448 Blood Fusion part one

    Nix sat comfortably on the edge of the turtle pond, an impressive sight considering that the house had moved itself to the edge of the Great Desert.  Once it settled, the large pond and surrounding greenery appeared.  "Turtle Oasis...  Is that a thing?"

    Tai glanced at Deidra warily, even his jesting words sounding like a sword being pulled from its sheath.  "It was like we thought, a directional attack aimed at you in the event of that Inferno managed to destroy Khione's stronghold."

    "I figured as much," his eyes strayed to the turtle house.  Would Min have been killed if the turtle house hadn't protected her?  "Tell me how she did it."

    Tai nodded,  with Khione's wards destroyed, her worms were able to investigate the matter fully.  "Think of it as a magical cannon.  The runes were set in place to redirect any attacks capable of damaging her Ice Seeds."

    Nix swore under his breath.  "Nothing like shooting yourself in the foot.  If it was a defensive spell, why is half of her mountain destroyed?"

    "I believe it was because she didn't imagine that her seeds could be destroyed, the destructive force generated by them, completely overloaded her defensive spell."  Tai shook her head slightly,  "I believe that Inferno will kill Khione."

    Deidra watched the interaction in silence, her understanding of humans was limited, but it was a limitation that Tai'Qui apparently didn't share.  "What will you do now, Dracora'Zai?"

    "Talk with the officers."  Nix took a deep breath, more than anything he wanted to kill her himself, without endangering his NPC friends.  "Don't you mean Cora'Zai?"

    Deidra stood up without answering and placed a hand on his shoulder.  "I will come to Haven tonight."

    Tai'Qui pursed her lips slightly before nodding in agreement.  "Yes.  I will also if that is acceptable."

    "I will arrange it after the meeting."  He waited until they both left before opening a breach from Ionova to the Great Desert; a moment later, several members from Inferno walked through.

    /Officer: Nix: Let's go inside, Shae, Mina, and Fajii are already there.

    Nix paused long enough for Hyai to catch up with him; without speaking, he enclosed her hand in his.  He had discovered the power of fury flames when he first landed in the Titania Forest; its drawback was that it ran through his mana reserves very quickly; Hyai's Djinn-sharing could hold it indefinitely.  "You okay?"

    Hyai responded by leaning closer and kissing his cheek. "Don't worry about me, Hun."

    The Inferno Officers gathered comfortably around the large kitchen island, some of them pulling chairs from the living room to sit down.

    /Officers: Nix: Guess we should get started.  It looks like we dodged a bullet today, in hindsight, it wasn't thought out properly.

    /Officer: Jun Li: I have to disagree; it was a sound decision.  And damaging enough to her so that we need to consider moving our assault plans up.

    /Officer: Semmi:  Our Titan forces are not prepared properly.

    /Officer: Pon: The Titan's purpose was for the ground assault.  I have to believe that we wiped out a large portion of Khione's forces.

    /Officer: Jun Li: Probably true, but we can't afford to believe it without proof.

    /Officer: Nix: I'm going to bring a group of outsiders into Haven today; Deidra, Tai'Qui, and the Pathfinder team from the Salamander Guild.

    /Officer: Jun Li:  Are Deidra and Tai already moving in?

    /Officer: Nix: Yes.  We can expect Sinfaya will come with them.

    /Officer: Pon: Why bring in Gideon and his group?

    /Officer: Nix: They're trustworthy, and I want them to monitor Khione's Eye from the safety of Haven. Maybe we can get some hint of how hard we hit her.

    /Officer: Wind: Today was hard, boss.  Bali was still lying on the ground, crying when I left.

    /Officer: Shae: Bring those Trams into Haven also, until this is over.

    /Officer: Ronnie: She'll be fine in a few days.  We all will.

    /Officer: Mina: Perhaps we should take a few days to recover.

    /Officer: Semmi: That's a great idea.  We can prep for the Harvest Festival.

    /Officer: Nix: Two days.  Then we'll return to Everspire and finish the Free Trader Quests.

    /Officer: Jun Li: Let's plan on the Harvest festival right after that.

    /Officer: Semmi: Our top three clerics are now statues.  That's going to be an issue moving forward.

    /Officer: Nix: We have plenty of cleric allies if it comes to that, but I'll assign someone to look into it.

    /Officer: Jun Li: In the meantime, let's bring them into Haven also.  Having to assign guards will use up manpower that can be allocated elsewhere.

    /Officer: Nix: Anything else?

    /Officer: Fajii: My acolytes will be moving to Haven to work with Tai'Qui. We'll have to ask our allies to take over security for Loki and Ionova.

