230 A Clear Message Conclusion
Nix didn't do anything during the first pass. Fey scorched the main house and then banked hard to make another pass. She could feel Nix getting ready to jump off so she came in low.
He jumped off Fey in mid-flight and hit the ground hard; a quick roll and he was back on his feet. "QELLIS VINTER!" Nix shouted at the house, two Fire Mages came barreling out of the door, both struck at him with Balefire.
"Balefire... Not bad. Where is your Master? I'm Nix, the Guild Leader of Inferno and I'd like a word with him." Nix didn't bother attacking either one.
Nix's eyes turned deep orange while he scanned the house for Lord Vinter.
Neither Mage attempted another attack, their flames were completely ineffective.
Nix touched the huge wooden door at the front of the mansion, it burned brightly for a moment and then burst inward. His thermal vision told him the first floor was empty except for three people that were huddled in the kitchen, he opened the door slightly to verify their identity. "Kitchen staff?"
The woman wore an apron that was covered in flour, she held a large knife in front of her. Both of her helpers were hiding behind her. "Stay back!"
"You should leave quickly, this place won't survive my arrival." Nix walked toward the staircase, behind him he left a trail of flames on the wooden floor. He ignored the help when they ran for the exit.
Two armored men blocked his path at the top of the stairway.
Nix didn't bother drawing his sword, his blurred form appeared in front of the men and he slammed a fist into each their chests. Both men flew into the far wall like broken kites before crumbling to the ground.
"QELLIS VINTER!" Nix scanned the upper floor, there were only four people left in the burning house. From their sizes, two of them were children.
Nix walked down the hall to the room where they hid, the flames from the wooden house were climbing higher. He kicked the door open only to get shot in the abdomen by a crossbow. The bolt didn't survive his armor. The shooter's eyes held an image of victory for a moment, it quickly faded when his target stepped inside the room unscathed.
"Lord Vinter, nothing but a petty criminal preying on the hard-working people of Jenzi." Nix recognized the man's stark terror. He was standing in a puddle of his own piss, the crossbow had been dropped to the floor.
"Who sent you? I'll double whatever they're paying you!" Lord Vinter's voice wavered when he spoke, behind him a young woman was shielding twin girls.
Nix knew from real life, even bad people had families. They didn't deserve the grief that came their way, but that didn't stop him from taking action. "I sent myself. That old woman that you grabbed from Jenzi, I consider her my Gram. You should have known better."
"Wait! Let my family go!" The man crouched on the floor, his face pleading with Nix.
[Open Breach: Jenzi]
Nix glanced at the young woman. "Step through the breach, you'll be safe."
The woman nodded and grabbed her children's hands, she rushed toward the breach without looking back. When she crossed in front of Qellis, the man moved with her and shoved them at Nix before leaping into the breach.
Nix stared in shock at the woman and two young girls who were now laying on the floor. He would have guessed the woman's age at around twenty-five and the kids nine or ten. "I did not see that coming."
The woman's eyes were on the breach, they showed little surprise. "Then you don't know Qellis very well."
Nix shook his head in disgust and helped the woman get up. "Go on through, it's safe."
He waited for a moment and then followed them.
"LET ME GO AT ONCE YOU STUPID ANIMAL!" Qellis lay flat on his back outside of Shana's Boutique. One huge paw pinned him to the street in front of the shop.
"You look like a bad man." Morti seemed unconcerned with the flaying limbs of Lord Qellis or the crossbow he held in one hand. The bear cub looked up when more people passed through the breach.
When the breach closed, the woman turned to face Nix, her voice lowered. "Is there any chance that you will be releasing him?"
The woman nodded and walked toward the man, she took one big step and then kicked him in the face. Her pale face was red with anger, she stomped back toward Nix and grabbed her daughter's hands.
Nix waited until they turned the corner before turning back to Qellis. "Kinda looks like she enjoyed that shithead. Let him up."
Qellis didn't bother trying to talk, he rolled to his feet and started running down the street. "PROVOST! PROVOST!"
[Balefire: Gemini Flame]
Nix's flames slammed into the fleeing man, his body erupting suddenly in a cloud of ashes.
Nix pinched his nose in disgust, "don't breathe those ashes in Morti, dumbass can be contagious." He bent down and picked up the crossbow that Qellis had dropped.
