495 Two for One

    Nezbit stepped away from the group.

    [Summons: Rhylia]

    Rhy appeared in front of Nezbit; although she was a skelly like everyone else, her wings were still beautiful black feathers.  She flapped them once before furling them.  "We're undead?"

    Nezbit nodded.  "It's me, Nez!"  The Inferno cleric offered her companion a hug.

    Rhylia Thundercloud

    Air Wight [Royal Court]

    Class: Pathfinder

    Rank 1

    Kills: 0

    The newly christened wight found Nix immediately and wrapped him up in a hug.  "Nix!  We've been so worried."

    Rhylia has joined Alpha.

    /Alpha: Rhy: I'm happy to be here!

    /Alpha: Sharl: What's the plan now?

    /Alpha: Nix: Relieve Morti so he can get some rest.  We'll move to this location until the 2-day timer expires.

    /Alpha: Rhy: There's no air power here?  Will I be able to fly wherever I want?

    /Alpha: Alfie: Doubtful, but you should be able to get high enough to scout our two bordering precincts.

    /Alpha: Nix: Find us a tent that we haven't burned out and send me its location.  The rest of you get some rest.  Sharl will take over duties as the Main Tank (MT).

    Nix and Pon headed toward the minefield since the fire mage insisted on showing the Inferno leader something.

    Nix stopped at the edge of the minefield, well aware that it was a ruse and that Pon had lured him away to talk privately.  "What's up?"

    "I can summon a spirit companion; the problem is that it isn't Lorenzo."

    Nix thought about his own companions; if the order started with his first one, then Soup would have been first.  The default companion in this instance must be the strongest, which, of course, would be Mortimer.  "You have just the two, right?  Isn't Lorenzo the stronger?"

    Pon shook his head slightly.  "He was until I picked up a third companion."

    "Shit... Don't even say it."

    Skelly Pon shrugged slightly. "She surrendered and made a strong case."

    Nix felt the lack of lips at that moment; he would definitely have been grinning.  "Fine.  Let's have her."

    Pon shook his head.  "Bonded her and then killed her."

    "Er..."  Nix stared at the fire mage for a long moment before speaking. "Not the best way to bond with a new companion."

    "It was her idea.  She realized that we wouldn't trust her. So the deal we made was that I would leave her unsummoned until we left the Bone Fortress."

    Nix laughed at the fire mage.  "Damn old man...  Fine, keep this bit of information to yourself.  We'll just skip the part where you summon companions here."

    Pon nodded.  "Thank you, Nix.  I'll have Ducky present the first time I summon her."

    "No worries.  Let's get back to crafting tomorrow."

    "Nix... Did that Key of Tides explanation make any sense to you?"

    Nix shook his head slightly.  "Even if I wanted to save it for something else, once the Bone Fortress was in danger, I'd have used it."

    "That's what I think too.  We have too many unanswered questions."

    /Alpha: Rhylia: Two unburned tents at grid 565,943.

    /Alpha: Nix: Thanks, we'll go pick them up.

    Pon followed Nix as he moved toward the gridpoint.  The Inferno leader blazed his emerald flame aura as if daring anything to attack him.  If there were any lingering members of the Ice Faction, they didn't approach the two fire users.

    /Alpha: Nix: Help me pack up these up, then we can drag them back to camp.

    /Alpha: Pon: Sounds good.

    After several minutes, Nix rolled the two packed up tents onto a larger tarp and started dragging it back to the choke-point.  The old man started to help but then quickly stopped.

    "Why are you still so strong, Punk?"

    Nix continued dragging the two tents, pausing to laugh at the fire mage.  "We still have the same physical stats; we just can't access them."

    "While we're at it.  How come you have five spirit companions?"  Pon asked a question that always bothered him.  Nix's companions were all very strong; the issue was that there should only have been four.

    "The hell are you rambling about? Soup, Ducky, Morti, and Fey!  That's only four.  My three Arch Wings are summoned with a bracer; they aren't Spirit Companions."

    "What about Shae?  I've seen you summon her."  Pon brought up his hud and adjusted their path slightly.  "We really could use her flames."

    Nix nodded in agreement.  "That's a mystery to me also.  We have a close bond, but she's never actually appeared on..."

    Pon stopped when Nix dropped the end of the tarp.  "Tired?"

    Nix shook his head and placed a bone hand over his ribs, and pictured her.  "Shae Balefire."

    A moment later, the skeleton form of a salamander appeared in front of them.  It stared at the yellow-eyed skeleton for a moment before knocking him over when it leaped at him.


