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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

We'll Always Have Paris Archives
Ties That Bind, Part II



Character(s): Khyrisse and Skitch
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: I Know the Feeling

"We've got it, not the Parises," Skitch muttered, in a rather rebellious tone.
I keep forgetting how good Skitch is at overhearing things. Someone was listening to Valende and I rant. "Hush," Khyrisse murmured to him, and looked over at the Parises. She waved the Sigil idly back and forth through the air at her shoulder, like a fan. "I find it hard to believe that-- the Remnant having the purpose it does-- the Parises would know nothing about why the Remnant is suddenly interested in Agone. I've never heard of the place, so I don't know... but it seems to me that they could have gone there weeks ago. They seem to have sacked everywhere else they wanted to, whether it was defended or not." She shook her head. "The Passage Circle is here now-- and every ship in the Remnant is heading hell for leather somewhere else? Why?"
I'll be damned if I go tearing off with no better goal than smashing every Remnant ship I can find in the Montas Archipelago, fun though that might be. I think the Passage-- whatever it is-- is in Agone. And I'd dearly love to know how the Remnant has found out about it, when most of their own Family isn't allowed to know.

Character(s): The Skeiners
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Skeins of Fate: I&B
Title of Post: The Chase

Shilree skipped with malicious determination out of the chamber.
"Where are you going, Diari," said Norna in an even more pissy tone then usual.
"Time to play hunter seeker, seeker hunter," she said through an insane grin. The mad Diari then turned and disappeared down the hall.
"I think we better follow her," said Berryn.
"I think we all agree on that one," said Luthien.
Shilree's trail was not hard to follow. She was not at all trying to be stealthy and she was constantly singing a repetitive sing-song melody in Diari.
"What is she singing?" asked Luthien.
"You don't want to know," said Flicker.
They followed Shilree out of the palace, into the surrounding town, then out into the wilderness.
"Bah!" exclaimed Norna, "the Diari is going nowhere."
"Do you have any better ideas?" said Luthien.
Norna opened her mouth for a bitchy retort then closed it. The fact of the matter was she didn't have any better ideas, but she wasn't going to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing that.
They followed Shilree well into the night before they caught up to her. She was sitting on top of a hillock. A crimson faerie fire covered her body. Its light made her look like something that shouldn't exist. Flicker stepped forward but Luthien stopped him.
"Don't," he whispered. "If that is what I think it is we don't want to be near her."
Flicker gave Luthien a questioning look.
"Later," was his response.
The faerie fire died and Shilree looked over her shoulder at the rest of the Skeiners. She smiled and signaled them forward. Luthien nodded indicating that it was safe.
The group assembled at the top of the hillock. Shilree put her finger to her mouth and pointed at a tall tower in the distance surrounded by a dense wood.
"There he is," she said still half singing.
"How do we... Shilree no!" said Flicker. However Shilree took off again, skipping like a child.
"I really think she is enjoying this too much," said Ralchar.
They followed her as best they could through the woodland. A few hours into the chase there arose a cry of some unearthly beast from ahead. Flicker and Luthien gave each other an "uh oh" look and took off towards the sound. The rest of the Skeiners followed.
The party ran through the wood knocking away branches and jumping over roots. There arose another hideous scream, then there was a crimson flash just ahead. Then followed an eerie silence broken by an occasional whimper. Then there was no sound at all.
Flicker and Luthien broke into the clearing. Shilree was there standing over the mummified corpse of some huge beast. A red nimbus surrounded them both but was quickly draining into the gem in the Diari's skull.
"What the.." said Flicker in disbelief. "What is she doing?"
"Feeding," said Luthien. "At least I think she is."
"What do you mean necromancer?" said Norna who had come up behind them.
"I mean, our travel agent," he said pointing to Shilree, "is much more dangerous than a simple lunatic."
Shilree took off again, not even noticing the rest of the Skeiners.
"Quickly, before we lose her," said Norna.
"Wait!" said Luthien. "We know where she is going." Luthien stood over the rapidly decaying corpse of the beast with academic interest. "Look at this. She drained all the life out of this thing. Only powerful necromancers or undead can do that. The problem is that she is not either."
Luthien looked at path which Shilree took.
"I wonder what happened to her?" he said with a hint of worry in his voice.

