165 Back Again
Mina studied the Guild hud for a moment and then closed it. She leaned closer to Nix and lowered her voice. "Isn't this group a bit inexperienced to be Raiding 9.1?"
"Six veterans and four rookies. I'd say that was a good ratio." Nix smiled at his Raid Sheet and then closed the hud."
/Inferno: Nix: Welcome to 9.1 guys. You've all been working hard on leveling up, today is where you get to try out the skills you've been working on.
/Inferno: Ronnie: It will all be fine. Moki and Dalton will team with me. Darsi will be with Chael. Wylie will be with Pinky.
/Inferno: Nix: If you are unsure what to do in a certain situation, ask your teammate, they will give you proper advice. Just relax and follow our lead, 9.1 isn't going to slow us down.
The 10 person raid arrived at the Staging area shortly before 1300 hours. Nix summoned Ducky and Soup right away.
/Inferno: Nix: We are going to move into 9.1 now. The raid will stay on the platform for the next few minutes while I scout out the floor. Fajii already buffed us before we left, so while I'm scouting, take care of any last-minute preparations you need to do. Stay in place, follow directions and we'll win.
Inferno took the 9th-floor platform to the 1st stage area. Nine members stayed on the platform while Nix stealthed. The platform had two curved hallways leading away from it in opposite directions. He chose the northwest corridor and took off swimming. He hadn't gone more than fifty meters before he ran into three Aquarion Water Mages. Carefully he moved upward towards the ceiling and swam slowly past them.
The corridor continued to curve until he came to a large rectangular room, there were three Matriarchs and a half dozen melee fighters. Progressing past them he continued down another curved hall that ran in a complete circle until it came back to the rectangular room.
/Inferno: Nix: Stage 1 is a figure 8 design. In the middle are 3 Matriarchs and a half dozen melee fighters. Additionally, there are 4 groups of Water Mages, each group has three and they are in the curved halls before and after the center room. Two of those groups are located on the upper part and the other two groups are on the lower part.
/Inferno: Mina: That makes 3 Matriarchs, 6 melees, and 12 Water Mages. Scorched Earth Snipers should be able to finish the Water Mages fairly easily.
/Inferno: Nix: I didn't see any sort of exit, perhaps it is hidden until the room is clear.
/Inferno: Mina: Are we dividing up? Or staying together? I'm assuming the Matriarchs haven't summoned their beasts yet?
/Inferno: Nix: No, if possible I'd like to prevent them from doing so. Normally I'd say do the Water Mages first, but instead, let's stealth past them to take on the 3 Matriarchs and the melees.
/Inferno: Ronnie Dessert is first today. I like it.
/Inferno: Mina: Tactics?
/Inferno: Nix: I'll take one of the Matriarchs and try to get rid of her quickly. Ducky will charm the 2nd and that leaves the third for Mina.
/Inferno: Mina: Can Ducky charm a Matriarch?
/Inferno: Nix: Yes. Stealth and stay near the ceiling, single file, follow me.
Inferno moved slowly into position with Nix stopping within Range of the first Matriarch. He waited while Banzi and Ronnie marked their targets.
/Inferno: Banzi: I'm going to use an AE taunt, but leave my target for last.
/Inferno: Ronnie: I placed a bullseye on the first melee, just burn him down quickly.
/Inferno: Chael: Only one nest can be set up per five, so Ronnie and I will do the nests.
[Ronnie has set up a Sniper's nest]
[Chael has set up a Sniper's nest]
[Darsi as assumed a prone firing position]
[Moki has assumed a prone firing position]
[Dalton has assumed a prone firing position]
/Inferno: Ronnie: Fireteam, I am the MA (Maint Assist), stay on my target.
/Inferno: Nix: The Matriarch on the right is mine, Mina will take the middle and Ducky will CC (Crowd Control) the left. Do not use any AE skills, it will break the charm.
[Disclaimer: Some Crowd Control skills use a Charm or Mesmerize type skill, in Colonial charmed creatures may be injured by 'friendly fire.' Unless specifically noted for an event, this friendly fire will immediately break Charm. The Controlled Target may take damage from other sources; this will not break the control.]
/Inferno: Nix: Set?
/Inferno: Ronnie: Fireteam ready.
/Inferno: Wylie: Heals ready.
/Inferno: Banzi: Tank ready.
/Inferno: Mina: All Ready Nix.
Nix focused on Right Matriarch. She wore dark blue armor and had a trident in one hand.
Nix has critically wounded Matriarch Asiana
The arm with Asiana's Ricoli artifact floated to the floor in a cloud of blood. Nix slammed his fist into her armored chest, sending her to fly back into the wall behind her.
Matriarch Asiana has been stunned.
Ducky has charmed Matriarch Bel
Nix raised his left arm and six strands of Gemini flame wrapped around Mina's target. He held them in place and turned back towards his target.
[Gemini Fire: Lance]
Nix could feel the steady humming vibration of the Gemini flames as he threw it at his target. The lance struck the Matriarch in the abdomen and pinned her to the wall. Her screams of pain drowned out the steady shooting of the Fireteam.
Matriarch Asiana has been mortally wounded.
Nix's blade disappeared to his inventory, one wrist-thick Gemini strand sliced towards Asiana's neck.
Matriarch Asiana has been slain.
Nix held the strands on Mina's target until her Sea-Beasts tore the Matriarch apart. Ducky's target moved off to one side while the Fireteam easily brought down the six Melee.
/Inferno: Nix: Ducky will keep the Matriarch here with Soup, while we take care of the Water Mages.
[Whisper: Nix to Ronnie] How'd they do?
[Whisper: Ronnie to Nix] Not bad, they do a lot of damage because they have good gear. Their timing and teamwork needs to improve.
