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Khyrisse and Novoa
Dangerous Liaisons, Part III
Kristin L.K. Andersen
The Rats of R.U.M.I.
of Post:: Intangible's Playing It a Little TOO Hard to Get...
Khyrisse noted Ebreth trying to comfort
her, and had to stomp hard on the urge to laugh. If she started laughing now,
she'd go into hysterics. Well, what do you know. Wraithform has a down side.
She took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself and shoved everything else
out of her head. Forget about Cynystra. Stick to the goddamn plan.
Keeping her head down, Khyrisse cast her
first sending spell and contacted Harry Novoa.
Possible connection between Barry Spivot and Lucas St. Augustine. May be
connected to Beliath, leader of Dead College. Warning: dangerous undead
involved. Pursuing Augustine's capture.
A long few moments later, the irritated
voice of Harry Novoa replied, obviously unused to using this kind of
communication. Graves escaped. Vigilante "Octavian" (still at large)
"rescued" kid to question about companions and release. Says bomber/traitor
among your companions, probably plotting with Tor.
Khyrisse didn't know whether to laugh or
cry. Good thing her stash of alcohol was INSIDE the Carriage.
Ebreth Tor, the Rat Pack
of Post:: Blissfully Unaware Khyrisse Is Singing To The Nice Policeman
It was very late by the time they pulled
into Sturtevant. They stopped a short way outside of a smallish town so that
Khyrisse could put her carriage away without attracting too much attention from
anti-magic zealots, but as it turned out there was no one on the streets
anyway, and it took some doing to get the innkeeper to open up and let them in.
The town didn't look like it was under major demonic assault or anything, but
it had a certain beleaguered appearance to it. Ebreth let the guy overcharge
him for the suite, and Khyrisse was looking too preoccupied to interfere.
"Goodnight, Jack," said Cori.
Ebreth Tor had been right again. As usual.
Rat Kings and Dead Villains
of Post:: One of These Things Is Not Like the Other...
If he had been human, he would've been in
Fortunately, Doctor Anomaly was far from
He looked at the mark that the collector
had left on the inside of the large hole in his torso, then peeled it off like
He licked his lips, feeling the maggots
still crawling around. Now that the artificial fear was over, the kiss didn't
seem quite so bad.
"You don't belong here, little
friend," he said to the sigil hanging in his hand. "Find the person
to whom you truly belong."
Doctor Anomaly cast the Mark of the
Collector to the wind, where it flew off north, towards Sturtevant.
Robinson Paris, Jack Paris
Skeins of Fate, Rat Kings and Dead Villains
of Post:: The Truth About Jack
Robinson whispered to Flicker. He didn't
wish the Valkyrie or the Necromancer to know too much about the closest thing
he had to a son. "Jack is...
special," Robinson said. "He's not human."
"What is he?" Flicker asked.
Jack watched Val and Vas bring their
baggage up to the room. Something had changed in the elf's demeanor, but Jack
couldn't for the life of him figure it out.
Maybe she had found out.
Lord knows there had been enough clues...
and now he was being treated like he wasn't even there. It followed
mathematically. Cause and effect. Jack wished Robinson or Lita were there. He
really needed someone who understood.
It wasn't easy not being real.
"I... didn't know such a thing was
possible," Flicker said. "And I've got a pretty wide range of
"It took forty years of calculation
to make certain that everything was covered. Only problem is, everything
wasn't. I never considered that Jack might leave this plane. It's not like he
could die naturally."
"But what might happen if he
"I couldn't hope to imagine, unless I
knew all the environmental constants of the plane. He could dissolve, he could
degrade... there are billions of possible effects."
"So keep him out of Hell,"
Flicker said. "Good advice for us all."
"Val?" Jack asked.
Valende looked at Jack with a combination
of confusion and fear. It was almost as if she were afraid of what he was going
"We need to talk," Jack said.
"I thought the woman was the one who
usually said that one," Val quipped, trying to cover up her discomfort.
