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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

The Rat King Archives
Like A Bat Out Of Hell, Part II

Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rift
Title of Post: What Just Happened?

Jack felt nauseated. The release of planar energy was wreaking havoc with his environmental constants. Still, there didn't seem to be any sense of dissolution... more a sense of... Weird. Jack couldn't place it.
Finally the nausea stopped.
"What just happened?" Jack asked Val.
"Tarrin closed the rift. I think he made some sort of psionic power feedback or something. What am I telling you this for, you're the mathematician."
"I know bugger-all about psionics," Jack confessed. "I'm one big psionic null zone. Didn't Flicker say something about it blowing a hole in Hell?"
"Why?" Val asked.
"Because we've still got to get Cori back."
"Oh," Val said.

Character(s): Flicker
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: All About Hell

Flicker expelled air. "No, it's okay," he said. "What were you guys doing? Do you realize you just came within a few minutes of destroying Hell and at least one plane of the Abyss?"
"Who cares about stupid old Hell!" cried Skitch.
"Then there isn't a hole?" said Jack, disappointed.
Flicker touched his temples. "Please tell me you weren't trying to blow up Hell."
"No!" said Jack. "I have a friend there!"
"Then next time," he said, "use plane shift if you want to get to Hell."
"Or you can kill lots of people," offered Ebreth.

Character(s): The Evil Diari Asteroid; a surprise guest
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Dead Diarians From Outer Space: They Want Our Women!
Title of Post: Poetic Justice

Only two of the ancient Diari starships were still functional. As the asteroid passed around the gas giant with all the other debris they rocketed out on a trajectory towards Ataniel, the dead Diari hands steering them inexorably towards their goal. They would reach Ataniel within the week. They would set beacons on the rift in the Doomlands, and the asteroid would move again.
Or would have.
Halfway between Jupiter and Saturn, a spacecraft resembling a giant anime kitty cat pulled about. "Evil Diarians!" cried a female voice over the com systems. The starship whose visuals were still working showed a staticky image of a beautiful schoolgirl with strangely swinging hair. "In the name of the moon, fighting for truth and beauty, I will--punish you!"

Character(s): Flicker, Norna
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Skeins of Fate
Title of Post: Prophecies

Norna strode up behind Flicker. "What did you do?" she demanded.
"Why is everything always my fault, Norn?"
"He told Tarrin to stop!" yelled Skitch. "I heard him! And when he stopped the rift blew up! You did him just like Pieret did Cori! I hate you!"
Flicker looked at him. "Skitch," he said. "Skitch, he would have been killed if he hadn't stopped--"
"The Diari is irrelevant," interrupted Norna. "Have you preserved the root or not, Ragnarokkr?"
"What?" said Flicker, confused.
"Niflheim!" shouted the Valkyrie.
"Oh," said Flicker. "Oh. Y-es. Yes, I--suppose I have."
"Good. We go to Riklandir next."
"I hope things are a little slower-paced there," muttered Luthien.
"Noooooooooooo," whinnied Fred. "We must defeat the King of Kiiiiiiiiings."
"That is not my problem, Kalxanti," said Norna. "My minions and I must seek out and destroy the Myriad."
"Destroy?" said Flicker.
"I am not. Your. Minion," said Luthien, through his teeth.

Character(s): Khyrisse
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: The Rats of R.U.M.I.
Title of Post: T Minus Five Seconds and Counting

Khyrisse stared blank-faced at Norn for a moment. "The Diari is irrelevant?"
A tingle rushed through her veins, and her hands shook.
She gently pushed Skitch towards Ebreth. "Look after Skitch for a moment, Ebreth, would you please?" she said, very quietly. "Flicker, do you need her alive?" Khyrisse asked in Elven, in a voice trembling with rage. The long, thin muscles in her forearms were twitching with the need to lock her hands around Norna's throat.

Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: What Now?
Title of Post: Jack Tries To Go To Hell

"Do you know plane shift?" Jack asked.
"Duh. First level, math-boy."
"Oh. Sorry."

