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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

The Rat King Archives
Dangerous Liaisons, Part V

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, yenta
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Ditty Bout Jack and Valende
Title of Post: Woo-hoo!

"They're playing some stupid game together and they don't want to come down."
"Ahaha!" Ebreth gave Khyrisse the high fives. Cori crossed her arms darkly. "Hey, maybe that'll improve his mood. Was it just me or has he been kind of cranky this morning?"
"Uh," said Khyrisse, "mabye a little."

Character(s): Tarrin
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Mind Games
Title of Post: A Long Distance Call

Tarrin sat cross-legged in the empty room, deep in meditation. He had never tried this before, and wasn't quite sure what he was doing. Still, he needed to do this. He needed to see his wife and children. He needed to let them know he was okay.
Tarrin mentally chanted the mantra they taught him at seminary.
-Ma ra vie. Ma rey vi,- he intoned over and over again. -Ma ra vie. Ma rey vi.-
He felt his astral self slip from his body, and the room rushed away from beneath him. The land flew past him at speeds he had never experienced before. In half a second, he was flying over Dalencia. A few seconds later, he was whisking over the Northlands and entered Nylevia. A brief moment later, he passed the psi-checkpoint at the Diarian border and flew into his native land. It wasn't long after that that he entered his home outside the city of Irla.
He watched his wife cooking dinner for the family. His children were playing in the courtyard outside of his house. It wasn't until he saw them that he realized how much he missed them. The feeling was unbearable. He had to talk to his wife at least. Focusing his will, Tarrin materialized.
"Coyri?" he said as he appeared.
Tarrin's wife jumped with a start. She looked directly at Tarrin with shock.
"Tarrin? Tarrin! What the vizhey are you doing? Where are you?"
"It is good to see you. This is tiring. I can't keep this up long. I had to tell you that I am all right. Something happened while I was in Irla. I can't explain it, but I am in the barbarian lands."
Coyri made a sign to ward off evil. "You are where?!?" she said, half yelling.
"It is okay. I am fine. I am caught up in something big. Something I need to do. I will be home soon."
Coyri's eyes started to water. "I was worried."
Tarrin smiled a sweet and loving smile. "I will be home soon. I promise."
Tarrin's strength wavered, and he suddenly found himself back in his body. The smell of the cooking meal back in Diaria was still in his mind. All Tarrin could do was cry.

Character(s): The Rat
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: What The Rat Saw
Title of Post: The rat is amused

The rat watched the game play between Jack and Val from the satchel. He was amused, and a bit confused. It was obvious to the rat that the two of them wanted to "nest." The rat didn't understand why Jack didn't bring her a nice piece of down or mark territory around the room. Then again, there were many things about humans the rat didn't understand, but it still amused him.


Character(s): Warp
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Orion's Belt
Title of Post: Meanwhile, someplace other than the orbit of Saturn...

