The Magistrate tossed and turned in his bed, but could find no rest from the images that haunted him. Even the lingering effects of the wine hed almost drowned himself with to chase her face from his thoughts offered him no respite. He could not rest while she was so utterly beyond his reach. He needed to see her again. And then, it hit him. He could see her. Rising quickly, he sat on the edge of the bed and reached to light the lantern on his bedside table. When its light spilled out over the small bedroom, he nearly sprang from the bed, taking it with him as he hurried down the hall to his study, wearing only his nightshirt. Gathering the needed components, he quickly placed the brass bowl of liquid on the table, placing it next to the lantern.
Elaquos Vewkos Parorra! He spoke the magical incantation while focusing intently on the face of the gnomish thief, exhilaration rushing through him.
Quirm watched intently, quivering in anticipation, as the image began to take shape on the liquid's surface, cloudy at first. As its hazy cloud cleared, he saw the girl lying on her back on the floor of a stone hallway. She was still dressed as she had been earlier that day, and restrained with the bands of silver that adorned her fair body. She was shaking her head, seeming to be slowly recovering from something, when a robed figure came to stand over her. The Magistrate scowled as he instantly recognized the balding head and ornate robes of the Headmaster of the Arcane Academy. He saw that the robes were sliced and bloody, though saw no signs of pain from the wizard.
The Magistrate made an involuntary whimpering sound as he saw the look of fear in the girls eyes as she struggled to back away from the approaching Headmaster, but her cuffed ankles and hands gave her no means to escape. Quirm could do nothing but watch as Tesloke gestured angrily, and a glowing, spectral hand appeared in the air, taking hold of the links between the girls ankles, using it to lift them from the ground and beginning to drag her through an open doorway.
Quirms magical vision, and the Headmaster himself, followed the girl through the doorway and into a large room. Halfway across the room, the spectral hand released the girl and then lifted the free end of a long chain that was set into a floor on the other end. The girl tried to roll away from it as it approached her, but the hand was too quick for her, and stopped her flight by attaching the end of the chain to the hinged ring on the back of her collar. The hand continued to hover around the girl, and the Magistrate watched as it opened the rings between her ankles, then her upper arms, and then finally released each wrist from where it was attached to the side of her belt. Held only by the chain on her collar now, the girl looked up at the Headmaster as he stood near her, rising to sit on the floor with her legs drawn up in front of her and her arms wrapped around them.
Able to see and not hear the scene before him, Quirm could not tell what spell the Headmaster was invoking until it was almost complete. His heart raced with fear for the girl as he watched the incantation draw to a close with Teslokes toss of what was unmistakably part of the tentacle of a giant sea creature. He saw the girls eyes following the flight of the thing as it landed near the spot where her leash was set into the floor. And then she leapt to her feet as chaos ensued at the completion of the spell.
Thick, dark, tentacles erupted from the spot where the octopus flesh had been, waving frantically in the air. The Magistrate watched as the chained girl ran forward to the end of the leashs length, seeing it grow taut behind her as the rubbery appendages lashed out toward her.
Quirm saw the girl throw out her arms to the side and lean forward, up on her bare toes at the outer limit of the chains reach, arching her back and thrusting her smooth belly forward as far as she could as the first tentacles reached for her. He saw the pained expression on her face, and watched her mouth open in a silent scream as the tips of the vile things could only barely glance across her back in the outstretched pose. He could see the tension in her body as she struggled to hold the agonizing position while the frustrated appendages lashed out at her.
And then Quirm could only watch in horror as one of the tentacles found her leash chain itself in its mindless flailing. As it coiled slowly around the heavy chain, the Magistrate saw the girls face redden with the strain and then change to one of horror. He watched her hold out desperately against the growing tension for an agonizing moment before her left foot stumbled back a step. A tentacle reacted almost instantly, whipping out to wrap around her suddenly exposed ankle. He saw the girl turn to avoid falling as it pulled, and then watched it begin to draw her in as it coiled and climbed up her calf.
The tip of the first tentacle reached the back of the straining girls knee as a second lashed itself around her right thigh, just above the silver band of metal that encircled it. Quirm watched through the portal as she grasped at it with both hands, trying to yank it away. Moving with terrible speed, the tip of that probing tentacle stretched and uncoiled, spinning around her thigh again to pin her right wrist against it as she barely pulled her left hand away in time to avoid the same fate. The fat tentacle on her left leg began to press on the back of her knee, forcing it to bend forward. The continuing pull on the chain of her collar drew her in closer to the hungry nest of black, fiendish tentacles, and the Magistrate watched as another grabbed her right ankle and yanked it forward.
Clutching the edge of the table fiercely with both hands, Quirm watched the continuing scene unfold. He was helpless to intervene as the girl fought courageously against the powerful tendrils of magic. He saw the pressure on the captives knee forcing her into a squat on that side, with her other leg pulled out straight before her. Another tentacle found the girls slender waist and began to coil about it. Her eyes went wide as the powerful tendril pressed into her belly, forcing the air from her lungs. The tentacle on her left leg was now wrapping itself around her upper leg as well, welding her calf and thigh together with its unyielding grip. Her right foot, drawn out in front of her, had reached the nest of worm-like smaller tentacles at the base of the thing, and even they clung to her, weaving themselves between her bare toes and squeezing them.
Flailing desperately, the girl had managed to keep her left arm away from the grip of the tentacles, but the Magistrate knew it was only a matter of time before it fell prey like the rest of her limbs. He winced as he saw it grabbed twice in rapid succession, one taking hold of her upper arm and the other her wrist. He saw the fear on her face, and watched her begin to shake as another tentacle lashed out between her legs and beneath her. Its tip came up behind the girl, beating against her back like a whip as she screamed silently under its assault. And then this last, blind tentacle found its true target, and the girls eyes went wide as it wrapped around her slender neck.
Shaking his head with fear of his own, Quirm watched as this new tentacle began to draw back on the girls neck while the one around her waist pulled forward. Her body quivered as she began to bend backwards at a painful angle, her back arching slowly into the torturous position. Her left toes came out from under her, and she came down on her black-wrapped calf as the dueling tendrils on her neck and waist continued to assert their control on her. The tentacles on her arms seemed to join in the effort, dragging her down to the ground with them until her shoulders pressed to the floor.
Her mouth wide open in a desperate scream that contorted the perfect features of her face, she was caught unaware by the stretching tip of the tentacle that was wrapped around her neck. Quirm watched her body convulse as it plunged deep into her mouth. Her eyes closed reflexively, and her body shook as much as the tight position would allow as she gagged on it.
The Magistrate stood utterly still, hardly daring to breath, as the scene before him finally came to a rest. The girl rested against the floor, one leg outstretched and the other folded beneath her. Her back was arched, bowlike, as if aiming its invisible arrow toward the ceiling of the room. As the tentacles stilled, the only motion that remained within his vision were the slight shudders of the girls upper body with each agonizing breath.
So intent was the Magistrate on the vision of the poor girls painfully bent body that he almost missed another piece of the picture at the edge of his magical vision, what he took to be the statue of a lunging warrior. His eyes narrowed as he suddenly recognized that what he had mistaken for a creation of stone was, in fact, a thing of flesh and blood, though now frozen in place in death. But this was not just any being of flesh and blood, but rather a constable of the city watch. There was no mistaking the shape and scarred face of Kellen of the Nine, with whom the Magistrate had become intimately familiar first as an actual thief, and then as one licensed to practice by the Baron as constable.