375 Into the Snakes Den
h0740 hours HQ Dock, Ionova
"Don't baby him so much." Ronnie was up early to beg her older sister for the snake ring she possessed, Sharl refused to waiver.
"Are we talking about Nix or Floyd?" The usually severe Sharl couldn't help but tease her younger sibling.
"Very funny." Ronnie used all of her weight to unwedge the dark watercraft from its mooring. "You should have asked Nix to drag this down; his strength is double ours."
Sharl nodded in agreement. "And then some. Have you ever wrestled him? It's like sparring with a Titan."
Ronnie made a face at her sister. "You wrestle, Nix?"
Inferno's Main Tank nodded innocently. "It's part of sparring Ronnie."
"Sneak... You're a fricken sneak." Ronnie leaned on the side of the craft, her dark face showing concern. "Don't get poisoned, Sharl. That persistent stuff causes players to reroll."
Unexpectedly the older sister laughed. "I'll reroll as a blue-eyed blond, maybe do the lifestyle thing."
Ronnie shared a smile with her sibling; when they initially started playing, they decided to make characters that looked nothing like their real selves. "Nix's companions are top-end because he uses them all the time, you hardly ever take Floyd when you quest."
Sharl sighed heavily and nodded in agreement. "I'll do better."
Ronnie's sly grin made Sharl turn toward the trail. Nix was slowly making his way down to the craft. "Captain Ronnie is here to chauffeur you to your destination."
Nix returned her grin. "That's a great idea. You can bring the craft back since our return trip will definitely be on flying mounts."
/Inferno: Nix: The bus is leaving in five minutes.
/Inferno: Sora: What's a bus?
/Inferno: Nix: The dark watercraft is leaving in five minutes.
Nix climbed over the side of the craft and took a seat in the back. "Stayed up late, so I'm going to sleep on the way."
Sharl pointed at the sleek brown gloves Nix was wearing. "You made those?"
"Kinda. I modified gloves I already had with a Basilisk puppet." Nix linked them so they both could see.
Ashobel Clawz [Faction Based]
Must be an ally of the Ashobel.
Description: A soft brown leather
glove that is both comfortable and
Activation: Upon activation the user's
primary path temporarily becomes melee
and the gloves become the hands of an Ashobel
[Enhancement: Miniature Animation .25] Desert Basilisk
Sharl whistled softly. "Shouldn't those have disappeared?"
Nix shrugged. Technically the gloves were awarded after the Khione fight. He had already stowed them away in his trunk by the time the patch rewrote everything. "I'll ask Gid if he still has his."
Ten minutes later, the craft launched into the deep waters of the Beliq river. The dim light of the boat, coupled with the warmth of the cabin, made Nix drowsy.
"I was thinking about something, Nix." Sharl was seated next to him at the back of the craft, Floyd and Sori were both sitting in the front with Ronnie, Milat was directly behind them.
Nix gave her a sleepy frown; he specifically remembered telling her he wanted to sleep the next few hours. "What?"
Sharl's quiet laugh told him she knew he was irritated. "Last thing, I promise. Aren't you a bit well-known to be doing this kind of mission?"
"Just my name. For this mission, you can call me Styx."
"Not just your name, but your fighting methods also. Those flame strands of yours are infamous." Sharl's full lips curved slightly. "Unless you plan on not using them."
"No spell-swords and no fire. I'm going to use the Ashobel gloves to go straight melee. I'll compliment those with my Air abilities." Nix strummed his fingers on the back of his seat. "Anything else?"
Sharl shook her head. "Get some rest."
1030 hours, outskirts of the Serpent Clan Lands, Southern Titania
Nix led the progression on a small brown mountain pony that seemed to have an instinct allowing it to find the best footing. He left both Flash and Nightmare at the ranch since both horses were associated with him.
/Viper: Sharl: I like these smaller ponies Nix, does mine have a name?
Nix turned slightly since he didn't remember which horse she was riding.
/Viper: Nix: Toffee.
The terrain surrounding the exit of the Beliq river was rock-filled lowlands, but within a few minutes, the first dunes started to appear. By the time they approached their target, the settlement of Seryndefi, there was nothing but sand.
Nix glanced back at the only Aquarion in their party, Milat seemed to be doing fine, despite the waves of heat flowing off the sand.
/Viper: Milat: I'm fine, Nix. I've spent the last few months questing in the Great Desert; this is much cooler than that.
The Aquarian trickster had his head covered with a white shemagh; it served the dual purpose of blocking the sun while covering up his alien heritage.
/Viper: Sori: I can see walls in the distance.
Nix squinted his eyes in the direction the lamia was looking. He could see nothing but the whites sands and waves of heat that distorted the air.
/Viper: Nix: How far?
/Viper: Sori: Three miles.
Nix slid off his horse and unsummoned her. "We'll walk from here."
/Viper: Floyd: Change now?
/Viper: Nix: Yes.
Nix waited while the rest of the group dismounted, Floyd assumed his natural Naga form while Sori quickly morphed into a lamia. He wanted to associate a snake origin to the group since it wasn't general knowledge that the Scorched Earth Acolytes had lamia forms. Floyd switched out his usual attire with a sand-colored wrap that left his muscular torso bare.
/Viper: Sharl: You okay, Floyd?
/Viper: Floyd: Of course. I'll stow my pistols and go with dual daggers.
Sori nodded, her preferred shortswords peaked out from their shoulder harness, she held her bow loosely in one hand.
The city walls of Seryndefi was made from white adobe. It was about fifteen feet high and thick enough for two guards to walk side-by-side. The black wooden doors of the city were open, and a black wrought- iron portcullis was drawn up.
