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The Rat King Archives
Character(s): King of Kings, The Collector
Enemies Within, Part IV
of Post:: Moving day
"In the arena? Hmmm, this is
unexpected." The King of Kings
started pacing. The Collector watched the cloaked figure as he thought.
"It is too soon. There are still tasks
to be done before the merging can take place."
The Collector's glowing eyes watched emotionlessly.
"Looks like we will have to relocate.
Get the blue rock from the vault."
The Collector shuffled out the room and down the corridor. After a few
minutes it returned carrying a blue stone about the size of a small chair
surrounded by some magical force field.
"Very good. I always knew shielding this thing was a wise idea. Put
it in the circle of invocation."
The Collector hissed in affirmation and did as his master commanded. The
Collector then stepped away as the King of Kings approached chanting arcane
words. Flame and energy arose from the perimeter of the circle and oozed
outwards. Then with a burst of energy the stone was consumed and the lair of
the King of Kings was gone leaving a large space.
The earth was shaking.
"What's that?" asked Skitch.
"Earthquake?" replied Pieret.
"Here?" said Jack. "I hate
to say this, but the underlying tectonic structure of the island precludes
Everyone started at Jack blankly and the
ground started to shake even more.
"Earthquakes are not very likely on
this island." Jack said exasperated.
As if to reply the entire arena started to
shake and groan. Just then the ground gave away beneath everyone and plunged
them into darkness.
of Post:: The Reflexes of Ebreth Tor
Had he been solid, his vertical spring
from the collapsing floor of the arena would have intersected the facade of the
falling box seats. From there the tightening of his arm muscles would have sent
him flying over it backwards and off the crumbling dugout to the safety of the
amphitheater wall, and he would
probably have looked pretty good doing it.
As it was, Ebreth Tor slid foggily down
Khyrisse, Vas, Skitch, Pieret
Kristin L.K. Andersen
The Rats of R.U.M.I.
of Post:: Be Prepared is the Grendel Scout Motto!
The arena shook violently and broke apart
beneath them. Ebreth, betrayed by his reflexes once again, disappeared into
their rapidly collapsing surroundings.
Khyrisse, cursing, cupped her hands in a
roughly circular shape and thrust them outwards. Wisps of multi-colored light
swirled from her hands and circled around the group. It looked similar to the
color spray she'd used earlier, but the colors pulsed rapidly brighter, in
tandem with an increasingly pained look on Khyrisse's face. A scintillating
sphere of blinding colors snapped into being around Jack and the Rat, Valende,
Ariath, Khyrisse, and Tarrin. The shaking of the ground stopped abruptly, but
the sounds of destruction continued from outside.
Khyrisse grabbed Valende, gasping in pain,
and told her fiercely, "Don't let anyone leave the sphere, it'll kill
them!" and dove out through the coruscating wall of color.
As the floor collapsed beneath them, Vas
invoked his ability of flight. Looking quickly to Pieret, he was surprised to
find him also in the midst of invoking a spell. Taking that as a good sign, he
sped off towards Skitch, who was trying desperately to leap to an island of
rock that had not yet collapsed. Diving low, he grabbed Skitch by the seat of
his pants, and slung him around onto his back. "Hold on, kiddo!" he
shouted over the noise of the demolition. Skitch grabbed tight, and looked down
as the two of them soared upwards. "Holy mackerel! Wouldja look at
that!" As Vas looked back down, he could see the floor of the arena
collapse in a thunderous roar. Vas had a worried moment, looking down at the
destruction. A soft breeze caressed his face, spiraling upwards out of the choking
clouds of dust. Pieret appeared, floating gently upwards through a clearing
path of air, looking completely untouched and much too comfortable. He looked
back down into the mess. "I can't hold this for long," he said
distractedly. "Any sign of the others?"
Vas pointed to another area of the former
arena. A scintillating globe began to appear as the air cleared, hovering above
the wreckage by a good fifty feet. Pieret grinned. "What a clever way to
use a prismatic sphere. I wonder how she plans to get them out."
"Where's Goatboy?" Skitch
Pieret shook his head. "My spell
can't carry more than one person. I'm afraid he's down there somewhere."
Kristin L.K. Andersen
The Rats of R.U.M.I.
