360 Clan Krayven

    [Reference Info for the next few chapters]

    Chelestias: Also referred to as the Che. The miners of the Core'dium, these fur-covered creatures have special senses that enable them to sense precious metals hidden in the core.

    Drahk'Dhassi: These Core'dium dhassi have evolved to live underground. They are an albino race of nomads that wander the core, hunting, and gathering.


    Nix waved to get Zinu's attention and waited while she walked toward them.  The young woman's features, for the most part, were indistinguishable.  Her skin and hair were liberally smeared with reddish mud.  Nix knew from experience that the mud had strong anti-magic properties and made it necessary to fight the Krayven Clansmen using general melee and ranged damage.

    [Whisper: Halla to Nix] I want you to open up portal travel between Free Trader City and Inferno City.

    Nix reread the message twice.  Halla was the Che that Nix left in charge of Inferno City.  He had initiated the exodus from Core'Diem that included not only the Che but also the albino race known as the Drahk'Dhassi.

    [Whisper: Nix to Halla] I was going to do that eventually, but why bring it up now?

    [Whisper: Halla to Nix] We have settled Inferno City, and our shopkeepers and business people are in place. If we are going to thrive, we'll need more resources than just the ones coming from the core.

    [Whisper: Nix to Halla]  I'm not against it.  Security is active and more than enough to handle any issues that might crop up.  Let me consult my officers, and we'll talk about it after I speak with them.

    [Whisper: Halla to Nix] Thanks, Nix.

    Nix put Halla's idea to one side and welcomed Zinu with a smile and a handshake.

    /Alpha: Nix: Nice to see you again, Zinu.

    /Alpha: Zinu: Thank you, Nix.  Would you mind if I bring you to my Clan?

    /Alpha: Nix: You are talking about instant travel?

    /Alpha: Zinu: Yes, unfortunately, I can only bring one person with me.

    /Alpha: Sasi: Not good Nix, the Clans are a big part of the reasons why the Dragon Cities were built in the first place.

    /Alpha: Rabi: Mud covered crazies Nix.  Don't go.

    /Alpha: Zinu: Although Krayven used to be very powerful, we are now the weakest of the Clans.  No longer a threat to anyone.

    /Alpha: Floyd: They fought beside us in Neva.  I doubt there is any danger.

    /Alpha: Gil: I agree, you can always bring us in if there's an issue.

    /Alpha: Nix: I'll see what they want and then ask Leva to bring you guys in if necessary.

    /Alpha: Sasi: Be careful, Nix.

    /Alpha: Rabi: Yes!  Be careful.

    Nix grinned at the two-hybrid demons, who were staring up at him.  "Sorry to invite you and then leave, I shall make it up to both of you."

    /Alpha: Zinu: Nix is our trusted friend and ally; I will let nothing happen to him.

    Nix watched his group walk toward the market area with mixed feeling, Gil and the Qi siblings were powerful allies.  With his Archon abilities frozen, he needed to be careful in his dealings with the Clans.

    Zinu grabbed his hand, effectively pulling him out of his thoughts.  "We are traveling far to the west, to the lands of Clan Krayven."

    Nix nodded.  He knew where their lands were; it was high in the mountains next to the peak that Elynmoor had been placed on.  "I'm ready."

    The temperature dropped several degrees as Nix found himself in the foothills on the outskirts of Clan Krayven's territory.  They were inside a small circle of rocks; Nix was instantly reminded of the traveling circles that the Ashobel used in Colonial.

    "I will need a few minutes before we progress further.  You will have to wait here."  Nix stepped away from Zinu, although he trusted her, the ability to respond to problems required additional measures.

    [Nether Walker]

    Nix pictured Leva's desk, and a moment later appeared in front of his surprised minion.

    "Nix!"  Leva stood up and walked around the desk to greet him.

    "Ducky says hi."  Nix handed her the Nether Rat puppet that they used to map new areas for Leva.  "Maybe you should just hang onto that from now on."

