296 Turtle House

    "I can take someone with me?"

    Scarlett nodded.  "Just one person, the Steward Medallion enables travel to any of the eight settlements."

    Nix glanced down at the writ in his hand.  It was an appointment document signed by Scarlett.  On it was a list of the other seven Stewards. There was also an attached land deed.

    Jaro: Nescari

    Gillian: Sossamon

    Pedri: Vathro

    Tuno: Beliquisto

    Tama: Gothric

    Kephart: Raiz

    Mellix: Tobanz

    Nix: Ionova

    "I better check it out then."  Nix was hesitant to leave Morti's family until he resummoned the Titan Cub.

    "As Steward, you are tasked with the safety and well being of the inhabitants of Ionova." Scarlett placed a hand on his shoulder. "Normally I would have sanctioned a house to be built for you, but this will work out since you have the Turtle artifact."

    "Turtle house..."  The name didn't instill confidence. Nix could barely say it with a straight face.

    Scarlett laughed at his expression.  "It'll be fine."

    Nix waited until Una approached him.  He'd be taking her to Ionova until he figured out a suitable form for her.  Scarlett had made sure to return three of the Emperor Wolves puppets, the other six she had asked to purchase. They would be used for scouting and patrols into dangerous areas.

    "I"ve never been to Ionova."  Una moved beside him, the back of the Dire Wolf was level with his shoulders.

    He placed a hand on her back and nodded to Scarlett.  "See you tomorrow."

    Scarlett waved.  "Thank you, Nix.  Thank you!"

    [Steward Activation: Ionova]

    An instant later, Nix and Una appeared in Ionova.

    As Steward of Ionova, you have been given this land for your personal use, 100 acres of wooded grasslands.  You may make an introduction announcement.

    "Maybe later."  Nix turned in a circle, the land was similar to his respawn point.  It was lightly forested and had a small stream running through it.

    "Where is Ionova?"  Una's sharp eyes were looking at everything, her nose sniffed the air while she walked in small circles.

    "There's a small ridge east of us, it blocks the town from our view."  Nix pulled the turtle artifact from his inventory.  It was a small turtle shell that easily fit into the palm of his hand.  After walking around for a few minutes he found a spot he wanted to place it.

    [Activate: Turtle House Artifact]

    This Artifact must be placed in or close to water.

    Close to the water actually meant touching.  Nix repeatedly tried to activate every few feet until it was successful.

    The air around him shimmered as  Turtle shell slightly larger than Grandpa Sinai appeared on the ground.  A front door and windows appeared where the head and front of a turtle would have normally been located.  Walking around the back, he discovered a large rock-walled pond. Just past that at the rear of the shell was a back door and more windows.

    "It's literally a turtle shell."  Una's smooth voice held a hint of laughter.

    "Guess so."  Nix walked in through the back door, it was a bedroom that had a large bed, a desk and a walk-in closet that served as the entrance to a bathroom.  Through the bedroom door was a nice sized kitchen with a large island attached for eating meals.  There was no dining area, but a cozy living room with two very comfortable looking couches and a fireplace put a smile back on Nix's face.

    Una pointed her nose to the coffee table next to the couch.  "It's blinking Nix."

    Nix walked over and activated the table hud.

    Welcome to your Turtle Home: Owner Nix.

    1) Security

    2) Power

    3) Supplies.

    4) Mailbox

    Nix displayed the security option.

    [Home Security]

    1) Lock-Down: In an emergency, you may put the house in Lock-Down Mode. During Lock-Down the house will protect occupants and property from damage.

    2) Permissions: All guests must leave the premises when the owner does unless they are on this list.

    3) Alarm: You may set an intruder alarm that will notify you of approaching guests.  The default perimeter is 300 feet.

    "Set Permissions to include Una. Display Power menu."

    [Power Menu]

    1) Appliances: You have three choices for this option.  Conventional, Rustic and None.  The default is Conventional.

