401 House of Tempest part three

    "That's a generous offer."  Nix bowed his head slightly, not willing to commit.

    "We are friends, it is expected that I help you."  Deidra smiled slightly, "or is Tai'Qui helping you with this?"

    /Inferno: Chiba: You tapping dragons, Apprentice?

    /Inferno: Nix: No.  It's more like two wolves fighting over the same rabbit.

    /Inferno: Chiba: And the winner eats you with her va*ina?

    Nix coughed suddenly, choking on a piece of fruit.  "Excuse me."

    "Eat slower, Nix."  Rabi offered him advice from across the table.  "Same thing happens to Rabi when he goes too fast."

    "Think about my offer, Nix."  Deidra seemed unwilling to let the topic drop.  "There is also something very important we must discuss."

    "Important?"  Nix glanced at Sasi, she seemed to have no clue what Deidra was talking about.  "I'm here to train."

    Deidra nodded.  "I know that.  It won't take long and I will wait until you are finished for the day.

    Nix faked a smile, her politeness pushed him into a corner.  "I will hear what you have to say.  Other than that I'll make no promises."


    1500 hours, House of Tempest Training Yard

    Talbot the Conqueror bowed politely to Nix.  "You are doing very well."  Although Talbot was known to possess a bad temper, word of what happened to Lugly ran through the House of Tempest like a wildfire.

    Chiba stood next to Rabi at the side of the training yard.  They both watched with interest as Nix started.  Three Nether mages formed a triangle around him, they were to continually cast Uncilliary at him, one after another, for as long as they could manage.

    Rabi chewed on a sharp fingernail.  "Won't Nix get hurt with all of them casting?"

    Chiba shook his head.  "He's immune to Nether damage.  Even the Nether King couldn't touch him."

    Rabi's dark lips formed an 'O'.  "I would hunt all day in the Nether if I was Nix."

    "His time is not his own nowadays.  I feel fortunate to be able to pull him here for a week."  Chiba watched as Nix started defending the casts.  Every move Nix made in Everspire seemed to be a reaction to Khione.  She realized it in Eidengal, Nix must grow stronger.

    Nix took the first spell on his bare chest, the second on in the face, on the third he managed to swat it aside.  He faced one mage, then rotated to the next in a neverending cycle of spells and blocks.

    Chiba watched silently, thirty minutes, then an hour, then two hours.  The mages were gulping mana potions like water while her apprentice pushed himself.  He was starting to streak, he would miss three or four times and then block a dozen straight.  "Stop!"

    Nix looked up at the approaching swordmaster.  "I can keep going."

    Chiba nodded.  "I know it, apprentice, however, we need to make an adjustment."

    Nix stabbed the training blade into the black sand and wiped the sweat out of his eyes.  "Please instruct, Master."

    Chiba's thin lips curved in a smile.  "Since you asked so nicely.  What are you seeing now when you focus on the castings?"

    Nix considered her question. "Runes and gaps.  In Uncilliary, there are three gaps and four sets of runes."

    "Exactly right, each spell is unique, but you are seeing this particular one very clearly now."  Chiba handed him a full canteen.  "Drink."

    /Inferno: Nix: Deidra is still here, she only pretended to leave.

    /Inferno: Chiba: Really?

    /Inferno: Nix: Yep.

    Nix took a long pull from the canteen and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "What's next?"

    Chiba took the canteen back and picked up the training sword.  "What's your Spell Defense at now?"

    "Level Two 20/25."

    "Climbing so fast?" Chiba whistled softly and faced Talot.  "Watch closely, I'm going to stab my sword into the gap and then flick it away."  She nodded at Talot.

    Talot has cast [Uncilliary].

    Just as she said, Chiba's blade stabbed in and then flicked the spell to one side.  She lowered her blade and faced Nix.  "What did you see?"

    "You thrust into the rune gap and flicked it away."

    Chiba nodded.  "Which gap?"

    "The first one."

    "Sharp eye, Apprentice.  Why did I choose the first one?"

    Nix shook his head.  "Not sure."

    Chiba patted him on the shoulder.  "No reason at all.  It's just my preference."

    "Let me try."  Nix sent the other two mages away and lined up in front of Talot.  "Give me five consecutive spells, five seconds apart."

    In another two hours of training, Nix failed to block any of the spells.  Chiba was happy with his progress since he was able to find the gaps with his blade a few times.

    "Todays only the first day, Nix.  You are doing well."  Chiba walked next to her apprentice as they made their way to the suite they shared.

    "Thanks for the Instruction."  Nix held open the door that led back inside. "Why learn the second blocking method?"

    Chiba stepped through the open door.  "That is a smart question, Apprentice.  Only very basic spells can be batted aside.  It's nothing more than an essential step in the process of defending advanced castings."

    "Chiba!"  Sasi called her name as soon as they stepped in.  It was obvious that her and Rabi were waiting for them.   Each grabbed one of the old woman's hands.  "Come with us while Deidra speaks with Nix."

    Chiba hesitated, not willing to abandon Nix to the dragon lady.  "Nix?"

    "It's fine.  We'll meet up later." Nix offered the trio a tired smile and dredged up the stairs.

    Deidra was sitting on the couch in the suite's common area when Nix entered.  The long horns shes sported at lunch were completely gone. "Did your training go well?"

    Nix nodded and took a seat on the chair directly across from her.  "Yes."

    "I need sanctuary in Haven."

    Nix stared at her without speaking, unsure if he heard her right. After several seconds he found his voice. "Hell no."

    Deidra held up a hand.  "Please hear me out."

    Nix crossed his arms in front of his chest and leaned back in the chair. "You're wasting your words."

    "Three of us Dragons have been granted Krelandur.  Do you know what that means?"

    Nix shook his head.  "No idea."

    "It means we've been selected to give birth." Deidra paused for a long moment before she continued, "to a dragon."

    Nix understood from Tai'Qui that this didn't happen very often, it had something to do with longevity and the power of dragons.  It made him curious, who told dragons what they could or couldn't do? "Congratulations."

    Deidra shook her head. "It's a tremendous responsibility. I can't afford a repeat of..."

    "Repeat of what?"  Nix considered what he knew about dragons, they didn't really have natural enemies since the Titans had weakened considerably over the generations.  Unless...  "Will Khione target your nurseries?"

    Deidra nodded.  "She ravaged them last time she rose to power.  It was the catalyst that enabled the dragons to unite against her."

    Nix shook his head.  "I'll help you defend your nursery, but I'm responsible for the safety of my people."

    "I'll swear an oath on my marrow that I will obey your will once I'm in Haven."

    "Your nursery is a private space.  You're saying Khione can get into it?"

    "Last time all the guardians in the dragon nurseries went crazy and rampaged through the nests.  Her influence reaches everywhere."

    "What makes you think a nursery in Haven would be safe?"

    "I have investigated Haven, it cannot be breached.  Most world-seeds can if enough power is expended."

    "No."  Her words made Nix wonder when and why she investigated Haven.

    "Nix, you'll refuse a mother trying to protect her offspring?"

    Nix sighed heavily, guilt weighing him down.  Every creature has a natural instinct to protect their young. "No promises.  I will discuss it with my officers."

    "That is more then I expected." Deidra handed him a plain gray stone with a single rune etched into it.

    Nix inspected the token he held.

    Transport Token: Draconic Artifact

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