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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

The Rat King Archives
Prophets and Matchmakers, Part I

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Finding Octavian

"Octavian, huh?" Ebreth kicked off his chewed-up boot. "You can keep that," he told the rat. The rat didn't seem especially appreciative. "How do we find this guy? Skitch, could you find his hideout?"
"No," said Skitch. "He made me pass out with a chemical. Then somebody stole me while I was unconscious." He paused. "I don't think that was his hideout anyway. It wasn't really cool enough."
"Mabye Novoa knows," suggested Khyrisse. "Novoa had spoken with Octavian when I contacted him."
"Oh yeah," said Ebreth. "That was when he connected St. Augustine with me. You know, we may not need to find this guy." He tapped his bare right foot on the cobbles. "He may come looking for me."

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit
Title of Post: Oh, Doug Just Wants to Know Who Octavian Is! *grin*

Khyrisse thought for a minute. "Well, I take it that the Rat doesn't already know where Octavian is?"
The Rat squeaked and started grooming its face.
"I guess not," Khyrisse sighed.
"I think he'd already be going if he knew," Skitch said.
"He is the sort to lead by example, isn't he? Not one for stirring speeches-- except in mathematics, I assume," Vas said, with a little bow in Jack's direction.
"Novoa's sending didn't have a lot of detail, folks," Khyrisse said, looking up at Ebreth with a faint, worried frown. "It said that the bomber was probably with us and, I quote, plotting with Ebreth. Does that make Octavian a good guy or a bad guy? Do we actually know which of us set the bombs? Was it Lucas or Pieret?"
Skitch hopped around on his left foot. "Why don't we buy Ebreth some boots while we try to figure stuff out?" he said. "I'll bet it's better than talking about it in the middle of the sidewalk."

Character(s): Vision
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Mind Games redux
Title of Post: More evil on the way

The undead Diari warriors floated among the wreckage of the scout ships. The sentience at the head of the juggernaut craft Vision was getting angry. It had waited many millennia for this opportunity and was not going to be stopped by fools in a feline craft.
The malevolent force at the center of the ship thought, and quickly came up with a solution. It called upon the multi-dimensional forces that was its essence and called forth a servant. The servant was a shapeless thing with thousands of eyes and mouths. Streaks of blackness oozed through its being. The sentience, which had long ago taken the ship's name as it own, told the thing what to do. The creature curled up on itself and flew off, away from the ship and towards Ataniel.

Character(s): KoK, Collector
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Rat Kings and all that stuff
Title of Post: Who says villains aren't adaptable

The King of Kings was huddled over a cluttered desk, reading through piles of scrolls. Things were not going as planned, but they were not lost yet.
"Laran, come here," said the King of Kings.
A fetid mist coalesced next to him and the Collector stepped out of the brackish fog.
"We have lost three of our targets. The one who was already marked is of no great loss. However, the warrior and the priest must be replaced."
The Collector stood soundlessly. Its ember-like eyes watched the King of Kings coldly.
"Do you understand?" the King of Kings asked.
The Collector nodded.
"Here is who I have in mind," the King of Kings motioned the Collector closer and he told his servant what he had to do.

Character(s): Tarrin
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Mind Games redux
Title of Post: Not quite dead

Tarrin was nowhere. At least, nowhere was the best way to describe it. The world was a fog of non-light and non-dark. A silvery grey mist that was both translucent and opaque at the same time.
After awakening in this place, Tarrin decided to walk around a bit. Unfortunately, there were no landmarks or remarkable features. For all he knew he was walking in circles. Tarrin did the only thing he could do in a place like this. He sat down and waited for something to happen. Nothing did.

Character(s): Alphred
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Rat Kings and Mind Games
Title of Post: Look who is late

Alphred reached the spot the spirits of the totems guided him to, but there was nothing there. Well that wasn't completely correct. He sensed that something very evil had been here recently, but now there wasn't anything.
The Jungle King walked around the clearing where the Demon-rift had been a few days ago ten times. Then he caught the scent. Leaping into a tree, he sped off to the south after his quarry.

Character(s): The Rat
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: What the Rat Saw
Title of Post: Rats and string

The rat grabbed the piece of string in its mouth, and scampered up Jack's leg and into his satchel. He added the bit of string to his nest, then walked around the nest a few times. Once he was satisfied with it, the rat left the satchel and perched up on Jack's shoulder, anxious for what would happen next.

