The steady sound of an ax biting deep into a tree echoed through the warm valley. Nezbit cut through the deadfall with relative ease, thanks to a job scroll that Edi possessed, the [Woodcutter].
/Skelly: Pon: Doing okay, Nez?
/Skelly: I'm bone tired.
Nix laughed from behind several dozen advanced golems. Although they were called advanced, he suspected that much more was possible since his crafting skill was only at 51/500. He spent the day working alongside Pon who was at a similar level.
/Skelly: Nix: I feel ya, working my fingers to the bone here.
/Skelly: Nez: Actually it's very easy, cutting wood has never been so simple. This isn't a crafting skill though, just an ordinary job. I'm already at 77.
/Skelly: Nix: Still pretty handy. Save any of the hardwoods you find, and mark the sappy trees.
/Skelly: Nez: There's actually quite a bit of sap trees, kinda reminds me of the maple trees back home. Ya know, if maple threes were three feet in diameter and three hundred feet tall.
/Skelly: Nix: We'll try tapping some, later I'll make a proper spigot.
/Skelly: Pon: Can't eat or drink while we skeletons.
/Skelly: Nix: Yeah. I'm going to use the sap as a bonding agent.
Hundreds of deadfalls littered the ground in the two sections that the Skelly faction now controlled. Edi, Alfie and Nez were busy clearing it out the obstructions, there were too many areas that could be used to approach their camp.
/Skelly: Sasi: All clear, Nix! They've posted guards within visual range of the two sections they evacuated. The guards have some sort of beast with them, they can smell Sasi!
/Skelly: Nix: Smell but not see?
/Skelly: Sasi: Yes, when they were downwind, the beasties reacted to me, but when the wind changed directions my presence was ignored.
/Skelly: Nix: Noted. We're vulnerable to stealth measures.
/Skelly: Edi: Alfie possesses Truesight, no one is sneaking up on us.
The group worked until the end of the day and reconvened in front of the cave where Pon had started a large fire. They were all staring at products that the two fire users spent the day working on.
Nezbit picked up one of the two-feet tall golems. It had the general appearance of a person, with feet, hands, and head. Its back was somewhat hunched and there was a peculiar object sticking out of it. "Why does it seem hunched over?"
Pon held out one of his advanced [Fusers]. It was the size of a softball, with a nine-second fuse attached. "He used one of these as the power core, that's the fuse sticking out of its back."
Nix smiled and nodded. "We are calling them [Inferno Golems]. They can be directed to a specific point using our huds. The range is about 800 meters. We made forty-two of these bad boys."
"I wanted to test them, but that might have raised our enemy's awareness." Pon made a deal with Nix, half of them would be directed by him. "Since [Fusers] are tiered higher than my advanced grenades, gotta figure they'll create more boom."
/Skelly: Edi: When will you use them?
/Skelly: Nix: Tonight and then every night after that. Why let our enemy sleep?
/Skelly: Pon: This shit is awesome.
Edi zoomed her hud map to focus on the Sandcrab Precinct. It had nine sections, and the Burrough's only graveyard. "With their superior numbers, they should try and overrun us or at least challenge us more directly."
Nix nodded slightly. "The two of you were dug in, they obviously lost their taste for a frontal assault."
Pon cackled from the far side of the campfire. "Taking down twenty thousand of them over thirty years can do that."
A few hours later, shortly after dark, Pon and Nix stood together on a ridge within visual range of the enemy camp. Two dozen golems had followed behind them and were awaiting further instructions. Alfie and Sasi were scouting nearby while Edi remained behind with Nez to question the prisoner.
Nix studied his hud and picked a point in the center of the supply tent.
[Delayed Command: Advance to grid point 166.935: Wait 90 Seconds]
Immediately six golems moved forward several steps and assumed a tighter formation.
/Skelly: Pon: Damn, that's awesome. When should we ignite?
Pon entered in his group's commands and then started setting up individual commands for his remaining six. The plan was to destroy the larger tents and then use individual golems to attack smaller groups that formed to either put out the fires or defend the camp.
/Skelly: Nix: At the camp's perimeter.
Nix set up his last six individual golems with advanced commands and then put them on standby. As soon as he keyed a coordinate, they would immediately take off. He was just finishing when both his and Pon's golems took off at a run.
/Skelly: Nix: Showtime.
The two used their huds to track the golems since the small, dark figures were too difficult to see at night.
/Skelly: Pon: Now?
/Skelly: Nix: Yep, Ignite them!
