231 Nether Summons
Nix lay in bed in the early hours before dawn, soft red hair covered most of his chest while the sleeping salamander used him as a pillow. Unable to sleep he extricated himself from her embrace and dressed in the dark.
A few minutes later he grabbed some hot tea and headed to the guild office. His pillow and blanket were on the couch, however, Semmi was nowhere in sight. "Time to read the dockets."
Nix had just opened up the desk hud when a knock sounded at the door, he frowned at the dhassi that waved from the other side. "Great..."
Raine smiled pleasantly when he opened the door for her. "Good morning Nix."
"I'm very busy this morning Raine." Nix noticed that for once Raine wasn't wearing worn leather armor. She upgraded to black leather and her hair was up in a topknot.
"My Master and I will be reporting to Loki on the morrow, I want to ensure that everything is set for the Wrath course."
Nix nodded and pretended that it hadn't completely slipped his mind. "Will you be assisting him?
"Of course, since we are paying back a debt I want to make sure that we do a proper job." Raine took the seat on the couch.
"I am going to Loki this afternoon after I peruse the morning dockets." Nix took a sip of his tea and leaned back in his chair. "I could give you a tour."
"I've been hearing a lot of different rumors." Rain's brown eyes watched him. "Would you mind answering a few questions?"
"Didn't I say I was busy?" Nix sat the tea down and looked toward the door, it was an obvious hint that anyone would understand.
Raine nodded, "you did. Are you a Breach Commander Nix?"
Nix gave her a deadpan look. "What's a Breach Commander?"
"Bael Strom seems to think so, especially given that you defeated Zar and were able to bring such a large force into Inuit."
"Are you upset? Is Zar someone important to Clan Xai?"
Raine shook her head. "He thought he was important to everyone but now he has been exiled."
"I barely remember, but I think Master Swordsman Chiba was the one that handled him." Nix smiled pleasantly, he would like nothing more than to get Chiba involved.
"He must be very good if he was able to best Zar."
"I believe so." Nix wanted to read the dockets but the dhassi showed no signs of leaving. "My turn. Where did you get that scar on your back?"
Raine gave him a confused look. "Scar? I don't have one."
"Hmm? Right cheek, four inches below your waist." Nix bit his lip to keep from smiling.
Raine's confused look slowly faded, her face very quickly turning red. "What kind of question is that?"
Nix shrugged, "I thought we were getting to know each other better."
"I... I was bitten by a turtle while swimming when I was very young."
Nix laughed loudly, not trying to conceal his mirth. "You were bitten on the butt by a turtle?"
His laughter continued for a few seconds until he was able to rein it in. "Sorry... any lasting side effects? An irrational fear of turtles?"
Rain's pale face nodded. "To this day I can't bear them."
"No kidding?" Nix tried to get a read on her but she was a closed book. "You have Chelonaphobia?"
Raine frowned at him. "What's that?"
"Fear of turtles." Nix felt the mood from the last few days fading away. "I have a spirit companion that's a Sea Turtle."
A smile crept up on Raine's pretty face. "No, you don't."
"I'll show her to you when we get to Loki. You better not try anything, she's very sweet." Nix stood and stretched, "time for you to go."
Nix waited until the Fir'Dhassi left before laying down on the couch, the knots that had been keeping him tied up seemed to have faded away.
Mina entered the Guild Office a few hours later, Nix was sleeping soundly on the couch even though the sun was shining directly on his face. She sat next to him and placed a hand on his head. "I want to talk to you Nix."
Nix covered his face with the blanket he was using. "What's with Aquarions and their need to wake me up? Fajii loves doing that also."
Mina smiled and pulled the blanket down. "Perhaps you sleep more than you should."
"Maybe." Nix sighed heavily and sat up. "What is it?"
"My Vilas have evolved considerably."
He swung his feet off the edge of the couch and pulled his boots on. The Vilas feasted on dragon meat, it was bound to happen. "Let's head back to Haven, you can show me."
