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by Sean Meaney

Rondolf had attached himself to his employer several decades ago, who while exploring the far western realms beyond the Sind encountered a cult planning to sacrifice the shape-shifting Rondolf and his employer to their immortal. Rondolf's employer was surprised to learn that Rondolf could talk, given that he was masquerading as inanimate luggage at the time this came as a considerable surprise.

Escaping certain doom, Athelstan the Mage placed the chest-like mimic on a Floating Disc spell and had pretty much used him as luggage and garbage disposal in the years since.

They adventured together and as Athelstan grew old, Rondolf grew to like the human's company. However, humans being rather mortal, the eventually elderly Athelstan slipped on a stairs in a Dungeon and died having hit his head on a stone step, the Floating Disc enchantment ceasing immediatly on the magic-user's death, Rondolf was unable to simply abandon his employer's corpse so he ate him digesting the Magicuser's remains.

Rondolf didnt eat Athelstan's remains immediatly. He remained there, spilled on the dungeon floor with the corpse for several hours, licking his employer like a sympathetic pet that desperately wanted its master to wake up, yet knew deep down that that was not going to happen.

Rondolf, greatly aggrieved, eventually pulled the remains of his friend into his maw and ate him.

Rusm the Goblin had noticed the Wizard traversing the dungeon with his floating luggage. He had watched their progress through the ancient mineworks with awe, and had seen the wizard slip on a staircase and strike his head in a fall. Rusm was about to break cover to loot the corpse and luggage when it suddenly opened its toothy maw and began licking the corpse. Terrified of this new situation, Rusm slipped back into his place of concealment, and watched the strange creature lick its master's corpse like a distressed direwolf.

Rusm understood suffering, and sat silently watching the death ritual progress over its many hours until its completion. The chest had become dormant and still in the aftermath and Rusm retreated to a nearby cave where Shrieking fungi grew. Rusm killed a shroom and carried it back to where the chest was. He had no intention of being eaten so he placed the dead shrieker on the ground within reach of the chest's tongue and retreated to a location that placed him in view of the shape-shifting chest. Rusm waited for a while, and having dozed off was startled awake by a noise. The shape-shifter pretending to be a treasure chest was dormant but the fungi Rusm had offered as a meal was gone.

Rondolf, depressed and uncertain what to do now that he had eaten Athelstan's remains was surprised by the approach of the Goblin bearing the fungi. Athelstan had pretty much evicerated the other goblins in the dungeon so Rondolf was not particularly trusting of this new arrival. Still he didnt see a need to expose his true nature and silently watched the goblin approach before it placed the food on the floor of the dungeon, pushing it into the reach of his tongue before backing away. Rondolf didnt break disguise and watched the sad and crying goblin pass out asleep against the far dungeon wall before he could bring himself to eat the offering.

"Thank you." Rondolf sat and looked at the little goblin startled awake by the noise of Rondolf's words. Rondolf went silent and wondered what to do.

Rusm huddled cold and depressed against the stone wall, staring at the ever present treasure chest. Rusm's stomach growled. He would need to go find some food soon. Rusm was hungry and the chest had eaten the last shrieking shroom in this part of the dungeon.

A wooden bowl carved with runes clattered across the floor from the direction of the chest and halted at Rusm's feet immediatly drawing Rusm's attention.

"Hold the bowl in both hands." Rondolf waited for the Goblin to pick up the bowl. Rusm complied picking it up one handed and staring at it. "Both hands."

"You want food or not?" Only when Rusm placed both hands on the bowl did the chest continue speaking. "...Now say the words 'nom noms'."

"Nm nms?" Rusm stared at the empty bowl.

"No... now try again." Rondolf sighed. "Nom. Noms."

Rondolf waited for the Goblin to say the words.

"Nom Noms." Rusm was surprised by the bowl suddenly filling with a selection of nuts which he spilled on the floor. "Nom Noms."

The bowl again filled with a selection of nuts. The goblin got to his feet and walked to where he had deposited the offering of the shroom and placed the bowl of nuts on the floor before retreating to his own pile of spilled nuts where he had been sitting.

"Nom noms!" Rusm smiled as he ate the nuts and watched the chest consume the similarly bountiful bowl of nuts that Rusm had shared with the shape-shifter in gratitude of a free meal.