Nix couldn't see the burning fuses, but his hud was linked directly into the crafting interface and tracked all golem activities, including the countdown.
/Skelly: Nix: A tad early, I suppose.
Two separate groups of golems entered the target areas and stopped. There were a few seconds of confused shouts before two giant plumes of orange flame flashed outward. Nix felt the power of the explosions through the ground.
/Skelly: Nix: Shit... Those [Fusers] hit pretty hard.
The camp erupted in chaos, with several groups huddling together to assume defensive positions. Nix and Pon continued to watch and started picking smaller targets. The two skeletons chuckled as they continued to kick the anthill.
Pon cursed a few minutes later when the groups started retreating from their golems. "Looks like the easy part is over, they're bitching out."
Nix nodded. "I snuck two into the back part of the camp. Got any left?"
Pon pointed to his last Golem. "Just Blinky here, kinda useless to send him in. They'll just run away."
"I'm counting on it. See if you can herd them into the back southeast corner of the camp." Nix watched as Blinky took off at a run. Both him and Pon had come up short at the end of their crafting marathons. The last Golem didn't have enough composite and ended up with one leg slightly longer. The [Fuser] on him was subsequently oddly shaped, giving him the appearance of a hunchback. Neither fire user could help but laugh at his limping run.
/Skelly: Pon: Poor Blinky.
/Skelly: Nix: Do your best, my son!
Nix and Pon moved toward the camp while they monitored Blinky. As expected, two separate groups spotted the limping golem as soon as he entered the camp. Pon continued to input small corrections in course, making it appear like the tiny golem was pursuing them.
"Close enough!" Both groups fell back toward the section where Nix's golems were waiting. He activated their ignition and started toward camp at a trot.
/Skelly: Nix: Let's head in and clean-up. Be careful.
/Skelly: Sasi: Understood!
/Skelly: Alfie: I'll cover the three of you from higher ground.
Pon entered the perimeter at the same time as Nix, his first action was to start tossing his remaining inventory of basic and advanced grenades into the tents that weren't in flames. Nix waded into the center of camp and pushed Emerald Flames into the hilt of his weapon.
[Bone Fortress, 0645 Ice Faction: 13157, Undead 6]
Nix picked through the burnt remains of the supply tent. The corpses had already been stripped of gear and then piled in the center of camp to be burned. A small movement from under a charred cot caught his attention. "Blinky!" Nix knelt down and examined the golem. Apparently, it had gotten stuck before reaching its objective.
/Skelly: Nix: Found Blink.
/Skelly: Pon: You did? How come he didn't blow up?
/Skelly: Nix: What was the order of your commands? Advance and then ignite? Or vice versa?
/Skelly: Pon: Advance and then ignite.
/Skelly: Nix: He got stuck, so never made it to the target.
/Skelly: Pon: Right, so he didn't ignite. Bring him back, I just canceled his commands.
Nix chuckled and scooped Blinky up. "Hear that? You live to fight another day."
/Skelly: Edi: Great job everyone! We've gained a third section.
/Skelly: Alfie: We trimmed them by 98, thanks for the hard work!
/Skelly: Nix: I leveled up.
/Skelly: Alfie: What? It takes a thousand kills to level up. How many do you have?
/Skelly: Nix: Exactly one hundred.
/Skelly: Sasi: 48 for Sasi.
/Skelly: Pon: 57 here.
/Skelly: Edi: He's an elite, perhaps the leveling is different. Has anything changed?
Nix brought up his stats, his eyes instantly lighting up.
Race: Undead Skeleton [Elite]
Golem Maker 51/500
/Skelly: Nix: Hello, beautiful.
An instant later, 20 feet of Bone Titan appeared in front of him. A row of sharp spines ran down the middle of its back. Powerful jaws snapped together, echoing throughout the camp. After a moment it settled on its hind end, its sharp claws sinking into solid rock like it was clay. The giant skull turned until it spotted Nix. Without pausing, the bone bear waddled toward him, placing its enormous skull against his ribcage. "Hey, Nix!"
Nix's two bone arms hugged the bone bear's enormous skull. "About time you showed up."
"The hell was that noise?" Pon skidded to a stop in front of them, causing a collision between Sasi and Alfie. The fire mage clapped his bone hands together when he saw the new arrival. "Now we're talking! Welcome to the Bone Fortress, Morti!"
/Skelly: Edi: What's going on? Our faction just went up to seven.
/Skelly: Alfie: He should count for ten, damn, that's a big bear.