/Viper: Sharl: Seems like a pretty secure city, nothing like I was expecting.
/Viper: Nix: Scarlett said that they didn't have much contact with the Serpent Clan. Expect lots of things to have changed.
/Viper: Sharl: Is everyone here going to be a Serpent Titan?
/Viper: Nix: Thankfully, it's easier to tell them from normal humans. They have vertical irises like Floyd and Sori.
A single guard stood outside of the gate; he was slightly taller than average and moved toward them when they stopped a few meters away.
"Welcome to Seryndefi; these are the lands of the Serpent Clan." The guard was shirtless like Floyd; his dark brown eyes showed the snake-like trait of verticle irises. "May I ask what kind of folk the two of you are? I've never seen such beauty and grace."
Sori walked past him without answering. "You are too forward."
The guard didn't take offense, his dark face splitting in a wide smile. "Your voice is like the sweetest ambrosia. What is your name?"
Floyd paused for a moment, "her name is Sori. She's unattached if you're interested."
The guard's booming voice followed them as they entered the city. "Yes... Yes, of course. Seryndefi welcomes Sori, the great desert beauty."
/Viper: Sori: Why did you tell him that?
/Viper: Floyd: It's true. You aren't attached.
/Viper: Sori: I have you, and the temple champion.
/Viper: Floyd: Not interested.
/Viper: Nix: Me either.
The city of Seryndefi reminded Nix of Phai City in Oasis. The streets were made from the same white-sand brick that protected the city. The buildings seemed solid, and in good shape, there was no wood in sight.
/Viper: Sharl: There's another one of those mounds.
Nix turned toward the direction Sharl was looking. Every few blocks, large mounds of brown mud had been placed. They resembled up-side-down bowls with large holes in the center. A small group of women approached one, they morphed into snake-form and slithered inside.
/Viper: Sharl: A second city beneath this one?
Without asking, Floyd morphed into his snake form and entered the hole.
/Viper: Sharl: Dammit Floyd, why do you jump first?
/Viper: Floyd: Prey waits... Come down, it's fine.
Nix waited while the rest of the group changed into their snake forms. Sori was close to twenty feet in length; her snake body was decorated with an intricate pattern of spots. Milat was sand-colored, his scales were visibly heavier and seemed much more like armor that the other snakes. Sharl was the smallest, dark green and a bit over ten feet. After they entered, Nix changed.
He couldn't see himself, but his vision seemed to become heat oriented. He slithered naturally into the hole, noticing quickly that it was a tight squeeze for him. By the time he rejoined the group, a portly man in white robes was addressing them.
"Newcomers to Seryndefi? This central area is the only place you can use your natural forms within Under-Seryndefi. If you leave the central bazaar, you must be in human form."
Nix stared at the underground city, the passage in had only seemed like a few dozen feet, but the ceiling above was nearly a hundred feet overhead.
/Viper: Sharl: The distance is wrong, almost a portal effect.
/Viper: Milat: Where's the exit?
/Viper: Sori: East of us.
Human and snake form intermingled in the crowded bazaar, Floyd and Sori reverted to their natural forms.
/Viper: Milat: Change back Nix?
/Viper: Nix: Yeah. Go ahead.
/Viper: Sharl: NIX! Wait!
Nix turned toward Sharl; the two of them were the only ones who hadn't changed. "What?"
/Viper: Sharl: Move to the vendor behind you. He has two customers.
The desert basilisk slithered effortlessly through the sand toward the target; his thermal vision made it difficult to see the customers clearly. They were both females and arguing over a purchase.
"I've had just about enough of this Tula. You owe me 2 thousand credits. Pay up."
"Why so unreasonable? I'll pay you eventually. I'm going to buy this rug; it would look perfect in front of my fireplace."
The other woman's voice was filled with humor; it wasn't until he moved closer that he realized they were twins.
/Viper: Nix: F*ck...
/Viper: Milat: What's wrong?
/Viper: Sharl: Both of those women were executed in Jenzi.
The woman purchased the rug, despite her sister's protests and then gave the vendor directions on delivery. "We should get back; Shank has plans for us."
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] Are you acquainted with Shank?
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] I was up until he was executed. Sorry Nix, I had nothing to do with having him run mid-level Salamander.
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] Have you used that ring yet? The one that modifies appearance?
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] Yes. Why?
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] Want to undertake a special mission?
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] Hell yes!
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] Use the ring to change your appearance and come to Seryndefi. I'll send you the coordinates.
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] Is it okay if I fly?
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] Yes, but only until you can see the city. You can't miss it.
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] Anything else?
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] You need to acquire a snake-form.
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] One sec.
/Salamander: Gideon: Anyone have a snake form I can use for a few days?
/Salamander: Jiggs: I do. I'll link it.
Swam Queen: Artifact Necklace
Assume the form of the dreaded Queen from
the Illindir Swamp.
/Salamander: Gideon: That's the snake you were bragging about soloing? How big was she?
/Salamander: Jiggs: That's her. Around 20 feet in length, her poison was a paralytic. Kinda bad-ass.
/Salamander: Gideon: Why haven't you used it?
/Salamander: Jiggs: Because it says Queen and not King, wrong gender!
/Salamander: Nebs: That's stupid.
/Salamander: Gideon: Lend or sell it to me?
/Salamander: Jiggs: It's all yours boss. I am sending it now.
/Salamander: Gideon: Thanks. I'll get you something nice in return.
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] Okay Nix. I'm all set.
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] I've sent you the coordinates and some brief directions. Remove your guild tag and use a different name.
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] Sounds good. I'm on my way.