174 The Lost Shipyard part one

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Gonna say it, this is impressive.

    Binam brought them to an iceblock building outside of the city walls and opened the door to a small contraption that closely resembled a small skiff. It was enclosed and had three rows of seats. Yellow tinted glass-enclosed the ceiling giving the passengers a 360-degree view of the landscape.  There were two long metal blades mounted to the bottom that elevated the undercarriage just enough to keep it off the hardened ice.  Their guide deployed a small sail causing the Ice Skiff to jerk slightly before slowly starting to move.

    Within a few minutes, the crosswind was pushing the transport steadily toward their destination. Binam had pulled his hood back exposing short white hair and bright blue eyes. "Not much to see at the moment.  We are crossing the largest freshwater lake in all of Oasis, of course, its been frozen-over for centuries.  At our current speed, it will take about 2 hours."

    Fajii seemed fascinated by the ice and snow, her brown hand was pressed flat against the windshield while her eyes stared.  "This must be two or three times faster than a horse can run."

    Binam looked back from the pilot seat. "You guys going to be okay with the temperatures? It will get well below freezing in a few hours."

    "We're fine." Nix had made under armor for Wind and Semmi with high cold resistance. Since the other three members of the Alpha Team were fire oriented, they could keep themselves warm.

    After two hours on the Ice Skiff, the terrain started to change, they entered a small canyon that was several hundred feet straight up, the trail ahead of them narrowed until there was scarcely 20 meters between the walls.  At this point, Binam took down the large sail in favor of a much smaller one causing their speed to drop by a half.

    After another hour, the Ice Skiff stopped and dropped them off near the entrance to a large tunnel.

    "This tunnel leads to Fury Pass, the other side of the pass is where you want to start your search." Binam shook their hands and wished them well.  Alpha Team helped him turned the Ice Skiff around by hand and then waited until he was one his way.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: He was really friendly for a dhassi.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: He should be, our vote on the "captives" docket released him from years of slavery.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: So we travel on foot through Fury Pass, then be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary.

    Pon was in the lead while Nix was bringing up the rear. They entered the tunnel and walked single file.

    [Aura Ignition]

    Bright Silver Flames enveloped Nix, lighting up the path that was steadily getting harder to see.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Just so you guys are aware, Fury pass most likely means there are Ice Wolves there.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Why?

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Ice Wolves are also known as Furies.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: They are?

    /Alpha Team: Fajii: Should I buff us?

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Couldn't hurt.

    [Flaming Rock Wall: Advanced]

    The strength of Rock and Fire now protects your group.

    [Charred Rock Blade: Advanced]

    A powerful Scorched Earth modifier has been added to your weapon damage.

    /Alpha Team: Fajii: Who wants the Shield?

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Better give it to the old bastard.

    [Scorched Earth Shield: Advanced]

    Pon is shielded by the might of Scorched Earth.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Should have done this earlier, your buffs are so warm Fajii.

    /Alpha Team: Wind: I agree.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Have you faced Furies before Nix?

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Yes, their bite does Ice Damage, but they should be really susceptible to Scorched Earth.

    Nix turned his flame off when they exited the tunnel twenty minutes later.  The path widened and they spread out a bit.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Hold.

    [Dragon Eyes]

    Nix's yellow eyes slowly turned to orange and the landscape of white faded in his vision.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: The f*ck is that?  A dragon spell?

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Shit!  RUN!

    Without questioning Alpha Team broke into a sprint, moving down the pass as fast as they could run.  A moment later, the eerie sound of a dozen howls filled the air.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Both sides Nix!

    Nix could see White Ice Furies moving on either side of them, trying to head them off.

    [Flame Snare]

    Nix has slowed an Ice Fury Wolf by 40 percent.

    [Flame Snare]

    Nix has slowed an Ice Fury Wolf by 40 percent.

    The two wolves closing on them slowed down drastically.  Semmi, who was leading the group took a hard left and entered a small crack in the closest wall.  The crack was barely wide enough for one person to run through at a time.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Through here, we'll be able to fight them without being surrounded.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: I'll guard the entrance, find us an exit.

    [Gemini Flame: Lance]

    Nix gripped the spear in his hand and flung it toward the entrance.

    Nix has landed a critical blow on an Ice Fury Wolf.

    A howl of agony sounded as the ice creature tried to retreat.  Unfortunately, the push of its packmates trying to get in carried it forward instead.

    Nix spammed three straight Fire Lances before targeting the entrance.

    [Tides of Flame]

    Emerald flames washed over the Furies that had wedged themselves while forcing their way in. The howls echoed in the small cavern to a near-deafening level as handfuls of ice creatures were roasted alive.

    /Alpha Semmi: Nix!  Stop Attacking!

    Nix wrinkled his nose at the smell of burnt hair and roasted wolf meat.  These furies were not as strong as the ones he had faced in Solomon City.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: A bit late for that, they're all dead.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: Well **...

    /Alpha Team: Wind: Better come see boss.

    There was only one path that led deeper into the ice, after a minute of walking Nix found his team, he cursed loudly when he saw them.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: No way of knowing Nix.  What could we do?

    Nix cursed again and picked up one of the braver fury pups that pounced on his feet.  The creature was as white as snow and was completed indiscernible from a rather large puppy.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: It's a Den.  No wonder they were willing to run through flames to get in here.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: I count six of them Nix.

    Pon tried to pick one up, but the puppy squealed loudly and bit his hand with pin-sharp teeth.

    /Alpha Team: Fajii: You're a Fire Mage Pon, even the pups can sense the danger.

    /Alpha Team: Wind: How come they aren't afraid of Nix?

