The Core Vortex: The Watchers

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"I'm afraid there are only four of us here, Master Shine. Perhaps the last member isn't here yet?" Aquario looked back at the three other members before glancing at where they all came from. "How rude to keep us waiting, especially in front of the Grand Sorcerer himself..." He sighed before turning back to Shine. "Well, at least you see all of our potential."
As the others respond somewhat positively that they will form a team together, especially with Asuza snickering at Liza’s expense. “Wait, hold on.” Liza said in protest. “I thought I was going to join the Golden Knights. Or the Dark Wizards. Or at the very least—the Shining Dawn. No one said anything about joining with these damn clowns!”
“Unfortunately, those teams are quite out of your league, Liza. But I bet once you gather enough experience, you might have a shot to join their teams.” Shine said, quickly turning to both Aquario and Asuza on their question regarding the number on their team. “Now… I am aware that there’s only four of you. But they will be coming in any second now.”

“Wait—I’m not done here. I don’t want to be grouped up with them.”

Before Liza could complain any further, the Chamber doors opened wide when a young man walked in. He was tall with a medium build body. He has black dreads, the end tips illuminating a light blue color, dark skin and red eyes. He wears the standard blue magician robe that barely extend over his knees, accompanied by a black cape, gloves and boots. He wears a blue headband with magic symbols crested all around. “Looks like everyone is here. Good.”

“Ah, there you are Tort.” Shine responded. He turned to the others. “Your fifth member, and your captain of this team, Grandmaster Tort—the Blue Fire Mage.”

Tort was seemingly on the younger side, pushing between 24-27. But his expression, his mannerism and posture showcase his maturity despite being young. “Thank you, Gran Sorcerer. Nice to meet you all. No need for introductions, I’ve already learned your names yesterday.” He has a monotone, so it’s hard to convey his expression when he speaks. “I’ll be your captain and leading this team. Let’s get along… and try not to cause any trouble.”

Grandmaster Tort was known in the Magic Society as being the toughest and harshest Captain. In comparison to the other Captains, his team has a near perfect score of completing missions, but due to how it done cause many Battle Mages to drop out in search of an easier Captain. Because of how he operates, Tort is often dubbed as “The Blue Devil” of his harsh regiment training and always dealing with the harshest missions.
"Tort? Grand master Tort?" Aquario said with some surprise. "I have heard a few rumors circling around saying that this man is tough... Maybe Grand Sorcerer Shine sees our potential and believes we are capable to fight alongside with Tort..."

The mage began to sweat slightly, knowing it took a lot of work and effort to get to where he is now, and he does not know Asuza, Liza, or Vox's capabilities. He grew a little nervous, but his voice sounded confident.

"Well, if Tort is going to be our captain, then he must have a good mission to test us and our teamwork."
“Unfortunately, the mission is already handpicked for us this time.” Tort responded to Aquario’s remark.
While Aquario expressed nervousness, Liza on the other hand was quite freaking out that out of all the Captains, it had to be Tort. What the heck?! Tort is going to be our captain. First these losers and now we are getting latched don the harshest captain in this institution?

“Yes, I figure that this mission will be a testament of your skills, and a chance to work together to see how you flow with one another.” Shine added on. “Of course, after this mission, Tort will handpick all other missions from thus forth.”

“Uhh…” Liza raised her hand. “Can we get another captain? I feel like you’re putting too much confidence on them to have him as their captain. That’s putting too much faith on their level.” Liza tried to explain. “You see, I can tell the magical energy that one has… and they are nowhere near the level of comfort that fitted for Tort. Me of course, have no reason to fear, but I think they should be put with someone that matched their level.”

“…. No, I think this would be fine. As I said, all of you have proven capable of this rank.” Shine responded. “And I will not be surprised if all of you rank up in a good pace in the future. So, the Council’s decision isn’t flawed, nor do I think Tort is unfit.”

Tort narrowed his eyes, remaining silent between that exchanged. “Anyways, Grand Sorcerer Shine. What is our mission?”

Shine nodded his head once, while Liza lowered her head seeing that her “concerns” were dismissed. “The mission is relatively a simple one; there’s someone in Desolate Lands I haven’t heard from in a while. They were supposed to be on a canvas to search the area for some stolen artifacts, but I feel that they made be in danger. So, your mission is to find them and bring them home safe and sound.”

“… Desolate Lands? Are you’re just throwing up into a hell’s den right away? That place is nothing but trouble!” Liza’s eyes narrowed upon hearing that their first mission takes place in a lawless land filled with monsters, demons and mutants. “They will clearly die, you know.”

“Don’t worry, I have a friend, whom I owe a favor too, that will send a few of their people to you to show around the place and provide some decent protection.” Shine said.
Asuza was used to working by herself on jobs under the table, but this seemed quite different than her usual routine. Unlike Aquario and Liza she didn't seem to react with surprise due to her general unfamiliarity with how things worked with this group. She wasn't aware of there being much of a hierarchy other than the counil and the Grand Sorcerer. Regardless, their talk put her at unease.

