Ul'Dah, the Chamber of Rule. A wave of anticipation covers the crowd as they await the Sultana's speech to commemorate the battle of Carteneau. Ari and Jarik blend into the crowd, a safe distance from Thancred Waters, their Archon contact. Things go bad, they jump in to back him up. They scan the crowd, looking for a particular pair of Adventurers. Oddly dressed pair of Elezen kids? Strange, but not their immediate concern. Ari gets a glimpse of a tall Elezen woman matching the description she's been given. She slips into the crowd, along with Jarik tailing the Miqote. Thancred pointed them out when they walked into the ceremony earlier, his marks unknown to them.
As the Sultana and Flame General give their speeches, Jarik slips next to the Miqote. "Malik Carter?"
"How do you know my name? Who are you?"
"A friend possibly. Been trying to find you for a bit. My associates and I would like to speak to you and your associates after the ceremonies end."
"I'll talk, but you better tell me what this is about."
"I will. My employer has been trying to reach you for a while. She'd like to have you all speak with her, and is inviting you to her office. All four of you."
"What do you mean? They aren't here. Just me and Ifrelle."
"My associates are in the other city-states and will speak with them during the ceremonies. We're not your enemy, I swear. Just, talk to us. Get your guys together, and I'll get mine. We'll talk this out, you name the time and place. Here's my number if you wanna call. It's clean, no bugs, no trackers."
"Fine. We'll talk, but it's on my terms." Malik stepped away from Jarik, and caught the eyes on Thancred, the bard that had been crossing paths with he and Ifrelle. Was he with these guys? What was going on here? Malik wanted to get to the bottom of it.
"Ifrelle, Swarwint, Casoso, we need to talk guys. I'm curious about something." Malik was concerned, ever since they popped out of the bubble back into Eorzea, no one paid them much mind, even when working for their Cities. For a group to pop out of the blue and know who they were, know they worked together, and wanted to meet the four of them in particular? Something didn't sit right. They met at an inn in the Bentbranch Meadows of the Black Shroud, and discussed their next move.
"Should we meet with them, I say we come armed, I'd prefer to take no chances we don't have to." Swarwint distrusted these people, the Mithra that approached him during the Gridanian ceremony did so without his notice. His eyes were scanning around him. Papalymo and Yda, the strange Elezen kids, they stood out, but the Mithra took him by surprise.
Casoso agreed, "If the Elvaan was able to get to me without my knowledge, or Y'Shtola's, how could we trust we weren't being hunted by them?"
"It felt like a game of cat and mouse, the Hume woman approached me like she plucked me out of the air. She knew my name, my mark, all without having met me or seen my face before." Ifrelle was certain they had taken every possible concern to hide their movements, but it wasn't enough.
"They wanna meet though. It's gotta be public, plenty of eyes on us and them, that way if they DO come after us, we're not putting our word against theirs. Should I make the call though? If so, where do we want to meet?"
"Limsa, I'd prefer that if we need to make a break, the Yellowjackets can at least slow them enough to let us get out of the city before we fight them." Casoso decided for them, it was just down to Malik to set the meeting.
A few days pass, Jarik is working with Gwen and Tataru on retrieving a backup of the Circle of Knowing and Path if the Twelve's archives when his phone rings. The Mighty Bruins starts playing from Jarik's phone as he answers. "Tenth Round Security Consulting, you tag 'em, we'll bag 'em. How can I help you?" It was a Limsan landline number, so not anyone he knew, but he had a feeling it was the call he'd been waiting on.
"It's Carter. We wanna talk. Limsa Adventurer's Guild. Noon. No weapons." The phone clicks, he didn't need to say anything else, ball's rolling now.
Malik checks his gear, if they'd hold to their word, they wouldn't draw steel in a public place. Didn't mean he and his wouldn't come loaded for bear just in case. It was 11:45, he, Ifrelle, Swarwint and Casoso were seated at a table in the Adventurer's Guild. No drinks, aside from a coffee for Ifrelle, it was strictly business on their end.
The barkeep walks up, "Got a party lookin' for ye, table in the corner. I'll walk you to 'em if ye wanna folleh."
"Thanks, remember guys, play it cool." And now the two groups truly meet for the first time.
"Hey there, you're early." Vael rose to meet them, "Vael Roshan, Torvan Hillway, Ariana Smith, Jarik Felhaven, we're representing a group called the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, and it's leader, Minfilia Ward. We'd like to extend an invitation to their headquarters in Vesper Bay. I'm sure your contacts at the Guild have spoken with you about it?"
"They have." Swarwint answered, eyeing the group that scoped them out that easily. "Still doesn't explain why you had to surveil us in such a way. We don't know you or your group, why should we take this up?"
Torvan responded, looking Swarwint in the eyes, "We know you all were parts of either the Circle of Knowing or the Path of the Twelve pre-Calamity. The Scions are what the remnants of both groups became after Carteneau, after you disappeared for five years. They thought you were dead."
"I didn't know Thancred too well back then, thought he was kicking around on his own after all that went down. You and yours don't look too familiar either, where you from?"
Ari stared across the table in response to Ifrelle, eyes focused on the staff she was carrying. "If you must know, Vana'Diel, and you're ones to talk. Drop off the face of the world for five years, then run roughshod across Eorzea like you never left. Even if nobody else seems to remember your names."
Casoso took her turn to speak, directly to Jarik, being a fellow mage and scholar. "What of Louisoix? What happened to him? The last we saw was him sending us away in the battle. Bahamut broke free of its cage, burning friend and foe, Alliance and Garlean VIIth Legion with the same force. Nael Van Darnus broke its cage, and yet, from my travels, neither it nor the VIIth have been seen since."
Jarik knew the tell of what she was doing, plugging in particular names and groups to pry for information, for an answer. An answer that unfortunately, wasn't something he had. "Louisoix...vanished in the aftermath. Left only his staff, Tuipsimati, same goes for Bahamut, the VIIth, all of it. I've not been here for more than a couple months, I couldn't tell you anything further. What I do know is that Minfilia was one of his most ardent followers, and would be able to tell you more. She formed the Scions to carry on his goals and ambitions. We're not telling you what to do, we're really not. Just please, come to Vesper Bay, hear her out. That's all we're asking."
Malik thought long and hard, their words didn't feel hollow, and though he wasn't too familiar with the group, he wanted to see for himself if the Scions truly carried Louisoix's legacy. His group was always at arm's length with the Circle and the Path, never too close to those the Tenth Round called "Archons" , but, he felt he needed to cut through the tension in the room and just agree to go.
"I'm going. Relle, Swar, Cas, I don't know about you, but, I feel like I need to do this. The old man would've wanted us there, he sent us forward in time for a reason, this...feels like that reason."
"Are you sure? Cas? Relle?" Swarwint saw the determination on Malik's face. "Then count me in as well. Where he goes, so do I."
"Make it three. I still don't trust you lot, but...I'm in. Give us an address and a time to be there." Ifrelle looked across the room, "May as well hear her out."
"Then it's settled. We all go together. Thank you. We'll set off from the ferry towards Vesper, and see you there hopefully?" Casoso was still trying to gauge if they really were with the Scions, and if they were being straight with her.
Vael saw through the bait, and ended the conversation cordially, "You will, I'll be the first to meet you once you get through reception, and will personally lead you to Minfilia's office. On behalf of the Scions, I'd like to thank you for accepting the invitation. And I would like to personally hope we'd be working together later down the line."