Trial by Fire

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And so it Begins

Day turned to night three times. With final preparations made everyone had gathered in the House once more. The table was now repaired, replaced with a much larger one and many chairs. It was round, Nike’s design and Onyx’s handiwork. Seated were twenty two members. Luko, Riven, Boreit, Onyx, Nike, Xilo, Poppy, Tootsie, Tulip, and Slade were all present. The other eleven members were those of Tulip’s personal guard. They were elite soldiers capable of all forms of combat. Most were hand picked by Boreit or Denisun themselves from the scout regiment. With everyone seated there were still two seats, Tulip applauded the two Erodesean’s workmanship.

“Onyx, Nike, this is truly a magnificent table.”

Both bowed without a word.

Tulip’s yellow eyes looked at Slade who pursed his lips and looked around cautiously. Most of the guard eyed him with contempt, it was a certainty they came in contact with other humans and the interaction was not pleasant. Tulip stood and created an apparition in the middle of the table.

“Group one will consist of five members. Xilo, Poppy, Tootsie, Geralt, and Conifer. You will assassinate Slade’s relatives. Conifer and Geralt have the intel and will brief you themselves. You are off.”

Immediately those called stood up, pushed in their chairs, and left in a hurry. Tootsie scurried out and slowed down before he left. His eyes white he waved to Onyx and Nike, saying his farewell.

“The rest of us will be heading to Pirius’s tomb. We will use the cover of darkness for most of the journey. We stop for nothing. First priority is to keep Slade alive, he will be riding on the back of Onyx along with Nike. Second priority is to keep Onyx and Nike alive.”

Tulip shifted her apparition to resemble a rough topographic map. “The terrain is dense forest becoming impassable for armies towards the tomb. Any engagement will be with small teams, we use our speed and the cover of our giants to block any enemy arrows.”

Tulip pointed to Onyx and Boreit.

“Our mission is to reach the tomb as fast as possible, reanimate Pirius with Nike’s cleansing, and have Onyx eat his heart. The formation will be standard scramble with the fastest on the wings, heavies in the middle, and medium from front to back. I will be located in the front of the formation. An ambush is likely, be on the lookout for enemy arrows, tighten the formation in contact, and punch through the enemy using our heavies. Once at the tomb I will erect a barrier. Onyx, Slade, Nike, and myself are the only ones allowed inside, everyone else will maintain vigilance and defend the ritual until it is over. After the ritual is finished we make a beeline for Kilo, the fastest among us left will organize the militia and Riven will ride out to meet any would be enemies. We will travel light, engage only when absolutely necessary, and use the cover of darkness for most of the journey. Any questions?”

The room was deathly silent until Nike spoke.

“Princess, when we are inside the barrier, how will I cleanse the heart?”

Tulip smiled showing her rocky teeth.

“My sweet Nike. You will know better than I.”

Nike promptly sat back down, xyr eyes a deep blue.

Tulip scanned the room then got up.

“Let’s be off then.”

The group of seventeen took off at breakneck pace. In the dead of night all manner of things could be heard, but not seen. Guided in their formation by their spirits they flew through the trees, the eyes of many upon them.

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