Character(s): The Rat Pack, the Remnant
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: The Second Rider

Ælwyn watched as the Trade Carriage set off for Agone.
Inwardly, he cursed the sorceress Khyrisse. He had hoped that by sacrificing one of his Three Riders he would keep them distracted long enough to retrieve the prototype Passage artifact that Pruze had finally divulged the location of. Apparently, Pruze and Lavin were the only ones who even knew it still existed. The Paris' need for secrecy was working in his favor this time.
Alas, the plan hadn't worked, and he blamed the sorceress. The daughter of Derek had been a thorn in his side back in Rimbor, and she was making trouble again in the archipelago. Still, she was young, and unaware of the forces at work. Perhaps, if he worked things right, he could even use her against the Parises. After all, if the blood of Derek the Deranged ran in her veins... so did the blood of Ælwyn Paris.
"Soon, great-granddaughter," he said. "Soon."
First, there was the matter of protecting his interests in Agone...

***


Rani sat staring at the head of Captain Syzygy.
Marty shuffled up behind her. "Whatcha lookin' at?" he asked.
"There's something different about this Remnant," Rani said. "Something that I can figure out if people leave me alone."
"Wow. How'd you figure that out?"
"I look at things carefully, and my brain isn't made out of oatmeal."
Wow, Marty thought. She's as smart as she is pretty. "It's sure a mean looking head," he said.
"Go away and never talk to me again," Rani said.
Marty laughed nervously and shuffled off.
Rani turned back to the head. There was a power within it that was... different... She just couldn't figure out what it was.

***


Chu-I Po sat in his Imperial Throne Room as two of his samurai brought a bound and gagged figure before him.
"Master," one said, bowing, "we have returned from the hidden temple of the Silver Crane. You were right to believe that the secrets of the clan were hidden there."
The penagglion smiled. "It was foretold that I would become the master of these lands. Now, with this final victory, the prophecies have come true."
"Master," the second samurai said, "we were told that the one who brought you the Lost Sage would gain a great reward."
"Silence, Hashi!" the first samurai said. "Service is its own reward! Forgive him, master."
"Come forth, young warrior," Chu-I Po said.
The first samurai closed his eyes, but the sound of Hashi's death rang in his ears.
"You may go, Godai," Chu-I Po said. "Leave the prisoner with me."
After the Throne Room was clear, Chu-I Po turned to the bound man. The penagglion's eyes glowed, and the gag fell from the thin figure's mouth.
"Do you know why my master sent me here?" Chu-I Po said to the man.
"To find me," the prisoner said.
"Exactly. I am his hand, the result of a plan set into effect three hundred years ago, reclaimed through the power of the Minaret. You face one of the Three Riders."
"Ælwyn," the figure said. "Ælwyn is free."
"Yessssss!" the penagglion hissed. "And through his grace, I will not only achieve my vengeance upon your clan, but I will also become one of the rulers of this world!"
The prisoner hung his head.
"You thought that the Remnant would never find you? You thought that you would be safe in your beloved's land? You thought that the secret of the Passage would never be discovered?"
"Well, we hoped..." The prisoner looked up into the Shikinti demon wizard's face. His long brown hair hung in his face, and his beard was uneven and matted. The vest he wore was torn and his shirt was stained and soiled. His face, however, was set defiantly.
Chu-I Po met the gaze of the mathematician and smiled.
"You have failed, Jack Paris. At long last, the Second Rider has found you!"

Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: On the Road to Agone

"Are you okay, Jack?" Val asked, brushing his windblown hair out of his face.
"Just a weird feeling," Jack sighed. "Like someone just walked over my grave."
"Not possible," Val said. "You're here with me."
Jack leaned over and kissed her.

Character(s): A blast from the past....
Author: Jonah Cohen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Til Death Do Us Part

"Did you encounter any difficulties in getting it?"
"We successfully avoided the enemy's forces. It was not difficult. The body had been devoured and the bones tossed in a random section of forest. No one seemed to be guarding it."
"Good. Will the bones suffice?"
"Yes. The skull is really all I require."

***


Spiralling pain and dizziness gripped him. How --- could this--- be ---- happening---?
He found himself back in a gray place, a familiar place -- the world of the living. Then he felt the power of the magic that had brought him there. He was trapped. At the mercy of another, and he was certain the other would show no mercy.
"Damn you, necromancer!" he said through gritted teeth. "And damn you ten thousand times, penagglion! Has your sadism not been sated with what you've done to me?"
"I believe you misunderstand, sir," said the diminutive sorceress who had summoned him.
A large man, an easterner by the looks of him, stepped out of the shadows and spoke: "Greetings. My name is Praxis. My assistant has called you because we require your help. And so may others, Hari Yoshida."

