Level 15 ~ Vixie cont’d

There were maybe fifteen cultists total, if that. No less than ten. Of course, this time she hadn’t dropped a single one of them. Oh, and they had about twenty or thirty refugees in the priests’ cells, converted to prison cells. The center of the ziggurat had been dug out into a pit and filled with the yellowed rancid bones of something at least as big as the dragon had been, though there wasn’t anywhere near a full skeleton. But in spite of the rancid bones, Vixie was a little curious why, as she and four other young women waited chained to stakes in the middle of the pit, why the strongest scent was this tangy, wet, acidic smell… Like some sort of pulped fruit? A poisonous one maybe.

Yeah, the scouting hadn’t gone well. She still didn’t know how they figured out she was there, but one spell and her entire mind shut down and the next thing she knew she was chained up next to the four sobbing and shaking young women. Though she managed to gather from the cultists preparing for some sort of ritual around the edges of the pit that they’d liked her outfit more than what they managed to come up with for the sacrifice whose place she took. So… Yay fashion! What had the exact quote she overheard been? Carnagia will like this one better? That was probably enough information to take back to the others if she hadn’t already missed her time limit.

“Hey!” Vixie turned to get the attention of the sobbing maiden next to her in a hushed tone, “Crying’s not going to get us out of here! Tell your friends to pull it together!”

Didn’t take. The maiden went right on bawling, her eyes red enough Vixie wasn’t sure she could see who she was talking to, but did manage to choke out a meager few words. “None of us are getting out! The gods have abandoned us! We’re all going to die and our souls are going to be devoured!”

Vixie sighed as she rubbed her wrists where the chains had been holding her to her stake. She was going to need to figure out what they did with her equipment; they even found her secret picks!

“Or, we could pick the locks on our chains and make a run for it.” Vixie suggested to the incredulous maiden as she walked over and slipped one of her claws into the lock on the maiden’s chains. It felt damn good to still be a trick ahead of these guys who detected her entrance and found her secret picks.

Of course by the time she had all of the maidens freed and looking hopeful again the cultists had noticed what she was up to in spite of their fervent chanting and magic-casting. Vixie was ready this time though. The runes around the edge of the pit were powerful magical conduits, but that meant any spell that went off near them would be absorbed rather than passing the runes. Vixie was willing to bet her and the maidens’ lives on it. Directing her fellow sacrifices to escape along the left hand wall, Vixie calculated they’d reach the exit just before the cultists—all of whom appeared to be present—and the maidens could slip out while she bought them some time still using the runes at the edge of the pit for cover.

“Darkness despoil the land and seas; heaven weep and hell take heed; in the name of The Death Gate we summon His creature! Rise, Carnagia, live again!”

Shit. That one she hadn’t counted on. This slime started blasting out of the runes and drenching the screaming maidens and Vixie in the source of that acidic smell she’d detected earlier.

“Back to the middle of the pit!” Vixie screamed to the others who hurried to comply even as the ooze clinging to their bodies burned their skin and dissolved their clothes.

The girl who’d been chained next to Vixie originally slipped and fell as the others rushed back to their stakes to try and scrabble up out of the ooze that was filling the pit. Vixie turned back nimbly, not even the thick layer of acidic ooze could throw off her footing, and reached down to help the young woman up.

“Please! Help me!” The woman screeched desperately as Vixie took her hand. But Vixie was distressed to discover when she tried to pull the woman up that the ooze was pulling back. Even as Vixie braced to pull the woman out with her were-leopard’s strength, she saw the ooze overtake the terrified maiden’s head and force its way in through her eyes, ears, nose and still screaming mouth.

As the woman’s arm went limp, Vixie allowed it to drop in horror. The woman’s body trembled and shuddered as the ooze consumed her internal organs and replaced them, Vixie could smell the blood and bile as the woman was hollowed out in only a few seconds. Then the ooze filled the hollowed out body and began manipulating it like a puppet as Vixie felt the ooze creeping up her own legs.

“Gods help us…”

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