Post: Oklahoma This Ain't
Khyrisse dove down into the collapsing
mess after Ebreth, flattening herself and wriggling through the gaps between
the falling rocks. She found him underneath a pile of the collapsed arena in
the sewer line they'd crawled up from. He had already figured out that his
wraithform couldn't be hurt by this, from the looks of it. He was probably
trying to figure out how to "flatten" enough to get out. He had that
confused and tired look again. Khyrisse tapped him on the shoulder. Anything
she said was drowned out by the roar of settling rock above them, but she
gestured to him, and then to herself. By degrees, she led him out of the tangle
of arena rubble. She flopped down on a chunk of one of the stands and grinned
shakily at Ebreth. "You know, we
have to stop meeting like this. People are going to talk."
Ebreth Tor, Jack Paris
of Post:: The Things That Come To Mind
There were probably a lot of people out there
who would have paid a lot of money to see the Rimbor City Arena fall on Ebreth
Tor. For some reason that was the main thing he was thinking as he watched the
big ass chunks of rock batter down around him. He was also wondering how such a
shittily constructed, shittily conceived institution had ever been such a
moneymaker, and why anyone would build a stadium on top of a huge empty cavern.
Then he wondered if he needed to breathe while in wraithform, and then
Khyrisse, apparently his new guardian angel, oozed out from between some rubble
and smiled mistily at him. If this wasn't so slapstick, it might be romantic.
The rat sucked in its little cheeks and
ran in distracted circles on Jack's chest. Jack propped himself up on his
elbows and looked at him. "Yes, I agree," he said, and sucked his own
The rat jumped up and down delightedly.
"Jack?" said Val, sweetly.
"Can you fill the rest of us in, darling?"
"Vacuum," he said. "The
space beneath the arena imploded when something large down there was displaced,
creating a vacuum. Which, naturally, was filled by the surrounding rock,
creating serious geologic instabilities in the immediate area." Ariath
kind of looked at him. "Fall down go boom."
Khyrisse, Ebreth, Vas, Val, Skitch, Ariath, Pieret
Kristin L.K. Andersen
The Rats of R.U.M.I.
of Post:: Some of Us Have Wings, But Not a Halo in Sight
Ebreth's body gradually became solid as
Khyrisse sat and rubbed her throbbing temples.
"I was afraid of that." She held up her own hand and watched
it grow opaque. "That would have been really ugly."
Ebreth helped her up. "There's
probably an exit to the surface nearby. We'll use that."
"Good, 'cause I only have one
wraithform spell left, and I want to save it to use against that undead
A dusty slant of light appeared in the
tunnel after a few minutes of exploring. Looking out of the broken sewer pipe,
they saw the remains of the Rimbor City Arena lying in a shattered heap,
curving downwards into the cavern that had opened beneath it. Khyrisse's
prismatic sphere glowed in the distance, floating in mid-air like a
multi-colored sun. Three little figures floated near it, one noticeably smaller
than the other two. Khyrisse sighed in relief. Ebreth tested the stability of
the nearest rock. It settled a little, puffing more dust into the air. Khyrisse
eyed it dubiously. The pounding in her head hadn't diminished much. She wasn't
looking forward to scrambling through the wreckage. "That doesn't look
very safe, does it?" she asked him, one hand clamped to her aching skull.
"Why don't I use my fly spell on you, instead? If, of course," she
added with a brief but extremely impish grin, "you don't mind carrying me
Vas cast dimension door and appeared
inside the sphere next to his sister, with Skitch still perched on his back.
Skitch waved the embroidered Trade Sigil like a flag. "We've got an
idea! Everybody clear some space!"
"Don't touch the walls!" Valende
warned. She tucked her arm through Jack's and got the two of them out of the
Vas took the scrap of fabric from Skitch
and aimed carefully for the center of the sphere. With a flourish, he expanded
it into the Carriage. The phantom horses shied away from the wall at their
noses. The horses and the carriage barely fit inside.
"Everyone climb aboard, and we may rest in comfort,"
Vas said smugly. "All we shall need then is for the Lady Khyrisse to
dispel her prismatic sphere."
"The Lady Khyrisse," said Pieret
in a wry voice from outside the sphere, "is dallying with her
knight-errant... but it looks like they'll be here shortly."
"What are you standing on?"
Ariath wanted to know. Pieret's voice was level with them.
"Thin air and the grace of a departed
deity. Hurry up."
Ebreth Tor, Jack Paris
of Post:: Into the Rubble
It was apparently the day for
experimenting with forms of magical transportation. Luckily Ebreth Tor was
blessed with a stomach like the Rock of Takatu; if there was a way to make him
motion-sick, those more thorough and malicious than Khyrisse had failed to find
it, so he didn't worry himself over losing his lunch in mid-air and
concentrated on getting where he was going.
