"So, he sicced a giant scorpion on you, all to keep you from getting to the Eldest Cabbage Patch Kid? Do we have a bead on what this guy looks like? Get a peek at his face? Anything that we can use to identify?" Torvan was trying to get an After Action Report from Swarwint and Casoso once they returned from the Sylphlands and checked in with Minfilia, with the goal of getting it in writing for their records. Gwen turned from her laptop to the pair, typing their words furiously to keep up.

"Giant Banemite, Thousand Maws, no standout features on the Ascian, other than a name. What was it again? Laha..Lawho..La Brea Tar Pit?"

"Lahabrea, from what we gathered, his goal was to force the Sylph tribe's hand, make them summon Ramuh to protect them without their Elder. Why exactly, I cannot say for certain." Casoso's words were to the point, she was tired, still trying to recover from her and Swarwint's ordeal, and wanted to get the pertinent information down while it was fresh in their minds. With an Ascian in play, it was a matter of time until it struck again, its goals unknown at the current time.

Swarwint scanned the room, something felt off. He wasn't a believer in "vibes", but, something about this felt wrong. It was just he, Casoso, Gwen and Torvan in the office, but his senses, or the Echo, he want sure which, were picking up what felt like eyes watching. As the report was finished, and the group went to leave, Swarwint opened the door and spied Thancred waiting, leaned back on a wall.

"Been there long, Waters?"

"Could say that, how goes the investigation?"

"Better than expected, prevented tensions from getting the better of all parties. You look ragged, been in the field too long?"

"Aye, just catching my breath for a moment before I set out again. Be seeing you Swarwint."

He watched Thancred walk off, in the short time he'd known him, Thancred wasn't typically this secretive, or constantly exhausted. As Gwen walked out of the room, she stopped to talk with Swarwint.

"Weird, isn't it? I've worked with the guy for a while now, and I don't think I've seen him act like this before. Next time I get a chance to talk with Minfilia, I want to bring it up to her. She's close with him, so if I can see it, I know she can."

"Aye, ''tis strange for him to be acting out of sorts like this. Either he's overworked himself or-"

"Abducted by aliens and replaced with a copy?"

"Hah! You watch too much television Miss Talchar. But, if he is abducted, I'll be sure to seek your counsel. Anything further you need from me?"

"Nah, I'm good. Gonna get this AAR prettied up and throw it onto the archive, later Aergfyst."

A phone rings in the office, as Torvan answers, it was Jarik, his assignment getting them a step closer to the Ala Mhigan refugees.

"Got a present for you when I get back, you know our contact, Meffrid? Got a letter of introduction from him to Gundobald. That might get us an in with the settlement. You still gonna take point on that?"

"Thought I was, so, we got an in then? Great, I'll relay it up the chain, just finishing off a report here. See you soon bud, later."

Torvan was ready to get back out into the field, ready to do some work that didn't involve an office or a desk. Vael and Jarik were recovered, and able to run things at the Waking Sands, if he could get them out of the field, same with Ari, he was left helping train up new Scions, getting them combat-ready to be able to fight with the Grand Companies, or at least defend the Sands if anyone attacked them. He walked to his locker to check over his gear, not the same as his old Modified Ravager's Armor back home, but, he'd make due, same with his weapon, a fairly standard greataxe, single-headed, his preferred style, like his old one back on Vana'Diel, a customized Ukonvasara he named Ukko's Reaper. He was a blacksmith by trade, working in the Bastokan Metalworks before becoming an adventurer, so, tinkering with his gear came second nature to him. As he wracked his brain, trying to understand why he agreed to leave all their weapons and armor in a storage locker in Jeuno, he moved on toward's Minfilia's office, to relay the information he was given, and inform her of where he was with his own investigation.


The hot Thanalan sun blazed as a small pickup truck made its way through the desert, headed for Little Ala Mhigo. The road was bumpy, and not well-maintained, as it struggled to climb the hills to the settlement, it whined and groaned with every bump it went over. Once it reached its destination, its passengers piled out, ready to attune to the Aetheryte so that they'd never have to make that drive again.

"Come on, my driving isn't THAT bad?"

"Gwen, I'm on the ground trying to make the world stop spinning. In the desert. It's not you, it's the road." Ari was reeling from the drive, trying to keep from getting sick, as Torvan steadied himself on the truck.

"Alright ladies, we know the job, I'm going to meet with the Flames assigned out here, see if they can point me to Gundobald. Gwenny, you okay to drive back? Or are you going to wait on us?"

"I got Minfilia to let me work a job in the field, I'm not passing this up. We'll drive back together when we're done." She was excited, partially because she got to get out of the office, and partially because she'd never been out this way. She was from Vesper Bay, she didn't have much reason to go to South Thanalan before today. She carried a service pistol on her hip, that way in case something went down, she'd be able to defend herself without cowering behind Torvan and Ari.

The group approached a Flame Sergeant, he'd be their liaison between the refugees and the Ul'Dahns. "Sir? Torvan Hillway, Ariana Smith, Gwen Talchar, we're with the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, we've come to request an audience with the leader of this settlement."

"Hell're ye asking me for? I'm not his keeper. I'll point him out, but that's it. These bums aren't my problem, other than keep them in line."

The group walked down a path carved into the stone, into what looked like a clearing in the cave. There stood an older Highlander Hyur, long grey hair and mustache, with a lance on his back. He looked distracted, and not willing to give the Scions any more time than necessary.

"Speak, outsiders. If you've nothing to say, then leave, and do not waste my time."

Ari stepped forward to speak for the group, "Sir, we come on behalf of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and we're asked to present to you this letter." She handed the envelope to Gundobald, and he snatched it from her hand to read it.

"Meffrid...he's a good man, if he'll vouch for you lot, I'll take him at his word. Welcome to our humble abode Scions. Tell me, why do come all the way out here? Can't be for the hospitality."

"We come investigating reports of a figure in a black cloak that may be trying to instigate a summoning. Would you know anything of that?"

"'Course I do lass, the young ones have become restless, more receptive to the thought of taking our home back by force. I don't have a lot of information for you that it sounds like you don't already know. I have my suspicions that the man you're after is meeting with them in secret. I see the young ones leaving the camp late at night, but can't get an answer from them as to what they're doing."

"That's where we'll start. Do you have anyone in particular we should speak to?"

"Hah, anyone that will give you the time of day lass. Good luck."


About the author


Bio: I’m a wannabe writer that wants to get some of the stories floating in his brain out before it gets too smooth in there. I blog some too, you should check that out. Might be interesting if you enjoy any of this.

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