487 Dragon Thief

    Semmi arranged for all of the team to stay in the Sanctum dorms.  After a long shopping trip for supplies and a bit of begging, she managed to convince Hyai to move in as the Chef. Custody of the Solomon Key rotated between Jun Li, Wind, and Semmi.  They were responsible for continually monitoring the key and had a small team ready to use the pentacle portals.  They had already decided to send a healer next and when possible, Sharl.

    Ronnie sat across from the blonde officer while they both researched the Bone Fortress.  As of yet, neither had been able to find any clue to the origin of the Undead.  "What about the Mocai quests?"

    Semmi shrugged slightly.  "I was told by Fajii and Shae that it would be handled."

    Ronnie glanced at the deployment roster, it was basically a list of the next five people to head into the Bone Fortress.  "I should be higher on this damn thing."

    [Sanctum Deployment]

    Nezbit or Eron


    Jun Li




    Deidra sat comfortably in the outside seating of the Ventura cafe.  Across from her, two members of Inferno were planning the vault heist in the Mayor's mansion.  The dragon was listening while sipping a hot cider.

    "We'll use the original plan of distracting Chael while Rabi breaks into the vault."  The redheaded Salamander was tasked with the distraction, she and Bali were all set to steal the horses.

    Rabi nodded happily from behind the dragon.  "Let's finish this quickly so I can help with finding Sasi."

    Deidra nodded before standing up suddenly.  "I agree completely."  She walked gracefully into the middle of the street, and then without warning morphed into nearly two hundred feet of teeth and armor.

    "What are you..."  Shae's words filtered off as she was forced to shield her face from the gale winds that resulted from Deidra taking to the air a few meters from them. Screams and shouts filled Free Trader City as the dragon steadily gained altitude and then leveled off.

    /Inferno: Shae: Where are you going?

    /Inferno: Deidra: Meet me back at Nix's ranch.

    The dragon banked toward the  Mayor's Mansion, flame gusting from her mouth lit the roof on fire before she landed heavily on it.  Her impressive jaws opened wide and easily tore through the flames into the structure below.  A moment later she was airborne once again, a large square object gripped tightly in one gigantic claw.

    Fajii glanced at Shae before standing up.  "Did she just snatch the entire vault?"

    Shae pulled Rabi with her and gripped Fajii's hand, a moment later all three of them winked out of sight.

    Deidra dropped the vault next to the stable on Nix's ranch, where it created a fairly large crater.  She waited patiently for the trio to catch up.

    /Inferno: Deidra: I'm rather good at thieving.  I wish Nix were here to see it.

    /Inferno: Fajii: Hmm... I'm sure he'd have quite a bit to say.  Are you sure no one was injured?

    /Inferno: Deidra:  Of course, I could see everyone in the house.  The top floor was completely empty.

    Rabi opened the vault within a few minutes before quickly disappearing inside.  A moment later he returned, flashing a fanged smile at Deidra.  "I am successful!"

    [Scroll: City Production]

    [Mayor Huelix's Journal]

    Deidra opened a breach directly in front of them.  "I believe the next item is in Ever Flame?"


    [Bone Fortress 1400 hours, Enemy forces: 13, 287]

    Pon scowled at the skeleton sitting on the ground across from him.  "You did that on purpose, so you could pull ahead."

    The yellow-eyed skelly shook his head, causing his jaw to rattle slightly. "I went outside for some air, these tight spaces are difficult for me."

    "And five of them attacked you right outside?" Pon's tone told him that he wasn't buying it.

    Nix nodded.  "Yep."

    The two of them were studying the map while considering their next move.  They had already picked through the loot that Edi and Alfie accumulated during their time here.  Although most of it was crap, they did manage to horde a large number of fairly useful accessories.

    Nix pointed at the enemy HQ.  "Putting aside the rest of Xander Burrough for now, our first objective is to take the Sandcrab Precinct.  Every Burrough has one graveyard, we're lucky this Burrough's graveyard resides in our current precinct."