"I really hate anti-matter," Warp sighed, as the armies of Nirian Voth streamed through the rift on Canopus III.
"I always told you there was worse than us out here," Dominator said in reply.
"You were always one of the better things about space battle, Dom," Warp grinned.
"How do you flirt and fight at the same time, Earther?"
"Practice. I learned it from a master."
"HAIIIIII!" one of the negabeasts screamed, leaping across the chasm at the two positive matter beings.
Warp swung his shield around, feeling the anti-matter crackle as it tried to reach through the energy field.
"Warp the damn thing away!" Dominator cried.
"No dice. I'd have to put it somewhere on it's side of the axis, and that'd be an invitation for more of 'em."
"Wuss," Dom sneered, and lanced the thing on a nullblade.
"I try not to kill. It's a little Earth tradition called 'good'."
"You're a lover, not a fighter?"
"So you've met Knighthawke?"
"No, but I've heard you blather it enough."
The chasm widened and Warp could see the form of Nirian, black and glowing, on the other side.
"They're getting ready to channel," Warp said. "That's when we'll get a chance to disrupt the chasm."
"Blow 'em to hell, you mean."
"No," Warp insisted, his tone serious. "We just shut them down. There's worse than Nirian Voth on the other side. We have to maintain their balance of power."
"You talk like you've been there," Dom said.
"I've been everywhere."
One of the negabeasts had gotten a toehold on the plane of matter. The reactive wave began. Warp could feel the sheer presence of Nirian Voth, Lord of Antithesis, manifesting in the energy of the matter/anti-matter mix.
"Now it's my show," Warp said, bringing the hilt of his sword down on the base of Dominator's skull. The Orion Assault Force member fell to the ground. A pulse grenade dropped from her hand.
"I knew I preferred my methods," Warp said, sending Dominator and her bomb across space to the waiting Fleet Ship.
Nirian Voth was already drawing upon the antimass of his vanguard to form a presence in the positive matter universe. Still, there was enough time to try the plan Triad had designed back in Warp's old Enigma days. He leapt into the flux-form of Voth.
Warp was gone.
Nirian Voth blinked with surprise. Such a sacrifice would only hasten the reactive wave. The matter beings were a lot stupider this time, he thought. Then he realized that there was no reaction from the interface. In fact, the power that had been building within his form was dwindling! A blue glow flickered inside Voth, and began to expand. As it did, Voth felt his connection to the positive world fade. Somehow, the creature was reversing the flow of the reactive wave. He was drawing on negative energy, like from home. Warp huddled inside his spacial bubble and continued to replace the universe with its negative doppelganger. Within moments, he had filled the chasm with a spacial connection to the anti-matter universe. The reactive wave ceased.
"Fuck," Nirian Voth said, as the pull of home became overpowering. Then he blinked out.
From an eponymous blue warp, the newest member of Orion's Elite Guard stepped out. "I better get a raise for that one," he sighed.
Meanwhile, Orion consulted with the Center. "He's a maverick," the Conqueror said. "He's successful, but he doesn't follow commands, he antagonizes the other Guard, and he's just generally..."
"Good?" the being known only as the Center said. "He is a hero, you know."
"I will make him mine," Orion snarled.
"You must, if you wish to survive that which is to come. He must act without compassion, without the slightest feeling, if we are to survive."
"By the time I'm done with him, he'll sell his own mother for my glory."

***

"Hey!" Jack cried. "Hey you! Over here!"
The spaceship cruised on past to the largest moon orbiting the planet.
"Physics are a bitch," Jack sighed.

Character(s): Skitch, Khyrisse, Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline:: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Zen and the Art of Rat Following

"This is BOOOOOOO-ring," complained Skitch, beating his heels on the chair legs. "When are we going to go do something?"
"The rat's the one with the plan," said Ebreth. "And Jack's our rat interpreter, so that means we just have to wait for him." This was a great religion, actually. Ebreth wondered if Khyrisse was neglecting to change out of her chemise on purpose.
"No," said Skitch. "This sucks. Give her a backrub or something so our enemies'll come and we can kill them." Khyrisse grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. "Hey!"
"When you get a little older, kid," Ebreth said quietly, "you'll appreciate the value of a quiet moment or two."

Character(s): Pieret
Author: Kris
Storyline: Rats from R.U.M.I.
Title of Post: Pieret Makes A Pass

Pieret looked over his coffee cup at the room. Ebreth and Khyrisse were chattering away, clearly in a universe of their own at the moment. Cori sat at the other table, glowering and prodding her breakfast in a hostile fashion. Pieret finished his coffee and got up. Squaring his shoulders, he walked over to her and bowed deeply. "Honored lady, I was wondering if perhaps you would find a walk in the morning air to your liking," he said in Shikinti, once he had her attention. "You might even, if you would grant such an honor to an unworthy one like myself, spar with me. I have not used the weapons-styles I learned in your country in many years, and I would correct such a lapse as soon as possible."
You owe me one, Jack Paris, he thought, not without a certain amusement at his own expense. Unless I am much mistaken, I am going to suffer countless bruises in your girlfriend's place this morning.