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

Khyrisse was sitting on one of the chairs in the store, perusing her notes while Ebreth got himself some new boots.
"Hey, what about these?" Skitch called from behind her. Ebreth chuckled. "I meant for Khyrisse, Ebreth!"
Khyrisse looked up and grinned. "You've got to be kidding."
"What? The heels are high enough! They're like three inches..."
"Skitch. They're green."
"They're cool!" Skitch grinned evilly at her.
"You've been talking to my father again," Khyrisse surmised, and put down her notes. She picked up a polishing cloth to clean some of the dust off her spike-heeled black boots. "I'll stick with the ones I've got, thank you. Guys, I can't find anything in this book of Barry Spivot's to connect him with any of this. I don't think he's involved after all. Why he wanted to murder me, I'll never know."
Khyrisse stopped and stared at her right boot.
"Whoa," Skitch said. "That's really weird."
Under the dirt was a mottled stain, imprinted into the leather over her right ankle, a sort of bleached green color against the surrounding black. Khyrisse blinked at it, then scrubbed some more of the dirt off. The stain went most of the way around her ankle. "What the hell?" Khyrisse glared at the cloth in her hand, as if she suspected that it was doing this, and blinked again. She raised it to her face and sniffed carefully.
Ebreth looked at her curiously. "What is it?"
She held out the cloth towards him. "It-- it looks like there's salt mixed in with all this dirt and stuff. I dunno. It smells kind of ...odd." Khyrisse made a face.
"It looks like something grabbed your ankle there!" Skitch said, crouching down for a closer look.
"Well, when did that happen?!" Khyrisse groused, lifting her foot and glaring at it. "Dammit, these were my favorite boots."
"You could buy the green ones!" said Skitch, and ducked.

Character(s): Cori Yashida
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Hell in a Handbasket
Title of Post: Legion of Substitute Rat Packers

"I told you I sensed him," Cori said, following her blade. "The spirit of my ancestors reside in here, and they know a lot more than I do."
Ailonwy and Cori stood before a sphere of pure darkness.
"He's trapped, though," Ailonwy said. "That's a sphere of demondark. I doubt even your sword could get through that," she challenged, hiding her manipulative smile.
"Bull," Cori said, swinging Oshi's blade through the demondark. A pale figure fell out through the gash.
"I'm impressed, Cori," Ailonwy lied.
"Where am I?" Tarrin asked.
"Hell," Cori said. "But you're still alive, like me."
"But... the prophecy... the rift...?" Tarrin stammered.
"Damned if I know," Cori said. "Pieret trapped me in here. Ailonwy here is going to help us get home in return for freeing her home plane from some demon jerk named Ansakir."
"Are the others coming for us?"
"I'd be surprised if they didn't think we were dead."
"Well, I guess I've really stepped in poo-poo," Tarrin sighed.
Ailonwy raised one thin eyebrow.
"That's one way of looking at it, Tarrin."

Character(s): Valende
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Four Point Landing in Rimbor
Title of Post: An Unpleasant Shade of Green, Indeed-- Shame on You, Jack!

Valende's greenish pallor was due less to the ocean and more to the fact that her brother drove like a maniac.
He's going to try to loop this foolish contraption one of these days...

***
Valende, in the clear light of day, was having second thoughts, and so was keeping very quiet while she tried to sort things out.
Not about Jack. I could never have second thoughts about Jack, she thought, smiling at him as they walked through Rimbor City, looking for a clue. He's far too sweet. It's just... I wasn't planning on this. In fact, I was planning to avoid it.
Her eyes lit on her brother, walking ahead of Khyrisse with Ariath, gossiping merrily away. Of course, that hasn't stopped Vas. Vas changes his mind with the winds, though-- if he hasn't forgotten all about it, he gives a very good impression of it. Both what happened during the Madness, and being possessed by Lucas St. Augustine. Her face clouded at this thought, and she sighed quietly.
Jack looked at her in surprise. "Val? Are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm all right," she told him, and kissed him on the cheek. "Just thinking."

Character(s): various members of the Paris family, Harry Novoa
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor City II; We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Relatives and Animals

"Caimen, we've got trouble," Lora said.
"What's up?"
"Robinson. The Word says that he's dead. Some ruckus in Sturtevant."
"Flarking hell," Caimen spat. "Did he find Jack?"
"Word didn't say."
"That's the third Paris dead in as many weeks. This is too much of a coincidence."
"Asinus sent Word that he's planning to rendezvous with Jack in Rimbor."
"Great. Not only is the Remnant picking at our business, something killing Parises left and right, but I have to trust your brother Asinus?"
"Life's challenge," Lora smiled. "You're up to it, Caimen."

***
"Hey, kid, where're ya going in such a hurry?"
Daquatson looked into the eyes of a beefy Rimbor cop. They weren't pleasant eyes.
"I'm here to see Harry Novoa," Dac said.
"Didja sign in?" the cop asked.
"What the hell do you mean? There's no..."
"RCPD headquarters is a toll zone," the cop grinned.
"I don't have any money on me," Dac lied. "I just need to see Novoa."
"Problem, Carruthers?" Harry Novoa asked, stepping into the lobby.
"No, sir," Carruthers said. "This kid's here for you."
Harry glared at the corrupt policeman as he led Dac into his office.
"What've you got for me, Dac?" Harry asked.
"I found 'em, Novoa. They're in a shoe store on the balustrade."

