Divine Visions starts next Friday. It's probably the best fiction I've written in a while. Certainly the best I'd written at the time it was penned. I really hope you've enjoyed this one enough to look forward to Part 1 of the story of the mad cleric.
Stretching out his right hand towards Ethan, he nudged the protruding stake, sending fresh waves of pain coursing throughout her body and calming her weak struggles, uttering a satisfied chuckle when he heard her agonized moan. Ethan, sweat glistening upon his forehead, reached for the binding rings. The young man could see the panic in the woman's eyes. Perhaps Pernicies had been correct about gaining his freedom. Concentrating, he began working the bands off, moving with cautious precision. They had to be removed at exactly the same time or it wouldn't work. After witnessing the recent brutality, he didn't want to find out how failure would be rewarded.
Venia fought the engulfing panic and pain. Finally focusing the meditative techniques she had worked long to perfect, she banished the endless agony to some far corner, to be dealt with later. The mortal couldn't get that ring off or all be permanently lost. Gathering her remaining strength, she prepared to shove Pernicies forward. Timing her move for the last possible moment, she hoped to push his ring back upon is finger by the momentum of his fall. Either way, it would destroy the vital timing of their plan, probably allowing her band to fall free from her finger. With her band removed she would be free to deal with them in her true form, capable of draining Pernicies enough to subdue him for the time being. It might even save Thomas's life as well.
Ethan paused at the final joint on their fingers, taking a deep breath to steady himself for the last, crucial part. So intent was he upon his task that Pernicies look of alarm was entirely lost till too late. He crumpled into a heap, victim to the candlestick Thomas held unsteadily in his hand.
Venia threw her weight towards Pernicies shoulder's, overbalancing him and forcing him to collapse on top of Ethan. Tilting her hand down, the ring fell off, freeing her from the agony of her body. Pernicies paled at the anger emanating from her ethereal form. He felt the attack creep up from his shoulders into the base of his skull as Venia vented her rage, exploding his world into a collage of pain-induced colors. Screaming, he fell into merciful unconsciousness. She was far more merciful than he would have been. But then, that was her nature. Merciful grace.