People sometimes throw nicknames around all willy-nilly. I’m not one of those people usually. I’ll just call people by their name, if I remember it, or more likely by “hey, you gnome”. Well, either way I don’t do what some people do. I don’t call a shaman “Sparkles” just because he’s shown some shock spells around me, nor do I call them “Waldo” just because they have an extremely unfashionable sweater in red-white stripes. But sometimes, a nickname is so fitting I will repeat it. Take Ughul, a sick-looking saurok also known as “the Cancer”. Not only saying Ughul is extremely weird when you have a beak, calling him the Cancer really fits. I mean, look at the guy. He’s got this… ugly, cancerous looking thing on his chin and neck, and some kind of growths all over his body. And for a while, I thought that was enough to call him that. Until I saw something even more fitting for that name.
So I’m hearing that yesterday, Balerok and Aeresham met outside the Cancer’s lab. They were happily chatting about whatever a dragonkin and a man-eating plant can chat about, when they saw a murloc employee approach the lab with a small box. Then, the murloc saw or heard something in the nearby bushes and absent-mindedly dropped the box and went to investigate. So instead of investigating along with it, they were busy playing with the soon-to-be-late murloc’s box. Only when the murloc got pulled into the bush by something emitting a bellowing, otherworldly roar they dropped the game and looked into it.
What emerged was rather grotesque. A vaguely humanoid creature emerged from the bush, but besides the basic appendages, there was little humanoid about it. Its flesh was a sickly purple, its eyes seemed to move independently across its “face” and the mouth had no esophagus attached to its deep end. Its limbs were moving like there was no skeleton inside, just bouncing around. There was no trace of the murloc left (except the damn box, of course), and the creature began to slowly lumber towards my two employees.
So they started to fight it, chucking some bombs and seeds at it as they do. You’d think the art of thrown weapons was forgotten by what the adventurers do, but my employees certainly make up for them. When the creature realized it was being attacked, it started spitting some corrosive goo at them and trying to bite Balerok. Only when Aeresham summoned entangling vines the creature was rooted on the spot and was forced to just keep spitting. The commotion finally attracted someone from security – the hedge wizard arrived and cast some acid spells on the monster. It might have been a really smart move on her part – considering what we’ve learned later, we needed to burn it in some way. Then she summoned an ancient protector, Aeresham called his podling assistants and all fel broke lose against the single opponent. Finally, it was smashed to bits and the hedge wizard ran to call me there.
When I arrived, the thing looked even uglier than in their descriptions. Probably in large part because it was bitten, dismembered, burnt and smashed to pieces, but it was really squawking ugly anyway. As we were right next to the Cancer’s lab, we got it moved there and got the lizard off his dinner and to work. He put the monster in his flesh-shaping device and ran a few scans. Imagine the irony of a guy called “the Cancer” announcing his subject was basically a walking tumor. As he said, it was composed in 90% of “undifferentiated tissue”, highly regenerative and highly adaptive. Balerok even saw its arm get bit off by a podling and then it started to regrow on the spot. The final question remained – where the fel did it come from?
Further scans revealed that it’s a creature of Old God origin, presumably one of the “Shapeless Ones” I only heard about as they were never deployed on Azeroth (as far as we know). The Old Gods could mold them to any shape and give them any appendages, but their basic shape was usually a blob with limbs, eyes and a mouth – much like our uninvited guest. We still didn’t know how or why the Old Gods would send one of those to our island, but the Cancer had a quick theory. When Yu Gwai defeated the nethersage on Ivarind and ripped out its brain, he brought it back to the Island, where we sent it to the Cancer for study. Turns out, the nethersage still wasn’t completely dead, or at least its brain wasn’t. Through some controlled mitosis, it spawned a tiny blob that ate up organic material around the lab, grew into a small Shapeless One and got out – ultimately eating one of my murlocs and getting smashed to bits.
The Cancer quickly dropped some strong toxin into the nethersage brain’s jar, insisting it would kill it completely, but I ordered to have it burned too just in case. Further, he recommended we burn the Shapeless One’s remains as well, as its regenerative capabilities might make it come back from being smashed up too. By now, we got rid of both but it brings two issues to my attention. One, we must pay better attention to what we bring in here. Two, I need a new potion producer to replace that dead murloc. Preferably someone who won’t just wander into the jaws of a beast.