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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 III

Character(s): Fred
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: A Horse Is A Horse
Title of Post: A Horse Of A Different Color

Fred perked up. "I want to be a pit fiiiiiiiiiiiiend."
"How about a flying fox?" suggested Skitch.
"Wiiiiiiiiiilbur. I want to be a piiiiiiiiit fiend."
"No," snapped Khyrisse. "If I turn you into a pit fiend, you'll think you are a pit fiend."
"I alreaaaaaaaaaady think I'm a pit fiiiiiiiiiiiend."
"Horse with delusions of grandeur," muttered Ebreth.

Character(s): Jack Paris, The Rat
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: What Next?
Title of Post: Jack Has An Idea

"Hey, why don't we turn him into a rat, and he can talk to our other Rat?" Jack asked.
The horse reared in abject fear. "Nooooooo, Wiiiiiiiiilbur! Don't make meeeeeee a rat! Not a rat!"
"Well, he seems to really like that idea."
"I don't waaaaaaaaaant to be a Rat Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!"
"What's a Rat King?" Khyrisse demanded.
"It's an interesting phenomenon, actually," Jack switched into pedantic mode. "Occasionally ten rats are found, their tails knotted together, dead of starvation. No one knows how they get that way... it's a mystery."
"Maybe that's why our Rat has a broken tail!" Skitch deduced excitedly.
"Wiiiiiiiiiilbur! Don't make meeeeeeee a rat! The Kiiiiiiiiing of Kiiiiiiiings will get meeeeeeeeee! Make me a Rat Kiiiiiiiiiiiing!"
"Well, that was unusually expository of him," Ariath muttered to herself.

Character(s): Beliath
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Endicott and the Dead College
Title of Post: Back Into The Fray

"Iellan Tach," the thin, mean-looking man in the doorway greeted Endicott.
"Who disturbs my rest?" Endicott shouted pissily.
"My name is Graves," the man said. "And Beliath has ordered me to oversee your induction."
"I was told that Greymalkin would be in charge of that. Why should I trust you?"
Graves' face melted. "Because I am Beliath, you prissy fool!"
"Then should I consider this some sort of honor?" Endicott demanded.
"No. You should consider it your own damn fool luck. I have reason to believe that I cannot trust certain members of the College. As you are not yet a member, I expect that you are as likely not to betray me as anyone."
"I do not betray," Endicott said in his best offended tone.
"Then you'll come with me?" Beliath said.
"Where to?"
"Rimbor City. We have business there to attend to."
"I am not well liked in Rimbor City," Endicott/Tach said.
"Don't worry. We won't be going as ourselves."
From behind an arras, Silverlace heard it all. When Beliath left, she slipped away.
Something would have to be done.

Character(s): Khyrisse, up to mischief
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: The Rats of R.U.M.I.
Title of Post: "Grandeur" Isn't The Word...

"No, it's four, really," Khyrisse explained to Ebreth. "We lost Flicker long before we lost any of the others. He seems to be okay, admittedly; but I kind of question how okay one can be in the constant company of Norna." She turned to the demon-horse and stared at it for a moment. "No, no, we won't turn you into a rat... You already think you're a pit fiend, huh?" A wicked gleam appeared in her eye. "All right, I'll polymorph you."
Khyrisse squinted hard and gestured at Fred before anyone could stop her. The horse body rapidly shrank, turning a strange, scaly green, sprouting wings from its back. Sitting in Fred's place was a two-foot tall creature that looked like a cross between a dragon and a goblin, with snake-like green skin. The scales on the underside of the wings were in a multi-colored pattern, much like butterfly wings. "I took a few liberties with the wings, and the stinger isn't poison, exactly, anymore, but it should be all right," Khyrisse said serenely, looking down at it with suppressed glee.
"Hey, that's kind of neat..." said Skitch. "You can fly, and pick things up, now, Fred! And you won't take up that much space in the Carriage, either. That was a good idea!"
"This isn't a pit fiend!" wailed the creature.
"Well, I only know one kind of devil form... I thought it would be close enough... Well, except for the wings, but if I didn't change something I'd be calling you Ixhriy all the time." Khyrisse blinked innocently at Fred the Imp. "Why? What does a pit fiend look like?"
"Pit fiends aren't devils," Fred shrieked. "They're demons! Devils can't possess creatures!"
"Really? That's not what I'd heard, I thought they were devils..." Khyrisse said with a smile. "Silly me. My mistake."

Character(s): An Unhappy Imp
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: An Imp Is An Imp
Title of Post: Khyrisse Gets Inducted

"You did this on purpose, you bitch," said the imp. "It's not my fault that Valkyrie's rude to you." He picked up his tail dejectedly. "My friends are never going to talk to me again. Oh well, I guess it's better than a horse. And I'm not neighing all the damn time. And I still want to kill the King of Kings more than I want to kill you, but this was gratuitous and mean, and don't think I'm going to forget it. Get out of my way, Wilbur." The imp climbed into the Trade Carriage and sulked.


