405 Ice Boots
0900 House of Tempest, Day 3
Normally if someone were to wake up to the sight of two demons lurking over their bed it would be a cause for concern, not so much in this case. Two small heads, topped with tiny horns, peeked at Nix from the side of the bed. A tail could be seen swaying back and forth over the shoulder of the closer one.
"Morning." Sasi perched her chin on the edge of the bed, her curious eyes were full of mischief.
"I was supposed to say that!" Rabi hissed at his sister, his face looking downtrodden.
Sasi patted his shoulder in a gesture meant to console him."Sorry, you can tell him about the ice on his feet."
"Nix! Your legs and feet are completely enclosed in…" He trailed off, his lips curling in a snarl. "Sasi! You did that on purpose!"
"Did what?" Sasi gave him an innocent look, causing her sibling to stomp out of the room. The Speaker for the House of Tempest hopped up on the bed and nudged the sleepy-eyed Nix. "Why are your feet frozen?"
Nix shook his head, lack of sleep made his thoughts cloudy. He stared at his legs for a moment, letting the sight of their ice encasement register. "Good question, they weren't like that when I went to bed."
The fire mages hand glowed with flames and with a quick motion he freed his legs without lighting the covers on fire. He rolled out of bed, his yellow eyes continuing to focus on the ice. Last time something like this happened, it was a result of his curse. Was this another Khione attack?
A loud banging from the common area drew his attention. "Nix! Hurry up and get ready! Rabi has brought you a breakfast tray."
Sasi's head turned toward the doorway. "We were going to eat downstairs!"
Rabi's laughter could be heard from the common area. "Rabi has changed the plans!"
Sasi glared at the doorway for a moment before turning back to Nix. "He did that on purpose!"
"Seems likely." Nix agreed and started getting ready.
0930 Colonial Virtual Reality Lab, St. Paul, Mn
Six Month Assignment: Glory Jones [Probationary DRP]
Name: Cadlyn Belle, "Cadie"
Age: 24 [Level 125: Minimum level for Everspire]
Skillset: Shotguns (42), handguns (45), and melee combat (53).
Vocation: Freelance Caravan Guard
Cadie is from the Dhou province in Mid-Everspire. Her family are well-respected members of the Four Corner's Merchant Guild. From an early age she decided that the merchant life wasn't for her. When she was old enough, she started accompanying her family's caravans as a guard. She enjoyed the work and soon sought employment on the larger Caravans servicing all of Mid-Everspire.
Personality Traits: Strongwilled and Loyal.
Glory continued reading, there were a lot of details regarding her childhood and family. "Is this a good one?"
"Very good." Director Obrien received the assignments for the six-month dive. She read all of them before interviewing each of the DRPs individually. "The key takeaway here is that she is independent, that gives you a lot of leeways."
Glory continued to read while Hara briefed her. There was even a picture of herself with her family. "Oh. I'm cute!
Hara nodded in agreement. "I'll give you the same advice that everyone receives from me. Immerse yourself before you attempt anything."
"Right." Glory read the guidebook a few times. Spend time with your NPC family, talk to your childhood friends, and get to know the area where your character was raised. "The skillset is perfect. I assume Balto took my background into account?"
"It does to a certain extent. You must have said all the right things in your questionnaire." Hara fixed her brown eyes on Glory. "Be careful. I once had an assignment like this one."
"You did? What happened?"
"I was killed. My first three assignments were all terminated when my character died."
Glory frowned at the thought. "Shit. I don't want that to happen to me. Any preventive measures?"
"Unlike player characters, DRPs [Deep Role-Players] operate without a safety net. " Hara handed her the packet. "Get your butt to the viewing room."
Glory nodded. The viewing room was a collection of events from your assignment's life that could be watched and studied. Everything from your first love to the kid who beat you up behind the barn. In the next week, she needed to saturate herself with information. "Cadie, 24 years old, caravan guard."
Hara smiled and nodded. "Concentrate on the four-corners. Those are the provinces of Dhou, Vespri, Lana, and Mocai. Your character isn't expected to have much knowledge outside of that."
0930 House of Tempest Training Yard Day Three
Nix held a training blade in each hand, there were three Nether Mages directly in front of him, spaced at intervals of five meters. They were to alternate casting [Uncilliary] at him while he attempted to block.
