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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 VI

Character(s): Skitch
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Everyone Tell Your Secrets
Title of Post: Skitch's Turn

"Marco!"
"Polo!"
Ebreth flipped under the surface of the pond and lunged at Skitch, his dark body cleaving the water. "Aaaaaah!" yelled the boy, and got a big mouthful of pond water as he was dunked. He came up sputtering. "You're cheating!"
"I'm not cheating." Ebreth took the blindfold off and tossed it to him. "I come from an island, kid. I'm a good swimmer. You're it."
Skitch said something in Diari that Khyrisse didn't understand. This bothered her somehow. "Marco!"
"Polo!"
"Marco!"
"Polo!" He pulled up a lily pad and threw it right into Khyrisse's face. "You little monster!" she yelled. "Now who's cheating!"
Skitch gasped laughter and tried to get away from her, but she caught him and tickled him. "Ha, ha! Stop! Khyrisse, stop!"
"You were peeking! Admit it!"
They splashed around together for a few minutes, and then Skitch slowly calmed down. "Khyrisse?" he said. "I, uh, I have something to tell you, and you're probably not going to like it."
Oh, NO. "What?" she said, trying to make her voice sound even.
"I think I have to go to Diaria."
"Diaria?"
"Yeah," he said. "See, Tarrin gave me a special psionic crystal, and he asked me to take it somewhere if anything happened to him. And something did. And maybe, maybe if I bring it to Diaria, the other Diarians can use their psionic powers to save him." He looked anxiously at Khyrisse.
"Um..." she said.

Character(s): Khyrisse and Skitch
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Oh, Grendel, What Now?
Title of Post: Diaria, Country of Doofuses

"Um..." Khyrisse said.
They slaughtered all the non-Diari over there. Not just the Cynystrans, either. Everybody.
Skitch looked up at her with trusting eyes. Khyrisse thought of Tarrin and her last real conversation with him. Khyrisse sighed. "Yes, Skitch, we'll go. Did Tarrin tell you where to take the crystal?"
"He said I'd know. I guess I have to go to Diaria and ask it for directions or something."
"All right, we'll try, as soon as we can. But you have to help me with my accent every day, because otherwise it'll be one short trip. Deal?"
"Deal!"
Skitch splashed happily away through the water like a very clumsy dolphin.
Khyrisse sighed again. I'm going to get really sick of the word kiljhac before this is over...

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, undaunted by women who come prepared to kill him
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Endgame

"Marco!" said Khyrisse.
"Polo."
"Marco!"
"Polo."
She slowed. His voice wasn't retreating. "Marco?"
"Polo."
"Hey, Ebreth isn't running away!" complained Skitch.
"Maybe I'm not," he said.
Khyrisse took off her blindfold. He put his hands on her upper arms. "Khyrisse is peeking!" shrilled Skitch.

Character(s): Jack, Ariath, Asinus
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: What Next?
Title of Post: Good Night and Good Morning

Ariath woke up the next morning sprawled out, dressed, over Vas. She quickly hopped to her feet and silently raced from room to room. Val was asleep next to Jack, who was awake, reading a book about astronomy. Both dressed. Pooh.
Skitch was curled up at the end of Khyrisse's bed. Khyrisse was alone, but she couldn't tell by the disarray whether or not that had been the status earlier.
"Looking for someone?" Ebreth asked from behind.
"Don't do that, Tor!" she shouted. "You're up early."
"So are you."
"So I am."
The two looked at each other and smiled.
"Your business," they each said in unison.

***
"What do you want, Paris," Harry Novoa sighed, leaning back in his office chair.
"The Word has it that you've been in contact with Jack Paris," the donkey said. "I need to meet with him."
"Why?" Novoa asked. "Not saying I have been... just curious."
"Paris family business," Asinus Paris said. "Hey, are those Cynystran cigars?"
"I'm not giving my cigars to a damned ass," Novoa grumbled. "If I see Jack Paris, I'll let him know."
"Thanks," the donkey said, turning slowly to get out of the office. "For nothing, ya big scrumbum," he added under his breath.


Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: The Lesser Of Two Evils
Title of Post: The Business At Hand

 

"You want to go where?" Jack asked.
"Skitch needs to go to Diaria. It's something Tarrin asked him to do," Khyrisse told him.
"But we were going to Rimbor... that's where the Rat says we need to go next. Tarrin was a big distraction!"
"Tarrin was my friend!" Skitch cried.
Jack frowned. "I know he was, Skitch, but can it wait until we've finished with the world saving stuff?"
"No," Skitch insisted.
"The King of the Kings must die, Wilbur," Fred said grimly.
"Look, I don't like Diaria either, Jack," Khyrisse said, "but if we can get Tarrin back, he may be able to help us."
"If we get Cori back, she could too," Jack argued.
"I like the spine he got. You think Val?" Vas whispered to Ariath.
"Men get stupid when they're in love." Ariath offered back.
"Well," Khyrisse said. "Mabye we should put it to a vote." Rhynwa never called for a vote, she thought to herself.
"Rimbor," Jack said firmly. "Uh, does the Rat get a vote?"
Khyrisse squeezed her temples. Why oh why did she ever get out of the pool?

