397 City Protectorate Office CitPro

    ***********Authors Note*****

    The following is from Bali's perspective, starting from when the automated message was sent from the Ionova Turtle House.


    The top floor of HQ, also known as the Bird's nest, consisted of a single large bedroom and bathroom. Initially, it was claimed by Bali, but a second troublemaker moved in shortly after that.  It was comfortably decorated and featured a custom made bunk bed, most likely the only one in Colonial.

    On the bottom bunk slept a dark-skinned woman, her disheveled hair spread out on the white pillowcase.  She wore black silk pajamas and slept peacefully with a devilish smile on her face. On the top bunk was a dhassi woman, she looked much younger when she slept.  Pinned to the wall next to her were two hand-sketched portraits, 'Captain Locas' and 'Guild Leader Nix.' The artist showed remarkable talent and had signed both with a large "B."

    /Inferno: Automated Message: An unknown predator is approaching the Turtle House, please dispatch City Protection at once.

    Bali's pale eyes popped open, she always set her guild alerts to chime.  "Ronnie!  We gotta go!"

    The ranger jumped to the floor and kicked the bottom bunk while she equipped her gear.

    /CitPro: Bali: TRAMS!  Sound Off!

    /CitPro: Ginger: We're up!

    /CitPro: Inhabit the black Orion puppets and meet at the ridge next to Nix's house.

    /Inferno: Automated Message: An unknown predator is approaching the Turtle House, please dispatch City Protection at once.

    /Inferno: Bali: City Protection is on the way.  Stay inside.

    Bali slipped on her boot while hopping toward the door, stopping before she ran into Ronnie, who was already ready to go. "Damn, you're a fast one."

    The duo ran down the stairs and summoned their Daikens the moment they stepped outside.  Within seconds they were airborne and flying toward the turtle house.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Want some back-up?

    /Inferno: Bali: No thanks, we're almost there.

    /CitPro: Bali: What's your status Trams?

    /CitPro: Ginger: Just left the old town gate, heading to the ridge.

    Bali pulled up her map as her mount approached the target. She glanced at it for just a moment before closing it and putting her Daiken into a dive.

    /CitPro: Bali: Ronnie, take the Trams and circle around the eastern perimeter of Nix's property.  I'll flush it toward you.

    Bali dismounted,  pausing for a moment while Ronnie met up with three Orions.

    /CitPro: Mik: Finally a hunt!

    /CitPro: Bali: Focus Mik.  You guys follow Ronnie and get ready.

    Bali activated track and moved into the undergrowth. There were nearly a dozen different animals prowling, some of them were hunting while others were hiding.  One of the names on the list stood out from the others, lycanthrope.

    /CitPro: Bali: I don't recognize the species.

    Bali isolated the creature on her track, a single set of footprints illuminated themselves on the ground.  The Dhassi ranger bent to examine them in the darkness before continuing toward the house.

    /Inferno: Hyai: It's still moving toward the house, 65 meters east of your position.

    /Inferno: Bali: Thanks, keep me posted.

    /CitPro: Ronnie: What species did track say it was?

    /CitPro: Bali: Lycanthrope.

    /CitPro: Ronnie: AKA Werewolf!  Just like I said! Don't let it bite you, or you'll become one too.

    /CitPro: Bali: Are you making that up?

    Bali increased her speed, the footprints were in a straight line, indicating that it already had a target.  She notched an arrow and checked track, 22 meters straight ahead.  A flash of light followed by an outraged growl sounded directly in front of her.

    /CitPro: Bali: It ran into a security barrier. Damn, that's a nice feature.

    Bali broke into the clearing and fired three arrows, all three sunk into the creature's left calf.

    [Lycanthrope Howl] A deafening howl filled the night air, freezing its enemies in place.

    Bali has been stunned

    The creature turned toward the ranger, red eyes filled with rage.  It was a hulking beast with an overly muscular upper body that featured dagger-like claws. The creature was dark brown in color with a single silver splash on his back.

    [Predator Charge]  The beast charged at Bali, running on all fours it covered the distance between them in seconds.

    [Elite Escape] Bali vanished a heartbeat before it arrived.  She appeared two meters away and shot another arrow right next to the other three.

    A Lycanthrope has been slowed by thirty percent.

    Bali spun in place and broke into a sprint, the enraged creature right on her heels.  She could feel its hot breath on her back, the heavy pants of its breathing seemed loud to her sensitive ears.

    /CitPro: Bali: It's really fast.  Even with four arrows in its leg.

    Bali dodged to one side, just as a claw slammed into the ground, she dodged the opposite direction a moment later when it attacked again.

    Wilo has cast [Air Impendence]

    A Lycanthrope has been slowed by eighty percent for the next thirty seconds.

    A buzzing noise sounded overhead. Wilo's dragonfly-like wings buzzed steadily while she shot mini-arrows at the creature with a tiny bow. The sight nearly caused Bali to stumble as she struggled to keep from laughing.

    /CitPro: Bali: Did you get Wilo a bow?

    /CitPro: Ronnie: I did.  It's cute, right?

