/Guild Officers: Pon: And there's the hook.
/Guild Officers: Semmi: If you brought them here, Nix, you must have an opinion?
/Guild Officers: Nix: They can both swear oaths on their marrow to only act for the benefit of Inferno.
/Guild Officers: Jun Li: Both?
/Guild Officers: Shae: Deidra too?
/Guild Officers: Nix: I wouldn't consider it if the battle with Khione wasn't looming in our future.
/Guild Officers: Wind: Those oaths will bind them to us. Why would they do that?
Tai'Qui didn't know what Inferno was discussing, but she could guess. "When we battled Khione the last time, she attacked our nurseries. An entire generation of dragons hatchlings and dragon spawns were slain."
Nix watched the faces of his officers. Bringing Tai'Qui seemed like the right choice. "Apparently some World-seeds can be broken into if enough power is asserted. Haven is not one of those, it might be the only secure location anywhere, once the final battle starts."
Pon glanced from Nix to Tai; he knew the guild leader's personality. He would have said no immediately if the dragons didn't offer something. "Our fight with Khione is at least six months away. What can you do to help us?"
"I can train all of your Earth-based members to the Archon level within three months."
/Guild Officers: Pon: A dragon trainer?
Fajii stood up, Tai was one of her friends also. "That includes all my Scorched Earth Acolytes?"
Tai'Qui nodded. "Yes, my Earth abilities extend to Scorched Earth."
/Guild Officers: Wind: That's like 200 people.
/Guild Officers: Semmi: A bit more actually. Holy crap.
/Guild Officers: Pon: Can we say yes to her and no to Deidra?
/Guild Officers: Nix: We can do whatever we like.
/Guild Officers: Jun Li: Has Deidra offered to train our members?
/Guild Officers: Nix: She has.
/Guild Officers: Mina: I don't see the downside here. They'll take a binding loyalty oath, and the training they offer could tip the scales in our favor.
/Guild Officers: Ronnie: It's really not a tough sell. When would they come to Haven?
/Guild Officers: Nix: Right away. They have to construct Nurseries. Both of them have been chosen for Krelandur.
/Guild Officers: Ronnie: Giving birth to real Dragons?
/Guild Officers: Sharl: How the hell do you know what that is?
/Guild Officers: Ronnie: I've been building my library from books all over the Sky Kingdom, Everspire, and Oasis.
/Guild Officers: Mina: What do you think, Nix?
/Guild Officers: Nix: With restrictions, I'm for it.
/Guild Officers: Jun Li: What restrictions?
/Guild Officers: Nix: No using Breach abilities of any kind, unless cleared by me first. They can come and go through portals like everyone else.
/Guild Officers: Jun Li: Who would come with them?
/Guild Officers: Nix: Their unhatched eggs. No one else.
/Guild Officers: Fajii: I don't see how we can say no. The benefits are too large.
/Guild Officers: Wind: I agree.
/Guild Officers: Sharl: Same here.
/Guild Officers: Nix: If anyone opposes, speak up so we can discuss it.
Nix waited a few moments, but no one offered any opposition.
/Guild Officers: Jun Li: Offer Deidra and Tai'Qui sanctuary under the guidelines we've discussed.
[Whisper: Semmi to Jun Li] You do realize you've been playing with that dragon spawn's mane for the past five minutes?
Jun Li froze in place, her pale face turning red. She lowered her hands and stepped away.
[Whisper: Jun Li to Semmi] Why didn't you say something before? I'm so embarrassed.
[Whisper: Semmi to Jun Li] It was kinda cute.
Nix offered Tai'Qui a friendly smile. "We've decided to accept your petition for sanctuary under the conditions we discussed earlier today."
Tai'Qui nodded. "Thank you, everyone. Thank you."
/Guild Officers: Nix: That's everything for our meeting. I'm going to spend the next two days at the Turtle House.
/Guild Officers: Jun Li: No fishing?
/Guild Officers: Nix: My fishing buddies are welcome to visit. We can try out the new cove.
/Guild Officers: Semmi: I'm in.
/Guild Officers: Jun Li: Me too.
Tai'Qui left with Sindi and Nihlus, leaving Inferno to slowly filter away.
/Guild Officers: Nix: I'm going to contact Deidra, then I'll be ready to go.
/Guild Officers: Shae: We'll wait.
/Guild Officers: Fajii: Yep.
Nix chuckled as he walked toward one of the nearby fountains. Did they think he was going to run off?
[Direct Contact: Deidra]
Deidra was instructing two of her dragon spawn when she received notification that Nix was contacting her. "I'm expecting both of you to be ready for the planar test in the next few days."
Solomon City's Dragon Master opened a breach for her students and waited until they left before answering. A full-sized holo of Nix appeared in front of her.
"Greetings, Nix." Deidra no longer displayed her dragon horns, she decided to emulate Tai'Qui and present her human form in a less threatening manner. "I hear you've completed your training at the House of Tempest."
Nix nodded. "Yes, it was a very rewarding week."
"When will you be presenting my petition to your officers?"
"I spoke with my Officers. Your petition for sanctuary in Haven has been approved."
Deidra's beautiful face showed her surprise. "Already approved? I thought I might be able to address them myself."
Nix shook his head. "Tai was here to speak for both of you. It went well, that's all that matters."
Deidra nodded in agreement. "Thank you for your efforts."
"The provisions we discussed will have to be implemented."
"I am very pleased. May I ask you a question, Nix?"
"Why did you have Tai'Qui there instead of me?"
"No one likes you."
Unexpectedly Deidra smiled at his words. "Except for you?"
"Like may be an overstatement. Let's call it a healthy tolerance." Nix paused for a moment, in case she had anything else to say. "Going to head back to Ionova, let me know if you need anything."
"Of course. Good night, Nix."
Shae waited until Nix closed contact before approaching. "Should you be rude to dragons?"
Nix shrugged nonchalantly. "Probably not, it's kinda fun, though. She did steal my treehouse."
[Create Breach: Solomon City: Ionova]
The trio stepped through the breach into Ionova a few moments later. They were close to the cove, so Nix walked down to the water and sat Sphinx: Soup on the shore. The tiny creature assumed its natural form and started moving toward the water.
"Nix?" Fajii spoke his name quietly. The sun was just setting in Ionova, a brisk breeze coming off the sea was cooling the air quickly. "Perhaps you shouldn't use your Archon abilities too much."
"Huh?" Nix glanced at Fajii and at Shae. "Why not? My hands have been tied since we took down Vega."
Shae pursed her lips slightly as if also considering the idea. "She does have people everywhere. If Khione thinks you have freed yourself permanently, she may be more proactive in trying to get to you."
"Good." Nix started walking toward the Turtle House, pausing when he realized neither of them was following. "I'll use portals whenever I can while in Everspire, and I won't use my Archon wings here either. Good enough?"
Shae smiled. "I'm just worried, Nix."
Fajii nodded in agreement. "So am I."
"I'll show a little bit of restraint."
Shae put a hand on Fajii's arm. "Go ahead and say hello to Hyai. I want to talk to Fajii about something."
Fajii waited until Nix was out of earshot. "Is something wrong?"
Shae shook her head slightly. "Nothing really. That was good advice."
Fajii smiled. "Sometimes Nix gets carried away. It's the fire in him."
Shae nodded solemnly. "I agree. Even without Khione, the path of the elemental is filled with danger."
Fajii continued smiling without saying anything.
Shae grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the Turtle House. "Let's head in."
They were almost to the door when Fajii stopped; her alien eyes were unreadable. "There is always another path."
The two women stared at each other for a long moment, neither saying anything further. After a few seconds, they continued into the house.