Character(s): Jack Paris, Uncle Asinus Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: What Next?
Title of Post: Can We Tell That Jack's Never Been Down Below?

"Wait, I thought imps were demons too."
Val smiled. "Jack, best stick to math."

***
"I was told that Jack Paris would be here," the donkey said.
"Uh, no, I'm, ah, sorry..." the bellhop said. "That party checked out a few days ago."
"Feh," snorted the donkey. "Do you know where they went?"
"No, uh, sir... The Augustine Arms isn't in the business of forwarding messages..."
"Lousy joint. Well, I'll have to wait for him somewhere. How much for a night?"
"Would that be for a stable room?" the bellhop asked.
"Look, mate, I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that so that I don't have to kick those teeth down your flarking throat, got me?"
"Yes, sir," sighed the bellhop.
"I'll take a suite. A nice one."
"Do you have any... luggage?"
"I'm a flarking donkey, you ass! Damn, but they grow 'em stupid around here."
"Room twelve," sighed the bellhop and then he made the unfortunate mistake of offering the donkey the key.
Somewhere, Asinus Paris mused, there was going to be one hell of a busy dentist.

Character(s): Khyrisse
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: The Rats of R.U.M.I.
Title of Post: ...Can I Abdicate?

Khyrisse pinched her temples and whispered something under her breath that sounded like two cats fighting in a mudslide. She then went over to the carriage door.
"Did you really think I was going to turn you into a pit fiend?" she whispered fiercely at Fred. "I may be a fool, but I would fucking hope not that much of one. To say nothing of what you could probably do to everyone here in that form, even if you didn't, you'd get us burned at the stake for consorting with demons."
She cast another spell through the door of the coach. The imp changed into an attractive but sinister looking half-elf with red-brown hair, a dark complexion, and dark red eyes. He was tall and muscular, and his fingernails were a little too pointed to be anything but claws. "There," Khyrisse said quietly. "Attractive for the plane you're currently on, powerful, and disquieting. I hope that's better."
She climbed up onto the driver's seat and unfurled the whip with an irritated snap. "It looks like Rimbor City is our destination, folks. All aboard."

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, Buttinsky
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Concerned About Khyrisse

 

Ebreth caught her arm as he ascended the carriage. "Khyrisse."
"What?" she fairly snarled at him.
He paused. "I had a little idea," he said, softly. "What do you think about setting up camp on the Nylevian coast just west of Rimbor. That way we won't have to spend the night in the city. We can rest there, find out where this King of Kings is, go in tomorrow, and take care of it. And in the mean time we can rest." He looked her in the face. "I want you to get some sleep, Khyrisse. And no wine." She started to protest, and he held up his hand. "Listen," he said. "This isn't good for you. And it isn't good for us. You're our leader and our most powerful member. We aren't going to do this with you exhausted, hung over, and cranky. You've got two bodyguards. They'll watch out for you. Please. Khyrisse." She looked up at him involuntarily at her name. "For me."

Character(s): Khyrisse
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: The Rats of R.U.M.I.
Title of Post: Sucker for a Pair of Blue Eyes, Dammit

Khyrisse took the deepest breath she could and held it for a moment. She let it out in a rush, and her
bow-string posture collapsed. "Okay. I have a tendency to run myself into the ground, and at the moment, we'd ALL pay for it when I collapsed. You're right," she confessed, looking up into his eyes. "I know a place, if it's still abandoned, and I can make camping there safe and comfortable. I'd like to talk to people about various things before we go back to Rimbor, anyway."
"Probably wise," Ebreth said, with a smile. But his eyes would not quite meet hers anymore.
Khyrisse sighed and turned to climb onto the driver's seat. "You know, I'm not usually this bad. I have to relearn my alcohol tolerance, it's all wrong," she said for his ears alone, while settling herself. "But I guess that's not your point, is it?"

Character(s): Fred
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: The King Of Kings Must Die
Title of Post: A Horse Is An Imp Is A--

"The King of Kings must die," said the evil-looking half-elf. It sounded much grimmer when he said it. "I think your new body is cool," said Skitch.
Fred shrugged. "It's all right," he said. "It's better than the one that other guy has." He paused. "And it's better than an imp. Or a horse. Or a rat." The rat didn't understand Dalen, so Jack glared at the transmogrified demon for him. "But that King of the Kings is still going to pay for this."
Vas looked a little uncomfortable. "If you're a demon," he said, "why are you helping us?"
"Because the King of Kings geased me to blow up to protect his fucking sigils. Now I want his sigil plans to crash and burn, so I figured I'd find the heroes who were opposing him and help them." It made an remarkable amount of sense, really. Duke St. Augustine could learn. Or the Beast. Or Norn. "Does anyone have an extra weapon? I'm going to kill that S.O.B."

Character(s): Ebreth, Skitch
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Privacy? What's that?