    /Officer: Jun Li: I'll contact Resolute, they can take over both locations.  (Resolute is a member of the 12 Pillars and is also Inferno's first ally)


    [Haven 1900 hours, Nix's Horse Ranch]

    "Where's your little friend?"  Nix opened the gate to Nightmare's stable and led her out; apparently, the goat was still in Belatora.  He swung easily into the saddle and patted her shoulder.  "Gonna eat that bastard, the first chance I get."

    Deidra has joined Inferno.

    Sinfaya has joined Inferno.

    Tai'Qui has joined Inferno.

    Nix read the messages and let Nightmare break into an easy canter.  "Looks like we have dragons in Haven.  Let's go, say hello."

    The Gemini Temple was a short ride from the ranch, horse and rider covered the distance in a few minutes, arriving at the entrance just as Pon and Jun Li exited with Haven's new guests.

    Deidra stared at Nightmare for several moments before holding a hand out to her, obediently the demon horse approached her.  "Nix?  Perhaps I gave you too much dragon blood..."  She placed a hand on the creature's muzzle, immediately Nightmare flamed up.

    [Whisper: Pon to Nix] Run Punk!  You've pissed off a dragon.

    "She's beautiful.  May I have her?"  Deidra continued to stroke Nightmare's neck, not bothered by the flames coming off her.

    "No."  Nix pulled back on the reins and backed his horse away from the group.  "Follow me; we'll put you up in the treehouse until the three of you build  your nurseries."

    The dragonfir tree was many times wider and taller than any of the trees from the Vale.  The top floors were taken up by drakes, but many of the Inferno members had large suites on the lower levels.

    Tai'Qui smiled when she saw the skyscraper tree.  "You used dragon blood on a dragonfir tree?"

    Nix nodded, careful not to look at Deidra.  "Many of us stay here, it's very comfortable."

    Deidra's eyes scanned the distance.  "Is that your house, it looks quite large."

    "Yes, it is... and no, you three aren't staying with me."  Nix made Nightmare release her flames before quickly dismounting.  He removed her saddle and bridle then released her onto the plains.  His house was big, but there were already a lot of people staying with him.

    Tai's dark lips curved into a smile.  "Can't you squeeze us in?  I hear Captain Vooni is staying there."

    Nix frowned at the Earth dragon.  "Captain Vooni and my father are together."

    "It's fine, Nix..." Deidra's brown eyes watched him without any hint of emotion.  "We three would like to discuss something with you."

    [Whisper: Pon to Nix] Yep... They're gonna eat you, Punk Bastard.

    Deidrea brought up a very detailed map of the Haven; it looked similar to the Breach Commander interface.  After studying it for a short period, she pointed to a location.  "This is a desert?"

    Nix nodded. "Our drakes use it for training, but no one is there at this time of the day."

    Deidre opened a breach and stepped through, immediately followed by the other two dragons.

    Pon's wrinkled face cracked into a smile.  "Go ahead... follow the three dragons to the far side of Haven.  What could possibly happen?"

    "Shut-up old bastard."  Nix stepped through the breach; it closed a moment later.

    The desert sand still retained some of the day's heat, but it was cooling rapidly.  The three dragons were standing in a triangle, rough thirty meters apart. Tai was the only one of the three who was smiling.

    "It's time for blood fusion.  Please agree."  Tai bowed slightly, "this is all we can do to help you.  I hope that you will allow it."

    Nix nodded slightly.  After seeing Ionova wiped away, he'd take any advantage he was offered.  "What do I do?"

    Tai approached him; the earth dragon gave off a strong sense of warmth.  "This won't turn you into a dragon spawn; your salamander blood wouldn't allow it.  However, it will increase your strength."

    Nix glanced around the immediate area, Deidra had picked the most desolate location in Haven.  "Why are we here?  Is this dangerous?"

    Tai considered the question for a moment before answering.  "Not to you, but you could harm those who are close by."

    "Why would I do that?  Does that mean the three of you are in danger?"

    Tai's brown face showed her amusement.  "We are dragons Nix; there is no danger for us."

    "Let's get it over with.  Brief me with what I should know."

    Tai held out her hand and received the canister of blood essence from him.  "You'll turn into a dragon for a short period of time.  It happens to everyone. This form causes delirium.  No one ever remembers this part."

    Nix watched as Tai opened the canister and handed it back to him.  "No, **?  I'm gonna turn into a dragon?"

    Tai smiled slightly.  "A very small one, not much bigger than a drake.  Drink it down without worries; we will protect you and your friends."

    "Fine, don't let me escape then.  Although it's fine if I smack Pon around a few times."  Nix drained the canister quickly and dropped it into the sand.

    Deidra motioned for Tai to back away.  "We don't know what will happen.  Give him some space."

    Nix's yellow eyes stared upward; without warning, his body morphed into an emerald salamander.  It expanded to a much larger size, its usual round body rippled with muscle.

    "That's not a dragon."  Deidra's voice was filled with surprise.
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