Tulip stumbled a half-step as her foot struck a knot of roots, the movement jarring Dreg and eliciting a grunt of pain from the injured ogre.
Tulip gaped as Surzl’s charred holy symbol struck the ground, bounced once, and came to rest next to the swirling cloud of ash where the flame acolyte had stood. At the foot of the dais, Mags let out an anguished keen that seemed to go on and on.
Reacting on instinct, Surzl’s hand flew to her holy symbol, the words of her incantation whispered in such a rush that the syllables ran together like one long word: “aquiestravaobscura.”
Everything happened in a blur, all at once. That horrid click sounded under Isabog’s foot. Mags’ face twisted into a grimace of dread, the puny rogue instinctively flipping back and away.
Looming over Isabog where she lay on the ground, Surzl glowered at her crumpled form. Stupid warlock. Ruznabiyug’s fury, she’d really done it this time.
The air whuffed from her lungs as she hit the ground, and Mags rolled to her feet just as the door of the wooden cage slammed shut behind her. The human scout who’d captured her hastily replaced the heavy lock, testing it to make sure it held firm.
As an acolyte of Burning Ruznabiyug, Surzl had long since learned to master fire.
Isabog drifted toward consciousness, sighing in pleasure as her senses registered luxurious softness and warmth, along with the familiar smell of cold earth and stone, long untouched by the sun.
On her knees on the cave floor, Surzl lurched forward, her eyes finding the spot where Mags lay unmoving in her bedroll against the far wall. Still. Mags was far too still.
Pinned under Tulip, Mags watched the hulking monster charge straight for them. With the desperation of a trapped animal, she squirmed under the bigger warrior’s unmoving bulk, trying to find the leverage she needed to wriggle out.
As the four dejected goblins trudged along the rock-strewn path from the caves, Tulip stared at the iron band around her forearm, her heart guttering like a slowly blown out candle flame.
Rough hands roused Mags from a restless sleep. It was pitch black all around her and she was nestled deep into something delightfully scratchy-soft. She inhaled to get her bearings, letting her keen nose tell her where she was. It smelled of damp straw and mold here, and cold, ancient stone.