***
Val stepped in front of Khyrisse. "I think it would be best if you left on your errand now, Valkyrie." She said it without malice or challenge. "I understand that you have an important task, and little time." Norna opened her mouth to say something biting, and found that she agreed with everything Valende had said. "Right," Norn glared. "Mageson, get the horses."
Val watched as Norna turned her back and stomped off.

 

***
Khyrisse was counting silently to herself. "Five... breathe... six...breathe..."
"Uh, Khyrisse?"
"WHAT?" Khyrisse demanded, whirling around.
"Um... uh..."
"Sorry, Jack. I hate that bitch."
"I was just wondering if you knew plane shift."
"I don't even want to know why you're asking that question."

***
Ariath wandered over to where Ebreth and Vas were watching Fred from a distance. "The King of Kings must diiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!" the horse repeated for the umpteen-thousandth time.
"Um, guys?" Ariath asked. "Do we even know who this King of Kings is?"
Ebreth and Vas blinked in unison.
"Do we even know what we're trying to do? I mean, we solved Tarrin's rift problem. Wasn't that what we came here to do?" Ebreth and Vas both looked over at Khyrisse.
"Men," Ariath sighed.

***
"You're my last hope. Tell me you know some way to travel to Hell."
The Rat shook his head back and forth.
"Yeah," sighed Jack. "Figured it was a long shot."

Character(s): Flicker
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Skeins Of Fate/Rat Kings
Title of Post: More Unwanted Romantic Advice

"Flicker, do you need her alive?"
"Khyrisse, please. Try to ignore her. I have to put up with her all day."
Val stepped in and did something diplomatic. Flicker exhaled. He'd really been expecting a fight. Norna stomped off after Luthien, and Ebreth Tor released Skitch, who, since Norna wasn't available, socked Flicker. Flicker accepted the punch. "I'm really sorry," he said.
Ebreth put his hand gently on the nape of Khyrisse's neck. "Khyrisse," he said. "Maybe he fell into Hell or something. Maybe we can rescue him when we rescue Cori." She nodded gratefully, and touched his hand. Flicker frowned. "Khyrisse," said Flicker, in Elvish, "you aren't involved with Tor, are you?"
"Look," she said, "I know nobody likes this, okay? But--"
"I like it," protested Vas, in Elvish.
"He's a dangerous man, Khyrisse."
"You're the one who brought him into the party, Flicker!"
"I said we should save him from the mob; I didn't say you should--"
"He's not evil," put in Val. "I checked his alignment yesterday."

"Look, you don't--you don't let Ariath ply you with liquor, right? Why would you let Ebreth
Tor--"
Vas started laughing.
Khyrisse flushed. "Who slept with Shannon,, Flicker?"
"Alain MacLir," he said, "and it got him killed. Khyrisse--"
"Please speak slowly," said Skitch, with a bad accent.
Flicker looked around at all of them and switched to Impish. "Just be careful," he said, hoping his strong demonic accent wasn't too hard for her to parse. "He has been an excellent liar in the past, and you--you know the type."
Khyrisse did, and she didn't need to be reminded of it, especially in Impish. "I'm a big girl now," she said, in Dalen. "And I can take care of myself."
"Why was Kardia Blackfeather traveling with you, anyway?" said Flicker.
Flicker's facial expressions were so subtle that Khyrisse couldn't tell if he was changing the subject or not. "Because I'm stupid," she sighed.
"I told you that guy was a jerk," said Ariath, innocently.
"Messala," shouted Norna. "I'm going to count to ten, and you'd better be here!"
Flicker rolled his eyes in an especially Threnodyesque manner. "Here I come, Norn." He looked back at Khyrisse. "Call us if you need anything," he said, and left.

