96 Mystery Map part one

    Nix appeared on the deck of the Phoenix, Mina's smiling face was welcoming him.  "Thanks for coming Nix."

    "Hmm.  It's almost like I'm your spirit companion."  Nix glanced around the deck.  "This is bad."  The entire fleet was immersed in a dense fog bank.  He was scarcely a dozen feet from Mina, and she was already blurred.  A quick peek at the helm, showed that Captain Delphi was indiscernible.

    /Inferno: Nix: Damn... thirty feet visibility?

    /Inferno: Semmi: Aye, can't see the sky or each other.  Forget about finding landmarks.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: We've been anchored here for two hours.

    /Inferno: Nix: Two hours?  What were you waiting for?

    /Inferno: Ronnie: For you to get done.

    /Inferno: Nix: Somehow that doesn't make me happy.  What have you tried so far?

    /Inferno: Semmi: We've tried using Wilo to blow the fog away.  It works for a few seconds and then swirls back in place.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: We tried deploying an underwater team, no creatures may enter the water at this time.

    /Inferno: Semmi: No flight is possible either.

    /Inferno: Nix: So it's a puzzle then.  Can you come alongside the Phoenix Ronnie?

    /Inferno: Ronnie: You have an idea Nix?

    /Inferno: Nix; Not really, just like having you around.

    /Inferno: Ronnie:  Captain Ronnie is on the way!

    /Inferno: Nix: Don't run into us, Captain Ronnie.

    "Deploy lanterns to the starboard rail!" Captain Delphi shouted to her crew. She had a good idea where the rest of the ships were, the smaller corvette had been trailing their starboard side all day.

    A few minutes later, the smaller ship eased next to them. Ronnie was standing on the rail.  "Don't drop me Nix!"  She leaped through the air at him, laughing when his strong hands wrapped around her.

    "Oh god... What's with the pirate get-up Ronnie?"  Nix laughed when he stood her up straight.  She had a black bandanna on her head and an eyepatch.  With her pointed ears and dark skin, she resembled some sort of dark elf pirate.

    Ronnie winked at him.  "It's cute right?"

    "Very..."  Nix had to agree, she was very cute if pressed he would have said outrageously sexy.  "Follow me."

    Ronnie nodded and followed him to the front of the ship.  She watched curiously as he climbed on the rail and stood on the figurehead.  "Why are you up there?"

    Nix gave her a deadpan look.  "The figurehead is fireproof."  He apologized in his heart for standing on the majestic bird's head.

    "Right."  Ronnie nodded as if she understood.  "What should I do?"

    [Aura Ignition]

    Nix's emerald flame encircled him, the heat rushing across the deck of the Phoenix. He gave her an innocent smile.  "Blow me."

    Ronnie's smile widened, "be happy to. Hold on tight!"

    Wilo appeared on her shoulder.

    [Wind Tunnel]

    Nix used his flame strands to anchor his legs to the figurehead a moment before the wind slammed into him.  The superheated air pushed the fog away while burning it up, in a matter of a few seconds, there was a clear path several meters in front of them.

    Mina pointed to a single streak of white in the water, it intercepted their heading and veered sharply to port.  "Are we suppose to follow that?"

    /Inferno: Nix: There's a trail in the water, we're going to follow it.

    "Hard to Starboard!  Three-quarter Main!"  Delphi shouted her commands and centered the Phoenix on the path before them.

    The Phoenix sailed steadily North, Nix had turned to face the ocean during one of their short breaks.  He could see the rock reefs on either side of them, Delphi also noticed them, she had a sailor's healthy fear of reefs.  Rocks rose on either side of them, eventually forming fjords as the fog faded into nothing and land appeared.

    [You have entered Mendota Heights]

    /Inferno: Nix: This must be our stop!

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Let's anchor here and meet up on the Phoenix.


    A short while later Semmi, Jun Li, Wylie, Mina, Ronnie, Zhava, and Tyrant were gathered around Nix. He was going over their roster.  Tyrant was a new Scorched Earth mage who specialized in the Defender tree. Both Mina and Wylie brought small assault teams.  The Colonial Knights had done as Nix asked and chosen the path of the marksmen.  Two Aquarion healers and two human ones made him comfortable with the roster.

