Rilassa's First Shoggoth

by Rilassa

R ilassa yawned. "What are you going to do, Mahm?" She asked. The warm sun in the Minath Gardens was making her lazy, or maybe it was that she had just awoken.

    "I think I'll go for a hunt down in Ancient Vesimas. Care to join me?" the older Rakshasa offered.

    Rilassa shook her head. "No, thank you. I think I'll go explore that forest in the west that you were telling me about." She blinked and rubbed her eyes. "Maybe I'll do a bit of hunting myself."

    Mahm nodded. "Just beware of Titania, My dear. The titans will take you down a few notches if you mess with them." She stood, stretched, and rummaged through her bags for her Amulet of Water Breathing.

    "Of course, Mother. I will be careful." She unsheathed her claws and winked. "But not too careful, that would be boring."

    The older lioness slipped on her amulet. "That's my girl, have fun and be home in the inn by nightfall." With that she donned her cloak of invisibility and vanished. "Be safe, dear." Her voice said from thin air as she walked away.

    Rilassa draped her own cloak over her shoulders and rubbed her paws together. "Always, Mother." She said to no one and slipped out of Minath. After stashing most of her extra gear in the forest surrounding the city, she dropped to all fours and padded quickly west, along the seashore.

    A few pouches dangled from her waist and bumped against her back legs now and then, but she moved swiftly and silently. The breeze blowing from the sea woke the young lioness fully and she took a deep breath. She loved the smell and look of the open ocean but . . . "Ack!" Rilassa sprang back from the receding wave. She stopped momentarily and licked her front paw dry. "And Mother asked me along to Vesimas!" She shuddered.

    She sighed and resumed her westward journey. It was a trip that would take a normal human at least a day to make. She made it past the seaside cliffs that marked the southward turn in three hours. Rilassa smiled and purred, quite happy with her time.

    Standing on two legs once more, she strode south through the trees. She drank in the feel of the forest. The farther she went the more ominous it became. The birds gradually stopped singing and squirrels became less and less frequent. Full of interest and adventure-lust, she circled the Forbidden Woods and entered from the South.

    Dead trees, vampire bats, and wood nymphs blocked Rilassa's path. She rolled her eyes and swatted the bats away. "Pesky little things." She muttered. She tried to avoid the nymphs but one crept up on her and lifted her coin purse before she could stop it. "Cursed nymph! Give that back!" She sprang after the fleeing creature and quickly overcame it. She pinned the squirming thing to the ground with a back paw. "Fork it over, you sneaky little devil." The nymph quickly placed the pouch of gold and silver in Rilassa's outstretched paw. "Now, get!" She kicked at it as it leapt up and raced from sight. "Nasty little creatures." She muttered. She tucked her pouch back where it belonged and looked around.

    The forest to the West looked misty while the other directions looked like normal forest. Rilassa thought back a moment on where Mahm had told her Titania was. "It's in the western forest, shrouded in thick mist." Her mother had said. She nodded to herself and headed west into the mist.

    She encountered several umber hulks and gruglords right away, not anything she couldn't handle. She dispatched most of the monsters without a problem but the last of the umber hulks cast a spell that was almost sludgy. Her thoughts became cloudy and her movements didn't match what she wished them to do. She stumbled about for a few moments shaking her head until it cleared. After which she quickly finished off the hulk. "Cursed hulks. . . cursed confusion." She growled under her breath and started south again.

    Abruptly the mist cleared away and she stood before an old mangled gateway. She pushed it and it fell inward with a loud crash. Leafy debris catapulted into the air and slowly settled back, this time over the door. When Rilassa had cleared the dust and sticks from her eyes and fur she looked upon a forest glen filled with half-tumbled buildings and sparsely leafed trees sprawled across the barren ground. Titans stood around and glared at her. She nodded to them courteously, heading her mother's warning, though she didn't need it. She knew that she couldn't tackle a Titan and she had already knocked over their front gate. Better tread lightly, Kitty, she told herself.

    She looked around the crumbling, slightly misty town until her eyes rested on a rickety old Inn house. "Interesting." She said and pushed at the moldy door, which promptly crumbled into dust at her touch. She sneezed once and stepped into the murky interior.

    A gout of fire blasted toward her. Something in there could see invisible. "Drat!" She yowled and leapt over the fire to lash out at the thing beyond it. Her claws came back stained green. "Liches. Double drat!" She side-stepped another gout of flame, this one singing her tail, and whipped out with another deadly slash. Two strikes, two liches dead. For a moment all was quiet, then something started to wail. Rilassa rolled her eyes. "Stupid vampires. I always hear them coming." She clutched the strange amulet hanging around her neck that protected her from the draining touch of the vampires.