***
Asinus Paris had finally laid the cigar on the edge of the table, and he was maneuvering his bulk so that he could lower his head and take the thing in his teeth. Smoking was much more of a pain in this form.
There was a knock on the door.
"Flark off," Asinus said. "I'm busy."
"It's Novoa," came the voice through the door.
Asinus looked up, and the cigar rolled off the table.
"The door's open. You think I can work a flarking lock?"
Novoa opened the door. "I've found him."

***
Rauvin Paris watched Asinus through one of the twelve Orbs of Kenru. He watched as the donkey and the policeman headed out of the Augustine Arms. He didn't see the Minaret with Asinus. That meant it was still in the hotel room.
Touching another Orb, he spoke aloud. His words were transferred through space to one of his minions in Rimbor. "Orn, it's time. Try the ass' room, it should be there. Then bring me the Minaret."

***
"Well," Jack smiled understandingly, "whenever you want to talk about it."
Val looked at Jack. "Soon, dear Jack."
"Only when you're ready."
That was when Harry Novoa approached with a familiar looking donkey. "What, no hug for your Uncle Asinus, kid?"
Jack was glad that he had control over his sense of smell as he hugged the donkey. "Val, this is my uncle, Asinus Paris. What're you doing here, Uncle Asinus?"
"Paris family business, kid," the donkey said, looking suspiciously at Val. "The Remnant has returned."
As if I wasn't busy enough, Jack sighed.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: The Process Of Elimination

Ebreth had really had to put his foot down to get the stupid leatherworker to take his money for the boots. "Novoa," he said, "do you know where we can find this Octavian? The rat wants us to talk to him."
Novoa just kind of looked at him. "Another relative?" he asked Jack.
"What?" said Jack. "No. No, the Rat's no relation."
"If I knew where to find him," said Novoa, "he wouldn't be a very effective vigilante, would he?"
Well, that did make sense. "Maybe if we just went down into the sewers he's find us," he told Khyrisse. "He went to all the trouble of trying to warn you about Lucas. He must have an interest in you." He paused. "They were Lucas' bombs, by the way. He told me as much. Not that it really matters." Ebreth looked around, frowning. "All right, you have a big underground complex, and you teleport it out from under the Rimbor City Arena. Where do you put it? There's not that much empty space in this city, you know. And there certainly aren't just convenient empty caverns under every tavern. There's got to be a limited number of possibilities."

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

Warp stepped through the viewscreen onto the bridge of Orion's flagship. "I got your message," he said to Orion. "Where is he?"
"I'm right here, Warp," Jack Paris said, stepping forward.
Orion watched as the two earthlings shook hands and hugged. If Paris was smart, he wouldn't mention anything about his month-long float. The disruption field that Orion's scientists had designed would completely eradicate Jack's physical body, and Orion was going to hold that over the mathematician's head as long as he possibly could. "Now that you see your friend alive and well, will you head downstairs to the briefing room?" Orion growled.
"Chill out, mohawk-head," Warp said. "I need to talk to my pal for a bit. You got any food around here?"
"Mess hall, second level," Sharpedge said.
Orion glared.
Sharpedge started to count the minutes he had left.
Warp grinned, and a blue portal opened beneath him and Jack. The two fell through it.
"I show them on deck two, mess hall," Pyre reported.
"He shows a great knowledge of this ship's layout," Orion frowned. "I continue to underestimate him. That ends now."

***
"Have you had time to get a feel for the ship's computer?" Warp asked after their food arrived.
Jack shook his head. "It's way beyond me... and I haven't had much time to learn, really."
"Damn. You've got the perfect ability, and you're computer illiterate," Warp sighed.
"What do you need?"
"I need to know what Orion's up to. He's been sending me on make-work missions, but I get the feeling that he's just studying my limitations."
"I, uh, couldn't say," Jack said.
"I'm sure you're not supposed to tell me anything, but here's a comlink to a receiver I planted on this ship. It reaches me by way of a third-party dimension, so it's untraceable. You can send me messages with it."
Jack looked at the box quizzically.
"Okay," Warp sighed. "First you press this red button..."
Jack really wanted to get back to Ataniel where he was in a much higher percentile...