    Leva nodded in agreement and took a seat on her couch.  A moment later, the Nether Rat she inhabited looked up from her own lap.  "Ready."

    [Nether Walker: Return]

    Nix arrived back at the Krayven Clan lands, the Nether Rat puppet perched on his shoulder.  An instant later, a breach opened next to him, and Leva stepped through.

    She smiled slightly when Nix handed her the puppet. "I'll take good care of it, Nix."

    [Summons: Ducky]

    Nix watched as Ducky appeared, her face lighting up when she saw Leva.  He motioned toward Leva, "I don't need anything, figured you might want to hang out."

    Ducky nodded and grabbed Leva's hand.  "Take us to the Turtle House!"

    Leva opened a breach to Ionova and waved.  "Thanks, Nix.  Let me know if you need backup."

    A moment later, the two women disappeared, and Nix was left with Zinu.  While she was waiting, she had summoned a small mountain pony.

    [Summons: Nightmare]

    Nix mounted the demon mare and turned toward Zinu.  "Going to tell me what this is about now?"

    Zinu nodded and started walking her horse up the steep trail.  "How much do you know about the Everspire Clans?"

    Nix had Nightmare walk beside the smaller horse so that he could converse easier. "Nothing really. You coat yourselves in that mud to ward off magic attacks, and you are the weakest of all the clans.  No offense."

    Zinu shook her head sadly. "It's true; we are pathetically weak in comparison to the other clans.  They would have long since wiped us out if we hadn't moved."

    Nix understood that much, but not the reasoning behind it.  "Why did you move?"

    Zinu considered the question for a moment.  "Our Totem was dying."

    Nix knew the term but hadn't heard it mentioned in Colonial. "Explain Totems."

    "Each Clan has a powerful Totem.  Essentially it is a powerful beast that looks over the Clan."

    "Normal beast?  Or a magical one?"

    "Magical, sometimes elemental."  Zinu paused a moment before continuing. "Ours was an Earth Elemental knows as an Ecclesia."

    Nix shrugged slightly, "sorry, no idea what that is."

    "Ecclesia resides in the earth; they can be hundreds of feet in length." Zinu glanced at Nix to gauge his reaction, but his face was expressionless.  "You would probably say that it resembled a very large snake."

    "I see."

    "Our strength was tied to the creature.  When it began to weaken, so did we." Zinu frowned at the memory.  Slowly over several months, their natural protections and buffs failed one by one.  They began to be targeted by the other clans.

    "I don't see how I can help."

    "You see the mud that coats me?  Do you know why my Clan uses it?"

    Nix nodded.  "It carries protective measures against magic."

    Zinu shook her head slightly. "Although your words aren't incorrect, the root of their meaning is.  The mud we wear is taken from the area surrounding our Totem."

    The foothills leveled off for a while, and Nix spotted roving guards and a large camp.  Zinu took him to a large wooden post that was intricately carved with symbols and letters that Nix didn't recognize. The red-earth surrounding the Totem was disheveled slightly. A large ring of black rocks enclosed the area, and an older man stood outside the circle, slowly raking the ground with a long rake.

    Zinu gestured toward the wooden post.  "This is all that remains of our Totem.  At the end of its life, it saturated the ground with its essence.  Even that is nearly spent."

    "Soon, the sacred ground around this totem will be plain mud, and Clan Krayven will be forced to live in the cities."  It was the old man that spoke; he carefully placed the rake on the ground. It was easily the longest rake Nix had ever seen, capable of reaching to the center of the circle without crossing the ring.

    "Nix, this is our Clan Chief, Guyanar."  Zinu placed a hand on the old man's shoulder; it was apparent they were close.  "This is Nix, the person that I've told you about."

    Nix bowed slightly and accepted the old man's hand.  Although his hands were small and weathered, there was still strength in them. "I don't understand how I can help."
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