Character(s): Skitch, Tarrin, and Khyrisse (wearing BREECHES and a chemise, thank you!)
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rats From R.U.M.I.
Title of Post: Skitch Sings to the Nice Diari

There was a rap on Tarrin's door, and Skitch, clearly bored senseless, stuck his head in. "Hey, you Diarian Doofus, breakfast is way ove-- uh-oh." Tarrin sat up, wiping tears away and trying to hide that he was doing so. "Oh geez. Oh shit. Um." Skitch edged into the room and closed the door behind him.
The next thing Tarrin heard was a badly pronounced (but at least without an Elven accent) apology in High Diari. He looked up, very surprised. Skitch flushed, looking very uncomfortable. "Did I say it wrong? That's supposed to be 'I'm sorry for disturbing you'. Um, look, Mo-- um, Khyrisse is going to have my hide for this, but she's been planning to talk to you. Things have been kind of busy, though, and I guess she hasn't had time. But she wanted to explain about freaking out when you met her." He sat on the bed next to Tarrin, bouncing experimentally a few times on the mattress. "Anyway, I'd better tell you. She's really sorry. She flipped out because she was the goddess of Trade and then the Madness happened and now she's mortal again-- but she's got all these memories still. Her people's memories, you know? Lots of other people's lives and emotions and stuff. And now most of them are dead, and she can't ask them if she's allowed to share their memories; and some of them might still be alive, and that'd be even worse." Skitch looked up at Tarrin hopefully. He liked the doofus. He wasn't snotty like some of the Diari were. He hoped Tarrin would understand, and it would make him feel better. "She's sort of like a temple guardian, and you walked in her temple without asking. But you didn't know, so she's sorry. She's got a wicked temper anyway. She goes ballistic at everything. She wouldn't let you ride in her coach if she didn't like you, really." A wicked grin appeared on his face. "Maybe you could teach her how to pronounce Diari properly."

***
"I can't wait until he gets older," Khyrisse murmured to Ebreth as Skitch disappeared up the stairs again. "I'm going to have such fun with his first girlfriend."

Character(s): Tarrin and Skitch
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Mind Games
Title of Post: But it isn't X-mas yet

Tarrin smiled at the boy. "I understand," he said in Dalen.
Skitch stood there, looking like he didn't know what to do. Tarrin reached into his robes and pulled out a small translucent crystal.
"I have a gift for you," Tarrin said.
Skitch's eyes brightened as Tarrin placed the crystal in Skitch's hand.
"Ummm, thanks," he said, trying to sound nonchalant.
"Take very good care of that, Skitch. It is very special. How much do you know of Diari customs?"
"Just what Khyri has told me. Personally, I think she fakes a lot of it."
Tarrin smiled. "Well, there is a custom we Diari have. The giving of a dhraz drantri is more than just the stone. There is a responsibility that goes along with it. In giving you that stone, I am trusting you with more than its safe keeping. I am trusting you to carry out the covenant that goes along with it."
"Ummm, sure," Skitch said, uncertain. "This is not where you command me to destroy some evil guy and free the people, is it?"
Tarrin laughed. "No. Nothing so melodramatic."
Skitch looked kind of disappointed.
"The crystal is keyed to certain events. If they come to pass, the crystal will request a simple task of you. Nothing dangerous. You will just need to deliver it someplace. I am sure your mistress will help you."
Skitch looked at the crystal, and then at Tarrin. "Sounds kind of dull."
"It is a great responsibility. I am granting you a great honor."
Skitch looked even more uncertain.
-Please,- Tarrin said, directly into Skitch's mind. -Please do this for me. It is important.-
Skitch was struck with the force and sincerity of Tarrin's telepathic contact. "I'll do it," Skitch said.
A look of relief flowed over Tarrin's face. "Thank you," he said.
With that, the crystal flowed like liquid into Skitch's hand. "What!" Skitch said in surprise.
"You are now the crystal's guardian, Skitch. Do not worry. It will not harm nor hinder you at all. It will only reappear if it is needed."
Skitch looked at his empty hand in disbelief. "You Diari are so strange."
"Mabye, child. Now, how about I teach you how to correctly pronounce High Diari, so you don't sound like a bevrin?"