Chiba stood behind him, once against she chose to start the day in her 'goddess' form. "I want you to alternate blocking, left blade then the right blade. Use your footwork to put yourself in the best position."
Nix swiped the blade in his left hand and nodded. "Shouldn't we switch to another spell?"
"Yes, but not yet." Chiba's lips curved in a smile, it was nothing like the creepy old man smile she usually wore. "There are steps Nix, Master Beta will be here this afternoon to lend a hand."
The exercise started and very quickly Nix understood the need for footwork. Because they were working with three mages, he would often be obligated to attempt a left bladed block coming from the far right side. The trick of it escaped him and he continued to fail opposite side blocks throughout the next hour.
Chiba watched patiently, not commenting. She could have told him the key, but learning and creativity were part of the process. Fifteen minutes into the second hour, he finally figured it out.
Yelti has cast [Uncillary]
After blocking the middle cast with his right hand, he found himself out of position and facing Talot on the far right side.
Nix has activated [Ghost Step].
His blade flashed into the gap and flicked the spell to one side.
Chiba clapped from the side of the training yard. "You can use Ghost Step and Flight of the Gryphon to position yourself. This is the reason I developed the movement to start with."
Nix paused and looked at his master. "You developed Ghost Step?"
"Of course. I am the "Beautiful Genius" after all."
Nix shrugged, developing your own movement technique was an impressive feat. "Let's keep going."
Nix worked until Beta and Wind showed up, unexpectedly the Gemini thief was accompanied by Wilo, the Air Lord companion to Ronnie. "Is Ronnie here?"
Wind shook his head. "Wilo hangs out with the King quite a bit."
As if to emphasize the point, the buzzing dragonfly wings of Wilo hovered in the air, the tiny gecko was sitting her shoulder. They circled overhead and then disappeared over the Manor. Soup stared at them as they flew away.
"Looks fun right?" Nix scratched Soup's soft tummy. Sasi assured Nix that Soup would be safe while in the House of Tempest, so Nix allowed her to explore freely. "I'll take you flying later."
The Qi family siblings were busy during lunch so the group ate in one corner of the training yard, helping themselves to a large platter of different meats, cheese, and fruit.
Nix noticed that Beta would touch Wind often. Small gestures that ended with her hand on his arm or brushing her knee against his. It was no secret that they were a couple, but it was obvious that things were going very well. "What's Mtui having you do nowadays?"
Beta sighed unhappily at the mention of her Breach Commander. "Thanks to a certain guild, the threat from the Nether is gone. No more undercover assignments, or prison breaks."
Nix laughed at her expression. Whenever she was bothered, her cheeks would turn red. "In all fairness, you didn't break out of prison."
Chiba frowned when she remembered being chained with Beta in the Nether prison and unable to 'self-soothe'. "He's right, the Rat-King broke us out."
Beta's petite face wore a tiny smile. "Obviously, you've spent some time behind bars."
*Cough, cough* Nix cleared his throat and drank from his glass of ice water. "Nothing going on today then?"
Beta shot Wind a sly smile. "Well... How about you and Chiba accompany us after training? There is a parade planned. All sorts of dancers, and musicians will be making their way through the streets."
Nix hated parades, ever since he was a child and got lost for several hours. "What's the parade for?"
Beta's pink eyes sparkled with excitement. "Now that the cities are connected again, the Dragon City Masters are restarting an old annual tradition."
"I see," Nix replied. "Is anyone from Inferno walking in the parade?"
Wind shook his head. "Nope. No one even asked us."
"Even though it was Inferno that put them back together." Nix shook his head slightly. "I'm out."
Chiba frowned at her apprentice for a moment before facing Beta. "Fine, Nix is out but I'm in!"
Wind let a slow breath out, a group of four was much better than three. "You sure Boss? I hear the Dragon Masters have had these elaborate costumes made, they'll be the last group walking through."
Nix shrugged. "Bunch of silly peacocks."
Chiba raised an eyebrow. "A what cock?"
Nix hid his interest by stuffing several pieces of cheese in his mouth. He had met each of the Dragon City Masters during the link-up process. They ranged from the amiable Tai'Qui to an incredibly arrogant ass named Jargon Kane. He happened to be the Dragon Master of the City linked directly to Solomon City.