"I know you've figured it out,"
Jack said, looking at his feet.
"Please, Jack... you don't have
"I do. I have to tell you what I
feel... you have to know the truth."
"Please, Val... just hear me
"You don't know everything about me,
Jack," Val said, holding back tears.
"If you don't ask, this can be really easy."
"Well, if you don't make it,
Robinson," Flicker said, glancing annoyedly at Norna, "I promise.
I'll tell Jack."
"Thank you... friend." Robinson
was looking at Eren like he used to look at Shalini.
"Fair seas," Flicker responded
in the old pirate cant.
"--I can't marry you."
"--I'm a mathematical equation."
"I wasn't going--"
"You're a what?"
The two stopped, both reeling.
"You, uh, first," Jack said.
"It's... not important right now.
I... misthought. What do you mean that you're a mathematical equation?"
Jack sat down in the hallway. "I'm
not real. I'm the result of a mathematical equation that Robinson Paris
"But you're a person!"
"No, I'm the three dimensional
representation of a person. It's all determined by the results of environmental
constants and neural net mathematics. Cut me, I don't bleed. I don't breathe.
I'm not human."
"I've met inhuman, Jack," Val
said. "You're as human as they come."
"I'm all numbers. A dispel magic and
you'd see... no more Jack Paris, except as a string of values. Look, I'm sorry
to have deceived you. I could see that you were figuring it out, and I thought
I'd better come clean." Jack
stood, and started down the corridor.
"At least you can get on with your life," Jack said. "I'd
better get back to the Rat."
Jack's form faded and disappeared.
Ariath poked her head into the corridor.
"Coming to bed, Val? Cori's already snoring."
Jack reintegrated in his hotel room. He
had hoped that telling Val would make him feel better. It hadn't. He felt
miserable. Even the few minutes in pure mathematical form hadn't relaxed him.
The Rat looked at him as he seemed to
"Just me, Rat... just us
Khyrisse and Vas
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Girls of St. Augustine
of Post:: Sweet Little Chirping Birdie
Khyrisse spent a while in her room (after
Skitch fell asleep on her bed with his notebook), alternately pacing and
studying. Valende, for some reason, had gone to bed looking very confused.
Probably something with Jack; but it meant that Vas was on watch tonight.
Khyrisse clutched her head, mussing her hair again. She had a screaming
headache; brought on, she suspected, by too much spellcasting and way too much
Ebreth would surely have read the note by
gave up and went to the door. I can't think anyway, and everything's already
done. There's no point in sitting here wondering about whether or not this is a
good idea. I'm too tired and upset to figure anything out.
Yeah, right, Khyri. What was your excuse
for not figuring out Eric?
She shook her head violently, took a deep
breath, and pulled open the door to peek out.
Vas was sitting in a chair in the hallway,
sharpening his sword. He looked up, smiled, and came towards the door.
Khyrisse would have found this comforting,
two days ago. Now she had a hard time keeping her eyes off the naked sword in
his hand, wondering if he was going to use it.
She kept her eyes flickering around his face, aware of the fact that a
direct stare would hardly be appropriate either, and held the neck of her robe
tightly closed. "Yes,
milady?" he whispered to her, smiling a little.
"I can't sleep," she explained,
not quite meeting his eyes. "I was thinking..."
"Yes?" Vas prompted, his smile
widening to a grin as her voice trailed away.
Khyrisse deliberately summoned the memory
of those few moments before the goons had broken into her hotel room in Rimbor.
Her face went bright red. "I
thought I might go talk to Ebreth."
"I imagine that would help one
sleep," Vas whispered, after a pause. His shoulders were shaking with
suppressed laughter. "But why tell me?"
"I suppose you won't let me go by
Vas thought about this for a moment,
looking hesitant. "Milady," he finally said, taking her other hand in
his, "I am very discreet. No one will find out where you went from me, I
assure you. Not even your knight-errant will know I am there. Surely, you would
prefer to remain uninterrupted this time?" This last was said with a smile
that was more than a bit amused.
