Clarice leaned on her greatsword, exhausted. Her breathing was shallow and ragged, her body ached from the dozens of wounds she had suffered, and her hands were growing numb from the repeated blows she had struck. Icy rain beat down her, soaking through her red leathers and chilling her to the bone. Clarice swept a lock of her silvery-blonde hair out of her eyes, but the cold down poor soon brought it back to her face. She heard the telltale moaning of more foes on the approach, and she squinted through the thick fog to see where they were coming from.
Lost souls, Barovian dead, zombies. They had begun converging on the last location of the living in Barovia Village. Clarice looked behind her at the library, and for a moment considered taking shelter inside with the few remaining villagers, but she knew that the dozen zombies shuffling toward her would break down the door in a matter of moments. The young woman raised her greatsword and gave the undead a defiant glare.
"So much death," she sighed as she entered her preferred battle stance, prepared to defend the villagers to the bitter end.
Suddenly, she spied a trio walking toward her through the mists. Not shambling, not shuffling, but walking. Clarice felt her spirits rise immediately. They were alive!
"Over here!" she called out to them. "I am in desperate need of your aid!"
One of the figures blurred into motion, skewering one of the zombies with a spear just as the undead began to converge on Clarice.
"Do not worry pretty lady, we help you good," he said with an overly friendly smile.
A shock wave of piercing sound ripped through the zombies, sending bits of meat and bone flying in all directions. A moment later, hundreds of mangy tabby cats came pouring down the street and into the midst of the undead, clawing and biting wildly at them. Seeing her chance to strike, Clarice leaped into action.
"Desert Wind style," she cried out as she lunged forward. "Hatchling's Flame!"
Clarice slammed her blade into the ground, and a cone of flame spewed from the point of impact and into the ranks of the zombies. The undead were quickly consumed by the flames, as were the cats.
The other two figures emerged from the mist at this time, and while one was a normal looking human man, likely a priest judging by his robes, the other was quite definitely the fattest and furriest cat Clarice had ever seen.
"That was really neat pretty lady," the man with the spear said. "Are you a magician?"
"Doubtful," replied the priest before Clarice could answer. "It looked more like that weeaboo fightan magic to me."
"You killed my minions," the cat growled.
"The cat talks?" Clarice gasped.
"He is not a talking kitty," the spear-warrior said, "for he is a tibbet, and tibbets are kitty people, right Fluffy?"
"Silence, Ed!" the cat snapped. "I have renounced my inferior form and have risen above my original species."
"Er, well, thank you for helping me," Clarice said, bowing slightly. "I don't think I would have been able to fend off another attack in my current condition. My name is Clarice."
"Well hello Clarice," the priest replied with an evil smile as he drew uncomfortably close to her.
"Shane, it is not a nice thing to scare pretty ladies," Ed said sternly. "Unless the pretty lady is bad. Or a chicken."
"I assure you, Ed, it takes more than a lecherous priest to frighten me," Clarice replied, pushing Shane away.
"If you aren't scared, you should be," Fluffy growled as menacingly as he could.
"You threaten to attack me?" Clarice asked, tightening her grip on her sword.
"I can cast Summon Swarm seven more times today. You will tell us everything you know about what's going on, or I will let my minions eat you. Slowly. While Shane keeps you alive as long as possible with Cure spells."
Clarice suddenly found herself surrounded by hundreds of mangy tabby cats, all of them staring hungrily at her. Her dark blue eyes flickered first to Ed, then to Shane. Both merely watched her in anticipation.
What have I done to deserve such a fate? she wondered.