    "Once we get ashore be ready for anything.  I'll send Ducky out initially before our scout team."

    [Summons: Ducky]

    Ducky appeared, without asking she immediately took on her human form.  "Greetings Nix."

    Nix patted her head gently.  "Ready to do some work?  Scout out the surrounding area for us, make sure no one notices you."

    Ducky nodded before disappearing in a blur of blue.

    /Inferno: Wylie: She's a siren now right?

    /Inferno: Nix: Yep.  Let's disembark and get ready for action.

    Nix stepped ashore a few minutes later, the beach had a few yards of sand but then turned rocky right away.  Black shale littered the landscape, making walking very precarious.

    [You have entered a no-fly zone]

    Nix heard Wilo complaining from Ronnie's shoulder.  No flying meant she was stuck riding on her companion.

    [Summons: Mortimer]

    A 12 foot tall black Cave bear appeared instantly.  Immediately he looked around for enemies when he didn't see any he sat down on his huge butt.  His big brown eyes found Nix quickly.  "We gonna fight something boss?"

    Nix reached up and scratched his enormous ears.  "Yep, gonna need you at your best."

    Morti nodded, "just you wait!  I can do it!"

    Semmi and Zhava were preparing to scout just as Ducky came back.  She embraced Nix, her entire body shaking.  "Bad, bad things!"

    "Hmm?"  Nix could feel her fear so he stroked her blue hair soothingly.  He opened his hud map with his other hand.  The dots that normally filled out from Ducky's scouting were still there, only this time they were all black.  "What does this mean?"

    "Dead things Nix... Lots of them!"  Ducky hugged him tightly and then de-summoned herself.

    Nix stared into the empty space where she had been a moment earlier.  "A battle maybe?  Ducky isn't normally so skittish."

    Semmi had watched the interaction and shook her head. "Never seen that before.  We'll check it out."

    Zhava and Semmi walked carefully inland, both of them stealthing before they traveled more than a few yards.

    /Inferno: Nix: Junie you'll have to be the MT today.  I'll have Morti back you up.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: How about I back him up?  Have you seen how big he is?

    /Inferno: Nix: Fine.  You can back him up.

    They waited near the beach and a few minutes later Wylie approached him.  The silver-hair knight offered him a smile.  "You should fight more with the Knights Nix.  They always hear how strong you are, but they never get to see it firsthand."

    Nix nodded in agreement.  "I plan on going through the Mariner training with the new recruits in a few days.  Plenty of time then to bond properly."

    /Inferno: Semmi:  Holy... corpses everywhere Nix.  Fifteen minutes west of your position is a valley, I've never seen so many bodies in one place. They are stacked up like firewood.

    /Inferno: Zhava: Should we wait here?  Or continue scouting?

    /Inferno: Nix: We'll move to your position, when we arrive you can scout further.

    Nix walked slowly toward the spot Zhava had marked on the map for them, Morti, with his lumbering walk, waddled alongside him.

    "You look tired boss.  Want to ride me?"

    "No thanks, Morti."

    "Okay." Morti nudged him with his head, his big tongue lolling to one side of his mouth.  "Let me know if you change your mind.  I'm very soft."

    The big bear halted suddenly, the hackles on the back of his neck rose up as a deep menacing growl vibrated from his chest.

    Nix stopped walking, they hadn't arrived at the spot yet.  He could see Semmi and Zhava in the distance.

    /Inferno: Nix: Semmi, Zhava, stealth immediately!

    Nix nodded when they disappeared, he placed a hand on Morti's side.  "What is it?"

    "Stench... bad things Nix.  Stay behind me."  The big bear reared up on his back legs and then slammed his paws onto the ground.

    [Ground Pounder]

    An Undead Soldier has been stunned.

    A Mutilated Corpse has been stunned.

    A Risen Aquarion has been stunned.

    A Zombie Archer has been stunned.

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    /Inferno: Jun Li: Undead!  Everyone stay close.  Clerics prepare Undead Spells!

    Morti gave out a deafening roar and charged the undead that were suddenly clawing there way out of the ground.

    [Absolute Challenge]

    All nearby enemies must attack Mortimer for the next 90 seconds.
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