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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

We'll Always Have Paris Archives
Go Down Swinging, Part V

Character(s): Marty Hu, Mina Paris, and introducing...
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris, Death Be Not Proud
Title of Post: Saved By The Bell

"Gee," Marty said to Rani, "They've been in there a long time. What do you think they're talking about?"
"Idiocide, I hope."
Mina kept her mouth shut. She knew something was wrong with Khyrisse's magic, but didn't think that the archmage wanted anyone to know. Besides, telling Ebreth was probably enough... Mina knew how hard it was to admit weakness.
A low rumbling started, and Mina turned to look for the necromancer who had been their guide, but he had apparently stepped out of the room.
"Aaah!" Marty yelled. "Giant sandworm!"
It wasn't a giant sandworm that erupted through the ground, but a huge skeletal dragon that shattered the stone floor, dragging two black-garbed priests who were hanging on for dear life.
A blast of necrotic energy shot at it from an unknown source on the level below. Luthien, Mina figured.
"Oh," Marty sighed in relief. "It's just a dragon." He pulled the Sword of Light out of its scabbard and raced toward the beast.
Mina couldn't see what everyone was doing in the chaos, but the ceiling was starting to buckle under the dragon's forced ascent, so she cast a quick levitate on the keystone. That should hold it a few seconds longer, she thought.
Another bolt from below indicated that Luthien was still conscious, and Marty stood defensively before Otter, his sword crackling with white fire as it shattered bone after bone. Mina noticed Rani heading for cover and raced over to join the Diarian. The floor continued to crumble beneath their feet as they took cover in a prayer alcove.
Marty Hu looked straight into the glowing red eyes of the skeletal dragon with no fear.
The creature had taken a lot of damage, but it was still a danger to those around him. Marty reached inside himself for the egg-like serenity he needed, and almost found it. "Hellllllllllllp..." he intoned. "Helllllllllllllllp..."
He swung the Sword of Light directly at the dragon's skull and it shattered in an explosive blow. The dragon's body went limp and collapsed.
So did the floor.
Marty pushed Otter back out of the way.
So did the ceiling.
"Whoa!" Marty shouted, looking up at the stone plummeting towards him. "Heinous."
"Marty!" Mina cried from her vantage point.
Rani put one hand supportively on Mina's shoulder. "I couldn't be so lucky," she said.
Marty felt the floor fall out from under him...
And then, he felt an arm wrap around his waist, and he was jerked to the side, swinging through the air.
He could see the remains of the skeletal dragon and one of the priests falling three stories down through the hole the creature had torn.
Then there was ground beneath him, an outcropping of floor that survived the dragon's rampage.
He turned to look at who had rescued him. It was a beautiful young woman with curly red hair confined by a strange cap. She wore a black vest over a white men's shirt, and her green leggings showed off her... really neat looking boots.
"Cool boots," Marty said.
"Made 'em myself," the woman said. "Rubber soles, better for climbing. Vickie Dare, studmuffin. And you are?"
"Marty," Marty said. "They aren't leather, are they?"
"Denim," she said. "You're with the Rat Pack, right?"
"Yeah! That's us!"
"Cool," Vickie said. "I need to talk to your boss."
"That would be... uh..." Marty tried to think of who was supposed to be in charge now.
"Don't strain, hon," Vickie smiled. "I'll talk to someone else."
"Why, uh... why are you looking for us?" Marty asked.
"I'm your newest recruit."

Character(s): Alderon, The Price Girls
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris, Death Be Not Proud
Title of Post: Price World

