447 From the Ashes

    Authors Note****************

    To clear up something that was brought up by readers last chapter.  Nix used one vial of gold liquid known as the [draconian Ch. 429] element to strengthen Sinfaya. He stole two vials of this from the desk of Jargon Kane, along with all the inheritance rings. Don't confuse this with the blood essence that Tai'Qui gave him [Metallic canister Ch. 440] to strengthen himself.  He hasn't used this yet.


    Nix blinked the smoke out of his eyes, rubbing them against the sting of ashes that hung thick in the air like a dense fog.  All of Ionova, flattened by a cataclysm, felt throughout Everspire.

    /Inferno: Nix: Spread out, look for survivors.  Call for a cleric if you find a body.

    /Inferno: Jun Li:  They're all dead, Nix.  Wiped out.  None of them can be rezzed.

    /Inferno: Nix: Keep looking.  We aren't leaving them.

    "Sweet Mother..."  Pon stared at the Khione's peak in the far distance, ash and fire were still billowing out of it.  Half of the mountain has been instantly destroyed.  "Thousands of people in Ionova dead?"  The old man shook his head and glanced at his friend.  "This isn't on you, Nix."

    Nix grabbed a broken column and rolled it off of the path.  There were two bodies crushed beneath it.  "Isn't it?  I'm the one in charge."

    /Inferno: Nix: Need a cleric at the southeast corner of the market square, two more bodies.

    A few hours earlier, the call had gone out that Ionova had been destroyed.  Every member of Inferno and all of their allies had shown up to help.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much anyone could do.  Digging the corpses out of the ruins was proving to be a gruesome task,

    "Over here."  Nix waved at Pinky, who was searching through the rubble with Wind's help.  Gypsy and Tess arrived at the same time from the opposite direction.

    Tess knelt and checked the bodies.  Her red hair hung in a face that was streaked with tears and ash.  After a moment, she shook her head.  "No."

    [Whisper Pon to Nix] Clerics are taking this hard, Nix.  Can no one be rezzed? Maybe say something to them.

    Nix extended his hand and helped Tess up; he brushed some of the ash out of her hair.  "I know this is difficult for you.  Let's keep at it. Our friends would expect at least this much."

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Oh, god...   Nix, come to the old town.

    "Old town?"  Nix looked in the direction of the mostly abandoned old city of Ionova.  There was already so much smoke in the air; he couldn't tell if it was burning.  A moment of clarity was followed by panic.  "Oh no, the Trams...  Follow me!"

    Nix opened up a breach and ran through; a moment later, he appeared next to the old guard shack.  The hysterical sound of wailing could be heard from within its twisted walls, the sight of Ronnie laying on the ground crying made his heart pound in his chest.  He spotted a pale blond head, trying desperately to burrow further under the wreckage.


    Bali's terror-filled voice echoed in their ears as the group tore into the charred building, removing sections of wall and ceiling in an effort to clear the area.  They found the blond-haired ranger there,  clutching a badly mangled Ginger Tram to her chest with one hand while trying to dig deeper into the rubble with the other.

    "Find the other two."  Nix gritted his teeth and tried to focus on the task at hand.  He watched as Pinky checked the young girl, she shook her head at Nix and then burst into tears.

    "The brothers are over here."  Pon's voice came from the other side of the house.  Nix followed Tess as she checked their status.

    "Anything?'  Nix waited for Tess to check them; instead of answering, she sat on the broken floor and started crying.

    [Whisper Shae to Nix]  I found Mina, she's not injured.

    [Whisper Nix to Shae] Thanks.  Stay with her for now.

    Nix bent down and helped Tess to her feet, wrapping her up in a hug. They stood there for several seconds.  Finally, he stepped away and gently picked up Theo Tram.  "Help me out, old man."

    Pon nodded and picked up Mik.  "What do we do now?"

    Nix shrugged slightly and opened up a breach back to his previous location.  "Bali... Bring Ginger and follow us.  We can't leave these kids out here."

    He entered the breach without saying anything else.  Grief was mostly a personal thing, parts of it could be shared with others, but other parts had to be dealt with alone.

    There was a small section of the square where Inferno members were starting to bring the bodies.  Nix found himself unable to place Theo with them.

    [Whisper: Pon to Nix] Over here works better.

    Nix turned slightly and spotted Pon standing next to a cleared off section away from the others.  Without speaking, he placed Theo on the ground next to his brother.  Bali tried to do the same for Ginger, but in the end, they needed Tess and Gypsy to help her.  She lay over the top of the three Trams, hugging them.

    [Whisper: Pon to Nix] That girl is gonna take this hard.

    "This isn't right...  Aren't we the good guys?  Why?"  Pinky spoke quietly to the other two clerics, her voice shaking as she struggled to compose herself.

