404 House of Tempest: KhalamZur

    The group disappeared from Inferno City, a moment later, they reappeared on a large square platform.  The three lifestyle players stepped into the middle, while the fighters faced outward.

    Nix scanned the immediate area, an endless field of bones and carcasses stretched out in all directions.  Some were bleached white from the passing of time, while others looked recent.  He stepped away from the group, immediately the air in front of him shimmered.

    /Inferno: Wind: Damn.  That was sudden.

    /Inferno: Pon:  I want that cloak, a real f*cking grim reaper.

    "Greetings, New Arrivals.  Welcome to Khalam'Zur."  The Specter hovered in front of Nix, its facial features were cloaked in darkness, a long and wickedly curved scythe was held in one hand.

    Nix stared at the nearest corpse, it didn't look like a dragon.  "Is this the dragon graveyard?"

    The Specter shook its head.  "This is Khalam'Zur, the dragon graveyard is only a small part of it."

    Nix glanced back at Pon and Wind.

    /Inferno: Wind: Don't look at us.  This is your show.

    Nix was tempted to fly them the bird, but since his dad was watching, he refrained. "How do we get to the dragon graveyard?"

    "Step to the edge of the platform and make your request.  A transport disc will bring you to your destination."

    "You said the dragon graveyard is only a small part of the Khalam'Zur.  What other creatures are here?"

    "There are too many variations to list.  Please make a specific request."

    Nix nodded.  "Titan Graveyard. Specifically, the Falcon first, then the Lion and the Scorpion.

    A large circular disc appeared next to the platform.  The Specter spread its arms wide. "This disc will take you to your destination, it will return here in twelve hours.  If you are not on it, you will become a permanent resident."

    /Inferno: Nansu: Oh god... I'm scared.

    Nix grabbed Nansu's hand and tugged her toward the disc.

    The specter moved in front of him, blocking their way.  "There is one last thing."

    /Inferno: Pon: Here it comes.

    Nix paused, not willing to touch the reaper.  "What?"

    "You may not take any bones, teeth, scales, skins, or body components with you when you depart."

    Nix dropped Nansu's hand and walked back toward the group.  "That f*cks us. Anyone have a plan B?"

    "Excuse, Mr. Specter?"  Nansu raised her hand like she was in a classroom. "If I make Dragil serum by using dragon blood and bone scraping, will I be able to keep it."

    "You may use the resources here to create new things.  That is allowed."  The spectral moved back to its original location, unblocking their path.

    /Inferno: Darsi: So... Game on then?

    /Inferno: Wind: Sounds like you can't farm materials here, you must use them to create something new.

    /Inferno: Nix: Think about what Inferno needs for the battles ahead. Let's go.

    Nix grabbed Nansu's hand again and stepped on the disc.  Immediately it started moving away from the platform.

    Pon watched Nix and the alchemist leave before turning back toward Rico.  "Ready?"

    Rico nodded and stepped to the edge of the platform.  "Dragon graveyard."  A disc appeared and the two of them stepped on it.

    Within a minute, the platform was empty. With the exception of Nix and Nansu, everyone was heading to the dragon graveyard.

    Nansu was smiling to herself, enjoying the wind in her face.  "Did I do good?"

    Nix nodded. "Very good."

    "Hmm. Thanks.  Going to hold my hand the whole time?"

    Nix laughed at her expression and let go of her hand. "No, sorry."

    "Love the turtle home, by the way.  It feels safe, even if there was a werewolf."

    "Don't get too comfortable.  Soon as I get back, you are gonzo."

    Nansu wrinkled her nose slightly.  "Mina too?"

    Nix shrugged.  "That's a bit more complicated."

    "Why are we going to the Titan graveyard?"

    "Inferno is tasked with restoring the lost Titan Clans. Specifically the Falcon, Scorpion, and Lion Clans."

    Nansu brought up her hud, all current guild quests could be accessed from there.  "You must have a plan.  Right?"

    Nix nodded.  "I'm going to make a puppet for each of them."

    Nansu didn't know much about taxidermy, but she understood that it could be a lengthy process.  "Do you have time to make all three?"

    "Not sure.  Most important is the Falcon, since they no longer exist."

    "Sounds good.  Tell me what I need to know so that I can help you best."

    Nix glanced sideways at the alchemist.  "You don't have to help me, you can gather your own things."

    Nansu shook her head.  "Nope.  If you are going to finish your task, you'll need me.  Just remember when you kick Khione's ass, that it was a lifestyle player who paved the way."

    "Noted.  We'll have to move fast.  Just follow my directions."

    Nansu gave Nix a crisp salute.  "Yes sir!"

    The disc stopped next to a large brown bird, although its feathers were intact, the body was starting to decay.

    Nix froze for a second when he saw the first corpse, did legendary creatures decay at a slower rate than normal ones?  Or maybe Khalam'Zur slowed things down.

    "Problem Nix?  Time is burning!"

    Nix shook his head and gathered his thoughts.  "These should be more decayed than they are.  It doesn't matter.  I need feathers first.  Pile them in one spot."

    The Titan Falcons looked to be about the size of  Fey, which meant if Nix shrunk them down to a .25 ratio, they'd be close to twenty feet.  Nix set up the animator queue.

    [Miniature Enhancement .25][Titan Falcon] [Falcon Feathers][Falcon Beak][ Falcon Bones][Enhancement Slot][Enhancement Slot][Enhancement Slot]

    "How many feathers do you need Nix?"

    "There isn't really a set amount for animation.  I go by the vitality rating, a lower rating means it will be very weak."

    "Like Semmi's platypus?"

    "Yes. That has a low vitality and a life span of only a few years."  Nix summoned his red scimitar and started gathering beaks.