    Nix hugged her salamander skeleton, chuckling when she wouldn't let him up.  "I should have thought of this right away."

    /Alpha: Pon: Nix just summoned Shae!

    /Alpha: Nezbit: Really?

    /Alpha: Rhylia: Perfect!

    /Alpha: Alfie:  Who is Shae?

    /Alpha: Sharl: Fire Salamander.  Perfect for this kind of fighting.

    Shae has joined Alpha.

    /Alpha: Shae: So this is where everyone is hiding?

    Pon kicked Nix's foot.  "Get up already!"

    Nix carefully extricated himself from the salamander and took hold of the tarp.  "I'll brief you on everything we know.  Then you can go back and tell everyone what to expect."

    "I want to stay, Nix."  Shae easily kept pace with them as they headed back to the choke-point.  The salamander moved easily over the soft ground, barely leaving any trace.

    /Alpha: Nix: I'll bring you back by morning. Let's see your stats, Shae.

    /Alpha: Shae: Sure.

    Shae Balefire

    Undead Fire Wraith [Royal Court]

    Class: Hades Salamander

    Rank 1

    Kills: 0

    /Alpha: Nezbit: So many classes I've never heard of.

    Nix read the stats while continuing to drag his cargo.  "Still a salamander."

    "Of course.  What else would I be?"


    Shae did a quick headcount of the Inferno members.  Hyai was the only one sleeping, even though it was 0400 hours.  The rest of the Inferno Heroes were seated around the large table in the coven common area.  "We're fighting on the undead side.  Predictably, Pon and Nix have cleaned things up nicely."

    Semmi had taken Shae's briefing the first time by herself and had asked every question she could think of.  Once she had a feel for what was going on, she woke everyone up and had the salamander repeat the story. "This graveyard will enable them to get reinforcements.  Nix thinks that we might be able to send a larger group at that time."

    Wind had been staring at his key half the evening; holding onto it was a tiresome thing.  "Killing commanders or higher-tiered bosses enables us to send bonus reinforcements?"

    Shae nodded.  "And a spirit companion becomes available once you level up.  According to Nix, heroes level up every one hundred kills.  It's much more difficult for the rest of us."

    "Sasi is okay?  Did she say anything?"  Rabi was standing in front of Shae; several times, he looked like he might start crying.

    Shae smiled.  "Nix says to change the order of deployment.  No matter what, Rabi goes through next."

    Rabi clapped his hands together.  "Rabi loves Nix!"

    Shae patted his head softly. "Keep in mind, that might be the same time as the rest of us.  Unless they find another boss."

    Semmi stood up and moved next to Shae.  "We know what to expect.  No armor and only a basic weapon.  However, at least we won't go in blind."

    [Whisper: Shae to Semmi] I almost forgot.  Nix said to bring Mortimus and Gil. (Turtle Titan and Morti's Father)

    [Whisper: Semmi to Shae]  Do they get pushed up the line?

    [Whisper: Shae to Semmi] No.  They come in after Inferno and only if there is room.


    "How many times you going to check your hud?"  Pon sat comfortably in the tent they had set up.  Morti and Alphie were sound asleep, while the two fire users were both busy crafting.  "Do you think we'll lose these crafting abilities when we go back?"

    Nix nodded.  "Yes.  These are made specifically for this place.  I'm not going to give up taxidermy or tailoring for golem making."

    Pon would have frowned if he had lips.  He'd never taken the time to learn a craft before.  "You changed everything around, right? What's the new order of people coming in?"

    Nix sent him the list he gave to Shae.

    Rabi: DPS

    Donri: DPS

    Wind: DPS

    Semmi: DPS

    Fajii: Buffs: DPS

    Jun Li: Off Tank/DPS

    Darsi: DPS

    Ronnie: DPS

    Del: DPS

    Raine: DPS

    Chiba: DPS

    Mortimus: Tank

    Gil: Off Tank/DPS

    Pon went back to his crafting, glad to see that Semmi was high on the list.  "Think we'll get all thirteen of them in?"

    "I hope so." Nix shrugged.  "We'll find out in two days.  Once we shore up our numbers, we can start building defensive barricades and fighting positions."  He started queueing up the new golem he received when his skill reached 75.  Unfortunately, they were going to be here for some time. Although they managed to take the Sandcrab Precinct, that was only a small part of the Xander Burrough.  They would have to take all of the Burroughs before attempting the Bone Fortress.
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