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Unlikely Allies

"Kill Parises. Grr. How many more games do we have to play, you buttmunch?"
"Eat brains. Grrr. Look, it's your fault we're zombies, so it's the least you can do to play Lamarckian poker with me."
"You blame me, but it's your fault."
"Feeb."
"Pain in my ass."
"Grr."
"Grrrr!"
They both looked up with their best zombie grimaces as Ebreth Tor approached. Fleegle opened his mouth to do the talking, but the slave lord raised his hand and cut him off. "It is better if you don't say anything," he said softly. "You see, at the moment our undead comrades are capable neither of seeing me nor hearing me. This means two things: one, I'm correct that the two of you are alive, and two, your half of the conversation is the only one anyone in this cabin is going to be able to hear. It is better for you if that doesn't consist of much. Do you understand me?"
They nodded slowly, looking at each other.
"You remember me," he continued, "and I remember you. Now as best as I can tell, there are two reasons you could be here. I'd like you to put one hand on the table if you're here to steal something and two if pretending to be undead is your idiotic rule of the week."
Kynvelyn put both hands on the table. Fleegle put one. The two friends glared at each other.
"Let me put this a different way," suggested Tor. "Our fleet is set to rendezvous with the flagship today so the admiral can report on Cape Duran. I'm planning on an audience with the Master. How much is it going to bother you if I tell him you guys aren't undead?" Kynvelyn looked at Fleegle, perspiring a little at the temples. "Let's try one hand for you'd rather I didn't and two hands for fine with you and leave you alone."
Kynvelyn put his left hand on the table and Fleegle put his right.
"So you're planning on robbing him." They looked at each other. "I wasn't born yesterday, Kynvelyn. If you were looking for something on this ship you'd be out of here by now. You want something he's got. And if it's worth eating raw human brains over, we must be talking artifact level."
"Me like brains," said Fleegle. Kynvelyn poked him. "Well, me do!"
"You're disgusting," said Tor, and cracked a disconcerting grin at the cleric. "But you're also all I've got. I'm very short-handed right now, Kynvelyn, and you're a better burglar than I am. If... the Master's got an important artifact, you're the one to deal with it, and I'm not going to stand in your way. But I need something from you in return." Kynvelyn looked a question mark at him. "If you get it I want you to take it to Caimen Paris. No one's going to pay you more than he will. Besides, you've been eating his people's brains. I think you owe him first crack at it."
"Me not like brains as much as me thought I would," said Kynvelyn, still a little ill. He looked at Fleegle and then back at Tor, and then he nodded.
"Good. Tell him Ebreth Tor sent you." He paused. "Don't narc on me to the Remnant, okay?" he said, something tired in his voice. "I'm not expecting it to make much difference if you do, but I'd really appreciate any advantage I can get here. As for you two, you were old associates of mine, right, and you'd been butting heads with the Parises, so I'm not too surprised to see you here. Don't say I never did anything for you."
Kynvelyn put his thumb against his lower lip and twitched his shoulders up in a half-shrug, the time-honored thieves' question "Why?"
"My friend is in danger," he said, simply, as if that explained everything. After a moment's pause he added "He's a Paris," and then, even more of an afterthought, "If we all survive this, you two, my friend, and I, look me up. I have some--information--you might want, pertaining to Hell." Fleegle reacted; Kynvelyn didn't. "I never thought I'd be saying this, but--good luck."
"Blargh," said Kynvelyn.
"Grr," said Fleegle.
Ebreth Tor turned silently on his heel, no eyes but theirs watching him go.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Telegrams From The Front
Remnant attacked Paris Island. Kicked their butts. On the way to Agone now--something to do with the Passage? The Parises are... treating Jack strangely. Are you okay, s'parde-vois?
Cape Duran's been destroyed. Will rendezvous with Remnant flagship by late this afternoon. Please protect Jack. Kynvelyn's here undercover. Thank you, for last night. Please be careful, Remnant everywhere. Ebreth.

Character(s): Rani
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Actually, Skitch, Your Sample Was Really Skewed

"--like someone just walked over my grave," Asinus' illusion was saying, holding Valende's hand with a terribly earnest expression. Rani shook her head. Stupid besotted donkey. Her gloved hand slid along the armrest of the magic carriage, and her eyes half-closed reflexively.
The sorceress herself was powerfully shielded, but her angst had practically been screaming out from every board she put her foot down on, much less the magical construct she had created with such intimate ties to it. It didn't take Rani long. "Trade, huh," she muttered.
"Do you have the Gift?" the boy said in simple Diari, bouncing on the cushion. "I have the Gift."
"How nice for you," said Rani, in Dalen.
"I didn't know there were--" He paused, clearly trying to think of the Diari word, and then gave up and said "elves" in Dalen, "in Diaria."
"There aren't," said Rani, in Dalen.
"Tarrin says Diaria is the best place in the world."
"I wouldn't know," said Rani, in Dalen. "Though they do say children are seen and not heard there."
"You're awfully cranky for a Diarian," sulked the boy.