Khyrisse was scarlet. She swallowed hard
and snatched her hand away. "I'm
going to get you for enjoying this, Vas," she whispered fiercely at him,
stamping her bare foot on his booted toe. She didn't look particularly angry,
Vas' shoulders started shaking again as
Khyrisse swept past him, head high. She
went down the hall on silent feet, blue silk half-robe fluttering behind her,
and knocked ever so quietly on Ebreth's door. Vas leaned against the wall,
admiring the view of her legs until she disappeared into Ebreth's room.
He then picked up a chair and placed it very
near the merchant's door. Amused, he turned an ear to the discussion ensuing
I wonder what Milady will think of to say
to Lord Tor, when she blushed so brightly explaining herself to me... he mused,
examining the edge of his blade.
The Rat, Jack
What the Rat Saw
of Post:: Comfort by a rat
The rat was busy cleaning himself when
Jack reappeared in the room. The rat gave Jack a curious look then went back to
cleaning himself. Jack sat down on the bed and looked depressed. Human emotions
confused the rat. They were so complex. Not knowing what else to do the rat
pulled a piece of paper and a bit of charcoal out of the pack. With his nose he
nudged them towards Jack.
Rat Kings and other such stuff
of Post:: @$#% Dr. Anomaly
The sigil drifted in the ether like wind
towards Sturtevant. It didn't know confusion. It didn't know surprise. All it
knew was its purpose. Somehow it got separated from where it was placed and now
it had to find a new host.
Ebreth Tor, Lucas St. Augustine, the Rat Pack
Laura Redish (& Kristin L.K. Andersen)
Girls of St. Augustine
of Post:: Betrayals
Ebreth turned, holding Khyrisse against him,
and flicked her second note open between their bodies. His eyes passed over the
words as briefly as a candle before he tucked it back into her fingers. She
twisted them and it turned to dust. "What?" he said, aloud, and then
softer, "Khyrisse, Novoa's jumping at ghosts. Augustine's been dead for
years." Her eyes went rather wide, but he touched her lips with his
finger. "It's not something you have to worry about. Trust me."
"But he said--" said Khyrisse,
and then leaned into Ebreth's neck to whisper into his ear. She could almost
sense Vas outside straining to make sense of what she was saying. She whispered
it in High Diari, just to spite them both. "I no like spy games," she
hissed, bollixing up all her vowels and not caring. "That silk twenty-six
memories a bolt. Your sweat smell good."
nothing," said Ebreth. "Khyrisse, Octavian is a street gang or
something. Novoa doesn't know what he's talking about. He just doesn't trust
me. You trust me, don't you?"
"I, yes," said Khyrisse. She
wasn't sure if she was acting or not.
"Then forget about Novoa and come
with me to the Islands." He held out his hand. She put the vial with the
trigger item into it and he slipped it into his cloak. "Are you with
"I knew I could count on you,
Khyrisse." He pulled away from her. "There are some things I need to
arrange first. Meet me here in the morning."
"I'll--be waiting," she said.
"Hold that thought." He kissed
her hand and turned to go, his shoulders straightening a little. Morituri te
salutant, he thought, and shut the door behind him. "Vas," he said,
in undertone, "would you mind taking a little walk with me? I wanted to
talk to you about your mistress."
"Why," said Vastarin, very
"We've got a problem."
"I don't know who this Octavian is,
but he knows us. He found a piece of the bomb in Rimbor and told Novoa St.
Augustine had set it. And Novoa told Khyrisse."
Vas turned then, as if at a sudden noise,
plunged into the shadow of a nearby awning and came out with Ariath's arm. The
rest of Ariath followed it, smiling ingratiatingly. Ebreth hadn't even heard
her. "Hello, Vas. I saw you leaving the inn and I thought you might like
some company. I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
"A beautiful woman is always a
welcome interruption." Vas kissed her lightly on the temple and broke her
neck in his hands. She made only the slightest of sounds. He dropped her to the
ground. "You were saying?"