This might end up being a real pain if I'm stuck hearing her bellyache the whole time... Asuza thought to herself. And to make things worse it sounds like we'll be stuck outside of Paradice for a while.

"Well... as long as it's just a rescue mission I guess it'll be alright for our first job," she sighed a bit and ruffled her own hair idly. They didn't have an option to say no from the looks of things. "Never been to the Desolate Lands before but I hear they don't take too kindly to outsiders. We can use some locals on our side at least."
Vox says still not showing any emotions "I am fine with whatever gob but given the general location we shooed be reedy for most anything." Despite not showing any emotions Vox dos betray the fact, that he if not been there before lived in the Desolate Lands for a bit time.

Vox thinks "The locals are a little guarded but once you shown your worth they are friendly enough."
"Desolate Lands? That's a pretty rough place to start..." Aquario said to himself. "Well, it's just a rescue mission, so I don't think it could be that hard. Still... the people in Desolate Lands are not exactly friendly... I guess we'll see when we get there."

As Liza continued to whine about how she did not want to be with him, Asuza, or Vox, he let out a sigh and had a feeling that this mission would be more annoying than it needed to be. He tried his best to not reply to Liza's witty remarks but pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Look Liza, like it or not, we have to work together in order to make this mission run smoothly. We are all here to follow Grand Sorcerer Shine's orders. Stop worrying about us and quit thinking about yourself... it's annoying." Aquario then turned to Shine. "When will we depart? I'm ready to prove myself."
“That’s the right attitude, Aquario. You should not look at this so negative, Liza.” Shine tried to bring some sense of comfort for the blond woman. “Give them a chance as they will give you, and surely, in due time, you’ll all band together like comrades. And Desolate Lands is a tough place, I won’t deny. That’s why it was fitting to assigned Tort to be your captain. Please treat him well.” He turned to Asuza. “And of course, my friend will take care of ya’ll as well. So lay your worries to bed.”
Liza went quiet and retorted to mere mumbles that is not easy to hear. “Damn four-eyes… go read a book or something.”

“I think that should covered it. Your Captain will take over from now and take you to your next destination. Please have a safe journey and return home safe and sound. I’ll drop in you lot every once in the while to check the status of your progression.” Shine said as he, along with Black Shadow, bowed to them.

The other Council members bowed their heads simultaneously, with one speaking out. It was a rather woman’s voice, but the way she phrased her words indicates that she was on the older side. “You all have the honor of being the rare teams of newly battle mages. We pick you to represent our institution, so don’t disappoint us.” She said as the others nod in agreement.

“Alright, let’s head off then…” Tort said, heading off to the exit. “They’ve made preparation for us to leave right away at the Courtyard. They have all the standard equipment in the vehicle, especially geared towards your specialty. So, we won’t waste time looking for items—we’ll do that in the next mission. Assuming if we survived this one.” He paused for a moment. “It’s a joke, by the way…” Although it was a really dry delivery on that joke. 

Liza held her head down and followed Tort without making a fuss, seemingly that there was no getting out of it.
"I hope not, otherwise that must mean I wasn't good at my old jobs to begin with..." Asuza didn't let herself be stared at for too long by the mysterious councilmembers and started to follow behind Tort once they were dismissed. 

They call this guy Blue Devil... he seems okay... if only a little awkward. But I just hope that name's meant for how he fights, she pondered to herself. She eyed Vox out of curiosity since he hadn't said very much the whole time they were in the meeting-- he was also hard to read. 

"There's stuff on the vehicle for us? Cool, I didn't bring a lot with me since I kinda go pretty lightweight. But then again I've never done a job that needed a 5-man squad before..." she decided to try and be conversational to kill time. "I ought to get this out of the way now; I use fire. But don't worry, I've never burned anybody while on the job-- accidentally, anyway."
I guess Captain Tort has a very...unique taste in humor. Maybe he should save his jokes when we're not in this mission...

When Aquario heard one of the council speakers mention that this mission will represent their institution, he grew slightly cold. He felt a weight on his shoulders but, at the same time, a wave of determination to prove himself and how hard he worked. Hopefully he got along well with Vox, Asuza, and Liza despite her comments earlier. Following Tort, he was curious to see what they would find in the vehicle.

"Well, we can use some of the supplies to think of strategies," Aquario said to the group before trying to add to Asuza's conversation. "I use water. I hope we can work things out between our magical elements, Asuza." He fixed his glasses. "I've studied a bit on how to turn my water to ice and steam. It took me a while, but I got the hang of it." He then turned to Liza and Vox, curious of their magical element. "What about you two? What do you guys specialize in? It helps to know our strengths and weaknesses."
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