84 Fire Palace Champion

    Sulane rode her Manta high above Glory City, with less than an hour remaining, the Terran forces hadn't managed to breach the tall walls of the city.  She admitted to herself with some jealousy, after today the popularity of Glory City would skyrocket.  People wanted to work and live in a secure place.

    /Allied Command: Nix: Hey... Are they coming yet Sulane?

    The guild leader from Resolute ground her teeth, initially hundreds of riders had stormed the air around the Fire Palace.  However, when Shae floated upwards and made her presence known, the water creatures that served as mounts disobeyed their rider's instructions and retreated.  Since then there had only been a few small skirmishes in front of the walls.  Nix had taken a group of Lamia acolytes over the wall to fight several times.

    [Whisper: Sulane to Nix] Please say within the temple walls Nix.

    [Whisper: Nix to Sulane] As you say, commander.

    Sulane frowned as he left the walls again a group of Aquarions.

    [Whisper: Sulane to Nix] You say that but then you cross the walls anyway?

    A smile came to her face when he stopped and looked around.  She was aware that something odd was going on with him.  Each passing battle saw his effectiveness increase.  It wasn't just him, many of the defenders seemed to get faster as the minutes ticked by.  She frowned suddenly as a large group formed once again in the ranks of the Terrans.  She pulled out a spyglass to zoom in on them.

    The large force was mounted on giant water horses, they were easily three times the size of a standard warhorse.  They needed to be in order to carry the giant Ashobel.  Although technically not Ice Giants, those actually existed but were exceedingly rare.  The  Ashobel lived in the Polar regions of Colonial.  They usually stood around eight feet in height and weighed triple what a man typically weighs.  They were covered in long thick fur that ranged from white to light blue.  With the long claws and teeth of a predator, they were the primary reason no one bothered to explore the Icecaps. Normally if they used weapons, it was a club or spear.

    /Allied Command: Sulane: Incoming Charge Nix, they are Ashobel!

    Shae had stood in the courtyard of the Fire Palace all day.  There were Water Lords present, she could feel them.  For some reason, they hadn't shown themselves yet.  She rose slowly off the ground until she could see the charging force.

    /Inferno: Shae: Careful everyone, the Ashobel are riding Ceffyl Dŵr.

    /Inferno: Nix: What?

    /Inferno: Shae: Ancient water horses, unlike other water creatures they don't fear fire.  Don't be fooled by them running, they are also capable of flight.

    /Inferno: Nix: Fajii have your acolytes man the walls.

    The Lamia acolytes all carried daggers and bows. The weapons they carried had an especially potent Scorched Earth poison.

    Nix joined Mina and her assault team.  "Ever fight Ashobel Min?"

    Mina shook her head, "I know of them of course.  They don't bother the Aquarions much.  Occasionally one of us will wander into their territory."

    "I see."  Nix eyed the group that was charging toward them.  "How do you fight them?"

    "Fight them?"  Mina stared at him like for a moment.  "We don't fight them Nix, we retreat as fast as possible.  They eat humans and Aquarions!"

    Nix summoned Fey and climbed on her back.  "You know of these Ceffyl Dŵr?"

    Fey's scaled head nodded, "don't be fooled by the ground charge, they can fly."

    "So I hear." Nix downed an invisibility potion and had Fey stealth.  "Let's expose them then."

    Fey climbed quickly into the air then banked hard and broke into a steep dive.

    [Carpet Bomb]

    The mass of charging giants were suddenly covered in tiny explosions, immediately a handful of them flew into the air and gave chase.  Fey stealthed again and banked back toward the pursuit.  This time she raked them with her flames.

    Nix kept low on her shoulders, several spears were chucked at them but Fey's constant maneuvers kept them fairly safe.  She retreated toward Glory City, this time she didn't bother to stealth.  "What you doing Fey?"

    He could hear the Drake laughing as if something were funny.  A moment later the wall cannons of Glory started firing.  "Hmm... smart move Fey."

    /Inferno: Nix: Move into the temple ground Min, the walls aren't going to stop them.

    /Inferno: Mina: Please hurry.

    With the pursuit taken care of, they headed back toward the walls.  Fey easily overtook the Ceffyl Dŵr mounts and landed long enough to drop Nix off before taking to the air once again.

    Nix could feel the charge under his feet, the temple grounds shook with the pounding of heavy hooves. There were only about twenty but it sounded like an entire army bearing down on them.

    The Ceffyl Dŵr cleared the Temple walls easily, immediately the air was filled with the shrieks of agony as the Lamia acolytes fired arrows directly into the soft underbelly of the water horses.  Nearly every giant who crossed the wall found himself on foot.  The Lamia archers concentrated on killing the mounts first as the Aquarions intercepted the Ashobel.

    All forty of Mina's Vilas were summoned into the courtyard.  A group of three Ashobel recognized Min as a threat and headed towards her.