Ebreth didn't blink. "Octavian. He
doesn't know you're here now but he has linked you with me." He moved his
thumb at Ariath. "What about her?"
"She was disposable," said Vas.
"You remember the type."
"I certainly do. They make a lot more
noise coming down the street."
He paused. "You don't think--"
"I think it's too late NOW,"
said Ebreth, "but yes, I think when there's a powerful force that you're
in the process of betraying and some unknown entity who's trying to destroy
you, the shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later mentality leaves a little to be
desired. I would have liked to have known who she was with." He leaned
against the low wall. "Listen. Octavian has got to be someone we know. If
he can recognize your bombs he must have had a lot of experience with them.
Could that be someone in your organization?"
"The Dead College?" said Vas.
"There--I don't know anyone like that there, but--" He thought about
it. "No one in the Dead College would be working through Rimbor City
police. She might be Dead College." He kicked Ariath, who made a low,
dying-sounding moan. "He wouldn't be. He must just be an old enemy.
"Needle in a haystack, Lucas!"
Ebreth took a glass vial out from under his cloak. "There's more. Look
what I found in Khyrisse's things."
The green elven eyes went wide as the
spider in amber clattered out onto the wall. "That's not a bug? You turned
it off, didn't you?" He grabbed for it in something of a panic; as he
swept it up he jolted, and Ebreth caught the amber perfectly in the vial as it
fell from his fingers. Vas blinked at him rather stupidly. "I," he
said, and shook his head, "I'm sorry, Ebreth, my mind must have been
wandering. What were you saying?"
"Funny," said Ebreth, "I
don't remember either."
Vas noticed the body at his feet then.
"Aaaaaaahhh!" he screamed, and pulled out his sword. "What did
you do to her? VALENDE!"
Ebreth Tor just had no idea how to even go
about answering that.
Vas swung his head back and forth between
the pirate and the broken mage, and finally dropped to his knees and tried to
give her some first aid. Ebreth was
pretty sure her spinal cord had been torn. He'd seen Lucas kill men before.
Khyrisse got there before Val did, and Ebreth handed her the vial. "In
case of serious Cynystran mismanagement in Rimbor," he said, only a little
shakily, "break glass."
Khyrisse pointed at Ariath. Ebreth moved
his head a little bit towards Vas and a little bit towards her. Khyrisse put
both her hands over her mouth. Valende came hurrying over and crouched beside
her brother. "Get him," shouted Vas, "he must have stunned me,
"Vas," said Khyrisse, uneasily,
"Ebreth--Ebreth didn't do that, Vas." She cast true seeing. The
Duke's soul was, in fact, contained. Khyrisse exhaled very hard.
"She's alive," said Val,
"she's badly hurt. Her, her neck is broken. I'm going to try a heal
"What is going on here?" said
Khyrisse was looking at Ebreth. There were
a thousand things she had wanted to ask him, now that she could safely talk to
him again, but damned if she could remember any of them, or at least how she'd
been planning on phrasing them. "Why," she finally said, "why
did you do this?"
"Well," he said, wearily,
"I figured fucking with Duke St. Augustine and letting him murder you all
had about the same chance of landing me in Hell, and Lucas was the first Ebreth
Tor's friend and you're mine, so I went with you. If you don't mind, I'm going
to sit down now." He did, right on the cobbles.
"Is someone going to explain this to
me?" said Vas.
King of Kings
Rat Kings etc.
of Post:: Rogue Magic
The King of Kings watched the events with
Dr. Anomaly in his crystal ball. He knew the chances of marking the wild mage
were slim, but it was worth the shot. However, the effect was something he
totally didn't expect. He thought at worst the Collector wouldn't have been
able to mark him. The Doctor tossing the sigil away like garbage was not at all
what he had in mind. This made things a little more complex.