    "Take a break, Pinky.  Just breathe."  Gypsy stroked her pink hair.  "We'll continue in a few minutes."

    Pinky shook her head.  "I can't come to terms with this.  I can't!  This isn't right!

    A brilliant light surrounded the cleric, her feet rising off the ground as a gentle wave of healing pushed outward in all directions.

    [Sajana has activated her Bloodline]

    [Gemini Sub-Class Detected: Archangel]

    An instant later, the same light twirled around Gypsy and Tess, their ash smudged faces shocked as they also rose into the air.

    [Gypsy Rose has activated her Bloodline]

    [Gemini Sub-Class Detected: Archangel]

    [Tess has activated her Bloodline]

    [Gemini Sub-Class Detected: Archangel]

    Three sets of gold wings sprouted from the backs of the Inferno Clerics.  Golden light pulsed outward from them for several seconds before they landed on the ground.

    Pinky glanced over her shoulder at the gold wings and then at the other two clerics.

    Sajana has started [Heaven's Chorus: 1st Verse]

    Gypsy Rose has started [Heaven's Chorus: 2nd Verse]

    Tess has started [Heaven's Chorus: 3rd Verse]

    [Area of Effect: Choir of Angels]

    Theo Tram has been resurrected.

    Mik Tram has been resurrected.

    Ginger Tram has been resurrected.

    Sterli Fare has been resurrected.

    Greni Sota has been resurrected.

    Mio Tunsi has been resurrected.

    Piya Bol has been resurrected.

    Trist Vonner has been resurrected.

    Silas Ora has been resurrected.

    Beltran Visa has been resurrected.

    Amri Visa has been resurrected.

    Ceddie Fare has been resurrected.

    Li Finn has been resurrected.

    The names scrolled across Nix's hud faster then he could read them.  It continued that way for nearly a minute before slowly trickling to a halt.

    /Inferno: Pon: Nix!

    Nix turned toward the fire mage, who was standing next to Pinky.  The pink-haired cleric had her hands raised overhead, her face radiated beauty in an open-mouthed smile.  Slowly her pale white skin turned gray, and her pretty eyes glazed over.

    /Inferno: Pon: Petrified?

    Nix touched her shoulder; her silk robes were hard and smooth.  "I don't know..." His words trailed off as both Gypsy and Tess turned into statues, their arms raised up in joy.

    [Whisper: Tai'Qui to Nix] What has happened?  All the corpses on the west side of town have been resurrected.

    [Whisper: Nix to Tai'Qui]  Come to the Market square.

    Nix stared at the statue of Pinky for a moment and then at the other two.

    [Angel of Ionova]

    Sajana sacrificed a portion of her

    life for the people of Ionova.

    Effect: Petrification

    Duration: Unknown.

    [Angel of Ionova]

    Gypsy sacrificed a portion of her

    life for the people of Ionova.

    Effect: Petrification

    Duration: Unknown.

    [Angel of Ionova]

    Tess sacrificed a portion of her

    life for the people of Ionova.

    Effect: Petrification

    Duration: Unknown.

    /Inferno: Nix: Officer meeting at my house.  Two hours. Post a guard on these three, 24/7.  No one touches them until we find out what's going on.

    /Inferno: Locas: My people will handle it.

    /Inferno: Fajii: The Turtle House has moved.

    /Inferno: Nix: To where?

    /Inferno: Fajii: The Great Desert.

    [Whisper: Semmi to Nix] Join Secret.

    /Secret: Nix: What's this for?  We're about to have a meeting.

    /Secret: Semmi: Player's only Nix.

    /Secret: Jun Li: I asked one of our subscriber members to log-off and contact Tess.  We need to know the status of their accounts.

    /Secret: Semmi: Have them log into Virtuna.  Even if their character is cursed or sacrificed, they are still paying members and can use Virtuna.

    /Secret: Jun Li: Good idea.

    /Secret: Wind: That was some serious **.  What the hell was it?

    /Secret: Nix: No idea.

    /Secret: Pon: I was looking at Deidra when it happened.  I get the feeling she'd never seen anything like that before.

    /Secret: Nix: I'll log into Virtuna tomorrow for a few hours and talk with them.

    /Secret: Semmi: Want me to come?

    /Secret: Nix: No.  Don't be late for the meeting.

    "I can't breathe with you lying on me."  Theo tried to twist out of Bali's grip, but the little ranger wouldn't release them.  She kissed his head and face while crying hysterically.

    "It's okay."  Ginger managed to sit up; she stroked Bali's head softly.  "Don't cry."

    Mik put up with it without moving, his sharp eyes darting around the square at all the people who were suddenly standing up. He used the back of his sleeve to wipe the ranger's runny nose.  "If you cry too much, we'll start to worry."
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