They ported into the Sanctuary, true to her word Elune had cots brought out for Lela and Shana. They were sleeping soundly a few feet away from a very wide awake Maye.
The woman's normally white hair had a few visible streaks of brown, and the skin on her face glowed with health. She noticed Nix right away. "What did you do," she whispered softly?
Nix shrugged, "I did what I could Gram. Get some rest and we'll figure things out later."
Maye smiled gently while watching them leave, "I'm not tired at all."
Nix didn't see any of his horses when the pair exited the Temple a few moments later. The sun had been up for a few hours and was heating the day up nicely. He stopped abruptly when he saw the tree.
Mina shot him a questioning look. "Here?" She was about to summon her Vilas when she spotted what he was looking at. "Oh... that's pretty. When did you plant that?"
Nix approached the Dragon Fir tree slowly. He guessed its overnight growth at close to thirty feet in height and about a foot in thickness. "Last night." He decided not to tell anyone he 'wasted' half a vial of dragon blood on a tree. "Deidra gave it to me, it must have some sort of special growth enhancement."
The bark of the tree was rough and brown; the leaves were dark green. He recognized the tree type now that it was bigger, it was from the forest of Dragonvale, where he built his treehouse. "Let's see the Vilas Min."
Mina summoned one of her Vilas, it looked at her and then back at Nix. "You see that? It's recognition, they didn't have anything like that before."
Nix nodded speechlessly, he didn't care about that at all. The Vilas had been roughly the height of a Timber Wolf, a bit under three feet at the back. The Vilas body had lengthened and grown taller. The alligator-like skin had turned into intricate scales and the neck was more pronounced, making the head upright. Their weight was probably close to triple what it had been, the razor-sharp claws were longer and wickedly curved. Their front legs were armed with a talon at the elbow joint. "That's impressive... we should take them to the Embassy and do a few levels."
Mina nodded, "I'd like that. They almost look like mounts now."
"Right... the kind of mounts that eat you when you forget to feed them." Nix nodded happily, "once you figure out their strengths and weakness, I'll assign you a pillar trial."
/Inferno: Nix: Where are we with the start of the first Vo-Tech course?
/Inferno: Jun Li: Right on target, the school itself is built and it has an extensive area for fieldwork.
/Inferno: Nix: Dorms?
/Inferno: Jun Li: Yes. The incoming instructor will be in charge of everything. They'll take their meals at the Emerald Salamander Inn.
/Inferno: Nix: Does this include a place for the Instructors and his assistance to stay?
/Inferno: Jun Li: Um... no. Shit Nix, we dropped the ball.
/Inferno: Nix: Not to worry, I'm heading to Loki today and will set something up for the instructors to use.
The Phai City Market at mid-day was probably the busiest in all of Oasis. Dhassi vendors set up their Day-Shops and plied their wares to the customers, actively hawking their supplies to anyone who would listen.
The city itself had the distinct flavor of a desert settlement. The sand-colored buildings, stifling heat and long loose-fitting robes seemed like it should have slowed things down, but it didn't. Nix watched the market from a nearby bench while he waited for Raine. Phai City was like a beehive that someone had poked.
When he spotted the dark blond walking toward him, he pulled up his hud and gave her gate permission to access Loki. He stood up and offered his hand when she greeted him. "Have you been to Loki before?"
Raine nodded. "Many times, I did part of my training in the forest there."
"Really?' Nix had no real idea what the Wrath Class was, other than it was nature-based like a Ranger and relied on a single long blade for battle.
She followed him to the Gating platform, watching his camouflage armor. It seemed like he was on the verge of completely blending in. She had heard about the effects of his Camo-Overlay, Dhassi tailors all over Oasis were already trying to master it. "Yes, it's one of my favorite places to visit."
Nix didn't comment when he stepped on the platform, Inferno had outmaneuvered the rest of Oasis and claimed Loki for their own. One step brought them from the stifling heat of the Phai City to the pleasant coastal breeze of Loki. The gate looked down on the town.
