Each wolf in the pack were either licking their lips or panting in joyous anticipation of the repast ahead of them, it was the body of Juliette, that was the vision the tranquil courtesan was experiencing in her sweet delirium. She had no idea how she got there or what happened to her put her in this state, she ascertained that the provisions of her will as to the disposal of her corpse were being met.
Being an atheist, Juliette stated in her will that upon death there was to be no Christian funeral, burial or headstone, the executors were to arrange for her dead body to be chopped up and fed to the wolves. So here she was on a serene forest floor, unable to move or speak, just observe through her dreamy eyes. The wolves were going to eat her and she was going to feel ecstasy with each bite, tear and swallow; this was indeed a pleasant delerium.
A dark figure entered the scene, it was the Beast of Gevaudan, the wolf pack backed off in fear of this huge imposing lupine; it turned its red eyes towards Juliette, its jowls salivating, its breathe putrid and hot. Suddenly this vision was one of distress, it had lost its sweet quality. The Beast was a foul creation it had no place in the woman's death plans; after a couple of steps towards her it inexplicably ran away as if chastised by a cross parent.
Juliette felt her consciousness fade out and then fade in to a new vision, she was still horizontal and immobile but the serene forest was gone. She was floating in a dark void with only faint illumination; there was nothing above or below her and a haze that appeared to be a shimmering curtain blurred anything there was to see.
It was through this haze that the Juliette noticed the illumination's source, it was a conglomeration of iridescent globes, she realised quickly that this was not a structure but a stupendous and malign entity. A near mind splitting sense of horror overcome the woman, she knew that without the blurring haze her mind would've shattered into splinters at sight of this foul omnipotence. It was not God, Juliette's atheism remained intact, this was something horrid and thankfully dormant.
"Yog Sothoth. Yog Sothoth. Yog Sothoth. Yog Sothoth." The unseen choir chanted.
With each repetition of those words, Juliette could see the iridescent globes pulsate in sequence. She knew the omnipotent entity's name now.
"They're not trying to wake that thing up are they?" Juliette asked in thought.
"Yog Sothoth. Yog Sothoth. Yog Sothoth. Yog Sothoth." The chanting continued.
A series of mini visions played out in front of Juliette. First was a book being opened, only the foremost letters of the title could be made out: NECRO. Second was the image of a distressed she wolf being dangled within what must be the multi-globed entity, drawing in its essence. Next mini vision was that of a black wolf cub with red eyes, it was being fed on human body parts; severed fingers and toes, soft internal organs and minced flesh. Finally the same cub, now an adult preying upon people, the vision showed it killing a little girl wearing a red hooded cloak.
Juliette figured that these mini visions were echoes of what has already happened, they tell of the conception, raising and savage maturity of the Beast of Gevaudan.
The courtesan felt herself descending, her consciousness fading out and in again to a former vision, she was back on the forest floor, but this time the wolf pack had surrounded her still form to look down on her. A new chant began to fill the air.
"Y'ai'ng'ngah. Yog Sothoth. H'ee-l'geb. F'ai Trhodog. Uaaaah."
It sounded as if the wolves themselves were doing the chanting, yet their mouths did not articulate. The woman figured that a lupine grace was being uttered and they would commence devouring her any second.
In a flash, Juliette's consciousness suddenly jolted to a more vivid level; her eyes opened, wolf heads were above her, she was being seized, not by jowls or paws, but by hands, human hands. The wolfmen lifted her off the altar and placed the waking woman on her feet, they maintained support until she found balance, but still held on to her.
"Welcome to my parlor." Said a man in colored robes. "I trust you found the transcendental experience weird and wondrous, many people come out of that insane."
Juliette saw that her dress and bodice were still on; she was presently a captive of the wolfmen and that the man in colored robes was Joseph Curwen. They were in a wide illuminated cavern, with both stalactites and stalagmites, though most of the latter had been leveled.
"What am I doing here?" She asked.
"You are a wretched member of Munchausen's pitiful League, we grabbed you, brought you here, now you are our prisoner." Explained Curwen.
"Put her on the crossbars." The warlock commanded.
The wolfmen dragged her to an little structure shaped like an X. A rope was tied around one of her wrists then threaded through an iron loop on the top of one crossbar, then brought across and through another fixed loop on top of the other crossbar, and tied around her other wrist. Juliette was effectively spread-eagled with her back to the structure; she had experienced many bondage types and this was actually one of her more favored because she could sit on the intersection.
The captive courtesan noticed several torture devices in the background, a rack, stocks, thumbscrews and an iron maiden that was wide open showing its nasty spikes. A hot coals stand was nearby with brands and pokers getting heated up.
Joseph Curwen approached her, the colored robe was gone, he was wearing a brown suit with a frilled shirt front and white silken bow tie. The face retained a cruel demeanor as if he was torturing her in his mind.
"I don't know what's worse." He Said. "The Baron's folly in forming The League or your stupidity in being part of it? I mean what were you thinking?"
