I sat in the Quicksand Tavern in Ul’Dah contemplating the last few days events. Three adventurers able to call upon amazing powers, a mysterious tattoo on my back that hadn’t been there before the Calamity, and Y’shtola asking me to meet the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. I knew the group when they were known as the Path of the Twelve and their goal was to find adventurers with the Echo and research the phenomena, and they had played a crucial part in the events leading up to the Calamity. Their base of operations had left Ul’Dah and was now located in the Vesper Bay, a small port town in Western Thanalan.
My thoughts were interrupted by a scream from outside the tavern. I was out the door and in the street before I knew it. The source of the scream was a young woman who appeared quite destitute, there were refugees entering Ul’Dah every day. She cowered on the ground as a group of men harassed her, one of which was antagonizing the woman. He accused her of stealing food from his stand and the woman swore she paid for it with what little money she had. She looked on to the growing crowd for assistance, but the people of Ul’Dah began to turn away. The woman set her eyes on me as the thugs surrounded her.
My volley of magic exploded against a Roegadyn thug’s back and he stumbled before turning toward me. I held my grimoire open in front of me, reading the stratagem and manipulating the aether around me into another attack. The Roegadyn barely made it two steps before I struck him with another blast of magic. He staggered forward under fire and fell unconscious on the sixth shot. The two other thugs rounded on me now, clearly aware that I was a threat. I slowed their approach with a cloud of miasma and summoned a Carbuncle familiar to distract one. Together we made short work of the group and confronted the shop owner.
My quick fight had roused the crowd and soon enough the man departed before there was an angry mob to deal with. I helped the woman to her feet and cured her injuries. As she thanked me for the help my vision began to fade. I found myself outside of Ul’Dah in the refugee camps. I watched as the woman I had just rescued bought and paid for her food as she said she had done, then saw the shop owner scheming with his thugs. The quick Echo vision subsided and I told the woman not to worry, gave her some money, and went back on my way.
I rented a chocobo and set off to Vesper Bay, stopping only to attune myself to the Aetheryte crystal in Camp Horizon along the way. When I arrived in the small town I found the tavern I had been told to look for. The Waking Sands was a small building and, for a tavern, quite empty. Upon entering I was greeted by a bubbly Lalafell who introduced herself as Tataru. I recognized her as the clerk for the old Path of the Twelve and told her that I had been asked to meet with the Scions. She checked through a large ledger and found my name listed, then told me that the Antecedent was waiting inside a room they called The Solar. I stepped down a stairwell and into the base of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.
The tavern upstairs turned out to be a front for the Scion’s base of operations. The lower level was large, housing many rooms and hallways where the Scions conducted their business. Despite the size of their base, the place still seemed to be quite empty. There were only a dozen or so people that I had seen while searching for The Solar. I eventually found the room and entered to be greeted by the leader of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, Minfilia.
I smiled immediately upon seeing yet another familiar face. Minfilia was still a young woman, even if five years had passed since I had last seen her, and she had aged gracefully. She still carried with her the air of a strong, confident woman and had gained a new kind of beauty. I found myself admiring her for a moment, noticing that it didn’t help she had her midriff exposed. I checked my libido at the door, took a calming breath, and sat to speak with her.
My hopes that Minfilia recognized me were quickly squashed. I had thought that since she too had the Echo she’d remember me. Even though she spoke to me as though we were old colleagues, which we were in a way, and I began to feel more comfortable. Minfilia explained to me what the Echo was, I of course played along with her, and she told me just what it was that the Scions of the Seventh Dawn were trying to do. In the five years since the Calamity, amidst the large scale rebuilding efforts, there was still the threat of Primals and Garlean incursion. The Scions of the Seventh Dawn worked with adventurers of all race and allegiance attempting to aid Eorzea against these threats.
I was introduced to more familiar faces. Y’shtola was there of course. There was the Pugilist Yda, a girl who wore a masked turban and always given me the impression that she was a bit ditzy,and her companion Papalymo, a Lalafell Thaumaturge. The man could be quite obnoxious when he wanted to be, but their bond was strong. There was also Thancred, a suave debonair minstrel who got on my nerves. He made some comment, just shy of being lewd, and I rolled my eyes at him. The final member was a mysterious Arcanist named Urianger, a studious prophet who spoke in prose.