    /Inferno: Nix: Let's take one and leave the other two for your Vila.

    Nix extended one hand and six emerald strands shot out, three around each arm.  The Ice creature roared in pain as his long fur burst into flames.  Normally Nix wouldn't even feel resistance when he had six strands on something, but the creature yanked his arms back and jerked him into the air.

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    Mina moved fast, her long spear stabbing into the side of the creature while her Vila attacked the other two.  Fire and arrows filled the air as the forces from the Fire Temple responded under Derva's command.

    Nix dug his heels in and held the strands with one hand.

    [Flight of the Gryphon]

    Nix leaped into the air and slashed at the neck of the creature with all of his strength, unexpectedly the large furry head went flying, a look of shock on its face.

    "Watch out!" Mina dived into Nix, knocked him to one side just as a massive war club landed where he had been standing.

    The giant club didn't move, its owner stared at Nix with malevolent eyes.  He held up a hand and his warriors stopped fighting.

    Nix climbed to his feet.  "Stand down."  Immediately the Lamia and Fire Acolytes stopped fighting.

    The giant was the largest of the group.  A feathered headdress from some huge predator adorned his head.  He pointed at Nix.  "You, Me!"

    /Inferno: Mina: He's the chieftain Nix, most likely he can use magic also.

    /Inferno: Nix: Thanks for the tip.

    "You want to challenge the Fire Palace Champion?"  Nix glanced over at Shae who hadn't bothered to fight yet.  She smiled and nodded like she was taking an evening stroll.  "Fine then."

    /Inferno: Nix: This is a diversion Shae, they'll strike at you soon.

    /Inferno: Shae: I shall remain on guard.

    Fighters from both groups formed a large circle as a temporary cease in aggression was initiated.  Nix stared across the circle at the Ice giant.  Nine feet tall and four hundred pounds of muscle.  His long fur was the color of snow, huge fangs grinned at Nix as he switched out his club for a large ax.

    /Inferno: Nix: Shae... there's something off about the six Ashobel closest to you.

    /Inferno: Shae: Of course dear, they are water lords.

    /Inferno: Nix: Let's kill them then.

    /Inferno: Shae: Don't worry.  Well done, by the way, even Severance didn't catch it.

    Nix nodded to himself, a  hand on his shoulder caused him to turn around.

    "Please be careful Nix."  Mina had her spear ready, "I don't like this."

    "No worries Min."

    Nix moved away from the perimeter of the circle.  He stared at the Chieftain and advanced toward him a few steps. "I'm Nix, the Fire Palace Champion."

    The chieftain growled at him before holding out his ax.  "I'm Glacio, Ashobel Chieftain."  His voice was deep and raspy. "Prepare for your death human."

    [Aura Ignition]

    Nix's aura burst into flames around him, all the Ashobel took a step back, including Glacio.

    Glacio roared and charged in with his ax.

    [Ice Roar]

    [Your opponent has attacked you, but you are immune]

    Nix raised a hand and six-strand encircled the ankles of Glacio, causing him to fall heavily onto the ground.  Nix flashed in and slashed at his back, just managing to dodge the ax as the Chieftain spun on the ground to attack again.

    Light blue blood splashed on the temple courtyard.  The Ashobel howled at the sight of their Chieftain's blood.

    [Flame Snare]

    Chieftain Glacio has been slowed.

    The Ashobel Chieftain paused, ignoring the pain from the DoT snare. [Damage over Time] His hands glowed slightly.

    [Snow Blindness]

    [Your opponent has attacked you, but you are immune]

    "F*CK! I can't see!"  Nix screamed in agony and clutched his eyes with one hand, he waved his sword madly in the air striking at everything.

    The Chieftain took three long slow strides forward and brought his ax downward at Nix's head.  At the last moment, Nix dodged to one side and stabbed his emerald sword deep into the chest of Glacio.  He leaped backward as the ice creature tried to clutch at him.


    A white-hot flame took the Chieftain in the chest and sent him sprawling.  Nix followed up and raised his sword for the finish, the other Ashobel howled in protest.

    The six Ashobel nearest Shae raised their hands.  Their skins seemed to fall away from their flesh and land on the ground in loud bloody flops.  Even the other Ashobel seemed shocked.

    Fajii was the first to respond as she cast magic in rapid suggestion.

    [Earth Mire]

    All nearby enemies have been slowed.

    [Ground Quake]

    All enemies within 20 meters will take damage for the next three minutes.

    The remaining Ashobel grabbed their Chieftain and retreated from the battle.

    Ronnie moved beside Fajii, her bow raised.  "Let's work together!"

    [Summon Rock Golem]

    Shae walked calmly toward the Water Lord group, a flaming blade held in each hand.  The marble of the courtyard melting under her bare feet. "You dare enter this Fire Palace?"
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