208 Demon Army
Bael Strom ignored Nix's smile and continued. "This sort of thing is a big part of dhassi culture, not just the Fir'Dhassi."
/Alpha Team: Semmi: Is Nix still buzzing?
/Alpha Team: Wind: Unless he's suddenly best friends with Bael.
Bael Strom found Alpha Team in the Parliament Market place buying supplies for Loki. Immediately he had invited them to the Autumn Festival. The festival was an annual event that moved to different locations every year. This year it would be held in Inuit, and the Inferno Clan had received a special exception to attend.
/Alpha Team: Semmi: Boss, why don't you put off answering until you feel like yourself again.
[ALERT: ARCHON FLASH IN THE VICINITY OF TYSTA LAKE]
/Alpha Team: Nix: Jun Li and Chael, report to Parliament ASAP, we'll meet in the North Courtyard.
[Chael and Jun Li have joined Alpha Team Chat]
/Alpha Team: Nix: Arm up, we are investigating an Archon Flash at Tysta Lake.
/Alpha Team: Semmi: Tysta? That's the Izzin Territory.
[Whisper: Nix to Vyona] You okay Shipwright Vy?
[Whisper: Vyona to Nix] Nix! Yes, we are fine, there's a bit of a disturbance near Spiro. We've sent people to investigate.
[Whisper: Nix to Vyona] I am investigating the matter also.
[Whisper: Vyona to Nix] Captain Aveck is in charge of the squad, he's no longer answering messages.
[Whisper: Nix to Vyona] I'll handle it from here and will notify you as soon as I discover anything.
Alpha Team only had to wait a few minutes before Jun Li and Chael arrived.
/Alpha Team: Nix: Thanks for coming. In we go.
[Create Breach: Tysta Lake]
A moment later the group of seven appeared on the partially frozen shores of a huge lake. The sound of cracking ice and running water could be heard everywhere.
/Alpha Team: Semmi: Wow... This place was under a dozen feet of ice not long ago.
Small bits of green could be seen sprouting out from the shoreline. The lake was relatively calm, with the exception of large chunks of ice crashing against each other. The temperature was much warmer than it had been during Alpha Team's last visit.
/Inferno: Nix: All Available Fighters standby at the Gemini Training Yard, non-mandatory deployment possible in a few minutes.
A holo of Lake Tysta popped up in Nix's view. There were five cities located on the shores of the lake. An area near Spiro was marked with a red X.
/Alpha Team: Nix: That's close, mount up.
Nix summoned Flash and climbed into the saddle. He waited a moment while the rest of his group did the same. Flying was too risky. He pushed the black horse into an easy canter and started towards Spiro.
/Alpha Team: Nix: Ten minutes and we'll be there.
/Alpha Team: Semmi: You have wings now Nix?
/Alpha Team: Nix: Yep.
/Alpha Team: Jun Li: Really? Let's see!
/Alpha Team: Nix: Later.
/Alpha Team: Pon: Can we get wings?
/Alpha Team: Nix: You'll have to enter the Solomon City Academy as a trainee. Or be an elemental.
/Alpha Team: Wind: How do we do that?
/Alpha Team: Nix: I believe Fajii and Pon may already qualify based on their elemental classes of Earth and Fire. Don't worry about the training, Breach Commander Mtui will get all of you in.
/Alpha Team: Semmi: Nix is the best.
/Alpha Team: Wind: Can we have Vooni train us?
/Alpha Team: Nix: She has to move her current group through the 3rd Phase, then she will.
"Here!" Nix pulled up and dismounted, immediately he sensed the coppery scent of blood. "Damn... be careful!"
When his companions arrive, Nix sent Fey into the sky to scout the surrounding area and Ducky to find the nearest Izzin. His scimitar appeared in his hand, the blade glowing light blue from the Ice Flames he pushed into it.
Ducky reappeared a few moments later. "Tunnel Nix, and some blood."
Nix muttered a cussword, "show us."
They followed Ducky for a few minutes until she led them to a large hole in the ground.
/Alpha Team: Pon: That's not a tunnel, it's a f*cking crater.
/Alpha Team: Jun Li: Was that always there?
/Alpha Team: Semmi: No way to know, this was under a dozen feet of ice last time we were here.
The hole was a perfect circle, approximately 30 feet across. It went straight down into the earth, the end wasn't visible.
Nix shot white flames down the hole, the fireball went about thirty meters before impacting with the ground.
/Alpha Team: Semmi: How come it's always underground?
