Glamour Phemes increased by 1.
--Disorientation pheme learned.
Filing increased by 1 step.
--Organize pheme learned.

Ink Compounds increased by 1.
--Gelcined Requine, Catalog available.
Glamour Methods increased by 1.
--Glamour pheme learned.
Glamour increased by 1.
--Appearances pheme learned.
Famous Dilemmas (Dialectics) increased by 1.
--Learned about the Chauranglaith Path: The Lone Pine.
Studied at the Venalicium Library.
--Calligraphy Study level at 2.
----Relationship with Vrenelle Bonvin at 2.
--Filing increased by 1 step.
----Logic pheme learned.

Filing increased by 1 step.
--Gained Epic: Kensab the Ilician.
--Learned about the above.
Listened to the Debates.
--Logic increased by 1 step.
----Reason pheme learned.
--Famous Speeches increased by 1 step.
----Set Example action learned.
--Character increased 1 step.
--Oratory increased 1 step.
----Learned about the Great Gate of the Academagia (again).
--Armorer decreased 1 step.
Visited the Spirits.
--Etiquette increased 1 step.
--Learned about the Small Kitchen.
Aymeri and Vrenelle used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 51.
Successful Holiday!
--Diplomacy increased 2 steps.
----Beseech pheme learned.

Glamour Methods increased by 1.
--Learned about the Corner Tailor.
Studied at the Venalicium Library.
--Dialectic Study level at 2.
----Relationship with Emilia Strolin at 5.
--Filing increased by 1 step.
Tabin used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 54.

Filing temporarily increased by 2.
Filing increased by 1 step.
Tidied the Library of Longshade!
--Dedication increased by 1 step.
----Betray pheme learned.
--Study at the Library of Longshade unlocked!
Unsuccessful event.
--Stress increased by 1.
Vernin college wins again.
Vrenelle used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 57.

Studied at Longshade.
--Brute Strength increased by 1 step.
--Veneration of the Saints (Religion) increased by 1 step.
----Learned about Saint Aedolo’s Temple.
----Religion increased by 1.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.
----Minor Focus ability learned.
Studied at Venalicium.
--Glamour Study level at 2.
----Relationship with Contzel Ringraeyer at 1.
--Library Knowledge increased by 1 step.
Listened to the Debates.
--Logic increased by 1 step.
----Belief pheme learned.
--Passion increased by 1 step.
----Relationship with Eduard Solov’ev at 1.
----Rhetoric increased by 1.
------Rhetorical pheme learned.
--Oratory increased by 1 step.
--First Principles (Dialectic) decreased by 1 step.

New Abilities

Material Shaping (Spell): Intelligence/Materials Knowledge v4; +3 to Forge, Engineering, and Enchant; 4 day duration.
Tidy the Library of Longshade: Insight/Filing v10; unlock Study at the Library of Longshade, increase Dedication 1 step.
Chauranglaith Path: The Lone Pine: gain 1 step in Endurance and 1 random Dialectic skill; learn about the Stone Bench.
Read Epic: Kensab the Ilician: increase Running by 3 steps.
Set Example: Improve the skill of a friend by 1 point (up to your skill level), increase Leadership subskill 1 step.
The Corner Tailor: increase Courtly Fashion and Theory of Glamour by 2 for 3 days.
Study at the Library of Longshade: gain 1 step in skill of choice, random skill, and Concentration.
Minor Focus (Permanent): +1 to Stress Maximum.
Visit the Temple of Saint Aedolo: +1 step to Character, Dedication, and Ethics; +2 to Stress.

Well, I’ve finally got access to a decent place to train, so now it’s time for a vote! There’s a whole host of things Iliana could focus on right now, so to make things a little simpler for you, let me provide a list of the likeliest options.

A. Perform Oan’s quest (note: thanks to being attached to the tutorial, Oan’s quest is shorter, easier, and contains a greater reward than regular quests; however, some training was still required, hence opening Longshade first).
B. Find another likely student to join the Five-Handed Tree (specific student will be voted on separately).
C. Look into doing Emilia’s quest.
D. Pirates! Pirates pirates pirates pirates!
E. Start to train Captain Felix and start his quest.
F. Whatever happened with those dueling spirits, anyway? Do their quest.
G. Continue studying for exams (it needs to get done eventually).
H+ Something else you’ve thought of.

Please note that many of these options might not be easily finished this early on, and some cannot be done exclusively (studying, for example), so this vote is more about setting priorities than straight-up winning. I intend to do all of the above eventually; I’d just like to know what you want to see done next.

Everyone may vote for up to 3 different (different!) options. Choices will not be weighed by priority because that's way too much effort, so put them in any order.