340 Neva: Battle for Ever Flame aftermath

    Nix walked toward the stables, groups were still running back and forth, but there was no more enemy to fight.  Clerics from Inferno were busily rezzing the fallen pug groups while others were outside the walls stacking bandit bodies like firewood.

    "Running into the teeth of Inferno Archers, not the smartest move." He found Nightmare exactly where he left her.

    "Is she faster than Flash?"  Randa exited the stable when she spotted him; during the fight, she tried to bring the animal into the stables, but it wouldn't let her approach.

    Nix mounted Nightmare and patted her shoulder. "She is," he admitted.

    Randa studied the demon horse with a practiced eye. "She looks like she had a foal recently."

    "Yep, beautiful little filly, a few weeks ago."  Nix studied the orphan for a moment, "I own a horse ranch, not that big yet, about forty horses in my herd."

    Randa's dirt-smudged face lit up. "That's a good-sized herd."

    Nix snuck a peek through the door to make sure they were alone before lowering his voice. "Want to come work for me?"

    Randa looked over her shoulder before answering. "What's your offer?"

    Nix pursed his lips while he considered.  "I have a bunkhouse; you can move into it and hire your own people."

    "Is your ranch in Everspire?"

    Nix shook his head.  "A seed world in Oasis, no real dangers to speak of."

    Randa made a small gesture with her hand, indicating that someone was approaching. "Can I think about it?"

    "Yep, " Nix nodded respectfully when the stablemaster approached.  "Town should be quiet now; we're taking the fight to the Main  camps after this."

    The stablemaster watched him turn toward the center of town and ride away, before glancing at his assistant. "You recognize that breed, Rand?"

    Randa shook her head.  "All sorts of things mixed in there, most of them dangerous I expect."


    Fajii nodded and accepted the canteen from Semmi. The Aquarion had a big smile plastered on her face. "Nix made it, did you like it?"

    Cora smiled apologetically to the blonde officer. "Your Sand Leopard was beautiful Sem,  but I would have chosen a flier too, although the Orions and other forms are nice."

    Eron sat comfortably on the Ain'Dhassi's lap while she stroked its soft fur; according to the black fox, only Nix, Fajii, and Cora were 'worthy.'  The black fox turned toward the front gate, its dark eyes glowing. "Fajii... a soul harming artifact is close!"

    /Inferno: Fajii: Eron says a soul harming artifact is in the area.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Nix, open a breach, and get out of here.

    Nix quickly dismounted Nightmare and activated his stealth package; he disappeared from sight just as his eyes glowed orange.  Shae, Fajii, Semmi, Cora, and Jun Li were all sitting together; he focused on the area directly behind them.

    [Create Breach: Ever Flame: Ionova: HQ]

    /Inferno: Nix: Into the breach now.  I'll be right behind you.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Everyone in!

    Nix waited until Inferno exited, and then he closed the breach.  His eyes scanned the crowded market square, several groups of heroes, and dhassi were still mingling in the area.

    "West side of the market, Nix."  Eron brushed against his leg, Nix scooped him up and placed him on his shoulder.

    A scream of terror caused Nix to turn slightly; a stealthed man on was fleeing foot, he ducked into the gathering crowd.

    [Whisper: Bali to Nix] I'm next to the Tanner shop, have you sighted him?

    [Whisper: Nix to Bali] He's on the west side of the market.  Stay stealthed, and we'll close in.

    The tiny ranger noticed that Del Tali was there and immediately morphed into Dire Wolf form, her long strides eating up the ground.

    Nix has activated his bloodline: [Third form: Archon]

    Nix saw Bali moving and took to the air.

    /Inferno: Nix: Do you have a target?

    /Inferno: Bali: Has to be Rogar, no visual yet!

    Nix's thermal vision picked up a sudden increase in air temperature, a sign that someone was opening a gate.  He spotted the culprit and targeted him.


    The summoned man flew toward him, somehow managing to draw his sword that Nix dodged before grabbing his arm and slamming him headfirst into the ground.

    Rogar has been stunned.

    Nix placed a knee in the middle of his back and glanced scanned the marketplace.  "Bali?"

    [Summons: Ducky]

    Ducky appeared an instant later and immediately assessed the situation.  "Want me to hold him?"

    Nix nodded.  "Yes, please."

    Ducky has bewitched Rogar.

    He spotted the tiny ranger bent over on the ground and took to the air again before landing and dropping the archon form.  His blood ran cold immediately.

    /Inferno: Nix: Any clerics in Ever Flame?

    /Inferno: Tess: I'm at the front gate Nix.