"It's one of my points." Ebreth wrapped his arm around her and hiked his leg up on the rein guard, grinning. "You've got to take better care of yourself, you know. All these mortal pursuits--sleeping... eating... drinking..." His eyes flickered very briefly across her, twinkling. "They do make life a lot smoother, you know."
"I wish I didn't have to sleep," announced Skitch, scrambling up onto the
driver's board and squeezing in between them.
"I wish you were sleeping right now," muttered Ebreth.

Character(s): Khyrisse and the Rat Pack
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: The Rats of R.U.M.I.
Title of Post: Home Sweet Home

Khyrisse parked the Carriage next to an old ruin, on the Nylevian shoreline west of Rimbor Island.
"What happened to this place?" Skitch asked, staring at the jumbled piles of rock that had once been buildings.
"Karel thought it had been a port, and that it got hit once too often by pirates. Most of these buildings seem to have burned down. All that's left is the stone," she said, grabbing her backpack.
"And we're gonna camp here?"
"All I need is an archway, kiddo," Khyrisse said, smiling.
"Cool! I love that spell!"

***
Khyrisse stepped away from the open arch in the mostly intact stone wall. A faint shimmering effect flickered between blackened hinges and the remains of a lock, all still fastened to the stone. Skitch leaped through the arch, hooting. He vanished in mid-air, as did the sound of his voice. There was nothing but charred ruins beyond the open doorway.
"After you," Khyrisse said to Ebreth, smiling. "I have to be the last one in, I'm afraid."
Ebreth hesitantly stepped through the transparent shimmer and into a large, well-lit foyer. The ceiling was two stories above him. Several open doors showed him glimpses of a library with books from floor to ceiling, a sitting room with sinfully comfortable looking chairs and a sofa, a dining room full of candlelight. A wide set of stairs swept up the left side of the foyer, and the balconied hallway of the second floor looked down on the room.
The place was formal but weirdly comfortable; the architecture in the sweeping, strangely curved lines of Trade, the furniture and decoration in the dark jewel tones of Cynystra, but all of it made from carefully crafted wood and fabric of an unmistakably elven stamp.
Skitch was heading for the back of the house, shouting, "Last one in the pool is a rotten egg! Hiya, Sennett!"
The translucent butler he had just blitzed through sighed and smiled wryly. "Hello, young master," he replied in a slightly whispering voice. Other people started coming through the door behind Ebreth. Vas stepped through with Ariath on his arm. He looked around with a satisfied and approving eye. "Ah. Comforts at last." He glanced around once more, and smiled. "Khyrisse has got to teach me this spell."
Khyrisse came through last. She shut the door behind her and wizard locked it, then turned and grinned at the butler. "No visitors, Sennett."
"I shall tell those rude enough to inquire that you are not at home this evening, Milady," Sennett replied, with a little smile. Khyrisse turned to the others.
"Welcome to my home, folks. Everyone's got a room of their own," she said with a little smile, "and nobody can get in now unless I permit it. Feel free to explore, and ask Sennett if you need anything. We can provide most of it."
"Hedonist," Valende murmured to Khyrisse with a smile.
"Guilty as charged, and not sorry at all," Khyrisse grinned, stuffing the Trade Sigil into her backpack.
"I knew we'd like working for her," Vas told his sister.

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Khyrisse Misses An Environmental Constant

"This is really nice, Khyrisse." Ebreth peered into the library. To his surprise, he saw Val's shapely posterior. He hadn't even noticed her pass him. Elves were quiet, Ebreth reminded himself, and stepped through into the foyer. He blinked. "Wait a minute. This is the same room!"
Val jumped a little. "Where did you come from?"
"Over there!"
"Khyrisse?" called Skitch, from the top of the staircase. "We have a problem."
This just wasn't succeeding in relaxing Khyrisse. "What--what kind of problem?"
"The, um. The wine cellar's up here."
"What?"
Jack Paris shuffled from one foot to the other, self-consciously.


Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Chez Khyrisse
Title of Post: House of Dali

"Do you have this spell again?" asked Val.
"I kind of like it this way," objected Ebreth, sticking his hand through the door to the library and watching it emerge from the other side of the room.
Skitch opened the bathroom door. The toilet was on the ceiling. "I hope no one needed to go," he commented.

Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Hotel Khyrisse
Title of Post: Fortunately Pocket Dimensions are Prime Material...

"Is this some sort of pocket dimension?" Jack asked. "Because I've got a splitting headache."
"Is this like what you did to my carriage?" Khyrisse demanded.
"Um. Probably. Kind of."
"Can you fix it?"
"Give me a minute," Jack sighed. He rubbed his temples and sat down to scrawl something down. The Rat sat on his shoulder and squeaked from time to time in correction.
"Here," Jack finally said, handing Khyrisse a piece of paper with another of those annoyingly incomplete magical formulae on it. "Um, you'll probably need to re-cast the thing, but this should stabilize it with me around."
"Are you ever going to explain this, Jack?" Khyrisse asked.
"Um. Yes."
"Anytime soon?"
"Probably not."
"Figures," sighed Khyrisse.

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