491 Bone Bear
Nix and Sasi happily rode Morti back toward their camp. The Titan cub found his own form very impressive.
"I think I'm bigger now, Nix."
Nix nodded in agreement. "Twenty feet at least, and that's without rage. Perhaps your Bone form is bigger?"
"Nope, this is how big I'm gonna be from now on." The Bone Titan waddled down the trail; every once in a while, he'd stop to smell something interesting. "Forgot my helmet."
Nix grinned and patted his bone shoulder. "We'll get you one for this form. Mind if I take a look at your stats?"
"Nope, go ahead. I'm probably imposing."
Race: Bone Cub [Emperor]
Immunities: Ice, Fire, Control Effects.
Special Abilities: Swat, Shatter, Trample, Bone Focus
[Swat] A single paw strike resulting in a three-second stun stacked onto whatever damage is dealt.
[Shatter] Shatter inflicts a five percent reduction of the target's defensive capabilities. This effect will stack—small chance to completely destroy the armor of your target.
[Trample] AoE damage to all enemies standing within five meters.
[Bone Focus] All nearby enemies must attack you.
"Holy crap, Morti. Why do you have special attacks? And where are the details?" Nix shook his head slightly and closed the stat window. He remembered that Morti's real abilities had been lowered to reflect his own strength.
"Dunno. Now that we're skellies, who are we fighting?"
"Good question; we're battling against an Ice Faction. Haven't seen who is running things yet."
Morti picked up the pace, his huge paws tossing up chunks of rock and mud as he headed south. "Is it Khione? Maybe we'll get to swat her again."
Nix laughed at the cub's confidence. "Hmm... I'm glad you're here."
"Yep, me too. I'm your best friend, so this sort of thing is expected."
/Skelly: Pon: Holding the choke point just got a lot easier.
Nezbit walked out of the cave just as the trio arrived back at camp. The cleric was obviously excited to see the titan cub. "My favorite tank has arrived!"
Morti's huge skull nodded up and down. After Pinky, Nezbit was his favorite healer.
"Tautius?" Edi exited the cave; her lower jaw dropped open.
Morti stood on his hind legs, letting her see his impressive size. "Nope. I'm Morti."
/Skelly: Edi: Heavens... That's an Emperor! An actual...
/Skelly: Pon: Morti's just a cub.
/Skelly: Alfie: A cub?
Hyai stepped back from the stove, bracing against the counter, when a wave of dizziness hit her.
"Hyai?" Semmi moved from the other side of the counter and helped the buxom redhead to a nearby stool. "Are you okay?"
Hyai nodded, pushing her hair back behind her ears. "I should stop skipping meals, don't worry."
The blonde officer took the lid off of the pot the older woman had been checking. "Time to stir it?"
Hyai smiled slightly. She'd been helping the Inferno Officer improve her cooking skills. "Just a bit, drag the spoon on the pot's bottom, make sure it's not skinning up."
Semmi stirred the pot and then examined the large spoon. "Bit of skin on there." She held it up for the older woman to see.
"Just a bit," Hyai agreed. "Turn the heat down a bit and leave the cover off."
[Whisper: Semmi to Shae] Are you in the area?
[Whisper: Shae to Semmi] Yes. Just leaving Ever Flame with Deidra. We have the [Flying Mount Stable] Scroll.
[Whisper: Semmi to Shae] Already? That was quick.
[Whisper: Shae to Semmi] She landed next to the council hall in dragon form and then asked for it nicely.
[Whisper: Semmi to Shae] And they gave it to her?
[Whisper: Shae to Semmi] Yep. Is something wrong?
[Whisper: Semmi to Shae] Hyai seems to be under the weather. I asked her to come cook for us, but now I'm worried.
[Whisper: Shae to Semmi] We'll stop by before we head back to Haven.
"My Apprentice show up yet?" An old ugly woman stepped into the doorway, her sharp eyes instantly taking in the entire room. "Everything okay?"
Hyai nodded. Chiba was an old friend of her daughters and someone she felt comfortable with. "Skipped too many meals and got a bit lightheaded."
Chiba removed her ring, instantly turning into Goddess Chiba. "Hand it over."
Hyai sighed and untied the apron; she knew by experience that Chiba was stubborn. "It's just beef stew; there's some pumpkin bread in the oven."
Chiba nodded and tied the apron around her waist. "Give me some space."
