305 Thornwood Keep part four

    Nix sat at the kitchen counter, adding a camo-overlay to his Nether Armor.  While he was working, Nansu and Fajii reported their findings.

    Fajii took the seat directly next to him. "Most of the larger trees will recover, we've marked the dead or dying ones."

    Nansu was looking through his fridge while they talked.  "Hey, Nix, you can connect this to the market and get things delivered directly."

    "Yeah, I know.  Don't take my food." Nix brought up a hud map of Ionova. "Bring Fey with you and burn everything that's dead.  Pon and I will help once we finish the guild quest."

    Nansu nodded and glanced at Fajii.  "You coming with me?  Or going on the quest?"

    "I should come with you.  I can use my Earth abilities to stop the fires from getting out of hand."  Fajii handed Nix the two halters they had borrowed.

    A flash of black appeared on the counter, Eron pranced across the smooth surface to push a wet fox nose into Nix's face.  "I will come with you."

    "Could use the heals.  Shadai would be hampered in the enclosed space." Nix looked at Fajii for confirmation; the Scorched Earth Mage nodded her head.

    Nix picked up Eron and placed him on his shoulder.  "Thanks.  Be safe."

    /Inferno: Jun Li: The following people meet by the turtle pond in ten minutes.

    Jun Li









    /Inferno: Nix: Sharl's here?

    Nix grabbed his Air'Voilla bracer and headed out the backdoor. He wouldn't summon them inside the Keep, but it was better to have them and not need them.

    /Inferno: Fajii: Replace me please, I've got a different mission.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Okay, Ronnie, you're in.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Awesome!

    Nix smiled when he saw Sharl. "Everyone else is rushing to say hello, but not you."

    Sharl's full lips curved in a smile, and she offered him a hug.  "Don't want to spoil you."

    Nix raised an eyebrow.  "So, you don't want this?"

    War    [Heavy Plated Armor: Diamond Rating]

    +10,000 to Armor Class

    +500 to all Basic Stats

    +20,000 Health.

    Immune to Critical Hits.

    Mitigates half of all incoming Damage.

    Sharl's dark eyes widened. "Holy crap, Nix.  Where did that come from?"

    Nix shrugged.  "Found it lying around, but if you don't want it."

    Sharl grabbed the armor out of his grasp. "I was teasing.  I really missed you."

    "No worries.  I'll put a camo-overlay on it later, and it'll be even better."

    Nix found Tess and handed her one of the Mana stones.  "Got you something nice, Tess."

    Tess accepted the mana stone.  "See? Show a little love to the clerics, and you will be rewarded."

    Nix gave her a doubtful look.  "Where's my reward, then?"

    Tess patted him on the shoulder.  "It's when I heal you, Nix."

    /Inferno: Jun Li:  Here are the groups. Since Alpha has Eron for heals, Tess will be with Bravo.








    Jun Li





    The raid headed south through the withered forest of Ionova, before running into the old keep.  It was nestled between the foothills and the edge of the woods.  It would have been easy to miss if the group hadn't known of its existence.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: I'm not living in that thing.

    The old keep was a moss-covered gray stoned manor with a collapsed stone fence and fountains that were overgrown with weeds.  There were a handful of other smaller stone buildings on the compound, but their uses were lost with the passage of time.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: The teams will split up to clear the smaller buildings.  While we are doing that, Ducky will find the Nighthag.

    Nix led Alpha team through the cobbled courtyard to the nearest out-building.  A rotten leather harness that was half-buried beneath the rubble indicated it might have been the stable.  Eron jumped down and moved to the rear of the group when Nix pushed his hands against the double wooden doors.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Yep, it's a stable.

    There were lines of empty stalls that had long since collapsed inward, the stench of decay lingered in the air.

    [Wail of the Banshee]

    Semmi has resisted fear.

    Nix has resisted fear.

    Wind has resisted fear.

    Pon has resisted fear.

    A thin wisp of a woman dressed in black rags skipped out of the farthest stall, her eye sockets were empty, and her mouth was locked in a permanent snarl that showcased vampire-like fangs.

    [Comet Strike: Fury Flames]

    A three-round burst of fist-sized fireballs closed on the Banshee.  She danced gracefully around the first two but was struck in the shoulder by the third, causing her to scream in agony.

    [First Strike]

    Semmi has landed a critical hit on a Banshee Shade.


    Nix has silenced a Banshee Shade.

    [Critical Chain: Backstab]

    Wind has followed up Semmi's attack with a critical hit.

    [Critical Chain: Balefire]

    Pon has followed up Wind's attack with a mortal strike.

    A Banshee Shade has been slain.