Character(s): The Collector, the King of Kings, Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline:: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Beliath's Terrible, Awful, Rotten, No-Good Day

"Masssssster."
"What is it now, Laran?"
"One of Beliath'ssssss men hasss tried to kill the marked onessssss."
"What!" shouted the King of Kings, standing. "He didn't succeed?..."
"No," said the Collector. "Tor ssssstopped him."
"Well, good for him." The King of Kings turned his back on his undead minion. "Perhaps it is time for me to have another little chat with Beliath."

***
"I'm sure you will," said Ebreth, grinning. He hesitated and put his hand on Khyrisse's, very dark against her pale skin. "Thank you for last night."
"Thank me? You're the one who warned me."
"I meant," he said, softly, "thank you for trusting me."
"Well," murmured Khyrisse. "I--never was very good at taking advice."
Ebreth leaned across and kissed her. That was exactly when Jack Paris walked into the room, followed by Valende.

Character(s): King of Kings, Beliath
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Rat Kings and Dead Villains
Title of Post: Shakedown

"Beliath!" the King of Kings yelled into the air. "I call you to the prepared place. I summon thee. Come now!"
Without so much as a flash of smoke or light, Beliath appeared in the center of a magical circle a few feet ahead of the King of Kings.
"What do you want? I am very busy."
The King of Kings waved his hand, and Beliath collapsed to the floor in pain.
"That was a reminder of your place. You are here because it has come to my attention that you are interfering in my affairs."
"What are you talking about?" Beliath asked, between waves of pain.
"One of your creatures tried to destroy those which I have worked to hard to collect. You will not interfere."
At each emphasis, the King of Kings sent another jolt of pain through the head of the Dead College.
"Next time, I will not be so understanding. You will leave all those in the company of the mathematician alone. Do you understand?"
Beliath nodded, with a look that usually meant someone was going to die very soon.
"Good. You may go."
As suddenly as he appeared, Beliath was dispelled. The King of Kings turned to the Collector.
"Of course he will not heed my warning. I think it is time a new dean was appointed to the Dead College."
The Collector grinned and threw his hands up in the air and clapped them together. As he brought them apart a red sigil appeared in the air.

***
Since Beliath went on his errand, Greymalkin had been very busy running the Dead College. He was just going over the list of new enrollment when a warmth came over his back. Greymalkin went white. An intricate sigil on his back glowed deep blue for a moment and then shifted to red.
"I understand," he said in a dream-like voice to no one in particular.
The glowing sigil disappeared, and Greymalkin stood up. He had a lot to do before Beliath returned.

Character(s): Kalxanti, the Sigil
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Rat Kings, etc
Title of Post: Hunter and Hunted

Kalxanti wished to be done with this business as soon as possible. It was only by the rules, that he accepted the King of King's charge. As soon as this was done, he would have done with that wizard forever and ever. Even with the Demontide, it shouldn't be that hard to track down a piece of rogue magic floating free and destroy it.

***
The sigil floated with a purpose. It could feel the ripples of dark magic flowing across Sturtevant. The sigil rode those waves and tides with no difficulty. It could feel its quarry, and it knew its quarry could feel it.

***
Kalxanti sniffed the air through his snot filled, pig like nose. The rogue magic was close. Somewhere near that farmhouse up ahead. Maybe, if he was lucky, the farmer had a young son or daughter. He loved the taste of a child's terror as he robbed them of their innocence, ate their flesh and drank their souls. However, such pleasures would have to wait; his quarry was very close.

***
The sigil drifted through the roof of the barn. A horse whinnied with fear as the rogue magic entered. Here it could lay a trap.

***
Kalxanti entered the barn. The horse was screaming. Kalxanti snapped its neck with a thought. It wasn't a child, but it was meat.
The demon sniffed the air once more. He was very close.

***
The sigil descended like lightning upon the demon. The demon screeched as the magic bored into its flesh. Kalxanti tried to invoke his power to relieve himself of the mark, but it was too strong. Still, he knew the rules. He had to destroy the sigil; and he could only think of one way. With a pause, the barn exploded.

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