The five girls walked towards Alderon in step, like in some sort of wonderful, wonderful dream.
Their hair blew in the wind, and their strides were slow, like they were walking through liquid.
Alderon hadn't even noticed there was wind before they came along.
"Is Vickie here yet?" the most beautiful of them, a dark brunette with pouty lips and deep blue eyes dressed in a tight black mini asked.
"I'm Alderon," he answered.
"There's smoke over there!" a girl in a peekaboo white lacy outfit squealed. Her blonde pigtails bobbed with her. "It has to be Vickie!"
"Where there's smoke, there's Vickie," a tall and lean but well-muscled woman with green warrior garb and matching eyes said.
"Is this dress too short?" the first girl asked one of her comrades, a red-and-blonde-streaked girl with smiling eyes and a tight crimson outfit that wasn't a dress and wasn't a shirt, and wasn't very much of anything.
"Nope," the girl shrugged.
The first girl grabbed the hem of the minidress and pulled it up an inch.
Alderon switched his breathing over to manual control to keep from hyperventilating.
"Look, Buster Brown," the fifth girl, a dark skinned woman dressed in leather and leopard and brandishing a riding crop hissed in Alderon's ear. "Take us to your leader or you'll get such a whipping..."
"He'll take us," the first girl said. "Won't you, Alderon?"
"I... who... glorp..." Alderon tried.
"We're the Price Girls. We work with Vickie. I'm Fancy."
"Chipper!" said the blonde.
"Soldier," said the one in warrior gear.
"Cinnamon," smiled the red-and-blonde.
"And I'm Nasty. So you'd better get Vickie for us now."
"I... don't..." Alderon started.
Marty poked his head out of the tower entrance Alderon was guarding. "Hey, Alderon," Marty said. "Team meeting inside. This new chick named Vickie with these really cool boots showed up."
The Price Girls smiled.
"Thanks," Fancy breathed at Alderon, and the five girls all stepped around him.
"I never want to wake up," Alderon sighed.

Character(s): Vickie Dare
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Joiners: Yea or Nay?

"So," Vickie finished relating to the gathered Rat Pack and Luthien, "Pluvious told me that you'd be here, and that I should try to catch you before you went to Shikintu."
"How did Sturoster know all this?" Ebreth asked suspiciously.
"He's Pluvious," Khyrisse said. "I'm not that surprised."
"There's no more room in the Carriage," Rani muttered.
"The Price Girls are my backup team, but I know that they'll be way too much of a burden to take along."
"I thought we'd see if we could help here," Fancy Price said.
"So anyway, I've got a letter of intro from Pluve, and I wanted to know if you guys would have me?"
Vickie smiled and handed Khyrisse a scroll bearing the old Trade Seal. It was Pluvious Sturoster's signet.
"Will you make me shoes like yours?" Marty asked.
"Sure," Vickie said.
"I vote yes," Marty said.
"What do you think?" Alderon asked Fancy.

Character(s): Berryn, Alderon
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Death Be Not Proud
Title of Post: Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

"Are you all right?" Otter asked Marty.
Luthien climbed up out of the wreckage, looking his usual tincture of grim. "Hey, there you are, boss," said Berryn, sleepily. "I had the strangest dream--"
"Not now, Berryn. Is everyone okay?"
"Everyone's okay," said Flicker, who'd been taking stock. "Maybe we should stay here with you for a while, Luth. It looks like you could use the help."
The necromancer shook his head. "We're handling it," he said, "and I'm worried about the Remnant and the Passage now. Your P.I.'s getting readings from the Necropolis that remind her of the Remnant, and the last thing we need is your ∆lwyn character getting involved down here. We can't spare anyone to get rid of these lichlings. We'll have to depend on you."
Alderon came into the temple in a cloud of skinny, barely dressed young women. "Hi, Shalini," he said, a little dazed. "I'm going to stay here and fight the Necropolis."
"By yourself?"
"With, uh, Fancy, and Chipper, and Soldier..."
"If that's what he wants!" said Cinnamon.
"What he really really wants," agreed Chipper.
"I wonder why the disembodied head was ordering hordes of ninja to find a math equation," mumbled Berryn to himself, shuffling out. "I should remember to ask the giant inflatable--"

Character(s): Skitch and Gordon
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: WAHP
Title of Post: The Smartass Strikes Again

Skitch carefully lifted Gordon down, and the kids clambered through the wreckage to study the huge draconic skull.
"He got split down the center of his forehead, just like you," Gordon observed. "Did the man with the glowing sword kill you, too?"
Skitch put his palm over the scar on his forehead in what was rapidly becoming a habitual gesture. "Marty? No way. I got aw-- autopsied because I died. I was an undead for a while," he added with a bizarre sort of pride. Gordon nodded, his eyes big.
"My father has been dead. And undead, too, but he doesn't like that part," Gordon confided.
"It sucks," Skitch agreed, poking the bone fragments with a toe. "Wow. Mom must have been doing something with Ebreth somewhere... This is the biggest undead yet."

