493 Battle for Sandcrab

    Nix finished freeing the second wheel from the mud and lashed it to the first one.  "Trying to shoot my bear, we can't have that."

    Morti held the ten-foot iron cannon in his jaws like it was a twig.  He nodded his head in agreement.

    /Skelly: Sasi: Sending updated enemy positions to our tactical map.  There are setting up north of the choke-point.

    /Skelly: Pon: We starting something?

    /Skelly: Nix: Let's get this stuff back and then decide.

    /Skelly: Sasi: There are several crates hidden in the brush a hundred meters from your position.

    Pon had been searching the immediate area for projectiles and powder charges.  When he heard the report, he took off at a trot.

    Nix patted Morti's shoulder.  "Your first fight as a bone bear.  What did you think?"

    Morti sat the cannon on the ground with a  heavy thump.  "Was pretty much like Tautius said."

    Nix froze at the mention of the Titan First.  "Tautius?  Did he mention this place?"

    Morti's big skull nodded.  "Not by name, but he referred to this place as the Hardening."

    "Hardening?  Is that like seasoning or training?"  Nix had allowed Morti to spend time with Tautius after they cleared the 'First' trials.

    "No.  Bone hardening.  He said that fighting as a bone bear strengthens and hardens your skeleton.  Titans use to go somewhere and do it.  The way was lost; even my Papa couldn't find it."

    /Skelly: Pon: Found the ammo and the powder charges.  We are in business!

    /Skelly: Nix: We'll save a few charges for firing the cannon, but the rest will go to Pon.  APMs are our priority, at least for now.

    /Skelly: Pon: We going after them?  What if they decide to bring another cannon?

    /Skelly: Nix: Let's get you and Nez leveled up.  Do you have a spirit companion, Nez?

    /Skelly: Nezbit: Sure.  Rhylia Thundercloud.

    /Skelly: Pon: Really?  When did that happen?

    /Skelly: Nezbit: Right after Nix gave her the Black Ice Blessing.  Thanks for that one, by the way.

    Pon stirred the fire with his bone hand; this would have been a perfect time to have a cookout if skellies could eat or drink anything.  "What's the plan?  We gonna thin the herd and get me to one hundred?"

    "Yeah."  Nix glanced at Nez; getting a cleric to 100 kills might be challenging. "Let's give Nez the Freestyle Golems to use.  Getting some air support here, along with your fire companion, would be awesome."

    Edi was studying the hud map.  "Perhaps it's smarter to wait.  We could thin them out before trying any too risky."

    Nezbit stifled a laugh with her hand, while Pon stared at the blue sky.

    Edi noticed the interaction and nudged Nix, who was over standing directly next to her, sharing the same hud.  "Did I say something funny?"

    Nix shook his head slightly.  "Tell her, Morti."

    The big cub whispered it like it was a secret, even though his whispers could be heard from several meters away. "Prey waits."

    Nix nodded in agreement. "Prey waits."


    [Bone Fortress, 1945 hours  Ice Faction: 13151, Undead 7]

    Alfie: 21,109

    Edi: 20,323

    Nix: 100

    Pon: 57

    Sasi: 48

    Morti: 6

    Nezbit: 0

    /Alpha: Edi: Why did we switch to Alpha?

    /Alpha: Pon: Alpha is for killing **.

    /Alpha: Edi: We're really going after control of the precinct now?

    /Alpha: Alfie: Prey waits, Edi.

    /Alpha: Pon: See?  He gets it.

    /Alpha: Nix: Well said.  Let's go, a quick rundown on assignments!

    /Alpha: Pon: I'll wait in the woodline while Morti, Nez, and Edi move into position.  I'll use the rest of our [Fusers] and [Inferno Golems] to drive them beyond the choke point.  Once that is done, I'll start mining the west side of the choke point.

    /Alpha: Nezbit: Once the chokepoint is cleared, Morti and I will set up the perfect cleric/tank position.

    /Alpha: Alfie: While the golems are being used, I'll be down for a few minutes while I establish a new Sniper Nest on high ground.  From there, I'll scout the battlefield and keep an eye out for assassins.  My one-shot kill has a five-minute cool-down (cd).  In the absence of any assassins, I'll be using it regularly on the most viable target.

    /Alpha: Edi: I'll be fighting alongside Mortimer.  My mission is to speed up our kills and make sure no one sneaks in after our cleric.

