Level 16 ~ Andrew

“It’s been over an hour.” Andrew looked seriously back at Feanthar and Sheya, “I say we go in in-force and take out the source of this blasphemy.”

Feanthar actually looked sick with worry, “We shouldn’t have let her go in alone… We should have all gone in together in the first place.

“Don’t worry, Vixie’s a lycanthrope.” Sheya put a hand comfortingly on Feanthar’s shoulder as Andrew turned back to what had been the center of worship in Holt before The Fall. “I doubt whatever’s in there is packing silver. She’s still alive.”

Andrew set Oracle into Banisher’s hilt and with a yell smashed through the barred double doors to the darkened ziggurat. His left eye blazed with inner light as he rushed in, scanning the dim stone corridors for invisible dangers. Sheya and Feanthar followed close behind him, weapons ready. The terrified screams of maidens mixed with feline roars that had to be Vixie made it pretty obvious whatever was going on was in the center of the ziggurat. At least it sounded like Vixie was still alive.

“Heaven grant us your blessings!” Feanthar invoked a powerful miracle surrounding them in a holy aura as they burst into the carved out heart of the ziggurat.

Fifteen death cultists in dark robes turned to face them as they entered. The floor in the center had been dug out and ringed with runes that seemed to be feeding some sort of slime that surged violently over the ground in the pit. Vixie was in the pit with the ooze, transformed into her were-leopard form. Leaping out of the ooze as it tried to swallow her and tearing it off of the stakes of three terrified maidens who had climbed out of the ooze’s reach. Of course without Vixie keeping the ooze off the stakes they’d be gone by now too. Looked like there was one Vixie hadn’t rescued, moving with the ooze like a puppet, trying to grab Vixie and hold her down.

“Stop the intruders! They mustn’t interfere in Carnagia’s return!”

Damn. The cultists were too far away. Andrew was closing distance, but it looked like all 15 were casters, and they had time to get off their spells. Feanthar was headed to the edge of the pit to help Vixie, and of course Sheya was staying close to him… Andrew steeled himself as the dark magic washed over him… And was negated completely by the holy aura Feanthar had generated! Andrew grinned darkly and actually found himself laughing as he got into range and dispatched three of the cultists with one powerful sweep.

“Vixie! Are you alright?” Feanthar called down, blasting away a section of the runes around the pit and disabling the whole circle.

Vixie snarled as she extracted herself from the ooze again, her matted and burned fur revealing that the ooze had some sort of acidic quality, “I’m fine! Get the other sacrifices out!”

“On it!” Sheya sheathed her weapons and in practically the same motion drew her cord-&-dagger. Flinging the dagger, Sheya used the weapon like a grapple to pull herself over the pit to one of the two unoccupied stakes in the center.

Andrew smiled with satisfaction as more dark magic fizzled on his holy aura, which seemed to glow even more brightly in opposition to the cultists’ attempts to pierce it. It was amazing how far Feanthar’s miracle-working had come since Andrew met him. These were clearly powerful mages they were fighting, but thanks to Feanthar’s miracle their spells weren’t having any effect at all. And without their magic these death-worshiping scumbags didn’t stand any kind of a chance against Andrew.

The last cultist dropped about the same time Sheya swung the last sacrifice to safety. Then the ooze in the pit erupted into violent spikes, vacating the body of the slain sacrifice and then suddenly burrowing down under the ground. They had time to look at each other, but not catch their breath, before the ground began shaking violently.

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