Character(s): Harry Novoa
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor City II
Title of Post: Big Empty Spaces

"Hmm," Novoa said. "If it was that big, there's only two other places it could be, barring heading south into the Gila lands. The City Fairgrounds are on the east coast, and there's a giant pyramid built there back in 801 for one of Augustine's city beautification projects. The other place is the Giant's Fortress, a hollowed out mountain that was the seat of one of the ancient Warrior Kings. Of course, even the Duke refused to open it up after the landslide covered it in 782."
"Can we cut out the damn exposition and someone get me a cigar?" Asinus demanded.
"Jack, did we really need more talking animals?" Val asked.
"Bite me, chippie," Asinus snorted.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, practical man
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings In Rimbor
Title of Post: Where's Waldo?

"Well, if I was an evil undead thing, I'd much rather hang out in the seat of an ancient Warrior King than in a pyramid from the World Fair," said Ebreth, "but I'm not an evil undead thing, so I could be wrong there. Khyrisse, do you have any way of scrying those two locations? I mean, I'm sure this guy is shielded, but if one of the locations shows empty and the other's got static, we'll have a lead."

Character(s): Khyrisse and The Rat Pack
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit
Title of Post: I Didn't Really Mean "Circus" This Literally...

Khyrisse sighed and handed Skitch the Trade Sigil. "Go get the cigars from under the seat, will you?" Skitch eyed her dubiously, looked at the ass and had second thoughts about saying anything. He ran out the door. "Sure," she said, rummaging in her pack for her silver mirror. "I can scry those two places easily enough. Give me a minute." Khyrisse cast magic mirror on the little hand mirror, twice. Both times she inspected the view carefully, and shook her head. "I don't see anything. Both of these places look totally abandoned," she sighed. "I better warn you now, though-- if we're dealing with Odn, he probably knows the spells that let you lie to someone scrying. He could show me a picture of an empty cavern, an illusion, and I wouldn't know the difference. There's no way to tell without going there."
Skitch came back in with a package and gave it to Khyrisse. She opened it up and prepared one of the cigars absent-mindedly. She'd obviously done this before. Lighting the cigar, she held it out to Jack's uncle at a convenient height for him to take it. "Hi," she said, very calm. So many weird things had happened on this trip that she clearly wasn't surprised by anything anymore. "I'm Khyrisse. I seem to be in charge of this pack of suicidal busybodies. It wasn't my idea. You're Jack's uncle?"
Skitch grinned at the sight of his teacher offering a donkey a cigar. He'd remember that one for sure. "Finding Octavian's closer than going all that way, isn't it? He might know something."
"We don't know where he is, though," Valende pointed out. "It might take us just as long to find him as it would to find Odn, and there's no guarantee he'd help us."
"Why don't we just tell people, you know, street people, that we're looking for him and need help? He's a vigilante. He'd at least come find out what was going on, wouldn't he?" Skitch asked Novoa.

Character(s): Xyrhyix
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Mind games redux
Title of Post: By the pricking of my thumb

Xyrhyix flew through space with a single purpose.
It passed through the radiation belts of Jupiter without even blinking.
It raced through the asteroid belt dodging the larger rocks and absorbing the smaller ones.
It passed through the Martian sky at night giving the mole like humanoids who lived under the red planet's surface terrible nightmares.
It flung itself into a orbit that took itself over Ansalia and around through the asteroid field that surrounded Ataniel. It worked its way past the two old moons and the single new one. It then hovered for a moment and plunged down into the atmosphere. As it entered portions of itself burned away greatly reducing its size. When it left Vision it was the size of a large boat. When it crashed into the sea off a small island in the Montas Archipelago it was the size of a man. It was also hungry and it had a purpose. It began its mission by consuming a school of fish then swimming east towards the mainland.

Character(s): Ebreth, Fred
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: An Ass Is An Ass

"If we used Khyrisse's carriage we could be at the fairgrounds in a matter of minutes," said Ebreth. "I doubt it would take long to get to the mountain, either, but if Odn's not in the pyramid there's likely to be either nothing or some lame gang in there, and if Odn's not in the mountain there's likely to be all kinds of badass monsters in there, so maybe we should try the pyramid first. If there's nothing there, we could turn around and try the mountain."
"What's to keep him from just teleporting away again?" said Vas.
"Well," said Ebreth, "if he does that, there'll only be one place in the city big enough for his complex. Eventually either we're going to corner him or he's going to put the damn thing down on an apartment complex somewhere and it won't be a big secret anymore." He saw the donkey go up on its front legs out of the corner of his eye and jumped back just as he kicked the back ones out at him. "Hey, watch it!"
Asinus gave him a nasty look. "Don't like your kind."
Ebreth kind of looked at him. "You don't like pirates?" he said. "You must have a lot of fun at family gatherings."
"I don't like your kind, you flarkin' half-wit."
Ebreth raised both his hands. "I'm being dissed by a donkey," he said to himself.
"I totally relate," Fred told the donkey.

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