I realized that these Scions, all save for Minfilia, had been a part of Louisoix’s Circle of Knowing, the Archons who had attempted to prevent the falling of Dalamud. This group, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, was no lightweight. Gathered in this small room was some of Eorzea’s greatest heroes. And here I was again caught up in their workings. Was this all part of Hydaelan’s plans in some way?
With introductions out of the way, Minfilia asked me if I was willing to join with the Scions and help protect Eorzea. She offered me a pass-phrase to give out should I ever need assistance from the Scions while out in the field, “Wild Rose”. Without thinking I made a witty remark about being the only wild rose in the room and Minfilia was quick witted enough to play along with a grin which caused me to start with a flush. Ok, so maybe it’s not that easy to ignore one’s natural urges, but it had been over five years… technically speaking.
I recovered smoothly all things considered and agreed to join the Scions. Glad to have the help, Minfilia wasted no time in putting me on assignment. I was to be working with Thancred concerning an investigation into a caravan robbery and missing persons reports. It was suspected that the local beastman tribe, the Amal’jaa, were involved. I discussed the case with Thancred as we left the Waking Sands. We would meet up in Eastern Thanalan at Camp Drybone the next day and go from there.
I spent the night in Ul’Dah and set off for Camp Drybone early in the morning. There I met with Thancred and a man of standing in Drybone name Isembard. Since the caravan robbery and the kidnappings were happening near his town he was more than happy to give us the assistance we needed. We spoke at length and Isembard asked if I would be able to help him out with a task. During the night there had been an Amal’jaa raid and there had been casualties. I helped Isembard retrieve the corpses and transport them to the nearby Church of Saint Adama Landama. It was a grisly task that set me on edge. Being an adventurer death was no stranger to me, but I had never seen it from this perspective. The people who had been killed were just commonfolk, refugees. They weren’t adventurers, weren’t pirates or monsters. Just regular people. Isembard noticed that I had grown sombre and when we returned to Camp Drybone we got back to work on the missings persons case.
I was given the name of a man in town who was knowledgeable in the ways of the refugees in the camp and told me I’d find him in the tavern. He thought that the man, Ungust, would have some helpful information for me. I found Ungust in the tavern just as I was told, and was quite surprised to find out that he was the very same merchant I had encountered in Ul’Dah the day before. He wasn’t exactly pleased to see me either, but I explained to him why I was there and he suggested I speak to the people in the town to gather information. This turned out to be a waste of time as every person I spoke to refused to speak to me, as though afraid to tell me of the things they had seen. Frustrated, I returned to Ungust.
The merchant was, for lack of a nicer word, rude to me once more and displayed his unconcern at the growing list of missing peoples from Camp Drybone. I should have known that he was going to be of no help, the way he had treated that woman the day before. Without anywhere else to turn to I returned to Isembard and told him that I had been unable to gather any useful information. We spoke and Isembard made the comment that perhaps the commonfolk were too scared to speak to anyone but their gods, and I thought about returning to the church.
Upon arriving back at the church I met with a man named Marques and asked if he might be able to help with my investigation. He offered me some information in exchange for assistance in digging graves for the recently embalmed corpses and I hesitantly agreed. We spent the next hour digging graves and burying the departed and Marques told me that I should speak with Sister Ourcen who dealt more with the commonfolk. I kindly thanked him for his help, trying to remember that I was on holy ground and should be nice, and returned to the church to seek out the sister. The lead turned out to prove useless again, as Sister Ourcen explained to me that while the commonfolk confided her about many things, they had not told her anything that would be helpful to my investigation.
I returned to Camp Drybone once again, completely frustrated that I had run into two dead ends now. Thancred had returned by the time I arrived and we discussed my lack of findings with Isembard. Thancred seemed to believe that in such a small community, Sister Ourcen was the only person who would be able to get a jump on anyone. Isembard and I both disagreed, I just couldn’t see the church-woman involving herself in kidnappings, but Thancred insisted. To prove the Sister’s innocence Isembard asked me to speak with a child in the Golden Bazaar to the north that Sister Ourcen had been taking care of.
