75 Earth Temple

    The mood was unusually somber on the way back to Glory Island.  Pon, Wind, Sharl and Jun Li had all moved to the Phoenix to discuss the upcoming events.

    Nix sat the silver chest on the deck and opened it.  A pale blue stone the size of a fist was the sole occupant, there was a gasp of shock from the Aquarion's watching.

    Mina approached immediately and knelt down. She picked it up in her hand as if to verify something.  "Why would humans have a Reverence stone?"


    Water Element: Precious Stone

    Description: A priceless blue-colored


    Nix held his hand out, immediately he gave it back to her.  The moment he touched the stone it felt like dozens of fingernails raking across a chalkboard.  "What does it do?"

    "It's basically an Aquarion promotion stone, simply put, it's a substantial increase in power." Mina sat it back in its place.

    Pon stared at the stone but didn't touch it, it gave him a feeling of danger the moment Nix had opened the chest. "From the description, I would guess that no humans have guessed what it is."

    Semmi nodded in agreement.  "In the past, these stones were used as mounts in rings and crowns.  They bring in a lot of credits if you decide to sell."

    Nix closed the chest and handed it to Mina. "Its biggest value to us is in strengthening our allies."

    /Guild: Nix: Darsi, how's the Ricoli duplication coming?

    /Guildchat: Darsi: I don't have enough resources to make any.  I did craft two dozen Black Hands.

    /Guildchat: Semmi: Are those the black disks that prevent gating and rezzing?

    /Guildchat: Darsi: Yes.

    /Guildchat: Nix: We have a Reverence stone, see if you can duplicate it before one of our Aquarion friends activate it.

    /Guildchat: Darsi: An Aquarion artifact?  You just made my day Trip-7.

    Jun Li opened a map of Glory, "no matter how you look at it, our town is going to be a battlefield."

    Semmi was sitting against the rail, trying to keep from smiling whenever Ducky would touch her hair.   The siren was apparently fascinated by blonds.  "Let's put our different offenses on the table and devise a working strategy."

    Nix opened his faction map, he was listed as Faction Admiral for the event.  "The list of fleets has jumped to 22, plus our own ships."

    Wylie seemed calm, the knight captain had the right temperament for battle.  "We'll have one hundred knights by the start, fifty of them are trained Mariners."

    Pon's wrinkled face wore a grin, he sensed a battle of epic proportions was approaching. "Glory has its cannon emplacements."

    Jun Li listed them as they were mentioned, "Can we count on Shae?"

    Nix nodded, "No worries, she definitely won't sit this one out. Also, I can place mines wherever they are needed.  "  Mines fell under the traps category, as a hunter, he could make a wide variety of devices.

    "Resolute has contacted us, they want to put a large land force on the ground in Glory." Jun Li gauged the reactions of the others, although they were paper allies, Resolute and Inferno were still not completely trusting of each other.

    Nix shrugged, "they'll fight to protect their interest, which of course is the Earth Pearl."

    "The members of the Souza Accord will be in full force. I will have my Vila there also." Mina and her assault team were normally the only ones who engaged in fighting, there were several hundred other Aquarions who could also participate."

    Sharl studied the detailed map that Jun Li had opened.  "The problem is that we have no idea how many we might be facing."

    Pon swore under his breath, "everyone we've pissed off will be jumping on the bandwagon."

    Unexpectedly, Nix started laughing loudly.  The members of Inferno watched him with curious eyes, but he didn't say anything further.  They didn't understand his thinking.  Gather your enemies all in one place, and then wipe them out with a baptism of fire.  He had utilized that method himself before his incarceration.  The trick was staying alive long enough to 'stick it to the man.'

    "How many mines can you come up with Nix?"  Jun Li looked at their current assets.  "We could use minefields to slow down their march on Glory."

    "I can come up with five hundred or so."  Nix was thinking about the event, "do we know the win/lose criteria yet?  Besides losing our hostage?"

    Semmi nodded, "there's a posting on the official forums already, it's counting down from four hours.  At that time we will get the details of the event."