    Semmi clapped her hands together in excitement.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: It's great to be reunited!  I wish Fajii were here too.

    The pretty blond kicked over the banshee and looted it.  As soon as she did, it turned to dust.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Check it out.

    Banshee Eyeball

    Description: Place this eye against

    your own to activate Banshee's vision.

    All traps and enchants will be visible to you.

    The effect is permanent.

    /Alpha Team: Wind: That's your color, Pon.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Yep, I think so too.  Any takers?

    /Alpha Team: Pon: Pass.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Pass.

    /Alpha Team: Wind: Pass.

    Nix led them out of the stables, the building next to it was already opened, so he assumed Bravo team was already in there.  Instead, Nix led them to the farthest building from the house.

    /Alpha Team: Wind: No idea what that is.

    The building was in decent shape, considering the other ones in the courtyard.  There were dozens of barrels stacked up next to one of the collapsed walls.  When Nix tapped on one of the barrels with his hand, he discovered that it was full.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: It's wine.  This is a vintner shop.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Let's save anything we find for Jun Li.

    The only door to the round building was hanging from a single rusted hinge.  When Nix pulled it open, the entire door fell off.

    They stood in the entryway for a moment before stepping in; instantly, the temperature dropped below freezing.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Careful, it's frigid in here.

    [Ice Cannon]

    A sphere of Ice struck Nix full in the chest, knocking him out of the building.

    Nix has been stunned.

    Ice damaged has been resisted.

    [Ice Dagger]

    A left-handed Ice Trinzel has backstabbed Semmi and scored a critical hit.

    [Ice Dagger]

    A right-handed Ice Trinzel has backstabbed Semmi and scored a critical hit.

    Two flashes of white showed ice-covered humanoids that moved phenomenally fast.

    [Spiritual Mending]

    Eron has restored Semmi's health.

    [Fire Nado]

    Three separate ice figures were wrapped up Pon's fire twisters, their screams of pain filled the air.


    Wind has backstabbed an ambidextrous Ice Trinzel

    Critical hit has been divided between the three Trinzel; no follow-up attack is allowed.

    A left-handed Trinzel has resisted Fire Nado.

    A right-handed Trinzel has resisted Fire Nado.

    An ambidextrous Trinzel has resisted Fire Nado.

    Nix targeted the ice creature that was holding two daggers and wrapped him up with a dozen emerald strands.  It screamed in agony, the remaining two Trinzels charged him.

    [Spirit Barrier]

    Eron has placed a barrier around Nix.  The protection will last for 15 seconds.

    [Tides of Flame]

    Nix placed tides of flame on the three Ice creatures.   The wailed horribly for several seconds, their bodies melting until all they were three clouds of steam.

    A Trinzel steam cloud has escaped.

    A Trinzel steam cloud has escaped.

    A Trinzel steam cloud has escaped.


    A middle-aged man with a potbelly and leather apron appeared on the far side of the room.  His hands were dyed purple from winemaking.

    Vintner Jacobi has placed Pon in a barrel to age him to perfection.

    Vintner Jacobi has placed Wind in a barrel to age him to perfection.

    [First Strike]

    Semmi has attempted to land a blow on Vintner Jacobi, but he has already fled.

    A single wooden barrel lay on its side in the middle of the floor, pounding and yelling could be heard from inside of it.

    /Alpha Team: Nix: You guys in that barrel together?

    /Alpha Team: Wind: Yes.  Crack it open boss; my hands are pinned.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: Burn it or something Nix!

    Nix covered his mouth to keep from laughing, Semmi was giggling next to him.  When he pulled his sword to break it open, she stopped him.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: It says we can't touch it guys.

    Semmi struggled to breathe, her pretty face red from laughing.  She kicked it with her foot and fell on her knees, holding her stomach when it rolled across the floor.

    Nix stood off to one side, watching.  "Yep... You are way too good for that old bastard Sem."

    After another few seconds, Semmi finally recovered and approached the barrel.  She took a deep breath before winking at Nix.  "Looks like the timer is up, I'm going to break it open."

    Semmi sliced through two of the metal bands holding the barrel together.  Instantly it came apart, and there two group members were finally free.  Wind rolled off of Pon and stood up with a grimace.

    /Alpha Team: Wind: This never gets mentioned.

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Not a word.

    Semmi's lips curved in a smile when she made a locking motion with her fingers.

    Pon's old face was red, his eyes nearly blazing with fire.  "What kind of f*cking CC was that?"

    Semmi pursed her lips as if considering.  "Unbreakable Wine barrel, I guess."

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Come on. Time to head to the main building.
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