Teller of Tales

by Beestie

Part THREE -- Shog It Up, Baby!

Run, cub!" snarled Beestie. He quickly fished a carrot out of one pocket and just as quickly ate it. Instantly his eyesight returned. The shoggoth had already outdistanced the huge minotaur and the titan and was almost on top of Beestie.

     As the shoggoth slithered closer, the old Rakshasa rapidly backed up a few paces. Reaching into a pocket on his vest, he pulled out a bluish rod that crackled with power. He aimed it at the shoggoth and muttered under his breath. The air between him and the monster lit up as a jagged crack of lightning shot out from the end of the rod and hit the shoggoth. It screamed in pain and rage as a huge, burned rent opened up in its side where the lightning bolt hit it.

     "I'll get it, Unca!" said Kirrsh. He extended his claws to their fullest and charged the shoggoth.

     "No!" howled Beestie -- but it was too late. The cub tore into the side of the shoggoth with two rakes of his paws. Instantly, great balls of acid splashed out from the shoggoth's hide in response to the attack. Kirrsh squealed in pain and cowered away as the acid began to dissolve his flesh. "You imbecile!" snarled Beestie. "Step back! You can't fight a shoggoth hand-to-hand! It will kill you!" He flipped a healing potion over to Kirrsh and aimed the wand back at the shoggoth. It eyed him balefully, circling around, trying to find an opening where it could attack without getting another jolt from the Rod of Lightning Bolt.

     "Didn't like that, did you?" chuckled Beestie as wave after wave of the darkest hatred washed over him from the mind of the shoggoth. It made a move to the left, then quickly darted to the right -- but the wise, old Rak kept the rod aimed at the shoggoth's face. "I know your tricks, Dark One," he chuckled. He nodded to Kirrsh who was still whimpering and licking his acid-burned paws, and began to back out. As he did, the shoggoth instantly charged.

     Crack! went the air between Beestie and the shoggoth as another bolt leapt from the rod. One tentacle began to writhe free from the demon, acting like a worm impaled on a fishing hook.

     "I have no quarrel with you, Dark One," muttered Beestie, still backing away. "But I can and will kill you if you keep attacking." He cuffed Kirrsh on the side of the head. "Run for the entrance when I say to," he muttered under his breath to the cub.

     Crack! Another bolt leapt out and hit the shoggoth squarely in the face. "Run!" bellowed Beestie, smacking the cub in the head as he turned and bolted for the entrance. The shoggoth gave a scream of rage and began to chase -- the minotaur and titan only a few steps behind it.

     The dark elven mage that the two Rakshasas bowled over as they hurtled out of the dungeon entrance barely had time to scream a profanity at the two cats before they were hundreds of steps away. His angry words were quickly replaced by screams of pain as the shoggoth found him and attacked. Neither Rakshasa spared the elf a second thought.

     "Unca, what was that?" whimpered Kirrsh in between pants when they finally slowed to a walk.

     "That, cub, was a shoggoth. It is one of the demons that sometimes crawl up from the depths of the under world of Wyvern."

     "What was it doing in that training dungeon?" he mewled. He was still licking his paws in between questions.

     "It was summoned by the magic trap," growled Beestie. "I should have been more careful -- but after hitting that one trap, I thought we were clear of hitting any more. I should know better." He grabbed one of Kirrsh's paws and pulled it closer to look at it. "This just goes to show you that adventuring in Wyvern is deadly -- and to always stay on your toes." He traced the burn marks up the younger Rak's arm and tried to push aside Kirrsh's armor at the shoulder. It refused to budge.

     "That's funny," he muttered. "I don't remember that titan casting curse on us." He looked up into Kirrsh's face. "At any time did you feel your fur tingling -- like it all wanted to stand up on end?"

     The cub shrugged. "I don't remember anything like that, Unca -- but I was a little busy getting burned."