Character(s): Warp
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Orion's Belt
Title of Post: Warp Starts To Wonder

"Look, I want to talk to Paris, and I want to talk to him now," Warp demanded. "Or you're going to be dealing with one pissed Enigman."
Sharpedge looked from the monitor to his master. Orion was frowning. "He wants to speak to the hostage, sir."
Orion turned to Dominator. "Have we found him?" he demanded.
"No, Orion. I've been scanning telepathically for days, but I'm not picking anything up."
"I told you that you would need my services for this, alien," a raspy voice from beneath a dark cloak who had just stepped off the turbolift said.
"Doctor Lovecraft, I presume?" Orion asked. "I trust your summons was... not unpleasant."
"Not at all," the bent figure giggled. "I hope you don't mind that the guardsmen you sent won't be... returning."
"I sent them because they were expendable."
"I've reviewed the file you sent," Lovecraft rasped. "It is not a being of magick that you are seeking."
"But the scans showed--" Dominator interrupted. Lovecraft's gaze silenced her.
"It is not a being of magick, but it is magickally animated," Lovecraft continued. From beneath his cloak he pulled an antediluvian tome with a stylized L in a skull. Lovecraft referred to it as he spoke. "What you have found, according to the Fourth Necrology, is something briefly referred to as the 'Paris Equation'."
"I care little for your arcane beliefs, Lovecraft," Orion growled. "Can you find this Paris Equation?"
"Certainly, Orion. And what might you have to offer in return?"
"You can have Dominator."
"What?" Dominator demanded.
"Hmm... a psychic... yes, and a pretty one at that..."
"This is against our pact, Orion!" Dominator shouted. "My service is almost over!"
"Then I lose very little," Orion said. "She's yours, Lovecraft."
"Like hell I--"
Lovecraft had pulled from his cloak a small mayonnaise jar that he opened. Green smoke rose from it and surrounded Dominator's head. There was a hissing sound as dark and arcane marks were seared on her face. When the smoke subsided and returned to the jar, Dominator gazed forward vacantly.
"Pleasure doing business with you, alien," Doctor Lovecraft cackled. He pulled a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk out of his cloak and tossed it on the floor in front of Orion. "Sorry, but I haven't upgraded yet." With that, he turned and strode back into the turbolift. Dominator followed lifelessly.
"Get that into the computer," Orion ordered Sharpedge. "We find Paris tonight."
"Hey!" Warp yelled from the screen. "I know you're still there! Don't think that by ignoring me I'm going to go away! Hello? Hello? Jeez, at least put some hold music on or something..."

Character(s): Khyrisse and the Rat Pack
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Even the Rat Thinks Norna's a Bitch
Title of Post: Shelving the Rant for Later (With Difficulty)

Khyrisse spun around and started back for her abused Carriage, seething. The Rat leapt for the safety of Jack's shoulder, instead. "What is wrong with him?" she demanded of no one. "Why is he following that bitch?!"
"Probably because she can break him in half," Ebreth said, looking at the departing figures of Norna and Flicker. "In the same circumstances, what would you do?"
Khyrisse didn't even slow down. "Spit in her face and die free."
Skitch ran to catch up and shoved his hand into hers with a fierce gesture. "I'm with you!" He paused, as Khyrisse adjusted her pace for his legs. "Khyri, Tarrin isn't..."
Khyrisse was quiet for a moment, and her pace slowed drastically. "I don't know, Skitch. I think he might be. If he isn't, we'll rescue him, I promise." She glanced back over her shoulder and stopped, seeing that they'd outdistanced everyone. She squeezed Skitch's hand gently and got herself under control while Skitch faced away from the Rat Pack and scrubbed at his eyes.
"Okay. All right. I'm sorry for flipping out," she said, once everyone had caught up. "But there are a couple things that need taking care of before we go anywhere. We've lost four members of the group now, and I'm not having it happen again," she said firmly. " Jack, I think you need to talk to the Rat and ask him what he thinks we should do next. Fred, do you want to tell us who the King of Kings is, and why we need to kill him? I don't think we ever got to that part. Those'll do for starters."