Semmi glanced toward Hyai. "This going to be okay?"
The Innkeeper nodded. "Chiba is a great cook."
Chiba winked at the blonde officer. "My dear Mum taught me everything. Our merchant family was part of the court, but there weren't any servants in our household."
Nix leaned back against the sleeping Titan; perhaps his rumbling snore was comforting to the other members of their small band because the Inferno leader was the only one awake.
/Skelly: Nix: Report.
/Skelly: Pon: It's quiet; the Ice Faction has pulled back to the graveyard.
/Skelly: Nix: Perfect. Grab a prisoner or two if you get bored. Don't get caught.
/Skelly: Pon: Understood. Maybe we could use Morti to send a message back. Like you did with Soup.
/Skelly: Nix: I considered it, but then what if I couldn't resummon him? I know it's unlikely, but I don't want to risk it.
Nix focused on the crafting queue, although the campfire was nearly always lit inside of the cave, none of them were affected by the smoke or struggled because of the lack of light.
[Craft Queue: Freestyle Golem][Composite: Red Clay][Bond: Tree Sap][Elemental Source: Basic Shaped Charge x2]
[Craft the Freestyle Golem?]
Nix had to stifle a laugh when he saw the final product. "I swear, it was an accident." During the day he spent most of his free time gathering materials. He queued the rest of his mats (Materials) and then exited the cave quietly.
"Get yer ass moving fleshling... Or I'll cook the meat right off your bones." Pon's voice could be heard clearly as he cussed out the small group he was bringing back.
Nix was just getting the outside fire going when they came into view, five prisoners walked in single file with Skeleton Pon following directly behind them.
/Skelly: Nix: Everyone up, please. We have five prisoners to add.
/Skelly: Edi: Five? How'd you manage so many?
/Skelly: Pon: These five were digging an enormous hole on the far side of the Precinct.
/Skelly: Nix: Why?
/Skelly: Edi: I bet they were trying to dig under the Precinct border. It won't work.
/Skelly: Alfie: Nope. I tried that twenty years ago. Those five must be deserters, let's toss them in with their Commander and see if they'll give up some good intel.
Pon's cackling laugh sounded near the entrance of the cave. "Now, I've seen it all."
Nix shrugged his bone shoulders slightly; Pon had noticed his golems. "It was an accident, I used two of your shape charges for each golem."
Pon gave him the thumbs up, a definite sign that the fire mage didn't believe him. He picked up the golem and showed Nezbit. "Nice, right?"
Nez stared at the golem for a moment before turning her gaze onto Nix. "Been here that long?"
Nix chuckled and nodded his head. "Um... Yes, but that wasn't on purpose." He spent a lot more time smoothing out the freestyle golems' features since clay was much easier to work with. Unfortunately, when he added the two shaped charges to the queue, he didn't control the final product. Two large mounds appeared on the golem's chest, giving it the appearance of overly large breasts.
/Skelly: Alfie: I noticed that you make these golems small. Any reason behind that?
/Skelly: Nix: Just something I picked up from the crafters in Eidengal. Although I can't decrease ratios, making smaller products cuts down on material.
/Skelly: Edi: Eidengal? Does Eidengal still stand?
/Skelly: Nix: Yes, although it has been abandoned for many years. Inferno has been slowly exploring the city.
Nix exchanged looks with Pon but didn't say anything else when Edi suddenly dropped the topic. The fire mage brought his prisoners to the containment area and then returned a few minutes later to find the Inferno leader still crafting.
Pon's eyes drifted toward the entrance of the cave before lowering his voice. "They are both from Eidengal?"
Nix nodded. "That would be my guess since that's their last name."
"Who the fuck shares the same name as the city they live in? Damn... the leadership?"
Nix shrugged slightly. "Part of the royal family, maybe? There are too many unknowns here, which is why I didn't follow up. In a few days, we'll take back the graveyard. Perhaps we'll get some answers. I think back to the curse Khione put on me and can't help but think that this seems familiar."
Pon sword under his breath. "She called Morti, Tautius. How does she know that name?"
"More questions than answers at this point." Nix placed another piece of wood on the fire. "Remember the latest intel from Gideon? Khione mentioned going to Eidengal."
Pon's skeletons leered at him. "That was before we wrecked that Ice bitch's ass."
The two skellies laughed creepily, a sound that echoed in the darkness.