Guthix and Gertrude

Adventuring is a difficult, dangerous, and often costly business. With all the demons, dragons, gods, and monsters wandering around the place, it can get a bit stressful if you're all alone. Luckily, self-proclaimed druid Insomniax -- master of Herblore, follower of Guthix, and dabbler in Magic -- has an ally in the form of Lynnix, his cat. The two of them make a fairly competent adventuring duo, as long as Insomniax doesn't try to solve any puzzles. Things can get messy when he has to use his brain.

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1. Thank Me Later

"Go on, puss," says my human, Insomniax. "Kill that rat!"

"Fine," I say, though he can't understand me at the moment. "But this is the last one, alright? I'm nearly full." Insomniax gives me a blank stare. I shake my head and turn my gaze on the nearest little red rodent. I'd prefer a good fish any day, but these hell-rats have a spice to them that I like. (Probably the spice they seem to always be carrying around. My favorite is the yellow stuff.) The rat shrieks and tries to run away, but with a leap and a bound and a great big pounce he's in my paws. And then in my stomach. Delicious.

"Hey, well done, puss, you got it!" cries Insomniax. He tugs a small cat-shaped amulet out from his bag and puts it on. "So, what do you want --" he starts, before his eyes widen and he looks at me slack-jawed.

"What?" I ask.

"You -- your fur --" Insomniax stutters. He looks pretty ridiculous.

"What? What's wrong with my fur?" I bet I've just got some spice on my side or something. Maybe a hell-rat is clinging to my tail. I crane my neck around to look and OH MY ZAROS I'M A HELLCAT.

Wait. Zaros? The name feels strange and unfamilar, and yet somehow I know it...and I know it well. I think Insomniax may have mentioned it once to Juna, the snake guardian. Oh, dear gods, this is going to be rough on my dating life. It's already hard enough to find love as a cat. I mean, it took Bob and Neite forever to get together. But now that I am literally some kind of demonspawn? Not a chance!

I eye Insomniax warily. Being a servant of Guthix, he's not likely to find my new status as hellcat very appealing, but I have no such allegiance. To be honest, there aren't any real downsides to being a hellcat (besides the dating thing), according to some other adventurer's cats I've known. In fact, I rather like it so far. The shock factor is a big deal for cats.

While I'm thinking through all this, Insomniax is on the other side of the basement, waving his arms and gesturing madly in my general direction to that fellow in the dark robes. It's a good thing that that guy doesn't have an amulet of catspeak, because I had a few choice words for him when we entered about half an hour ago. By then Insomniax had already taken off his own amulet, so he wasn't able to admonish me.

I saunter over to the two, hissing at a few hell-rats who come near me along the way. Yeah, I could get used to this, I think. When I get there, the dark-robed man has a hand on Insomniax's shoulder and is shaking his head.

"Hey, guy, if you really don't want an evil cat" -- he looks disgusted at the very idea -- "then talk to my mom, upstairs. I'll bet you she can help you get it back to normal."

"Just like she helps you dress yourself every day," I say. Insomniax glares at me. I shrug. Or maybe not shrug, which is difficult without a neck on top of your shoulders, like humans have. It's still manageable, but just in case he doesn't get my indifference i give a noncommittal flick of my tail and settle down to lick my paws clean of hell-rat hair. My human turns back to the man.

"Alright," he says. "But before I go, will you try this bowl of stew so I can -- you know what? Just try it."

"Sure!" says the dark-robed man. Then he narrows his eyes, suspicious of the broth presented to him. "Wait. Is this stew evil?"

"Uh...oh, yes," says Insomniax. "Very evil. It's evil enough for even the most evil of evildoers. In fact, only truly evil people can eat this stew without bursting into an explosion of pure evil. Are you up for that, Evil Dave?"

Dave! That was his name. Insomniax is laying it on pretty thick, I think, but Evil Dave seems to like it. He snatches the bowl of spicy stew and takes a small taste, and his eyes light up. "That's it!" he cries. "That's the one!"

"Well, don't eat all of it!" says Insomniax, grabbing it back. Evil Dave scratches his head.

"What do you need this for, again?" he asks. Insomniax sighs.

"I told you, I need the stew you ate at the meeting to free you from the Culinaromancer's magic and, by proxy, Gypsy Aris' time spell. It's all very complicated and -- look, you can thank me later, alright?"

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