"When I was briefed." She replied. "I thought, brilliant. What a great way to spend the next few days; ridding France of a complete jerk with a bag of magic tricks and a freaky pet dog."
A bitter frown marked Curwen's face, he moved close to the bound woman then delivered a furious slap to her face followed by a more powerful backhand. Juliette smiled as if she enjoyed the abuse.
"You have no idea what my powers are and what they have done for you." He spat.
"What are you thinking Joseph Curwen?" She asked. "Why do you chant to that malign creature in the void?"
"Creature! Creature you say." He replied. "You saw Yog Sothoth, his splendor is omnipotent, the human mind cannot gaze upon it without going hopelessly insane. You're lucky you were in a state of heavy delerium.
"Yog Sothoth is an outer deity, all the cosmos in one, both gate and key to anywhere or anything in the past, present or future in this world and in all other planes of existence. I should give you to him. Yes, you will mate with this cosmic entity, your mind will be shattered but your progeny will conquer the Earth under my majesty.
"I could just torture you to death or give you to all the wolfmen as an erotic chew toy; but no. It is this sacrifice to Yog Sothoth that will sadden Munchausen no end, if he survives this conflict with me, he will turn in his sleep in abject misery for the rest of his life knowing that he is responsible for sending you into my clutches."
The warlock grabbed the woman's hair and looked into her eyes.
"The all powerful one will love me for this, he will bestow upon me more powers. It will happen soon. I must do the research." He said.
Joseph Curwen let her hair go and walked off. Juliette put aside all suspicion that it was Jean who knocked her out. The wolfmen must have sneaked up on the two League members at the mounds and knocked her out, but she had no headache; the warlock must have zapped her unconscious with sorcery. What happened to Jean? What she should be asking herself is; how to get out of here?
A team of wolfmen lifted the crossbars with its captive still on it and moved it to an isolated alcove. Fernand Wagner, in his wolfskin, entered the chamber and sent all present out, he wanted the amorous courtesan to himself. Juliette recognised her assailant from the theatre battle, the wolfman who almost stabbed her to death but hesitated when he saw her naked body. His current intentions were clear, they would be to any courtesan.
"Well Hello. Do you recall my strip act at the theatre?" She smoothed the words out in an inviting tone while making seductive movements with her torso, then stretched her face towards him as much as her bonds allowed.
The wolfman brought his lips close to hers but she drew herself back in, luring him right up against her and the crossbars. His lips merged with hers and their tongues tantalised each other, she smiled when it was over. More kisses were applied to her breasts and torso while his hands fiercely caressed her thighs, Juliette gave complimentary moans with each contact. As the frequent kisses moved up to her throat, the wily courtesan shifted herself to the right, Fernand compensated by moving himself to the right. Juliette retracted her left hand to the loop fixture allowing her to bring her right hand down on the wolfskin shoulder and with expert manipulation, tore out a metal stud from the seams while simultaneously emitting a loud fake moan of high ecstasy.
Fernand had felt something happen to his shoulder, but the orgasmic sound had divided his attention and the amorous woman wrapped her legs about his waist and immediately began to kiss him wherever she could; all concerns about his shoulder were forgotten. He was lost in this strong passion each moment was followed by an even more intense one, he couldn't stop, nor did he till his name was yelled from the chamber entrance.
Two figures scrutinized the scene, Joseph Curwen and a little boy in a wolfskin. Juliette recognised Guy Loup, the page boy at St. Evremonde's party, the kid who nearly poisoned M. The warlock frowned at the wolfman as Fernand tried to level out his breathing.
"I'll have a word with you about this later." Said Curwen in a cross tone. "Right now we have some trouble on a nearby hill, take four armed men and deal with it."
"Yes. At once." Answered Fernand before leaving the chamber.
Scrutiny from the two was intense; Juliette could only look casual with her fists clenched, looking innocent was not an option for her. Joseph Curwen ordered two wolfmen to enter the chamber and watch the suspicious captive, then with Guy Loup following, left.
Juliette's two guards faced each other and conversed idly, this was her chance to employ the stud she had clenched in her right hand. The stud's rim was mildly sharp, the captive began to rub it on the rope that bound her. Musket shots could be heard in the distance, maybe Munchausen and The League were coming to her rescue. Still, she was going to extricate herself from this ordeal, this was the very quality for which M valued her. She could get out of trouble as easily as she gets into it.
Another wolfman entered the chamber and addressed the two guards.
"The trouble on the nearby hill is worse than we thought. The Master is going himself to help deal with it, he wants all the backup he can get. You two must go and help him. I will stay and watch the prisoner."
"You're the new guy?" One wolfman said.
"Yes. More useful here than out there." He replied.
The two guards left to aid Joseph Curwen. This watcher faced her; Juliette could only hope that he didn't notice her activity, what he was doing was staring at her with some intent, then he drew out a knife.
"You won't escape the all magnificent cause of virtue this time harlot." He said.
Removing his wolfskin, the lone figure revealed himself; Juliette had met him before, only this time he was pointing a knife at her, instead of a musket. The figure was Patience, last of the Seven Virtues.