Sep 22, 2021 4:28 PM
The night is always darkest...
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But unfortunately for her curiosity, this is when a large hulk of a hyur man bursts into the dining hall.

"Welcome, friends!" he says in a booming voice, clearly addressed to Aymeric and his entourage. He steps towards them without a trace of discomfort or hesitation; he is quite accustomed to Ul'dahn parties, by now. "Ah, damn, I'd been hoping to meet Ishgard's champion, but it seems like she managed to slip away!"

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Aymeric turns his smile to the newcomer. "General Aldynn, what a pleasure to see you." He offers Raubahn the same bow he did Kan-E-Senna. "And yes, I did extend Jacqueline an invitation, but she had other matters to attend to, unfortunately."

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"Pity! It'd have been nice to have something like a peer at one of these." Clearly, someone is jealous. He does not want to be here. He has, in fact, never wanted to be at any of these (fucking) parties, but he is nonetheless subjected to most of them.

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"You wanted to challenge her to a sparring match," accuses Kan-E-Senna, sounding amused.

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"Damn right I want to! A man could go mad, doing nothing but attending parties, small talking, and drinking expensive wine. Me especially."

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Aymeric looks terribly amused, too. "Well, I'll convey your wishes to her and perhaps she will show up at your doorstep someday."

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"Much appreciated. Has everything been to your liking so far? The regulars not giving you too much trouble?"

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"Everyone has been lovely tonight, this party is splendid. And the food looks delicious, too. A pity we cannot eat it yet. I had hoped the Sultana would be with you so I could beg of her special dispensation for a taste or two before the official banquet begins."

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"Ehhh, it's fine. She's never been a stickler for tradition." He reaches out and retrieves a cookie, and begins munching. While making eye contact with a nearby appalled lalafell that nonetheless seems resigned to this sort of thing. "She's having tea with the Warrior of Light, wanted me to come check on how her guests were doing. Which is Her Grace for 'Please go away, Raubahn, nobody's going to try to assassinate me while I'm with the hero of the realm, stop worrying.'"

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Aymeric perks up at that. "Oh, the Warrior of Light is coming, too?"

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"But of course," says one Alphinaud Leveilleur, walking up to them. "The Scions and the Crystal Braves could not miss this celebration for anything!"

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"Master Leveilleur! What a pleasure. And I believe I have heard of these Crystal Braves of yours - a new Grand Company, yes? You must tell me all about it later."

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"A Grand Company that is as apolitical as its Scion founders is certainly ambitious," says the Seedseer, "but it seems to have worked out well so far. I hope your group's habit of pulling off the impossible continues, but. I do recommend keeping the two groups separate, I would not the fall of one to lead to the other."

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"Wise words as always, Elder Seedseer," nods Alphinaud, unknowingly mirroring Aymeric's earlier words. "I would not have my own projects endanger my dearest friends like that."

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"Since we are on the subject, there is one question I have been meaning to ask and been too ashamed to not know the answer for." He looks at Kan-E-Senna. "But as the Elder Seedseer herself said, a party is perhaps the perfect location for such." Back to Alphinaud: "What, exactly, are the Scions of the Seventh Dawn?"

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"- oh! Do forgive me, Lord Commander, we are so used to these news travelling the realm we sometimes forget Ishgard's walls can be that high." He pauses and hums to himself, trying to think of an appropriate answer. "I suppose what we are, now, is a loose coalition of individuals who are working for the betterment of the realm as a whole, regardless of any political affiliations. And relatedly, we count many in our numbers that carry the Goddess's blessing, the Echo. The Warrior of Light himself is one such gifted individual."

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"That gift being why they're so damned good at killing primals. Yours was immediately killed upon her summoning, yeah? You're damned lucky she didn't get the chance to temper anyone. That's a gods-damned nightmare."

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"Indeed. The one trait all possessed of the Echo share is the ability to contend with those beings without becoming their mindless thralls, though there are many other things they get. When we fought Shiva together, you saw Otohiko's skill in battle? How he seemed to always know where to go, how to avoid every blow, almost prescient? That was in large part due to his gift. He has explained it to me once, he can live through the same battle many times until he succeeds."

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...wait, does that imply Otohiko has actually experienced his own death before? "That is fascinating, Master Leveilleur," says Aymeric rather than voicing those concerning thoughts. "And you actively recruit such gifted individuals?"

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"We do, though not all are as skilled in combat as our Warrior of Light is."

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"And more unfortunately, they are very rare."

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"Yes, although at least they do have the ability to shield others from primal influence, so sending even one to such a fight is already a great boon."

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"Aye, I can attest to that," says the tall roegadyn lady coming over from elsewhere in the party to join them. Admiral Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn, current leader of Limsa Lominsa. "Many would have perished to those summoned gods' thrice-damned influence were it not for the help of the Warrior of Light in past fights."

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"Admiral! And now the party is complete."

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"I would have joined you sooner, but I was having a delightful conversation with some of the General's compatriots. They had some interesting views about money and the economy."

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