    /Alpha: Nix: While this is going on, Sasi and I will sneak into the back lines with the [Freestyle] Golems.  Pay attention to chat, Nez.  I'll be assigning golem directives but will be sharing detonation rights with you.

    /Alpha: Nezbit: Thank you in advance for Powerleveling, the poor cleric.

    /Alpha: Sasi: I'll be with Nix, doing Sasi things.

    /Alpha: Edi: I should tell you ahead of time, if we manage to regain control of the precinct and claim the graveyard; we'll gain a faction build order for an HQ.

    /Alpha: Nix: A real building?  How come the Ice Faction don't have one?

    /Alpha: Alfie: They do; it's the Bone Fortress.  Each faction is only allowed one HQ.  We lost ours when the graveyard fell.

    /Alpha: Edi: We'll see the rest of their specials, not sure how many they have left.

    /Alpha: Pon: Specials?

    /Alpha: Alfie: What you've seen until now are their common fighters.  My sister and I were able to kill most of their Specials over the years.  They learned not to send them at us; Ice Mages, Witches, Assasins, and even a few Paladins.

    /Alpha: Pon: So we've been fighting the dregs?  Perfect, let them come.

    Morti stood at the edge of the woodline; he scouted the battlefield on his hind legs.  A small camp had been set up near the chokepoint.  Satisfied with what he saw, he dropped to the ground with a soft thump and glanced at his two companions.  "Get on."

    Edi patted the cub's large rib.  "I'll run beside you, Morti."

    The bear stared at her for a moment. "Nope. Get on."

    Nezbit hopped on, careful not to impale herself on the large spines.  She held a bone hand out to Edi, who paused for a moment before accepting.

    Morti waited patiently while his passengers got comfortable.  "Hang on. I'm gonna run fast."

    The fire mage watched from the west side of the woodline; as soon as Morti started moving, he ordered his golems forward and broke into a trot. The fires from a mini-tent city came into view just as the bone bear's deafening roar shook the valley.

    /Alpha: Pon: Perfect!

    The camp instantly woke up, facing to the east as they started forming up.  The gathering formation didn't have time to react to the golems running up behind them.  They disappeared in a blinding flash of light; the wave of power released knocked the fire mage on his bony posterior.

    "Damn... The ** did Nix put in that batch?"  Pon climbed to his feet, and quickly recalled his remaining golems, and placed them on standby.

    /Alpha: East side of choke-point is clear; I'll start mining now while waiting for further targets.

    /Alpha: Alfie: Sniper nest is established.  A small force has taken cover at gridpoint 565,344.

    The skeleton mage quickly used his hud to assign a dozen golems to the gridpoint before kneeling on the ground.

    Shur'icon has hexed you.

    You have been slowed by forty percent.

    Shur'icon has placed the [Seven Plagues] on you.

    [First Plague: Blood]

    Pon stood up, his flame aura flickering on as his focus turned to his attacker.  A red mist rose up out of the ground and formed a crimson cloud around him.

    You have been cursed by [Blood] and will lose 3 percent of your health every 10 seconds for the next minute.

    Pon has cast [Balefire: Hex]

    A white streak of fire slammed into the witch, sending her spinning into the soft mud.  A moment later, she staggered to her feet, her left arm charred to the bone.

    [Seven Plagues / Interupted]

    Skeleton Pon nodded at the expected result; the air around him started to distort from the swirling flames.  "You're defense is not bad..."

    Instead of casting another spell, the witch held up her good hand.  "I accept your victory."

    Pon paused his next casting.  "Huh?  Accept my ... The ** does that mean?"

    Shur'icon has requested a Spirit Bond.

    "Defend yourself or not; you're still going to get roasted."

    Shur'icon has requested a Spirit Bond.


    Sasi and Nix moved quickly into position, within view of the northern camp.  Twice they had to stop and deal with stragglers when the golems were discovered.

    /Alpha: Nix: Get ready to detonate, Nez.

    Nix smiled when the Freestyle Golems charged into the camp. Unlike the other golems, he had made, these were powered by shape charges.  Whatever was directly in front of them would take most of the damage.  He placed a hand on Sasi's shoulder and pointed to the west side of the camp.  The demon skeleton nodded and disappeared from sight.

    /Alpha: Nix: Do it, Nez!

    Nix covered his skull with both hands and ducked just before the combined explosion of his [Freestyle] golems turned night into day.  The ground shook under him as a wave of power pelted him with dust and debris.
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