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Always Obey The Rat

Ebreth shook his head. "Khyrisse," he said, "that's probably a message to his children. Telling them he loves them or something. It's a big mistake to turn your back on an undead thing. Especially now that you've got all this information about it. Let's destroy it, and then we can go to Diaria."
"And Hell," said Jack.
Ebreth licked his lips. "Right. Look, we've come this far with the Rat. I think it's a bad idea to ignore him now."
"You shouldn't go to Diaria until Jeeeeeeeeffy gets back," whinnied Fred.
"What the hell are you talking about now?" demanded Khyrisse.
"You don't have to whinny anymore," Skitch reminded him.
"Sorry," said Fred. "Old habits die hard."
"Stupid deus ex machina horse," muttered Ebreth.

Character(s): Khyrisse, hormones in an uproar
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Oh, Goody, a Democracy...
Title of Post: *whew* Saved By the Dougmas-- I Mean, Bell

"I hate to be a downer, but while Luthien and I figured out a lot about Laran the Lichling and his probable master Odn, I have two pieces of bad news," Khyrisse said. "One: I don't know that I can kill either of them. What I know about lichlings does not include their weaknesses, and I don't know if I can take Odn, frankly. Two: we don't know where they are. If they were underneath the Rimbor City Arena, they're certainly not there now."
Skitch drummed his heels restlessly on the chair. "So we go to Diaria first?"
"Skitch, we probably should save the world first. I don't think Tarrin would thank us for doing anything else. Jack, are you sure the Rat says we have to go back to Rimbor?" Khyrisse asked morosely, turning to the mathematician. "I'd almost rather go to Diaria..." she added to herself.


Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor Bound
Title of Post: Obey The Rat

"It's a causal sequence," Jack explained. "I've been calling it the Rat Path in my notes. It brought us from Lianth to Rumi, then Rumi to Rimbor. We mistook Tarrin's vision for part of the same sequence, but it wasn't. The Rat's got something we need to do in Rimbor, then the third and final position in the sequence will be unlocked."
"I'd rather go to Diaria," Skitch sulked.

***
Jack sat on the roof with Val this time. Sea air was second nature to him, and he wanted her to enjoy the bounding main.
Val, on the other hand, had turned an unpleasant shade of green.
Jack updated his list of "romantic ideas."

***
"Okay, Ratboy," Ariath said upon Rimbor landfall. "Where now?"
Jack opened his satchel and the rat leapt out. It skittered across to Ebreth Tor and started gnawing at his boot.
"I thought I was done with all this," sighed Ebreth.

Character(s): Pilot Moon
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Tying Up Loose Ends: Dead Diarians From Space Want Our Women!
Title of Post: Fighting Diarians By Daylight...

"What in Rekzyr's name is that?" one of the Diarian revenants muttered.
"Looks like a cat," another answered.
"Her hair looks like balls of meat," a third responded.
"Look out, Diari-trash, 'cause we're going to kick your butt!" Pilot Zharaz cried.
"Launch the scout ships," the leader of the Undead called.
Two Diari psijammer scouts shot out from the asteroid.
"Moon laser activation!" Pilot Moon shouted, spinning around before launching a crescent-shaped beam of light at the first scout ship.
"Gila eyeball ejection!" cried Pilot Gila, as a stream of eyeball shaped bubbles shot out from the Luna-ship.
"Zaptiocalionaziokoozbiliarth hipster lingo blatheration!" called Pilot Z. The Diarians suddenly found themselves unable to communicate with their scoutjammers.
"Get out of there!" the leader on the asteroid called.
"Whoa, like stop fragmenting my karma, daddy-o," one of the ships responded before smashing into the stream of eyeballs.
"Wonky, cats," the other beamed as it was sliced in half by the crescent moon magic.
The leader of the Diarian revenants watched helplessly as the only two ships were destroyed, stranding them in the orbit of Saturn.
"Fekla," he muttered.


Character(s): Orion
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Tying Up Loose Ends: Orion's Belt
Title of Post: Jack Finally Gets A Break

"Lovecraft was right, sir," Sharpedge said. "The information he gave us led us right to the guy."
"It is not a 'guy', Sharpedge," Orion frowned. "It is a mathematical curiosity that we need to keep Warp pacified until we can complete our plan."
"Yes, Lord Orion," Sharpedge said.
"Sir," Pyre chimed in, "we're detecting another magical anomaly nearby."
"Details," Orion demanded.
"High levels of necrotic energy radiating from an asteroid nearby."
"Is it related to Paris?"
"No, sir, very different magical signature."
"Destroy it then."
The asteroid Vision blew into a thousand pieces, three thousand years after becoming stranded in Saturn's orbit.
"Now then," Orion said grimly. "Get me Jack Paris."