    "It's not luck,"  Alphie spoke from the other side of the small fire.  Sasi and Edi were out on a scouting patrol while the archer rested.  "When we began to lose ground, Edi planned a careful retreat in the hopes that we could start to move forward at some time in the future."

    /Skelly: Pon: Smart.

    Nix turned his attention back to the map. "If we successfully take back the Sandcrab graveyard, how long before they can attack us again?"

    "They can't cross Precinct borders until all of Sandcrab falls into our hands.  Once that happens, any bordering precinct can attack us."  Alphie leaned back against the cave wall, the tips of his bone feet were nearly in the fire.  "However, the Faction territory is updated every quarter-day."

    "If we plan it right, that will give us nearly six additional hours before we're attacked after taking the precinct.  As the southern-most precinct, only two precincts border us."  Nix muttered a curse under his breath.  The Burrough graveyard would reinforce them by a few thousand.  "There is a choke-point here."  Nix pointed to the center of the Sandcrab Precinct map.  "Once we take the graveyard and these four smaller sections, we'll have enough of the precinct get the reinforcements."

    Pon turned his attention back to the helmet that he was converting into a small basic bomb.  A pile of rifle bullets that he disassembled was all that he needed to start the process.  They currently had no gun-users but at one time the undead had an entire company of them.

    /Skelly: Nix: Edi says there are thousands of bullets buried around here. What's your crafting skill at?

    /Skelly: Pon: Only 14, when I get to twenty I can learn a small grenade.

    /Skelly: Nix: Keep at it, I'll start crafting golems once I figure out our battle plan.

    /Skelly: Sasi: We're back, approaching the entrance now.

    A few minutes later the group of five talked over the fire while Nix presented the first phase of his plan.

    "Taking over the majority of the Sandcrab Precinct is our first objective."  Nix brought up his hud map and pointed to the choke-point he marked earlier.  "We'll have to hold them here with just the five of us for two days."

    Alphie stared at the choke point.  "How many people does the Ice Faction have in the Sandcrab Precinct?"

    Edi shrugged her boney shoulders.  "Hard to say exactly, perhaps less than five hundred."

    "Not bad... That number is not bad."  Nix glanced at the three helm explosives that Pon had managed to create.  "Why aren't they getting outside reinforcements?"

    "Could it be because Wind took the Sanctum?"  Pon held his hands over the fire, more out of habit than anything else.  He was never cold.

    Nix shook his skull.  "That only happened recently.  When was the last time the Ice Faction number changed?"

    "It used to happen regularly, but there has been no change to their numbers for a few weeks."  Edi stared at the Inferno Leader.  "We were no longer a threat, and more numbers would be useless."

    Nix felt he was missing something obvious, someone like Semmi would have figured everything out already.  "Why are more numbers useless?"

    "They can't direct fighters from other precincts into a precinct that is currently being fought over.  Only new recruits can be sent into the Sandcrab Precinct.  If we start to push them back, you can be assured that they will bring recruits in."  Edi unequipped her armor and sat it against the wall.  Neither of the Inferno members seemed daunted by the task at hand.

    Nix closed his hud with a quick gesture.  "They'll reinforce the two bordering precincts once their numbers here start to drop."

    Edi clicked her teeth together with a loud snap.  "Definitely, since we'll have to fight on two fronts, they will stack numbers in both before they become a battleground.  If we can hold the majority of Sandcrab until our reinforcements arrive, that advantage will disappear as soon as we claim the rest of it."

    Nix could see a clear path to gaining Sandcrab.  "Tonight we'll take prisoners, I'd be happy with eight or ten."

    "What for?"  Alfie's only real joy came from sniping members of the Ice Faction.  "We've never taken prisoners before.  Neither do they."

    Nix would have been smiling had he still possessed lips.  "Eventually all of Sandcrab will fall to us.  Once that happens we'll take time to fortify our positions in order to battle on two fronts."

    Sasi clapped her bone hands together.  "As long as our prisoners are alive, the precinct borders cannot be crossed except for new recruits!"

    Nix nodded slightly.  "That's what I'm hoping, keep them alive long enough to prepare properly."

    Edi stared at the Inferno Leader.  "That could work, but we'll need somewhere to keep them."
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