    Nansu worked quickly, making Nix suspect that she may have butchered poultry at some time in her life.

    Nix tossed another beak on his pile.  Then added Nansu's pile of feathers into the queue.  The animator interface automatically estimated the amount of beaks, and bones he'd need to match the feathers.  "You currently have enough feathers for a vitality rating of 100."

    "How high can it go?"

    Nix shook his head while dragging another beak toward his pile.  It was half his size and probably close to a hundred pounds.  He smiled when he queued them.  "5 beaks give it a vitality of 50."

    "Cheat!"  Nansu grinned good-naturedly and added another armful onto her growing pile. "So you should only need 10?"

    Nix nodded and trotted to another corpse.  "I think we were brought to the freshest ones.  That probably favors us."

    Nansu worked tirelessly, her pile of feathers continued to grow until Nix stopped her.

    "No more Nan, the vitality rating in the feather queue is 1000."

    Nansu shrugged. "Let's go for 2000 then."

    "Nope, it says its maxed out."  Nix considered their logistical issue.  "I"ll queue the feathers now.  Start helping me with the beaks and then we'll find bones."

    They quickly discovered that it was easier to queue each beak individually rather than dragging them back to a central location.  They had to be removed from the head before they could be added in.

    The two worked in tandem, slowly figuring out the most efficient way to complete their grisly task. When they had enough beak, Nix jumped on the disc and helped Nansu up.  "Take us to an older area of this graveyard."

    The disc lurched suddenly, causing Nansu to latch onto Nix, then it sped north.  Within a minute, they could see the white of bleached bones.  When the disc stopped they both hopped down and approached the nearest skeleton.

    Nansu made a face at it.  "Do we have to break them?  Or can you queue the entire skeleton?"

    Nix smiled widely,  the falcon skeleton queued directly into the bone slot.  The estimated vitality was 11. "I can do the entire thing.  Looks it will take close to a hundred."

    "Not much I can do.  Some of these are broken a bit.  I'll try and find the best ones while you queue them up."

    The entire process took nearly for hours.  Nix added his own materials for the enhancements and then showed Nansu the final queue.

    [Miniature Enhancement .25][Titan Falcon] [Falcon Feathers][Falcon Beak][ Falcon Bones][Ice Dragon Leather][Kraken Leather][Lamia Leather]

    Nansu didn't really understand what she was looking at, but she knew Nix was spending his own valuable resources.  "Why Ice Dragon Leather?"

    "We're fighting an Ice Goddess, I'm hoping the fliers will have a bit of ice resistance."  Nix selected the [Animate Icon] but left the final product in his crafting inventory.

    Nansu frowned at him. "We don't get to see it?"

    "Sure. If you want to drag a drake-sized bird around."

    Nansu shook her head and followed him back to the disc.  "Eight hours left.  It should go faster now that we know what we are doing."

    Nix chuckled at her confidence.  "Do we know what we're doing Nan?"

    Nansu shrugged and favored him with a smile.  "I do.  Not so sure about you."

    As predicted, the next two puppets were much easier to queue.  The pair quickly developed solid teamwork and finished with two hours until the deadline.

    Nansu took out a canteen and took a long drink.  "I earned some good favor today?"

    Nix didn't answer, his eyes were looking at the horizon.  "What if..."

    Nansu waited for him to answer, but he continued to stare into the distance.  "What Nix?"

    "We could make something fast.  What if I'm missing something.  What do we know of the final battle?"

    Nansu shook her head.  "We don't know anything.  Remember before we patched?  Half of Inferno received notifications saying they might be the Cora'Zai."

    Nix nodded. "Mina kept attacking Aki for saying it was me."

    Nansu smiled, Mina had told her the story.  "She's my spirit companion, I could feel how much the idea of that scared her."

    "I forgot that the two of you were spirit companions.  Our great Aquarion experiment.  It was Shae's idea."

    "What if she's right, Nix?" Nansu pursed her lips while considering the patch.  "Did the patch really change anything?"

    Nix nodded.  "The whole Cora'Zai thing went away."

    "Did it?" Nansu shook her head slightly.  "Perhaps all it did was remove the doubt as to who the Cora'Zai is."

    "Don't share that bit with Mina.  She's convinced that the Cora'Zai dies in the last battle."

    "And if she's right?"  Nansu seemed unwilling to let the conversation drop.  "We've seen deaths that can't be fixed.  What if the Cora'Zai dies in the last battle?  Shouldn't we create some sort of safeguard?"

    Nix nodded.  "If I were smarter, I could probably think of something."

    Nansu laughed at his words.  "You and me both."

    "Hey..."  The serious expression on Nix's face was replaced with a smile.  "I do have an idea."


    /Inferno: Pon: Ten minutes left Punk... You planning on staying here forever?"

    /Inferno: Nansu: Yes.  Say goodbye to everyone for us.  Nix and I are building a house here.

    /Inferno: Nix: Um... No.

    "There they are!"  Wind spotted them in the distance.  The group formed another circle and waited.

    When Nix and Nansu stepped onto the platform, the Specter moved toward the group.

    "All who are here, may now return." The Specter spread its arms wide and the entire group disappeared from the platform.


    Nix yawned and thanked the group for their hard work.  "It's 0200, get some rest.  Make an inventory of what you made and send it to Semmi."

    /Inferno: Pon: Heading back to the House of Tempest?

    /Inferno: Nix: Yep.  Back to the grind.  Night everyone.

    Nix gated back to Solomon City and then made the short walk to the House of Tempest.  The guard at the front gate already knew him by sight and let him in.

    When he arrived at the second-floor suit a few minutes later, he was greeted by the sight of Beta and Chiba sleeping on the couch.  He was too tired to carry either of them so he covered them both with blankets and headed to his own room.
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