Morti nodded and covered his nose with a big paw. "I don't want to catch it."
An hour later Nix had taken the newest members of Inferno to the Gemini Temple. Maye lay on a small cot in the Sanctuary; Elune was attending her.
"Nix." Elune lowered her voice while Shana and Lela sat near the cot. The Gemini priestess grabbed his arm gently and led him away.
Nix's face was grim, he had seen the look before. It was the same look the doctors wore when they tended Lisa. "She's not going to make it?"
Elune shook her head slightly. "She's old Nix, too old to be treated so badly. I would guess that she won't last the night."
"Got any wine? I could use a glass if you do." Nix tried to keep the frown off his face, Shana was all smiles, holding her Gram's hand.
He left them there, walking out of the temple to the long grass of the plateau. Nix removed the Dragon Fir from his inventory, remembering that he planted a tree when his sister died.
He placed a hand on the ground and used a dozen strands of Ice Flames to scoop out the dark soil beneath the grass. The Ice Flames caused the grass within a dozen meters in all directions to disappear in a cloud of ash. "It's a stupid tradition... planting a tree when someone you care about dies." Nix used his hands to fill in the hole around the tree. The melting Ice Flames were already dampening the soil.
When he finally stepped away, he was immediately consumed with a desire to kick it down. "F*cking Dragon Fir tree. Who knows what a f*cking dragon tree is?"
Nix stared at the tree for a few minutes and then walked back into the Temple. Maye and her family were exactly how he had left them. He noticed that Elune held a glass of wine in her hand. "That for me?"
Elune nodded and handed it to him, smiling when he took a drink. "It might be a bit sweet for your taste."
Nix took a drink, letting the sweet taste linger in his mouth for a moment before swallowing. "Could I have a moment alone with Maye?"
Maye was propped up with several pillows. Her kind face looked tired, she smiled gently when they exited. "You'll take care of my girls Nix?"
"You know I will." Nix squeezed her hand, he could think of no comforting words so he was silent.
"My legs are really sore Nix, my arms also." She smiled weakly at him.
"Close your eyes for a bit, I have something that will make you more comfortable." Nix removed the vial of Dragon blood from his inventory. It was nearly the size of a test tube, Deidra had been very generous. He used one of his Tailoring needles to place one small drop into the wine glass he held. After swirling it around he placed it in Maye's hand.
The old woman opened her eyes at the touch of the cool glass. "I'm not much of a drinker Nix."
"Just this one time, it will ease the pain." Nix watched as Maye drank the rest of his wine, then he took the glass and stowed it away. "Try and get some rest."
Nix exited the Sanctuary a few minutes later, Lela was carrying the sleeping Shana in her arms, Elune was with them. "Can they stay in the sanctuary tonight?"
Elune nodded, she kept a small hut there for sleeping. "I'll have some cots brought in."
Nix waited until they left, then he walked to the far side of the Training Yard.
[Summons: Shadai, Tal, Cor]
Nix held his finger up to his lips. "Stealth mission. Line up please." He took the vial of dragon blood out of his inventory and removed the stopper. He dipped his Tailoring needled into the dark red fluid. "Time for some upgrades."
He gave three drops to Ducky, two drops for each of his Arch Winds, and 10 drops for Fey. "Find someplace quiet and get some rest."
An hour later Nix was standing in front of the tree he had planted, nearly half the vial was left. Inferno already had large storages of Dragon blood from Yandro. "We have to pace ourselves, at this point I worry about joining Solomon City."
Vooni probably would have cried had she seen Nix empty the remainder of the vial onto the Dragon Fir tree. He stared at the tree for a long moment until a soft muzzle pushed against the back of his neck. He turned to see his demon horse. "Don't even think about eating my tree."
The demon horse walked with him back to the river, Nix's hand rested on her mane while he talked to her. "What's wrong with Flash? I want you guys to start pushing out demon colts."
They stopped by the river so she could drink. Nix noticed that he was still carrying the vial in his free hand, there was a bare amount of dragon blood left in the bottom. "Can't be more than two drops." He stared at the blood and then back at the demon horse, a slow grin invading his features. "I have something nice but you have to promise you won't eat my other horses.