    Nix noticed that Mina was staring at him, "Mina, I'll want you and your people in the water."

    "Nix... I want to stay with you.  We fight best together." Mina's normally calm face seemed upset.

    "You and your people are water creatures Min."  He placed a hand on her shoulder, "I need you at your strongest."

    Milat shook his head also, he had been standing nearby and was listening intently. He had gotten to know Nix since receiving the stealth artifact. "The Aquarion people prefer to fight alongside you."

    Nix shrugged helplessly.  "My decision is final, the Souza Accord will lend their strength where it is most needed, or they can sit it out in the Sea-World."


    A few hours later, Nix was alone once again and walking toward the Temple.  He stopped and stared the moment it came into view.  The Fire Palace had been a beautiful white marble structure built into the side of a volcanic crater.  The size of it was larger than any temple Nix knew of.  He realized now that he should have been building forces for its defense. The steps leading up to its impressive doors now had two sets of stairs leading downward.  He descended slowly, at the first landing the Earth Temple came into view.  It was placed directly under the Fire Palace. It was a pyramid-shaped structure embedded directly into the volcanic foundation of the Fire Palace.  Nix was immediately reminded of the Egyptian pyramids he had seen pictures of.  In place of a Sphinx, there was a large statue of a Lamia.

    "Do not be alarmed Nix."  Shae's voice called out to him a moment before a half dozen lamia acolytes surrounded him.

    Nix gave out a soft whistle.  "What's going on here Shae?"

    A movement from inside the sand-colored archway drew his attention.  A tanned woman who moved with the lithe grace of an earth creature walked toward him.  She had light brown hair and warm eyes of the same color.  Fajii was all but unrecognizable, the webbing on her hands seemed to have shrunk a bit and her ears were starting to point slightly.  "This is Nix.  You will never harm him nor impede his progress, he is the Earth Temple Champion."

    The acolytes nodded and hissed their acknowledgment before moving away.  Nix stared after them, his mouth still hanging open.  "Where did the Lamia come from?"

    Fajii continued to approach him, "they are part of the temple build.  Two hundred acolytes to protect the temple." She grabbed his hand and pulled him through the doors. In one hand she held the Earth Pearl.  She stopped before a large stone altar and inserted it carefully.

    Colonial System Message: An Earth Temple has been constructed on Glory Island.  All Earth Mages receive +50 damage and a twenty percent increase in mana.

    Shae stood off to one side, staring at the Earth Pearl.  "I must show you something Nix."

    Nix was staring at the Earth Pearl, it had the same mesmerizing effect that the Lamia Queen had.  It was a challenge to look away.  "There's more?"

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    A short while later Nix, Mina, Shae and the officers from Inferno were sitting in a circle on his houseboat.  "You all need to see this."  He used his hud to show them the new Earth Temple option.

    [Earth Temple Upgrade Options Available]

    Your Earth Temple has been combined with a Fire Palace.  This gives you a unique upgrade option.

    [Scorched Earth Temple]

    Pon stared at the words.  "So... not only do we have the only Earth Temple in Colonial, but we can upgrade it also?"

    Nix nodded, "I'm not sure it's a good idea.  We don't even know what other kinds of benefits our Earth Mages will have, and we have no idea what a Scorched Earth Temple is."

    For once Ronnie was paying attention, she was next on the list to be given the Earth Mage path.  "It has to be like it sounds right? An Earth Mage with elements of Fire."

    Mina caught herself staring at Fajii, Milat was also captivated. "What if the Scorched Earth Mage is some hybrid that is actually weaker than the Earth Mage variety?"

    "Why does that matter?"  Jun Li had spent several minutes searching the forums, no one had ever heard of Scorched Earth Temple.  "Our Earth Pearl won't change, even if the temple does."

    Shae shook her head, "the option is only available when the Earth Pearl is placed in the altar.  There is a strong likelihood that the upgrade includes the Earth Pearl itself."

    Sharl looked around at the other Inferno leaders, only Fajii seemed relaxed.  "We should put it to a vote since all of us could be affected."
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