I rented a chocobo and set off to the trading outpost, trying to piece together the jumble of loose ends I’d managed to collect concerning the case. A number of kidnappings in a close-knit community, a caravan robbery, and a church that the commonfolk trusted with great conviction. Something was still missing, and I couldn’t help but feel it was the Amal’jaa that we had not even begun to look into yet. I reached the Golden Bazaar and eventually found the street urchin that Sister Ourcen had been caring for. He told me that the Sister had just been there and had set out east to look for some item of some sort that he had lost. I thanked the kid for his help, begrudgingly plopped a coin into his open palm, and went in the direction he had indicated Sister Ourcen left.
I found Sister Ourcen being accosted by a couple undead soldiers and made quick work of them with my magic. Having rescued the Sister I asked her why she’d risked her life for some trinket. I gathered that Sister Ourcen couldn’t possibly be a suspect in the kidnapping cases and I returned once more to Camp Drybone to set Thancred right.
After I scolded the minstrel he admitted that it was an honest mistake and we finally set out toward an Amal’jaa encampment to investigate.
The beastmen had set up a camp southeast of Drybone and with evening drawing close we approached it carefully. Thancred offered to distract the guards while I snuck in to find any possible clues. I man may make me completely irritable, but I’ll admit that he’s amazing with his throwing knives. With only a few precise throws he had taken out one guard and drew the rest out into the dying afternoon. I moved quickly into the camp, running from tent to tent in hiding. I found a stack of supply crates and went through them quickly.
I must not have been sneaky enough because I hadn’t even gone through the second crate before I was found by an Amal’jaa. The large lizard-like beastman attacked and I fended him off long enough to slip away and escape from the camp. I met back up with Thancred and informed him that I had failed. The only thing I had managed to get out of the Amal’jaa camp was some piece of paper I must have been holding onto when I made a break for it. Thancred inspected the leaflet, what I assumed was trash, and he couldn’t be more surprised at my dumb luck.
As we returned to Drybone Thancred explained to me that the paper was a pamphlet for the Church of Saint Adama Landama but something was off about it. We found Sister Ourcen in Drybone, she had come down from the church looking for me to thank me again for earlier. We showed her the pamphlet and she confirmed Thancred’s suspicion that it was not written by anyone from the church. Much to my chagrin, Sister Ourcen then informed us that there was a rash of missing garments from the church. By this point I wanted to scream at her that that was exactly the kind of information we were looking for, but I held my tongue.
With the fake pamphlet found in the Amal’jaa encampment and the information that the church was missing clothing, we could only determine that someone was posing as a priest and was kidnapping people for the Amal’jaa. We informed Isembard and he assured me that he would stay vigilant with the new information. With night fully on us, Thancred and I retired to the local inn to start fresh in the morning. Now that everything was falling into place I couldn’t help feeling that I would need all the rest I could get.
This part of the story got squicky really quickly as soon as it involved gathering corpses. Trivia time: In the Beta phases, the icon for the "fresh corpse" key item was actually that of a person. In the release build, it's been changed to a flower. Unfortunately, this is not the last time that the player characters will be playing the part of undertaker.
This whole segment really felt like it took a lot longer than it did when writing it out. I think this is the point where the experience from the quests stops being enough to run through them repeatedly and you actually have to stop to do some other side quests and what amounts to grinding in XIV, which really isn't very grindy until that leevl 45~50 range which is really really bad.
I actually have a proof reader for these journal entries, he goes over them and helps me snag any lore issues I may have come upon. There was one here that we debated for a few minuets. Upon meeting Minfilia, she does mention that she remembers you, but then goes on to treat you like she doesn't. You get the run down on what the Echo is, introduced to everyone that you worked with before, and even later on says something along the lines of "keep up the great work and you'll be a Warrior of Light in no time!" or some such. Clearly not dialogue insinuating that she remembers you. And then events at the very end of the game completely confirm that she doesn't remember you through the course of the story. I'm unsure if her mentioning it was a remnant of possible split stories for Legacy vs. Non-Legacy members, or if it was simply a translation error, but it leaves a gaping plothole that I fixed.
So here I am with these time wasting quests out of the way and the next entry is the Bowl of Embers fight. I've been talking about this one a lot since it's the first taste of awesomeness that the players get. Four adventurers against the Primal Ifrit, who looks incredible compared to previous iterations. It's an amazing fight, and chump change compared to the Hard mode later on, but it really captures how great the game is. I should probably save some rambling about it for when I actually write and post it. So, please look forward to it!