431 Pheonix Totem
Nix threaded his way carefully through the camp. The cookfires had long since burned down, and they were spaced far enough between with only a few stragglers still eating. According to Kia, servant tents were separated by Clan, all of the Desert Fox would be together.
The northeast part of the compound was considered the servant's area. It butted up against a rock formation that made escaping in that direction all but impossible. The only way for one of them to flee would be through the camp.
Rat-Nix was aware that Shae and Tai'Qui were both shadowing him closely, despite his directions to spread out. Kia told him what to look for, the third tent on the right side, slightly lighter than the others. He slinked in and immediately hugged the right side of the tent as he progressed deeper.
He moved to the far right corner, where Kia told him that her people would wash before going to sleep. It was empty because of the hour, but for Nix, it was the ideal place to stash his rat.
/Ratpack: Nix: I'm in position. Dropping my rat here.
Nix stood up, carefully stepped around the puppeteers that filled his living room. He activated Deep Blue and selected the Gemini Temple.
The first level of the Gemini Temple was accessed through the training yard. A group of people was waiting there, including Esta, Semmi, Kia, and Lucid. Nix did a double-take when he spotted the Scorpion Titan, she was tanned and completely bald. The cleric had multiple rings adorning her ears, nose, and lips.
Nix gestured to Kia. "Time to go, keep them calm, and moving through the breach."
[Create Breach: Gemini Temple: Red Lion Camp]
Nix grabbed Kia's hand and pulled her through. He understood her fear; she spent three years wishing she could leave this place and now she had returned.
Nix picked up his Nether Rat and stowed it away before pushing aside the privacy curtain. He watched as Kia shook an older woman's shoulder.
"Niasa, time to wake up." Kia waited until her eyes opened before kissing her forehead.
"Kia? Why are you here? I th.." Niasa was interrupted by a finger on her lips.
"Our moment of escape has arrived. A powerful group has come to our aide."
Nix waited while Kia woke up the others in the tent. To their credit, no one was overly loud. Three years of slavery made them wary of causing discourse within the camp. "This breach leads to your freedom."
Nix was surprised when they all rushed forward; he had expected doubts and questions. Apparently, anything would be better than their current situation.
Nix picked up Rat-Shae and placed her on his shoulder. "Let's get going."
/Ratpack: Bali: We didn't get to blow that guy up. He already moved on.
/Ratpack: Nix: Everyone head back to the rendezvous point. I'll open a breach there that will take you back in ten minutes.
Lucid was talking to the group when he stepped back into the Gemini Temple and closed the breach.
"I am glad to meet the members of the Desert Fox Clan because it means that I am no longer alone." Lucid studied each of them; most of them were young and healthy. "Generations ago, the Desert Fox Clan was known by another name. In a pivotal battle fought centuries ago, many of us died fighting the dragons. Our sacrifice led directly to their eventual defeat and retreat into the Sky-Kingdom." Lucid approached one of the younger men in the group. "Do you know why the women of your Clan have a scorpion drawn into their skin?"
The young man was skinny, but his shoulders were broad and looked like he would grow into a strong man. "It's for fertility."
/Inferno: Nix: Bonus! We're keeping this one.
Lucid shook her head and stopped in front of the old man in the group. She was amazed that he was able to survive three years as a slave. "Are the old ways lost? You must have heard something different as a youth."
The old man's face was a shock of wrinkled brown skin and white teeth. "My Gram told me once when I was a boy. That we were Scorpions, mighty warriors that once ruled the Great Desert."
Lucid placed a gentle hand on the man's shoulder. "Your Gram was correct. That bloodline was lost with the passage of time; I am the last. What is your name?"
"My name is Hostil."
"I can see some of you have doubts. I will train you and live here with you. Together, we shall restore the Scorpion Titan Clan." Lucid morphed into her scorpion form; the group stared in shocked silence. "This is the Gemini Temple; at its core, it represents sharing and teamwork. If you work hard with me, your blood will recall what has been lost."
Hostil moved forward, his old hand reached out to touch Lucid's armored carapace. "How would we do this?"
Esta moved forward, not many in Everspire had seen a real Storm Singer, but their strength was known. "You will become Acolytes of the Gemini Temple; the abilities given to acolytes will help you restore your birthright."
The rat on Nix's shoulder nuzzled his ear. "Let's leave them to Lucid and Esta."
Nix said his goodbyes before dawn and opened a breach to his campsite in the mountains close to the Krayven Clan. By the time the sun rose over the Krayven Clan, the Phoenix Totem had returned.
Yarl yawned sleepily as he made his way back to camp. His nightly duty of protecting the flocks ended with sunrise. He stopped suddenly, and his dark lips broke into a wide smile. "It's back! The Phoenix has returned!"
Zinu heard the cries of joy and hastily put on her robes. Its yellow eyes watched her approach; she stopped before the edge of the ring and bowed respectfully. "We welcome you back."
For the next three days, the Clan happily went about their daily routines. Their powerful Phoenix had returned to recharge the totem. Zinu and Guyanar spent many hours watching and conversing.
On sunrise, after three days had passed, the Phoenix flew into the sky and headed toward the mountains. Nix landed at his campsite a few minutes later. "That was boring as hell." For some reason, he couldn't speak or use guild chat while sitting on the totem. He dropped the phoenix form and immediately felt a wave of nausea. "It must be that damn totem," Nix recalled feeling crappy last time he returned from the Krayven Clan.
[Whisper: Nix to Zinu] I wish to speak with you and Guyanar. I'll open a breach inside your camp.
[Whisper: Zinu to Nix] Right away, Nix.
Nix created a breach, and within a few seconds, Zinu stepped through with Guyanar. Nix had noticed it when he was on the totem; the old man looked tired and gaunt.
"It's good to see you again." Zinu bowed politely.
"It better if I just show you." Nix stepped away from the pair and immediately changed into his phoenix form. He took to the air and did a quick flight around the area to show them. He landed a few meters away and checked his stats before dropping the form.
Nix [Race: Phoenix]
[Totem Enhancement: Clan Krayven]
From the Ashes
Return to Totem
As before, his levels, and stats continued to grow when he was on the totem. What did that mean for the other Totem creatures? Were they over-powered also?
"You are our Totem?" Zinu's pale face showed her shock. "You refused us when we asked."
Nix nodded. "I did. However, I can't watch an ally wither away to nothing. There is no debt; the totem makes my Phoenix grow."
"This makes me happy." The old man smiled at Nix. "My years are weighing me down; it's good to know that you are watching my clan."
Nix shook his head slightly. "Sorry old man. I'm going to require several years of your time."
Guyanar's old eyes stared at Nix. "If I had those years, I would certainly give them to you."
Nix nodded. "It's good that you agreed."