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The Rat King Archives
Like A Bat Out Of Hell, Part III
A Horse Is A Horse
of Post: A Horse Of A Different Color
Fred perked up. "I want to be a pit
"How about a flying fox?"
"Wiiiiiiiiiilbur. I want to be a piiiiiiiiit
"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
"Horse with delusions of
grandeur," muttered Ebreth.
Jack Paris, The Rat
Rat Kings: What Next?
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
"I don't waaaaaaaaaant to be a Rat
"What's a Rat King?" Khyrisse
"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.
Endicott and the Dead College
of Post: Back Into The Fray
"Iellan Tach," the thin,
mean-looking man in the doorway greeted Endicott.
"Who disturbs my rest?" Endicott
"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
"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?"
"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
From behind an arras, Silverlace heard it
all. When Beliath left, she slipped away.
Something would have to be done.
Khyrisse, up to mischief
Kristin L.K. Andersen
The Rats of R.U.M.I.
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
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
"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
"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.
An Unhappy Imp
An Imp Is An Imp
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.
Jack Paris, Uncle Asinus Paris
Rat Kings: What Next?
of Post: Can We Tell That Jack's Never Been Down Below?
"Wait, I thought imps were demons
Val smiled. "Jack, best stick to
"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
Somewhere, Asinus Paris mused, there was
going to be one hell of a busy dentist.
Kristin L.K. Andersen
The Rats of R.U.M.I.
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."
Ebreth Tor, Buttinsky
of Post: Concerned About Khyrisse
Ebreth caught her arm as he ascended the
"What?" she fairly snarled at
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
Kristin L.K. Andersen
The Rats of R.U.M.I.
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
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?"
The King Of Kings Must Die
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."
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
"I wish I didn't have to sleep,"
announced Skitch, scrambling up onto the
board and squeezing in between them.
"I wish you were sleeping right
now," muttered Ebreth.
Khyrisse and the Rat Pack
Kristin L.K. Andersen
The Rats of R.U.M.I.
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
"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
"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,
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
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.
The Rat Pack
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
"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
Jack Paris shuffled from one foot to the
Rat Kings: Chez Khyrisse
of Post: House of Dali
"Do you have this spell again?"
"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
Rat Kings: Hotel Khyrisse
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
"Are you ever going to explain this,
Jack?" Khyrisse asked.
"Figures," sighed Khyrisse.
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