Character(s): The Rat
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: WAHP: Half Assed
Title of Post: Rat Spies

After the assassination attempt the Rat spent most of his time with Asinus body. He still felt that the donkey was his best way to find Jack again. The trouble was that while Asinus was, well, dead, he was of no help to the Rat. So, on the fifth day after the assassination the Rat left Asinus' side and wandered the halls of the Paris estate. Two days later he found Raviun's room.
The Rat hoped he would be able to find something to help Asinus and in doing so he would be able to find Jack. The Rat sniffed something strange... something decayed, in the room. He climbed up the bed sheet and onto the desk. There, lying on the desk, was a piece of old vellum from which the stench of decay was emanating. The Rat didn't like this. The smell reminded him of the King of Kings and that thing which grabbed him from the alley what seemed a long time ago. The Rat gabbed the vellum and carried it into the wall. If the King of Kings was here he had to warn someone. Maybe that sweet smelling woman would help after seeing this.

Character(s): Quint Alverado
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Non Crucified Heroes
Title of Post: Regrets

Quint Alverado cursed himself.
He had sworn an oath, a sacred one, never to kill again, and he had broken it. Broken it because of a stupid need for vengeance and an opportunity offered by the kind of bastard that Alverado was supposed to be fighting.
Now he was being hunted by the entire fucking Paris family on their own turf.
It's worthless, Alverado thought. I still feel empty. I threw everything good I've found away, and I got jack shit for it.
Then, from the promontory from which he hid, Alverado saw the ship.
It wasn't a Paris ship... the markings were wrong, and it wasn't coming in to the port.
Katherine, Alverado thought. Don't do this to me, Kat... don't get yourselves involved.
"Quinton Alverado," came a voice from behind him.
Shit, I've been made.
"Caimen Paris," Alverado said, standing up from cover to look at the pirate. Caimen stood with a crossbow aimed at Alverado's heart. The crossbow Quint had discarded after shooting the ass with it. It was now loaded again.
"Well, Paris," Alverado said. "Looks like you've got me dead to rights."
"Looks that way," Caimen grinned.
"Too bad you're standing in my snare," Alverado said.
Caimen Paris looked down only for a second, but it was long enough for the most dangerous man on Ataniel. With one swift motion, he ducked under the crossbow's firing line and tackled the pirate king.
Caimen brought his knee up into Alverado's ribs, and Quint heard something snap. The assassin swung his head down, his skull impacting to Caimen Paris' nose. Blood ran down the face of the pirate, and the two men stared at each other with hatred.
They lunged at each other, and even from the approaching ship, the two figures could be seen on the mountaintop struggling.
Then, momentarily, one of the figures got the upper hand. A branch swung through the air, and struck the other, hard.
Everything froze for a moment... and then one of the figures plummeted from the promontory, down, down, into the canyon below.

Character(s): Lora and Rauvin Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: The Passage
Title of Post: Parises in X Isle

Rauvin followed Lora through the almost imperceptible jungle path.
The location of X Isle had been perfectly chosen. The island was surrounded by a closed atoll that had been mapped by the Parises thirty years ago. The level of the atoll was a few hunded feet higher than the smaller X Isle, hidden inside. Thus, the only ay to find X Isle would be from above, and Rauvin knew that the Remnant didn't have such an ability. Yet. The jungle gradually cleared, and Rauvin looked for the first time upon the keystone to the Passage.
A giant stone triangular ziggurat rose up before him, made out of a strange white stone that Rauvin had never seen before. The architecture was breathtaking.
Standing before the passage was a huge figure, at least eight feet tall. He was dressed in a tight skirt of some sort, and carried a large silver flail. Some sort of strange headdress adorned his brow, but what gave Rauvin the most pause was that his head was that of a dog... or a wolf.
"All hail the guardian of the gateway," Lora said.
The wolf-headed man responded in a language unlike any Rauvin had ever heard. "He greets us in the name of the Kingdom Above," Lora translated loosely.
"Is he... one of ours?" Rauvin asked.
"He is one of Lady Margo's... people," Lora said. "They have different appearances."
Rauvin nodded.
The wolf-headed being turned, and pulled a strange serpent-like lever next to the entrance to the pyramid.
The entrance was suddenly suffused with a strange blue glow. The guardian knelt down next to it.
"We are free to enter. The Passage is open," Lora said.
"You've... been through before?" Rauvin asked.
"Yes, so follow my lead. The people on the other side are unlike any you've met before. Only one other on Ataniel outside the Paris family has been where you are about to go, one of the Mithril Dagger Heroes."
"Which one?" Rauvin asked, but Lora silenced him with a finger to his lips.
"Come," she said, and stepped through the Passage.
Rauvin followed.
Never in his experience had he seen such a place.
"Oh... my... God..."

