While the insectoid creatures that had not yet joined the fight seemed reluctant to enter the circle of light created by the torches, out beyond the light they still had them completely surrounded on all sides. Zuzana retrieved her crossbow, thankful that they at least could not have the high ground. As she finished that thought, she looked up, a horrible feeling settling in her gut. She saw the driders clinging to stalactites above them a heartbeat before their sticky webbing shot downwards, ensnaring both her, Blagoje and Velabahleke, weighing them down and immobilising them. Ceratans around the tunnel screeched, their spider-like legs clattering on the floor as they moved to join the fight. Where moments before it had been going heavily in the groups favour, now the ceratans had almost certainly won, with the majority of the group incapacitated. Varun and Anushka still stood, separated and surrounded by an ever-growing swarm of ceratans.
Varun had dropped his torch to use both his weapons, dodging and swaying, punching and kicking to fight off the insectoids. The big drider that had started the battle still stood, savagely attacking him with its remaining fang, now supported by a dozen of its smaller fellows. Varun was a cunning fighter, but he could not hold the onslaught for long. 2 of the smaller driders knocked him to the floor in front of the larger ceratan, who with a mocking slowness reached down and bit him in the shoulder with its venomous mandibles, the Ardents scream echoing through the darkening tunnel.
Zuzana saw no other way out. She preferred not to call on her friends secret when a stranger would see it, but the alternative was death. “Anushka!,” whirling her spear in circles to ward the ceratans off, Anushka briefly glanced in her direction, “We don’t have a choice, it’s an order!”.
Varuns scream stopped, and Anushkas expression took on a pained look, her eyes closing. Her tattoos burst into a radiant blue light, far brighter than the sputtering torches on the floor. A ceratan charging towards her immediately burst into blue flames, the magical fire eating away at its flesh far quicker than any normal flame could. As the smaller ceratans retreated in the face of this new development, the large drider strode forward, blood dripping from its mandibles. Anushka slowly ascended, her bare feet leaving the ground. The driders hiding among the stalactites were preparing another volley, but they did not have time to bring their attack to bear. With a scream that reverberated through the tunnel, great coils of flame exploded outwards from Anushkas form, incinerating any ceratan they came across. Panic immediately spread among the smaller creatures as they were consumed by magical flames, but the largest of them still strode forward, undaunted. As Anushka slowly opened her eyes again, blue-and-turquoise flames flickering across her gaze, the drider stabbed its remaining fang towards her. It never hit its mark as Anushkas fiery gaze blasted it across the tunnel, reducing its form to ashes in seconds. The remainder of the ceratans were either smoldering corpses or running for their lives. The snaring web that had coated Zuzana and the two others had withered away, reduced to wispy strands of grey material. As she rose to shake it off, it turned to ash.