A third and a fourth lizzie stepped up onto the platform to be smashed by the stone of Hissussisthiss. The lizardmen in the audience seemed to be enjoying themselves—talking, slapping each other on the shoulder, and bouncing up and down in their seats.
“I think I pieced it together,” said Bratihn. “I’ve been listening to these brutes behind us. The citizens vote on who they want to be down there, and the top five hundred vote-getters are sacrificed. It’s their chance to get rid of their rivals and the neighbors they don’t get along with.”
“Kafira,” muttered Brown. Senta thought that he might be imagining how many of his neighbors would vote for him.
Suddenly her attention was pulled back to the sacrificial boulder. A young female lizardman had just stepped into the place of honor. Senta immediately recognized her as Szim, the lizzie who had served as her tour guide the day before. The giant rock trembled for just a moment. Senta snatched one of the floating glamours from around her head, activating the spell stored within it. She stretched out her right hand just as the boulder began to fall. It stopped in the air a foot above the lizzie’s head.
“Oomph,” Senta grunted. It felt as though three hundred pounds had been dropped on her shoulders. She could hear pandemonium erupt around her as lizardmen all over the arena began hissing and gesturing wildly. She could hear her companions as well.
“What the hell are you doing?” growled Staff.
“You’re going to get us killed,” said Brown.
“Form a cordon,” Bratihn called to the other former soldiers.
The reptilian witch doctor went running across the arena’s open area. He brandished his lizard fetish and cast his own spell, trying to force the rock down. Senta felt sweat break out all over her body. It wasn’t because of this new spell though. It was because of the great weight of the draconic rock, which was far heavier than her telekinesis spell was normally empowered to lift. Compared to the simple physics of gravity, the witch doctor’s spell was a veritable pebble.
When he saw that pushing the rock wasn’t going to work, the lizardman turned toward her waving his lizard lollipop. Two tiny shooting stars sprayed from his talisman. With her free hand, Senta grabbed another glamour, throwing a shield spell around her and her companions. The energy darts ricocheted off into the sky.
“Uuthanum uastus carakathum nit!” she shouted. The witch doctor was engulfed in a pond of mud where a moment before there had only been stone.
“Leave the lizzie!” shouted Staff. “We’ve got to get the hell out of here!”
“Do I tell you how to drive a boat,” said Senta, but her voice was quavering, and her body was starting to shake.
Then she heard the shouting of the Freedonian commander. “Halten sie sie auf!”
One of the wizards, she thought it was Hoff, cast a spell to force the rock down. She took no more notice of it than she had of the witch doctor’s first spell. Neither of them was a match for her. Then Tourbell threw a simple electricity spell at her, a far less potent version of the lightning spell with which she had killed the flock of achillobators. It bounced off of her magical shield. The third wizard, evidently the most powerful of the three, tried the more direct approach. He tried to overpower her mind with a domination spell. Senta grunted as a blinding pain shot through her skull. The dragon stone dropped about six inches, before she caught it again.
“Uuthanum uluchaiia uluthiuth,” she said, sending a ball of flame shooting from the fingers of her left hand. It grew to a size of ten feet in diameter in the short distance between the Brechs and the Freedonians, and burst upon the wizard, igniting him and two non-magical Freedonians. Half a dozen other humans as well as a dozen lizzies who were nearby had small patches of hair, clothing, and skin catch fire.
Senta could see Bratihn in the right corner of her eye brandishing a pistol at someone. The party had not brought their rifles, but he must have kept the handgun concealed. When a lizzie approached too close, he shot it in the face. Other sporadic gunfire echoed around her. She could feel the stone slipping. Her will was not enough to hold it up forever.
“Rezesic edios uuthanum erros paj,” she said, casting the same type of telekinesis spell she was using to hold up the boulder, instead to yank Szim out from under it. The lizzie went flying down onto the floor of the arena. The rock shaped like Hissussisthiss slammed down onto the platform, smashing through it, destroying the copper mechanism below. Then it rolled over on its side into the large puddle of mud now dominating the stadium floor, squashing the witch doctor beneath it.