505 Blood Fiend
Nix opened one eye when a figure gently nudged him to one side and pulled the blankets over them. "This cot is too small for two people."
Fajii ignored him and helped herself to half of his pillow. "It's only for a short while; we have to get up soon."
Nix turned on his side to make room for her, smiling into the back of her neck. Shortly after the two females from Alpha returned, Cyra sent a messenger to their tent. At first light Adder team was to find the Fiend that Wind had mentioned. He tossed an arm around her waist and dozed off comfortably.
When Cyra entered their tent an hour later, all of Alpha was up and ready to go. "Got everything you need?"
/Alpha: Nix: We need anything?
/Alpha: Semmi: Not really.
Nix was curious about the older woman's abilities; like Chael and his Urban Ranger class, it was yet another variant of a traditional job. "How do you match up against a basic Ranger?"
Cyra held up her bow for him to see. "Interested in switching classes? Or maybe you just like me."
"Neither... You're too old, and bows are for people who can't hold real weapons."
Cyra laughed at the comment. "You sonofabitch! Spend a few months in this place; my age won't matter."
Nix gave her a deadpan expression. "If you say so."
Ten minutes later, Semmi led them to the area designated for leaving camp. She made a face at Nix and activated the comm ring. "Adder Team, leaving base."
*Report in every thirty minutes, notify us of any enemy contact.*
"Understood." Semmi smiled apologetically at Nix, who was frowning at her.
/Alpha: Nix: What kind of shit was that?
/Alpha: Semmi: They have rules, Boss.
/Alpha: Nix: You're banned from talking on comm. That was so embarrassing.
/Alpha: Pon: What's embarrassing is you hitting on that grandma back there.
/Alpha: Nix: The fuck does that mean? I clearly stated that I'm not interested.
/Alpha: Pon: Number one rule of seduction, pretend you aren't interested.
/Alpha: Nix: Says the guy with absolutely no experience.
/Alpha: Semmi: Let's ask Fajii! How did you know Nix liked you?
/Alpha: Fajii: He gave me a present and told me I was beautiful.
/Alpha: Semmi: Well played, Boss.
/Alpha: Wind: Straight up killer.
/Alpha: Semmi: Must be nice to get presents.
Alpha retraced their steps toward the frontline; the Ice Faction had a perimeter of Observation Posts (OP) set up in a wide semi-circle about a mile from the border. They consisted of single person treestands that had been camouflaged by someone who knew what they were doing.
/Alpha: Nix: Send those OP locations to our scouts.
/Alpha: Semmi: On it.
Nix landed in a deep ravine, out of sight from the OPs. As soon as they landed, Semmi and Wind stealthed and started searching the area.
/Alpha: Pon: How many fiends did Atilla summon when you killed him.
/Alpha: Wind: Twelve. Thanks to the King, we were able to trap them outside of the room. Atilla can't summon more while they are still alive. They get stronger as his health diminishes.
After searching the immediate area, the two thieves returned, and Wind summoned Atilla. The antlered Witch immediately put Wind between himself and the fire users. "Master Wind! I answer your call."
Pon scowled, his face looking like he ate something bad. "Shut the fuck up, Rudolf!"
Wind had a slight smile on his face when he spoke to the witch. "Summon your fiends, have them stand down without attacking."
The creatures were man-sized, hunched over slightly, and covered with black blotches of fur. They were riddled with scars, and growls emanated from their misshapen mouths.
Nix walked around Wind, his lips curving in a wide smile. "Got a theory I'm going to test. If your beasts dare attack me, the next dozen times, you'll be summoned into a pit of fire." The Inferno leader raised a hand, and a half dozen strands of emerald flame shot out. They wrapped around the witch's torso, pinning his arms to the side.
/Alpha: Wind: Er... Boss?
Nix picked up Atilla and slammed him onto the ground, causing a portion of his health to disappear. The beasts growled menacingly around them but did not attack. He repeated the act a second time and then a third.
/Alpha: Semmi: That's it. Go slower.
Semmi watched as the fiends grew in strength. The fur on their bodies extended over their scars and grew thicker. Thick ropey muscles pulsed under their skin while their teeth and claws elongated. "Their tiers are rising."
Nix continued until Atilla had only the barest sliver of health left. "Hello, beautiful." The end products were hulking beasts with arms nearly dragging the ground. They had angry red eyes that seemed to hunger for blood.
/Alpha: Nix: Have him cede their control to you. He can return directly to camp.
/Alpha: Semmi: I'll let our people know he's coming.
