Just as Lith and Solus had predicted, the skeleton golems fought with no fear of death nor care for their survival. The moment they became damaged above a certain threshold, they didn't hesitate to blow themselves up.
The Phoenixes had been forced to retreat and fight only with magic, losing the advantage that their superior physical prowess granted to them. Getting anywhere near the battlefield was risky yet Lith's heart raced from excitement.
'Can you study them?'
'From this distance, no. What can I tell you even from here is that while the pseudo cores of the enchanted weapons prototypes have been shielded with cloaking spells, those of the mana crystals are perfectly visible.' Solus replied.
'It makes sense.' He thought while formulating his battle plan.
'Without the Eyes, studying an artifact during a fight is impossible and the golems are programmed to self-destruct the moment they are incapable of fighting anymore.
'On top of that, unless someone already knows that mana crystals can store memories and willpower, no one would waste their time studying them in the first place. Even Salaark had no idea that a mana crystal is more than just a power source before we shared our research with her.
'If Aylen aimed to maximize the damage output of her golems, she couldn't waste precious space with a cloaking spell. Golems cannot be stored inside a dimensional artifact unless their owner deactivates them first and the self-destruct command that she imprinted in the golems' cores is more than enough to protect her secrets.'
Lith and Solus had a hard time believing to such a lucky coincidence, but they would never look the gifted horse in the mouth when they could use that time to learn how to get as many horses as they wanted.
They had no way to know that it was no coincidence at all. Aylen had discovered the existence of the memory crystals only after one of her pets had told her about the amazing feats of a kid Necromancer named Balkor.
The Maker of Liches had dismissed the news as a lucky shot at first, but year after year the fame of Balkor's undead grew and so did her curiosity.
Not even Aylen had the skill to raise so many powerful undead in a single year so she had put her pride aside and studied the god of death's creations from a distance, even infiltrating his lab whenever he went back to his family.
It was then that she had discovered the existence of memory crystals and started to work on her golems. Balkor's Valors wasted too many materials, required the use of dangerous Abomination tissues, and lasted too briefly to be of any use.
The golems that had entered the battlefield were the first batch of prototypes that the Lich had kept stored while waiting for the opportunity to field test them.
Lith and Aylen had been studying the same branch of magic, but the source material for their research couldn't have been more different.
Lith had used the orc's crystal as a basis, just like Menadion when she had built her tower and the artifacts that carried her name, while Aylen had been forced to reverse-engineer the process by studying Balkor's suicidal method.
'Big sis Zoreth, I know that we are supposed to just spectate the fight, but if we don't help the Phoenixes, some of them might die.' Lith needed an excuse to get close enough to the golems to study them and that was the best lie he could think of.
'Are you insane?' The Shadow Dragon replied. 'I can't allow you to endanger your life nor am I going to leave you alone and break my promise to Sinmara. Also, remember that Salaark doesn't like me and that the other Phoenixes might attack me on sight.'
'Don't worry, I'm not going there to fight. I'll just support them from the sidelines. As for the other Phoenixes, we can use our mind link with Sinmara to share our plan with her. If she orders her soldiers to not attack you, they won't dare to disobey.' Lith said....
'Still a no.'
'I am Salaark's guest and a member of the Phoenix bloodline. How can you ask me to stay here and do nothing?' He felt guilty lying through his teeth like that, but the end justified the means.
Even the tiniest hint about Aylen's golems would save him months of research and even more of trial-and-error runecrafting.
Xenagrosh knew how deep the blood bond between Phoenixes was because she shared it with Kigan and with the other monster-Abomination hybrids. On top of that, she really loved Sinmara.
The Phoenix of Darkness was one of the few half-siblings Xenagrosh had that despite all the atrocities that she had committed in the past didn't consider her as a rabid beast that had to be put down.
'Fine.' Xenagrosh snorted more than said. 'But the moment the enemies shift their focus on you or things become too dangerous I'm going to drag you away from the battlefield.'
'Thank you, big sis.' Lith said, only pissing off Solus further with his manipulations. He was aware of how much Zoreth yearned for recognition and calling her like that was a low blow. 'Please, bring me close to the wounded and I'll do the rest.'
The Phoenixes cursed their bad luck when they saw the Shadow Dragon approaching their backs. The members of the Organization had a bad name and Lith was still in his human form, too small for them to notice.
'Stand down. Xenagrosh carries Lith, one of our brethren. She's our ally in this fight.' Sinmara said via the mind link the Phoenixes shared.
The members of the nest had no idea what just two more people could do, but any help was most welcome.
Lith came down from Xenagrosh's back and reverted to his full Tiamat form, standing 20 meters (66 feet) tall. He was small compared to the Shadow Dragon and the Phoenixes who both reached at least 30 meters (100 feet) of height.
Yet the aura he exuded made both armies stop for a second to study him.
Lith sank his fangs deeply in the flesh of his right hand and then threw drops of blood the size of a small car on the battlefield. Right after Xenagrosh had agreed to help him, Lith had used Abyssal Gaze to fill the black flames that flowed through his veins to the brim with both mana and life force.
The moment the blood drops came in contact with the outside world energy, they grew in size and power. The black flames assimilated the sand to gain mass and added the heat from the scorching sun to their own.
In the blink of an eye, they had turned into four meters (13 feet) tall creatures made of sand and fire that looked like lesser versions of the Tiamat. Some lacked the horns, some had no tail, and only very few had wings.
The number of their eyes varied from two to four according to the amount of mana that Lith had successfully stored within each drop of blood.
The Origin Demons roared their challenge and threw themselves against the enemy lines, throwing the golems into disarray. The bodies of this new kind of Demons were comprised of Origin Flames that consumed everything they touched.