It had been a couple days since the meeting in Limsa Lominsa, and schedules hadn't lined up the way anyone hoped. Minfilia had to be in Ul'Dah for a hastily arranged meeting with the butting heads of the Monestarists and Royalists in regards to any aid the fledgling group could give the Sultanate. In that time, a young Elezen man had shown up at the Waking Sands, strolling in as if he owned the place. Thancred's mark no doubt, at least in the eyes of Ariana. She had been busy with helping the Adventurers get settled into their temporary position in Vesper Bay, and had no time for the little snob's general rudeness.
Malik started to ask, "So the kid, he..."
"Claims he's Louisoix's grandson. I didn't know the guy, but I've been around enough old dudes to know he'd knock the arrogance off the little prick if he had to. Or maybe that's just my personal history speaking."
Ari had started re-learning her hand-to-hand combat skills, and was in a way 'wishing someone would' . Her grandmother taught her how to fight growing up in Selbina, a coastal port town in the middle of Vana'Diel's Valkurm Dunes, a desert infamous among adventurers for how its heat, elements, and local fauna punished rookies again and again until they either washed out, died, or learned to survive it. She hoped she wouldn't have to, but a part of her was more than willing to give Alphinaud a left hook he'd never forget if he got in her face too much trying to bark orders. Her phone began to ring, it was Tataru.
"Hello? Smith? Yes, it's me, we're on our way back now, terribly sorry for the delay. If I had known this meeting would have been a two-day whirlwind, I'd have denied their request for Minfilia's sake. She is willing to meet as soon as she's settled back in and caught back up. Can you get them wrangled and into the Sands? Oh, they're already in? Excellent. Let them know, see you soon."
"Well, you're in luck, just got off the line with her assistant. Get your people, you're about to meet with the boss. I gotta go find Vael."
Vael was tense. About to snap a pen in two kind of tense. Headbutt a wall tense. Alphinaud had been everywhere, pestering, prodding, and acting like he was everyone's senior. His reign of terror had reached the Tenth Round and put her on edge. As Ari walked into their office, she spun on her heels, ready to unload some frustration, but stopped as she realized who was there.
"Mom's home. Just thought you'd wanna know. Tats says she's ready to go for the meeting as soon as she's settled back in."
"Oh thank gods it's you. I swear if it was that brat again I would go off. So she's ready then? Good. How's the VIPs?"
"They're alright. Confused a bit, but otherwise fine. How you doing though?" Ari knew her friend wasn't doing well, but was putting on a brave face.
"Functional. Ready to go home though, I need a break from the constant...THAT."
"Not what I mean. Talk to me. What's going on Charlie?"
Vael bristled, Ari didn't call her by her middle name. No one did, so if she was, she was truly concerned. She decided to just let it all out. "I don't know. I really don't. I'm stressing over this job, I'm mildly homesick, I'm reliving last winter in my head over and over again. I've been so busy taking care of everyone else that I can't take care of me. I know, take a break once in a while. Well, maybe once the work is over, since our work pile is about yay-tall and we haven't put as much of a dent in it as I'd liked to."
"Anything else to add?"
"Maybe. I'm just tired. Last couple months have been a whirlwind. Ready to get out into the field, clear my head of the office."
"I get it, and we'll get back out there, there's just stuff we gotta do before that. Get these guys on board and settle them in, be the adults in the room now so we don't have to be later. Now come on, we got a meeting to set up."
Vael sighed, tired and ready for this day to be over, "You're right, let's go."
Vael walked the group to the Solar, Minfilia's head office at the Waking Sands. "Ma'am, group here to speak with you."
"Thank you Miss Roshan, please, come in." Minfilia's office was professional, but warm and inviting to her guests. A quartet of chairs across from her desk to accommodate, with Louisoix's staff, Tuipsimati hung on the back wall in a place of honor. "I understand that you have questions, and that there isn't a lot of trust between us. You all fought at Carteneau, and represented our former orders with honor and distinction. I implore you to stand with us against the threats that Eorzea faces."
Ifrelle rose to speak for the group. "The more I've listened to and learned from your people, we want the same thing they do, to protect others, to stop the Primals threatening us all. You don't have to beg me to join because I've already decided that I will."
"I thank you, truly, I do. One thing I'd also like to discuss is the "visions" you all noted you've seen when speaking with my Archons. The Echo, as we've termed it, is a supernatural gift that a number of our order share, and is our greatest tool against the Primals."
Vael's eyes drifted across the room, no longer paying attention to Minfilia, she'd heard it before, she got the same speech, just not in those exact words. Her mind wandered to home, to the road, to getting back into the field, she was a wanderer, whether she believed it or not, even if she had a home in Jeuno, she didn't enjoy being stuck at a desk like this. The Archons had entered the room with Alphinaud, his arrogant streak hopefully diminished with the boss home.
She continued to tune out of the conversation until the prospect of field work was brought up, not for herself. No, she still had other duties to attend to. Thancred and Malik were being tasked with a job concerning missing crystal shipments at Camp Drybone, as the meeting ended, she considered why she came here in the first place.
It had been a few days since the meeting, and the group they christened the Dawn Warriors' first job with the Scions. Malik and Ifrelle had been tasked with assisting an Ul'Dahn assault on the Amalj'aa, a race of lizard-men that worship the Primal Ifrit. They were to check in after reaching the rendezvous point, which was a number of hours ago. With no one else available to send, Vael opted to go after them, and take Jarik with her as backup, and a pocket healer. The pair set off for the rendezvous point, when they hear a transmission over their linkpearls.
"This is Ifrelle Dreaneaux, Scions of the Seventh Dawn, we are requesting IMMEDIATE assistance! We have a primal inbound, repeat, primal inbound! Anyone that can hear this, rendezvous at Camp Drybone, repeat, Camp Drybone!"
The pair turned around and made a mad dash for the camp, longbow and staff at the ready. When they arrived, they saw Ifrelle and Malik injured and covered in blood.
"My gods, what happened!? Where are the Flames!?" Jarik immediately set to work trying to heal them as much as he could, they weren't badly injured, but they certainly weren't in fighting shape at the moment.
Malik gasped for breath, shaken at what he had seen. "Some...some were paid off, they turned on us. Those that didn't...we got overwhelmed. Too many to fight off at once. When we woke up...a cave...cave in the encampment...southeast. We gotta go back...we gotta save them!"
"One thing at a time, we gotta get down there, but we need to patch you two up." Jarik focused on his healing spells. Needed to give them time to work their way through their systems.
"Any other backup Roshan?" Ifrelle was understandably concerned about their chances staring down a primal, especially with only four people.
"Not that I can spare, I had to dispatch Torvan and Ariana to Copperbell, and none of the rooks are ready for this. The Flames should be able to get us close, but ultimately we'll have to break down the doors. Check your gear, make sure we're as ready as possible."