Character(s): Jack and the Rat (why does that sound like a seventies sitcom?)
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: What Next?
Title of Post: Of Rats And Men

Jack shrugged. "The Rat and I already talked about this. Whatever direction that he got indicating that we needed to go to Rimbor City is still unfulfilled. I was thinking about this the other day... I'm wondering if Tarrin's quest wasn't some sort of detour, or delaying tactic... I mean, we never did accomplish anything on Rimbor. Except for hooking up with Cori, I guess, but she's, uh, in Hell right now."
"Maybe with Tarrin!" Skitch cried.
"I'd like to hear ideas that don't include going to Hell," Khyrisse sighed.
"Well, I think we missed something in Rimbor," Jack offered.
"So this was a big detour that only cost us four people?" Ariath asked. "I'd hate to see what actually progressing on our mission--whatever it is--would do to us."
"Wiiiiiiilbur, tell them we have to kill the King of Kiiiiiiiiiings, Wiiiiiiilbur."
"Fred says--"
"I heard Fred, Skitch," Khyrisse said, creasing her brows.
"Look, I just signed up on this to get some experience under my belt," Ariath said. Vas blushed. "I go where Khyrisse wants."
"Hell or Rimbor," Jack said. "Those, uh, seem like the most likely to me." He paused. "But that's, uh, just me."
The rat rubbed his paws together and licked them.
"I think he seconds that," Jack offered, trying to put the responsibility on the party leader.
"I do not want to go to Hell," Ariath said. "I vote either we hit Rimbor again or else we adventure someplace nice like Tobrinel. I hear there are still vampires there."
Val shot Vas a worried look. "Not Tobrinel," Vas finally offered.
Khyrisse looked to Ebreth, who had said nothing so far.

Character(s): Ebreth, Fred
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: What A Choice

"Rimbor City is better than Hell," said Ebreth.
"But let's get a better hotel this time," said Skitch, wiping his nose.
"The King of Kings--"
"WE KNOW!" shouted Ebreth.
The horse paused. "You don't want to know about the King of Kiiiiiiiings?"
"Oh," said Ebreth, "were you going to say something useful? I'm sorry."
"The King of Kings has a plaaaaaaaaan. We broke the chaiiiiiiiin. Now his rift can't come from outer spaaaaaaaace. But we still have to kiiiiiiiiiilll him before he can get his siiiiiiiiigils finished."
Ebreth looked at the horse and looked at the carriage. "Fred is not going to fit in the carriage."
"I haaaaaaaaaate being a hoooooooooorse."

Character(s): Lilith and Geryon; Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Counting The Missing
Title of Post: Luckily, We Have A Mathematician

Geryon tossed the dossier at Lilith. "We lost five souls through that portal."
Lilith narrowed her eyes. "So that puts us out seventeen."
"Sixteen," corrected Geryon. "We got Mr. Blackfeather back."
"Oh, yes," said Lilith. "Sixteen then." She paused. "They'll be back," she said. "People don't leave Hell. They will die again. And when they do." She stood up. "I will make an example of them that will strike terror into the other damned souls for generations to come."

***
5'>

Ebreth counted on his fingers. "Jack?" He said. "Cori, Pieret, and Tarrin. Isn't that three?"


Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: What Next?
Title of Post: Jack Passes the Buck

"We've lost four members of the group now, and I'm not having it happen again," Jack said in Khyrisse's voice.
"Oh, don't do that!" Khyrisse said. "It gives me the wig."
"I was, uh, just repeating what she said," Jack blushed.
"Look," Ariath demanded. "Who is this King of Kings anyway? And why do we want to kill him? I mean, if I listened to every horse who told me to kill someone, it'd be a bloodbath."
Everyone looked strangely at Ariath.
"Fine. I'll leave the jokes to someone else."
"She does have a point, actually," Vas added.
"Do you think he means those sigils the Collector put on you all?" Jack asked.
The horse nodded solemnly.
"Well, that sounds like he's relevant," Val said. "Can someone polymorph him into something that'll fit in the carriage?"

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