Character(s): Khyrisse and Silverlace
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings/Dead College/"To An Inconstant Mistress"
Title of Post: Something In Common

Khyrisse hopped down from the Carriage and scowled at the mostly oblivious crowd around them. "Have I mentioned lately that I hate Rimbor?" she said, coiling her whip.

Silverlace the mouse poked her nose out of the pocket of "Iellan's" robe for some fresh air. She was getting a little motion sick. The sight that met her eyes made her stomach lurch in a different but equally disconcerting fashion. The mouse puffed out a tiny breath that would have been a sigh in a larger creature. Rimbor City... Silverlace thought sadly. She curled up in the pocket again. Oh, how I hate Rimbor City.

Character(s): Khyrisse and Skitch
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit
Title of Post: A Need for Thieves

"I think we should find out what's been going on in our absence," Khyrisse said, digging around in her backpack for her notes. "That might give us some clues, unless the Rat has other ideas. I should probably go talk to Officer Novoa anyway, just to stay on the legal side of things."
"I could find out!" Skitch offered. "I know some people here that I could talk to."
"Not by yourself, you don't."
"Aw, come on... How else am I supposed to help?" Skitch wailed.
Khyrisse sighed and just kind of looked at Ebreth. "For once in my life, I've got no thieves around, and now I want one. This is sadder than you can possibly imagine."
Skitch looked around at the city, then at Khyrisse. "You've got no thieves around?" he repeated incredulously.
"That's not what I meant!"


Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor Redux
Title of Post: But you have a first-level mage!

"Okay, let's talk to Novoa," agreed Ebreth. "He seems all right for a Rimbor cop. Maybe he'll know something about Odn and these Rat Kings."
"Maybe you could go and ask the nice people who helped you find Skitch," said Ariath innocently.
"Maybe you could tie an anvil around your neck and jump off that pier over there," Ebreth replied in a pleasant voice. Ari huffed. Ebreth looked down at his boot. "Jack," he said, "the rat is chewing a hole in my boot. Does this mean something, or haven't you fed him recently?"

Character(s): Octavian, Vas and Ariath
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit/Octavian
Title of Post: Nosy People

"There's no reliable way to find that out now, without asking and getting reincarnated as something icky," Ariath whispered into Vas' ear.
Vas gauged his employer carefully, and chuckled. "I still say she's far too tense for anything to have... mmm, progressed far enough. But I suppose we'll have to leave our bet on the matter alone for today."
Ariath grinned at him. "Wouldn't it be awful if people were this nosy about us?"
"Would it?" Vas said, with a shameless grin back. "I doubt I'd notice, my dear. I pay attention to my work."
"Oh you do, do you? There goes Khyrisse..."

***
A note was waiting on his desk when Harry Novoa got back to his office. "Khyrisse Starshadow and the Rat Pack are back in Rimbor," it read, with the signature at the bottom in silver ink, "Octavian."
"How the hell is he getting these things into my office?" Novoa demanded with a scowl. This was the third goddamned mysterious note in two days. He'd be a lot more irritated if the last note hadn't resulted in the most satisfying bust he'd made in years, down at the docks... But it was still breaking and entering-- right through a room full of cops. Lousy, no-good cops, but still cops that hated Octavian's guts. Novoa sighed, and stuffed the note into the rapidly growing file on his desk labeled "Octavian".

Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor's Season in Hell
Title of Post: Jack Doesn't Know

Jack looked in his satchel. "Nope, he seems to be feeding himself pretty well, actually," he sighed.
"Maybe there's something about your boot that he wants to indicate?" Val offered.
"Mabye he's as crazy as the rest of us," Khyrisse mumbled.
The Rat was pulling a thread out of Ebreth's boot now.
"I'm ever so looking forward to going around Rimbor barefoot," Ebreth told the rat. "Thanks a lot."
The Rat started nudging the thread around with his nose.
"Hey," Jack said, "you don't want to know how much stuff of mine he's destroyed trying to tell us stuff."
The thread had formed the infinity sign, a loop twisted around itself. "Infinity?" Jack asked. "An endless loop?"
"Maybe there's a company or shop called Infinity something," Vas offered.
"Infinity... eternity... endless..." Khyrisse brainstormed.
Ariath sighed. "Duh, people. It's an eight."
The Rat had sat himself down at the end of one of the loops.
"Eight," Khyrisse grumbled. "Octavian."

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