Khyrisse dispelled the prismatic sphere
with a pop of colors. She was surprised but a little pleased to see the Trade
Carriage waiting for her. "Good. Let's get back to our inn."
"Yeah," said Jack, consulting
his internal chronometer, "it'll be time for our next appointment with the
undead thing soon."
Val winced. "Jack, dear, do you have
to put it that way?"
Ebreth felt his iron stomach plunge
suddenly. "Goatboy," he whispered. "Where is Goatboy?"
"I don't know," said Pieret.
"I couldn't keep a hold of him."
"Oh, fuck," said Ebreth.
"We've got to find him."
"If he gets loose, he'll probably try
to kill Tarrin again," agreed Val. "Jack, tell them about the
"A large area beneath the arena was
suddenly displaced," said Jack. "That caused the surrounding
structure to rush into the empty space, and that caused the massive collapse we
witnessed. I'd guess somebody teleported an entire underground complex without
bothering to stabilize the matter exchange parameters."
"But what--what could have been down
"We are going to have to go down and
look," said Ebreth. "We've got to find Goatboy."
of Post:: Happy Days Are Here Again?
Cori sat depressed in the Mithril Dagger.
The bartender had been very forthright about Jack's appearance here a few days
ago. The tale of the rat had Cori in tears of laughter, but two hours later,
she hadn't a clue as to how to proceed. "If Luthien comes back, maybe he'll
be able to help you. At least try a scry or something," Kevin offered.
"Another blue," Cori sighed.
"So is this guy your boyfriend?"
Kayla asked. The waitress was wearing a strange, fur-lined jacket that seemed
like it would be much too warm in this climate, but she carried it off well.
"No, no, just a friend..." Cori
said, trailing off. Reena had always been the one interested in Jack, but Jack
was too silly to notice it. In the end, Reena had ended up with Crandall until
his death at the hands of that bitch Gabriella. Date Jack? The thought was
absurd. Especially since Haroshi had only died a week ago. Still, she felt a
strange excitement at the idea of seeing her old friend again.
Cori shrugged it off. This was business.
"Cori Yashida?" a voice asked
from behind her, causing her to jump in her chair. Then her sword was an inch
from the throat the voice had come from. It was a young man, tall but
well-built, with curly blonde hair and a thick mustache. He was dressed in
seaman's clothes, and there was blood staining one leg of his breeches.
Kevin looked at the door. He hadn't even
seen it open.
"I'm Anders Mahalo Paris,
ma'am." the seaman said.
"Cori Yashi--but you already knew
"I took a short trip here to let you
know what we've found out about Jack. The Word mentioned that you were looking
"How did you know I'd be here?"
"Everyone coming to Lianth with a
problem ends up in the Mithril Dagger," Anders said.
"So have you found him?" Cori
"Yes, ma'am. He's been spotted in
Rimbor City. Cori remembered their last
visit there. The Unearthed Colossus. Crandall's drinking tour that had ended
with all of them in prison. Their first encounter with Gabriella. Those were
good days. Maybe, just maybe...
"I've got to stay here in
Lianth," Anders continued. "I'm looking for Jack's father--he's
missing too--but I've talked to a friend of mine and booked you passage. Can
you get to the wharfs by eight tonight?"
Cori could have kissed the rough looking
sailor. "I'm there. Thank you so much, Anders. I'm in your debt."
"Any friend of Jack's is a friend of
mine," he said.
"Should the Paris family ever need
the sword of Cori Yashida, it is at your disposal."
"Thank you, ma'am. I'll be sure to
tell the Word." Anders smiled, bowed, and slipped away.
Cori slugged down the rest of her Shikintu
Blue and brought the empty glass up to the bar. "Thanks, Kevin. I'll let
you know how this all ends." With
that, she headed off to the wharves, first at a walk, but finally at a run.
Ebreth Tor, Jack Paris
of Post:: Rat King
Hours of searching had failed to unearth
any sign of Goatboy. This was upsetting Ebreth to no end. Either he was alive
and he'd escaped, or he had died and, probably, gone back to Hell. Ebreth
didn't know which was worse. As he edged around a crumbling hunk of marble his
hand fell on something soft. Ebreth pushed around the stone. It was ten dead
rats, tied together by their tails. Before him the tunnel ended in a huge
cavern full of fallen rubble.
"This would be where the vacuum
was," said Jack, looking out over it.
"Before it was a vacuum, this tunnel probably connected to
"I have seen the rats like this
before," said Tarrin. "In Diaria the rats like this. Very
The rat made a little moaning sound and
huddled in Jack's satchel.