    Three of them had decided to attack Nix's feet while he held their sibling.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: I carry the Blessings of Ice. Give me some options.

    /Alpha Team: Wind: I don't see how we can continue our mission without somehow dealing with them.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: If we leave them, they'll probably be dead by the time we get back.

    If they had been spiders or snakes, Nix would have flamed them without a second thought.  Deep in his heart, he recognized the hypocrisy of that fact.

    /Alpha Team: Fajii: One of us could stay and take care of them.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: That would weaken us too much.

    [Summons: Mortimer]

    An instant later, the big bear appeared in front of them.  He sniffed the air a few times before spotting the pups.

    "Nice cave.  What are the pups for?" Morty plopped down on his large butt, staring at the pups who were all looking at him.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: They are scared **less.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Their instincts are telling them to run.

    "Can you take care of these until we get back?  It's going to be a day or so."  Nix sat the pup on the ground near Morti and stepped away.

    "Sure Nix."  Morti pawed gently at the one nearest him, the pup squealed and retreated further into the den.

    [Summons: Ducky]

    The Siren's appearance had the exact opposite effect on the wolves.  Ice creatures naturally have a high affinity with water creatures, they mobbed her legs all at once.  Crawling all over each other to get to Ducky.

    Ducky giggled and extended a hand.


    Instantly they started yawning and crowding together, a sure sign that they meant to sleep.

    "Can you and Morti handle these pups?"

    "Of course Nix. We'll take good care of them."  Ducky picked up the first one that fell asleep and placed it on the thick furred back of Morti.   "Hold still Morti, they'll be safer on you."

    Morti nodded and flopped down on his fat belly.  "You might have to get them something to eat."

    Ducky turned back and started moving all the pups.  Within a minute they had all fallen asleep.  "I'll hunt up something if I need to Nix.  Don't worry about it."

    "Okay, I'll leave them in your hands."  Nix led the way back toward the entrance, he cast Tides of Flame one more time to remove the Fury corpses on the path.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Let's continue through the pass.

    No one spoke for a few minutes, the group made good time as they trotted through the pass.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: What are you going to do with those Furies?

    /Alpha Team: Nix: I know an Ice Elemental that will welcome them.

    Although the Gladis Hub was far from the nearest city, a half dozen Furies could be handy once they grew up.

    Their route narrowed gradually until it was less than five meters wide. A large archway marked the end of the pass.  Alpha Team stealthed and exited quickly.

    Semmi was the first one through, she stopped suddenly, her mouth open in surprise.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Wow.

    Nix was the last one through, he stepped around his team and let out a soft whistle.  "Don't see that every day."

    Perfectly straight and measured rows of trees went on as far as you could see.  Every one of them frozen and coated with ice.  The ice leaves tinkled softly in the cold breeze.

    Nix walked to the nearest tree and pulled down a round object that looked like fruit.  He tossed it to Semmi before placing a hand on the trunk of the tree.

    "It's still alive, beneath the layer of ice, it's somehow thriving."  Nix could sense the warmth hiding at the core of the three.

    Semmi looked down at the fruit in her hand. "This is some sort of Orchard."

    Nix nodded and caught the fruit when she threw it back.  "Let's see what it is."

    Nix ignited his aura and held the fruit in his hands, the moment he sensed the ice was gone he flamed out.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: You're not gonna eat that right?

    "Wrong."  Nix took a bite out of the fruit, surprisingly sweet juices ran down his chin, A burst of flavor in his mouth caused him to grin.  "Yeah... That's really good."

    "Me!"  Semmi stepped forward with her hand out.  After taking a small bite her eyes lit up.  "Crap Nix, this is great!"

    "I said that, didn't I?  Dibs on the Orchard." Nix laughed at the frown on Semmi's face. His mirth was interrupted by something slamming into the side of his head.

    [Nix has been stunned]

    [Semmi has been stunned]

    [Wind has been stunned]

    [Pon has been stunned]

    Nix struggled to sit up, he felt powerful arms grab him as he was spun quickly around and around.

    An Ice Terror has bound Nix.

    An Ice Terror has bound Semmi

    An Ice Terror has bound Wind.

    An Ice Terror has bound Fajii.

    Something stabbed into his stomach, forcing a loud groan from his mouth.  It repeated a few times, stabbing deep into his abdomen and chest.

    Nix has been slain

    Pon's hands burst into flames, melting the ice webbing that held him, a moment later Fajii also broke free.  He targeted the large creature that held Nix.

    [Balefire: Advanced]

    White-hot flame burned a hole the carapace of the creature, forcing it to drop Nix and retreat.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: Fajii burn those webs off Nix and put him between us while I hold them off!

    Nix accepted the Battle Rez that Fajii offered a few moments later. He climbed slowly to his feet, shaking his head to clear it.  The scorched bodies of a half dozen spiders lay on the ground.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Thanks.  Anyone else hurt?

    /Alpha Team: Pon: They took Semmi and Wind, neither one of them are responding.  Their group status says unconscious.

    Nix cursed himself for letting his guard down.

    [Dragon Eyes]

    Nix's eyes slowly changed to orange as he scanned the immediate area.  The smallest splatter of blood stood out on white snow.  It was cooling down quickly.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Stealth up, follow me.

    Nix followed the trail east, into the jagged ice croppings of the foothills.  He stopped suddenly when he saw the entrance.  Cut into the side of an ice wall was a large archway.

    Fajii pulled Nix's arm and pointed.  "Look!"

    Fifty meters away, a thick pole jutted a few feet out of the ice, it was perfectly round, nearly a foot in diameter.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: That looks like the mast of a ship.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Sure does.
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