Nix spotted a gooey tar-like liquid was splattered around the surface, immediately he stepped away from the edge.
/Alpha Team: Pon: Shit... I recognize that.
/Alpha Team: Wind: Yep, it's demon blood.
[Direct Communication: Renz]
A holo image of Renz appeared in front of Nix, the dragonspawn was sitting at his desk. "What can I do for you Nix?"
"Archon Flash in Oasis, demon blood splattered everywhere. A perfect circular tunnel leads into the ground. Know anything about it before we investigate?" Nix figured since Renz was the current Nether Breach Commander, he might know something.
"Perfect circle? Sounds like a wailer, it's a large black Netherworm that makes connections between plains." Renz could be seen operating a hud, "I'll send you my best tracker if you will accept the help."
Nix nodded. "Yep."
A breach opened up and a small demon stepped through. At one time he must have had large horns, but they had been sheared off. He had scaled black skin and blood-red eyes, both his hands and bare feet were equipped with long talons. The small demon bowed to Nix. "Breach Commander Nix? I am Tezlo, a minion of Breach Commander Renz."
/Alpha Team: Semmi: Should we bring more back-up?
/Alpha Team: Nix: Let's see what we are dealing with first.
Nix pointed down the large hole. "Lead the way Tezlo"
The four-foot-tall demon had a half dozen gold loops in each ear that jingled when he nodded his head. "Follow me."
Nix has activated his bloodline.
[Third Form: Archon]
He flapped his emerald wings once and picked up Tezlo, easily gliding to the bottom of the hole where it changed from straight down to about forty-five degrees. The rest of the team took their mantas.
/Alpha Team: Pon: I'm so jealous right now, I can't stand it.
/Alpha Team: Wind: That's why they call him Pon the Magnificent.
The splotches of black blood stood out like fluorescent paint under Nix's thermal vision. Tezlo started out at a trot and kept the pace up for several minutes before finally coming to a stop.
"Lots of demons in the area Commander." Tezlo knelt low on the ground and pointed.
The steep passage down stopped after they covered close to three miles. It opened up into a large cavern that looked to be several hundred meters across. They were on the outskirts of a small city that had been carved into the rock. The dark black granite gave the buildings a sinister look, the temperature would have been uncomfortably hot if Nix wasn't a Salamander.
The barest whisper of a familiar noise caused Nix to dodge to one side. The arrow meant for him took Chael through the forehead.
Chael has been slain.
/Alpha Team: Nix: Get to cover.
Nix took two quick strides and dived into the small space between two buildings, bullets and arrows impacted the street where he'd been.
/Alpha Team: Pon: Semmi! Get back here!
The blond officer dodged back and forth while crossing the street under heavy fire. She grabbed Chael by the ankle and dragged him toward Nix.
[Archon's Armor: Advanced}
Nix jumped out and grabbed the sniper's arm, helping Semmi drag him into the alley. She had two arrows protruding from her back when she collapsed to her knees.
/Alpha Team: Fajii: Stay undercover. I'm on my way.
Fajii has disappeared into the ground.
A moment later the ground beneath them erupted upward and Fajii stepped out. She rezzed Chael while Nix removed the arrows from Semmi.
"You are nearly worthy." The black fox swished his tail and healed Semmi's wounds.
The pretty officer smiled in response. "I'm working on it!"
Nix frowned when he noticed that his Demon guide looked like a pincushion, before he could make plans to pull him out, his corpse disappeared from the road.
/Inferno: Nix: Time to fight.
[Breach Commander Deployment Menu]
1) Alpha Team
2) Colonial Knights of Glory
3) Souza Accord
4) Fire Palace Acolytes
5) Earth Temple Acolytes
6) Air Palace Acolytes
7) Gemini Palace Acolytes
8) Central Kingdom: 1st Regiment Archers
9) Ain'Dhassi: Inferno Ranger Company
10) Broyan Alliance: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Regiments
11) Captain Vooni's Fire Team
12) 12 Pillar Alliance
13) Miscellaneous Friends
Nix highlighted the 12 Pillars, all of Inferno, the Ain'Dhassi rangers and the Earth Temple Acolytes.
/Breach Commander Nix: An infraction from the Netherworld has taken place in the Izzin city of Spiro. Prepare for an extended underground battle.
A life-size holo of Renz popped up while Nix was studying the placement map.
"Commander Nix! A full breach in the Netherworld has registered, I am attacking it from this side."
"Sorry about Tezlo. It looks like they've built a staging area. See you in the middle."
"No worries, Tezlo respawned here. See you in the middle."