     "Yeah, well, next time don't do anything rash. Do what I tell you. Remember -- I've been doing this for a while. I know what can kill you and what you can kill." He dropped Kirrsh's paw and began to look around. "We need to find a hospital for you -- and an uncurse altar." He pointed. "There. The hospital. See the red cross on it?" Kirrsh nodded. "Always look for the red cross." He paused for a moment. "I think there is an uncurse altar in this one." He scratched his right cheek. "I think," he repeated.

     Several minutes later, and several hundred gold pieces lighter, the two Rakshasas came out of the hospital. "Where to now, Unca?" asked Kirrsh.

     The older Rak paused and looked around. "Not sure, cub," he said. "Maybe we need to get a bite to eat and something to drink." He turned around a couple times. "Perhaps a quick visit to the Hanging Half-Orc?" he suggested, turning towards the New Verden tavern.

     "I suppose, Unca," said Kirrsh. "Only, I can't afford any more Rak's Purses."

     "That's all right, cub," chuckled Beestie. "I'm actually hankering for a good ale." He started walking towards the door to the tavern.

     "Hey hair ball!" snarled a voice to his right. He turned to face a dark elf.

     "What is your malfunction, runt?" Beestie growled. The fur on the back of his neck rose and his tail puffed out in his anger.

     "Was it your stumble-footedness that summoned that shoggoth -- the one that just killed my friend?" The young drow assumed an attack stance and placed his hand on his reagent pouch.

     "And what if it was?" growled Beestie. "You intend to make something of it?"

     "I intend to make a rug of your hide," the drow said. "As good a rug as can be expected from your mangy carcass."

     "There once was a drow from NV," Beestie begn to chant.

     "What?" snapped the young drow.

     "Who thought he was better'n me," Beestie continued.
     "But he was too thin
     So I kicked in his chin.
     Soon after young drow turned to flee!
" Beestie's right foot lashed out, catching the drow youth squarely in the chin. The elf's head snapped back and he dropped the handful of reagents he had been about to toss at Beestie. Dropping to all fours then putting one hand to his mouth as blood began to flow freely out of it, he mumbled curses at Beestie.

     "Thus ends Humility 101," chuckled Beestie as he turned his back on the elf and stomped into the pub.

     "Ale, wench -- and be quick with it!" he bellowed as he entered.

     "Why don't you pipe down before I jam my hand down your throat, grab your tail and pull you inside-out?" snarled a female voice from the center of the tavern.

     "Rosie? Is that you, you ugly, old hag?" snapped Beestie. "I thought for sure that by now you'd be stuffed and mounted on some hunter's wall. You know that wild pigs are much sought after as trophies!"

     "Wild pig?" she screeched. "You impertinent, neutered house-cat!" She hurled herself at Beestie. In a flash they were whirl of gnashing teeth and flailing limbs.

     Two broken tables, one broken chair, and Kirrsh getting knocked over a third table and into the fire were the results of their reunion. Gasping for air and laughing hysterically, they finally broke apart.

     "Beestie, you old rogue! How've you been?" Rosie laughed, wiping blood from her split lip.

     "Just fine, Rosie!" he said, dabbing at a raw spot on his shoulder where the fur had been chewed off. "I didn't know you were the new wench here at the old Hanging Half-Orc!"

     "Wench?" she snarled, swatting his head. "Mind your tongue, cat -- or I'll cut it out and have it pickled. I'm the publican!"

     "Really?" said Beestie, obviously impressed. "So you've given up adventuring?"

     "Given up adven--" she spluttered. "You've obviously never tried to run a pub if you think this is no adventure. Ever try to pry apart two suitors fighting over the same girl without sending them to the hospital? No? Didn't think so. Typical Rakshasa. Kill first, ask questions later." She cuffed the sore spot on his shoulder playfully.

     "Is this yours?" asked a gruff voice from behind them. Beestie turned to find a fire giant dangling Kirrsh by his stubby tail. "It fell in my beer and I wish to get paid for its replacement."

     "Oh, is that so?" growled Beestie, reaching for a pocket.

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