    2) Outside Lights: Your home comes equipped with outside lights and pond lights.  You may dim, brighten or change their colors.

    3) Fireplace: This is an automated function, but you must place an ongoing order for wood from a registered vendor. {Wood Bin is Currently: Full}

    Nix noticed a light switch panel by the front door.  "Keep all light controls manual for now. Display Supplies Menu."

    [Supply Menu]

    1) Everspire Auction House: You have access to the Continental Auction house.  You may sell or buy items in the auction house as long as your account has sufficient credits.

    2) Local Market: You may purchase supplies from the local Market Square providing you have sufficient credits in your account.

    3) Deposit or Withdraw Credits. {Current Value=0}

    4) Mailbox: You may receive packages from registered Senders. You may send items to anyone on your friend list.

    Current Registered Senders: Continental Auction House, Ionova Market Square.

    Friend List: Currently Disabled.

    Nix frowned at his friend list. The first of his friends to find him would activate his friend list again.  "Deposit one million credits in my account."

    Scarlett had paid him two hundred thousand credits for each of the six Emperor dolls.  In Oasis they'd be worth tens of millions, but the economy in Everspire was vastly different.

    Nix closed the table hud and walked toward the door. "Coming or staying?"

    Una moved from her spot in front of the fireplace.  "Coming."

    Nix closed the door and started running toward the ridge, Una fell in beside him.  "I'll bring up the Auction house for you later.  There should be many different kinds of pelts to choose from."

    "I can't tell from a pelt.  How many do you need to make one low-end doll?"

    "I can make a reasonably accurate mannequin with 10 pelts."

    They topped the ridge a few minutes later.  The town was less than half a mile from there. It seemed a bit run-down.  There were no walls protecting it from outside forces.  Nix slowed to a walk after a few minutes and walked into town without anyone noticing.

    "No gates or walls, not even a guard."  Nix shook his head.  "Isn't this place really dangerous?"


    Nix turned at the shout, three boys in their early teens raced up to him.  All three of them were scrawny and sunburned with long curly black hair that hung in their eyes.  From the looks of them, they might have been brothers.  "Can I help you guys?"

    The middle boy spoke up.  "We got some fish to sell!  Freshly caught this morning."

    "Yep.  Freshly caught," the second one added.

    The third boy stared for at him for a moment.  "5 credits."

    Nix nodded and pointed to the ridge.  "Just over that ridge is my house hang them by the front door."

    The middle boy shook his head.  "There's no house there sir."

    "There is now."  Nix paid them and pointed them at the ridge.  It was obvious that they didn't believe him, but since they had been paid it didn't matter.

    The third boy who had taken payment seemed to be their leader.  "What's your name?"

    "I'm Nix, the new Steward of Ionova."

    The boy wasn't impressed, he pointed a thumb towards his chest.  "Tram."

    Nix glanced at the middle boy again. "Your name?"


    The last boy nodded in agreement.  "Yep.  Me too."

    The credit taking boy held up a hand.  "Before you ask, we don't have first names.  So just call us Tram."

    "Okay then. Cya Tram."

    Yep, cya." All three Trams replied at the same time.

    Nix watched them walk off and then turned toward the only building in town with any paint.  It was white building with a large sign across the top that said, Steward.  It had obviously been freshly painted.

    The building was a small square one-story office with a counter and windows that extended all around.  There was a faint musty smell when Nix opened the door.

    Ionova Settlement: This is an Ionova Announcement.  The newly appointed Steward of Ionova is now in his office.  All city workers, business owners, and concerned citizens are requested to visit.

    Una stared at him while he sent the message, her long tongue hanging out of her mouth.  "You have no idea what you're doing."

    Nix laughed and shook his head.  "Nope. I do have a really good idea of how to beautify this place."


    He held up a hand that immediately burst into emerald flames.  "I could burn it to the ground."

    Una's wolf head nodded.  "You're a born diplomat."
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