    /Inferno: Nix: Western part of the market square, run Tess.

    [Summons: Shadai]

    The Arch Wing healer landed softly on the ground nearby; immediately, her hands glowed with a soft light.  She gasped in surprise and shook her head.  "She can't be healed."

    Bali was crying softly while trying to stem the flow of blood that was running freely around the dagger that was still plunged into the victim's back.  "Please do something, Nix!"

    "Where would Grand Elder Sai Tali be right now?" Nix eased her to one side and tried to remove the dagger; it wouldn't move.

    "Morai Sai?  Probably at the Ain'Dhass Camp in Parliament."  Bali's face was a mask of fear. "Please, Nix..."

    [Create Breach: Ain'Dhassi Camp: Parliamentary]

    "Hurry, Bali!  Get Sai Tali!"

    Nix felt a cold hand squeeze his.  Blood leaked out of the corner of Del Tali's mouth and ran down the side of her cheek. "Did you get him?"  The voice was barely a whisper.

    Nix nodded, although he hadn't spent a lot of time with Del Tali, he considered her his best friend among the Ain'Dhassi.  "I can't remove the blade, Del."

    Del's pale blue eyes stared at him, "it's a soul blade.  It will drain me of everything and then destroy itself."

    "Hang on for me, okay?"  Nix kept the pressure on the wound with his free hand.  A flurry of movement told him Tess had arrived.

    Tess has cast [Hands of the Goddess].

    Del Tali may not be healed.

    Nix opened his inventory and accessed his bandages.

    Nix has applied a bandage to Del Tali.

    Nix has applied a bandage to Del Tali.

    Nix has applied a bandage to Del Tali.

    The bleeding stopped, but Del's breathing became labored.

    Tess shook her head in frustration.  "I can't even target her with a heal spell."

    A moment later Sai Tali exited the breach along with Bali, he knelt next to Del, placing a hand on her forehead.

    Del smiled slightly when her grandfather stroked her head; her white teeth were stained with blood. "It's fine, Grandpa. Take me back."

    Sai nodded and moved to pick her up.

    "Wait."  Nix stopped him with a hand on his arm.  "Why take her back?  Do you have a healer in camp?"

    "Please... everyone move away from us." Sai shook his head, his normally stoic face showing sadness.  "No.  Nothing can be done for Del."

    Nix didn't remove his hand. "Can she be rezzed?"

    "I must take her back now, Nix.  The dagger will drain everything and completely destroy her soul.  There will be nothing left to resurrect."

    "Nix?"  Bali's face was wet with tears.  "You can do something, right? You can always do something."

    /Inferno: Tess: Nix?

    Nix stared at Del for a moment, trying to think of something that might help her.

    "It's fine, Nix."  Del's soft voice consoled him. "Thank you for being a good friend."

    [Create Breach: Solomon City: Deidra's Courtyard]

    Nix ignored Sai Tali and picked up Del.  "Wait here."  Without speaking further, he stepped into the breach.


    Nix stepped into the courtyard and immediately opened the gate and ran down the trail. "Deidra!"

    A familiar face appeared in front of him.  "You can't barge in here, Commander Nix!"


    The surprized Majordomo flew through the air toward Nix, who didn't even slow down as he ran down the path toward the large pond.

    "DEIDRA!"  Nix shouted her name as he stepped off the path onto the soft grass.  A young man and woman knelt on the grass, their meditation interrupted by his shouting.  "Where is Deidra?"

    "You want my mother?"  The man spoke; his voice sounded too deep for his wiry frame.

    "It's fine."  Deidra emerged from the water, her flawless body drying when it came in contact with the air while green robes appeared on her naked form.  "What's wrong, Nix?"

    Nix lay Del on the soft grass.  "She's been stabbed with an artifact dagger; it's draining her."

    Deidra studied her for a moment before shaking her head.  "Nothing can be done. She will certainly die."

    "No."  Nix squeezed Del's hand, her eyes were close, and her breathing labored.  "Not good enough."

    Deidra shook her head.  "I'm not refusing Nix; it's just that nothing can be done."

    "Not good enough."  Nix pushed down the panic he felt inside.  "Do something for my friend, and I will pay any price."

    "Commander, Nix!  You've overstepped once again."  The Majordomo finally caught up with him was stopped from speaking further, by his master's glance.

    "I'm sorry, Nix.  Truly, there is nothin..."

    "I have raised Yandro's City." Nix interrupted the dragon, "not only that, but I have control of Chyanama, Aquarius, and Dyrekstad.  I plan to raise the seven fallen cities and reunited the Dragon Cities."
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