Raine stood on the platform for a moment, taking in the view. "You've really changed the city around! It always seemed cluttered to me."
Nix led the way towards the wooded area where the Vo-Tech had been built. "You'll be here for the next four months, so if you need anything all you have to do is ask."
"Is that a ship? Loki has a Shipyard?" Raine stopped suddenly on the path that twisted and turned precariously until it ended on the beach.
"Yes, the ship is the Moon Goddess, our own people are building it." He didn't mention that he was planning on sailing it to Izzin sometime in the next few days.
Raine had to run a few steps to catch up with him, Nix never stopped when he talked. From the beach, the only viable direction you could go to was north to the forest. "We have company."
"Come out," Nix spoke to the Ain'Dhassi Rangers that closed on them the moment they approached the forest.
Ranger Bali walked forward and saluted. "We've made preparations for your wedding sir. Is this the new bride?" She stared at the shocked Fir'Dhassi for a moment, clearly unimpressed. "You can do better sir."
Nix laughed at the look on Raine's face. "Where's the Captain?"
"He resigned sir, I've been promoted in his pla..." She trailed off when she spotted Locas heading toward them.
"What does that mean? He can do better?" Raine was finally catching up with the fast-paced Bali, her stance widened slightly. "Perhaps you'd be interested in a spar?"
Nix was tempted to let her teach Bali a lesson but instead, he raised a hand. "No one fights or spars on Loki without first clearing it with me."
Locas escorted them inland a few miles down a well-worn trail. The Vo-Tech was built in a large clearing up against a rock bluff. There was a large open amphitheater with bench seating. A training yard, a shooting range, and a large stable completed the outdoor venues. There were also a half dozen log buildings that looked to be classrooms and dormitories.
Nix nodded in satisfaction. It was a bit more rustic than he had envisioned, but it suited his tastes. "Thanks for the escort Captain, I'll take things from here."
Raine waited until the Rangers left. "Ain'Dhassi Rangers have joined Inferno?"
Nix nodded and spotted what he was looking for. A small trail led upwards to the top of the bluff. "How's the view?"
"It's nice. This isn't what I had imagined."
Nix walked to the tree he had spotted from the clearing below. It was large enough for a tree-house and overlooked the Vo-Tech's training area. "I'm glad you like it."
"Where did you get that from?" Raine's surprised voice spoke from behind him; she obviously knew what the acorn was.
"It was a reward for an important quest." Nix pushed the acorn into the trunk of the tree and stepped back.
"Those are very rare Nix." Raine watched as the tree-house formed, she had never been inside one.
"Are they?" Nix opened the door and motioned her inside, not mentioning that he had a lot more. The thought reminded him that he needed to give Locas a supply so that the could set up a permanent settlement.
A few hours later, Nix once again found himself on the beach. He had escorted Raine through every building and let her explore the tree-house lodging. She was watching him with a pensive expression.
"You don't really have a Sea Turtle... Right?"
Nix nodded, "I have a beautiful Sea Turtle named Soup."
Raine seemed skeptical. "Fine, let's see it."
Soup appeared on the beach, immediately it spotted Nix and flapped its front fin on the sand. It was her way of greeting him. She was a pretty green color with shades of blue thrown in. At fifteen feet across, she was the largest Sea-Turtle Nix had ever seen.
Raine seemed frozen in shock, she watched wordlessly as Nix knelt on the beach and greeted the turtle by rubbing its smooth head.
[ALERT: Breach Commander Mtui has asked for your assistance in a Netherworld battle. Will you accept?]
"Crap..." Nix unsummoned Soup and grabbed the surprised Raine by the hand.
/Inferno: Nix: I'm being asked to accept a Breach summons, I'll be back later.
Nix quickly equipped his armor and weapons before using Deep Blue to gate directly to Phai City. "Sorry Raine, but I've been asked to assist in a Breach."
Nix activated the accept Icon on his hud and instantly a Breach formed in front of him. He waved at the open-mouthed Fir'Dhassi and stepped through.