    She took several more steps into the dark inner room. The lich fire had not set the whole building up thankfully but it had left it even more hazy. Rilassa squinted in the gloom and crept closer to the sound of the wailing. Several vampires glided around an old inn room. She bounded into the room and ripped all of them to shreds before they knew that she was there. Just a few well places claw swipes and their wailing was ended. In the next room were several soul takers that she finished off in much the same way. She lifted her claws to her lips and kissed them. "Am I good or what?" She asked smugly to no one in particular and started toward the next room.

    The moldy door exploded into her face setting splinters and hot coals into her skin. She yowled in pain and swatted at her eyes. A hovering face, stripped of all flesh and any semblance of humanity, floated before her on the other side of the smoldering door. Rilassa's eyes widened in fear. That face was a skull. Something she had had trouble dealing with in the past. Flame congealed around its eye sockets and she leapt forward and over the skull. Dragon's breath burned the door that had been behind her to ash and melted the metal hinges to sludge. She lashed out with her deadly claws and tore into the bone of the floating skull. It whirled on Rilassa and with its dying power placed a curse on her. Her armor clamped to her sides and her boots conformed to her feet. "Great," She said when she had regained her breath. "It's going to cost a pretty penny to remove this. Those priests always charge an arm and a leg to fix up these things."

    Though thoroughly singed and battered already, Rilassa wanted to see what was up in the master suite. All the old inns had them and usually they contained some treasure or gold from the old innkeepers. She stalked silently up the stairs, the wooden board creaking and bending to almost breaking. She stopped at the top landing and listened for anything on the other side of the door. She heard nothing, not even the wind. She pushed the door open.

    The Master's Suite was almost night black. Rilassa squinted her eyes as they got used to the almost total dark. She saw nothing but black. Odd, she thought, and stepped inside. Green acid whooshed past her and fell, sizzling, onto the wooden floor. In less than a second there was a hole the size of a door where once there was wood. Uh oh. . . She slammed the door closed as another squirt of acid hit it. Strangely, the door held. It was somehow resistant to the acidic substance.

    Rilassa checked her pouches. She had several wands as well as a few shield potions tucked in with her healing things. She hefted her wand of fireball. It was worn, the charges almost gone. She sighed and peeked into the room again. A huge black shape with flailing tentacles filled her sight. She instantly brought the wand to bear and let off a ball into the room. As she closed the door and backed off she could hear an unearthly screaming. She nodded to herself. Fire obviously hurt the horrid thing. When the screaming stopped the poked her head into the room. It was nearly torn off by a flailing, acid-dripping tentacle. She pulled it back just in time and fired two more fireballs into the demon. The screaming resumed and then stopped again. She took no chances this time and merely shot off another ball. It was still alive. "How much can this thing take?" She wondered aloud.

    Rilassa emptied two full wands of firebolt into it as well as what was left of her wand of fireball and it was still alive. She was then out of wands. She took a deep breath and swallowed a fire shield potion. Flames rose around her and she stepped into the room with the black monster. She tore into it with her claws and the fire bit into it as she did so. She staggered back gasping. The monsters blood was the green acid! Her paws ached and burned as did several spots where the acid was eating into her body and the tentacles had struck home. She yowled in pain and ran out the door. Barely alive she gulped down several healing potions and sat back gasping and sobbing. "What is that thing?" She gasped to herself. She sat like that for about half of an hour regaining strength. Her eyes glittered madly. She had decided to kill that menace.

    She gulped down another potion. Can't have much life left. Not after what I let off into it, she thought and bounded into the room again. Yowling in pain every time that she struck the thing, she gulped at potions and kept baring down on the huge black monster. It melted to the ground, a black and green puddle. Rilassa downed the last of her potions and stepped back away from the puddle of acid.

    She sighed contentedly, if not happily. It was going to take a long time to heal most of her wounds and grow her fur back, but the thing was dead. It would never hurt anything again. She staggered out of the ruins of the old Inn house, treasure forgotten, into the hazy light of late afternoon. The Titans actually smiled at her. It seemed that they had feared that thing for ages. "What was it?" She asked one of them. An older Titan shuddered. "The Shoggoth." He said simply. The young, battered lioness nodded. They carried her home to Minath soon there-after and left her in the care of her very proud mother and father.

    To this day Rilassa will kill Shoggoths whenever she has the means to do it, and the Wizard Raeden says Rilassa still has shedding problems from the acid.