    Wilo continued to follow the beast that chased after Bali.  Most of her tiny arrows missed, but she made loud "pew, pew" sounds whenever she fired.

    /CitPro: Bali: Yep.  Got the net set up?

    Ronnie stood comfortably on her Rock Golem, just inside the woodline, a large net was spread out on the path leading away from them.  Three Orions waited on the other side of the dark archer.

    /CitPro: Ronnie: Yes.  Get ready Trams.

    Bali put on a burst of speed and leaped into the air, spinning she released two arrows in an eyeblink directly into the face of the beast.

    A Lycanthrope has been temporarily blinded.

    /CitPro: Bali: Sic em.

    All three black felines pounced at once, the combined weight of them sent the lycanthrope to the ground.  Ronnie and Bali stood back and picked their shots. One of the cats was slightly quicker than the others and managed to sink its fangs into the neck of the beast, leaving the other two to settle for limbs.  The struggle lasted for nearly a minute before the beast had enough and bolted in the direction of the woods, dragging all three Trams with it.

    /CitPro: Bali: Disengage.

    All three cats let go and fled in different directions just before the net was yanked up around the werewolf.  Ronnie pulled net tight while the creatures howled and thrashed in anger.

    "Got ya Mr. Werewolf!"  Ronnie tied the rope around her Rock Golems hands and walked toward the net.

    /CitPro: Bali: How'd your silver-tipped arrows work?

    /CitPro: Ronnie: Damn.  Forgot to use them.

    Ronnie sighed and notched one of them in her bow.  "Maybe there's a second one."

    Bali checked track, it was all clear.

    /CitPro: Bali: Looks good, but Ronnie's right, be ready.

    After a minute of thrashing and growling, the beast stopped and howled mournfully at the night sky. The cracking of bones accompanied by the stench of rot filled the air as the giant lycanthrope seemed to shrink down.  Its fur faded into skin, while its exaggerated canines changed into normal teeth.  Within a few seconds the change was complete and before them lay a bald man wearing bright red robes. He sat up suddenly, his head pushing through a gap in the net.


    Ronnie stared at the man, the eyes were still bloodshot and frenzied. "Your nuts, right? Want to spend your life on a polar ice cap?"

    /Inferno: Bali: Could someone ask Ducky to meet us at the Turtle house?

    /Inferno: Ducky: On my way!

    /CitPro: Bali: Trams, check the perimeter, and stay together.

    /CitPro: Theo: Let's start on the eastern side.

    /CitPro: Ginger: On it.

    /CitPro: Mik: Yep.

    Bali waited with Ronnie, the two of them keeping an eye on the captive.  Wilo sat comfortably on Ronnie's shoulder.

    /CitPro: Bali: Did you teach her to make those pew-pew sounds when she shoots?

    /CitPro: Ronnie: Of course.

    A few minutes later, Ducky and Leva stepped through a breach near the Turtle House. The pair immediately headed toward the captive. When Ducky arrived she gave the City Protectors an apologetic smile.  "Sorry, I was in the Nether until Nix had me come here."

    "Is Nix here?"  Bali's sharp eyes scanned the area.  There were no fires, or sounds of people screaming in horror, the usual indicators of his presence.

    Ducky shook her head. "Hyai told him that you guys could handle it."

    Ducky has charmed Kodus Mora.

    Ducky knelt down, peering through the netting.  "Are you okay, Kodus?"

    Kodus nodded.  "I messed up."

    Ducky's voice was filled with sympathy.  "It can't be that bad.  What did you mess up?"

    Kodus gnashed his teeth, his voice filled with quiet rage. "I was supposed to support the effort in Free Trader City, but I was so angry!  I wanted him to pay!"

    "What effort in Free Trader City?"  Ducky stroked the man's forearm gently.  "I can secure your release, we can erase this mistake."

    "Y-You can?"  Kodus's eyes slowly resumed their natural brown color, his breathing slowed to a normal rate. "I can continue spreading the word?"

    Ducky nodded.  "Of course, I want you to continue spreading the word."

    "When the Temple of Khione is constructed in Free Trader City, all of Central Everspire will feel her power." Kodus held his hand out, reaching for the Water Witch through the netting.

    /Inferno: Ducky: We're going to take him.

    /Inferno: Nix: Do it.  You and Leva find out everything.

    /CitPro: Ginger: Hey... Isn't that Captain Mora?

    The Tram's returned from their perimeter check and were watching the proceedings.

    Theo looked closer, his blue eyes staring.  "Yep, that's him.  Haven't seen him since Nix fired him."

    /Inferno: Bali: Apparently, this is the former Ionova Guard Captain that Nix fired when he took over Stewardship.

    /Inferno: Nix: Find out where his two buddies are and what they've been doing since they left Ionova.

    Leva opened a breach while Ducky freed Kodus from the net.  "Thank you for your hard work.  We'll take it from here."

    [Whisper: Leva to Nix] Send me another vial of your blood.

    [Whisper: Nix to Leva] Done.  I want a full report tomorrow.
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