Mindala Jhansibur has spent the latter half of her war wizard career posing as a merchant of Marsember specializing in the acquisition and sale of ritual spellcasting paraphernalia (spell components, spellbooks, spell scrolls, grimoires and miscellany).
In Marsember she is known simply as Mindala. Her regular customers know her by her appearance: plump and petite; hair cut to the level of her chin, with curls the color of boot leather; oval face, mousy lips and sharp eyes that miss nothing.
Those eyes roam over her reflection in the mirror each morning as Mindala applies thick makeup to fill in the deep grooves and uneven surface of her face, after which she sets her curly-haired wig in place. She’d thrown her arms up in time to shield her eyes from a hostile spell that had turned her crystal ball into an exploding mass of quartz and fire, but lost her hair and most of the skin from her face and scalp. Healers removed the mineral shards and gave her back the use of her hands, but could do only so much to restore her appearance.
Mindala is an exceptional caster of eavesdropping magics. When not engaged in the role of merchant, she spies on nobles, merchants and the undercloak dealings of less reputable folk in the City of Spices. She is not aware of every dark dealing in Marsember, but she has a firm grasp of who is pulling the strings. She keeps a pair of crystal balls in the topmost floor of her shop, each linked to various objects located throughout the city that act as anchors for her scrying gaze.
Over the years she’s become quite sociable, and is a regular presence at gatherings of the rich and influential, particularly those events hosted by the self-styled “Spice Lords” who rule over Cormyr’s spice trade. Mindala gathers and passes along gossip and information at these revels, and engages in verbal fencing matches with her rivals. She repackages information from her spying activities as rumor, and passes it along to see how others react. She enjoys aiming subtle barbs and insults at those she dislikes.
When the need arises, Mindala will let slip false rumors and news that she “just happened to hear and could not let remain unused” by her “good friends.” Such tellings are targeted at Marsembans who are suspected of dealing with spies, slavers and worse. Those who act on her information inadvertently expose themselves to other agents of the Crown stationed to observe who takes her bait and who does not.
Her identity as a Wizard of War is known only by a few senior war wizards not based in Marsember, and a handful of Highknights whom Mindala trusts with her life. Her relationship with the Mage Royal is cold; she would have left the war wizards years ago were it not for the intervention of his second in command, whom she reports to.
Mindala’s business is self-sufficient as it brings in large amounts of coin, much of it coming from the purses of adventurers whom Mindala is skilled at manipulating into all sorts of trouble, resulting in battles that expose nefarious merchant cabals and break up gatherings of foes to the Crown, and give the Watch cause to enter property Mindala suspects of housing illicit goods.
“Loyal or disloyal, all are watched,” are words Mindala and the other eyes of the Crown live by. While most Marsembans up to no good assume their activities go unnoticed, wiser heads believe most of the illicit doings in Marsember are observed by agents of the Crown. While the appearance of meddling adventurers at just the right moment to disrupt a potentially lucrative bit of illegal trading is seen as bad luck, the master of whatever secret cabal of merchants that arranged the deal is likely to conclude the Crown is sending a warning to the effect of “we tolerate much, but in this you go to far.”
One of self-styled Spice Lords who has been hardest hit by Mindala’s manipulations suspects her of passing on information to the Crown, and has set his agents to the goings on around her shop closely.
Player characters are as likely to find themselves working for Mindala (in exchange for discounts on ritual components and scrolls) as they are to be working for the Spice Lords in an effort to uncover information about her.
 The crystal balls recovered by adventurers and agents of Cormyr from mages and other bad actors in centuries past. The linked objects range from paintings hanging on the interior walls of noble houses, to gargoyles and other decorative stonework, to favorite worn or carried items in the possession of persons Mindala desires to watch. The later are usually items enchanted by Mindala. All are capable of piercing most wards and other spell defenses designed to thwart scrying attempts.
 Veteran spies know the old saying: never cut the head of the snake before you find its tail. In this way the Crown slowly exposes the roots of many plots.
 Three other Wizards of War have taken on the role of merchants in Marsember, just as Mindala has, and all are assisted by Highknights. Two Highknights are assigned to Mindala, posing as errand runners and assistants, one of which is always in attendance at Mindala’s Menagerie to stand fast against any threat. Although she is unaware of Mindala’s activities, the King’s Lord of Marsember knows the true names and faces of the aforementioned Highknights. She assumes the Highknights are there to spy on Mindala, and receives reports about her activities once a month. Out of necessity Mindala has not kept in touch with any of her Crownsworn sisters.