The Rat, Tarrin
What the Rat Saw / Mind Games
of Post:: Memories of rodents
Tarrin put his hand up to his temples.
"What's wrong?" asked Jack.
"Pain... Many voices in pain..."
The entire group gave each other confused
"Maybe you'd better sit down,"
said Ariath, trying to be helpful.
Tarrin looked at the rat kings and then
back at Jack.
"Jack," Tarrin said with obvious
strain, "Let me hold the rat. I think it holds the answers."
Jack looked hesitant.
"I won't hurt it, Jack."
Jack reached into his satchel and pulled
out the quivering rodent.
"My god!" whispered Khyrisse.
"I can feel its fear. Are you doing that, Tarrin?"
"No," the Diari priest
responded, "Whatever this creature has been through in this place must
have triggered some sort of memory trauma."
Tarrin gently grabbed the rat and his mind
exploded with the rat's thoughts.
He was in a cage filled to overflowing
with rats. So many rats that he couldn't move without stepping on one. Terror
is all he remembered. He remembered being snatched in the alley and being tied
to a stick. He remembered feeling sick, then being someplace else. He then
remembered being stuffed in this cage with hundreds of other rats.
He sniffed the air. Decay, ozone, sulfur
and acrid smoke flooded into his nostrils.
"It is time," he heard a human voice
say. "Fetch the first group."
Memory was then fragmentary. He was placed
in a circle of magic with other rats. The hooded hand and the horrible thing
were just outside of the barrier. The hooded man started to chant, it was
almost like singing, then the pain began. He felt himself being turned by
irresistible forces. He
heat and cold ripple through his body. He felt his tail turn liquid and join
with the others. He felt terror. Then something changed. He heard other voices
like his. The other rats were in his mind. He was confused and scared. He had
to flee. Strength rippled through his body; he knew he could escape if his
bided his time.
"Well?" the thing said in a
"It looks successful. If they all go
as easy as this one the project will be archived before the year is out."
He felt the circle of magic fall, and he
made his move. With all his strength, he pulled. He pulled with strength
motivated by fear. Then there was that awful tearing sound, and the pain. He
felt the crystals of shock fill his body, but he was free.
"Get it, Laran! That rat must not
escape!" yelled the hooded man.
He felt the dead thing trying to corner
him. Then something flared inside him. He felt cool, and light emanated from
his underside. Then he was someplace else.
Tarrin shook his head as he came out of
the trance. Val caught him as he started to faint.
"Easy there," she said.
"What did you find?" asked
"A place. I think it was this place,
before it disappeared. It feels the same. It was horrible. The rats were
Tarrin looked at the rat and the rat
looked back at him with oil drop eyes.
-I understand,- Tarrin said in the
The rat just looked at him, with an
expression that could best be described as pain.
"The rat-- his name is Seeker of
Places, by the way-- is a brave creature.
I was once part of one of those," he said pointing to the rat king.
"He managed to escape, and then invoke some sort of magic. However, that
is not the most important thing. I found out the undead thing's name."
Everyone's ears perked at this news.
"Well, don't keep us waiting,"
said Vas. "What is the thing called?"
Ebreth Tor, Jack Paris
of Post:: Is There A Prophet In The House?
"I was once part of one of
those," said Tarrin, solemnly, and pointed at the bundle of dead rats.
Ebreth ignored his pronoun difficulties. "I found out the undead thing's
"Do undead things have to obey you if
you know their names?" said Ebreth, hopefully. "Sit, Laran,
"Laran?" said Khyrisse.
"That couldn't be Laran Raimonde, could it?"
Jack stroked the exhausted rat's head.
"Tarrin just did something," he commented.
"Well, duh, Jack," said Skitch.
"No, I mean he just did something. I
wonder if this is related to Goatboy's tautology."
"I understand," the rat lied.
"We'd better find a new prophetic
course as soon as we can."
"Well, how do we do that?" said
"Usually," said Jack, "they
Ebreth Tor, not undead
of Post:: Blissfully Unaware
Ebreth wiped his hands on his pants as he
emerged from the rubble of what had apparently once been the Rimbor City Arena.
It was starting to get dark. "Well, now what?" he said cheerfully.
"Looks like we're out of leads again. Want to go back to the inn and try
to set up a trap for our man Laran? Or does the rat have a better idea?"
"I think this was his idea for
today," Jack murmured. The rat looked utterly exhausted. "Tomorrow
morning I'll see if the convergence has moved on."
"We still have a date," Val
"Hey, save it till after the undead
thing tries to curse me, Romeo!" complained Ariath.
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