[Whisper: Nix to Ronnie] Keep on them.
Nix frowned as he led the raid toward the first set of Water Mages. He needed the fire team from the Gladis hub to step up. They had already noticed that their stats were enhanced. That advantage should have accelerated their growth.
/Inferno: Nix: I'll take this group of three.
/Inferno: Wylie: By yourself?
/Inferno: Nix: They're only Water Mages.
/Inferno: Ronnie: Pay attention Fireteam. We had six targets in the last fight yet three of you decided to use Snipe on the first target. Communicate with each other, know what your cooldowns are. Your dps on the last three targets were crap.
Description: Score a critical hit
on your target at twice
the normal damage.
Cooldown: 3 minutes.
Nix's Aura vibrated with the braided silver and emerald flames, the air around him seemed to distort with the steady pulsing of the Gemini flames.
Nix targeted the group of three Water Mages and pushed Gemini flames into his Archon blade.
[Tides of Flame]
Nix has slain Rafidi
The first wave on emerald flames arrived an instant later, Nix smiled at two remaining Water Mages. He sent six strands of Gemini flames around both of them and held them in place as the next wave of Silver flames washed over them. The last wave of Gemini flames told Nix what he wanted to know. Tides of Flame was at least a 4th tier spell.
Wyker has been slain.
Egenal has been slain.
/Inferno: Nix: Take the fireteam and finish off the other three groups of Water Mages. Then take them back to Guild Hall and wait for me. We need to discuss whether or not to keep them or find someone with more ability.
/Inferno: Ronnie: Okay Nix.
/Infernal: Nix: The rest of us will head back to the middle and deal with Ducky's target.
Nix led Banzi, Mina, Pinky, and Wylie back to the center where Ducky and Soup were waiting. By the time they arrived the Fireteam had already started on the next trio of Water Mages.
[Whisper: Mina to Nix] That seemed a bit harsh Nix. Normally you show more patience with the inexperienced members.
[Whisper: Nix to Mina] We are heading toward the 12th floor at a full sprint. They don't have time to take the scenic route.
[Whisper: Mina to Nix] This was their first raid Nix, we don't have Jun Li, Sharl, Milat, Zhava or most of our top healers.
Nix stopped in front of Matriarch Bel and removed the Ricolo Artifact from her arm. He turned away and swam leisurely toward the wall.
/Inferno: Nix: Finish her.
Mina had only summoned 10 of her Sea-beasts for this raid. Nix stared at them with a great amount of interest while he tried to figure out the different beasts mixed in. The long thin bodies were definitely eel-like, the rows of razor-sharp teeth looked like they might be from a barracuda type predator. They had front and back legs that were extremely short but tipped with wicked-looking claws. The surface of their sleek bodies resembled alligator skin. They were definitely a step up from the Vilas, at least in an all-water environment. The once tamed Vilas were now part of the Sea-World habitat. If Mina followed him to Oasis, he would definitely recommend re-taming the Vilas.
Nix watched as the Matriarch disappeared in a cloud of blood and sea-beasts.
Matriarch Bel has been slain.
/Inferno: Nix: Let's call them Eel-gators from now on.
/Inferno: Banzi: Should we help the Fireteam finish off the rest of the Water Mages?
/Inferno: Nix: No, they can handle it.
They waited in the middle for a few minutes, until a chest slid up from the floor where the Matriarchs had been.
/Inferno: Ronnie: Fireteam is done, we'll be waiting for you at the Guildhall.
/Inferno: Nix: Okay, Ronnie.
Nix opened the chest and paused for a moment before pulling out the only object inside.
12th Floor Jade Key [Bound to Inferno Guild]
Description: Opens the Jade door
on the 12th floor.
Colonial System Message: Congratulations to the Inferno Guild for being the first guild to advance to the 2nd stage of the 9th floor.
Nix led the group back to the platform where they took the gate back to the 9th-floor staging area. A large group of armored fighters was waiting.
/Inferno: Wylie: Should we gate out?
/Inferno: Nix: Let's see what they want.
The members of Inferno stopped a few meters from the group. It was then one of them stepped forward and removed their mask.
"Matriarch Ishna!" Mina's face showed both surprise and joy as she moved forward to greet her friend.
Matriarch Ishna looked young, perhaps even younger than Mina. Her eyes were dark blue and piercing. She smiled at the Inferno leader. "You must be Nix?"
Nix glanced at Mina, she was obviously surprised by her friend's arrival. "Yes, I'm Nix."
"Nix, this is my good friend Matriarch Ishna, the one I mentioned to you."
"Ishna... Why are you here?" Nix didn't bother to add her title, he could feel the eyes of several of her followers staring at him.
"We have parted ways with the council and their outdated beliefs." Ishna bowed her head slightly. "Please grant us asylum, so that we may live in peace."
"Of course, right after we destroy the Cai'Song Artifact." Nix returned her bow before taking out Deep Blue, "let's head back now."
Nix felt a hand on his arm, right before a cold chill traveled down his back. He looked down at the small black disk attached to his armor.
Black Hand: Artifact
Description: You feel a terrifying hand
grip your neck and hold you in place.
You may not gate or resurrect without the
permission of the person who used it.
"What is the meaning of this?" Mina's pale face showed her disbelief.
Ishna smiled apologetically at Mina. "He's as difficult as I've heard. We'll be taking him back with us. You can forget about changing forms, the Black Hand prevents that too."
"You won't be taking him anywhere." A voice spoke from behind Ishna's group. Jun Li, Sharl, Milat, Zhava, Tess, Gypsy, Sori Dah, six Scorched Earth Temple Acolytes and a dozen Mariner Knights dropped their stealth. Jun Li smiled at the shock on the Matriarch's face. "Prey Waits."