The sigil was moving with the wind towards
Sturtevant, which was the one place he didn't want the rogue magic going. The
King of Kings tried invoking the sigil, to call it to him, but it still moved
away in the direction opposite to him, towards the other side of Ataniel. This
was not good. He needed to recover that sigil before it marked someone who
shouldn't be marked. The King of Kings thought for a moment, and then knew of
the perfect person to retrieve the rogue magic. He smiled as he readied the
spell. It was time to call in his marker with a particularly vile demon.
Khyrisse, Skitch, Vas
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Girls of St. Augustine
of Post:: Afterglow This Isn't... But It'll Do
Skitch came tumbling down the stairs and bolted
out the front door. "I missed it, didn't I? Aw, dammit, I did. You got
him, didn't you? Oh, jeez--" he said, finally seeing Valende hard at work
over Ari, whose neck was obviously broken in several places. "Oh, man.
I'll get Tarrin!" He bolted back inside.
Khyrisse took pity on Vas and grabbed his
shoulder. "Vas. Vas! If Valende can't heal her properly, I can reincarnate
her. I... I think it should work, no matter who she really is or where she came
from. Besides, look, it's working."
"All right," Vas said, taking a
shaky breath and stepping back from Ariath. "Okay. Will someone explain to
me who did do that if my lord Tor did not?"
"Um... you did, Vas. Not really you.
I'm sorry. You were possessed." Khyrisse handed him the glass vial.
"It's safe now, Ebreth. He's not really in there anyway."
Vas looked about ready to tear his hair out
in confusion. Khyrisse put one hand to her forehead and moaned a little under
her breath. "You were possessed by the spirit of Duke St. Augustine,
former lord of Rimbor. The other Ebreth used to know him. So did I. He was
trying to kill us all for reasons too complicated to explain right now.
Augustine thought it was the original Ebreth Tor, so Ebreth played stalking
horse for me and tricked him into accepting a trigger item that I enchanted
which sucked his soul into a gem that I'm not telling anyone where it is, but
it's not here."
Khyrisse finished blurting all this out as
the pounding in her head grew deafening. She leaned against the wall and slid
down it to sit next to Ebreth, not caring that her legs were showing and her
new robe was getting muddy. "Is this seat taken?" she murmured to
Ebreth, eyes closed. "No? Good. Wake me up if I need to reincarnate
Ariath." Her head tilted down onto Ebreth's shoulder.
Rat Kings et al
of Post:: Fever Dream
Ariath had been here before.
She had been dead, or almost dead, at that
"Ariath," came the familiar
"My favorite guide," Ariath
"Don't bitch at me, you bitch,"
Rhynwa answered. "I'm here because you called me here. It's your fucking
"Then why isn't Oethnar in a
loincloth guiding me to the other side?"
"...because he's a tree," the
two women said in unison, busting out laughing.
After a moment, Ariath sobered up.
"So I'm dead, huh?"
"Not yet, unfortunately," the
dream-Rhynwa said. "They're trying to heal you now, the feebs."
"So were we right?" Ariath
"I don't know," Rhynwa admitted.
"It was Duke St. Augustine who killed you. Not... you-know-who."
"Too many villains," Ariath
sighed. "Present company still up for grabs, of course."
"So if I'm not dead yet, why am I
"Because there was new information you
needed to know."
"I'm afraid so."
"Spill it, stick-woman."
Rhynwa flipped Ariath off. "He's
closer than we thought. The Lich Lords are all moving, now. You're going to
need to take care of him soon."
"And then it's over?"
"And then it's over. You get what you
"About fucking time," Ariath
"One other thing," Rhynwa said.
"Who?" Ariath asked.
"...think that it's going to..."
"Ariath? Are you all right?"
The young blonde mage gasped for breath.
"Ariath, you're going to be
Pain washed her body.
"You... couldn't have waited another
minute?" she asked, half-joking.
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