Character(s): The Bitchiest Creampuff and the Scardiest Paladin on Ataniel
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Dedicated to My Week and a Half of Without-Medication Hell

Khyrisse scanned the horizon for any sign of the Remnant, trying to keep her new map of the islands from blowing away by pinning it to her lap with her forearm. The wind caused by the speed of the Carriage was snapping the edges of the paper. Vas would have loved it. The sorceress glanced over her shoulder at Marty and sighed. She understood why Marty had been given the roof-- and they were right, he’d lost his lunch less than five minutes into the trip-- but he was getting on her nerves. Right now the paladin was huddled as far back on the roof as he could possibly get. Khyrisse wasn’t sure if he was afraid of the horses, or afraid of her. Probably both. “Um, Marty?” she called hesitantly.
“Yeah?”
“I need some help,” she admitted. “Could you come up here and hold the map for me? I can’t drive and look at it at the same time.”
“Um. I guess so...” Marty crawled forward and took the map from Khyrisse. She felt a moment of sympathy, looking at his green-tinged face.
“You might feel better if you have something to pay attention to that isn’t moving,” she told him, with a little smile. “Just look right down at the map.” Never mind that I wouldn’t trust him near it if I weren’t sure that there wasn’t anything left in his stomach.
Marty painstakingly spread the parchment on the roof of the Carriage, behind Khyrisse.
“Okay, we’re looking for Agone, it’s supposed to be in the northeast corner of the Archipelago. Do you see it?”
There was a pause. “Um, no... Wow. Is this map in Dalen?”
Khyrisse glanced over her shoulder in surprise; then shut her eyes, wishing in vain for a greater store of patience. “You’ve got it the wrong way around, Marty...”

***


“Here it is. I think. It’s this sort of sprawly, mediumish, green and brown splotch...”
“Sort of. Anything near it?”
“There’s a lot of littler ones, in different colors. Um. There’s, like, no names for them, either.”
“Different colors...? Oh, coral reefs. That means it’s probably a real pain to get to by sea. Good, that’ll buy us some time. Does it look like anyone lives there?”
“There’s a town here-- and some kind of temple, I think.” Marty puzzled down at the words next to the symbol on the map. “ ‘Geedy Cincture’...?”
Khyrisse leaned back and took a quick look. “Ghede Cinqjours,” she corrected him. “...It probably is a temple. That’s where I’d put something I didn’t want evil people to get their hands on.” Provided I didn’t carry it around with me, of course...
“How much longer till we get there?” he asked plaintively.
Cackling over Marty’s airsickness is in really bad taste, and mean besides. Don’t do it, Khyri. “A little bit longer, I’m afraid. Close your eyes and try to think about something else." Her mouth twitched despite her best intentions. "Why don't you practice your satori?”
Marty just groaned.

Character(s): Enough for a C.B. DeMille flick
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Reclamation
Title of Post: A Gathering of Forces

Forces from all twelve tribes of the Diarshi nomads were gathered on the dry plain just south of the Barshin Mountains. They had been camping here for close to a week waiting for their message to be received and replied to. Near the center of the camp, in a large circular tent, the twelve sheiks spent their time boasting, caring for their battle cats and planning for the upcoming battle. Overall, it was quiet time.
Just after sunset on the sixth day that quiet was broken. A scout, one of the Zhjhay tribe, came bounding into the central tent.
"Great fathers," the scout said. "They come."
The twelve sheiks exited the tent and called their forces together. On the horizon a dot appeared. That dot grew into a line. That line grew even further.
"Let's go meet our guests," said Sheik Al'vazran al Haran.
The other sheiks agreed. They mounted their battle tigers and rode out into the desert side by side.
The twelve soon reached the approaching forces, which Sheik Al'vazran al Haran guessed to be close to six hundred strong, and stopped not more then ten yards away from them.
"I bring greetings of the Emperor," said a well muscled Diari with coppery hair.
"And we offer you the hospitality of the Diarshi," said Sheik Al'vazran al Haran. "If you will have it."
"I look forward to it. I am General Talran, commander of the newly formed Northern Legion."
The Diarshi sheiks nodded with understanding.
General Talran made an obvious signal and an Diari woman dressed in the robes of a high ranking Sister of Pysyri came forward on a battle cat.
"This is Majji. Sister of the Sixth Circle and Keeper of the Reclamation."
The sheiks did their best to hide their discomfort. While psionics were not unheard of in the ranks of the Diarshi they were considered a dark kind of sorcery. Still, they would respect the church of Pysyri even though this Majji was female.
"Come," said Sheik Zjaj al Halrae, "there is food and water for you, your troops and your animals."
The twelve sheiks turned around and led the formidable force back to camp.

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