462 Krelandur Runes

    Nix glanced over his shoulder at the two women.  "Done yet?"

    Shae's warm hand rested lightly on his bare shoulder.  "Nearly...  Explain again what this is?"

    Nix, Shae, and a troubled-looking Tai'Qui were behind the closed door of the ranch's master bedroom.  The Earth Dragon was wearing a green bandana, her normal warm demeanor was absent.

    Tai sighed, the sound of it was loud in the large room.  "We aren't trying to trick you or anything.  The blood fusion did not go as planned."

    Nix waited until Shae removed her hand before frowning at the Earth Dragon.  "I already knew that.  What does this have to do with the runes?  Are they debuffs?"

    "Nothing like that." Tai obviously didn't want to talk about the subject.  "You didn't turn into a dragon, Nix."  She stared at the Earth Rune in the center of his back.  "I didn't realize how others view us."  Tai moved closer to the pair, her finger tracing her own rune.

    Shae watched the earth rune glow slightly at Tai's touch, it hadn't reacted when the redhead traced it.  "Dragons typically consider other species to be lesser life forms.  The power you wield is terrifying."

    Nix smiled in an effort to lighten the conversation.  "Not a dragon?  A salamander perhaps?"

    Tai nodded in agreement. "Something like that... only much more.  To describe it physically, I'd call it a heavily armored salamander with phoenix wings.  It handled the three of us easily. Even Deidra was helpless against it."

    Shae unexpectedly smiled and nudged Nix.  "You shouldn't pick fights."

    Nix shrugged.  "I'm sure they started it."  He stared at the earth dragon for a moment.  "Tell me what happened.  It seems like you don't want to."

    "Krelandur."  Tai lowered her voice to a whisper.

    Nix's laughter filled the room.  "Shit... That's it?  You got laid?  Why is this a big deal?"

    Shae pinched his side as she struggled to keep a straight face.  "Why didn't you fly away?"

    Tai shook her head slightly.  "He was too fast, and much too strong.  In that form, he could use hundreds of emerald strands. When we went in to help Sinfaya, we were wrapped up also." For a moment, she looked like she wanted to hide her head.  "It's the emerald fury flames. I'm afraid all of us lost control and fell prey to our instinct."

    "Prey waits."  A smirking Nix headed to the door.  "If that's it, I'm going to leave.  I promised to make Chiba a nice dress for the festival."

    "Nix..."  Tai's stared at him. "Don't you realize how serious this is?  We were granted Krelandur to birth dragons."

    "Hmm...  Go hook up with your dragon partners then.  What's the big deal?" Nix's face said it all, he couldn't care less.

    Tai shook her head slightly.  "The Krelandur runes are only transferred when a dragon is conceived.  Under the circumstances, the runes should have remained with us."

    Nix paused at the door and grinned at the earth dragon.  "Guess you got the bonus package.


    An hour later, Nix sat comfortably in his chair overlooking his favorite fishing spot. A long slow cast followed by a small splash near the far bank was all the energy he could manage. Darkness settled over Haven, the riverbank was quiet except for the chirping of crickets and the occasional splash as a fish surfaced to feed on waterbugs.

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: Our first-time night fishing!

    /Go Fish: Semmi: We should try the inland lake on the other side of the Emerald Desert.

    Nix watched his bobber while tilting back a bottle of Semmi's Golden.  Thanks to him, the large desert in Haven now had a name.  On the other side of it was a freshwater lake where many of the Aquarions had settled, both Zhava and Milat built homes on the coast.

    /Go Fish: Nix:  I'd like to check out their village.  How many Aquarion daughters have been born so far?

    /Go Fish: Semmi: Three in Haven, four if you count Ayla.

    Nix glanced at the blonde officer, she seemed to have come to terms with Pon having an Aquarion daughter.

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: We going to see her at the festival?

    /Go Fish: Semmi: Pon said he was going to pick her up for a few days.  I can't believe you guys went behind our backs and finished up the Belatora quest.

    Nix shrugged apologetically.  Saving Fey's friend ended up turning into an all-out battle against Dotha's team.  "Inferno is sponsoring the caravan since most of their leaders were sucked dry in Tembai."  His thought wandered briefly to the caravan guard from the dungeon, she definitely could handle herself in a fight.  On a whim, Nix financed their next route to Mocai.  He would have plenty of time to check on them since that was one of their upcoming destinations.

    /Go Fish: Nix: I think we'll tackle the Mocai quest next.  I'm interested in seeing what the thieves guild looks like.

    /Go Fish: Semmi: You, me, and Wind?

    /Go Fish: Nix: Raine too.  Four of us will be enough.

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: Raine?  What's going on there?

    /Go Fish: Nix: She's not without her good points.

    /Go Fish: Semmi: I'm looking forward to Mocai.

    Semmi had been tasked with helping the Titan development recently, she was hungry to get back

    to some action.  Since Wind and her were both Gemini Thieves, it made sense to bring them both.

    /Go Fish: I'll visit the Aquarion village tomorrow, Soup will enjoy the lake.

    /Go Fish: Semmi: I'm coming with you.

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: Me too.


    Gideon took a deep breath and then inhabited the Nether Rat.  Instantly the world around him changed and the familiar view of the Ice throne appeared before him.  Unexpectedly the throne room was crowded.  Khione sat on the throne, carefully studying her people.  A Su'Dhassi was speaking from one knee.  His face was unfamiliar, and he had a long scar along his tanned jawline.

    "I could strike at Loki.  We could hit them fairly hard."  The Su'Dhassi opened a map and pointed to the human territory.  "If we were fast, the town could be destroyed before Inferno was able to mount a defense."

    "Is that a joke?"  An Ain'Dhassi man with an eyepatch over his left eye stepped forward.  His young-looking face was twisted in a scowl.  "Their Pillar Alliance is there.  As soon as they are attacked Nix will send in their allies.  You wouldn't last an hour."  The dhassi walked around the map and changed the display.  "This is where we should hit them, an exposed ally that can't call for backup."  He highlighted the area in question."

    Khione stood slowly, her long white dress brushing the ice-cold floor beneath the Ice Goddess's bare feet.  "How big of a force would you need to take it?"

    The Ain'Dhassi considered the question for a moment.  "One hundred at the bare minimum.  I'd like a bit more."

    The Ice Goddess nodded.  "Add the Ice Archers to your current command, that will give you one hundred and fifty fighters."


    Gideon dropped the rat puppet and stowed it away.  He didn't recognize the place, but he knew it was in colonial.

    [Whisper: Gideon to Nix] We got some intel regarding Khione's next move.

    [Whisper: Nix to Gideon] Weren't you sure she was setting something up in Eidelgal?

    [Whisper: Gideon to Nix] Definitely, however, this target is different.  It's in Colonial.

    [Whisper: Nix to Gideon]  Did you recognize the area?

    [Whisper: Gideon to Nix] No, but I can describe it pretty well.

    [Whisper: Nix to Gideon] Let's met in Glory.

    /Inferno: Nix: Semmi, Wind, and Chiba, please report to Glory immediately.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Sure.  What's up?

    /Inferno: Nix: Tell you when you get there.

    /Inferno: Chiba: A late-night liaison with my apprentice, I can't wait.

    /Inferno: Wind: This going to take a while?

    /Inferno: Nix: Not sure.  I want the entire guild on standby until we get back.
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