Character(s): The Rat, Tora Paris
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: WAHP: Homefront
Title of Post: Rat Courier

The Rat dragged the fetid smelling scroll through the walls of the Paris estate. He didn't know why, but he felt it was important to get this paper thing to the sweet smelling woman. It wasn't an easy task. The scroll, while not heavy, was very bulky for the Rat. It took him most of the day to get it inside the wall of the room he wanted to be.
Tora Paris sat in one of the living areas of the mansion. Caimen had left hunting Asinus' assassin and everyone else had gone. She was worried. Dar had taken on a sharper edge lately. She hoped that it was just all the stress due to this business with the Remnant.
As she sat Tora heard a distinct scratching sound. Curious, she got up and followed the sound. It was coming from behind the wall, right behind the portrait of Alun Paris her great, great, great grandfather. Tora moved the painting and jumped with surprise.
Behind the painting was a large hole in the wall. In the hole was a rat, in fact she believed it was the rat that had been spending all its time with Asinus's body. It was pushing a scroll. Tora, timidly, grabbed the parchment.
"Thank you!" the Rat said and scampered back into the small passages in the walls.
Tora was a bit surprised. A talking Rat? Well their family included a talking donkey so why shouldn't there be talking rats? She then sat back down and unfurled the scroll.
Tora's brow furrowed as she deciphered the magical text. She wasn't a master of magic, but she knew enough to get by. It was some sort of summoning scroll. That much she could tell. She also believed, but she wasn't sure, that it involved something necromantic in nature. Tora didn't like the sound of this. Someone on Paris Island was practicing necromancy. Which meant someone was a traitor.

Character(s): Rani, Valende
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Something About Rani

Rani was mending the flail of Cyllet, one of the Arawnite priests who had remained loyal to Rhynwa, while Khyrisse talked to Vickie Dare and the rest of the Rat Pack was making their preparations to depart. She had one end of the magical weapon in each bare hand, and there was something strange about the way she was holding it, like it had sunk just slightly into the flesh of her palms. Her eyes were closed and she was not responding to any of the bustle around her. "Nice woman," Luthien commented to Val.
"You have got to be kidding me," the priestess said incredulously.
Luthien shrugged. "She's been quite reasonable with me," he said, and went back into the sanctuary.
Val thought about that, watching the uncharacteristically serene face of the younger elven woman as the ensorcelled wood and steel bent slowly together in her hands.

Character(s): Garal and Khyrisse
Author: Eric Gasior
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Parental Advisory Warning

Garal found Khyrisse talking to Vickie.
"Hi, I'm Garal," he said to the adventurer, extending his hand without his usual self-consciousness towards women.
"Vickie Dare," she replied while shaking his hand.
"Khyrisse, there's something important that I have to talk to you about privately. It's about Skitch."
Khyrisse looked worried. "Why? What's wrong?"
Thinking he heard panic in her voice, Garal dropped his plan of speaking to her in private. "Uh... Nothing physical," he blurted out. "We were talking in the Carriage coming here and he's got the idea that Rani's an abomination. " His voice carried his distaste for the last word.

"He got that idea from Tarrin." Garal saw the stress of one more thing added to what she had to do on her face.
Garal was surprised that the kind priest would hold such an idea. "I don't think Skitch knows what he's saying, but I'm worried because I've seen attitudes like that turn into intolerance and racism. He's too good a kid -- I'd hate to see him become like that."

Character(s): Vickie Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Abominations
Title of Post: Cures

Vickie looked back at the party. "Which one is Skitch?" she asked.
"He's my son," Khyrisse said. "The one with the big smile."
"Well, im-hoe, there're two ways to get a bad attitude out of a head," Vickie said. "You either stick the two together in a burning boat or you give him a taste of his own medicine."
"Isn't that a bit barbaric?" Garal asked.
"So's racism." Vickie shrugged. "What do I know, I just got here."
"I've heard worse ideas," Khyrisse sighed.

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