Atilla has given control of his blood fiends to Wind.
Wind has received the Blood Fiend Command Interface.
/Alpha: Semmi: What does their Command interface look like.
/Alpha: Wind: Hunt, hide, docile, and retreat. They can be told to do those things at specific grid coordinates. Basic bite and claw attacks with a nifty stealth feature.
Nix waited until Atilla left the area before turning back to the group. "Have six hide in the surrounding woods. Send the others after the nearest OPs."
/Alpha: Pon: Aren't we going to kill one?
Nix activated his broom and moved into the air. The beasts howled in fury as Wind put them in hunt mode and sent them to the different areas.
/Alpha: Nix: Let the moment develop a bit more, then we'll swoop in and help out the nearest OP.
/Alpha: Semmi: Hide your flame strands from the OP scout. You may be the only person in Colonial who has something like that.
/Alpha: Nix: Good idea.
The group flew toward the nearest OP, maintaining a flight path a few meters above the ground. They moved slightly faster than a horse could gallop.
/Alpha: Semmi: Gotta wonder how fast these things are. Definitely as fast as our Daiken.
/Alpha: Wind: And our Daiken doesn't have built-in huds with comm devices.
/Alpha: Nix: Valid point.
Nix led the way, his eyes scanning the area where the tree-stand was located. It was attached to the trunk about ten meters up the side of the tree. The fiend covered half the distance in a single bound, its razor-sharp claws digging into the bark as its powerful jaws snapped at the retreating scout.
Three arrows buried themselves fletching-deep in the chest of the beast. The scout leaped out of harm's way before disappearing into the undergrowth.
/Alpha: Nix: Stay here, I'll get in front of them.
Nix accelerated upward and pushed the sliding sleeve until the wind shear threatened to unseat him. He then circled back and started searching. In the distance, the dim sound of fighting could be heard. By the time Nix arrived a few seconds later, the scout was backed up into a large tree with one hand hanging useless at his side.
Nix has activated [Black Ice: Sculpture].
The Fiend's leap was halted in mid-flight. Its ice-encased body landed on the ground and slammed into the intended prey with a sickening crunch. Nix dismounted and pushed emerald flames into his sword hilt. He paused when the rest of the group arrived on the scene.
/Alpha: Nix: Finish him off Wind, let me know if he stores in your Grave Ring.
A moment later, a skeletal salamander appeared in front of him. Nix knelt and placed a hand on her smooth skull. "Talk to Gid?"
The skeleton nodded slightly. "Taken care of."
Shae has joined Alpha.
Rabi has joined Alpha.
Sasi has joined Alpha.
/Alpha: Wind: Lots of company. Welcome!
/Alpha: Nix: Come to this location, don't be seen.
/Alpha: Rabi: Nix has special mission?
/Alpha: Nix: Yes. Shae, you stay here with Wind and wait for the Qi siblings.
Nix picked up the fallen scout and returned to his broom.
/Alpha: Wind: The fiend is in my ring.
Ring of Graves: Legendary
Description: Summon up to three enemies you've slain to fight on your behalf. Enemy identities may be locked in. The Ring of Graves will permanently store any three of your fallen foes.
2: Blood Lord Fiend
/Alpha: Nix: Good work. I'll cut this mission short and bring the scout back. Let's see who they send for the fiend's body.
/Alpha: Wind: What about the rest of fiends? They are done fighting.
/Alpha: Nix: Casualties?
/Alpha: Wind: None.
/Alpha: Nix: Send them into hiding.
Nix activated his mount and zoomed into the air with the unconscious scout draped over the broom handle. He moved to the top of the trees and accelerated toward camp. He turned the black ring with his free hand. "This is Strike team Adder. The OPs have been overrun; we're bringing back one wounded scout."
*Strike team Adder, proceed to the secured landing site.*
Nix smiled when he recognized the voice of Pelos. "Negative, we're bringing him directly to the med-tent."
*Strike Team Adder, follow your fucking orders!*
*Adder, this is Cyra. We'll meet up at the med-tent.*
Pon grinned at Nix, who was obviously enjoying his conversation with Pelos. "Mr. Thin-skin has it in for you."
Nix nodded in agreement.
/Alpha: Nix: Remember what Shuri said. Pelos is the precinct commander for the Fury Graveyard.
/Alpha: Semmi: Who is Shuri?
/Alpha: Nix: That's Pon's nickname for Shur'icon... His witch companion.
/Alpha: Pon: The hell you say! I never called her that.
/Alpha: Wind: Pretty sure you did.
/Alpha: Nix: Yep.