496 Bigger is better

    [Bone Fortress: Sandcrab Precinct, 0700 hours  Ice Faction: 12,733, Undead 10]

    The Salamander skeleton glowed with beautiful orange flames, given it's close proximity to Skeleton Nix's emerald green fire, dark brown flames smoldered between them.  Although they sat quietly together on the rocks, the relationship between them was obvious.

    Edi watched from just outside of her tent.  She welcomed another fire elemental to their cause. Pon and Rhy had politely stopped her from approaching while the two were talking privately. After quite some time had passed, Nix finally waved her over.

    "Welcome to the Bone Fortress; I'm Edi."

    Shae was in salamander form, although no one really commented on it.  "Well met, I'm Shae.  We didn't get a chance to talk earlier before Nix made me go back."

    Skeleton Nix didn't comment, but it was obvious that he found her protest amusing.  Sharl and Nezbit were settled into the choke-point while Alfie, Rhy, and Sasi were all scouting.

    "He and Pon have turned things around for us.  I thank you for your patience."  Edi bowed slightly; it wasn't an exaggeration to say that the two fire users were the main causes of their sudden revival.

    Shae's bone tail was wrapped around Nix's waist like a spare arm.  The brown flames that burned hot between them were comforting to the others in the camp.  "Do you have many friends and family that will be resurrected when the timer expires?"

    "My closest family members are in another graveyard.  However, my squad should be in this one."  Edi glanced in the direction of the graveyard.  It was a large rectangular area fenced in with wrought iron and large stone pillars.  The area was sealed off with an unpenetrable haze.

    Shae let her flames fade before taking a few steps away from Nix.  "You are talking about the ones that sacrificed themselves to make the sacred ground?"

    Edi nodded.  "Cleric Emi, Rossa, Jubo, Mo, and Cymric. The seven of us retreated to the cave and made our stand.  It was the beginning of the end for us."

    Shae nudged Nix with her head.  It was obvious he was lounging about when he could be doing other things.  "Don't you have some crafting to do?"

    "Yep," Skeleton Nix nodded.  "I'll be down at the river collecting clay."

    /Alpha: Nix: They're going to hit us today or tomorrow.  I don't see them letting this graveyard go so that we can wipe them out with higher numbers.

    /Alpha: Alfie: Two more prisoners to add.

    /Alpha: Nix: Good, keep rounding them up.  If they don't hit us by sunset, we'll light them up tonight.

    The depth of the river close to the shore was about halfway up Nix's shin bones.  He stood in the current of the slow-moving stream and grabbed great clumps of silt from the river bottom. These splattered on the flat rocks of the bank to dry slowly in the warm sun.  Oddly enough, grabbing mud with skeleton fingers made him miss his hands.  "This would have been **ing awesome with some skin."  Skelly Nix chuckled to himself when he remembered the massive scale of the recent mudpie battle at Haven.  The errant thought promptly derailed when his sharp eyes noticed the stacks of wood that Nezbit had cut with her woodcutter profession.

    Nix's skeleton feet clicked softly on the rock as he approached one of the many woodpiles.  These were cut about 10 feet in length and fairly universal, considering they were all done with an ax.  He latched onto two of them and dragged them out of the pile.  At nearly a foot thick, only he and Morti could have done so without assistance.   After searching for a few minutes, he found one of the larger timbers that Nezbit removed while clearing up the camp's viewpoint.  These were four feet in diameter; although shorter in length, these weren't movable by anyone except Morti.  Nix did manage to roll one into the small clearing where he was working.  After pushing flames into the hilt of his weapon, he started carving the wood.

    "The hell are you doing?"  Pon was nominated to go looking for Nix several hours later after no one had seen him for a while.  "The ** is thing supposed to be?"  Pon touched the large clay ball that sat on the rocky river bank.  Its diameter was a bit taller than him, and there was a small hole near the middle.  Skelly Pon lowered his head and peered inside.  "This thing is hollow?  You better not have picked up another crafting job, you slick bastard!"

    Nix shook his skull.  "Nope."

    /Alpha: Nix: Busy Shae?  Could use your help with something.

    The truth was the Nix felt severely limited without the wide variety of flames he normally possessed.  The emerald flame he came to Bone Fortress was not the upgraded fury one.  However, with Shae's presence, he could do one better.

    /Alpha: Shae: You by the river?  Be there in a bit.

    /Alpha: Nix: Hurry up, I'm feeling bonely.

    The more Pon looked at the clay ball, the more he was convinced it was for him.  "I can't put an explosive in this thing, Nix.  Who the hell could throw it?"

    Nix shook his head and pointed behind Pon, where several small clay pots had been filled.  As promised, Nix and Nezbit tapped several of the trees in the area with spigots that the Inferno Leader had made.  Since he didn't want to waste time making several large pots, he used his flames to create a basin underneath each one and let the sap flow freely.  "You should grab some sap for your crafting.  Their flashpoint is quite high; perhaps you could make a sticky bomb."

    Pon glanced from the pots then back to Nix.  "What the hell kind of things did you do before you started in Colonial?"

    "College student."  Nix smiled when he saw the skeleton salamander making her way through the woods. There was something nice about the way she slinked that would have put a smile on his face had he the lips for it.

    A few minutes later, Pon watched as Shae and Nix pushed brown flames into the clay ball; when they were done, he helped seal it with clay that had been put aside.

    [Craft Queue: Giant Golem][Composite: Wood Timbers][Bond: Wood Sap][Elemental Source: Clay Encased Brown Flames]

    Queue a Giant Golem?

    "Yes." Nix nodded, and immediately all of his materials vanished into his crafting queue.

    Pon shook his head at the size of the timbers Nix had dragged over.  "This thing gonna be around ten feet in height?"

    "Nope, those were just the lower legs."  Nix read the crafting timer, "Two hours to bake the new Blinky."

    Pon's skeletal hands clapped together.  "Blinky 2.0!  I like it!"

    "Me too.  Let's get some of this sap back to camp, so I don't show you up too badly."  Nix ignored the one-fingered wave and picked up two of the larger pots.


    [Bone Fortress: Sandcrab Precinct, 1400 hours  Ice Faction: 12,733, Undead 10]

    /Alpha: Rhy: Movement on three fronts.  They've split up ranged forces to the east and west edge.  The main force is coming right down the middle; several shield bearers and heavy armor wearers are in the group.

    /Alpha: Sharl: They won't break us.  Nez will hang back while Morti and I take the brunt of the pressure.

    /Alpha: Pon: Don't worry about the east side; they have a nice surprise waiting for them.  Shae and I will help ease the pressure in the middle.  About ready, Nix?

    /Alpha: Nix: Two minutes until Blinky is ready!  We'll come down the west side and try to hit the ranged fighters.

    /Alpha: Edi: Is Alfie with you?

    /Alpha: Nix: Yep!

    Alfie stood on a large boulder, his empty sockets staring at the Inferno Leader.  "Shouldn't we get going?"

    Nix shook his skull slightly.  "How's that even possible without our ride!  Here he comes!"

    [Critical Crafting: Forest Giant]

    Forest Giant

    Description: A finely crafted creation that stands forty-two feet tall and is made from the finest hardwoods. This golem has several different types of melee attacks, including kick and stomp.  Its powerful heart is filled with the rage of upper-tiered brown flames. The Forest Giant will obey simple commands.

    Alfie's mouth dropped open when he saw the golem rise up next to them.  "Heavens..."

    "Binky! Give us a hand, please!"  Nix dragged the archer onto the large hand that swung down. "On the shoulder!"

    Alfie jumped off on the shoulder while Nix scampered up to the head.  At forty feet in height, Nix's view of the surrounding area made him wish he had more archers.  "We'll switch places once the fighting starts."

    Alfie nodded while notching an arrow into this bow.

    Sharl lowered her shield and moved to the left side of Morti.  He would take the brunt of the first charge while she assisted.  She shook her head slightly when the cub's long claws dug into the rocks beneath their feet like it was clay.  "Let's show-em!"

    Morti's huge skull nodded up and down. "My favorite time is swatting time!"

    Pon deactivated all the mines he planted on the choke-points east side; this was done on Nix's advice.  The Inferno leader told him to wait until they were in the kill zone before he switched things on.  This would ensure them a proper funeral.  The skeleton mage clicked his jaws together and waited.  "Gonna blow passed your kills like you were in revers..."  A booming sound followed by vibration caused his boney neck to swivel.  "The ** is that thing?"

    /Alpha: Nix: We late?

    The golem's giant strides appeared to be slow, but they ate up the ground between them and their quarry.  Nix pushed emerald flames into his blade, hilt, and swapped places with Alfie.  "Blinky!  Stomp and kick all the bad guys in this section!"

    /Alpha: Nix: Where's my lift?

    /Alpha: Rhy: Incoming, 10 seconds.
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